Tarte Cosmetics Bought by Kose – How Does It Impact Their Animal Testing Stance?

Tarte Cosmetics Bought by Kose - How Does It Impact Their Animal Testing Stance?

Today an announcement about Tarte Cosmetics shocked the cruelty free beauty world. Long known as a cruelty-free brand with lots of vegan options (and a favorite here at Logical Harmony), Tarte has now been bought by Kose Corp. WWD announced yesterday that Japan’s Kose company has purchased a 93.5% stake in Tarte Cosmetics. Kose is a Japanese cosmetics brand that also tests on animals.

Tarte made the announcement today via Facebook

To all of our tartelettes: As you may have heard, tarte has recently been acquired by Japanese company KOSÉ. It’s truly been an amazing ride, from the little venture Maureen Kelly started in her bedroom 15 years ago to the global powerhouse we’re privileged to join. Our vision has always been to create beauty products that are ‘healthy treats for your skin,’ foster the highest level of customer service and give back to the community and the environment. By joining the KOSÉ family and adding to that rich portfolio, we can build on what we’ve already accomplished with powerful products and explore expanding the tarte brand in new and exciting countries. And rest assured, we are committed to remaining a cruelty-free brand and will not test on animals. Maureen will stay on as the CEO and looks forward to continuing a lasting relationship with our tartelettes.

xo, the tarte team!

After many questions from readers who expressed serious concern over them being bought by a non-cruelty free company, Tarte also issued an update via Facebook

Hey tartelettes – It’s Maureen

I’ve been reading your comments and concerns over the past hour and wanted to let you know I hear them all loud and clear. I promise, I’m not going anywhere. I started tarte out of my one bedroom apartment and I’m still just as passionate about making innovative, eco-friendly products that deliver real results. I’ll still be in the office every day working with my team to develop new products I hope you’ll love as much as I do. Remember, tarte will NOT be testing on animals, or EVER test on animals. We are a cruelty-free company and will remain one. KOSÉ is completely on board with our position as an eco-friendly, cruelty-free company and has given tarte such a great opportunity to grow and expand around the world. It’s really an exciting time and we can’t wait to reach more tartelettes worldwide. Please look at the checklist below and be assured tarte is in great hands.

xo, Maureen

· We will remain a cruelty-free beauty brand focused on high-performance naturals™
· We will continue to manufacture our high-quality products to our exacting standards, which means our formulas will continue to be formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and gluten
· We will continue to formulate with good-for-you ingredients like Amazonian clay, maracuja, minerals, colored clay, superfruits and vitamins
· With my team, we will continue to innovate and create products we believe tartelettes will love
· We will continue to expand internationally where are our high standards are met—we can’t wait to reach more tartelettes worldwide!

Tarte is currently certified as cruelty-free by PETA. Leaping Bunny has informed me that they are not Leaping Bunny certified because they inquired into, but didn’t finish, the application. They will stay on the Cruelty-Free Brand List here on Logical Harmony, but it will now be noted that their parent company does test on animals.

Here at Logical Harmony, I like to let readers decide what is best for themselves. I strive to provide you with the best education out there so that you can be an empowered consumer. Each individual should do what works for them and I think it’s important for consumers to be aware of their options and choose wisely. I think it’s better for a consumer to understand that Tarte is cruelty-free and their parent company is not than to think animal testing is a thing of the past and purchase directly from a brand that does test on animals.


  1. I just bought a tarte lipstick from Sephora, specifically because it was branded as “cruelty free”. I am so disappointed to read tarte is owned by a company that engages in animal testing. I will be returning the lipstick tomorrow and will give Sephora my feedback – their cruelty free claim is misleading. If the parent company isn’t cruelty free, I don’t want my business going to them. Thank you for keeping consumers informed.

    1. I, as well, will never purchase , not only any Tarte products, but any product whose parent company tests on animals. Shame on these conglomerates who are basically lying to their consumers. I am very offended by anyone who would still use any product knowing full well animals how animals are horribly suffering . I have seen the disgusting and heart breaking pictures of how animals are tested upon. I dare those who do not care if products are tested on animals to take a look at the photos of those poor suffering animals. Another sell out of what was a good brand now damaged by corporate greed.

  2. I know this is an old post, but thank you for the update. I’d never tried Tarte before but was interested in a recent palette. I don’t buy from companies that test on animals (or have parent companies that do). It’s disappointing to know that Tarte is owned by a company that conducts animal testing; I won’t be trying their products now.

  3. Hi, thanks for your committed research! Love your website. So confusing to navigate other websites regarding what is vegan, cruelty free, certified bunny, PETA approved, etc. I know this post is a couple of years old, but wondering if you had any updates regarding tarte being certified as leaping bunny. I’m disappointed in tarte but I am hoping they are committed to staying cruelty free despite being bought out.

  4. Argh! I’m so sick of animal testing parent companies buying cruelty free brands! I’m running out of cosmetics and skin care brands that I’m willing to support. The Body Shop, NYX, and Urban Decay were some of my fave brands who I no longer feel that I can support. God this is so frustrating!

    1. I feel the same way.I have been waiting years for UD to come to South Africa.Literally years and now that they have they are owned by that devil company.We are so limited here in SA with brands that NYX was the only decent one a Pro MUA could use now they sold out as well. Don’t care what anyone says.They are sell outs!So angry and disappointed.

    2. I completely agree! Very deceiving that vegan and cruelty free is mentioned, but parent company does the opposite! Sorry Tarte, I’m out, not using you any longer 🙁

  5. So…While tart is expanding their global presence will they make sure to NOT sell to China where animal eating on cosmetics is still Mandatory? I switched from Laura Mercier to Tarte for this reason when whole heartedly attempting to go Cruelty Free. Now what do I buy and who do I support? Gonna need a good TM soon to replace my Tarte that replaced my Laura Mercier.. AnySuggestions ladies?

      1. Colourpop is definitely not cruelty free; their products contain carmine, which is created by cruelly crushing thousands of innocent little beetles. Insects deserve to live too!

          1. The industry-standard definition of cruelty-free is simply no animal testing, and vegan is no animal ingredients. I personally use only vegan products from cruelty-free brands. I find it helpful to use the mostly widely known definition of cruelty-free though to minimize confusion.

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