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Urban Decay is No Longer Cruelty Free

Urban Decay is No Longer Cruelty Free

The most recent shock to hit the beauty and vegan community is the change in stance on animal testing from Urban Decay. Just like MAC (who is also no longer cruelty free), Urban Decay had long been very vocal about their stance against testing on animals.  Urban Decay has now decided to change that stance in order to sell their products in China. You can read more in an official statement on the brands website – Urban Decay Expanding in China.

Updated on July 7, 2012 – Urban Decay Is No Longer Going to Sell in China & Will Remain Cruelty Free

For those of you unfamiliar with China’s policies, the sticking point is this: the Chinese government reserves the right to conduct animal testing with cosmetic products before the products are approved for use by Chinese citizens. The government has not told us if they have exercised this right with our products. So, our brand does not test on animals, but the Chinese government might conduct a one-time test using our products. Do we like China’s policies? No…and that is really the point. Going into China was a huge decision for Urban Decay. But, we believe that change cannot and will not happen by outside pressure alone in a closed market. Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes.

When we were considering expanding into China, a group of marketing consultants told us to remove the section of our company history that describes our crusade against animal testing. “It doesn’t mean anything to the Chinese beauty customer,” they said. Of course, we refused. Our “no animal testing” policy is part of who we are, and has been since day one. The news that animal issues don’t even register with the average Chinese consumer was one of the biggest factors in our decision to go there. During Urban Decay’s infancy, we worked hard to inform consumers about animal rights in the United States and Europe. The battleground for animal rights is now in China, and we want to be there to encourage dialogue and provoke change.

The brand tries to gloss over the issue by making it sound as if animal testing on their cosmetics may or may not happen. Logical Harmony will no longer be supporting this brand. To test products on animals, even a single time, is still testing on animals. To change a stance that the company had once been so vocal in exchange to a new product market is extremely disappointing. In some ways, it’s refreshing that they are able to flat out say that these changes were instigated by their desire to sell Urban Decay products in a new market. But that doesn’t negate the treatment of animals that they have now decided they are okay with in exchange for more money.

Personally, I had started to question Urban Decay’s commitment to animal testing when I noticed that they were started to offer fewer and fewer vegan options. Some products were being reformulated to contain animal ingredients and others were being discontinued. As a company that was changing their vegan options, they were a company that I was hesitant to buy from because I felt that I couldn’t be sure about if they were using animal ingredients or not. Now, they have decided to allow their brand to be tested on animals and want to act like it’s not a big deal. This is a big deal.

Thank you to My Beauty Bunny for posting about their disappointing change! I hope that any Urban Decay fans out there will take note and let the brand know what you think of their new decision.

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  • Reply Brianna Thursday - July 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Also, maybe this is late, but I haven’t seen much word around the internet about it, so for everyone out there still looking at this, beware! In case you don’t know, Unilever has bought out Alberto Culver brands, including Nexxus, Tressemme, St. Ives, and Simple. I used to use St Ives products because they were not tested on animals, nor used animal ingredients, but we all know how Unilever is, so this has most definitely changed! In fact, the newly designed products no longer contain posted phrases like “not tested on animals” and “does not contain animal ingredients” and is instead replaced by the Unilever “U”. I’m not sure about any of the other brands apart from St Ives, so be weary! So for all who have not heard or who have not checked some of their products recently, be careful because deals are always happening in which company ownership changes hands not for the better!

    Here’s the word too

    It sucks, but I hope it helps some of us stay aware.

  • Reply jessica Monday - June 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    wow. thank you for this info. this is unbelievable. perhaps even worse than the shock of losing Mac as cruelty free.

  • Reply Kelly Saturday - June 9, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Hi Sarah,

    I totally understand how it upsets you that I made that choice. It was the hardest choice to make for me in a very long time.

    The day I quit my job to blog full time, after planning it for 6 months, is the day the news about MAC broke. EL was right before that, then Smashbox now Urban Decay. I saw this coming and still think pretty much every non indie brand soon will be selling there, therefore not be cruelty free. If I chose to keep not supporting every brand that came out pretty soon I wouldn’t be able to do my job. People are just not as interested in indie brands as mainstream ones, unfortunately, which means less people visiting my site me not being able to support myself.

    I am still doing as much as I can including not supporting L’Oreal companies, Cover Girl, Maybelline, Neutrogena, etc. At least that’s more than the largest beauty bloggers are doing. I definitely care about this issue a lot, but I also have to be able to support myself and do what I waited 20 years to find out I wanted to do for a living.

  • Reply Tricksie Talon Friday - June 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

    DA**! Urban Decay has always prided itself on no animal testing and now…I’ve mainly been wearing Illamasqua (A British brand that is cruelty free. I don’t know that they are vegan but they are CF) but I DID love my Urban Decay liners and Naked Pallet. Well, thankfully I’ve not bought any in awhile. I just stumbled across your blog and like you, I try to only promote polishes that are cruelty free and I just bungled into posting some info about MAC. I linked back to your post on that and put on a post script expressing my regret in leading my readers astray. I am EMPHATICALLY anti-cruelty because it’s senseless to cause pain and suffering to an innocent creature so I can have paint on my nails. It’s one of the things I always promote when I’m writing, and I TRY to only talk about brands that are cruelty free. As you know, it can be challenging as their policies are always in flux.

    Please keep the good information coming and you’ve just acquired another follower.

    I have to go hug my dog now.

  • Reply Sarah Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I’m very disappointed. I have lost all respect for UD. Even if they recant their decision I’d be extremely hesitant to ever give them a penny since they obviously have no backbone.

    I’m also really sad that many people have fallen back into not caring about products being cruelty-free. I know a lot of bloggers (such as Vampy Varnish) have said they will still support companies that sell to China still. Many of these bloggers have such a large presence that it is very harming to the entire cause.

    Such a shame.

  • Reply Moxie Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Really, really disappointed about Urban Decay’s decision!! 🙁

  • Reply Ibbyheart Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    This is so so sad and bad
    I am concerned about the future

    A civilization can only be judged by how it treats its animals. ..Mahatma Gandi

    CHINA is primitive and not worthy of all the fuss!!!


    thanks honey

    Heidi in Denmark

  • Reply Amanda Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I am seriously disappointed about this. I feel like saying screw all the big companies and only buying indie.

    • Reply Sandra Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      That is exactly what I have begun to do. Unless I know for certain that a skincare company, say, Burts Bees or St Ives, is definitely cruelty-free, I will not buy their line. As for cosmetics, I refuse to try to ‘look pretty’ at the expense of an animal’s life or health. I have to wash my face, but I don’t need to decorate it with the blood of a helpless creature.

      • Reply Brianna Ogas Thursday - July 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm


        I was browsing through the internet, and I came across this thread and thought I would leave a little comment since you mentioned st. ives. I used to use their products because they were not tested on animals, but this has changed, potentially. Unilever has bought out all Alberto Culver brands, including St. Ives, Tressemme, Simple, and VO5 to name a few. Recently St Ives has undergone new packaging which no longer includes the words “not tested on animals” and “does not contain animal ingredients”. So just some advice in case you still use these brands! Spread the word because Unilever is a HORRIBLE company!

  • Reply Rachael Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 6:35 am

    While I think it’s disturbing that UD are doing thing move and I don’t condone the act of testing on animals – but the huge uproar by people against this is what is angers me. Why don’t these same people uproar against the massive human rights issues in China too?!

    • Reply Stephanie Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 6:56 am

      Rachael, animal rights and human rights are two totally valid, but nonetheless DIFFERENT crusades. That is why.

    • Reply Phyllis Tuesday - June 19, 2012 at 12:49 am

      I do write about the massive human rights issue in China. Any inhumane treatment causing needless suffering is soulless and hideous.

  • Reply nycRed714 Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I’m so glad that you’re no sugarcoating the issue like so many other bloggers. Bravo!

  • Reply kelly Thursday - June 7, 2012 at 3:36 am

    This is really dissapointing… I never email companies but I emailed UD just now…

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