Is Urban Decay Cruelty-Free?

Many of us are becoming increasingly interested in what materials and methods companies use to make our products. Sometimes ingredients aren’t clearly listed on the packaging, and it can be confusing and frustrating trying to figure out whether a product is cruelty-free or not. This applies to many purchasable products, but primarily when it comes to cosmetics.


While the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetics, testing the products on animals is still legal. There are plenty of cosmetic brands out there, and some of them still test on animals. It makes you wonder if any of the well-known brands do this.


Let’s dive into one of the most popular cosmetic brands among stores and consumers. Urban Decay. Is Urban Decay cruelty-free? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

Does Urban Decay Test on Animals?

Animal testing is a process that companies have been using for years to determine the safety of a product. The FDA requires that cosmetics must be safe for humans before stores can sell the product, and they enforce this through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Under this act, companies can choose to use animals to ensure that the products are safe.

Animal Welfare Act

With this in mind, there are laws in place, such as the Animal Welfare Act, which help regulate the treatment of animals at testing facilities. Acts such as these ensure that laboratories use humane testing procedures and treat the animals nicely through:

  • Proper housing
  • Access to nutritious food and water
  • Cleaning and sanitization
  • Access to veterinary care
  • Protecting the animals from harsh temperatures and weather

While other cosmetic companies might still participate in legal animal testing, Urban Decay does not. Urban Decay is a company that commits itself to keeping its products 100% cruelty-free by opting out of animal testing completely.

They also feel confident in ensuring consumers that the raw materials they use from manufacturers are not animal-tested either. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) accredits Urban Decay as a cruelty-free company.

What About its Parent Company, L’Oreal?

When it comes to L’Oreal and animal testing, it can get a bit confusing. L’Oreal claims that the company stopped testing on animals in 1989. Europe also decided to ban animal testing altogether. So, by the looks of it, L’Oreal, a European country, is not legally allowed to test on animals currently due to the ban in place.

However, if you read further on the page provided, you’ll notice that they say health authorities from other countries can test their products on animals if they wish. Over the past few years, L’Oreal worked with China to stop this animal testing.

L’Oreal gave alternative testing options to China to help reduce animal testing. And because of this partnership, in 2014, China stopped testing specific products on animals, such as:

  • Some shampoos and body washes
  • Specific make-up products

Unfortunately, not all of L’Oreal’s products are animal testing-free in China, among other countries.

To answer the question in simpler terms, L’Oreal does not directly test their products on animals but still indirectly tests on animals. This indirect animal testing is due to them selling their products to other countries where they require animal testing.

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Is Urban Decay Vegan?

Urban Decay is both vegan and non-vegan. Urban Decay offers tons of make-up products and other cosmetics to consumers. The majority of them are non-vegan, meaning they use some sort of animal product in them. Urban Decay understands that this might be an issue for some people, and this is why they started a vegan make-up line.


There is a separate section on their website that houses all of their vegan make-up products and cosmetics in one place. In total, Urban Decay currently has 37 vegan products. This might seem like a small amount, but the company explains on their commitment page that there is the potential for more vegan products.

Urban Decay doesn’t want to sacrifice the quality of its products just to say they are vegan. This is why only a select amount of products are vegan. To make other vegan products they need to do research. As they start accessing more artificial and plant-based ingredients, Urban Decay aims to create more vegan versions of their current products.

How To Spot a Non-Vegan Product

You might think that non-consumable items wouldn’t have animal products in them, but companies use animal products for things other than food. Concerning make-up products, companies tend to use animal products to preserve their products, create pigments, and make moisturizing agents, among many other things.

With this fresh in your mind, your first line of defense when trying to spot a non-vegan product is the ingredients list. If you’re shopping in a store, you should find the label with the ingredients on it and see if you pinpoint any animal products within it.

If you’re shopping online for your make-up and cosmetics, the company will typically have an ingredient list at the bottom of the product page. And if you’re unsure of whether something is an animal product, you can always search it or use a list such as this


Along with the ingredients list, sometimes companies print vegan certification icons on their product packaging or list them in their online descriptions. If no icon or text is indicating the product you’re looking at is vegan, then it probably isn’t. Urban Decay uses a little heart labeled with “vegan formula” for its vegan products.

Another thing to remember is that if a company markets and certifies its products as cruelty-free or non-animal tested, this doesn’t mean the product is vegan. If you see a cruelty-free icon or certification but no indication of the product being vegan, it isn’t vegan.


Testing products, such as cosmetics, on animals, might be on a decline, but it still happens. It is still legal in the United States as well as other countries around the world.


Luckily, companies are starting to realize that animal testing is a thing of the past and are adjusting their testing methods. Urban Decay is one of the companies that ended animal testing for their products. Along with this switch, they are starting to make vegan cosmetics to try and keep animals out of their company altogether.


Hopefully, other companies will soon follow suit. For now, you can have some peace of mind and enjoy your Urban Decay cosmetics, knowing that they are a cruelty-free company.

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Jason Hughes
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