November 26, 2012

L’Oreal Buys Urban Decay Cosmetics

L’Oreal announced on their site today they signed an agreement to acquire Urban Decay

“Urban Decay will beautifully complement L’Oréal Luxe’s portfolio of iconic brands. It is the make-up specialist we needed to fully satisfy young women in search of playful colors and inspiration in selective distribution, at an accessible price point. It is totally additional to our existing propositions and as such it will contribute significantly to the growth of the Division in the years to come,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, President L’Oréal Luxe.

“L’Oréal’s strong innovation capabilities and presence in every channel of distribution will enable Urban Decay to reach its full potential in the marketplace,” added Tim Warner, General Manager, Urban Decay. “Together, we have great ambitions for the future.”

The closing is subject to regulatory approval which is expected by the end of the year.

L’Oreal represents a rather large portfolio of brands some of which test on animals so the future of Urban Decay’s Animal Testing Policy is in question. But I imagine that Urban Decay wouldn’t go into this decision without taking all of this into consideration so I do believe you probably won’t have to worry about their animal testing policy.

Update: Urban Decay has officially announced they will remain a cruelty free brand even after L’Oreal becomes their parent company.


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment


  • DivaShop

    Hmm, I guess we’ll have to see what happens. Although, they did almost go to China & itwas only the uproar from bloggers/customers that stopped them. With L’Oreal holding the reins, who knows? Not trying to be a downer, btw. Lol. We’ll just have to see how this plays out.

    • the Muse

      hey gloria ;-D I think that may be a good striking point for this venture because they already experience consumer’s (and blogger’s) rage when they decided to move to china and later retracted so I imagine they are taking that into consideration with this new phase of their beauty life ;D

  • kimkats

    Did you hear that? That was the dull thud of my jaw hitting the desk…. I had no idea that UD was up for grabs – jeez…. seems like either l’oreal or EL owns most of the cosmetic world… Wonder how this will bode for UD’s innovative products in the future…

    • Ruthless

      EL absolutely RUINED Ojon when they bought them out, and they haven’t been good for MAC either. Sigh.

      • Gabby

        On the bright side, L’Oreal owns Armani – which is doing preettty great (ETK shadows :D!!!)

  • Kate


    I do hope you are right about the animal testing bit. I’m going to be very sad if that is scrapped to follow the policy of the rest of the company.

    • the Muse

      I think it should be ok kate 🙂 they def experience some whiplash earlier this year with the news of their move to china and I’m betting they take that into consideration with this new venture.

  • Stacie

    I am not cruelty free, but I applaud those who have the self discipline to not let the pretty sparkly animal tested products to lure them in. I imagine a lot of them are going to have a HUGE problem with L’oreal as many of them have issues with parent company testing. It’ll be interesting from a social aspect to see how this plays out though.

    • the Muse

      I’m not either, it’s very difficult to be animal cruelty free and run a blog unfortunately but def applaud those who are. Urban Decay has a strong stance against animal testing and they ran into some issues with their move to China earlier this year. They proceeded to change their mind about the move so I imagine they’ll keep that in mind with this venture.

      • Liza

        I run a cruelty-free blog and was really upset by this news. I can’t say I was completely shocked though after the whole China fiasco. I thought about how I would handle this situation, and I love makeup, and have been a long time huge fan of Urban Decay’s products. I understand they are a business, but I can’t support a company who I feel basically used and lied to their customers. Urban Decay’s clientele has a large % of individuals who are either cruelty-free, vegan, or purchased the brand becasue of their stance against animal testing. To then turn around and sell your company to a cosmetic giant known to test on animals, well it just feels a little bit like a slap in the face to all those who helped make your business what it is. I posted my thoughts on my blog last night. I understand not everyone likes Urban Decay just becasue of the cruelty-free aspect, and not everyone feels the same way I do. I know most if not all of the larger beauty bloggers will continue to support them, but I know a few other cruelty-free beauty bloggers like myself who will continue to fight for the rights of animals who can’t defend themselves. There are still plenty of good brands out there that don’t test such as: NYX, Tarte, Too Faced, Christopher Drummond, Illamasqua, Hourglass etc. I won’t tell others how they should spend their money, but I know how I’ll be spending mine.

  • Sarah S.

    Totally on the verge of tears right now… I shelved all my UD stuff when they announced they would be selling in China and happily took it out of the off-limits bin when they decided not to… but now? I was avoiding all EL and L’oreal brands and I’m upset that I continued to buy UD after they scrapped the China plan only to see them sell to L’oreal 🙁 I don’t think I’ll throw out my UD this time, but I’m sure as heck not buying any more. I try very hard to be totally cruelty-free and vegan with my makeup choices so it just makes me feel like my efforts have been foiled 🙁

  • breyerchic04

    I am just curious what this will do for availability and product range… Of course that’s going to take a while to play out.

  • Cat

    The animal testing should hopefully be a no-brainer for L’Oreal, since the buy out of The Body Shop they’ve been fairly careful about that sort of thing (though it does mean I often give TBS the stink eye whenever they run ‘against testing on animals’ campaigns- look who your parent company is!)

    Personally, I think this has potential to be really exciting! L’Oreal is such a big company, it means that it has the ability to supply UD more places than it has been before- I think if it came to Australia and New Zealand a lot of us here would be pretty happy, regardless of who owned them!

  • shelly

    Given this isn’t the first time UD has been owned by a larger corporation (they were owned by LVMH for most of the 2000s) and they were able to remain “cruelty-free” then, and The Body Shop is still a “cruelty-free” brand under the L’Oreal umbrella, I’m thinking UD will be able to stay that way.

    (I have lots of feelings about the “cruelty-free” label, which is why I have the quotes around it.)

  • Coco

    As with The Body Shop, money spent with UD will ultimately end up in L’Oreal’s pocket, and therefore towards animal testing. Plus I guess UD will end up being sold in China anyway, despite all the drama earlier this year. No more 24/7 Concealer for me then, grrr

  • Suselew

    I see this clearly as a BAD thing. L’Oreal continues to be the world’s worst offender regarding animal testing. Buying UD products now means sending profits to them. What is very upsetting about this sale, is how disingenuous UD was regarding the China snafu. Do you think for a minute that they changed their minds a month later because they suddenly found a conscience? I’m sure that L’Oreal was in the midst of that snafu trying to gobble up the company and trying to salvage the loyal customer base. This will have to be a personal decision on whether you will support companies whose parent corporations are NOT cruelty-free or if you will boycott any company with ties to cruelty.

    I remember fighting very hard in the 70s and 80s to get companies like Avon and Revlon, to name a few, to stop animal testing. Now they both, along with all the Lauder companies, have abandoned 40 years of cruelty-free status. If you look at this as a positive thing, you are sending the message to small cruelty-tree companies that you can sell your soul and still expect your customers to blindly follow you.

    • Jen

      I have to agree with you. Your words really brought it home for me. I have been cruelty free for years and totally avoid products even if they are cruelty free when their parents Arernt, I’m not sure I believe that loreal is phasing out animal testing. The knowledge of how to do it has been there for years, it’s not like all of a sudden acquiring UD is going to give them all this insight. I struggled a lot with EL selling in china, but I’ve realized hey a lot of companies can do it and do it well, tarte for example. The big companies bottom line is always $ based.

      • Jen

        Oh meant that a lot of smaller companies do the cruelty free thing well, like tarte

  • Jen

    Having worked for a Loreal owned company, I was told Loreal is slowly but surely fazing out animal testing. The main point of obtaining certain cruelty free brands is to in fact, use the procedures and trade secrets they use as anti animal testing companies. This came from the mouth of a Loreal big head. 😉

  • Marta

    I’m glad they’re going to try to remain cruelty free, as I don’t buy cosmetics that aren’t. Now. Way before MAC announced they were going to start animal testing I had already stopped buying because I felt (still feel) quality had dropped, and I could find better products elsewhere. I found the eyeshadows a little hard and dry, the collections erratic. Many say it has been so since Stee Lauder bought it, I don’t know about that. So I’m hoping they will maintain their principles but also their originality and value. I was given some Maybelline products I liked this year, and that is L’Oreal owned, so I think probably that’s a good sign! Let’s cross our fingers ladies…

  • stephanie

    I don’t like this. But not because of the animal testing issue. I see that UD products almost always hit the mark, hence the cult following. I myself buy UD products but not religiously, but a lot of my friends are loyal customers and I can see why. Their products are awesome. Whereas Loreal products.. not so much. A lot of their products are great, but there are also a huge amount of products that fail to grab the hearts of make up junkies. I say UD should stand alone. I don’t think Loreal can definitely bring more business because theyre more widely known, but not necessarily better products.

    • amy

      I’m a huge fan of L’Oreal, and have been for 25+ years. While I’m the first to admit they’ve been pretty stagnant over the last few years (until the Infallible eyeshadows & the nail polishes are divine), they’ve actually had some very interesting & innovative collections in the past. Instead of presuming UD is going to “go downhill”, I like to hope L’Oreal will go back to what made me fall in love with them so many years ago.

    • Claire

      UD had plans to sell their products in Cina earlier this year. China has a policy that requires animal testing if you want to sell your cosmetics in that country.

  • Jacqueline

    I really hope you’re correct Jen. Loreal and Urban Decay should offer an official statement soon though. They are losing more and more customers by the second.
    I love UD’s products and values, I hope to see an influence of UD towards loreal instead of loreal plaguing UD.

  • Genevieve

    Hopefully, there will be Urban Decay stuff at L’Oréal warehouse sale (Montréal)from now on. That’d be cool!

  • Shelby

    Do people realize what other brands L’Oreal owns? Lancome, YSL, Shu Uemura, Kiehls, giorgio armani, those are just naming a few. Their products do not suck, and as for the actual L’Oreal cosmetics they are my favorite drugstore line, lots of great products. People keep talking about the quality going down but I very highly doubt that will happen.

  • amy

    Urban Decay has no choice in who buys them. They gave it up *years* ago when they sold to LVMH, who then (for reasons I’m not sure of) had a private equity firm come in and take over. PEF’s usually come in to “save” companies who aren’t doing well financially. They basically get private investors to funnel in money to turn the company around, then sell it to a larger company after they’ve done the marketing, PR, etc to make the brand more attractive to a buyer. Apparently, the PEF in this case is making 2X the amount the brand is worth, and the actual profits to the investors is likely even higher.

    L’Oreal has also been working to find alternative methods for testing, and have actually invested alot of money into the venture. I also don’t think the quality will suffer any, as it has with MAC being bought by Estee Lauder. EL has a completely different marketing formula, basically using “exclusivity” to edge out other brands, whereas L’Oreal just diversifies to their various demographics.

  • Julie

    This isn’t going to change whether I buy from them or not. They are a favorite of mine, and as far as eyeshadows, they are the only brand I use. I know quite a few people across the globe are excited for the possibility that they might be available to them, so… but I respect the ones that are following their morals and choosing not to use them anymore.

  • Ilse

    Are you serious? Good that they remain cruelty free, but well, there L’Oréal is with their animal testing (though someone commented here that they are slowly stopping animal testing on the brands they own) But I’ll keep buying UD. It’s just a good quality, really nice brand but high respect for the ones that only buy cruelty free products!

  • Jamie

    I’m pretty sure that Urban Decay test on animals because their cosmetics could not be sold in China unless they were tested on animals? Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I hope this doesn’t go down hill for Urban Decay because they are absolutely the bestestestest!

    • amy

      UD allegedly backed out of China due to the backlash (although I don’t know for sure that is the true reason).

  • Tori

    I’m so glad that they decided to stay cruelty free! I would definatly stop buying from them if they did start testing on animals, since I only buy products from companies that don’t.

  • Mars

    I won’t buy their stuff anymore.
    When MAC reversed their position I had felt the quality had gone down prior to that, and I no longer bought their products so it didn’t affect me more than just being sad to hear of another sell-out. Even if Loreal wasn’t well known for animal testing, I am always disappointed to hear a smaller company sell to a huge multi millionaire company.
    Like Natural Balance and EVO, which is pet food, but still…
    Bigger companies tend to care less about quality and more on churning out and pulling in cash. As they realize that that makes sales suffer for those that believe in quality, they put more effort in preserving quality, but $$ always comes first.
    And many many women just go to the drugstore and grab the first mascara that promises them big long lashes and they use that until they go back for another and find something new in a shinier package that promises even bigger results.
    I am however very upset to hear about Stila, and I find it sickening that such a huge deal was made over Urban Decay and nothing over Stila. They claim it is to “reach more customers”

  • Heather

    I know this is an old post, but I was looking up information to try and figure out if Urban Decay had changed their product ingredients in the last two years because I used to be able to wear their products and now I’m highly allergic to all of their eye makeup, from the 24/7 glide on pencils that I’ve used for over six years to their mascaras and eyeshadow formulas – all of which now give me allergic conjunctivitis a.k.a. severe pink eye. Brand new out of the box! At first I thought I had contaminated them and received viral/bacterial, but buying second ones weeks after clearing up my eyes just brought the pink eye back (as well as my doctor explaining that I’m allergic to something in my makeup and that I don’t need antibiotics, so I had to just stop using them). Sadly, I’ve had to phase out of using Urban Decay. I have some of my older eyeliner pencils from them that I can still use, but everything new I just sent back and got my money back. I also have an original Naked palette that’s about three to four years old that is still safe for my eyes as well as the original Alice in Wonderland palette that I can still use despite its age. Sadly, they put the ingredients on the boxes and plastic wraps, so I don’t know what’s changed or why I’m having this reaction to only them and Bobbi Brown. I now mostly just use eye cosmetics from Too Faced (amazing btw!), Tarte, and Bare Minerals. All of which work great with my eyes. I’m wondering if this switch to Loreal had something to do with it. If so, it’s really disheartening that I can’t buy any of their eye products anymore!