Is Urban Decay Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Its Controversial!)

Urban Decay is an American cosmetics company that was launched in 1996.

They have always had a clear policy on being cruelty-free, despite running into some issues briefly in 2012.

They make a wide range of beauty and cosmetic products and are clear in their brand statement that their products are designed for everyone to use. 

DISCLOSURE: Luiere.com is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.


Does Urban Decay test on animals?

No, Urban Decay does not test on animals.

Their company policy states “Urban Decay is a cruelty-free brand and is committed to ending animal testing.

We do not test our products on animals, nor do we allow others to test on our behalf.”

They also stipulate that their suppliers of raw materials provide evidence that these have not been tested on animals.

Are Urban Decay PETA certified?

As of late 2013, Urban Decay has been certified by PETA as a cruelty-free company.

Are Urban Decay Vegan?

Many of Urban Decay’s products are made following a vegan formula, although this is not true of their entire product line.

Some products contain ingredients such as lanolin, beeswax, and carmine among other things.

These are all derived from animals and as such, cannot be considered vegan.

Other common non-vegan ingredients include animal hair (in makeup brushes), glycerin, guanine, hyaluronic acid, keratin, lactic acid, retinol, squalene, and stearic acid.

Urban Decay products are currently undergoing a transition to become fully vegan.

All new releases and product developments are vegan and the company’s dream is to be fully vegan one day.

They are currently working on converting the formulas for non-vegan products to replace them with synthetic or plant-derived alternative ingredients.


Is Urban Decay sold in China?

Urban Decay cosmetics are not sold in mainland China.

This means that there is no requirement for their products to be tested on animals.

This has not always been the case.

In June 2012 Urban Decay announced that they would be selling their products in China, meaning that they would have been required to conduct animal testing to comply with Chinese law.

Following mass outrage and conversations with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), they revoked their decision.

In October 2013 the company announced that they would no longer sell their cosmetics in China until there is no requirement for the products to be tested on animals.

For this, PETA awarded the company a Courage in Commerce Award for “putting animals ahead of market share.”

That being said, the company does sell products in Hong Kong.

China has a large amount of legal sway over Hong Kong and has already made significant changes to the law.

It will be interesting to monitor this situation and see if Hong Kong begins to implement the same animal testing regulations as mainland China.

Is Urban Decay ethical?

Urban Decay is owned by the parent company L’Oreal.

While the company itself is ethical and cruelty-free, L’Oreal is not.

They have openly admitted that their products are tested on animals where the law requires it.

This means that the company falls into a gray area ethically.

It is up to you to make your own personal decision on whether or not their ethics align with yours.

Many people would rather not purchase products from a company that has any links to animal testing.

This is because they feel as though by supporting Urban Decay they are indirectly supporting and funding further animal cruelty by the parent company.

This means that they would not purchase Urban Decay products.

Personally, I feel as though they are an ethical company.

When it comes to commercial business projects it is hard to be completely self-sufficient without relying on larger corporations for financial support.

Urban Decay has not compromised on its ethical stance under the parent company and it seems unlikely that this will ever change.

In 2015, the brand launched its Ultraviolet Edge campaign.

This is a global initiative aimed at empowering women.

This is done through the support of women’s rights organizations.

The brand has always had a clear message of acceptance and empowerment, therefore this campaign clearly aligns with their brand values.

This campaign dedicates a product per year to support the initiative.

Every time that one of these products is purchased, 100% of the purchase price is donated to a non-profit organization.

By 2018, this campaign had donated over $2 million to 7 different women’s charities and non-profit organizations the world over.

These included Her Justice in New York City; Laura’s House in Orange County; The Women’s Global Empowerment Fund in Uganda; the Kakenya Center for Excellence in Kenya; Crisis in the United Kingdom; Equality Now, and Circular Board, 2 worldwide organizations.

Prior to this initiative, Urban Decay had been donating their empty lipstick cases to women’s refuges to assist the victims of domestic violence in escaping their situations.

Bestseller No. 1
Urban Decay Stay Naked The Fix Powder Foundation, 30WY - Matte Finish Lasts Up To 16 Hours - Water & Sweat-Resistant - Comes with Charcoal-Infused Sponge
  • YOU LOOK BETTER NAKED - Everything you love about Stay Naked—now in a powder. Stay Naked The Fix Powder Foundation is a longwear foundation with buildable medium coverage and a real-skin matte finish that lasts up to 16 hours.
  • SET IT & FORGET IT - This breathable, weightless powder foundation is ultra-blendable and never cakey. Knock out T-zone oil, use for allover coverage or set your concealer. It’s water, sweat, and transfer-resistant so you can set it and forget it.
  • PROTECT & PERFECT - Our silky formula contains moringa seed oil, which has concentrated anti-pollution, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties for smoothing and improving skin’s appearance.
  • FOR ALL SKIN TONES - Available in 24 vegan and cruelty-free shades with nine shade intensities. Can’t find your perfect match? When in doubt, go with the NN in your shade intensity.
  • CHARCOAL-INFUSED SPONGE - The Fix includes a charcoal-infused sponge that detoxifies and mattifies your complexion, so you can apply it on the go and touch up anywhere.

Mica in Urban Decay Products

Mica is a mineral compound that is commonly found in the topsoil and makes up a large percentage of granite.

It is used in cosmetic products to give opacity and pearlescence.

99% of L’Oreal’s mica is from verified sources and where possible they attempt to use a synthetic

On L’Oreal’s website, there is an entire page dedicated to the mica used in their products (including those of Urban Decay).

It is a controversial ingredient as it is primarily found in economically and socially challenged areas of India.

This means that it is often associated with child labor, poor working environments, and a convoluted and messy supply chain.

L’Oreal has signed up to the Responsible Mica Initiative in India.

This ensures that any mica used in their products has been sourced responsibly.

This initiative also aims to stamp out child labor and poor working conditions in India.

They are also part of the United Nations Global Compact, meaning that a commitment to human rights at all stages is a key element of their production and supply chains.

As well as this, the company has partnered with industrial giants, mica purchasers, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in an effort to ensure the mica industry is sustainable.


Last update on 2021-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API