Parent Companies: Should We Buy From Them?


Parent companies. What are they exactly and what’s the big deal about them?

Deciding whether or not to support a brand owned by a parent company that does test on animals is a hot topic, and is one that I’ve gone back and forth with during my time as a cruelty-free consumer, as mentioned in one of my previous posts here.

Before I go into the reasons for and against buying from parent companies, let me back up a little bit and explain what a parent company actually is.

In general, cruelty-free brands fall under three categories:

Independent brands – Independent brands or ‘indie brands’ as they’re sometimes called, are companies that are not owned by another company. Examples of independent brands include Makeup Geek and Glossier – a brand which has been getting a lot of buzz lately.

Brands owned by a parent company that does NOT test on animals – Brands that are cruelty-free who are owned by a parent company that also doesn’t test on animals, will usually always remain cruelty-free. A great example of this is Alba Botanica, which you can find in stores such as Holland & Barrett. They’re owned by a cruelty-free parent company called Hain Celestial, who also owns a number of other cruelty-free brands such as Avalon Organics.

Brands owned by a parent company that DOES test on animals – Brands that are owned by a non-cruelty-free company, usually start off as cruelty-free independent brands, but then end up getting acquired by a larger corporation who isn’t cruelty-free. There are loads of examples of this:


Smashbox —> Owned by Estée Lauder

Too Faced —> Owned by Estée Lauder

Urban Decay —> Owned by L’Oreal

Dermalogica —> Owned by Unilever

Liz Earle —> Owned by Avon

NYX —> Owned by L’Oreal

IT Cosmetics —> Owned by L’Oreal


Of course, these non-cruelty-free parent companies also own other brands that aren’t cruelty-free too. For example, L’Oreal own Urban Decay, NYX and IT Cosmetics which are all cruelty-free. But, they also own brands such as Garnier, Maybelline and Georgio Armani which aren’t cruelty-free.

At this point you might be thinking, so what? As I said, there’s a lot of debate about whether or not you should still support these brands who are owned by a parent company. At the end of the day, it’s your decision. It’s up to you to weigh up the facts and decide whether you’d like to be associated with a brand that is owned by a parent company that tests on animals.

Before you decide which side of the debate you’re on, here are a few little points to consider that are for and against supporting brands that are owned by a parent company that does test on animals:




These brands are still cruelty-free

At the end of the day, you’re still buying a cruelty-free brand. Just because a brand is owned by L’Oreal or Estée Lauder, doesn’t change the fact that they themselves don’t test on animals.

In fact, some brands have still maintained their Leaping Bunny certification, such as Liz Earle. This means that they have to adhere to a set of standards to be certified as cruelty-free under the Leaping Bunny program.

All Leaping Bunny companies must be open to independent audits and show documented proof that they don’t test on animals at any point in their supply chain.


You’re sending the parent company a message

By going out and buying these brands, you’re essentially sending a message to the parent company that cruelty-free sells!

For example, L’Oreal owns a lot of different brands, some cruelty-free and some non-cruelty-free. By choosing to buy Urban Decay over Maybelline for instance, you’re essentially telling them that you’d rather buy from their brands that don’t test on animals, over the ones that do.

The benefit of doing this is that it could encourage these companies to invest more into their cruelty-free brands, as they know that it’s popular with their customers.


You have more choice

Boycotting brands owned by a parent company that tests on animals can sometimes be an impractical option for many people.

Those who live in certain countries or more remote areas of the world may find it more difficult to shop cruelty-free due to the lack of variety if they opt to exclude these brands.

A lot of these brands are readily available and easy to purchase as many of them can be found on the high street or in a lot of big, well-known stores. Buying from these brands still allows you to support cruelty-free companies, while at the same time giving you a choice of brands and products.

To be honest, I’d much rather someone buy from a brand like Urban Decay over a brand like MAC Cosmetics, who are open about the fact that they test on animals!




You could be funding MORE animal testing

Obviously, there’s no way of knowing for sure, but if you’re buying from brands (cruelty-free or not) they’re all still owned by the same parent company and are all housed under the same roof.

If you’re buying from one of their brands, even if it is a cruelty-free one, there’s no way of knowing where your money is going to end up. Buying products from a cruelty-free brand doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to end up being invested back into the same brand.

You could unknowingly be funding more animal testing!

As an added bonus, by choosing to not buy from these brands, it also gives you that added peace of mind. You’re able to say that you are not helping to fund the animal testing industry in any way.


You’re still financially supporting the parent company

There’s no way of tip-toeing around it. At the end of the day, choosing to buy from cruelty-free brands that are owned by a parent company that tests on animals, means your money is still going to end up in the pocket of the parent company.

Even though you’re trying to support these cruelty-free brands, your money is still financially supporting the big bosses that test on animals.


There are LOADS of other brands you could support instead

In reality, there a truck-load of other great cruelty-free brands that you could be supporting instead. Such as those who are independent or even ones on the high-street. I wrote a post about some fantastic cruelty-free brands on the high street, which you can read here.

Take some of the independent brands mentioned earlier, such as Glossier. As they’re a smaller independent company, they’re more likely to need your support in order for their business to thrive.

Larger companies like Too Faced have massive marketing budgets and a lot of financial support. This means that they’re able to keep going regardless of whether you support them or not.


The choice is yours

As I said, choosing whether or not to support parent companies is your decision. In reality, there’s no right or wrong answer. As an individual, it’s up to you to explore the points above and come to a decision based on your circumstances.

Going cruelty-free is a massive learning curve and overtime our opinions and views may change as we evolve and grow. Being cruelty-free is a huge lifestyle change and it isn’t something you can snap your fingers and learn everything about overnight. It’s important to remember that, all of us are just trying to be better people who want to make the world a better place.


What do you think? Do you buy from parent companies? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @_chloeabigail


One Comment

  • Beth

    Love this post, Chloe! It’s very balanced and leaves people to make up their own minds. Personally I will buy from brands with testing parent companies occasionally, especially if I haven’t found an alternative product, but I prefer to support independent brands wherever possible 🙂 xx

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