Urban Decay is a brand that means a lot to me. They were my first introduction to middle-tier beauty brands. I discovered them at an age when I was working, and since I made my own money, I wanted to spend it on better makeup. I always loved Urban Decay’s bright colors and fearless mantra, which has always been my approach to beauty.
I always try and use cruelty-free and vegan products as much as I can. Ever since I’ve been using Urban Decay (which has been A LONG TIME), they have always been cruelty-free (though not 100% vegan). Has this changed? Is Urban Decay cruelty-free? Read my guide for more information.
Bottom line up front:
Urban Decay is cruelty-free. They’re not vegan, but they have a vegan line. I’m also reading that Urban Decay is moving toward becoming a 100% vegan brand, though I haven’t heard this confirmed by the company. In addition to these benefits, Urban Decay gives back to different charities.
Urban Decay products do contain controversial ingredients, though they exercise transparency on sources for their ingredients. They’re also becoming more sustainable, recently releasing a clean line and introducing products made of recycled materials.
Is Urban Decay Cruelty-Free?
Yes, Urban Decay is cruelty-free. They don’t test ingredients and finished products on animals. This company also doesn’t work with third parties and suppliers that conduct animal testing. You also won’t find Urban Decay products sold in countries that require animal testing by law. PETA confirms Urban Decay’s cruelty-free stance.
Urban Decay’s Parent Company
Urban Decay is owned by L’Oreal. This company’s animal testing policies are pretty unclear. Some sources say that L’Oreal isn’t cruelty-free. However, they explain on their website that they are cruelty-free and haven’t conducted animal testing since the late 80s.
Urban Decay Morality
Cruelty-free concerns aren’t the only way a brand can prove its morality. Veganism, charitable donations, and sustainability are other factors that a consumer must consider.
Urban Decay and Veganism
Urban Decay isn’t 100% vegan, but they do have a whole line of products made without animal-derived ingredients. If you’re unsure which Urban Decay products are vegan; you can search their website and find products clearly marked as vegan. However, some sources claim that Urban Decay is transitioning its products to be 100% vegan.
Urban Decay and Charities
Urban Decay gives back to some great charities. Their Online Bullying Hurts IRL campaign is an initiative that stands up to those affected by online bullying.
They have also supported women with The Ultraviolet Edge, which is their initiative that empowers women all over the world.
Urban Decay and Ethics
This is kind of difficult to determine. Urban Decay does use controversial ingredients in its products, such as talc, mica, and palm oil. I will explain more about talc later, but mica is usually associated with forced labor, and palm oil is a major deforestation factor.
But Urban Decay offers transparency on its source for these ingredients. Its parent company, L’Oreal, is also a member of the Responsible Mica Initiative.
Urban Decay and Sustainability
Urban Decay is becoming more sustainable. They recently released a Wild Greens line that’s made with plant-powered ingredients.
This collection is clean and green while also being vegan. All of the products in this collection are formulated without BHT, parabens, petrolatum, and mineral oil. As of now, there are two products in this collection: Wild Lash Mascara and Wild Greens Eyeshadow Palette.
Urban Decay’s parent company, L’Oreal, takes sustainability very seriously. L’Oreal’s For the Planet organization reduces the environmental impact of the company and its brands. That means Urban Decay must comply with its standards of releasing sustainable packaging by 2025.
They have also started moving in this direction — many Urban Decay brushes are made from recycled plastic and aluminum bottles.
My Favorite Urban Decay Products
I’ve been using Urban Decay for over 10 years, and I’ve tried nearly every product in their catalog. If you’re interested in trying Urban Decay products, here are a few of my recommendations.
I can’t tell you how many Urban Decay palettes I own. At least half of the palettes in my collection are from Urban Decay. Their Naked palettes, Vice palettes, and other off-shoots are ones I’ve been using for years. With that being said, I can recommend several of their palettes.
But I will keep things simple and recommend the Naked 2 Basics Palette, which was extremely popular when I was working at Sephora.
The palette is small and features a few neutral shades, but they’re all lovely and natural-looking. This is the perfect everyday palette. Naked 2 is my favorite Urban Decay palette since it’s more on the gray side, and this mini palette is the same. If you prefer brown and beige colors, I suggest trying the original Naked palette. If you want a palette on the vibrant side, this also isn’t one for you (though Urban Decay has limitless options for you to choose from).
Urban Decay’s Vice Lipsticks are some of my all-time favorites though they’re so underrated. They have three different formulas: matte, cream, and shine. I’ve tried all and don’t have a favorite, though I was more impressed with the shine one than expected. It has the look of a gloss but the staying power of lipstick. Plus, they’re hydrating.
In typical Urban Decay fashion, they have so many great colors. I love Ravenswood, Naked, Horchata, What’s Your Sign, Art Walk, Bad Blood, Hex, Oat Milk, Hollyweird, and Acai. The only downside is I have one lipstick that is a circular shape and is difficult to apply to the contours of my lips.
These Urban Decay eye pencils are my true HG. Urban Decay offers so many amazing colors, and I’ve been using these products for years. They don’t run for me, and they’re easy to apply.
I’m not a big fan of plumping lip glosses, but I’m reading good things about these products. Unlike other lip glosses, the Vice Shine Balm leaves your lips very soft. In typical Urban Decay fashion, this gloss is available in a variety of colors. I like Secret Menu the best; it’s just a nice neutral color. These glosses also have decent staying power.
I have been using this product for a long time, but it’s expensive. I don’t mind paying extra for some Urban Decay products, such as its eyeliner and eyeshadows, but I’m not willing to shell out a lot for a setting spray. I discovered some cheaper dupes, such as the Wet n’ Wild One.
But if you’re serious about your setting sprays, this is still a good spray. The spray does help extend the staying power of your makeup. It does make your skin look a little dewy, but it only lasts temporarily.
So before I say anything, I have to give a disclaimer: this mascara irritated my eyes. However, I have sensitive eyes and can only use specific mascaras. I don’t recommend using this one if you have sensitive eyes. The only reason it’s on my list is this mascara works well.
This mascara lengthens your lashes and makes them look fuller. It also doesn’t give you spider lashes, and it doesn’t clump too terribly. If you’re concerned about eye sensitivity, there are a variety of other mascaras you can buy in the same price range.
I’m actually on the hunt for a new translucent powder. I have been using Make Up For Ever’s for years, but I’m switching all of my beauty and self-care products to cruelty-free brands (which is why I’m writing these lists), and MUFE isn’t cruelty-free. I’m using the Laura Mercier setting powder now. It’s okay but not the quality I was expecting from this brand.
From what I’m reading, the powder is lightweight and doesn’t settle into wrinkles. It also minimizes the appearance of pores.
Even though it’s a translucent powder, it may cause a white cast if you have darker skin. I’m also reading that this powder contains talc, which is a naturally occurring mineral that’s often found where asbestos is (though talc isn’t a carcinogen). Still, this could be a reason to avoid this powder.
This is a great primer that I may consider trying. It feels very moisturizing and doesn’t feel too heavy or sticky on the skin. It goes on the skin very well and smooths out imperfections. Some reviewers said this didn’t work well for them — it seems like this is more of a moisturizing formula, so I wouldn’t use this if you have oily skin. I have dry skin, so this would work well for me.
I’m very picky about bronzer because I’m so pale. But I do like how this bronzer has two different color options. I’m reading that sun-kissed is ideal for women with light skin. If you do want to contour with this bronzer, it is buildable and blends well. The only downside is the shade. I’m reading the color looks gold, and others say it looks orange. If you’re cool-toned, I suggest going easy with this bronzer.
At first, I thought this was a BB cream. When I was digging more into this product, it’s a medium-coverage and buildable foundation. UD has a decent selection of shades so you can likely find your shade in this product. Even though I have dry skin, I hate the way moisturizing makeup products look on my end. I hate the dewy look (or at least when I’m wearing makeup). However, reviewers said this product makes their skin glow. This foundation is also long-lasting.
Since this is more of a moisturizing face product, it’s not ideal for those with oily skin unless you don’t mind wearing a lot of powder. I’m also reading complaints that this foundation oxidizes. I suggest wearing a moisturizer or primer with SPF under this because the foundation doesn’t offer sun protection. Even though the coverage is buildable, it’s not a good option if you want full range.
I’m reading mixed reviews about this concealer. Some reviewers are saying this settles into fine lines and wrinkles. Others are saying it’s a good and cruelty-free vegan dupe for the NARS Creamy Concealer.
Plus, it has an impressive amount of product for the price. I wouldn’t call this concealer cheap, but it’s not the most expensive option out there. I wouldn’t use this if you have mature skin, but overall it seems to offer good coverage.
So I have to explain my struggles. I’m pale but naturally have dark hair. I can only use dark brown products for my brows, which aren’t even the right color. While Anastasia Beverly Hills has been the most eyebrow brand I’ve used, I’m always on the lookout for a new brow product.
I’m reading that the colors are subtle and very natural looking. I noticed so many brow products are too intense in color, and they don’t like natural. I’m also reading that the color applies very smoothly. I also love the small pencil. I like drawing little hairs as opposed to using brow pomades and gels. This definitely looks like a product I would use.
Question: Is Urban Decay Leaping Bunny-certified?
Answer: Some sources say they are, but I do not see any certifications for Urban Decay on the Leaping Bunny website.
Question: Does Urban Decay sell its products where animal testing is required by law?
Answer: No, they don’t.
Question: I like Mac better than Urban Decay. Is Mac cruelty-free?
Answer: No. Mac allows its products to be tested on animals where required by law.
Question: I like Fenty Beauty better than Urban Decay. Is Fenty cruelty-free?
Answer: Yes! Both Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin are cruelty-free. However, both lines are owned by LVMH, which isn’t cruelty-free. They test their products on animals or use third parties for animal testing.