UC on UD: The Ethical Side to the Urban Decay Cosmetics Brand

Alas, the wait is over. After nearly two years, Urban Decay announced earlier this month the release of their limited edition Naked Heat palette – and oh, how it spices up the cult favorite line. The palette features 12 shades of amber-tone base, including copper and terra-cotta hues like you’ve never seen before. In fact, the product is even a favorite among UD co-creator Wende Zomnir.

Incidentally, our news feeds have been buzzing with all things UD, but the brand is no stranger to attention; in the last two years, they have sold roughly one Naked palette every six seconds. The UD Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows (2010) sold out entirely during pre-sale, before it was even able to hit the shelves. Needless to say, they are the number one selling eye-shadow brand in the United States.

So, with the excitement at an all time high following the announcement of the Naked Heat palette, one has to wonder: how exactly is UD going beyond just pretty colors and edgy styles to be an ethical innovator in the cosmetics industry? The world of health and beauty is making a conscious effort to shift towards more responsible practices, so brands must learn to adjust accordingly to changing consumer behavior. Luckily for them, UD actually has several responsible business initiatives, doing its best to cater to the ethical consumer. Outlined below are some of our favorite commitments made by Urban Decay:

  • Empowering Women: in 2015, UD launched The Ultraviolet Edge, a global initiative that helps fund organizations that fight for the rights of women around the world. To date, the brand has donated $1.28 million to women’s empowerment nonprofits. Such nonprofits include providing literacy programs to women in Uganda, offering education services in Kenya, and allowing for underserved and abused women in New York City to get proper legal representation. Where do they go from here? By the end of 2017, they plan to donate another $1 million towards women’s empowerment.
  • Cruelty-Free products: since its inception in 1996, UD has been committed to a policy that stands against animal testing; no raw materials used in the manufacturing process are tested on animals. Most notable, in 2012, UD had the opportunity to expand to emerging global markets… for which animal testing would be mandatory. After consideration, the brand chose to stick with their policy and forewent plans to expand to any such markets. UD is proudly certified by both PETA, as well as The Leaping Bunny Program (an internationally recognized symbol placed on packaging to confirm the no animal testing) . Regarding vegan products, the brand has an ongoing initiative with their laboratories to not use any animal-derived ingredients wherever possible (using plant-derived or synthetic alternatives). Although certain items are not in fact vegan, UD is constantly working towards converting those products to entirely vegan, so long as they deliver results of identical quality.
  • Supporting the industry: UD Pro is the brand’s official makeup artist program. Current makeup artists and anyone studying to become a makeup artist can sign up for this incredible membership. Perks include: 40% discount on UD products, access to exclusive artistry deals, artist-focused news, and an editorial credit program…all at no annual fee. Talk about supporting fellow makeup lovers!

So, for your commitments towards responsible business and your ongoing ethical efforts, we thank you, Urban Decay.

P.S. The Urban Decay Naked Heat collection hits stores June 30th. The items will be limited edition so grab ‘em while they’re hot.


Information gathered from: Allure & Leaping Bunny Program

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