Most of you know my position when it comes to cruelty-free brands owned by parent companies that test on animals: I support cruelty-free brands as long as their status doesn’t change and they maintain strong ethics as a brand. Estee Lauder, who owns brands like MAC, Smashbox, Bobbi Brown, and Jo Malone, is a different story. Almost every single brand that this giant of the beauty industry acquires ends up selling in China, where as you know, animal testing is required by law for foreign companies. The brands they own thus change their own animal testing policies by adding a little disclaimer that changes everything: “unless required by law”. Almost all Estee Lauder brands get swallowed by this monster and their cruelty-free status is stripped.
On november 7th, Estee Lauder acquired 3 independent companies: Frederic Malle, Le Labo, and Rodin Olio Lusso. All these brands have a reputation for having a cult following specifically based on their high-quality and artisan production. Frederic Malle is a one of the big niche perfume houses, creator of the legendary Musc Ravageur. Le Labo is currently on PETA’s list of cruelty-free brands; I’ve praised the brand in my recent review. Rodin Olio Lusso is a cult skincare brand offering luxury products that are meticuously crafted and contain natural ingredients. What does the future hold for these niche perfume brands now that they’ve joined the ranks of quality-compromising and profit-driven mainstream fragrances? Is this the beginning of the end of niche perfume?
All these brands have a cult following because of the craft and art involved in their production. With Estee Lauder acquiring them, we can expect a decrease in both quality and ethics. In short: This is why we can’t have nice things.
I urge every animal lover to send an e-mail to the Estee Lauder company. Let them know your thoughts and let them know that entering the Chinese market and testing on animals is tainting the company’s reputation as well as all of the brands they now own. Let them know that animal testing won’t be tolerated under any circumstances.