You might not have heard of Helen Of Troy, but they’re a giant. They own and license household names like Honeywell, Revlon, Vicks, and Braun. They also own the cruelty-free brand Drybar. For this post, I’ve dug into their beauty brands in order to find answers about their obscure animal testing policy.
About Helen Of Troy
Helen Of Troy is not purely a beauty conglomerate. Most of the brands under its portfolio (44%) fall under the “Health and Home” category, followed by “Housewares” (33%), and finally “Beauty” (23%).
Brands that fall under these categories include Hydro Flask, OXO, Braun, Honeywell, Pur, and Vicks.
For the beauty category specifically, we have:
- Hot Tools Professional
- Bed Head by Tigi
There’s a catch here: not all these brands are owned by Helen Of Troy, and some of them are simply licensed. Here’s what I found.
Bed Head by Tigi (License)
Bed Head by Tigi is famous for their hair styling products. It’s a brand we’ve all seen at drugstores. Listed under Helen Of Troy’s brand, it’s easy to assume that they’re owned by this giant. However, with more digging, we find that Tigi (and Bed Head by Tigi) are owned by Unilever.
Helen Of Troy does not own the brand Bed Head by Tigi. In 2006, they bought the rights to the trademark in order to manufacture hair styling tools under the Bed Head by Tigi name.
This means that Helen Of Troy makes hair tools under the Bed Head brand, while Unilever makes hair care products. Both of these are different entities and Helen of Troy is simply borrowing the trademark, much like Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances.
Revlon is listed as a brand of Helen Of Troy on the website. However, it’s not what you might think. Instead of directing us to the drugstore makeup brand, clicking the “Revlon” link directs us to Revlon Hair Tools. Their products include hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons, hair brushes and hair elastics.
Helen of Troy is therefore not affiliated with the makeup brand Revlon. Although I haven’t found any sources claiming that Helen of Troy is licensing the Revlon trademark to market hair tools under the name, it’s a definitely possibility. We do know that Revlon and Revlon Hair Tools are two separate entities.
Given that Bed Head and Revlon are not truly owned by Helen of Troy, I was ready to assume the same for Drybar. After all, drybar sells both hair care products and hair tools such as dryers. It turns out that Helen of Troy truly owns Drybar — no licensing.
“In January 2020, we completed the acquisition of Drybar Products LLC, a fast-growing, innovative, trendsetting prestige hair care and styling brand in the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry.”Helen of Troy
Drybar is cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified.
Pert, Infusium 23, Sure Deodorant, and Brut (Owned)
Each of these brands addresses the question of animal testing in their FAQ. However, it’s simply answered with a “no”. This does not give us enough information, and as you know, brands frequently engage in bunnywashing and half-truths regarding their cruelty-free status.
No. We love animals.FAQ
First of all, when calling the customer service department, I wanted to confirm whether these brands are owned by Helen of Troy, or simply licensed. I was told that Helen of Troy owns all these brands.
To gather complete animal testing policies for these brands, I’ve reached out to Helen of Troy and/or the individual brands in the following ways:
- Called their customer service phone line. When I asked them if the brands in question are available in China, I was given a vague answer. They did not know if there are Chinese distributors.
- Contacted them via email. I received no response (see screenshot).
- Contacted them via Facebook brand pages: no response after several attempts when asked for their animal testing policy (see screenshot).
- I finally made an Instagram post (see below) and tagged the brands. The individual brands did not respond, however my exchange with Helen of Troy’s account is below.
In the comments, Helen of Troy was kind enough to provide a response, however they remained unhelpful. Here’s the exchange I had with them.
helenoftroy: Hi there – the HelenOfTroyLife social accounts are responsible for recruitment and employee engagement efforts. Please reach out to our Consumer Services team to inquire about product testing information. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org / 1-800-487-7273
crueltyfreekitty: I already did.
helenoftroy: were you able to speak with someone on the CS team? If not, we can ask them to look into your inquiry. Feel free to dm us your Case Nr.
crueltyfreekitty: I did speak with someone from CS. I also did not receive responses to my email, or to my Facebook messages to the individual brands. If you’re interested in sharing more, your full animal testing policy can be sent to email@example.com and we will follow up with more questions.
crueltyfreekitty: Hello, I still haven’t heard anything via email nor have I gotten a response from the CS inquiry. It would be great to have answer to all of these questions and clear up any confusion. What do you suggest the next step is? Is there anybody I can contact outside of CS?
In Conclusion: Total Lack of Transparency
Rarely have I seen large brands sold in drugstores that do not allow for customers to email them. Instead, we have a phone number and a mailing address. Unfortunately the phone number is a general customer service line that covers all brands, and I personally didn’t have any luck finding answers to my questions.
In addition to that, the brands ignored all my contact attempts via email, Facebook, and Instagram.
What’s the Cruelty-Free Status of Helen of Troy?
Since the brand remained silent, we have no evidence to suggest that they test on animals. For this reason, I’ve moved Helen of Troy to the grey area. Keep in mind that the brand’s silence speaks volumes, and although I can’t officially classify it as “testing on animals”, it’s a brand I would avoid.
As far as Drybar, I would avoid purchasing from them as well if you’re avoiding parent companies that test on animals.
If I do end up hearing back from the company or any of the brands, I will post an update.