Who Owns Whom

March 19, 2014

Seven global corporations own almost all the beauty products you see on the market. It’s important to know who owns what because the same patents and formulas are regularly used to produce products for both the high-end and drugstore markets. Meaning some cheaper products are almost identical to their higher priced counterparts, with very little difference on the ingredients list.

If you have felt a little snobbish towards certain drugstore companies (I know I have), you might discover that the company you turn your nose up at actually owns your favourite high-end brands..! I've discovered there is a reason behind why I seemingly love anything Vichy, La Roche-Posay, Shu Uemura, and Yves Saint Laurent produce - they're all owned by L'Oreal, a company I had previously ignored.

Learning who owns your favourite brands can also throw into question any moral or ethical reasons why you may or may not wish to support a particular brand and the company that owns it.

Untangling what companies own which brands can be incredibly difficult, which makes this list far from complete.
If you would like to query/add/correct anything, please do so.

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  1. This is super helpful, does make you think twice before turning your nose up at lesser brands!

    Allie x

    Rush & Teal

  2. Charlotte MacDonald-Gaunt3/19/2014

    Very interesting overview - I'm definitely trying more Nivea skin care products to see if the fantastic technologie behind La Prairie has filtered down

    :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

  3. Great post lovely! I have never seen someone do this type of post and it was really interesting seeing what company owns what brand :)

    Sarah | More Than Adored

  4. such an informative post, i never who owned what brands! xx


  5. The most inspiring post in the morning! Can't be better :) xx from poland!

  6. Zazie Bibi3/19/2014

    Great post! I always wonder if a certain brand owns another one if the products are similar x

    A Little Treat | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  7. This is really helpful, I was actually thinking about this the other day so it's nice to be able to read about it a little more in-depth! x

  8. Sophie3/19/2014

    Such a wonderful post.


  9. Very interesting post! I would love to know more about how cosmetics are manufactured in what factories and how ingredients play a role. I hear quite a bit about how L'Oreal and Armani have very similar products and Bourjois/Chanel. Thanks for this informative list :)

  10. This is such an interesting post, I never realised how many companies were owned by completely different people!

    Tiny Alis

  11. handy list you have there!

  12. Melissa W3/19/2014

    I really enjoyed this post. It's interesting to know who owns what. I for one lean towards drugstore products as I am still a student and can't splurge - so it's good to know what the dupes can be for those more expensive brands :)

  13. I really enjoyed this post. It's interesting to know who owns what. I for one lean towards drugstore products as I am still a student and can't splurge - so it's good to know what the dupes can be for those more expensive brands

  14. Such an interesting read. L'Oreal and Estee Lauder own practically all of the companies I love, yet I barely use either brand itself! Laura x

  15. This was a great read Sophie, thank you. Just under two years ago I went cruelty free for 6 months as a little experiment and whilst on that little journey it was then that I learnt about all of these big parent companies. I guess one of the biggest uncertainties for those who are cruelty free has to be L'Oreal owning The Body Shop as a lot of questions are raised regarding that pairing.

    Amy x

  16. Ashley3/19/2014

    L'Oreal also owns Urban Decay Cosmetics!


  17. I also find that if L'Oreal owns a brand the quality of the brand goes down. For example if brands that were previously made with natural products are now owned by L'Oreal they tend to stray away from natural roots. Thank you for this post ! :) xx

    BerrieBlogs| {beauty blog}

  18. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it :))

    "Cruelty-free" is quite a difficult subject to approach because it's complex and awkward to navigate. There is a lot of confusion and creates raises some different questions, creating some awkward decisions.

    My view on it is this..

    All beauty items in the UK are not tested on animals nor can brands get around this legislation by importing goods tested on animals - so literally every product on the UK shelves is "cruelty-free" since cosmetic testing is completely banned in the UK.

    A lot of brands avoid putting "cruelty-free" on their packaging because there is a stigma attached to these types of cosmetics/beauty products (which is incredibly sad).

    Personally, I eat a plant-based diet. I'm not vegan but a lot of my buying habits are very similar - I don't buy things like (new) leather, wool, etc. and lately I have been trying to extend my conscious buying habits into my skin care and beauty products. I don't eat these things so why should I put them on my face?

    HOWEVER, I'm not someone to "boycott" a brand because the parent company tests on animals in another country nor brands that contain animal ingredients in their products (although I am trying to avoid buying them from now on). I wouldn't want to be judged by my parents actions and I don't think companies should be either. If a "vegan/cruelty-free" brand is trying to provide products for the ethically minded consumers, that is something to be praised. It can do more harm that good avoiding an "ethically conscious" brand because its parent company has questionable morals, because it puts the smaller branch of brands out of business. If a brand is trying to provide vegan-friendly products, but not all of the products they sell are.. then I think it's important, as consumers, we support this. Where we put our money says A LOT to the companies.

    Also: my reasoning is, if I choose to boycott parent companies of cosmetic brands because they test on animals or use animal products in their products.. why stop there? Surely, by that reasoning, I should stop buying from supermarkets because they provide meat, dairy, and eggs, which I am completely against consuming.

    Those are my personal choices but I know everyone has their own decisions to make and I respect each and every one of them :))

  19. Hmm.. what does "natural" mean though?
    It's VERY difficult to find "natural" products on the shelves of, for example, Boots. A product only needs to contain 1% of "natural ingredients" in order for a brand to be able to label their product as "natural." That ingredient could just be water..! So the term is meaningless.

    Unless you buy a 100% pure product, like coconut oil (which doesn't even bother putting "natural" on the label - just like carrots don't need packaging that says "good for you" on them!), there are very few products available that are truly natural.

    Besides, cosmetic chemistry is absolutely fine - you don't NEED "natural" products for a product to be good quality. In fact, some of the organic/natural ranges available have more irritating ingredients in their products.

  20. I discovered this too :))

  21. I'm glad you found it useful!

  22. Yes, me too. Although these companies LOVE to keep everything a bit hush hush.. because really it's all the same formulas being repeated all over the place. It's the same with highstreet fashion..!

  23. Definitely! I've been guilty of it before..

  24. This is a super helpful post! I know that Bourjois cosmetics owns Chanel, so if you look around enough you can normally find that Bourjois sell a lot of products very similar to Chanel!


  25. swoonbaby3/19/2014

    Basically all distribution giants try to reach any market niche, from high luxury to affordable products and everything in between. By the way both Carita and Décleor are now part of the L'Oréal group, since they were just bought a couple of weeks ago.

  26. Vivian Yuen3/19/2014

    L'oreal own a whole HOST of companies/products, not always limited to beauty! Great post!



  27. Hey Sophie thank you for such a great response! :)

    I couldn't agree more with what you said there, the term 'cruelty free' sure is a complex one, more complex than it should be I think to be honest as you either do or you don't test on animals. I've being buying from The Body Shop as long as I can remember way and will continue to do so, my opinion of them did not change when I read the news about L'Oreal. I know back when this did happen it caused quite a stir and the same happened with Liz Earle after the brand was purchased by Avon.

    The EU animal testing ban last year was a huge gain in the fight for our furry friends and one that made me feel a bit better about buying products off the shelves in Boots. I'm not a cruelty free blogger and I haven't been now for over a year yet it is something that I still think about quite a lot. I sometimes feel 'ashamed' I guess when I say that I was cruelty free for a short while and then stopped.

    There are a few things I'm trying to change within my lifestyle at the moment, I've already cut back on dairy although to be fair I never really ate much of it in the first place. If you've a post on this type of thing or if you've one in the works I would thoroughly love to read about it.

    Thanks Sophie :) x

  28. Katherine3/19/2014

    Really interesting post!

  29. It may be worth adding that Loreal actually own The body shop too! Which is a big contrast s company that quite clearly has said they wouldn't be willing to change there animal testing policies owns a company who don't believe in animal testing.... Confusing x


  30. Oh the body shop was there...*reaches for glasses*

  31. Ha! Easy mistake to make :)

    The thing about animal testing is.. in the UK, cosmetic testing on animals is completely banned and companies cannot get around this legislation by importing products which have been tested on animals from another country. So all the new products on UK shelves have not been tested on animals AT ALL.

    Personally, I do not avoid parent companies of brands who test on animals in other countries. I would not want to be judged by my parents mistakes and therefore I don't think companies should be either. Also: by avoiding purchasing vegan-friendly products from brands who also stock non-vegan friendly items, it can have a negative effect since "voting with your money" in this way can help brands realise people want more 100% cruelty-free products on their shelves.

  32. Glad you enjoyed it!

  33. Yes! Ah, ok - thanks for that info :))

  34. I used to be full on vegan, it was ridiculous, I took it too far (like a lot of vegans I know do!) I opt out of the "vegan status" now because it's stressful feeling that you are being judged because you're "not vegan enough." Like, whatever personal decisions I made (such as being OK with buying second hand leather) meant I "wasn't vegan enough" and I just stopped thinking that I wanted to be part of this stupid club and started making my own moral and ethical decisions.

    Now I try my hardest; I never eat meat, dairy, eggs, seafood, honey, and byproducts. I still buy second hand leather (it's rare that I do but I figure it's important not to waste these things) and although I haven't been so rigorous with the animal products in my cosmetics and skin care products, I'm starting to learn about ingredients and avoid things again.

    I think it's a personal thing and every little bit counts :))

    I'd definitely like to write a post on this subject but I'd like to do it in a non-judgmental way and in a way that doesn't offend anyone. I don't think less of people if they eat or buy animal ingredients, I think it's totally personal, and I think it's easy for people to think you are judging them by telling them the cruelty behind the meat industry/cosmetic testing, etc.

    If I wrote a post, what sort of thing would you be interested in reading about? :))
    Are they are specific questions, etc. you'd like me to research/answer, etc.?

  35. awesome post!! holy crap. everythings own by 7 companies....monopoly much...

  36. Allie H3/22/2014

    This is so interesting, I did not know much of that at all xx


  37. Jasmine Brink-Li3/29/2014

    Wow, I knew that there were only a few companies that reigned over the beauty industry, but I didn't realize that they were so evenly dispersed? They're all a pretty good mix of cheaper/expensive options. I do like that. I didn't realize that L'Oreal had such a huge monopoly.

    Great post!

  38. Landed here from your high-end post and wow, everything I use is owned by Estee Lauder. Good to know.

  39. Wow, this is a super informative list! I was linked here from your high end post. Seriously though, really good to know and nice to see them all in one place layed out like that.


  40. Sharon Paz9/01/2014

    Thank you for this list :)


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