Is Drunk Elephant still Cruelty-free after being acquired by Shiseido?

Drunk Elephant is a skincare are brand founded by Tiffany Masterson in 2012. This brand offers variety of product which contain clean and no-nonsense ingredients.

Recently on October 8th 2019, Drunk Elephant was acquired by Shiseido Group, a Japanese company which owns multiple skincare and beauty brands. For months, there were rumors about Drunk Elephant being bought out by a parent company that tests on animals and it finally happened.

Why this Acquisition mean?

The Japanese beauty conglomerate, Shiseido inked a deal to acquire the skincare line for $845 million, to be financed in cash and credit and expected to close by the end of the year. Shiseido is rumoured to have beaten out The Estée Lauder Companies in the final round of bidding in an acquisition that marks one of the largest skin-care deals of the year, next to L’Occitane’s $900 million purchase of Elemis in January.

With that said, Drunk Elephant claims to accomplish a few things through this acquisition:

1. Attain sustainability across the brand.

2. Get to the markets who have been requesting the products.

3. Share our philosophy in a louder way, spreading awareness so that we can hopefully help more people reconnect with their skin all over the world.

4. Ignite our anti-bullying campaign on a bigger stage.

Drunk Elephant Cruelty-free Status?

Drunk Elephant is still Cruelty-free!

The founder, Tiffany Masterson posted a message on social media claiming Drunk Elephant will remain Cruelty-free through the acquisition. Below is the exact quote that was used:

Our prices will not be increased. And, we’ll remain cruelty-free. I wouldn’t have signed on for this unless both parties could agree.

Will Drunk Elephant remain Cruelty-free?

In the past, Shiseido Group acquired few other Cruelty-free brands like Bare Minerals, NARS(no longer Cruelty-free) etc. NARS was one of the brands that was Cruelty-free, but after the acquisition, it’s no longer Cruelty-free as they now sell in China.

As of now, Drunk Elephant is Cruelty-free even though it is now owned by a parent company that tests on animals. But, if they enter the global Chinese market, they will definitely lose their Cruelty-free status.

Should I continue to buy Drunk Elephant?

This is a tough question to answer due to the divergent viewpoints. Each view has it’s own pros and cons. Let’s try to make it as simple as possible.

Drunk Elephant is Cruelty-free but owned Shiseido Group which tests on animals.

  1. Profits go to the Parent Company: When you buy products from DE now, part of the profits/proceeds will go to the parent company which tests on animals. This means you might be indirectly funding further animal testing.
  2. Choosing to buy Cruelty-free brand sends a message: When you choose a Cruelty-free brand over an animal tested brand owned by the same corporation, you are sending a message to the big corporations. Infact, you are voting with your dollars which will in turn force the brands to adopt to non-animal testing methods.

Conclusion: There is no right or wrong answer here. Best option would be to choose brands that are truly 100% Cruelty-free ie, CF brands not owned by a parent company that tests on animals. But, if you choose to shop Drunk Elephant products over an animal tested brand, that’s still a win. I leave this choice for you to decide.

What are your thoughts on this acquisition? Feel free to comment below with your thoughts or any questions you have.

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