L’Oréal is a corporation that owns many brands, including Lancôme Paris and Yves Saint Lauren Beauté (the makeup division of the brand). L’Oréal is a global powerhouse, and it’s most likely than not that you own something that is made by a company they own. Compared to most companies, L’Oréal is pretty transparent; a look at their website will show consumers pretty much everything they need to know. They list every brand they own, they show the sustainability measures they’ve taken, and they detail their history very closely.
However, like most companies today, they’ve gone through their own share of scandals:
In 2012: The FDA did a study of lead concentration in lipsticks, and lipsticks that fall under the L’Oréal brand consisted of five of the top ten. The FDA made it very clear that absolutely no amount of lead is safe to ingest. So even though the concentration of the lead may be super small, it can still harm consumers. L’Oréal stated that they had no idea where the lead was coming from, and that they were working to figure that out, and create a way to get rid of the lead.
In 2014: L’Oréal was sued by the Federal Trade Commission for an advertisement they put out for two of their products: Lancôme Génifique and L’Oréal Paris Youth Code skin products. In these ads, they claimed that the products could create anti-aging effects by targeting users’ genes.
They said that the product could “boost genes’ activity and stimulate the production of youth proteins that would cause “visibly younger skin in just 7 days,” and would provide results to specific percentages of users.” They also claimed it was clinically proven.
L’Oréal and the FTC settled this by having L’Oréal agree to never make any of those claims again unless they had solid scientific evidence.
In 2018: L’Oréal released an animal testing FAQ on their website. Basically, what they said was that they don’t use cosmetic products that have been tested on animals after March 2013. What this means is that they don’t use products tested on animals if the testing occurred after March 2013 or is being used in their “medicated products” (so, wrinkle creams, anti-aging products, sunscreens, etc).
Not everything is bad though. The company focuses on improving the biodegradability of their formulas and reducing their water footprint. They have committed to redesigning responsible, sustainable packaging since 2007. They pledge that by 2020, 100% of their products will have an improved environmental or social profile. By 2020, they also plan to have 100% of their raw materials used in their products come from renewable sources.