Urban Decay (cosmetics)

Urban Decay, an American cosmetics brand headquartered in Newport Beach, California, is a subsidiary of French cosmetics company L'Oréal.[1]

Urban Decay
IndustryPersonal care
Founded1996; 25 years ago (1996)
FounderPat Holmes, Sandy Lerner, Wende Zomnir and David Soward
Area served
Key people
ProductsCosmetics and beauty products

Current products include lip, eye, complexion and body products.[2] They are most well-known for their Naked collection, which includes twelve different eye shadow palettes. Its target market is women, although it is not limited to this range, and is also designed to appeal to customers who wish to purchase cruelty-free makeup.[3] Its products are sold at large department stores in the United States such as Macy's, Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, and from the official website,[4][5] as well as in several other countries such as Mexico and Germany.[citation needed]


Pink, red, and beige tones dominated the beauty industry palette until the mid-1990s.[6] In 1995, Sandy Lerner, a co-founder of Cisco Systems, and Patricia Holmes were at Lerner's mansion outside London when Holmes mixed raspberry and black to form a new color. Then, they decided to form a cosmetics company, which they named Urban Decay.[7] Launched in January 1996, it offered a line of ten lipsticks and 12 nail polishes. Their color palette was inspired by the urban landscape, with names such as Roach, Smog, Rust, Oil Slick, and Acid Rain.[8]

In 2000, Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (a diversified luxury goods group) purchased Urban Decay.[9] In 2002, the Falic Group (owners of the Perry Ellis fragrance lines) purchased Urban Decay. In 2009, Castanea Partners (a private equity firm) acquired Urban Decay.[10] On 26 November 2012, L'Oréal announced it would purchase Urban Decay Cosmetics.[11] L'Oréal acquired the company in 2012.[12] L'Oréal paid an estimated amount of $350 million for Urban Decay.[12]

In Spring 2015, Urban Decay expanded its social media presence with a Tumblr site, The Violet Underground. It features collaborations with young artists such as Baron Von Fancy.[13]


Recent celebrity ambassadors for Urban Decay include Ruby Rose and Nicole Richie.[14] In June 2019, Urban Decay announced its new motto "Pretty Different" and named five global citizens as their brand ambassadors - Ezra Miller, Lizzo, Joey King, Karol G, and CL.[15] A year later they announced three more ambassadors to promote their Naked Ultraviolet palette - Normani, G.E.M and Camila Mendes.[16] In January 2021, the South Korean worldwide idol group, Monsta X was announced as the brand's global ambassadors and the promotions will start in February.[17][18]


The Naked Collection was released initially with the Naked Palette, a set of 12 full-size eyeshadows in neutral, matte, and metallic earth tones and an eyeshadow brush from the company's signature synthetic brushes.[19]

The collection later expanded to include other eyeshadow palettes like Naked Basics, Naked 2,[20] Naked2 Basics,[21] Naked 3,[22] Naked Smoky,[23] Naked Ultimate Basics,[24] Naked Heat, Naked Heat Petite, Naked Cherry, Naked Reloaded and Naked Honey.[25] A sub-collection of the original Naked collection, Naked Complexion,[26] includes other skin products like foundations, concealers, blushes, highlighters, bronzers and makeup tools to accompany them.

Urban Decay also features collections from collaborations with celebrities like Gwen Stefani.[27] The collaboration with Stefani is part of a larger female-empowerment initiative, The Ultraviolet Edge, that Urban Decay launched in order to reach a goal of donating $750,000 to organizations that benefit women in 2016.[27]

In 2018 Urban Decay collaborated with beauty influencer Kristen Leanne, an advocate for cruelty-free cosmetics, to launch the UD × Kristen Leanne collection. The collection included two eyeshadow palettes, a single eyeshadow, lipsticks and a face palette.[28]

The company also released two limited edition eyeshadow palettes inspired by the live-action Disney films Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.[29]

In early 2017, Urban Decay announced its Vice liquid lipstick collection would be released.[30] The name of Vice became a real business card of this brand after they introduced their lipstick palette. In their Revolution lipgloss series, tone with this name became the most popular out of the whole lineup having gained 5 out of 5 stars rating among the Amazon buyers.[31]

Corporate Social ResponsibilityEdit

Urban Decay has launched a global initiative, The Ultraviolet Edge, which stands for the empowerment of women. Urban Decay has pledged to donate 100 percent of the profits from the sale of a limited-edition Eyeshadow Primer Potion to the non-profit organizations that support women from developing countries.[32]

Urban Decay is certified by PETA as cruelty-free that avoids and committed to ending animal testing. Therefore, they do not test their products on animals nor allowing others to test on their behalf. Furthermore, Urban Decay also demands the suppliers to confirm that their products were not tested on animals.[33]


  1. ^ Daneshkhu, Scheherazade (26 November 2012). "L'Oréal buys Urban Decay cosmetics brand". The Financial Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Urban Decay". Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Urban Decay - Love to know".
  4. ^ "Store Locator | Urban Decay". www.urbandecay.com. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Urban Decay Makeup | Nordstrom". Nordstrom. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  6. ^ "About Us | Urban Decay". www.urbandecay.com. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  7. ^ Holmes v. Lerner, 74 Cal. App. 4th 442 (1999)
  8. ^ "ABOUT US." Our History. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014
  9. ^ Moulds, Josephine (26 November 2012). "L'Oréal strikes deal to buy Urban Decay". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  10. ^ Castanea Partners Announces Investment in Urban Decay. Reuters (2009-03-30). Retrieved on 2011-09-28
  11. ^ "L'Oréal: News Release: "L'Oréal signs an agreement to acquire Urban Decay"". EuroInvestor. Retrieved 26 November 2012
  12. ^ a b "L'Oréal buys beauty brand Urban Decay in a deal estimated at $300 to $400 million". The Daily News. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Baron Von Fancy: A Little Inspiration". The Violet Underground. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Nicole Richie is the latest brand ambassador for Urban Decay". Fashion Network. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Meet Urban Decay's Global Citizens". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Urban Decay rolls out new Naked Palette, Global Citizens". Drugstore News. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  17. ^ Choi, Hee-jae (19 January 2021). "몬스타엑스, 글로벌 뷰티 브랜드 모델 발탁…명실상부 '대세 아이돌'". Xports News (in Korean). Retrieved 19 January 2021 – via Naver.
  18. ^ Khan, Aamina (25 January 2021). "Monsta X Are The New Face of Urban Decay". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette". Urban Decay. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Urban Decay Naked2 Eyeshadow Palette". Urban Decay. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette". Urban Decay. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  22. ^ "Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette". Urban Decay. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette". Urban Decay. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  24. ^ "Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics". Urban Decay. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  25. ^ "Naked Reloaded". Urban Decay. Urban Decay Cosmetics. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Free Shipping $50+ on Naked Skin Foundation & Beauty Balm From Urban Decay". www.urbandecay.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  27. ^ a b "The Ultraviolet Edge | Urban Decay". www.urbandecay.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  28. ^ "Urban Decay x Kristen Leanne". Urban Decay. Urban Decay Cosmetics. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  29. ^ "Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass eyeshadow Palette". Urban Decay. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  30. ^ Abelman, Devon. "30 Urban Decay Liquid Lipsticks Are On Their Way". Allure. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  31. ^ "Urban Decay Lipgloss Revolution Series". GlamLipstick.com. 28 February 2018.
  32. ^ "The Ultraviolet Edge".
  33. ^ "Urban Decay and animal testing".

External linksEdit