Is Laura Mercier Clean and Sustainable? We Investigate
In the dazzling world of cosmetics, makeup artists are revered for their mystical talents in transforming faces. When French makeup prodigy Laura Mercier launched her eponymous brand in 1996, she had already cemented her status as an industry legend. Mercier had honed her craft painting the faces of celebrities and supermodels for magazine covers. Her signature technique – the “Flawless Face” – combined products to create a natural, radiant glamour.
The Laura Mercier line has since expanded into skincare and body care, always promising her coveted “flawless” look. Brand imagery spotlights dewy, perfected complexions.
But is Laura Mercier as virtuous as it appears? Does it live up to its sustainability claims? We investigated behind the flawless facade to uncover the truth.
Ingredients (Rating: Avoid)
Laura Mercier labels each product with a full list of ingredients. The brand emphasizes the key ingredients and their benefits. However, Laura Mercier does not go into detail about the potential side effects for each product. While reviewing its current product lineup, we caught many toxic ingredients we recommend steering clear of.
- Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy difluoroethyl PEG phosphate and C9-15 fluoroalcohol phosphate are PFAS. PFAS are “forever chemicals” which have been connected to serious health issues. They don’t break down easily and can accumulate in the body. PFAS can appear in cosmetics, garments, and nonstick cookware.
- BHT (butylhydroxytoluene) has been associated with endocrine disruption and is included on California’s Prop 65 list as a possible carcinogen
- Fragrance is present in many of Laura Mercier’s skincare products. We do not suggest using products with fragrances.
- Some products have the following active chemical ingredients: homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene. We do not recommend chemical sunscreens for several reasons.
- PEGs (Polyethylene Glycols) are petroleum-based ingredients used in cosmetics for thickening and stabilizing formulas. PEGs also help products keep moisture. However, they are usually laced with carcinogens like 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide.
- Parabens are often found on ingredient labels as methyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, or propylparaben, these chemicals are widely used as preservatives in cosmetics. They can be absorbed through the skin and have been associated with cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive toxicity. Additionally, several studies have connected parabens to breast cancer.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, it’s enough to show that the brand has little concern with offering clean products. For this reason, we rate Laura Mercier as “avoid” in terms of ingredients.
Sustainability (Rating: Avoid)
Laura Mercier’s website does not have a sustainability section, nor does it address its sustainability practices on its FAQ page. Most other beauty brands we’ve reviewed have detailed sustainability reports. Since Laura Mercier does not address its environmental impact, it cannot be considered a sustainable brand.
Animal Welfare (Rating: Iffy)
On Laura Mercier’s website, the brand claims it “does not test on animals nor do we ask others to test on our behalf, except where required by law.” This is a vague statement and shows that Laura Mercier’s products are tested on animals where the testing is lawfully required for sale. The company also claims to be working with partners to eliminate animal testing. However, Laura Mercier does not go into detail about how they are working to end animal testing.
Laura Mercier is in a gray area, according to Cruelty Free Kitty. This means its cruelty-free status is vague and unsubstantiated. The brand has not received any third-party validations for cruelty-free status.
Since Laura Mercier’s cruelty-free status is vague, it cannot be considered vegan. On the website, the company remarks they are, “continually evaluating alternatives to animal-derived ingredients and have replaced many ingredients with vegetable derived substitutes.”
In order to find out which ingredients are in the product, we recommend referring to the labels. We found non-vegan ingredients like lanolin and beeswax in Laura Mercier’s current lineup. While some products have synthetic beeswax, others still contain beeswax.
Final Brand Ratings
Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Avoid” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Laura Mercier as follows.
|Ingredients||Avoid||Laura Mercier promises its customers a “flawless face,” and touts the benefits of its key ingredients. While assessing Laura Mercier’s product labels, we found many hazardous ingredients. We found products loaded with major toxins like fragrances, flavors, parabens, sulfates, BHT, talc, synthetic dyes, and PEGs. Some products have PFAS, which have been linked to dangerous health issues. We saw other potentially carcinogenic substances, like retinyl palmitate and C13 15 alkane. Other ingredients, like alumina, have been linked to organ toxicity. Some products have dangerous chemical ingredients like homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene. Some ingredients have contamination concerns, including triethanolamine, aminomethyl propanol, and polysorbate-60. We uncovered a few scent ingredients that could cause allergies or contact dermatitis. We also found cyclopentasiloxane, which may harm the environment.|
|Sustainability||Avoid||Laura Mercier does not list any eco-responsible practices on its website, so it cannot be considered a sustainable company.|
|Animal Welfare||Iffy||Cruelty-Free Kitty assessed Laura Mercier’s cruelty-free practices and found them to be in a gray area. The company is not 100% vegan.|
Overall Rating: Avoid
Laura Mercier’s advertising leans heavily into its founder’s expertise in the celebrity beauty world. While reviewing the brand, we found it was not as flawless as its marketing implies.
We noted many toxic ingredients in Laura Mercier’s current products. The company does not share any eco-responsible initiatives or acknowledge its environmental impact.
It’s unclear if Laura Mercier is cruelty-free, and we found some non-vegan ingredients in some products.
In 2022, Laura Mercier drew criticism for its advertising campaign in Singapore. The brand’s lack of shade inclusion and diversity disheartened consumers.
For these reasons, Laura Mercier receives a rating of Avoid.