Credit from Megan Willett and Skye Gould
As consumers, we like to think that we're making a conscious decision when we buy from a certain brand, especially when it comes to something as personal as beauty products.
But it turns out that 182 beauty companies fall under the massive umbrellas of seven huge manufacturers.
Inspired by a similar graphic that shows all of the food brands owned by major corporations, INSIDER created our own infographic that illustrates all the major beauty brands and the parent companies that they fall under.
These seven mega-companies — Estée Lauder Companies, L'Oréal, Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Shiseido, Johnson and Johnson, and Coty — employ thousands of people around the world and make billions of dollars in revenue every year. They also are responsible for controlling advertising and the way we all think about beauty every day.
Each of these seven conglomerates has more than just the sub-brands we listed here, but for our purposes, INSIDER chose to stick with brands that are responsible for skin care (for both the body and face), hair care, perfume, and makeup. We did not include brands that only made products such as deodorant, toothpaste, suntan lotion, or baby lotion, but did count the sub-brands of relevant brands (i.e. Pantene and Pantene Pro-V).
What remains is a compelling look at who controls the beauty products we're buying, from fan-favorites like CoverGirl to expensive and aspirational skincare lines like La Mer.
And it's mind-boggling to see how interconnected consumer brands truly are.
Estée Lauder Companies was responsible for 24 of the beauty brands on this list. Some of their holdings include the makeup and fragrances by fashion brands such as Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, and Tory Burch, each of which have their own cosmetics and/or toiletries lines.
They also have quite a few well-known beauty brands such as Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, La Mer, and MAC Cosmetics.
Estée Lauder as a whole made an estimated $11.3 billion in beauty sales in 2016, according to Beauty Packaging.
L'Oréal had the most brands on this list with a total of 39 beauty brands, including major staples like Lancôme, Maybelline, Urban Decay, Garnier, Essie, and The Body Shop.
They also have very expensive skincare and haircare brands, including Pureology, La Roche-Posay, and SkinCeuticals.
In 2016, it was estimated they made $27.6 billion in beauty annual sales, according to Beauty Packaging.
Unilever has 38 total beauty sub-brands, and many of those are staples in drugstores in the US, including Nexxus, Ponds, TIGI, Dove, Vaseline, and Lever 2000.
Unilever also has quite a few brands popular outside the US, including Fair & Lovely, a "fairness cream" that's marketed in India as a skin-lightening lotion for women. It's worth noting that it has received backlash for promoting one shade of skin as better than another.
Unilever made an estimated $58.2 billion in corporate sales last year, according to Beauty Packaging. $22.3 was from beauty sales.