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Your Ultimate Guide to Cruelty Free Makeup
In today’s social conscious world, we all want to do our part to help, and when it comes to animal testing, there is no other movement more passionate about stopping it on the planet. We often wonder why millions of animals still suffer in laboratories in the 21st century, and believe it or not there are 2-sides to the argument or debate if you will.
PETA, of course, believes there is absolutely no justifiable reason for companies and laboratories to still be doing this. They say scientists do not have to torment monkey’s in order to cure a disease and educators do not need to buy fetal pigs to teach students physiology.
On the other end of the spectrum, scientists say animal research saves animals too. Upon further research, practically all biomedical research with lab animals advances veterinary medicine as well as human medicine. The argument on this side says testing on animals has resulted in many remarkable lifesaving and life-extending treatments for cats, dogs, farm animals, wildlife, and endangered species.
Dozens of diseases, from cancer to epilepsy, affect both animals and humans. Vaccines that treat humans benefit animals. Many other conditions are successfully treated, in both humans and animals, with antibiotics. Through research with animals, researchers can develop treatments and therapies to help both people and animals.
But we digress – we feel strongly about buying cruelty free products because with the advancements in all this supposed research, shouldn’t these big brand makeup companies in Europe and else know by now what hurts humans? Think about it – we understand the chemicals we use today and the side-effects, we also understand combinations of chemicals and so on and so on.
So, let’s all take action, together shall we? Let’s do our part to help those animals avoid torture then eventual death all because we might feel pretty.
We’ve got a great list here for you, and there are plenty to choose from. This means that many big brands are jumping on the cruelty free bandwagon and we couldn’t be happier.
So, let’s get started with our big beautiful guide to cruelty free!
What Is Cruelty-Free Makeup?
For clarification, let’s quickly go over what it truly means in the makeup industry to be cruelty free.
“Cruelty-free makeup brands are companies who do not test their cosmetics or ingredients on animals, and do not outsource any animal testing to third parties. Not all cruelty-free products are actually free of cruelty, though, as cruelty-free does not mean the product is free of all animal ingredients. To completely keep animals out of your beauty routine, make sure that products are not only cruelty-free, but also vegan.”
Here is some awesome news, as you will see in this guide, many big brands have gone completely cruelty free, along with some big celebrities as well. Endorsements of this nature are important, and it can help educate the public as well to be more conscious about what they are buying.
How to Know if a Brand is Cruelty-Free
There are several organizations including PETA’s Beauty without Bunnies that certify brands as cruelty free. They are Choose Cruelty Free and Leaping Bunny – however, a brand can still be cruelty free without one of these certifications and we are going to list them here.
One thing to look out for is brands who claim they do not conduct animal testing “except when required by law.” One such place that has this “required law for animal testing” is China.
Mainland China is the only country to legally require animal testing for all cosmetics that are manufactured by foreign countries. So, any non-Chinese beauty brands that elect to sell in stores in mainland China cannot be cruelty-free. As pointed out by Cruelty-Free Kitty, the Chinese cosmetics market is worth billions, and it’s rising rapidly; because of that, some brands that were once certified cruelty-free have entered the Chinese market in the last few years, meaning they are no longer cruelty-free.
If you are still on the fence or don’t see your favorite brand in this guide, there’s still no need to sacrifice your high standards for beauty products when switching to a cruelty-free lifestyle. Rest assured everywhere from the internet to Sephora to drugstores have cruelty-free makeup brands these days. Not to mention, there are endless online resources to help guide you through the transition process, making buying cruelty-free makeup and skincare products easier than ever.
What is vegan makeup?
In laymen terms, vegan makeup or rather, vegan cosmetic products do not contain any sort of animal by-products, animal ingredients or any type of animal derived ingredients. This includes honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, and many others. To many, the term “vegan” also means that a product is free from animal testing as well. This will be our main focus of course in our lists below.
What is cruelty-free cosmetics?
We just want to make sure the information provided is perfectly clear before moving forward. There is a difference between cruelty free products and vegan cosmetics. For example, for a product to be cruelty-free, there should be no form of animal testing at any point in the creation of a brands products. However, a product can be cruelty-free and not be vegan.
It’s common for companies to not test the final product on animals, but to test it along the way or to use ingredients that have been tested on animals by a third-party.
Our Big List of Big Cruelty Free Brands
Vegan Cosmetic Brands and Ingredients
Here is a breakdown of the list above of the cosmetic brands that are vegan based.
Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation – All Shades
Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation – All Shades
Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème – All Shades
HIGHLIGHT + COLOR
Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed – Moonstone, Opal, Topaz, Champagne Gold, Pearl, Blushed Copper
Lowlight Highlight Palette Pressed
Shadow and Light Bronze Contour Perfector
Bronzing Skin Perfector
Mineral Blush – Sweet Pea, Wild Honey, Lantana, Nightingale
Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector – All Shades
Backlight Priming Filter
Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
Eye Priming Perfector
Lip Priming Perfector Ever Matte Shine Proof Foundation – All Shades
Their full range of brushes is 100% vegan and made from synthetic Taklon hair.
Ambient Lighting Palette
Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
Veil Fluid Makeup Foundation
Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick – All Shades
Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil
Mineral Veil Primer
Nº 28 Primer Serum
Nº 28 Lip Treatment Oil
Some of their products aren’t vegan-friendly as they contain Carmine. However, all their Nail Polish, Brushes and Fake Lashes are vegan. Their Freak Fragrance is also vegan. Here’s a list of all the current vegan products from Illamasqua:
Skin Base Foundation
Gleam Highlighter In Supernatural
Gel Sculpt In Silhouette
Gel Colour In Charm And Fluster
Reflection Eyeshadow Palette
Precision Gel Liner In Infinity
Precision Ink Eyeliner (Abyss, Wisdom, Glister, Scribe, Wisdom, Alchemy)
Vintage Metallix (Embellish, Bibelot, Courtier)
Pure Pigment In Zeitgeist
Brow Gel (Strike, Stare, Glimpse, Awe)
Their Teddy Bear Brushes and Mr. Right brush are 100% synthetic and vegan-friendly. Other vegan-friendly options from Too Faced:
Born This Way Foundation – All Shades ($)
Cocoa Powder Foundation – All Shades
Absolutely Flawless Concealer (Honey, Perfect Nude And Vanilla)
Primed & Poreless Loose Powder
Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder
Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer (3 Shades)
Bronzed & Poreless
Cocoa Contour Palette
Endless Summer 16 Hour Long-Wear Bronzer
Soul Mates (Both Shades)
Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush – All Shades
Love Flush Blush (How Deep Is Your Love, Your Love Is King)
Primed & Poreless Pure Primer
Primed & Poreless Face Primer
Better Than Sex Mascara
Perfect Eyes (Perfect Black, Perfect Brown, Perfect Purple, Perfect Storm, Perfect Peacock, Perfect Moss, Perfect Espresso)
3*Way Lash Lining Tool
Instant Attitude Brow Bone Highlighting Pencil
Melted Chocolate Liquified Lipstick – All Shades
Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick – All Shades
Melted Metal Liquified Metallic Lipstick – All Shades
La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick (Except Lollipop And Mean Girls)
Lip Injection Extreme
Lip Injection Power Plumping Lip Gloss
Lip Insurance Glossy
Lip Insurance Lip Primer
Tinted Beauty Balm – All Shades
Borderline Anti-Feathering Lip Pencil
Perfect Lips Lip Liner (Perfect Berry, Perfect Red, Perfect Spice, Perfect Nude)
Full Fat Lashes
Mini Miracle Eye Wand
Take It All Off
Goddess Skin Clay Mask
Kat Von D is working on reformulating ALL their makeup to be vegan. Right now, here’s a list of all their vegan products:
Everlasting Liquid Lipstick – All Shades
Studded Kiss Lipstick – All Shades
Alchemist Holographic Palette
Lightning Liner (Amadeus, Bach, Fyfe, Gould, Hex, Hyde, Jett, Juno, Ludwig)
Metal Crush (Doce, Electric Warrior, Paranoid, Thrasher, Thunderstruck)
Lock-It Concealer – All Shades
Lock-It Concealer Creme – All Shades
Lock-It Liquid Foundation – All Shades
Lock-It Powder Foundation – All Shades
Lock-It Setting Powder
Lock-It Featherweight Primer
Lock ‘N Load Setting Mist
Unlock-It Makeup Remover Wipes
Here are all the current vegan products from Josie Maran. I also included their skincare, body, and hair products.
Argan Beautiful Eyes In Beautiful Nudes
Coconut Water Color Cheek Gelee
Argan High Gloss Lip Quench
Magic Marker Argan Liquid Liner
Argan Tinted Moisturizer
Argan Matchmaker Powder Foundation In Fair/Light, Light/Medium, Medium/Dark
Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation In Fair/Light, Light/Medium, Medium/Dark
Argan Bear Naked Wipes
Argan Cleansing Bar In Mint Chocolate/Vanilla/Be Beautiful (Lavender)/ Be True (Unscented)/ Be Loved
(Jasmine)/ Be Strong (Ginger)
Argan Cleansing Oil
Argan Exfoliating Powder
Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter In Apricot Vanilla And Sweet Citrus
Argan Body Oil In Balance/Calm/Be Loved/Be Strong/Be Giving
Argan Cleansing Oil For Body
Bear Naked Nail Wipes In Grapefruit
Argan Sugar Balm Body Scrub
Argan Hot Oil Treatment
Argan Bohemian Waves Hair Mist
Argan Hair Serum
Their brushes are vegan and synthetic, but I wasn’t impressed with the ones I’ve tried and wouldn’t recommend them. Here’s a list of The Balm’s current vegan items:
Mary-Lou Manizer (Highlighter, Shadow & Primer)
Sexy Mama (Anti Shine Translucent Powder)
Bahama Mama (Bronzer)
Read My Lips (Lip Glosses)
What’s Your Type? (Mascaras)
BalmShelter (Tinted Moisturizer)
Put A Lid On It (Eyeshadow Primer)
Stainiac (Lip & Cheek Stain)
Mr. Write Now – Except Raj And Scott (Eyeliner)
Face Atelier is transitioning to a line that’s 100% vegan. In the meantime, please be aware of the following animal ingredients in products.
1. Their lipsticks contain lanolin.
2. Beeswax is still found in their Lip Glaze, Lip Putty, Lip RX, and Sculpt HD Mascara.
3. Carmine is found in the following products:
Eye shadow – african violet, azure, ice burg, iced amethyst, purple haze, plum glaze, raspberry satin
Shimmer – pink glaze
Lip glaze – ice
Pencil – tango, rubis
Lipstick – berry sorbet, chilled cabernet, cool coral, crystal berry, pink cashmere, plum sorbet
Natural and Green Brands
Here’s our list of natural and green brands, which includes some updated brands:
The line created by none other than Gwyneth Paltrow.
- Phyto-Pigments Perfecting Concealer // Plant-derived Phyto-Pigments conceal discolorations, dark under-eye circles and other skin imperfections.
- Phyto-Pigments Sheer Lip Gloss // Effortlessly delivers shimmer and a high-shine glow to lips with just one stroke.
- Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer // Illuminate skin, smooth the appearance wrinkles, and blur imperfections for a flawless complexion.
All the products at 100% Pure are completely free of any damaging chemicals, artificial fragrances, harmful toxins and skin irritating parabens.
- Fruit Pigmented Luminizer // The powder adds a rosy touch from berry pigments, while illuminating skin with light-reflective minerals and softening with plant oils and butters.
- Fruit Pigmented Cherry Lip & Cheek Stain // Multitasking semi-sheer stain gives a beautiful flush to lips and cheeks with long lasting, buildable pigments from beets, blueberries, and pomegranate.
- Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder // Lightweight eyebrow gel defines and sculpts for a full, more polished look. Green tea leaf fibers add volume, while Pro Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E strengthen.
This popular brand centers its whole line around 100% pure, fair trade and organic argan oil.
- Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm // Creamy, whipped and lightweight, it helps diminish the look of fine lines and large pores, and helps makeup stay on longer.
- Argan Moonstone Glow Highlighting Stick // A multi-use highlighting and pore-smoothing glow stick infused with Pure Argan Oil and holographic priming pearls for a radiant skin.
- Vibrancy Argan Oil Full Coverage Concealer Fluid Deep // A full-coverage clean concealer infused with argan oil and fresh ingredients to depuff, brighten, nourish, and conceal.
Free of gluten, preservatives and dyes, this brand has awesome natural lipsticks, glosses, pencils and crayons.
- Ecco Bella Natural Lip Gloss // Naturally-preserved and containing Vitamin E, aloe vera, and shea butter, the lip gloss is a safe, non-toxic option for your lips.
- Ecco Bella Natural Lipliner Pencil // Made with natural vegetable waxes, to create a natural, soft line.
- Ecco Bella Lip Smoother Moisturizer // An outstanding lip treatment in delicious colors. Use alone, under or over lipstick for extra moisturizing.
Dr. Hauschka Skin Care is a line of skin care and makeup products with a foundation in natural medicine and respect for the rhythms of nature.
- Compact Powder // Combining mineral pigments and silk powder, the pressed powder applies effortlessly to help minimize unwanted shine, whilst promoting even, velvety soft skin without caking.
- Defining Mascara // Infused with Beeswax and mineral pigments, the nourishing mascara conditions and protects delicate lashes, whilst the specially designed brush captures and separates individual hairs for ultimate impact.
- Eyeshadow Trio // Three complementary shades that blend seamlessly onto the lids for show-stopping results.
Created by makeup artist Rose-Maris Swift, this coconut oil-based makeup is non-toxic and actually heals and nourishes skin.
- Raw Coconut Cream // Moisturize skin and remove even the most stubborn eye makeup with this hydrating natural organic coconut oil.
- Tinted “Un” Powder // Tinted “Un” Powder is formulated with the highest quality silica and mineral pigments powder give the perfect amount of sheer coverage.
- Lip2Cheek // From youthful sheers to more intensely colored stains, each shade is formulated with nourishing organic ingredients and raw mineral pigments.
We love the rich colors in this mineral-based makeup line. Their minerals are specially processed to provide deep pigment, opacity and shimmer without any toxins, irritants or preservatives. Bonus: their packaging is made out of 100% post-consumer recycled paper and eco-friendly soy-based inks.
- Natural Definition Mascara // Provitamin B5, Jojoba oil, and natural beeswax nourish and condition, leaving lashes healthy and lush.
- Natural Definition Eye Pencil // A long-lasting, natural eyeliner pencil made with soothing natural oils, waxes, and Chamomile extract to protect the delicate eye area.
- Lip Tint // Lightly scented with natural peppermint oil, lip tints moisturize, soothe, and protect the lips.
Each Ilia product is filled with certified organic bio-active botanicals that nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
- ILIA Beauty Tinted Women’s Lipstick // The deep tones of violet, and burgundy melt together forming a beautiful berry stain an ideal shade, easily carried from day to night.
- ILIA Beauty Tenderly Women’s Multi-Stick // Ilia multi-sticks combine organic ingredients with the healing properties of vitamin e and shea butter apply to cheeks, lips and eyes for a sheer blush of color.
- ILIA Beauty Lip Care-Balmy Nights // Have you ever used a lip exfoliator in a stick form? We suggest you give it a try.
- Concealer // This luxe, creamy concealer addresses underlying skin care concerns, and is a make-up that your skin will love!
- Lip & Cheek Tint // Jojoba and shea butter keep skin hydrated while sea buckthorn berry & blueberry provide antioxidant support!
- Mascara // This dreamy, classic black shade of mineral mascara with peptides delivers beautiful, shiny, full lashes!
The Celebrities that Use Cruelty Free Cosmetic Brands
There are loads of celebrities who have their own makeup brands, and many of those brands are indeed cruelty free, these include:
- Kylie Jenner’s companies Kylie Skin (all products are vegan) and Kylie Cosmetics (most products are vegan)
- Millie Bobby Brown’s company Florence by Mills (all products are vegan)
- Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty (some products are vegan)
- Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty (some products are vegan) and KKW Fragrance (all products are vegan)
- Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty (some products are vegan)
Animal Friendly Drug Store Brands
Annabelle, the Canadian beauty brand owned by Groupe Marcelle doesn’t test products or ingredients on animals.
A well-trusted and go-to brand by makeup artists and beauty lovers for false lashes, Ardell’s false lashes are not only cruelty free but also vegan.
A very budget-friendly beauty brand, e.l.f., is cruelty-free and carries a large number of vegan products. The paragraph below is taken straight from the brand itself:
“We do not test on animals or endorse such practices. Our products do not contain animal derived ingredients. Beeswax has been replaced by synthetic beeswax and lanolin has been replaced by Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladinpale-2. We currently support HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project.”
Not only are the EcoTools high-quality brushes made from highly sustainable materials such as bamboo, the bristles are also soft synthetic instead of animal hair, which makes them vegan.
Just like its sister brand Annabelle, Marcelle is also owned by Canadian company Groupe Marcelle, which doesn’t test products or ingredients on animals nor sell in China.
Milani is certified by both PETA and the Leaping Bunny program as cruelty free.
Despite the fact that NYX is currently owned by L’Oréal, it remains a cruelty-free company and is certified by PETA.
Another PETA-certified, animal-friendly group, Physicians Formula tests the safety of their products “using such alternate methods as ‘in-vitro’ testing, human clinical evaluations and human use-trials under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist.”
Sonia Kashuk was exclusively sold at Target and is on the higher end of drugstore brands.
Wet n Wild
One of the most budget-friendly drugstore brands, Wet n Wild is PETA-certified, cruelty-free and also makes a point to work with cruelty-free third-party vendors. Another bonus point: Wet n Wild has a decent list of vegan products.