Buying makeup doesn’t have to mean buying into unsustainable and inhumane testing methods. Here are our top cruelty-free makeup brands that you need to try this year.
Whether you only wear makeup for special occasions or every day as part of your morning routine, picking the best brand of whichever products you need can be difficult. If you’re in search of cruelty-free favorites, the buying process often becomes even harder, as it isn’t always clear which cosmetics brands are committed to animal welfare just by checking their packaging. Learn how to spot cruelty-free makeup brands and be inspired by our list below.
What Does ‘Cruelty Free’ Mean?
Although a fairly straightforward phrase on the surface, there is in fact a lot of debate around what ‘cruelty-free’ should mean. In a basic sense, a brand can be considered cruelty free if it does not test any of its products or their ingredients on animals. However, the use of this term does not always refer to this definition alone.
Being ‘cruelty-free’ has been alternatively used to describe products that have not been tested at the brands’ facilities, products that have been tested on an animal in the past, and cosmetics sold in countries where animal testing is required by law for some products, such as China. A product being cruelty-free also does not mean that it is necessarily vegan – some cruelty-free brands still contain animal byproducts such as lanolin or beeswax.
So how do you ensure that the products you buy are legitimately cruelty-free? Although the use of this term is not always clear, there are standards and official labels of requirements used to indicate that a brand is meeting the guidelines to be considered truly cruelty free. PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies label and the Leaping Bunny are certifications granted to cosmetics companies that have proved consistently that no animal testing has been used at any stage of their production processes.
Still unsure about where to find reliably cruelty-free products? Check out eight of our favorite cruelty-free makeup brands and some of their best products.
A US-based cosmetics brand, Jouer is certified by Leaping Bunny and Cruelty-Free International as being a legitimately cruelty-free makeup brand. Sold at Sephora, ‘Jouer’ refers to the French word for ‘to play’. This brand has a mid-level pricing range, with its most popular products including the Essential Hydrating Lip Oil ($14), and the Soft-Focus Hydrate + Set Powder ($32). Jouer is also doubly committed to protecting animal welfare, as they do not retail their products in places where animal testing is required by law.
You’ll be happy to know that Glossier, one of the most recognizable online makeup brands, is not only unique but also cruelty-free. They have been certified by Leaping Bunny – they don’t test their products on animals, nor sell their products in places where animal testing is legally required. Mostly available online, Glossier’s most famous products include their Cloud Paint liquid blush ($20) and Lash Slick mascara ($18). Although the products are on the pricier side, buying from Glossier assures that not only are your cosmetics coming from a reputable brand but one that is 100% cruelty-free.
3. Cruelty-Free Makeup Brand: Milk Makeup
Certified by Leaping Bunny as being 100% vegan as well as cruelty-free, Milk Makeup is a US-based cosmetics brand with a focus on color and self-expression. Milk is confirmed to not test on animals, or make use of third-party services and suppliers for the purposes of animal testing. Another brand widely available online, Milk’s price ranger differs depending on the type of product purchased, from a mini Rise mascara ($14) to jumbo Hydro Grip Primer ($70) the 2020 Allure Reader’s Choice winner.
4. Dose of Colors
A beauty brand available via Beauty Bay, Dose of Colors has been certified as cruelty-free by PETA, Leaping Bunny, and Cruelty-Free International. In addition, they have maintained consistent support of animal welfare by not retailing their products in countries where animal testing is required. A slightly more affordable brand with frequent sales, Dose of Colors boasts a range of products, including lip liners ($5) and a lipstick and lip gloss kit ($11).
5. e.l.f Cosmetics
An anacronym for ‘Eyes, Lips, and Face,’ e.l.f Cosmetics is one of the best affordable cruelty-free brands. This brand has been certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA to prove they have not tested their products on animals, nor bought ingredients from third-party companies that use animal testing. Their most popular products include the Hydrating Camo Concealer ($7) and the Power Grip Primer ($10). Buying from e.l.f is a great way to get reasonably priced makeup while ensuring that you are purchasing a cruelty-free makeup brand.
6. Cruelty-Free Makeup Brand Cover FX
Certified by PETA, Cover FX is a US-based cruelty-free beauty brand with a focus on providing reliable skincare and cosmetic products. As well as not testing or buying ingredients from animal testing sources, Cover FX is also 100% vegan, with none of its cosmetics containing animal byproducts. Although slightly more expensive than many others on this list, Cover FX has a wide range of skincare and beauty products, from the Monochromatic Blush Duo ($38) to the Luminous Tinted Moisturizer ($39).
7. The Body Shop
Based in the UK, The Body Shop is credited as being the first global beauty brand to actively campaign against animal testing. This brand is certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA as well as Cruelty-Free International as not testing on animals. Available online for US customers, The Body Shop has pledged to be fully vegan by the end of 2023 and boasts a wide range of colorful and sustainable beauty products. Favorites include the Fresh Nude Foundation ($25) and the 2-in-1 Hemp Serum and Primer ($25).
Another PETA-certified cruelty-free makeup brand, bareMinerals (also known as Shiseido) is a cosmetics company based around ‘clean’ skincare and beauty. As it has been certified by PETA, bareMinerals do not test their products on animals, ship their products to places where animal testing is mandatory, nor use third-party services that test on animals for their ingredient suppliers. Bestselling products include the Complexion Rescue Brightening Under Eye Concealer ($27) and the Original Loose Powder Foundation ($35), another Allure Reader’s Choice winner.
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