I went Vegetarian almost two years ago and I decided to go cruelty free with my makeup purchases six months after that. Six months later in the summer of 2016 I decided to purchase non-cruelty free makeup again. Why? A lot of cruelty free makeup companies aren’t available at the drugstore and many cruelty free makeup companies are owned by companies that test on animals. Additionally, many of the ingredients in cruelty free makeup have been tested on animals and therefore, consist of ingredients that have benefited from the ability to test on animals (a fact which many companies don’t advertise). Some of these ingredients are also known to be harmful to both humans and animals. It seemed to me to be a on-win-situation. Still, most of the makeup I purchase is cruelty free because despite my cynicism and research, I do believe in an individual’s power to make informed purchasing power and I don’t agree with animal cruelty. However, I’m not here to say what’s right or wrong, even as I’m strongly considering making the decision to go cruelty free again. There are a lot of factors that go into that decision, including wealth, accessibility, safety, and personal beliefs, which mean that I am most definitely not going to sit here and say that cruelty free is the way to go for everyone without considering all factors involved. What I am going to do is offer some well researched options and allow you to make your own decisions based on what you are looking for in makeup. Each category includes affordable options.
SPF: One thing I will always say no matter what is don’t ignore sun protection. Don’t do it.
Elta MD makes great chemical and physical SPFs and is cruelty free
Glossier’s Invisible Shield is a good chemical SPF that doesn’t break me out, is good for sensitive skin, and is colorless.
CeraVe has as SPF, cruelty free options in a variety of formulas.
I exclusively use CeraVe’s night time PM moisturizer or Moisturizing Lotion. They’re fantastic options that haven’t failed me yet.
Elf has several good primers that are effective and cheap but my favorite is NYX’s Pore Filler. It’s identical to Benefit’s Porefessional and genuinely works.
Nar’s Radiant Tinted Moisturizer has SPF 30 and comes in a variety of colors with a beautiful finish.
Wet N Wild’s Photofocus line comes in 20 shades and looks beautiful and subtle on the skin. My favorite traditional foundation I’ve ever tried. Very affordable
Nar’s Radiant Creamy Concealer is quite beautiful for all over the skin and for highlighting
Glossier’s stretch concealer is great for undereyes and dry skin. Limited shade options.
Wet n Wild’s Photofocus Concealer is another great option for undereyes and spot concealing. Once again, very affordable. Only six shade options. For correctors, try Wet n Wild’s Cushion Correctors in yellow, green, peach, or lavender for your specific skin concerns.
Wet n Wild makes great, pigmented (sometimes too pigmented in my opinion so be careful), and extremely affordable blushes.
Glossier’s Cloud Paints are seamless and undetectable on the skin. A liquid/ cream formula.
Nyx’s HD blushes are my favorite affordable blushes, my favorite being the shade Pink in Town.
Nar’s powder blushes are the best and most impactful blushes I have ever tried.
Also try Bite Beauty’s Multisticks for some highend, cream to powder, mutlitasking color.
Any of Physician’s Formula’s bronzers, but especially the Butter Bronzer. It smells like coconut and is a creamy, powder formula. Unfortunately this line comes in extremely limited shade options (for the most part light and medium).
I also enjoy Wet n Wild’s Cafe au Slay cushion bronzer for a darker, more red tone. And their contour palettes which are a dupe for more Marc Jacob’s expensive contour palettes.
Nyx makes great highlights in cream, powder, and liquid formulas. Highly recommended, especially the Duo Chromatic line.
Elf’s baked highlighters are beautiful if you work with them a little. Scrape off the first layer of product and they work like a dream.
Glossier’s Haloscopes are beautiful and faultless when it comes to minimal makeup. They leave a wet/ glossy look on the face.
Wet n Wild’s cushion highlight is a light pinky shade that is a dupe for Benefit’s High Beam.
Try Essence’s Pure Nude Highlight for an affordable, glow-from-within powder highlight.
Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powders in any shade are a great setting/ finishing powder for all skin types and won’t emphasize dry patches.
Physician Formula’s SPF powders are another great setting and refreshing/ oil-soaking option.
Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Line is highly pigmented, great smelling, and my favorite line of lipsticks ever.
All of NYX’s lipsticks which come in a variety of colors and finishes. My favorite lines are their soft-matte lip creams, matte lipsticks, butter cream lipsticks, and round lipsticks.
Wet n Wild’s Catsuit Liquid Lipsticks are some of my favorite Liquid Lipsticks of all time, especially the shades Missy and Fierce and Berry Recognize.
All of Colourpop’s lipstick formulas. Highly affordable with limitless options. Seriously, try these out.
Glossier’s clear lipgloss is fu**ing beautiful and isn’t goopy. I love it and it lasts as long as a lipgloss can last.
Nyx’s butter and intense butter lipgloss. The original butter lipglosses are very juicy and come in a variety of colors. Great for nude glosses The butter lipgloss formula is thicker and more intense. My favorite shades are Oatmeal Raisin and Toasted Marshmallow.
I lover both Colourpop’s and Wet n Wild’s lipliners for less drying finished that stay forever. Nyx’s Slide on Lip Pencils are also a beautiful option (especially the shade Nude Suede Shoes).
Nyx and Colourpop make my favorite singles in many different shades and finishes. I also love Urban Decay’s singles for a more expensive option.
Too Faced Eyeshadow palettes (particularly their Natural Eye Palette and Sweet Peach Palette) are my favorites all around. The Natural Eye palette is more cool-toned while the Sweet Peach Palette is warm toned.
Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Modern Renaissance Palette was well worth the money and has incredibly pigmented shadows. The red shades are my favorites.
Wet n Wild’s Color Icon Palettes are a highly pigmented, affordable option. Try Walking on Eggshells for a more natural, but lovely option, to see what I mean.
For liquid I love Physician Formula’s 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum for a more shiny finish and Nyx’s Epic Ink Liner for a more matte finish. Both are perfect for a cat eye.
Urban Decay makes my favorite pencil eyeliners for definition. My favorite shade is a brown called Whiskey.
Eyebrow Pencils and Gel:
Glossier’s Boy Brow in Brown is my all time favorite brow product. It plumps the brows, tints them, sets them, and applies in seconds. I wear this along all the time.
For eyebrow pencils, try Nyx’s Micro Brow Pencil (truly a quality, though not always a color dupe, for Anastasia Beverley Hill’s brow pencils). However, my favorite cruelty- free brow pencil for my brows is Elf’s two dollar brow pencil in Neutral Brown. Their eye brow powder/ gel duos are also fantastic and easy to use.
This is the area in which I have the least experience. All my favorite mascaras aren’t cruelty free. However, I’ve read and heard amazing things about Wet n Wild’s Lash Renegade and Essence’s Princess Lash Mascara. Both are incredibly affordable and I will be purchasing them after my current mascara’s run out.
Setting Spray: Elf’s Makeup Mist and Set and Wet n Wild’s Photofocus setting Spray are great options to refresh and take away the powdery look of makeup. Also NYX’s Dewy Setting Spray to enhance the longevity of makeup.
Brushes/ Sponges: I exclusively use Wet n Wild, Elf, Real Techniques, and EcoTools brushes. All are affordable, as are the Real Techniques Sponges and the EcoTools sponges (my current favorites).
Thank you for reading! What are your favorite cruelty free products? My next step is trying some of Etsy’s affordable, indie, cruelty free makeup brands.