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Best cruelty-free makeup brands

Which cruelty-free makeup brands are best?

If you love animals and want to keep animal testing out of your makeup bag, you’re in luck. It’s easier than ever to shop for cruelty-free products, as more and more brands have committed to banning animal testing from their production process and even to using vegan ingredients. 

Whether you’re looking for high-end products or affordable everyday finds, shopping cruelty-free ensures every product you use is better for you and the planet, and doesn’t harm animals. How you spend your money is one way to shape the world you want to live in, and banishing animal cruelty from your daily routine is an easy way to make a huge difference. 

What is cruelty-free makeup?

The term-cruelty free isn’t regulated, but there are third-party organizations that provide certifications to companies. One common certifying agent is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, whose standard for cruelty-free designation is that a makeup brand has banned animal testing from all ingredients and products. 

You can find cruelty-free alternatives to all the products in your medicine cabinet, from toothpaste to face serums to deodorant to sunscreen

Reasons to shop cruelty-free makeup

There are many reasons to take a few extra minutes to find cruelty-free makeup instead of your typical fast-grab. 

Ethics and social consciousness 

If you’re considering shopping cruelty-free, you likely already put a lot of thought into shopping ethically. You love animals and don’t want to contribute to the suffering of any creature. Makeup products are an essential staple for many consumers — who wants to give up mascara? But if you believe these products should never come at the expense of the health, safety and comfort of animals, cruelty-free products will fit your values. 

Cruelty-free cosmetics are better for makeup users

Brands that value the health and safety of animals also don’t cut corners when it comes to your health and safety. Therefore, cruelty-free cosmetics tend to be free of sulfates, parabens and synthetic dyes, making them better for your body and less likely to contribute to skin irritation, breakouts, allergies and inflammation. 

There are plenty of cruelty-free brands to choose from

Choosing a cruelty-free brand is easy now that there are so many companies making these products. Not only are there many small cruelty-free brands, but there are also plenty of large luxury and mainstream brands that offer everything from skin cleansers to makeup palettes made with conscious manufacturing practices. 

More mindful spending habits 

Mindful consumption lets consumers be more selective with their purchases, leading to a more organized bathroom and less cluttered drawers. Plus, you will have fewer unused products ending up in the trash and less unnecessary spending as you focus more on the products that you love. Too many options actually lead to buyer’s remorse, which is a paradox also known as overchoice.   

5 best cruelty-free makeup brands


Glossier is Instagram’s favorite makeup brand, with a huge cult following for its no-makeup makeup looks, high-quality products and impeccable branding. Its products are easy to use, from a hydrating cleanser requiring just a few drops for fresh, conditioned skin to a brow gel that gives anyone a trendy laminate brow look.

Glossier has been firmly cruelty-free ever since its launch in 2014. None of its makeup or skin care products are tested on animals at any stage of development, and it won’t deal with any vendor who doesn’t meet the same standards. 

A classic Glossier makeup set feels luxe but is highly affordable at a price range around $5-$20.

Top Glossier makeup  

Glossier Cloud Paint

This is a simple, highly pigmented and blendable blush to use sparingly for a no-makeup look. It provides a natural tint and lasts all day. You can also use Glossier blushes for lip stains or eyeshadows.

Sold by Amazon

Milk Makeup 

Milk Makeup, launched in 2014, is a clean beauty brand staunchly against animal testing and the use of parabens and sulfates in its products. Its makeup is vegan, so it's an excellent choice for even the strictest animal lovers. The company also doesn’t sell its products in any country that requires animal testing. 

Milk Makeup’s packaging is chic, fun and bright, so you won’t even want to put your purchases in the drawer. Its products range from makeup chalk to foundation to makeup sticks, costing anywhere from $7-$40.  

Top Milk Makeup makeup

Milk Makeup Kush High Volumizing Mascara

This mascara packs a serious punch of intense, long-lasting volume and pure black pigment. It’s infused with deep-conditioning hemp-derived cannabis seed oil to lead to healthier lashes. Kush Mascara creates all-day fullness and volume with a soft, feathery look.

Sold by Sephora

Fenty Beauty

Fenty Beauty is pop singer Rihanna’s makeup brand. Fenty became the standard for inclusivity in the beauty industry when it launched with 40 foundation shades. Not only does this mean there’s a Fenty shade for people of every skin tone, but Fenty’s inclusive product range prompted a radical change in the industry. Many brands quickly followed Fenty’s lead to become more inclusive with pigments. 

Fenty has also been entirely cruelty-free since its launch in 2017 and has never tested any product on animals. Fenty makeup is completely vegan and the brand doesn't work with any vendors that test on animals. 

Fenty products range in price from $10-$100.

Top Fenty makeup

Fenty Beauty Diamond Bomb All-Over Diamond Veil

This diamond-dusted highlighter adds pure sparkle and glitter to your face and body. It’s free of sulfates, parabens and phthalates, as well as gluten-free and cruelty-free. It’s like dusting your cheeks in diamonds as it melts on your skin. It also comes in a gorgeous jewel-shaped compact.

Sold by Sephora 

Urban Decay

There’s a lot to love about Urban Decay, like the fact that Lizzo is its brand ambassador, that its Naked Palettes are pure joy in a box and, of course, that it's entirely cruelty-free. 

Urban Decay, launched in 1996, is one of the most recognizable beauty brands for highly pigmented colors and glimmer. It never tests on animals or uses any animal-tested ingredients in its supply chain, making it a stellar addition to your makeup bag. 

Urban Decay products cost anywhere from $10 for a mascara tube to $55 for one of its bestselling, widely loved Naked eyeshadow palettes. 

Top Urban Decay makeup

Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette

This is an eyeshadow palette of 12 rich, highly pigmented colors ranging from gorgeous neutrals to silky mattes to sparkling metallics. Pigments include amber neutrals, burgundy mattes, gold pearl shimmers, ashes and embers. It’s great for all skin types and highly blendable.

Sold by Sephora 

Elf Cosmetics

Think you can’t shop for makeup at the drugstore and commit to a cruelty-free lifestyle at the same time? Think again. Elf, launched in 2004, is entirely cruelty-free and partners with PETA. Its products are also vegan, down to its makeup brushes

Elf's mission is to make great makeup accessible to all people, with prices as low as $2. It has a vast array of makeup products, all of which are low-cost and high- quality, so you can stick to a budget, be kind to animals and look fantastic. 

Top Elf Cosmetics makeup

Elf Mineral Infused Face Primer, Matte Finish

This is the only primer you’ll ever need, at a fraction of the cost of other brands. It's the perfect everyday primer for velvety skin, flawless makeup and 24-hour moisture. It’s designed to be easily applied before makeup and is free from parabens and phthalates.

Sold by Amazon

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Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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