Reinvent Your Makeup Routine With These 4 Cruelty-Free Brands

At this point, I think we all know that the world of cosmetics and makeup gurus can be absolutely awash with drama (look no further than the Tati Westbrook/James Charles drama, or the countless other scandals that previously rocked the beauty community). However, one part of doing and enjoying one’s makeup can be entirely without drama: going cruelty-free. For those who haven’t yet been introduced to the term, cruelty-free makeup simply means makeup that is created, tested and developed without resorting to experimenting or testing their products on animals. By creating cruelty-free makeup, brands are able to provide products to create gorgeous looks without any potential harm or mistreatment to animals during their production.

While this may seem like the sound ethical choice for all beauty brands across the board, not every single company is cruelty-free. The discrepancy comes down mostly to where that company wants to sell their makeup. Some countries—with China being the largest—require cosmetic products to be tested on animals before they are allowed to be sold. While there are some loopholes, it does mean for the most part that any company that wants to sell their products in China by definition can’t be cruelty-free.

To make things just a touch more complicated, certain brands of makeup can be cruelty-free, but their parent company might not be. A good example would be Smashbox, which is entirely cruelty-free and does not test their makeup on animals; however, their parent company, Estee Lauder, owns brands that are not cruelty-free, putting the company in an ethical gray area. From that point, it’s up to the consumer’s own personal taste—whether they’re ok with buying from a cruelty-free brand without worrying about the overarching reach of the company that owns them, or whether they want to rely on makeup that is entirely cruelty free from start to finish.

Luckily, going cruelty-free is a relatively easy process—makeup companies are starting to offer an increasing range of products that are not only cruelty-free, but also gorgeous and easily available without entirely breaking your makeup budget.

Whether you’re looking to just replace a few items or entirely re-do your makeup bag, here are some top choices for cruelty-free brands to start your shopping spree with:

1. ELF

For those of us who are trying to ball, be ethical, and look amazing on a budget, ELF is an ideal choice. Most of their products fall within a $5-$15 dollar budget, and (as their name suggests) they carry enough products to help you re-imagine your entire makeup routine. Of course, they’re entirely cruelty free, and as a bonus, all of their formulas are completely vegan.

2. Bésame Cosmetics

Vintage-inspired, cruelty-free makeup seems like the ideal combination, and Bésame delivers on all fronts. All their products are based on vintage makeup looks, dating back to the 1920s. It’s a slightly more expensive option (lipsticks clock in around $22) but if you’re willing to pay a little extra for a gorgeous red lip, this might be the perfect brand.

3. The Body Shop

If you are truly trying to reinvent your makeup collection to be entirely cruelty-free, The Body Shop might be the best possible choice. Their range of products is incredible, going past makeup into hair products and skin care as well. They get an additional gold star for being affordable, and offering vegan options too!

4. Lush

OK, so maybe Lush doesn’t really carry that much makeup; however, this particular author is a sucker for their hair products which are (you guessed it) entirely cruelty free. And maybe while you’re already there, you might end up picking up a bath bomb or two… since everything they make is cruelty-free, why not treat yourself?