Whether you're #BuyingBlack or Grabbing Your Wallet, there's real power in how you spend your money. The same can be said about supporting cruelty-free makeup brands. For the socially conscious among us, it's one of the most powerful ways to invest in beauty companies that don't do animal testing and keep your hard-earned cash out of the pockets of those who don't.
But it isn't always easy to tell which cosmetics are truly cruelty-free. Carefully worded brand statements, the ways ingredients are sourced, and different labeling criteria can make shopping for cruelty-free beauty tricky to navigate. It's also important to note here that just because a beauty product is vegan (i.e., isn't made from animal by-products or animal-derived ingredients) doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't tested on animals at any stage in its production. A product can be cruelty-free without being vegan, and vice versa.
That's why we narrowed down a few of our favorite cruelty-free makeup brands for you. Some are niche brands you might not have discovered yet, and others are probably in your makeup bag right now. The common thread: Not one of them stands for testing on animals. Go forth and acquaint yourself. (And in case you're ever curious about which brands to shop—or not—based on your values, Leaping Bunny has an extremely comprehensive list of beauty brands that never test on animals and never buy ingredients from sources that do.)
1. Fenty Beauty
Rihanna's revolutionary makeup line needs no introduction, considering it's set the standard for diversity and inclusion in the beauty industry. You likely know all about its 50 foundation shades that truly run the gamut and its vegan skin-care offshoot. But did you also know that both Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin are also cruelty-free? According to the brand's policies, it doesn't animal-test products or ingredients, nor does it allow suppliers to animal-test on its behalf. Leave it to Rih to get it.
$35.00, Fenty Beauty
$28.00, Fenty Skin
2. KVD Vegan Beauty
The brand’s name underwent a makeover in early 2020, when its former namesake (makeup artist Kat Von D) left the company, but its dedication to high-quality cruelty-free and vegan formulas remains firmly the same. The edgy packaging and bold colors are an homage to the founder’s history as a tattoo artist, but the products have been embraced by makeup lovers from all walks of life. The brand has been cruelty-free since 2010 and 100% vegan since 2016, and it's continued to innovate. If you think vegan means crunchy, subpar formulas, the brand's iconic Tattoo Liner and Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks convince you otherwise.
$21.00, KVD Vegan Beauty
$21.00, KVD Vegan Beauty
3. Hourglass Cosmetics
The luxury makeup brand is a relative newcomer to this list, as it recently underwent an overhaul in formulations and processes. Now in 2021 the brand is officially 100% cruelty-free and vegan, proving that sleek packaging and vegan-friendly formulas are not mutually exclusive. The brand is best known for its complexion products that provide that elusive lit-from-within effect, making it a favorite of supermodels like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The Ambient Lighting Palette is perfect for that dewy glow, and the Confession Lipstick is full coverage without sacrificing comfort.
It should be noted that Hourglass's parent company, Unilever, does sell other brands in markets that require animal testing by law, but it supports movements to end the practice by 2023, which you can read more about here.
The drugstore mainstay is yet another brand you're undoubtedly familiar with, but what you might have missed is that CoverGirl became entirely cruelty-free in 2018. The announcement marked the first time a makeup brand of its size earned the gold standard of cruelty-free certifications: a seal of approval from Leaping Bunny. “No other certification program has the rigor that seeks to completely eliminate animal testing from a brand’s supply chain,” Ukonwa Ojo, the former chief marketing officer of Coty Consumer Beauty (CoverGirl's parent company), told Glamour at the time. “To earn the Leaping Bunny certification for CoverGirl, we verified our internal standards and established protocols for our suppliers, underwent a rigorous audit of our supply chain and ingredients, and agreed to regular independent audits of the CoverGirl supply chain.”
On top of every single ingredient in CoverGirl formulas being verified as animal-friendly, they're also available wherever the brand is sold worldwide. And while the question of China often poses a challenge for cruelty-free brands, as the law there mandates that cosmetics must be tested on animals, it wasn't an issue for CoverGirl—the brand wasn't (and still isn't) sold there. (Note: Its parent company does sell other brands in countries that require animal testing. You can read more about the company's position here.)
Hello, chicest natural skin-care line ever. Husband-and-wife team Julia Wills and Alexander Kummerow started Herbivore Botanicals in their Seattle kitchen in 2011 to make skin care a little more luxurious and a lot cleaner. The brand uses no synthetic ingredients, parabens, fillers, mineral oils, and (of course) animal testing. Instead, products like its Glamour Beauty Award–winning Lapis Facial Oil and Bakuchiol Retinol-Alternative Serum are made with natural, plant-based ingredients. It doesn't hurt that the packaging is stunning either.
6. Too Faced
Yes, Too Faced is still cruelty-free. Fans of the brand were concerned when it was acquired by parent company Estée Lauder in 2016, since some of its other brands retail in countries that require animal testing (read more on the company's position here). But founder Jerrod Blandino has assured the brand is sticking to its ethos: fun, Instagram-friendly makeup that's never tested on animals. In recent years Too Faced has also expanded its vegan options, which include its best-selling Better Than Sex Mascara (one tube sells every 7.5 seconds!) and its fan-favorite Born This Way foundation, which comes in 35 shades.
$40.00, Too Faced
7. E.L.F. Cosmetics
It can be tough to find cruelty-free beauty brands that are both vegan and inexpensive, but E.L.F. nails the tricky combination perfectly. The brand runs the gamut in terms of vibes and has a little something for everyone—from second-skin foundations to bright glitter eye shadows that clock in at under $20. After updating its formulas to replace beeswax and lanolin with synthetic alternatives, the brand is now 100% vegan across its extensive range of makeup and skin care. If you need a good starting point, though, go for the Sheer Slick Lipstick, which gives more of a pretty popsicle stain flush than an opaque wash of color.
8. Tower 28 Beauty
Tower 28 is a relative newcomer in the clean-beauty space (the brand launched in 2019), but that hasn’t stopped it from quickly becoming a Sephora favorite. It follows the E.U.’s regulations for ingredients (which are much stricter than the U.S.'s), and it takes a strong stance against animal testing. Plus, its founder makes everything with sensitive skin in mind, since she's had eczema her entire adult life. So all products are hypoallergenic and meet the National Eczema Association’s ingredients guidelines. It's also just an extremely fun line. The packaging is chic and cheerful, as are the products themselves—like the perfectly nonsticky Shine On Lip Jelly and its Bronzino bronzer that's made for people who usually hate bronzer.
If the name sounds familiar, it's probably because you've been seeing the brand's popular rose blush all over Pinterest. And you can feel great about buying it because this high-quality drugstore line is entirely cruelty-free. (It's got a handful of vegan formulations if you also want products without animal by-products.) The blush is the brand's standout, but don't sleep on its 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer either. It starts out sheer and builds to full coverage depending on how much you apply.
Everything you've heard about Glossier is true. Its base formulas are no-makeup makeup dream. The eye shadows, blushes, and lip tints give the perfect sheer flush of color. And its packaging is painfully cute. Better yet, everything from the brand is also Leaping Bunny–certified. We've got an entire guide with reviews of the best Glossier products if you want a crash course on what's worth your money, but two great places to start are its cult favorites Balm Dotcom and Boy Brow. They're worth every single cent.
11. Beauty Bakerie
If you're looking to invest in both Black-owned and cruelty-free makeup brands, Beauty Bakerie should be at the top of your list. The dessert-themed line is adored by bloggers and celebrities alike. (Both Jackie Aina and Beyoncé are fans. Enough said.) Created by single mother and breast cancer survivor Cashmere Nicole, Beauty Bakerie blends playful packaging with formulas that have serious staying power. The baking powders are favorites thanks to their wide shade range, but you also can't go wrong with the Matte Lip Whips—or anything else, really.
$20.00, Beauty Bakerie
$24.00, Beauty Bakerie Flour Setting Powder
12. Urban Decay
Founder Wende Zomnir created a line of nail polishes and lipsticks in the mid-’90s for people who were officially over nudes and light pinks. Since then the brand has exploded into one of the most beloved on earth among beauty obsessives. But you knew that, right? And have at least one Naked Palette in your collection to prove it? Either way, we're sure it's reassuring to know everything from the brand is cruelty-free. (Note: Its parent company, L'Oréal, does sell other brands in countries that require animal testing. You can read more about the company's position here.)
$49.00, Urban Decay
13. InnBeauty Project
This recently launched brand is a Gen Z dream come to life. The neon packaging is ridiculously fun, but it's the line's mission that gives it heart: The imagery is inclusive, the formulas are clean, cruelty-free, and vegan, and the brand as a whole is plastic negative (meaning it partners with outside organizations to remove more plastic waste from the earth than it produces). Oh, and its skin-care formulas deliver. Go with our favorite all-around skin-rejuvenating Slushy Serum or try the Lip Glaze Oils that smell truly divine.
$28.00, InnBeauty Project
$15.00, InnBeauty Project
Erin Reimel is a beauty writer living in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Instagram @erin_reimel.
Originally Appeared on Glamour