Your makeup guide to becoming cruelty free!

by Holly James

What is Cruelty-Free?

When a brand is “cruelty-free” it means that the company you’re buying from makes their products without any animal testing during any stage of the development of that product.  This also includes the ingredients (including those from other suppliers) used to formulate their products.

A lot of brands mask the full truth about their products by using tricky legalese such as

“finished products are not tested on animals”

“tested only when required by law”

In addition, certain brands which appear to be inspired by “nature” or have organic ingredients do not mean the products are cruelty-free. For a long time I assumed Aveeno was cruelty-free– they aren’t.

At this point in our development in both society and in science… it is absolutely unnecessary to test the safety of cosmetic ingredients on animals. There is a plethora of drugstore and professional makeup brands who find alternatives for testing for cosmetic approval (such as In Vitro testing) and therefore are cruelty-free. That’s why it’s so important here on to focus on those brands and what they have to offer, despite what “new and exciting” product Covergirl, Maybelline, Lancome etc. come out with. Support the brands with ethics. The ones without will eventually see they’re missing out on hundreds of thousands of potential customers!

Cruelty Free Makeup Brands

All of these brands are either approved by Leaping Bunny, are on Peta’s Caring Consumer Guide, or I have personally contacted the company You can read my email template for the questions I askto confirm they do not test their cosmetics/ingredients on animals.

  • ⓥ  any brand that is 100% vegan
  • ℃ brands that are Canadian
  • ♥  any brand I personally love 
  • ☞  links to blogposts on products 
  •  ☠  brands that have a parent company who test on animals

Any Brand posted with ( ☠  and company name) has a parent company which is not cruelty-free and practices animal testing. You may choose not to purchase from the subsidiary brand as to avoid contributing to the profit made by the parent company, if you so choose. I offer both pieces of information, so you can make the most educated decision to suit your personal views.

Cruelty Free Drugstore Brands

Cruelty Free Online, Boutique & Professional Brands

This is by no means a complete list! There are more and more conscientious beauty companies launching all the time, and if you have a cruelty-free brand to add, please let me know!

Brands I’ve Removed From the Cruelty-Free Beauty List

Below are brands that I previously listed on my cruelty-free list who are now practicing animal testing.  In most cases this is due to distributing their products within Mainland China, where animal testing is a required law, or, they have changed their animal testing practice for other reasons. This is always upsetting but I am hopeful as time progresses they will return to being CF, once again.

  • Laura Mercier
  • MAC
  • Clinique
  • Smashbox
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Revlon
  • Almay
  • Stila
  • Benefit
  • Estee Lauder
  • Victoria Secret (Beauty Rush)
  • Bath and Body Works

Beauty Newbie Disclaimer

Since companies can change their policies unexpectedly, I do sometimes use cosmetics previously purchased from companies who were initially considered cruelty-free (such as MAC) in some of my tutorials until that product is replaced with an ethical alternative.  I update the information on my blog as much as possible to reflect current status’ on company animal testing policies.

My position on the subject is much like Peta’s. I believe that by supporting the companies who have a strong ethical stance against animal testing should be supported, and can make a positive impact on their unethical parent company.  An example is The Body Shop vs. L’Oreal (reported animal test reports in 2000, and has not re-pledged to be cruelty-free). I continue to purchase from The Body Shop because they have maintained their independence from L’Oreal to stay cruelty-free, as they always have been, and have made public statements to remain so. If it should come to light that they are conducting animal testing I would boycott them in a blink. It’s my belief at this time The Body Shop is an ethical brand to buy from. I consider this brand an exception and I may not support all subsidiaries this way.

Cosmetic Distribution to China (Mainland) and How it Affects Animal Testing Policies

Companies who I previously supported such as M.A.C, Revlon, Almay, Mary Kay, Clinique, Bumbell & Bumbell, L’Occitaine, Estee Lauder, Sephora Label, Benefit and Smashbox, have now have been removed from this list, as they have decided to enter into the Chinese market to distribute their products.  I see this decision as money over ethics and choose to no longer buy from these companies. China legally mandates cosmetics to be examined by method of animal testing before distributing to the public/consumers.  Brands like Urban Decay, The Body Shop and Paul Mitchell and Dermalogica, have refused to distribute to the China until alternative testing is in place, such as In Vitro testing.

Thanks for all the support, please share this page!

If you are new to cruelty-free products, or aren’t sure why it’s important, please watch this short video. It does not show any animals harmed and isn’t graphic- it is purely educational with valuable information to get you started on the cruelty-free path

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