Cruelty-Free Beauty Product Alternatives

How many beauty and personal hygiene products in your bathroom cupboard are animal friendly? Are they made from animal byproducts? Do those companies test on animals? Do you even know how to check???

It’s alright if you don’t know the answers to these questions or don’t know where to find them, I promise. What matters is that you’re willing to educate yourself and dig a little deeper into your everyday products to see how kind they are to animals and the planet. Then, once you have those answers under your belt, don’t be afraid to make some changes to your beauty routine!

Major beauty brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Estée Lauder, and Clinique choose to test their products on animals or use animal byproducts in their ingredients. Not only is this a terrible offense against the animals in our world, but it’s also harmful to the planet if they keep leveraging irresponsibly-sourced animal products for their profit. How can we make a difference as consumers? Make the switch to cruelty-free beauty products.

What’s the Difference Between “Vegan” and “Cruelty-Free”?

Animal-friendly products are broadly categorized into two sub-groups: cruelty-free and vegan. Vegan products are products that have no animal-based products or byproducts in their list of ingredients. Cruelty-free products are products that have been designed and manufactured without any testing on animals in the process.

If you can find products that meet both criteria, that’s great! With the rise of awareness around animal-friendly products, some cosmetics companies have stopped using animal byproducts in their formulas, but many still use animal testing in their product development. And be wary – some companies will claim they do no animal testing in the U.S., but they may still pay for animal tests in other countries where it is required anyway (cough, cough, L’Oréal).

The good news is that cruelty-free products are accessible now more than ever. Even your local Target has vegan, cruelty-free products lining its shelves! So, before you replenish your stock of beauty products, check out this list of cruelty-free beauty alternatives.

Cruelty-Free Makeup

1) Foundation: Urban Decay / Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation

Yep! You don’t have to do much digging to find fantastic cruelty-free makeup – it’s usually in your favorite store already! Urban Decay’s products are all 100% cruelty-free, and the Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation is no different. Bonus: this foundation is also vegan, so you can feel extra comfortable when you purchase it. Trade in your animal tested foundation formula for a better, cleaner, ethical brand.

2) Bronzer: Fenty Beauty / Sun Stalk’r Bronzer

Fenty Beauty has hundreds of products to choose from, all of which are 100% cruelty-free. From the lipsticks to brow pencils, none of the formulas are ever tested on animals. Every shade of their Sun Stalk’r Bronzer is also vegan – all eight of them! No matter your skin tone, Fenty has you covered with their line of cruelty-free bronzing powders.

3) Contour Stick: KKW / Crème Contour Stick

The KKW Beauty Contour Stick is super light and travel-friendly in addition to being cruelty-free! It also comes with a brush to make buffing and blending a breeze. KKW Beauty is another 100% cruelty-free brand, and they offer plenty of vegan products as well. While they are not officially certified as cruelty-free from PETA or Leaping Bunny, they are classified as cruelty-free by Cruelty-Free Kitty.

4) Setting Powder: e.l.f. / High Definition Setting Powder

You’ve probably seen e.l.f. products lining the shelves of your local Target or Walgreens. This drugstore makeup brand is one of the most affordable ones you can find, making it that much easier to support their business! All e.l.f. products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free (their setting powder included), and they’re certified by Leaping Bunny.

The e.l.f. brand took their animal advocacy one step further earlier this year. They collaborated with Jkissa, a celebrity makeup artist and YouTube star, to create an eyeshadow palette called “To the Rescue” that helped raise money for shelter dogs. Every shade was named after adopted dogs from Angel City Pits, a non-profit organization in LA dedicated to creating a better future for pit bulls. At the end of the campaign, e.l.f. donated over $15,000 to Angel City Pits to help them find forever homes for their sweet pups!

5) Mascara: Milk Makeup / KUSH Mascara

Another animal-friendly brand is Milk Makeup. They are 100% cruelty-free and vegan, and they recently earned their official certification through Leaping Bunny.

The KUSH Mascara has a pretty impressive performance; cannabis oil is one of the main ingredients that conditions your eyelashes, and it helps the mascara pigment stay put for hours. (See where they got the name, now?) While the Milk Makeup brand isn’t quite a household name yet, it’s steadily growing in popularity, especially as consumers become more conscious about animal-friendly and Earth-friendly products.

6) Eyeshadow: Aether Beauty / Rose Quartz Crystal Gemstone Palette

Aether Beauty is one of the most planet-friendly cosmetics brands out there (in my humble opinion). The brand does everything they can to source their ingredients from organic, fair trade suppliers (the Rose Quartz palette is made of 70% naturally derived ingredients). They also sell their products in 100% recyclable packaging, so you aren’t creating more waste when you buy from them. Aether Beauty donates 1% of all their sales to The Water Project, which works to provide clean, safe water and sanitation to Sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to all that goodness, Aether Beauty is cruelty-free and vegan certified through PETA and approved by Leaping Bunny. They state on their website that they “will never participate in any activity or process that causes harm to any living thing.”

7) Eyeliner: KVD Vegan Beauty / Tattoo Liner

KVD Vegan Beauty has been a cruelty-free brand since its launch in 2008. In 2010, they launched Tattoo Liner, their first vegan and cruelty-free product, and they became a 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand in 2016. They’re certified vegan and cruelty-free through PETA and approved by Cruelty-Free Kitty.

KVD Beauty’s Tattoo Liner is well-known in the makeup industry for its impressive, long-lasting performance and super-pigmented formula made entirely of plant-based waxes and oil, not animal byproducts.

8) Brow Pencil: Arches & Halos / Precision Brow Shaping Pencil

Arches & Halos is a brand that is focused explicitly on brows. Their founder, Tonya Cook, is a celebrity eyebrow stylist (yep, that’s a thing) who has worked with plenty of A-list celebs and even some royalty. Arches & Halos is cruelty-free certified through Leaping Bunny, and according to their site, they “believe in loving our fur-babies not testing on them!”

Bonus: Arches & Halo products are sold exclusively at Target and Walgreen’s, which means that their Precision Brow Shaping Pencil is animal-friendly and budget-friendly.

9) Lipstick: COVERGIRL / Exhibitionist Ultra Matte Lipstick

Believe it. COVERGIRL, one of the most prominent names in the beauty and cosmetics industries, is certified cruelty-free through Leaping Bunny. They are the largest makeup brand to earn the stamp of approval from Leaping Bunny, which they officially secured in 2018.

COVERGIRL’S Exhibitionist Ultra Matte Lipstick is ultra-affordable as well, and you can find it at most major drugstores, plus Amazon and Target. Since they are such a powerful force in the makeup industry, they hope that their stance on 100% cruelty-free products will urge other makeup companies to follow suit.

10) Micellar Water: Botanics / All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution

The only thing better than putting on a full face of stellar makeup is taking it off at the end of the day! Even cleansers are tested on animals or made from animal byproducts, so you have to check your cleanser brands too. Botanics’ micellar water is alcohol-free, so it won’t leave your skin feeling tight and dry, and its list of ingredients is animal-friendly.

Botanics is another fantastic-yet-affordable drugstore brand that is certified 100% cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny program. The brand is highly conscious of their impact on the planet, so all of their products are made with 100% vegan and certified organic ingredients. All of their paper and board packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for being 100% responsibly sourced. They are committed to upholding sustainability standards in the development of all their products.

Cruelty-Free Hygiene

1) Body Wash: JĀSÖN / Calming Lavender Body Wash

JĀSÖN is a brand that’s popularity has increased with the rise of earth-conscious consumers. Their name means “healer” in the ancient Greek language, and it’s rather fitting, as the company believes that natural ingredients are the key to restoring optimal health. They are certified through the Leaping Bunny Program, and their natural body wash contains no animal byproducts, parabens, or sulfates.

The JĀSÖN Calming Lavender Body Wash is nourishing for both your body and your mind. A three-part powerhouse of Lavender Extract, Marigold Extract, and Vitamin E soothes your skin and leaves it baby-soft, and the heavenly lavender smell helps you relax and unwind. And you’ll have extra peace of mind knowing that your body wash is cruelty-free!

2) Shampoo & Conditioner: Ethique / Eco-Friendly Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Bundle for Normal Hair

While you’re bettering the planet by using cruelty-free products, it doesn’t hurt to reduce your waste, too! Ethique is a brand dedicated to slashing the amount of garbage that health and beauty products generate by producing shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and other cleansers in the form of solid bars rather than bottled liquid.

Ethique’s products are certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA and Choose Cruelty-Free Australia, and they are the first zero-waste beauty brand. Their Shampoo & Conditioner Bar Bundle is best suited for normal hair, but they offer a variety of bars for those with frizzy curls, itchy scalps, or sensitive skin too.

3) Cleanser: Yes To / Watermelon Super Fresh Facial Cleanser

On your next Target run, pick up a bottle of Yes To Watermelon Super Fresh Facial Cleanser. The whole brand is Leaping Bunny certified, and most products are vegan (some use honey or beeswax in their formula).
The Watermelon Super Fresh Facial Cleanser is vegan and does not contain silicones or parabens. However, it does have a nice dose of watermelon extract to give your skin a moisturized boost! This cleanser also contains Vitamin C to naturally tone your skin as you cleanse.

4) Deodorant: Vasarii / nakd. Thai Crystal Deodorant

To top off your cruelty-free health and beauty regimen, swap out your traditional, toxic antiperspirant for nakd. Thai Crystal Deodorant. Our crystal deodorant is made from 100% natural mineral salt – no animal byproducts or harsh chemicals – and we NEVER test on animals. Our nakd. Deodorant is cruelty-free, aluminum-free, and parabens-free.

Nakd. Thai Crystal Deodorant is unscented, but it makes you unscented as well! The people of Thailand have used mineral salt as a natural deodorizer for hundreds of years since it neutralizes bacteria without clogging your pores or masking the smell of body odor. The crystallized minerals won’t leave any white residue like lesser-quality products will, and it is effective for up to 24 hours. No scrambling to re-apply deodorant in the afternoon when your antiperspirant has worn off!

How Do I Know if My Current Products are Cruelty-Free?

The best way to find the truth about your products is to do your research. Does the company website or product packaging state that they are vegan or cruelty-free? Can you find a third party, like PETA or Leaping Bunny, who can verify that claim?

It’s also helpful (and quick) to look for certification logos from those third parties. For cruelty-free products, PETA, Leaping Bunny, or Choose Cruelty-Free certification logos indicate that a company upholds rigorous cruelty-free standards.

Choosing cruelty-free products in your daily beauty routine is a small change that makes a significant impact on the planet and the animals who inhabit it. Remember that we share this world with other beings, and we all need to do our part to take care of them! We at Vasarii are committed to doing our part to support the ethical treatment of animals, and we encourage you as a consumer to do the same.