10 Beauty Favorites You Didn’t Know Were Cruelty-Free

Rachel Krause
Westend61/Getty Images

Westend61/Getty Images

Given our growing environmental awareness, animal testing is a hot-button issue among beauty lovers and activists alike. As we move toward more natural, less chemical and carcinogen-packed products in our regular routines, we’ve got cruelty-free beauty on the mind, too.

With that said, the definition of “cruelty-free” is controversial: Some brands don’t personally test on animals, but may be owned by parent companies that do, or use third parties to test on animals on their behalf. Another big no-no is selling products in China, where animal testing is mandatory. Let that one sink in.

If brands are able to answer “no” to all of those points, then they’re cruelty-free for all intents and purposes, even if they haven’t made it to PETA’s official list. These 10 beloved brands are among our very favorites, but what makes them even better is that they’re entirely cruelty-free, which goes to show that beauty without cruelty does exist. (And if there are qualifiers for that, like parent companies that test on animals, we’ll let you know so that you can make your own educated decision of where to spend your money.)

UK-based bath and body brand LUSH is a longtime mainstay of vegan, cruelty-free beauty products, and their wide variety of offerings are more than just guilt-free—they’re really fun, too, with everything from a vodka-based salt scrub that banishes body acne to luxurious bath melts that render skin soft and heavenly-scented.

Too Faced
We wore Too Faced makeup for years without ever suspecting that they might actually be cruelty-free. Forgive us for saying, but the brand just seemed too good, each product packed with pigment and a real pleasure to use. Lo, each product is completely cruelty-free, with even their brushes made from soft synthetic “teddy bear” hair.

Crazy cheap and cruelty-free? Yep, E.L.F. covers all the bases. The high-quality, low-priced brand sticks to a totally cruelty-free ethos, so much so that the company’s CEO, Joey Shamah, was award with a PETA Trail-Blazer Award for his commitment to never testing on animals. You have no reason at all to feel guilty next time you blow just your spare change on a full face’s worth of makeup.

Another high-quality favorite to add to the list: Not only does Tarte not test on animals, but they have a wide selection of vegan makeup, too, which means even the most diehard can get in on their beloved makeup and skin offerings. We’re especially fond of their mascaras, so look no further for full, feathery lashes that benefit you and our animal friends.

François Nars is vegan himself, so it only makes sense that his eponymous brand take the high road on animal testing. Because Heat Wave was made for your lips, not animals’. (Note that while NARS as a brand does not test on animals, their parent company, Shiseido, does.)

We can’t think of a single thing not to love about Hourglass and their extensive (and well-designed) collection of killer beauty products, especially considering they’re entirely cruelty-free and listed on PETA’s preferred brands list. It’s just yet another reason to be impressed by the high-quality, slightly under-the-radar brand.

Affordability, accessibility, and awesome products are the name of the game when it comes to NYX, which is made all the better by the fact that they don’t test on animals. After being purchased by parent company L’Oreal, which historically tests on animals, NYX proclaimed that they would enforce remaining 100% cruelty-free despite the acquisition. That’s commitment.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Every product from this alternative brand comes with the guarantee of being 100% vegan and cruelty-free, so you can go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief while clutching your precious Lip Tars. We recommend you give their other offerings a try, too: Their Cosmetic Colour Pencils are amazing for both eye and lip purposes.

Physician’s Formula
This goes to show that shopping cruelty-free isn’t as challenging as you think, even if you’re only hitting up the drugstore. Physician’s Formula does not test on animals, and also claims a “mostly vegan” ingredients list for all of their products. The brand has long been a favorite of the sensitive-skinned—and now it can be a favorite of the beauty ethics-conscious, too.

BECCA makes just about every cruelty-free beauty list, and for damn good reason: It’s one of the few high-end brands to actively adopt the approach, even going so far as to condemn the practice. Quoth the brand’s website, “BECCA actively participates in collaborative research to prove that other methods are in fact more relevant and reliable. BECCA test its products comprehensively in human clinical trials. All trials are conducted on paid volunteers and neither BECCA, nor any company contracted to BECCA, conducts tests on animals.” We’re on board.

Read more from Daily Makeover: The 5 Best (Affordable) Natural Beauty Brands