When news of Estée Lauder’s acquisition of Too Faced broke, some of us couldn’t help but marvel at the $1.45-billion price tag. (It’s the most expensive buy to date from the company, after all.) However, others worried about the brand’s widely appreciated cruelty-free status: Would it remain intact under the Estée umbrella?
Too Faced cofounder Jerrod Blandino put the concern to rest, immediately telling WWD, “We will not be animal testing, we will not be going into China, we will not be made to fold into a corporate culture that we do not have. [Estée Lauder Companies] love and respect what we have created and are just going to support us and lift us up, without changing us in any way but great.”
Not only have customers found that reassurance comforting, but the discussion also gives a new reason to continue supporting the cause. After all, what better way to spark change than by showing mega-conglomerates just how lucrative cruelty-free cosmetics can be? However, some have addressed frustration in how to identify if something is truly cruelty-free. There are multiple labeling systems, along with a bevy of carefully worded brand statements against animal testing that actually allow for the practice in some instances. So even for those looking to support these brands, they’re not always easy to find.
To help navigate the waters, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cruelty-free beauty brands for you. Ahead, find brands (some independently owned, some owned by a parent company) that don’t engage in animal testing with either raw or finished materials and products. They also don’t contract other parties to test on animals on their behalf, or sell any products in countries where animal testing is required. Some are drugstore brands, others luxe — but they’re all offering the kind of pigment payoff that’s certifiably lust-worthy, no matter where you stand on the issue.
There is a lot of product out there — some would say too much. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but if you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
As a mineral-based brand that prides itself on being vegan and cruelty-free, we think it’s safe to say that Pür is far too underrated. The products aren’t just made for creating a great look, they also help you reach skin nirvana, thanks to natural, good-for-your skin ingredients. Plus, the brand’s entirely against animal testing and more environmentally friendly than many.
Pür Cosmetics Fully Charged Magnetic Mascara, $22, available at Pür Cosmetics.
Pür Cosmetics Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick, $20, available at Pür Cosmetics.
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Not only are all of Bliss’ products totally cruelty-free, they’re also seriously budget-friendly. Our favorite pick as of late? The brand’s new silky-smooth Pore Patrol™ clay mask, which cleanses, minimizes pores, keeps oil at bay, and gently exfoliates to prevent pores from clogging later.
Bliss Pore Patrol Mask, $16, available at Bliss
Pür Cosmetics Bare It All 4-In-1 Skin Perfecting Foundation, $39, available at Pür Cosmetics.
RMS BeautyThis indie beauty brand has a massive cult following, thanks to skin-friendly formulations that use organic, virgin coconut oil and other naturals as their base. The range has quickly become a safe haven for those looking to reduce toxicity in their beauty routines. Makeup artist and founder Rose-Marie Swift has said her ultimate goal is to run a brand that is cruelty-, GMO-, nano-, soy-, and gluten-free.
RMS Beauty Swift Eye Shadow, $20, available at RMS Beauty.
RMS Beauty Magic Luminizer, $38, available at RMS Beauty.
RMS Beauty Lip Shine, $25, available at RMS Beauty.
Wet N WildWho knew that one of our go-to drugstore makeup brands is cruelty-free? All the more reason to love it: This super-affordable line and its parent company, Markwins International, are even endorsed by PETA as being cruelty-free.
Wet n Wild Crease Brush 3 Pack, $2.99, available at Wet n Wild.
Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow 10 Pan Palette, $4.99, available at Wet n Wild.
Wet n Wild Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter, $5.99, available at Wet n Wild.
Ellis FaasWe’ve long appreciated this brand — which was created by legendary makeup artist Ellis Faas — for its universally flattering lipsticks, eyeshadows, and foundation. Even better, since its inception, the independently owned, Amsterdam-based company has been cruelty-free; it tests on “supermodels only.”
Ellis Faas Skin Veil Foundation, $90, available at Ellis Faas.
Ellis Faas Hot Lips, $35, available at Ellis Faas.
Ellis Faas Eye Lights, $42, available at Ellis Faas.
Antonym CosmeticsWe don’t know what we love more: The beautiful (and sustainable) bamboo boxes that house Antonym’s powder blushes, foundations, and eyeshadow quads; the brand’s ridiculously soft (and vegan) brushes; or the fact that everything made by the company is eco-minded and cruelty-free.
Antonym Cosmetics Certified Organic Quattro Eyeshadow, $39, available at Antonym Cosmetics.
Antonym Cosmetics Kabuki Brush, $26, available at Antonym Cosmetics.
Antonym Cosmetics Certified Organic Baked Blush, $36, available at Antonym Cosmetics.
Essence CosmeticsThis German-based drugstore brand doesn’t only say no to animal testing, it also practices transparency in explaining how and why: Like other brands on this list, it does not sell in China (where animal testing on cosmetics is required) and does not use any raw materials tested on animals.
Essence Cosmetics Rock ‘n’ Doll Duo Stylist Eyeliner Pen, $2.99, available at Essence Cosmetics.
Essence Cosmetics How to Make Brows Wow Make-Up Box, $9.99, available at Essence Cosmetics.
Essence Cosmetics All About Eyeshadow Palette, $5.49, available at Essence Cosmetics.
Cover FXMakeup artists swear by this line’s vast range of foundation shades and customizable options, which make skin tone-matching a breeze. And editors can’t get enough of the brand’s skin-care boosters. But there’s more to love: It’s also free of parabens, mineral oil, fragrance, talc, and gluten — as well as cruelty-free and PETA-approved.
Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, $44, available at Cover FX.
Cover FX Correct Click, $18, available at Cover FX.
Cover FX Blotting Powder, $24, available at Cover FX.
ChantecailleLots of luxury brands are owned by big conglomerates, but not this one. Instead, it’s woman-owned, vegan, cruelty-free, and free of any animal byproducts. What’s more, it develops products that support animal conservation, like this year’s cause, Conservation Northwest.
Chantecaille Protect the Wolves Eye Shade Trio, $70, available at Chantecaille.
Chantecaille Mermaid Eye Color, $34, available at Chantecaille.
Chantecaille Matte Chic Lip Color, $39, available at Chantecaille.
Some might be surprised to find out this major brand is entirely cruelty-free and committed to ending animal testing in the beauty market. Now, you can swatch on your Naked collection guilt-free.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Naked Heat Capsule Collection, $18, available at Urban Decay.
Urban Decay Backtalk Palette, $46, available at Urban Decay.
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer, $29, available at Urban Decay.
On top of being cruelty-free, Fluide is a brand worth watching thanks to its unisex messaging: makeup for him, her, them, everyone. Although the brand itself is still new to the game, it already offers lip gloss, seven-free nail polish, and lots of glitter.
Fluide Lip Gloss in Wet, $12, available at Fluide.
Fluide Glitter in Electric Sea, $12, available at Fluide.
Fluide 7-Free Polish in Starlite, $15, available at Fluide.
This new beauty brand is looking to cut out all the B.S. (the “bad stuff” — and also the bullshit) by ignoring lackluster FDA standards for beauty products. Instead, PYT is EU compliant and free of parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum while encouraging its customers to never settle for unsafe ingredients for high-quality formulas. For now, the only product you can shop is a super-pigmented eyeshadow palette, but the brand plans to launch products in the face and lipstick categories soon.
PYT Beauty No BS Eyeshadow Palette, $28, available at PYT Beauty.
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