Cruelty-free Makeup: The Next Major Beauty Trend

Being one of the largest growing industries in this day and age, everyone is talking about makeup. Each individual has a different, unique relationship when it comes to cosmetics, be it your favorite shade of nail polish or ideal eyeshadow palette. However, the concern of the customer is shifting from the final product to how the product was actually made. More and more companies are making the switch to cruelty-free in recent years but some of your favorite brands, like MAC cosmetics and Maybelline, are still testing on animals and are not providing eco-friendly alternatives to their products.

Photo by Noelle Otto / Pexels

Photo by Noelle Otto / Pexels

So what does cruelty-free actually mean?

The general idea behind “cruelty-free” products is that they haven’t been tested on any animals, this includes all ingredients used in making the product and the final product itself. If a makeup product is said to be vegan then it contains no animal ingredients at all, for instance, beeswax or gelatine. Companies, like Superdrug, take pride in the fact that all of their own brand products, including their makeup lines like MUA or Makeup Revolution, are all cruelty-free and most of them are vegan too.

So why haven’t all companies made the change, surely it’s for the better? The cosmetics industry has a long history when it comes to testing on animals, so at one point in time, every product would’ve been tested on animals. This means that for some brands there is a sense of convenience when it comes to how they make their makeup as being non-cruelty-free is all they have known. However, some companies insist on developing “new” ingredients that require new testing to be approved for consumption.

What do the customers have to say about non-cruelty-free brands?

Many customers have taken to social media to express their concern and distaste for companies that still aren’t cruelty-free, emphasizing how they will no longer be shopping there. Especially towards companies like MAC cosmetics which has received a large amount of hate and backlash on social media for their lack of ethics with how their products are made.

Consumers have also shown their anger on social media about companies claiming to be cruelty-free. For instance, brands claim to be cruelty-free when in fact their parent company still sells to China, where animal testing is mandatory. This creates a lot of fury in customers as companies are lying about their ethics or lack of. L’Oreal, in particular, is famous for doing this. Although they claim that all of their products sold outside of China are cruelty-free they still appear on the PETA list as they do still sell products in China. This causes a lot of aggravation for customers as brands represented by L’Oreal which aren’t present in China, such as The Body Shop still have cruelty-free logos but are represented by a company which still allows other products produced by them to be tested on animals in China.

People have been captivated by the idea of sustainable, cruelty-free makeup that reports suggest that the market is set to grow by 6.1% in the next 5 years. This shows that the more we talk about it, the more likely the cosmetics industry will be changed for good. So put down your MAC lipstick and NARS blush and make the ultimate change to your makeup routine forever, trust us you won't regret it!

What can you do to make a change?

The most logical way to put an end to animal testing is to make it illegal, which it, in fact, is in the EU, however it is only illegal in 4 states in the US to test on animals for cosmetics California (2002), New Jersey (2007), New York (2014) and Virginia (2018). This is why we need more consumers to take matters into their own hands and boycott the companies still practicing these methods.

Now you’re probably reading this and thinking that you not buying these products isn’t going to make a difference in how these companies exploit animals but that’s the sort of mindset that has allowed them to keep practicing their outdated techniques. By switching to cruelty-free or vegan makeup products not only are you living ethically and sustainably, but you’re also helping to not contribute to companies which hurt animals just for the sake of a lipstick.

If you are wanting to make the change to cruelty-free be sure to do your research on which cosmetics brand are or aren’t cruelty-free, some may shock you. To make sure you are buying a cruelty-free product look for the cruelty-free logo, as a company may be claiming to be cruelty-free when in fact they aren’t. If you see Cruelty Free International's Leaping Bunny symbol and the Choose Cruelty-Free rabbit badge these are both signifies that the product has been through the necessary ethical checks.

Must-try brands

So you’ve decided to make the switch but unsure on what brands are actually worth trying? Don’t worry we’ve got your back. These are our top 5 favorite cruelty-free makeup brands:

1. Kat Von D Beauty

High-quality and well priced, what more could you want? Kat Von D offers a variety of different products ranging from eyeshadow palettes to their iconic tattoo eyeliner. They’re also working on making all of their products vegan too, definitely a brand to check out!

2. Anastasia Beverly Hills

As if we needed another reason to love ABH, they’re also cruelty-free. Anastasia Beverly Hills undoubtedly has the best eyebrow products in the industry and always dominate, they’re always held in high regard by people all across the globe, from the very best makeup artists to you reading this at home. Try them out and your cruelty-free eyebrow game will be strong!

3. Urban Decay

Everyone has heard of the naked palettes, and if you haven’t you’ve definitely been living under a rock. Urban decay specializes in high-quality products for your inner beauty guru to come out and play, and now we can without being unethical. So go slay with their super pigmented bold, or neutral, eyeshadows whilst making a change.

4. Too Faced

Too Faced is another good quality brand suited for those who prefer a more natural rather than bold look. Their mainly known for their chocolate and peach eyeshadow palettes, which apparently smell amazing, and their ‘better than sex’ mascara. They also provide a very large range of vegan-friendly products too, what’s not to love?

5. e.l.f

E.l.f offers quality products at drugstore prices, packaged in sleek boxes to give the feel of a high-end product. Although not every product is of higher end value, they do offer some great dupes and other products at a fraction of the cost, which is perfect if you’re on a budget or just don’t like to spend much on makeup products. Note that not all of their brushes may be cruelty-free but their makeup products are.

Big brands that are currently not cruelty-free

Some of the biggest names in the cosmetics industry are still not cruelty-free, here are a few so you know who to avoid.

  • Bourjois
  • Calvin Klein
  • Chanel
  • Clinique
  • Estee Lauder
  • L’Oreal
  • Lancome
  • MAC
  • makeup For Ever
  • Max Factor
  • NARS
  • Revlon
  • Sephora

Just to name a few as the list does go on. Note that these are also companies who have been vocal about testing on animals at some point or sell products in China, however many brands choose to stay silent and not reveal that they have tested on animals.


  • molly

    the list of brands that aren’t cruelty free yet… bh can’t relate 💁‍♀️

  • Natalie Rivera

    I love this brand even more i can shop with confidence this brand is sooooo underrated !

  • Purnima

    Worth this brand

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