Cruelty-free beauty: what, where and why?


Ethical makeup: easier than you think

With thousands of beauty products on the market and more being invented seemingly every day (anyone in the market for a cheetos flavoured lip balm?) It can be hard to know where to start when shopping for new makeup. Anyone who’s ever popped out for a new mascara will know the feeling of staring at a wall of products, each promising to lengthen, define and thicken, and feeling completely overwhelmed. We all have ways of narrowing down the plethora of options out there in the hopes of finding something that actually works – some of us pick a brand and stick to it; others only buy within a budget, or pick whatever happens to be on offer. But I’d like to suggest a new standard to stick to, that’s as simple as it is kind and rewarding: Only buy cruelty-free makeup.

The ‘cruelty’ in ‘cruelty-free’ obviously alludes to the stringent animal testing that most products on the market are put through. At this point, beauty geeks might point out that animal testing has been banned in the EU (which included Britain when the law was passed) since 2013. But this isn’t the case in China and other countries outside Europe where many popular brands are still sold, meaning that when you buy that lipstick, be it high street or high end, a fraction of your money is being spent on cruel experiments on animals who quite simply have done nothing to deserve to suffer.

That’s something I and many others are increasingly uncomfortable with, and with this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of brands and products that don’t test their products on animals or sell in countries who demand they do, proving you can still love makeup and stick to your principles:

Soap and Glory

For the cruelty-free makeup junkie, Soap and Glory is up there in the ‘can’t live without it’ category. You could easily buy everything you need for a beautiful look from their counter, be it natural or not so natural. With no compromise on quality, and pretty retro packaging to boot, it’s one of the best cruelty-free brands on the market.

STAR PRODUCTS: Supercat; Sexy Motherpucker Lip Plumping Gloss


Soap and Glory Supercat eyeliner



Eyes Lips Face is not just great in terms of ethics, it’s incredibly affordable. The quality’s not bad at all, especially considering the price. If you’re looking for extras to switch into your makeup routine, like bold lipsticks and colourful eyeshadows to pair with your trusty (and pricier) staples, look no further. That said, basics such as their foundation and blushes are also lovely and come in nice packaging. The downside is that ELF products are currently only available online.

STAR PRODUCTS: Foundation; powder blush


Too Faced

Too faced is an amazing example of a hugely popular and current brand that’s holding true to its principles by refusing to sell in countries where makeup must be tested on animals. In terms of price point, it’s not the cheapest brand out there but neither is it wildly expensive, so next time you feel like treating yourself to some new warpaint, Too Faced is well worth considering. The eyeshadows in particular are highly pigmented and buttery, and can be combined to create a number of classic looks, from simple day time mattes to darker, sultry shimmers.

STAR PRODUCT: Natural Eye Neutral Eyeshadow Palette



Too Faced Natural Eyes pallette: great for day and night


Makeup Revolution

Makeup Revolution is another cheaper line, with products starting at just £1. Despite its affordability, it’s a serious makeup brand, with brushes and primers in the collection as well as the usual poppy lip colours and palettes. Honestly, makeup revolution wouldn’t be the first place I’d go for basics like eyeliner and mascara, but for fun impulse buys, it’s a nice ethical alternative to other cheaper makeup brands. Its contour palette also stands out, with a range of shades perfect for adding depth and highlight.

Star Products: Contour palette; eye primer

Putting all these products together, you’ve got a solid everyday makeup look, and the basis of a new, cruelty-free makeup collection. A couple more pointers for anyone considering making the switch include:

  • Check for the Leaping Bunny symbol (below) which is a guarantee that the brand has made a commitment to ending animal testing worldwide.
  • A good rule of thumb is to google whether a brand sells in China, as often this is where otherwise ethical brands fall short of being classed as cruelty-free.
  • Superdrug’s own brand, which includes the MUA line, is all cruelty-free and really affordable.
  • You won’t be alone: more and more shoppers and bloggers are making the change; a quick google reveals hundreds of tutorials, looks and products as the cruelty-free makeup movement really takes off.


    The Leaping Bunny logo (far left)

Lastly, happy shopping! This is a way we can all make a huge difference to the lives of animals—what better excuse to treat yourself?

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