Everything You Need to Know when Shopping for Cruelty-Free Makeup

It’s that time of the year, we need to re-stock our makeup bag with our seasonal mascara change and pick a biannual foundation and concealer that suit our whiter, winter complexion. As we do this we want to make like Elle Woods and stick the pin in animal testing on poor, helpless animals by shopping for cruelty-free makeup.

It can seem a bit daunting, completely overhauling your collection which probably features a brand or two that do test on animals. That is why we want to help you learn the brands you should and shouldn’t stock up on.

The good news is that five of your favourite brands are cruelty-free.

  • Hourglass
  • NARS*
  • Bare Minerals*
  • Too Faced
  • Urban Decay*

Interestingly enough, while the brands with an * are still cruelty-free makeup their parents brands are not.

But, what about a few of our other favourite brands?


We know that MAC is open with their animal testing, and have openly shared that they are trying do all they can to stop this. In a statement on their website they said: “We, like you, hate the fact that animal testing still exists. Over 20 years ago, M·A·C was one of the first beauty companies to use alternatives to animal testing. Even though we don’t test on animals ourselves, our products or ingredients can be tested on animals in places like China as a requirement by law.”  They are openly sharing that they are trying to end the movement of animal testing globally by partnering with the INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES (IIVS ). While they aren’t there yet, it is promising that another of our favourite brands will make the list soon. In my opinion MAC deserves props for being so open.


Benefit state on their website that they do not test their finished products on animals. Unfortunately, while everyone thinks they are cruelty free it seems they may not be. Cruelty Free Kitty, one of the biggest online cruelty-free resources explains that they are not cruelty free because “they test on animals where required by law”. You can read more about her reasoning here.

Cruelty-Free Kitty has come up with a vast list of cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands, which we definitely recommend checking out before your next online Sephora or Mecca order. SAFE has also come up with there own list of products a little closer to home.  To make Cruelty-Free Kitty’s  cruelty-free brands must follow these guidelines:


  • No animal testing conducted by their company on any finished product or ingredient.
  • No animal testing conducted by their suppliers.
  • No animal testing conducted by third parties on behalf of the company.
  • No animal testing where required by law.



The last point is the biggest cause for confusion for whether a brand is or isn’t considered cruelty free. The issue is that while brands do not test their products on animals in the United States, they often have to pay for testing in China, where it is required by law.

Let’s be honest. None of us want to see our favourite doggy, moggy or bunny being used just so we can apply a touch of makeup.

Products to try:


This cheeky brand is cruelty-free and that makes their hilarious packaging even more amazing.

Meet Matt(e) Nude


Have you been nude-y or nice? 🎅🏽🎄 #MeetMatteNude #Eyeshadow #Palette #theBalm

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Mary-Lou Manizer


She’s a glow-getter ✨ #MaryLouManizer #MaryLou #highlighter #theBalm

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