I have been wanting to do a post on cruelty free makeup for a while now and today seemed as good a day as any for it. The intent behind this post is certainly not to preach to anyone about ethics (because Lord knows I’d come down on the side of guilty if that’s what this was about), but simply to provide a point of reference to anyone who wants to use cruelty free makeup.

PETA’s cruelty free list is sort of the gold standard for what qualifies as cruelty free makeup from what I can tell. I’ll quickly mention that just because something isn’t on PETA’s list doesn’t necessarily mean (...but probably does...) that it isn’t actually completely cruelty free. Brands do have to sign an agreement with PETA to make it onto that list. However, there are brands which publically call themselves cruelty free that wouldn’t make it onto PETA’s list. Every element of the production process of a product must be cruelty free to make it onto the PETA list. Some companies may test the ingredients of a product on animals for example, but not the finished product. It’s worth reading some of PETA’s FAQs to get a clear picture on how it all works.

A lot of people know this now, but a few years ago Estee Lauder, who own a lot of cosmetic brands (Mac, Clinique and a schwack of others), relinquished their cruelty free status in order to sell their products in China. China’s policy in regards to cosmetics is that they must be tested on animals before being made available for retail. I really appreciated that on PETA’s website they note their disagreement primarily lies with regulatory agencies that require animal testing and less with the actual brands that are put in a difficult position because of it. Unfortunately that move on Estee Lauder’s part means it’s a bit harder to walk into a department store and find cruelty free makeup these days.

Still, there are loads of brands in department stores and even some in the drugstore that are cruelty free. So without any greater procrastination and rambling, here are some brands to note.

High End Makeup Cruelty Free Brands:

Josie Maran
Urban Decay
Too Faced
Obsessive Compulsive
Bare Escentuals (presumably that means Buxom and Bare Minerals)
Lime Crime
Cover FX

Drugstore Makeup Cruelty Free Brands:

Wet n Wild
Physicians Formula
Bonne Belle
The Body Shop (this one’s a bit of a lone ranger – I wasn’t quite sure where to put it)

Of course there are loads more cruelty free companies out there. If you shop at Whole Foods, for example, they do the work for you in their selection process. But for this post I wanted to focus on brands that are mainstream and that we’re most often exposed to. If I’ve missed any obvious ones please do tell me. 


  1. A great post! I solely buy cruelty free products- even when it comes to skincare and cleaning supplies for the house. PETA's list is a little weird... when I first went cruelty free I solely relied on them, but now I prefer Leaping Bunny (http://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping.php) over Peta. I also look to blogs like My Beauty Bunny, Logical Harmony, and Phyrra for their cruelty free shopping list too. There really are tons of options when it comes to cruelty free products, it just requires a little research and understanding the basics.
    And just a heads up- in your list, unfortunately Smashbox isn't cruelty free D: In their cruelty free statement, they added the unfortunate phrasing "unless where required by law", which means they are most likely selling in China. *sigh* I hate it when companies have to use such phrasing.
    Blushing Biddies

    1. I just took a look at Leaping Bunny and there are so few companies that made it onto their cruelty free cosmetics list. It's odd how there can be that great a disparity.

  2. So happy to have found a post on cruelty free makeup here on bloominrouge ! :D I've tried really hard to only buy products that are tested on animals, but as you might know- many companies still do.. but I try my best and compensate (even if you can't really think like that when it comes to animals well being) and don't eat any meat. Scandinavian brands are normally very good at being very strict with no animal tested products and I'm hoping that with time more brands around the world will adapt the same philosophy! xxx