Cruelty-free cosmetic brands that do not sacrifice on quality


Courtesy of Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

It can be difficult to know what goes into your makeup and if the claims on packaging are truthful or not. 

Bethany Schleisman

Cruelty-free cosmetics is a specific market that many people are increasingly interested in. 

It can be difficult to fully interpret what is and is not cruelty-free. Many name brands are not cruelty free. 

The FDA’s stance on animal testing is that they support alternative but do not outlaw animal testing. 

“FDA supports the development and use of alternatives to whole-animal testing as well as adherence to the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability when animals are used for testing the safety of cosmetic products. We will continue to be a strong advocate of methodologies for the refinement, reduction, and replacement of animal tests with alternative methodologies that do not employ the use of animals,” said the FDA

In October of 2020 Ulta Beauty launched a new line called Conscious Beauty. This line places brands in one of these categories; clean ingredients, cruelty free, vegan, sustainable packaging and positive impact. At Ulta if a brand falls under one or more of these categories they are specially marked making sure we know. Here are some of the top brands that fall under the cruelty free line. 


Under the “Our Purpose” tab on the Bare Minerals website it states the following, “Every bareMinerals product is 100 percent free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, chemical sunscreen, triclocarban, propylene glycol, mineral oil, coat tar and microbeads and we are ALWAYS cruelty free.” The slogan that bareMinerals lives by is that clean is not a compromise.


When checking out Smashbox, beware of the labels. Smashbox is currently a cruelty-free makeup line that offers primers, foundation, lipstick and more. However Smashbox is owned by the parent company Esteé Lauder, which does participate in animal testing. 

Too Faced 

“Rest assured we continue to have iron-clad rules in place that will ensure we will NEVER test on animals and we will NOT sell in China,” Co-Founder Jerrod Blandino said.

China does not allow any product to be exported unless tested on animals in accordance with their guidelines. Many of these cruelty free companies do not even allow their products to be sold within places that have these guidelines in place. 

e.l.f. / CoverGirl

e.l.f. Cosmetics and CoverGirl are two cruelty free makeup companies that are sold not only through stores such as Ulta, Sephora and others, but are also found at local Targets, Walmarts and Walgreens. e.l.f Cosmetics and Cover Girl are one of the few drugstore makeup companies to be cruelty free. 

Many companies are making the switch to cruelty free. Most companies that are cruelty free will let you know through their packaging, labels and signage. Ulta Beauty does offer a list of cruelty free brands they sell. Some of these are also sold at various drugstore chains. Not only does the list offer makeup brands but skincare and hair care products as well.