In order for a product to be considered cruelty free, no animal testing should occur during production – that includes even using ingredients that have been tested by a third-party.
In some places of the world, animal testing is required by law, either requiring that the final product (such as in China); or that certain ingredients (such as in the US) are to be tested to comply with legislation. These products are not considered cruelty free.
Cruelty free products are not necessarily vegan – they can be exempt of animal testing and still contain animal products; such as carmine, beeswax, honey, gelatin, lanolin, etc.
I have labelled vegan brands below and written a post about them, which you can find here.
Aesop (cruelty free, vegan)
This has to be one of my favourite skincare brands of all time. The quirky and utilitarian packaging adds to the sense of understated elegance of their products, which I have come to really enjoy. I’ve been using their Amazing Face Cleanser along with the B & Tea Balancing Toner – both are refreshing, balancing and gentle. I tend to neglect exfoliation, so I don’t use their Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste as often as I should – it gets the job done, softening and deep cleansing my skin, whilst remaining gentle. The Facial Hydrating Serum is also a marvellous face moisturizer, with a very lightweight and mattifying effect.
Alaska Glacial Mud Co. (cruelty free, not vegan)
I love clay masks for their detoxifying, pore-minimizing and firming properties. Alaska Glacial Mud Co.’s masks are produced with hand-harvested glacial mud, with biodegradable, natural and certified organic ingredients. Their products are also free of synthetic fragrances, color fillers, and other chemicals (such as parabens and phthalates). All of their products are cruelty free and allergy tested, but some of them do contain animal products, and therefore are not vegan.
The Body Shop (cruelty free, not vegan, parent company not cruelty free)
The Body Shop is concerned with ethical trading: enriching, not exploring, products, ecosystems and local communities; as well as restoring rainforests and protect endangered animals. As for their products, the tea tree oil line is lovely, especially the mattifying toner. Their vegan products are listed here.
KORRES (cruelty free, not vegan)
A greek skincare and cosmetics brand which focuses on natural, organic ingredients. The brand’s packaging successfully captures the clean, gentle and natural vibe I get when using their products, especially the Wild Rose line.
LUSH (cruelty free, not vegan)
Lush is a 100% vegetarian (though they have plenty of vegan products, the brand itself is not 100% vegan) brand focused on fighting animal testing and hand making their products with as little preservatives as possible. Their Tea Tree Water is one of my favourite facial mists: soothing, refreshing and mattifying; and its gorgeous scent lifts my spirits as much as the product revitalizes my skin.
Anastasia Beverly Hills (cruelty free, not vegan)
Especially famous for their brow products, the makeup brand best known as Anastasia is not vegan, though it does have some vegan products, listed here.
Charlotte Tilbury (cruelty free, not vegan)
Charlotte Tilbury, a highly respected makeup artist, is as dazzling as her luxurious makeup products. It came as a very welcome surprise to learn that not only is her brand cruelty free, many of her products are also vegan.
Bite Beauty (cruelty free, not vegan, parent company not cruelty free)
As a brand specialized in lipstick made with all natural food-grade ingredients only, Bite Beauty’s name makes perfect sense. Some of their products contain Carmine, which is not vegan.
NARS (cruelty free, not vegan, parent company not cruelty free)
I don’t need to do a lot of thinking to name a few makeup staples by NARS: the Radiant Creamy Concealer, their ever famous Blush in Orgasm, and their Audacious Lipstick, especially its bolder shades – which makes it so surprising that one of its most popular shades is Anita, a beautiful and light pinky nude.
Tarte (cruelty free, not vegan)
I have to confess to never having worn any Tarte makeup, but I believe the Tartelette and Shape Tape Concealer’s popularity speak for their own. Though they’re not 100% vegan, their vegan friendly product range is abundant.
Urban Decay (cruelty free, not vegan, parent company not cruelty free)
Urban Decay is probably most famous for their Naked palettes – but truth be told, whenever I think of Urban Decay and eye makeup, I think of the gorgeous Solstice. Both their All Nighter Setting Spray and Eyeshadow Primer Potion are also amazingly well received products. Their vegan range can be found here.
Real Techniques (cruelty free, vegan)
Samantha Chapman and Nicola Haste are the sisters behind Real Techniques and Pixiwoo (a YouTube channel I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys makeup tutorials). Their brushes and sponges are not only vegan and affordable, they’re also very high quality.
Beauty Blender (cruelty free, vegan)
The Beauty Blender is incredibly popular and well known – and for good reason. It promises and delivers perfect application of primer, foundation and concealer; giving a natural, dewy finish to base products (some beauty gurus even use it to apply powder!).
Diptyque (cruelty free, not vegan)
I really enjoy lighting candles, especially scented ones – and though Diptyque candles are the ultimate in luxury and decadence, that’s not all they have to offer. With both personal and home fragrances, and face and body care available; their products never fail to entrance with their elegance (plus, the packaging is just so lush).
Le Labo (cruelty free, vegan, parent company not cruelty free)
Their fragrances are cruelty free, 100% vegan, and free of parabens and preservatives. I really love the utilitarian packaging, it just makes me feel like I’m tinkering with something really special – and when it comes to Le Labo’s fragrances, you can be sure that you are.
Whether you’re an animal lover, or just concerned with doing what’s best for them and the environment; whether you’re a makeup artist or just looking for good everyday makeup – finding high-quality cruelty free cosmetics has become a wonderfully easy task.
I hope this list was helpful. Happy shopping!