Affordable Drugstore Cruelty Free Makeup Guide

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The people that know me well know that my three trademarks are the color pink, fairytales, and animal rights. The first two are pretty apparent on this blog, but animal rights is something that I have not discussed yet. We all have that one cause that sticks out and really gets us going, and for me, it’s always been animal rights. Animals have been taken advantage of for too long, just because they are innocent, trusting, and easy to take advantage of. Animal testing has become out of control, and it’s horrific how the majority of companies (and not just makeup companies, companies in general) conduct animal torture. Unfortunately, by purchasing from these companies, we are inadvertently funding animal cruelty by supporting these companies. Last year, over 200,000 animals lost their lives as a result of animal testing. With today’s modern advancements and technology, animal testing is not even necessary anymore, so why are we allowing the continuation of torture and loss of life of these innocents, for no reason at all? If animal testing is something you haven’t thought much about before reading this post, I highly recommend educating yourself on the ethics of the brands that you commonly purchase from; the first step is becoming aware of the issue!

Sadly, you’ll find that the majority of companies, including ones that are most commonly purchased from, still take part in this barbaric practice.

And not just makeup, research everything from skincare, to laundry detergent, to toothpaste. You’d be surprised to find how unethical most companies are!

Before we get into the cruelty free brands, here are some commonly seen companies, both drugstore and high end, that are NOT cruelty free and should be avoided:

Covergirl

L’Oréal

Maybelline

Revlon

Rimmel

MAC (the company that I despise the most for several reasons, animal testing being only one of them) 

Benefit

Make Up For Ever

Clinique

Estée Lauder

Benefit

NARS (was cruelty free up until recently, because they’ve now started selling to China. A company who sells their products in China automatically makes them NOT cruelty free because animal testing is required by law there) 

Chanel

Bobbi Brown

Clinique  

And let’s not forget common shampoo/skincare/toothpaste brands that are NOT cruelty free: 

Garnier 

Neutrogena  

Almay  

Aussie (anything Proctor and Gamble is a no no) 

Any Johnson and Johnson’s product  

Colgate (Proctor and Gamble) 

Crest  (Proctor and Gamble)

Origins  

Chanel  

Dior  

Febreeze  

Tresemme  

I could go on for ages;  that is just the tip of the iceberg (if I named all of them, we’d be here all day). I know, it’s a lot to take in, since the most commonly known and commonly purchased from companies are all on this list. It can be overwhelming at first, and you may be wondering what companies you even can purchase from. Going fully cruelty free can be a big transition for that reason, so I recommend taking small steps as you start to become more aware of ethical brands. Start with a certain category, like makeup for example! Start by making all your makeup cruelty free first, then wean yourself off everything else one by one. Makeup is what I will be discussing in this post, so let’s get started! 

e.l.f cosmetics

I often hear the excuse, “I can’t go cruelty free because I can’t afford it”. Contrary to what some people think, going cruelty free does not equal spending more. Did you know that e.l.f. cosmetics, a company that is known for being one of the most affordable, is a cruelty free and vegan brand?

If you are familiar with e.l.f., then you know that their trademark is offering professional quality makeup at affordable prices. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen an e.l.f. product that cost more than $10, eyeshadow palettes included. They offer everything from primers, brushes, to skincare. I admittedly am a bit of a high end fiend when it comes to makeup so I haven’t purchased from e.l.f. in a few years, but I browsed their website and found some great options.

High Definition Powder

$6.00

Click Here To Purchase

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I was shocked to find a loose powder that cost only 6 dollars. 6 dollars you guys! That’s unheard of for loose powder! With high end, I’ve paid anywhere from 25 to 50 dollars for loose powder; the price comparison is insane! Looks like I need to hop onto the e.l.f. bandwagon again! Unsurprisingly, this loose powder is currently sold out on their website. I will most definitely be making a purchase when they restock! 

Makeup Mist & Set (Large)

$6.00 

Click Here To Purchase

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Something else that caught my attention was this setting spray. I’ve only ever purchased high end setting sprays, so I was shocked to find that this setting spray is only $6! The Too Faced spray I recently purchased was $24, if that’s any indication of how affordable this product is in comparison.

E.l.f. offers a wide spectrum of products, so you honestly could only ever purchase makeup from this company and you’d be set.

Makeup Revolution

If you’re from the States like me, you may not have heard of this British drugstore brand. If you love fairytales and fantasy, you’ll love their mermaid, unicorn, and dragon themed makeup products. I have showcased some of their products on my Instagram flatlays before (namely their unicorns heart highlighter) but this company is still relatively new to me. This brand is gaining traction, and I suspect it won’t be long until it’s a household name in the States as well!

I Heart Revolution Unicorns Heart/Dragon’s Heart Highlighters

$7 each 

Click Here To Purchase Unicorns Heart

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If you’re looking for a unique, instagrammable highlighter, these are perfect! I have yet to try the Dragon’s Heart highlighter but I have previously reviewed the Unicorns Heart Highlighter in my unicorn themed makeup review

I Heart Revolution Unicorns Heart Eyeshadow Palette

$10

Click Here to Purchase

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You can not only get Unicorns Heart as a highlighter, you can now get it as an eyeshadow product! This palette has a wide array of colors, including pinks, purples, blues, and silvers. A Dragon’s Heart version of this palette is also available.

I Heart Revolution I Heart Chocolate- Pink Fizz

$15

Click Here To Purchase

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If you’re looking for a drugstore dupe of the Too Faced chocolate bar line, check out the Makeup Revolution I Heart Chocolate collection! They offer different variations of palettes in their I Heart Chocolate collection, from nude shades, rose golds, to this pink fizz palette.

Ardell

Switching gears, let’s move onto a company that focuses primarily on one type of product. Ardell is mainly known for their line of false eyelashes; you’ve probably heard of their infamous demi wispies. I was thrilled when I found out that Ardell was cruelty free because I had already been using their falsies for years, even before I became conscious of which companies were cruelty free and which weren’t. Ardell lashes are probably the highest quality eyelashes you can get that are in the “affordable” category. I exclusively use Ardell for eyelashes because I just can’t get behind spending $15 or more on a pair of falsies that I’ll chuck right after I use them (eyelashes are one thing that I won’t go high end for). I’m going to continue to stick to Ardell exclusively for my falsies, which is just fine with me!

Demi Wispies

$7.69 at Target

Click Here To Purchase

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Wet N Wild

Yet another extremely affordable brand! I personally have never tried Wet N Wild (again, I’m a high end fiend when it comes to makeup) but I am very familiar with this company! I browsed through the Wet N Wild website and found that their prices are almost identical to e.l.f.’s prices, some even cheaper! Check this out: this eyeshadow palette has 10 shades and is only $4.99!

Color Icon Eyeshadow 10 Pan Palette

$4.99

Click Here To Purchase 

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And don’t think that cheap equates low quality either. According to the high reviews, these eyeshadows are extremely pigmented and smooth. For that price, it’s worth giving it a try!

Color Icon Pigment Bundle

$6.00

Click Here To Purchase

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Something else that caught my attention was this loose pigment. A couple months ago, I purchased the Too Faced Pure Gold Loose Glitter for $17, and that was for that one gold glitter pigment. This Wet N Wild pigment set is $6, so you get 4 different colors for a fraction of the price! 

Color Icon Metallic Liquid Eyeshadow in Mysterious Nights

Currently on sale for $2.49, normal price $4.99

Click Here To Purchase

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Yet another product that instantly caught my eye: this gorgeous liquid eyeshadow. The color is insanely gorgeous, and is comparable to the Stila Magnificent Metals eyeshadows that costs $24 (which is a product that I also love, but is pretty pricey). This is a far more affordable option!

Physicians Formula

One of my go to drugstore brands! I don’t shop drugstore as often as I should but when I do, my two staples are Physicians Formula and Milani (which will be mentioned later in this post). You may have heard about one of their most popular products, the Butter Bronzer.

Butter Bronzer

$14.95

Click Here To Purchase

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I have yet to try this bronzer because I rarely wear bronzer, and I don’t think I’ll be getting through my Too Faced Chocolate Soleil anytime soon because I hardly use bronzer. However, I have heard nothing but good things about this product. If I ever need a new bronzer, this is what I’ll probably go for!  

#InstaReady Full Coverage Concealer SPF 30

Price varies from $8-$10

Click Here To Purchase

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I can’t rave about this concealer enough! I like this even more than the high end concealers I’ve paid double the price for! Some things are worth going high end for but I don’t think concealer is one of them. This product is proof that paying a high amount for concealer is unnecessary; drugstore products (if you buy from the right brand) can be high coverage too! I didn’t like the pink foam applicator that came with this though (which I pretty much expected), so I tossed it and used a Real Techniques beauty blender instead. This product is currently sold out on the Physicians Formula website, but you may be able to find it in drugstores (which is where I purchased mine).

My second favorite Physicians Formula product is the Happy Booster Blush:

Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Rose

$11.95

Click Here to Purchase

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Not gonna lie, I bought this product because the packaging was cute. However, I quite enjoyed this cute little product! The blush adds a pretty color to your cheeks that is just the shade that I like for my blushes. This product is infused with natural plant extracts that supposedly should promote happiness from endorphins upon application, but I didn’t really notice a difference (but then again, I wasn’t paying attention or thinking of my mood when I last applied this). Nonetheless, this is a super pretty shade with adorable packaging!

Pixi

I went back and forth about whether or not I should include Pixi, because though it is technically drug store, the prices are more on the high end spectrum. In the end I decided to include it because Pixi is one of my favorite companies of all time. These products are more expensive than what you would normally consider drugstore, but this also means that the quality will be more on a high end level as well. Have you ever heard the term, you get what you pay for? This isn’t always true in every case, but from my experience with makeup, I find that this phrase is often true. Not to say that cheap products won’t do the job, but don’t expect an $8 product to be on the same level as a $24 Pixi product. With Pixi, you aren’t just paying more for no reason, you are getting all natural, higher quality products. Fun fact: Pixi is my favorite company for skin care! My morning and night routine now consists of almost exclusively Pixi products, and once I use some other products up, I plan to transition my skincare routine to 100% Pixi products.

Though this is a makeup post, my experience with Pixi’s makeup is limited, so I will be showcasing their skin care products rather than makeup.

Glow Tonic

$29

Click Here To Purchase

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If you haven’t tried this miracle product yet, then you are truly missing out. I have been raving about this product for as long as I can remember, and it’s finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. Hands down, this is the best toner I’ve ever used! The only thing I don’t like is the packaging, because I prefer to spritz my toner onto my face. My solution was to take the empty spritzer bottle of a Lush toner (which I didn’t like, no offense to Lush) and fill it with this Pixi toner instead. 

Glow Mud Mask

$22

Click Here To Purchase

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This is probably the third time I’ve mentioned this product on this blog, but I couldn’t do a post about Pixi without including it! This is genuinely my favorite face mask ever, and the best that I have ever tried (and I’ve tried many different face masks). 

Rose Oil Blend

$24

Click Here To Purchase

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This product is so luxurious and smells amazing! I love using this in place of moisturizer in the morning because it’s much nicer to apply and smells amazing! The scent alone is great aromatherapy to get your day started. 

Milani

Milani is a fairly well known drugstore brand that you probably have seen around, and it’s another cruelty free option! Milani has some great eye and face makeup products, which I’ll be showcasing today.

Conceal + Perfect 2 in 1 Foundation

$10

Click Here To Purchase

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I’m going to be honest, I don’t like drugstore foundations at all. Foundation is one thing that I think is completely worth going high end for. I’ve found that no matter what drugstore brand I use, it sits heavily on my skin and feels like I’m wearing a layer of paint on my face all day. I could practically hear my pores crying! However, I did try this foundation on a whim and it isn’t as bad as the other drugstore foundations I’ve tried. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good product exactly, but in my opinion, no drugstore foundation is ever going to be all that great. Foundation is something I always recommend going high end for, but if you still want to stick to drugstore, this product is probably your best bet for foundation. It isn’t amazing but it does the trick for the most part! Plus, it’s much better than that Maybelline or Revlon garbage I used before I went cruelty free. I’m convinced that stuff is made from straight up paint! 

Prep + Set + Go Transparent Face Powder

$10

Click Here To Purchase

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This pressed powder does the trick, and costs less than half of the Tarte pressed powder that works almost exactly the same. Top your foundation with this powder to hold it in place all day, and to keep your face from getting that uncomfortable, sticky feeling that it gets when you don’t powder.

Fierce Foil Eyeshine

$11

Click Here To Purchase

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Fancy something super shimmery and metallic? Look no further! These eyeshadows have a metallic foil finish and will make your eyelids super shimmery, perfect for girls night out! To make this extra shimmery, apply a primer or concealer as a base, then apply the foil shadow with your fingers instead of a brush. Just blend it out, and you’re good to go!

Gilded Desires Eye & Face Palette

$20

Click Here To Purchase

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Of all the eyeshadow palettes Milani offers, this one is my favorite. Some of the shades remind me of my favorite Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette, but for a fraction of the price. This palette has a gorgeous merlot wine shade, a metallic rose gold, and a sparkly champagne, which are my three favorites! It also contains both metallic and matte shades. For $20, it’s absolutely worth it.

Hard Candy

Hard Candy is another prime example of how going cruelty free does not equal spending more on makeup! This notoriously affordable makeup company is cruelty free and vegan. This is a company that I have been familiar with for a long time, but have never actually tried. I browsed through their website and picked out some products that looked promising. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of products that they offer, especially their eye makeup products!

Glamoflauge Concealer

$6

Click Here to Purchase

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As I mentioned before, concealer is one of those items that I think is unnecessary to go high end for. It’s one of those makeup products that’s hard to mess up; either it covers your under eye circles or it doesn’t.  According to the description, this will conceal both under eye circles and blemishes, so I’ll have to give this a try sometime!

Shadowspheres Eye Shadow Palette 

$8

Click Here to Purchase

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I was completed floored when I saw this on the Hard Candy website. An eyeshadow palette of this caliber for only $8? No way! This palette includes a variety of satin, matte, and shimmer shades. It’s currently sold out, so keep an eye out on their website if you would like to purchase this!

Look Pro! Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette

$10

Click Here to Purchase

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This palette includes 15 different shades, all for only $10! There is a nice mixture of both shimmer and matte shades, so there’s plenty of variety. The colors look absolutely gorgeous; from the looks of it, you’d never guess that this palette isn’t high end!

EcoTools

With drugstore eyeshadow palettes, you’ll notice that they often include a flat applicator. However, these are notoriously bad and will not apply your eyeshadow well at all (you’re honestly better off just using your fingers), so I highly recommend tossing those applicators and buying your own makeup brushes. That’s where EcoTools comes in! They offer a variety of makeup brushes, beauty blenders, brush cleansers, and even hair brushes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have an adequate makeup brush collection! 

Ultimate Shade Duo 

$4.99

Click Here to Purchase

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This set includes a flat shader brush and a blending brush; both are necessities for eye makeup application!

Brow Shaping Duo 

$4.99

Click Here to Purchase

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Ladies, don’t skimp on the brows! Good brows will help shape your face, so they should definitely be part of your makeup routine. Having a spoolie is especially important, because no matter what eyebrow product you are using (pencil, gel, shadow, etc.), you will need to blend it out.

Sheer Powder

$5.99

Click Here to Purchase

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Powder brushes are usually the most expensive of all the makeup brushes (along with certain foundation brushes). This brush will do the trick for just a fraction of the price!

Real Techniques

Going cruelty free doesn’t mean you will have to stick to one company for certain things. Real Techniques is yet another cruelty free makeup brush company, so you’ll be able to take your pick between this and EcoTools! It is a bit pricier that EcoTools but still affordable, and I actually prefer Real Techniques because of one product in particular: 

Miracle Complexion Sponge

$11 (2 pack)

Click Here to Purchase

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This product is how most people, myself included, know of this company. This is the best beauty blender you will ever use; and works even better than the Sephora beauty blender (or so I hear, since I have never tried the Sephora blender). While the Sephora beauty blender itself is cruelty free (beauty accessories are not required to be tested on animals in China), the Sephora line itself is not. Therefore, I cannot and will not support anything from the Sephora line, beauty blenders included. Also, the Sephora beauty blender is a whopping $20 for that little piece of sponge, and I’ve heard it isn’t even as good of a product as the far cheaper Real Techniques product. Why would you pay more than double for a less effective product? Ditch the Sephora blender and give this one a try! I have been using this Real Techniques product to apply my foundation for a long time, and I rarely use face brushes anymore! 

Brush Cleansing Gel

$9

Click Here to Purchase

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If you haven’t invested in a makeup brush cleanser yet, I recommend having one on hand. While it is still best to deep clean your makeup brushes with soap and water, who has the time to deep clean an eyeshadow brush everytime you need to use a different color? Having a cleanser is great to have for in between those deep cleanses, especially when you’re switching between different eyeshadow shades and need a clean brush to do so.

There you have it, 10 different affordable cruelty free companies! If you haven’t previously considered purchasing exclusively from cruelty free brands yet, I highly recommend stopping your support of any cosmetic companies that are causing the unnecessary loss of life of innocent animals. As you can see from this post, going cruelty free is easy, and there are no lack of options! All it takes is a little research to figure out which companies you can and can’t purchase from. It’s a bit tough at first, but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. 

If you want to join me in the fight to ban animal testing, click here to sign The Body Shop’s petition; they need 10 million signatures to take this cause to the UN. 

If you have made the decision to shop exclusively cruelty free, or if you have any questions about how to transition, leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, if you would like another one of these posts but with high end makeup brands, or a cruelty free skincare/hair product guide next, let me know! What is your favorite cruelty free makeup brand?