How To Go Cruelty Free with Makeup

I remember watching Legally Blonde 2 when it came out and thinking,
“Oh good, she got rid of animal testing for cosmetics! How great!”
But after that, animal testing for the purpose of cosmetics became an afterthought.
That is, until I started looking into it more and becoming more educated about the topic some years later.

For some reason, I just thought there was no more animal testing in the United States. I think part of it has to do with watching Legally Blonde 2 and thinking that Elle abolished it, lol.

Well, one of my friends decided to only use cruelty-free (“CF”) makeup products recently (and by recently I mean like last year) and I just thought it was an impossible task. For some reason, I believed that CF beauty products were subpar to those who did test on animals. I’m talking about those luxury brands like Dior and Chanel, or the high-end brands like Benefit or Bobbi Brown.

So when my friend would talk about animal testing and the different practices, I would listen but it didn’t really sink in.

But then I kept getting hit with all these CF videos on YouTube and different articles would pop up about animal testing, that I felt like I needed to look more into it.

It is extremely easy to switch to using only CF makeup! It is not an impossible task.

And so I put together a little guide to help you transition into using only CF makeup! With the new year, this is the perfect time to consider a change!

1. Educate yourself

Recently, Bret and I were shopping in Target and he mentioned he wanted a body lotion (he has dry and sensitive skin so he’s very picky). So he picked out an Aveeno one. I tell him to put it back because it’s not CF. He threw a fit and came back to the aisle with a different lotion that also wasn’t CF. Again I tell him to put it back as I walk down the natural beauty products aisle in the beauty area.

He asked me what the big deal was about CF vs. non CF products because testing on animals was not that bad. So I asked him if he knew what companies did to animals they test on. He gave me a blank stare. So I told him that companies don’t just put lotion on animals fur to see what happens, they inject them with it, in their bodies and eyes, to see how it irritates them, they skin them of their fur so they have more of a “skin” like form that’s closer to humans. After explaining these practices, he said “ohhh I just thought they put the product on the animal.”

The biggest thing about transitioning to CF beauty products is learning how animals are tested on because through that you’ll understand why testing on animals is cruel and is much worse than “putting lotion on a bunny.”

Also, a brand is not considered cruelty free if they don’t test animals except required by law. What this means is that brand does not test their ingredients or products on animals but they sell their products in a country that requires animal testing therefore that country tests the product on animals before they sell it to consumers. China is the main country that has this law; the Chinese government requires animal testing in order for a beauty product to be sold on mainland China. There are ways around this but that’s a whole different story (and not many companies choose this route because it’s very expensive).

There are two schools of thought when it comes to what people will consider CF brands. Most brands are owned by parent companies and most parent companies are not CF. Some people believe that if the parent company is not CF, then they won’t use the products. However, many believe that having a non CF parent company does not automatically disqualify the CF brand, but rather provides an opportunity to vote with our money. If we purchase products from CF brands and the parent company sees this, hopefully they’ll take note and consider making all their companies CF.

2. Look up brands you use on CF websites

There are several ways to find out if a product or brand you currently use is CF or not.

First, look at the product. Somewhere on the product you may see one of two logos: PETA or Leaping Bunny. Only these two specific bunnies mean that the brand is certified as CF. There are plenty of products out there that put bunnies on their packaging to depict they are CF without actually being certified. Additionally, some brands may put something like “we never test on animals” or “this product is cruelty free” on their packaging. Just because a product says this does not mean it is actually CF! This discrepancy is due to a lack of regulation on CF and packaging.

On the picture below, the first bunny is for PETA and the last bunny is Leaping Bunny. However, the bunny in the middle is representative of fake bunnies that brands put on products to fool people in thinking they are CF without doing any research.

comparing CF logos

Secondly, if you’re still unsure, check out a website that keeps track of all the CF and non CF brands. I primarily use Logical Harmony and her various lists to look up brands. She constantly updates her lists to include new brands or brands who have switched their stance. I appreciate her website because she personally contacts the brands, asks them very detailed questions, and determines their CF status based on their answers. She has a list of CF brands, brands to avoid (those who are definitely not CF), pending brands (brands who she has contacted but haven’t heard from), and grey area brands (brands who may or may not have responded and their responses are a little questionable). These lists are so helpful and I have the CF and Brands to Avoid lists bookmarked on my phone and computer for easy access when I’m shopping online or in store.

3. Look through your current makeup stash

It may surprise you how much stuff you have that is CF (unless you’re like my mom and exclusively use one or two brands). When I sorted through my collection to see how much was CF, I was shocked to see that about 75% was CF. There are lots of drugstore and high end brands that are CF!

4. Use up what you have and replace it with CF products

Now, if you want to transition to CF products, you don’t have to go throw out everything and start over. You spent your money on it, use it up! Since switching to CF makeup, I have only one thing left that isn’t CF and that’s MAC Fix+ because that takes forever to get through, lol. Then repurchase similar items that are CF, it’s really that simple.

My mom primarily uses Covergirl (not CF) and was shocked when we were at Target one night and I pointed out all the brands that are CF. You could tell she thought there was no way the CF brands outnumber the non CF brands at the drugstore. So right now I’m letting her use up all her Covergirl and Mary Kay and then when she runs out of a product, I’ll take her shopping at Target, Ulta, or Sephora and we’ll go on a little shopping spree!

Honestly, transitioning to CF Makeup is so easy (it was way easier than giving up Hot Cheetos and let me tell you, that was not easy). I hope this guide helps you in your journey. Please feel free to comment any and all questions you may have! If I can’t answer them, I’ll direct you to someone or a website that can!

Here’s a list of some of my favorite CF brands:

Wet n Wild
Catrice (Ulta)
Pixi by Petra (Target exclusive)
No7 (Target and Ulta)
Physicians Formula
Hard Candy (Walmart)
Burt’s Bees
LA Girl
Flower Beauty (Walmart and Ulta)
Makeup Revolution
Kat Von D (Sephora)
Too Faced
Urban Decay
Ulta brand

Favorite CF Skincare/Bath brands:

The Body Shop
Ulta brand
Soap & Glory
Burt’s Bees
Ole Henriksen
First Aid Beauty

To learn more I always watch YouTube videos and there are plenty of beauty YT’s that are CF:

Nicole Renee
Andrea Matillano
Kristen Leanne

YT’s that aren’t CF but have amazing reviews!

Emily Noel
Jessica Braun


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