I remember when I first started wearing makeup in middle school and high school. I would set my alarm clock to go off extra early in the mornings to make sure I had enough time to do my signature winged eyeliner. While I cringe at the pictures of myself back then not knowing what I was doing when it came to makeup, I look back with kinder eyes knowing I was simply young and inexperienced in the world of beauty as most of us were and may still be, which is totally okay. That is why there are professional makeup artists who spend years learning the best techniques and discovering new ways to enhance natural beauty. It really is an art form that can’t be perfected overnight.
When you are first starting out, you rarely have the luxury or want to spend money on expensive makeup, so we often find ourselves in a local drugstore bravely wandering the makeup aisle without any idea of what most of this stuff is let alone what it’s made of. I remember my go-to was Maybelline and L’Oreal makeup products because they were the only ones I knew of simply because they were advertised so heavily and I figured they must be good if I see them everywhere, right? Wrong. Of course, not giving one thought to the ingredients in the products themselves or all of the tests on animals that went into putting this single makeup product in my hand.
I have only recently put serious thought into the makeup that I buy because I know now exactly what I am looking for. I also realize that just like going to the grocery store and buying healthy food, it’s just as important to think about where our beauty products come from. There are so many brands out there it can be overwhelming to decide which ones are best. That is why I have put together a little guide to help you better navigate the beauty aisle while focusing on cruelty-free and vegan makeup products. I encourage you to do your own research as well if you really love a brand I didn’t mention and want to know if it’s vegan and/or cruelty-free there are some great resources out there. I personally recommend checking on CrueltyFreeKitty.com because a lot of makeup brands can claim to be one thing but aren’t another and their website makes it easy to look up any brand. All of the brands I mention are also not owned by parent companies that harm animals in addition to the brand itself.
I love ColourPop which is why they are number one on my list. This affordable makeup brand is 100% cruelty-free and they have a section on their website that has all of their vegan products listed. As a Los Angeles, CA-based brand, they do a phenomenal job making their products pop with new collections frequently coming out. They collaborate with other brands to produce enjoyable and engaging promotional products and giveaways. ColourPop is all about having fun with makeup and feeling good about what you are putting on. I have purchased so many products from them throughout the years and I keep coming back because I know what I get is going to be good quality and at a great price point. They are currently available at Ulta and on their website.
EM Cosmetics is founded by popular YouTuber Michelle Phan who started her makeup tutorials back in 2005. This brand is all about clean skin and prides itself in skin-loving ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and SPF. Whether you are going for a natural glow or a full face, this brand has everything you could need for a soft to glamorous makeup look. I love the finishes of these products and the packaging is so luxurious. All products are 100% cruelty-free and each product on their website has a ‘claims’ section where you can see which products are also vegan, fragrance-free, paraben free, and more. Additionally, all ingredients are listed for anyone with allergies. Although it is a bit pricier, the quality and care behind each product are so apparent that it is worth spending a little bit more. They are currently available on Amazon and on their website.
In my humble opinion, this is the best 100% vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand available at the drugstore. They have an amazing price point and have a wide array of inventory to choose from skincare to makeup. The brand itself is simple and understated, but it’s effective and works for them. Through the years they have expanded their collection and are coming out with new products with a variety of benefits and are also collaborating with creators and makeup artists to enhance their image. I definitely have some holy grail products from e.l.f that I am just die-hard about and refuse to pay more for another product when I can get the same quality with e.l.f. This brand is widely available at CVS and Walgreens as well as Ulta and on their website.
I adore Juvia’s Place. This brand is deeply rooted in inclusivity and diversity, and their products reflect that. Their shade range features 42 unique shades to fit a wide variety of skin tones. My favorite product of theirs is the ‘I Am Magic’ foundation. It is super pigmented and is full coverage which can be used as a concealer or foundation. I mix it up and use a small amount as a concealer with a lighter coverage foundation during the summer months, but it stays on all day and doesn’t crease. One bottle goes a long way. I have also tried their concealer and setting powders which are just as great. I am never disappointed with this brand and am eager to try their eye shadow palettes when I run out of mine because all of their colors are so beautiful and rich. Right now Juvia’s Place is available at Ulta, Amazon, and on their website.
I have yet to try Milk Makeup products, but I know people that swear by their products. They are 100% vegan and cruelty-free in addition to being paraben-free and gluten-free. I have heard people say their KUSH mascara is amazing as well as their Hyrdo Grip primer which I am eager to try. This brand is so fun and fresh and infuses hemp-derived cannabis seed oil in most of its products and the benefits include, anticancer effects, antioxidant effects, and anti-aging effects. All good stuff for your skin. They are available at Sephora and on their website.
Although this isn’t a makeup brand necessarily, I just love these makeup brushes and have been using them for the past 3 years. The bristles are so soft and don’t feel scratchy at all like some other vegan makeup brushes I have tried. Their beauty blender is also great and one that I have been using forever it’s such good quality and the packaging even comes with a little seed you can plant to grow which is just so special and unique to the brand. This brand is 100% vegan and cruelty-free and as a bonus, all packaging is made with biodegradable paper. They are available at Ulta, Target, Amazon, and on their website.
Those are the brands I am currently loving and I hope this inspired you to get out of your makeup comfort zone and try out new brands that value the lives of animals and contain good ingredients for your skin. Have a great day!
Featured image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/makeup-set-2253833/
Wow. This is really interesting. You did a great job on pointing out the important things to think about in using any makeup products. Thank you very much.
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