One of my new year’s resolutions back in January was to transition all of my beauty routines (makeup, skincare, and hair) to cruelty free brands. I thought I was going to have to spend more money than before to replace my ’empties’ with cruelty free options, but I’m here to tell you that is NOT always the case.
I’ve rounded up 10 different cruelty free brands for makeup, skincare, and hair that have products under $10 and that I love and use weekly.
There are more budget cruelty free brands than what I have listed here, but these are the ones I can personally vouch for. And many of these brands have products across the spectrum– for hair, makeup, and skincare– so you’ll see some listed a few times.
At the bottom of the post I’ll talk a bit about making the switch and resources I use to make sure I’m using truly cruelty free brands 🙂
Affordable Cruelty Free Brands for Makeup
Before I had switched to cruelty free I used to buy NYX simply because it was the cheapest brand at Sephora! And now I intentionally buy it because it’s affordable AND animal friendly.
Every day I use this eyeshadow base to help conceal darkness and veins on my eyelids before applying shadows, and this wonder pencil is great for applying to your waterline to brighten your eyes. It really helps you look more awake after a late night! I do like NYX liquid liners, as well as this line of lipsticks that made my roundup of favorite drugstore lipsticks post.
This palette may be over $10, but I love using it for travel. It has great neutral and deep shades for doing day and night eye looks, as well as highlighter, bronzer, and blushes for that little something extra. It’s a great all in one type of palette.
FYI: One thing I have never liked from NYX are their mascaras. I’ve tried a few but always been disappointed in the results.
I have bought this Milani kohl kajal eyeliner in bulk because I love it so much! I am not an eyeliner pro (you’d think someone would get better at this eventually?!) but this one glides on easily and is a very true black. If you struggle with getting even eyeliner, too, give this one a try.
I also have this lipstick in Brandy Berry and always gets compliments on it. I love that on the website they show photos of women with all different skin tones wearing the shade so you can get a better idea of if it’s right for you.
While I don’t have this baked blush (I’m not too much of a blush person), it is a cult favorite among beauty bloggers so I thought I’d include it in this list as well. They all can’t be wrong, right!?
My mom always includes Burt’s Bees lipsticks in our Christmas stockings and I LOVE IT! She got me started with the lip shimmers, which are kind of a step down from lipstick in intensity. My favorite shade is Fig, which looks super natural. These also made my drugstore lipstick roundup post!
If you just need a basic chapstick, Burt’s Bees has tons of different versions. Personally I think the pomegranate smells the best.
And lastly, if you’re trying the no-makeup makeup look, the tinted balms are the way to go. They’re just a hint of color but with all the usual moisture and glow.
If you read my recent fall color post then you know my favorite lipstick right now is this velvety one from Physician’s Formula. I own two! I don’t need more but I probably will get a few others over the next few months. I like that the formula is close to matte without drying out my lips. And it lasts really well without lip liner.
Now I know that this BB cream is listed here for over $10, but you can get it cheaper on Amazon. I prefer a fuller coverage BB cream to wearing foundation day to day, and this one fits the bill. It does have a bit of a playdough smell when you open it up, but I’m happy with the all day wear so it’s forgivable.
I’ve also heard good things about the butter bronzer, so when my current one is up I’m going to purchase this one.
Overall the Physician’s Formula brand is a little closer to/over the $10 mark, but in store sometimes you can find $3 off manufacturer’s coupons on the products, and always double check Amazon prices to see if they’re cheaper.
Between NYX and e.l.f I feel like you can really create a solid makeup routine for under $30. This brand is renowned for their primers and brushes, and since I seem to have a lipstick buying problem I also like the Ravishing Rose shade of this one, I don’t find the longevity to be as great as with other brands, but for the price point I don’t mind terribly.
So far this makeup list is really lacking on eyeshadow, but W7 is here to change that. You can buy all four of these palettes together (for less than the price of one Urban Decay Naked palette!) or each separately, and the quality is surprisingly good. Not as good as Urban Decay, but for someone like me who doesn’t do complicated eye looks all the time it works.
Usually about once a week I’ll grab one of the top three palettes and get a little shading going in my crease and dab on something shimmery on my eyelid. Sometimes you just have those days, you know?
Affordable Cruelty Free Brands for Skincare
I always want to call this brand ‘Say Yes To’ instead of just ‘Yes To’ because of that wedding dress show! Regardless of what you call it, it probably looks a bit familiar to you. Yes to specializes in creating products meant to provide all the benefits of specific fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients. My personal favorite right now is the carrot cleanser, which is a nice, gentle option for everyday.
How cool does the tomato charcoal mask stick look? I do find that my charcoal products are really great at getting rid of blackheads, but I’ve never seen a stick version.
This may seem dramatic, but my favorite product of all the skincare ones listed in the post has to be this Acnedote Face & Body Scrub. I use it about once a week to exfoliate my face, but what it’s really great for is your back and chest. I workout almost every day, and sitting in my sweaty workout clothes after yoga or a run (even for just a bit) can cause me to break out. After I started using this product I saw a dramatic difference in breakouts in areas along my sports bra. I highly recommend it if you have similar issues.
Because I love the Acnedote line so much, I also got this astringent. I use it every night and it makes my skin feel so clean, but can be a bit drying. Definitely follow up with a moisturizer.
I’m trying to be better about wearing sunscreen every day (I’m still hit or miss), and Alba Botanica’s options are awesome not only for being water resistant but also reef safe if you’re at the ocean! Hooray for the environment!
FYI: I have seen some Alba Botanica products at stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls before, so if you’re not too picky on the specific products you can give the brand a try for a few dollars cheaper there.
I’ve already talked about Burt’s Bees for makeup and I’m also a fan for skincare. This intense hydration facial water is my first beauty step every morning (after brushing my teeth!). I generally have oily skin, so moisturizing with this facial water instead of a cream or oil feels much better to start the day. You can find it on Amazon for a little cheaper than drugstores.
Pacifica is one of the newest brands to me on this list. I recently picked up their coconut milk cleanser and the smell is SO GOOD. It’s another gentle face wash that you can use everyday.
Besides face wash I have also tried their face masks. Great for a mini spa day at home with Netflix and wine 😉
Pacifica prides themselves on being cruelty free AND vegan. If you didn’t know the difference when it comes to beauty products, cruelty free means that the company does not test on animals, but vegan means that the products do not have animal-derived ingredients. For example, Burt’s Bees is cruelty free because they don’t do animal testing, but some of their products contain honey so they are not vegan. You can read more about it here at Ethical Elephant if you’re interested.
Love Beauty & Planet
Not only does Love Beauty & Planet offer beautifully smelling (and packaged!) products, but they stand behind so many great causes in addition to being cruelty free. They aim to source all their ingredients responsibly by 2020, they’re in the process of changing their packaging to 100% recycled plastic materials, they’re working to reduce their carbon footprint by 20% by 2020, and they also have sponsored environmentalists to help them continue their goals. That’s a lot for a beauty company!
Out of their products I personally own the body wash, and on Instagram stories I’ve seen a few bloggers rave about other products they own. They’re also vegan!
FYI I’ve seen Love Beauty & Planet sold at Walgreens and Ulta, but the best price is at Target.
Affordable Cruelty Free Brands for Hair
Love Beauty & Planet
When I’m not using Batiste dry shampoo, I’m using this one from Love Beauty & Planet. Honestly this brand has some of the best everyday products at the best prices for both skin and hair.
I am very intrigued by their hair oils. I normally don’t do hair masks, and I’m curious if these would help reduce frizz and keep my hair looking healthy longer (since I’m very bad about getting my hair trimmed…).
I had no idea that Yes To had hair products until just recently. I use their tea tree and sage oil shampoo, and they also have moisturizing and deep cleansing versions with coconut and charcoal.
And again, hair masks! Should I be into these? If I give them a try I will update the post!
Now you know it’s completely possibly to stock your bathroom with cruelty free brands and not have to take out a loan! But seriously, it is a huge misconception that cruelty free automatically means more expensive. While I do pay a little bit over $10 for some items (like my favorite cruelty free mascara), by and large I use drugstore brands from Target for my makeup, skincare, and hair needs.
If you’re thinking about switching over to cruelty free products, you don’t have to do it all at once.
As you use up your old shampoos, lipsticks, and body washes, simply replace them with something cruelty free. Even though I’ve been doing this for over 9 months, I still have old items I’m working my way through.
If you need a resource for all things cruelty free check out Cruelty Free Kitty.
It’s not always easy to determine if a brand is cruelty free. For example, a company may not test on animals, but they hire third party companies to do it on their behalf. In that case on their website they may state that they themselves don’t test on animals, when in fact their products do still undergo animal testing. Also, some brands are cruelty free but don’t use the leaping bunny certification on their products because it costs the company money to use that logo. It can be confusing stuff!
Cruelty Free Kitty does all the guesswork by emailing companies to get the most up to date information and lists it all on her site. I always check her site when I’m thinking of trying a new brand.
Are you interested in transitioning to cruelty free products? I’d love to hear some of your favorites if you already use some!
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