Cruelty-Free Beauty Faves

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I get loads of questions from friends and acquaintances on where to find cruelty-free beauty and hygeine products, what brands to trust, and which ones are tried and true. So, if you're curious at all about becoming cruelty-free, this post is for you! But, please remember, this is a process. You're going to mess up and it's going to take time to change your life around in these areas and the list of cruelty-free options is ever-growing and ever changing. Full disclosure, I'm not yet fully cruelty-free. There are still some staples in my home that I have yet to find a good alternative for or the alternatives that work just don't fit into our budget right now. It sucks, but it takes time. So, I just keep trying to learn and stay updated on new products and make adjustments wherever and whenever I can. 

My one tip would be to start in one area. So, if your goal is to become fully cruelty-free with your beauty, hygiene, and cleaning products, pick one place to start. For me, I started with beauty then moved to hygiene and have just started this process with cleaning products. It's been a couple of years since I first began. If you have the time and money to do it all overnight, good for you and you should most certainly do it! I did not.  

So, for the purpose of this post, I'm sticking to beauty (with a little bit of crossover into hygiene at times because I think there are some products that play in both games). Let's get started.

  1. Amika Perk-Up dry shampoo - especially now, as a working mom. I only wash my hair about twice a week because I just cannot be bothered.
  2. Alba Hawaiian Jasmine & Vitamin E Moisture Cream. I guess you could say this is technically a hygiene product, but oh well. I love it. It works great, smells amazing and I save money with my Thrive Market Membership. Win, win, win! I also use their Hawaiian Coconut Milk Facial Wash
  3. Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara. I really wish I could say I have found a cheaper, more natural dupe for this product, but nope. I am really picky about mascara. I have really sensitive eyes, my lower lashes are pretty long so if it flakes or smudges at all, I look like a raccoon, and I'm really particular about wands and how easily I can remove eye makeup. This checks all the boxes for me. But, because I only work part-time and often don't wear makeup to work, I can make one tube of this last awhile so it's definitely worth the price tag for me. NOTE: Marc Jacobs Beauty is cruelty-free. Marc Jacobs Fragrance is not. 
  4. 100% Pure Luminous Primer. Natural, quality ingredients, hydrating, and lightweight.
  5. Tarte In Bloom eye palette or any other eye palette from them. I use this as eyeliner, too. I choose one of the darker colors and use my thin, angle brush and line my top lashes only. 
  6. Pur Cosmetics DreamWorks Trolls Palette. Okay, I mostly just included this for the smile. My son loves the Trolls movie and I got this at a really great price awhile back. I do use some of the colors pretty regularly, but some are pretty out there for every day use. For what it's worth, though, the shades are very pigmented and go on really nicely. 
  7. Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipsticks. I love these because they stay on really well and are very pigmented and usually pretty matte which is my preference.
  8. Nyx Slim Lip pencils. Until recently, I used this liner exclusively.
  9. Milani Color Statement Lip Liner. They work great, but I mostly just really love the nude shades.
  10. Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cremes. Again, I prefer a matte finish and I am not into glitter. These are great and they wear really well. You should definitely moisturize your lips really well a few minutes before you apply, though, as it can be a bit drying.
  11. Milani Color Statement Lipstick. Nothing super special about these other than the beautiful shades.
  12. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil (dupe: Nyx Micro Brow pencil). Both work really well but the Anastasia is, obviously, more expensive. 
  13. Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour palette. I am not a contour-pro and I'm not into it like the Kardashians or YouTube makeup gurus, but I like a slight, subtle contour when I'm doing a full face of makeup. I also use the banana shade as a setting powder for under my eyes and anywhere I have redness and it's my favorite.
  14. Elf High Definition setting powder. I use this as a lightweight all-over setting powder.
  15. bh cosmetics Carli Bybel Deluxe Edition Eyeshadow and Highlight Palette. These shades are beautiful and I love having all of the options for highlighting. Bonus: it's 100% vegan and so affordable. *high-fiving a million angels*
  16. Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. It's just a really great shade and a really great product.
  17. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup. I really hate wearing foundation, but I have uneven skin tone on my face, blemishes and some scarring, so I wear it a couple times a week. I have really dry, fair skin and prefer a light to medium coverage that is build-able and this works well for me. But, I've been really interested in trying the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation with SPF because it appeals to me on a deeper level. It's on my list of things to try soon and I'll update this post accordingly when I can.
  18. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer. I really only use this where I have blemishes when I absolutely need to. I'm okay with a little imperfection coming through and find that my foundation is enough for me. Like I said, I'm more of a light-medium coverage kind of gal and I rarely wear a full face of makeup and, when I do, I try to keep it as natural as possible (aside from lips... that's where I have my fun).
  19. Thrive Market Vanilla Mint chapstick. Cheaper than Burt's Bees with a similar kick.
  20. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and brushes. So, I use this sponge exclusively. It's way more affordable than the Beauty Blender and it's just as good, if not better. It's soft and super absorbent and distributes my foundation really evenly. As stated before, I have really dry skin so this is my go-to way of applying foundation. I also use their makeup brushes almost exclusively (with the exception of some brushes I've had for years that I still use that are not cruelty-free). 
  21. St. Tropez Self-Tan Bronzing Mousse. I have tried a few different brands and this one just works best for my skin type and skin tone. I only use for special occasions, when I just really feel like I want to even out my skin tone on my face, or when I'm just really wanting to look like a sun-kissed beach babe. I use the Classic shade and apply using two methods:
    1. I apply on my face using the Morphe M439 Deluxe Buffer Brush.
    2. I apply to the rest of my body using the St. Tropez Applicator Mit.
  22. Nail Polish. I'm still committing these brands to memory and mess up from time to time because I'm a nail polish hoarder. But, this post from Cruelty-Free Kitty is a great resource for all of us. I do have some polishes from 100% Percent Pure and Deborah Lippmann that I like. The rest of my stash is mostly non-cruelty-free that I've had for years and cheap drugstore finds. 

Something I'm still working on finding is a good gel or liquid eyeliner for winging my eyes. I've gotten a few recommendations in the past with no luck. I prefer a gel that I can use with my angle brush but I'm open to a liquid with a felt applicator if it works okay. I'll keep you posted if I find anything, but if you have any recommendations, send them my way!