Going Cruelty-Free: How & Why Did I Do It?

The last time I did this kind of post, it was way back when I first started blogging. I had amassed a small collection (far smaller than what it is right now) of makeup at the time and spoke about some of them. Now, however, I've got a deeper understanding of what it means to be cruelty-free and the different levels of being cruelty-free, and my collection has grown to reflect that. Going cruelty-free is not all black and white, there are various shades of grey in between, but I'm covering two main umbrellas first, and then I'll expand on them.

Firstly, there are brands that are certified by a cruelty-free organisation, having passed certain criteria to be considered truly cruelty-free in that they do not test any ingredients or finished products on animals, nor do they do it through third-party suppliers/labs, and do not sell products within countries where there is a law that products must be tested prior to sale. Seventh Heaven, Sugar Baby Beauty, Sukin, and Australis are such brands that have been carefully assessed before being certified as cruelty-free. They may feature an official bunny logo, a statement, the PETA bunny logo, or they will be found in lists run by organisations. However, I really do not consider PETA a true cruelty-free organisation, because they do not consider parent companies when it comes to giving brands the tick.

Secondly, there are brands that may feature the PETA bunny logo, an unofficial bunny logo, or they may have a statement on their website/packaging saying that they're "Against Animal Testing". They aren't certified by other, proper, cruelty-free organisations such as Choose Cruelty-Free, BUAV, and/or Leaping Bunny. A lot of CF brands that are owned by parent companies are often under this umbrella, such as The Body Shop, Tarte, Nars and Urban Decay.

Independent brands, not owned by parent companies, may sometimes do this because they haven't been certified by an organisation, because they're in the process of getting their brand certified, or because their country has an anti-animal testing law, such as Too Faced, essence Cosmetics, e.l.f. Cosmetics, and Chi Chi Cosmetics though they are truly cruelty-free as they do not test on animals at any stage, nor do they use ingredients/products that have been tested by third party suppliers, and they do not sell in countries like China where there is a law for products to be tested before they hit the shelves.

A lot of small independent companies that may not be well known, such as Shanghai Suzy, Shiro Cosmetics, Unicorn Lashes, and so on, are often under this umbrella as they have just started their businesses, and are trying to gain traction in the beauty industry before working on achieving their cruelty-free certification. It's fairly easy to trust small brands like these because they do not have the means to sell products within China, and there is a huge market of cruelty-free makeup aficionados that they want to cater to.

High-end independent brands: Too Faced, theBalm & RCMA

I prefer to be 100% cruelty-free, as I do not like the idea of parent companies profiting off of brands that are cruelty-free while supporting other brands that test on animals/are sold in China. I also avoid cruelty-free brands that are independent but sell products within China, such as L'Occitane, as they are required by law to be tested on animals. I am, however, flexible in whether or not they are certified by cruelty-free organisations, because a brand can be 100% cruelty-free if they have verified that they do not partake in testing one way or another, and to find out, I often look them up on the Cruelty-Free Kitty blog where there is often correspondence between Suzi and brands to find out where they stand, or the brand's website has their stance on animal testing thoroughly written out.

I happen to own Tarte products because I bought them before finding out that they had actually been bought out by Kose, so I was really disappointed with the brand. As for The Body Shop perfume, it was gifted to me on my 18th birthday party, before I even became fully conscious of animal testing.

Small independent Australian brands: Shanghai Suzy & DownUnder Cosmetix

I had a very easy time collecting cruelty-free products, because before I started my collection, I didn't wear makeup and owned only a mousse foundation by essence (on the right track even in high school, go me!) and a black eyeliner that came with a magazine. I was quite enamoured by the world of makeup while growing up, let me tell you that, I used to tote around a backpack full of hand-me-down beauty products from mum to special events when I was 8. I even collected a biweekly magazine that came with one or two new products for me to try. However, by the time I graduated high school, a lot of those were thrown out because they were old, or because mum went through this whole natural phase and a lot of the products I owned were deemed unsafe. Fun.

After that, I couldn't really afford the time or money to go out and look for makeup, especially because I was becoming a vegetarian and quite conscious of animal-testing and animal-derived ingredients in products. Cue quite a few years of me going makeup-free and owning only the barest minimum when it came to beauty. Fast forward to the start of 2015 and I discovered that it was actually easy to get cruelty-free products that were affordable and vegan (I've now become slightly lenient on the vegan part). I'm anti-animal testing mainly because I loathe the idea of animals being hurt or killed on our behalf just to see what is safe for our usage. They all deserve a life away from labs, cages, and pain.

Independent Australian Drugstore Brands: Face of Australia, Australis, Klara Cosmetics & ModelCo Cosmetics

However, it wouldn't be as easy for others as it was for me to make the transition (what transition, right?) as they might own brands that are not cruelty-free such as Covergirl and MAC. I totally understand how hard it may be to make that kind of switch, especially if your collection is huge. There's a huge possibility that you unwittingly own a lot of cruelty-free brands, so you're most likely on the right track there. However, don't go throwing out all of your other products. Just replace them with CF options when they run out, when they expire, or when they just don't do the job for you anymore. Do it gradually, which is pretty much what I did when I was transitioning to vegetarianism. Don't go it cold turkey, it makes me cry (figuratively) thinking about all of the money going down the drain as you toss the makeup into the bin.

I happen to really like international drugstore brands such as Makeup Revolution and Milani Cosmetics because the quality is pretty good for the price, and I like having a huge variety of products to choose from, and some of them come in cute or pretty packaging, which makes me happy every time I see them, especially the trademark gold and acrylic of Milani Cosmetics.

What's your stance on animal testing? Don't worry, I don't bite, I'm all ears. What cruelty-free brands do you like?



  1. This was a great read! Personally I don't exclusively use cruelty free products because I find it to be such a complicated topic. Like you mentioned some cruelty free brands have non cruelty free parent companies. In addition, many of the brands may be cruelty free but the ingredients that they're using may have been previously tested on animals (at least that's what I heard.) Also there are other ethical considerations like the way they treat their laborers, where they source their materials, etc. I recently watched a video by the youtuber Kimberly Clark and she talked about why she supported MAC even though they aren't cruelty free and it made me admire MAC as a company. Anyways, at the end of it all it's a personal decision and being cruelty free is still better than nothing (which is what I''m guilty of...)

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

    1. You're right, Mili, it's a very complicated topic, and it all depends on how far you want to go when you're looking for cruelty-free products. There's a lot of things to consider when it comes to choosing what kind of products you're okay with using.

  2. I haven't really given much thought into cruelty-free brands, to be honest. I usually focus on green/natural or something that just works for me in general. Although I would like to make an active effort to switch to more cruelty-free products - good to know that theBalm and Essence are cruelty free!

    Lindsey Elyse | lindseyginge

    1. Yeah, I don't blame you on that, it's a bit of work trying to make the transition, let alone making the decision to start being more cruelty-free. There's a lot of great drugstore brands that are cruelty-free :) are you able to get Makeup Revolution in Canada?

  3. I totally agree with you! Going cruelty-free can seem overwhelming at first but I think it definitely helps to do it slowly and take it one purchase at a time. For those who can just throw all their old makeup products away and start from scratch-- kudos to them! But I often find with most people, that just replacing one product at a time makes the transition less intimidating and even more enjoyable! =)

    1. If they have the means to be able to do so, then go for it! It really is fun to be able to find a cruelty-free alternative for every product, because you get a sense of accomplishment that little by little, you're helping fight the animal-testing industry.

  4. I think it's really admirable to go cruelty free! I was also excited to see TooFaced and the Balm on the cruelty free roundup! This post really got me thinking about my makeup and the origins of my makeup and the impact I'm making on this world! So thank you for that!

    1. It's great to go cruelty-free but it is a lot of work trying to figure out where you stand and what products are CF. I recently found an app, the Truly Cruelty Free app, that lets you scan the barcode of products and it'll tell you if its cruelty-free. Good luck! <3