Cruelty-Free Brands for Your Beauty Stash

Pixi by Petra
Credit: Boots UK
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By June Low 

In a world that’s calling for a larger step up for human rights and compassion, you can do the same by making ethical consumer choices when shopping.

Generally speaking, a brand is cruelty-free when it does not do any testing on animals, which often results in blindness, poisoning and death for the animals that it tests on. Currently, China is the only country that legally requires animal testing for cosmetics. That’s a huge problem as it has one of the biggest markets in the cosmetics industry, so any brand that decides to sell in China is almost guaranteed to test on animals.

Some years ago in 2012, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) exposed some formerly cruelty-free companies that had secretly paid the Chinese government to test their products on animals to sell them in China. Currently, China seems to be moving away from its animal testing stance by stating it would accept certain non-animal testing methods, but only for non-special-use cosmetics manufactured in China.

Still, a large number of cosmetic brands do animal testing in China as they are required for all imported cosmetics. You can know if a brand is cruelty-free or not by doing a quick Google search, or by checking if it has a Leaping Bunny logo.

Here are some of the top 10 beauty brands that are certified cruelty-free by PETA.


The Body Shop
Credit: The Body Shop

1) The Body Shop

Always one to champion the cruelty-free cause, The Body Shop has made that one of its key tenets. Their Forever Against Animal Testing campaign is evidence of that, and they’ve already gathered eight million signatures in their campaign to end animal testing in cosmetics forever. The Body Shop products are created with locally sourced ingredients, supporting economically vulnerable communities through their Community Trade programme.

Check out their yummy range of skincare, from its Satsuma Shower Gel and Tea Tree series to its famed Drops of Youth Concentrate for some serious TLC. Plus, it’s good karma to buy responsibly!

The Ordinary
Credit: Cult Beauty

2) The Ordinary

The Ordinary entered the skincare scene just a few years ago with a line of minimally packaged, affordably-priced but efficient skincare products, each focusing on a key ingredient. It is also proudly a cruelty-free brand and does not ship to Mainland China, despite it being a huge international opportunity. The majority, though not all, of their products are vegan, so that’s also a bonus if it’s something you’re concerned about.

Their range is wide and the names of their products might confuse you, but their website actually provides a nifty regimen guide for your skin type. Some of their star products are the Buffet Serum, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% for brightening and the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Lotion for gentle exfoliation.

Credit: Cult Beauty

3) Aesop

Aesop belongs to the same parent company as The Body Shop and Natura&Co, and they’re committed to driving a ban on animal testing in the beauty industry. The Australian luxury brand focuses on indulgent products for hair, face and body, with efficacy and sensory pleasure in mind. Each store is unique and thoughtfully designed to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to all customers. They are also not sold in Mainland China and extensively review regulatory requirements before entering a new market.

What’s more, they are 100% vegan and do not use any animal-derived products such as beeswax, honey and lanolin in their products.

Pixi by Petra
Credit: Boots UK

4) Pixi by Petra

Pixi’s mantra is simple — to bring out the natural beauty in all women and to make women look like themselves, only better. They are a 100% cruelty-free brand that does not test on animals, nor do they allow other parties to test on their behalf. They also request that their suppliers certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of their products are not tested on animals, making them incredibly thorough and strict in their policy.

They sell both skincare and makeup, although they’re more renowned for their skincare. The famous Pixi Glow Tonic sells out quickly and for good reason. It’s affordable and exfoliates skin to reveal a radiant glow. They are also known for their face oils and rose facial mist.

Drunk Elephant
Credit: Cult Beauty

5) Drunk Elephant

Though it’s yet another relative newcomer to the skincare industry, Drunk Elephant is no stranger to the cruelty-free scene. Proudly animal (and skin) friendly, it’s vegan, paraben-free and six-free. That means that its products do not contain ingredients that are culprits for most problematic skin behaviours, such as heavy silicones, drying alcohols and fragrances.

That’s why it’s lauded as one of the best brands in skincare right now. They pride themselves on being a ‘clean’ brand without any questionable ingredients, and include only ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. Their popular T.L.C. Baby Sukari Facial, Virgin Marula Luxury Oil and C Firma Day Serum are definitely testaments to that, and the best part? Completely cruelty-free!


Credit: @colourpopcosmetics

1) Colourpop

Colourpop’s products have made waves in the beauty community for being one of the best brands out there for its price-to-quality ratio. With most of its products under US$10, it’s super affordable, but their quality rivals many high-end brands. The secret behind the low prices? Their products are made and sold all under one roof in California, saving on high overhead costs. This also means that their products are cruelty-free; they only test their products on their employees.

For someone new to Colourpop, try their house special Super Shock Shadow, which boasts a unique squishy eyeshadow formula that packs a punch, or their Lux Lipsticks, which come in both creme and matte finishes to perfect your pout.

Hourglass Cosmetics
Credit: Cult Beauty

2) Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Cosmetics is one of the very few luxury brands out there that are cruelty-free. This is because many luxury brands have decided to sell to China, where luxury cosmetics are in high demand. However, Hourglass has pledged to be cruelty-free by not selling in China and not testing on animals. They’ve also taken it a step further by going 100% vegan by 2020, becoming truly cruelty-free. 1% of all profits also goes to an animal rights organisation.

Their Ambient Lighting Powders are some of the best-known powders in the business, meant to finish your makeup with a subtly radiant finish, to make your skin look like itself, but better. For cutting edge cosmetics with compassion, try Hourglass Cosmetics.

NYX Cosmetics
Credit: Cult Beauty

3) NYX Cosmetics

Although NYX Cosmetics was acquired by L’Oreal (which tests on animals) in 2014, they’ve stayed true to their cruelty-free stance. They do not sell their products in China, although other brands under L’Oreal are widely sold there. They also have a long list of vegan products that’s sure to satisfy people.

What’s more, their products are drugstore-priced and are quite impressive in quality. Fit for people who enjoy bold and colourful looks, NYX Cosmetics has got you covered with their Ultimate Shadow Palette, which is a 16-pan palette that comes in a few colour variations. Their enduring fan favourite Soft Matte Lip Cream is also a deliciously lightweight liquid lipstick that’s not drying and feels like nothing on the lips.

Credit: Cult Beauty

4) Zoeva

This cruelty-free brand not only sells great makeup, but also makes the most luxuriously soft brushes. Although Zoeva’s brushes are made of natural hairs, they do not condone testing or harm on animals, gently collecting goat hair by combing and shaving them. They also have a large range of vegan brushes made out of synthetic hairs.

You might have seen celebrity makeup artists use one or many of Zoeva’s famed brushes, and the quality definitely speaks for itself. Their brush sets and bundles definitely offer the most value, such as the covetable Rose Golden Luxury Set, comprising eight brushes with rose gold handles that cover all your basic makeup needs.

Stila Cosmetics
Credit: Cult Beauty

5) Stila Cosmetics

Bravely pulling out of China, Stila gained a cruelty-free brand status just recently in 2017. According to Cruelty Free Kitty, they were still being sold in Sephora China as of 2016, and when they were contacted again in January 2017, they were proud to announce that they have pulled out of China and are now certified cruelty-free by PETA. 

A veteran in the beauty industry, Stila is known for their playful and chic image, with great and innovative formulas to boot. The Shimmer and Glow Liquid Eyeshadows are known to be the best cream eyeshadows on the market, and some of their most innovative products are found in the face category, such as their putty-like Heaven’s Hue Highlighter.

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