Ethical Makeup Brands


Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

When I first began to wear makeup, I never thought to check to see whether the brands I bought were sustainable or cruelty-free. I didn’t even stop to think where they came from or whether animals were used to test them. But now, I’ve begun to wonder where these products come from and whether they’re helping or hurting the Earth. 

I’m an animal lover and the thought of buying products that were used on animals disturbed me, so I knew making a change and doing research was essential. Before setting out on a cruelty-free beauty shopping spree, I decided to get background knowledge on some cruelty-free brands.

Some of the information I found was quite interesting. The U.K. has banned testing on animals since 1998, but some of the companies that are producing overseas for U.K. brands don’t have a law against testing on animals, so the truth can be muddied.

Animals that are often used in testing are rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice. It’s estimated that about 100,000 to 200,000 animals suffer or die from cosmetic testing a year, according to Humane Society International. The tests are usually skin and eye irritation tests, which consist of chemicals being rubbed on the animal’s skin and eyes. These tests often result in extreme stress, blindness, organ damage, internal bleeding, swollen eyes, sore bleeding skin and even death for the animals. 

The Humane Society International website has a page dedicated to information on animal testing that’s really concerning to read.

“Some companies say that they don’t conduct animal tests unless required to by law. This often means that they have chosen to expand their market by exporting their products to countries such as China where tests on animals are legally mandated,” says Dr. Julia Baines, the Science Policy Advisor at PETA. 

Companies advertise that their products are cruelty-free in some countries, but if they’re exporting products to other countries, things get difficult. After reading this fact from Dr. Baines, I knew I had to find products that were actually reliable and always 100 percent cruelty-free.

A few big-name brands that I found that are always reliable when it comes to cruelty-free and ethical products were bareMinerals, Fenty Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Urban Decay and NYX. These five brands are big names in the beauty industry and also make quality products, so learning that they don’t harm animals and the Earth was a huge relief to me. 

I also decided to look up brands that test on animals currently in 2020. A few of the big-name brands that I found on the PETA website were NARS, Maybelline, Clinique, Bobbi Brown and Benefit. These five brands are known for their quality products, but finding out this news was saddening.

If you’re really trying to commit to the ethical and cruelty-free makeup trend and you want to take things a step further, I found two brands that make vegan makeup brushes that come in recycled aluminum cases and are never tested on animals. EcoTools and Antonym are the two brands that are most known for being ethical and are also quite affordable.

EcoTools and Antonym are among a list of around 20 makeup brands that are dedicated to ending plastic packaging and only using natural materials in their makeup. They use mostly vegan ingredients and are chemical-free. These two brands are great options to look into if switching over to cruelty-free makeup is something you’d like to do.

One of the easiest ways to help the Earth and show your love for animals is to do research on the products you buy to make sure they’re ethical. It really only takes five minutes out of your day.

Why wouldn’t you want to support the Earth and animals, while also buying quality makeup products?