Cruelty free makeup – the ugly truth behind your favourite brands

You might know that a lot of the beauty industry relies on animal testing and you might even be looking for cruelty free makeup because of this. I know I have always had an eye on this kind of thing and now as a new vegan, I am thinking about it as a top priority when choosing my beauty products and skincare.

What I didn’t know however, was that cruelty free makeup doesn’t mean it is vegan and vice versa. So, when someone pointed this out to me I went digging for more information and what I discovered really opened my eyes.


What is cruelty free makeup?

Simply put it should mean

products that have not been tested on animals in any way and do not harm or kill animals anywhere in the world

This should include the packaging that they come in as well as the actual product itself but in fact it doesn’t have to mean that at all.

Even if the makeup itself was never tested on animals, there’s a chance that the individual ingredients were, despite it being illegal in the UK and the EU since 2013.

Now, I’m a bit naive to be honest and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what makeup testing on animals would look like? I mean, were they putting lipstick on pigs? Hairspray on rabbits?

I just wasn’t sure. So again, I did my research…

And although I’m not sorry I did, because I think it’s important to be informed, I am going to find it hard to get it out of my head and I don’t advise you google it unless you have a thick skin.

Animal testing is cruel. Really, really cruel.

Think pouring products into a rabbits eyeball, forcing guinea pigs to inhale toxic substances, testing hazardous chemicals in-vitro on mice. I could go on but I won’t.

When I was telling my partner about some of this, he made a valid point that these tests might be necessary to protect humans and I concur that we don’t want to test noxious substances on humans either.

But come on…this is the cosmetics industry we are talking about – appearance based, artificial, unnecessary some might even say?

I love a good mascara as much as anyone but I don’t love it when I know that a poor bunny was repeatedly injected into the eye with it before it came to me. I mean, it freakin’ kills when I poke myself in the eye with that stuff accidentally so I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have it tested on me 🙁

How beautiful can that be exactly?

It certainly has made me think it all through in much more detail.

Did you know that 80% of brands still test on animals despite claiming to be cruelty free? Read this quick guide to finding true cruelty free makeup for more info

So how can you find cruelty free makeup?

For some reason that I can’t work out, it seems it is perfectly legal for brands to state that they are “cruelty free” but then add this disclaimer into the small print:

“we don’t test our products on animals unless it’s for legal reasons”

What this usually means, is that they sell their products in China and for some equally unfathomable reason, China has a law that states all cosmetic products MUST be tested on animals.

No. Really. I’m not kidding.

So then, if your beauty brand of choice is selling in China (and that’s most of the major ones FYI), then they are also testing on animals even if they are not doing the actual testing in the UK or the EU…

However, it’s not just China – I read that 80% of the world is still testing on animals so if you are looking to check whether your favourite beauty brand is testing on animals, then I recommend looking at the PETA website, where you can search their database for cruelty-free makeup companies and products.

I know for a fact (because I’ve been looking) that most of my most-loved makeup, skincare and even cleaning products (!!) are far from cruelty free and that makes me feel so sad and so guilty.

It also makes me feel completely duped by companies I’ve loved, bought into and trusted but it just goes to show that I have a long way to go with this new chapter of my life and a lot to learn.

Of course, it is also a chance to find and try new makeup and skincare, ethically sourced and 100% vegan AND cruelty free so that’s pretty exciting. If you know of any brilliant vegan and cruelty free makeup then please let me know so I can try it out too. Any excuse for a bit of shopping 🙂

I’d love to know what you think about all of this so let me know in the comments box below?

TTFN and we will speak soon







  1. March 26, 2018 / 11:47

    I don’t wear a great deal of makeup, but it’s the same with other beauty products such as face wash and moisturiser. It’s just not on – if you wouldn’t have it injected into your own eye, don’t inflict it on anyone (human or not) else!

  2. March 27, 2018 / 18:29

    The first company that comes to my mind is Bodyshop. Here is a link to their crueltyfree and vegan products:

    I also want to take the opportunity to thank you for your lovely, fun, interesting, couragous Youtube channel and blog etc. I’m a Swedish mum and grandmother with two daughters about the same age as you (and a younger son) and it’s so interesting to get to know a bit about how it is to be a young mother in England. My daughter’s father is English so we have some connection with England too, but we all live in Sweden now. I was divorced from him many years ago though. My grandchildren vary in age from one to seven.

    • Fi
      March 27, 2018 / 20:58

      Hi Eva, thanks so much for your lovely message! It’s great to hear from you all the way over in Sweden 🙂 The Bodyshop is definitely a great brand but they are owned by L’Oréal which unfortunately is not. It’s a tough one though isn’t it! x

      • March 28, 2018 / 12:08

        Thank you for your reply! I had to look into this matter again as the link I copied was absolutley fresh and I´m happy to say that I have som news! Read this: L´Oréal doesn´t own Body Shop anymore! And it seems as the vegan bit is true too.
        I was happy to find this blog, Friendly and free, seems they have a lot of useful information. I´m very interested in sustainable living and habits, especially concerning textiles and clothing. Besides my ordinary job as a biomedical technichan (how do you spell that??) I run a small business where I create mainly homedecor and textile art from recycled material and sell. I also make some clothes for my grandchildren from recycled material. The website link goes to my site with those things. My business is called By Juliannie, I´m on Instagram and Facebook as well. 🙂 Hope it´s alright that I mention that…

  3. August 15, 2018 / 06:43

    Thanks for sharing. This is really an eye opener. We should try our best to do proper research in order to choose a beauty product that is actually cruelty free.

    • Fi
      August 15, 2018 / 20:53

      Absolutely. I was really shocked when I first started looking into it all x

  4. October 27, 2018 / 08:30

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post. Makeup is an important part of a woman’s beauty. Everyone wanna present her more beautiful. Your article help me a lot.

  5. February 18, 2019 / 08:01

    I know some makeup brands that are not cruelty-free for animals, and ever since then, I have stopped using and patronizing them. I don’t want to continuously use them knowing that those products are tested on animals. Today, I am using cruelty-free brands and products and I’ve never been happier with this decision. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. February 19, 2019 / 11:42

    I never thought that there’s some cruelty makeup its a great knowledge on this topic
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post really informative 🙂
    keep sharing

  7. June 3, 2019 / 13:14

    I never thought that there’s some cruelty makeup its a great knowledge on this topic
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post really informative
    keep sharing
    #Best Kurtis for women

  8. August 6, 2020 / 11:29

    Thanks for sharing. This is really an eye-opener. We should try our best to do proper research in order to choose a beauty product that is actually cruelty-free.

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.