Lifestyle,  Top 5 faves

My Top 5 Fave Cheap Cruelty Free Makeup Products

Who says you can’t be ethical on a budget? In this blog I will list my top 5 fave cruelty free makeup products, all under $10! Yes you heard right, they are cruelty free and inexpensive and they really work.

The best way to fight animal testing in the cosmetics industry is with your wallet. So buy from makeup and beauty companies that are cruelty free, and the other companies will be forced to change their ways. Switching your products can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Just replace your products with cruelty free options as you run out of the ones you are currently using!

My Top 5 Cruelty Free Makeup Products Under $10:

These are some of my favorite products that I use daily. I’m including the price they are currently listed at online but that could fluctuate a bit. I’ll also link whatever I can for you and give you my honest opinion on each product.

Mascara: Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara

Essence waterproof mascara

Cost: $4.99

I have bought this mascara multiple times in both the Crazy Volume (pink packaging) and the Volume Waterproof (blue packaging). They are amazing for the price. I live in Florida and they both hold up really well even when the humidity is intense.

Brows: e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil

elf brow pencil

Cost: $2

I use the Taupe color to be slightly darker than my medium blonde hair and it does a great job. The spoolie on the end is nice and it lasts all day!

Concealer: e.l.f. 16Hr Camo Concealer

elf camo concealer

Cost: $6

I was very pleasantly surprised by this product. It comes in packaging almost identical to Tarte’s Shape Tape but for a fraction of the price so it’s a cheap dupe. I use it for blemishes and under eye circles and it works like a charm! Sometimes I won’t even use foundation with it, just apply a bit of sunscreen and go!

Foundation: Covergirl Clean Matte 

Covergirl clean matte foundation

Cost: $5.99

When I do use foundation I love this one. I am so happy that Covergirl went cruelty free in 2018 because this was the product I missed the most when I first made the switch. It is perfect if you have oily/combination skin or you live in a humid climate. Plus you can’t beat the price!

Lips: NYX Powder Puff Lippie

NYX powder puff lippie lipstick

Cost: $3.98

I love the soft applicator for this lipstick. Even though it is a liquid lipstick it doesn’t make my lips feel sticky or dry like other brands. It also lasts for a long time, I’ve applied it before eating and was still wearing it long after the meal was over. I do like to keep it on me in case I need to reapply, but I do that with any lipstick.

Bonus: Palmer’s Coconut Oil Lip Balm 

Palmer's coconut oil chapstick

Cost: 2 pack for $2.88

This lip balm has vitamin E, SPF 15, and comes in a 2 pack so you can put one in your purse and one in your makeup bag. I use this throughout the day, it is so important to protect your skin from the sun and the lips often get overlooked. I have used this alone or as a base for my lipstick, a good SPF lip balm is a must-have!


Some of the cheaper cruelty free brands that I generally shop are e.l.f., Covergirl, NYX, Physicians Formula, Milani, and Pacifica. If I can spend a little more then Too Faced, Tarte, Milk Makeup, Urban Decay, and Colourpop are all cruelty free too!

Cruelty Free Explained

It is so important to shop for cruelty free makeup options. If you aren’t sure exactly what cruelty free means let me break it down for you:

  • Cruelty free means that a product was not tested on animals. Animal testing for cosmetics includes chemicals being rubbed on their skin and dripped in their eyes to test for irritation, force feeding to test for illnesses, and “lethal dose” tests where they are forced to swallow chemicals to determine how much of it causes death. No pain relief is given during their testing or when they are killed. The Humane Society gives some more details here.
  • How can I tell if a product is cruelty free? First, read the label! Being cruelty free is a selling point so most companies will display it on their packaging. The trick is knowing if it is legit or not. Unfortunately some companies will try to claim they do not test on animals when they only don’t test the final product, and they still do animal testing on the individual ingredients and all throughout development. Luckily now there are certifications you can look for to make sure they are the real deal.
  • Leaping Bunny is the biggest certification and the only international one, Beauty Without Bunnies and Choose Cruelty Free are two others. They are all represented by rabbit logos, but again some companies will just throw any rabbit on there to try and trick you so make sure you know what they look like.
  • Do not assume cruelty free products are vegan! You’ll have to read the ingredients list or do research on the individual products to find that out. Many companies do overlap though, it’s just always good to double check if that is important to you.
  • If a company sells their products in China then the company still technically tests on animals because in China they are required to do animal testing on products before they can sell them. They may not do animal testing on their products sold in the USA, but I still do not like to support those companies.

My next cruelty free product list will be all about skincare! Let me know your favorite cruelty free makeup product/brand in the comments.

If you are interested in switching to more ethical products in other areas of your life check out my blog on sustainable kitchen products.

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