Animal Lovin’ Beauty Products

As I get more into my adult years, I hear more and more negative news and appalling information. Sometimes I don’t feel like there’s much I can do about it, but when I can change what I am doing, then I feel that I’m making a small difference in some way.

One of my big “things” is animal cruelty prevention and appropriate treatment of animals – pets, wild, any type of furry friend. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years and now and again I think about going back. I preach about “adopting, not shopping.” But, I just felt called to do something more. Something proactive. Please don’t think that I’m some sort of extremist like those crazies at PETA – I just have a deep love and appreciation for how animals enrich our lives. And, I feel a responsibility to be an advocate for pets without one.

Before I did my research, I thought that animal testing was a thing of the past, but I was way off base with that assumption. From my cleaning products to my make-up, it seemed that almost everything mainstream and affordable was tested on animals.

I spent a few weeks researching what the differences were between designations of “cruelty free” vs. “no animal testing” and figuring what I could afford to do. The distinction isn’t always clear but generally the “cruelty free” designation is reserved for products with no ingredients that were tested on animals as well as the final product. A labeling of “not tested on animals” means only that the final product was not tested on animals and is much more common. For me, I made a personal choice to commit to using cruelty-free products whenever I can. But, using products that aren’t tested on animals also makes a difference!

There are two different logos that I look for. Each represents some type of animal friendly product, but don’t mean the exact same thing.

The first is the “Leaping Bunny” logo.

leaping bunny

This logo means that the product has been made without any animal testing, but it could still include animal products. Basically, it’s not a vegan choice. This is the more common logo, obviously, since it’s more difficult to eliminate all animal products.

The second logo is what I refer to as the “Cruelty Free Bunny.” He’s a cute little guy, but not as common to spot.


This logo is part of a PETA program for companies that have committed to no animal testing and do not use animal products in their beauty products.

Not all animal friendly products have these logos, so if you are looking for something that is cruelty free, look for wording on the bottle as well!

There was no way I could change over all my make-up at one time or all my cleaning products. I decided that as things ran out, I would make a conscious, animal-friendly choice in replacing it. Eventually, I made a list of affordable brands for all products that I wanted to replace and kept it in my wallet so I could look for it at drugstores, grocers, etc. I have been replacing products over the past year and while not everything I’ve replaced has been cruelty-free (for example, I can’t find a good shampoo that I like and I haven’t had to replace my huge bottle of lotion yet), I think I’ve made some great progress.

Today I want to share with y’all some of my cruelty-free beauty products that are fairly easy to find and won’t cost you your entire grocery budget for a tube of chapstick.

1. ELF products

This line is carried at most Targets and can also be found in their online shop. I like using this cheeeeap make-up for eyeshadows and other “fun” makeup. It’s cheap, I can play around with colors, and if something doesn’t work it’s no big. I don’t use things like their foundation, but I love this tone correcting powder.

2. Mary Kay

I’ve read mixed reviews that question if Mary Kay is really cruelty free, but after reading probably too much about it, I feel confident that they are. The debate is that their product is now being sold in China and they have a policy that all products be tested on animals. This article from Mary Kay just made me feel that they really are committed to continuing their no animal testing policy.

Everything I buy from Mary Kay I love. I do prefer their liquid foundation to the mineral, but I think that is just a personal preference. While their products are a bit expensive compared to Cover Girl – I think the quality more than makes up for it. I regularly use their foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick. My family and friends all rave about their skincare products, too. We can be a tough crowd when it comes to looking good, so that’s a pretty good plug for Mary Kay!

3. Toms of Maine

Toms of Maine was one of the first companies to take on creating products that are cruelty-free. Out of all the products I use, these are the ones I have the most confidence in. Their deodorant and toothpaste are easy to find at the grocery stores around here.

4. Bath and Body Works

Most of the products at Bath and Body Works are cruelty-free. I’ll be real with y’all – I don’t double check before I buy my particular body wash or lotion, I just get what I want and trust that the company is staying true to their word. This Fresh Picked Tangerines line is probably my favorite thing ever. I got Chris body wash from their men’s line and he uses it, so I’ll take that as he likes it.

A LOT of the more high-end make-up brands like Smashbox, Tarte, and Urban Decay really promote that they are cruelty-free. If you’ve got the money, I’ve heard nothing but good things about their make-up! I am always tempted by this palette every time I walk into Ulta, but so far, I’ve resisted.

There are definitely some beauty products that I have not yet transferred over to the cruelty-free side. Lord, how many types can I type “cruelty-free”?

I have very sensitive skin and I’m hesitant to buy anything other than what I’ve found to work and most cruelty-free facial cleansers are more expensive. I did try a Mary Kay brand, Velocity, but it didn’t work for my skin type. I have also tried a few shampoos, but nothing that I’ve been pleased with. So, I’m still on the lookout for that and use god ole Garnier. My beauty routine is pretty simple, so most of what I use I can get from the 4 sources above, along with some random finds along the way.

I also admit guilt to sometimes impulse buying new products before checking their cruelty-free status. I bought (and love) this Texturizing Sea Salt Spray by Not Your Mother’s. (Hello! $5.99! Volume! Amazing!) Their website states that they are “in the process of registering” their products with some type of animal friendly designation. It isn’t specific, so we’ll see what happens with that. All we can do is work towards this and continue to encourage companies to commit to cruelty-free products. It looks like Not Your Mother’s has heard the consumers and is responding.

Does anyone else try to buy cruelty-free? Got any tips or hidden gems? This post has inspired me to try to corral / organize all my products in my seemingly overflowing basket on our vanity. That’s where you can find me for the next couple hours … probably covered in lots of make-up.

xo, Mary Kate

* Images from this website.


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