Cruelty Free On a Budget

I know I’ve been talking about a lot of heavy stuff lately, so I figured I would take a break from that and share something else that is pretty important to me. Buying and using cruelty free products. And no, this isn’t going to turn into a PETA style rant or an advertisement for veganism/vegetarianism. As far as I’m concerned, they are two very different topics. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian, so I’m certainly far from being a hardcore animal activist. But if buying products that aren’t tested on animals makes even a little difference, I’m going to encourage it.

If you research what goes into testing products with animals, you will probably be appalled. As a former beagle owner, it bothered me even more because it is very common to test on beagles because they are relatively docile. Thinking about what they’re put through and how they’re then disposed of absolutely broke me. It disgusted me. And for what? Shampoo? Makeup? Cleaning supplies?

I started looking into cruelty free products about two years ago. Companies have come a long way over the years in using other methods to test their products, so more and more companies have been able to provide us with cruelty free products.

First of all, I want to explain what cruelty free means. In short, it means that the product is not tested on animals. This includes body care items, cosmetics, household products, etc. The best way to tell if a product is cruelty free is if it is Leaping Bunny certified, in which case it will have a small symbol on the label. PETA’s cruelty free bunny logo is also acceptable. There are also websites and apps that can help, allowing you to search by either the brand or the individual item.

Now I want to share with you some myths regarding cruelty free products.

1. Naturally made/derived products are cruelty free. While this is often true, it is not always the case. And vice versa, people assume that cruelty free products are natural. This is why it is ALWAYS important to look at the labels.

2. Cruelty free products are not made from any animal products. Again, while most vegan products are cruelty free, it doesn’t always work the other way around. Many cruelty free companies still make things using animal products. If the label doesn’t say 100% vegan, then it’s not. Even if it is otherwise cruelty free.

3. Products not tested on animals are not safe for humans to use. This is not true at all. Just because something hasn’t been tested on animals does not mean that it hasn’t been tested at all. There are just new methods that many people aren’t aware of. For example, some testing is done on tissue and cell cultures. Others are done using computer software. Some even conduct clinical trials on humans.

4. Expensive brands don’t test on animals. While there are a lot of high end companies that do not test on animals, there are still many that do. Those products might be high quality, but that doesn’t mean that they are ethically developed or tested. There are also many budget friendly or drugstore products that are cruelty free. If you do a little research, it might surprise you which companies test on animals and which do not.

Here is are some popular brands and companies that DO test on animals. This isn’t the full list, but these are some common products that people use.

– Maybelline – Revlon – Almay – Neutrogena – Clinique – Clorox – Unilever

– Proctor & Gamble – Johnson & Johnson – MAC Cosmetics – Clairol – Chapstick

Here are some popular brands that DO NOT test on animals. However, the companies are sometimes owned by a parent company that is not cruelty free. That’s when you need to decide what’s important to you… whether the products you use are tested on animals or whether the money you spend goes to a company that tests on animals. Others are cruelty free in the United States and other countries that don’t require animal testing, but if a product is sold in China, it has to be tested on animals. However, a lot of companies are moving away from testing the products themselves and allowing them to be domestically tested in China, outside of the company itself.

– Cover Girl – Not Your Mother’s – Wet n’ Wild  – Tarte – Urban Decay – Bare Minerals

– Too Faced – Redken – NYX – Burt’s Bees – Method – Mrs. Meyers

Now is my favorite part… sharing my favorite cruelty free products with you. This is not a sponsored post (I’m not there yet in my blogging career), so I get absolutely no kickback from these companies for promoting them. I’m just telling you about some products that I’ve tried and loved and think you will too.


Makeup Revolution is my favorite “drugstore priced” dupe of more expensive brands of makeup. I buy mine from Ulta. Their Conceal and Define foundation and concealer are on par with Tarte’s Shape Tape (which most makeup gurus know if the holy grail of full coverage makeup). I should probably note that Tarte’s products are also cruelty free, but they’re also about four times the price. Makeup Revolution also has some seriously impressive eyeshadow/face palettes. My favorites? The Reloaded eyeshadow palette in Affection, the Rachel Leary Ultimate Goddess face and shadow palette, and the Soph x Revolution palette. All have a good variety of shades and great pigmentation.


Mrs. Meyers is becoming well known for their cleaning products, for good reason. They’re naturally derived (though not 100% natural), cruelty free, and they don’t break the bank. I love many of their products, including their bath and body line, but their dish soap is where it’s at. So many great scents and it actually works to loosen food debris on dishes. But seriously, I use so much of their stuff that it’s unreal. And did I mention that it’s cheap? Because it is.


Not Your Mother’s is a natural, cruelty free line of haircare products that I swear by. I won’t buy any dry shampoo but theirs (particularly the Plump for Joy volumizing variety) and they have this amazing 10-in-1 hair treatment called All Eyes on Me that I use every time I wash my hair. The Plump For Joy thickening hair lifter is also a must for someone like me whose hair likes to go flat.

Eco-Lips is my favorite brand of lip balm and I’ve converted lots of people. The sticks are large and they make your lips feel like butter. The peppermint is my favorite, but they have a lot of great flavors. They also have lip shimmers that my girls are begging me for.

Method cleaning supplies are another favorite in our house. They make a strong, effective, and refreshing line of bathroom cleaners that work like a charm, as well as a granite cleaner that I can’t live without. This brand used to be hard to find, pretty much strictly at Target, but it has since expanded to stores like Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Meijer.


Thayers Witch Hazel Facial Mist has become a part of my daily routine. It’s refreshing, soothing, moisturizing, and smells divine. I tend to opt for lavender or cucumber, though, because the smell of rose gives me a headache. I know a lot of people who swear by the tried-and-true, old school rose water variety, though.

BH Cosmetics is probably my newest addiction. I think one of my girls initially introduced me to the brand and now I have a wish list a mile long. Their eyeshadow palettes are gorgeous and packed full of color. The Zodiac Love Signs palette is my current go-to and I know my 12 year old loves the Sylvia Gani palette. I have only ordered online, but they do have a small selection at Ulta. And their prices are perfect for someone on a budget who is wanting to expand their makeup collection.

So there you have it. It’s entirely possible for someone on a budget to supply their home with many cruelty free products. Of course it requires a little research, but honestly, we should be looking into all of the products that we buy anyway. We should know exactly what we’re using and what we’re spending our money on. Does this mean that you’ll never again buy a product that was tested on animals? Probably not. It can be difficult to avoid entirely. But buying cruelty free when you can is enough to make a difference. And it doesn’t have to break the bank.

One thought on “Cruelty Free On a Budget

  1. One of the more horrible things I’ve read regarding animal testing is how some companies will redo a test that had been previously done and for which they have the information they need.

    I know there are arguments to be made for and against testing, but I do my best to at least try to minimize the suffering that is a byproduct of my existence.

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