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I’m glad it matters to you whether or not your makeup was tested on animals.
Happily, you don’t have to pay extra for it, either.
Today, you’ll see reviews of the best cruelty-free drugstore foundations.
You can save money and enjoy makeup that performs well, too.
- What does it mean if a brand is cruelty-free?
- How can you know if makeup is cruelty-free?
- What makeup brands are not cruelty-free yet?
- Top Cruelty-Free Drugstore Foundations
- COVERGIRL Outlast All-Day Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation
- Covergirl Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation
- COVERGIRL Smoothers AquaSmooth Makeup Foundation
- Catrice | HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
- wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation
- wet n wild Megacushion Foundation
- Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer
- Milani Even Touch Powder Foundation
- PACIFICA Alight Foundation
- e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation
- e.l.f. Cosmetics HD Mattifying Cream Foundation
- NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Drop Foundation
- NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation
- L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Liquid Foundation
- L.A. Girl Pro Matte Foundation
- Pixi Color Correcting Powder Foundation
- Hard Candy Glam Oflauge Foundation
- Mineral Fusion Liquid Foundation
- Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation
- PÜR 4-in-1 Love Your Selfie Longwear Foundation & Concealer
What does it mean if a brand is cruelty-free?
There are four standards that a company must meet if they want their product to be certified as cruelty-free.
It’s not just that the finished makeup isn’t tested on animals.
It’s also that there is no animal testing done during any part of the manufacturing process. That’s right – the suppliers shouldn’t be testing the ingredients or raw materials on our furry friends.
The manufacturer also shouldn’t contract with a third-party lab to do testing.
And finally, they avoid selling in markets like China where it’s required to test on animals (1).
How can you know if makeup is cruelty-free?
One recent example of a brand that’s gone cruelty-free is Covergirl (2).
They achieved a Leaping Bunny certification from Cruelty-Free International.
That was not an easy task. It took months and much effort and evidence.
Part of the problem is that Covergirl is a subsidiary of Coty. They had to make their entire supply chain (with hundreds of companies) independent of Coty as Coty is not cruelty-free.
Yes, Leaping Bunny has what some call “rigorous criteria.” That’s good as they don’t bow to money or power. They look at every detail.
Plus, you can check their site to verify whether or not a brand is cruelty-free (3).
What makeup brands are not cruelty-free yet?
Many companies under the aegis of corporations like L’Oreal and Estée Lauder still test on animals.
That’s unfortunate as they owned many of the makeup brands we see in drugstores.
It’s doubly sad when you consider that the US government does not require animal testing. Places like the European Union have already outlawed it.
Some brands claim that their products are not tested on animals, but if they’re not on the Leaping Bunny list, they might be bending the truth.
They might be asking other companies to do their dirty work for them.
When in doubt, check the official Leaping Bunny site or their app.
You can also try PETA’s site instead. The advantage here is that you can find both vegan and cruelty-free products. (4)
Top Cruelty-Free Drugstore Foundations
COVERGIRL Outlast All-Day Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation
Let’s begin with Covergirl since they are one of the most popular and enduring drugstore brands of makeup.
They were well-known and trusted before they achieved the Leaping Bunny certification. Now, I suspect that they are enjoying even more sales.
Their Outlast foundation provides SPF 20 sunscreen with the active ingredient Ensulizole. It filters out UVB and some UVA radiation. It’s also rated low hazard on the EWG Skin Deep Database.
This is liquid makeup that mattifies the complexion to keep it looking natural, not shiny, for hours.
Covergirl Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation
Covergirl also makes one of the best cruelty-free foundations for mature skin.
I’m conflicted about adding it here as it was created in conjunction with Olay. Regrettably, Olay is not a cruelty-free company.
On the plus side, Covergirl touts it as Leaping Bunny-certified. Who am I to argue?
This anti-aging foundation improves skin tone and disguises dark circles and blemishes. While you wear it, hyaluronic acid hydrates while Vitamin C corrects tone.
COVERGIRL Smoothers AquaSmooth Makeup Foundation
Our final pick from Covergirl is one of the best cruelty-free powder foundations.
It comes in a pressed powder compact, but it becomes liquid once you apply it to the skin.
Once it dries, it feels lightweight although it hides imperfections well. Vitamins nourish the skin in the meantime.
Also, it offers SPF 20 sunscreen. Choose from a dozen shades
Catrice | HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
Catrice makes a cruelty-free sweat-proof foundation that lasts up to 24 hours.
This long-wearing makeup is available in 24 shades, too. Those include different undertones.
Use their customized color finder to help you pick the right one.
But those aren’t the only reasons why you’ll love it. It’s also vegan and free of parabens.
It’s a high-coverage foundation that looks astonishingly natural on the skin. It reduces oiliness throughout the day.
wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation
What is the best cruelty-free foundation out of all of these?
If I were pressed to pick one, it would be a tie between the one above and this liquid here.
Wet n wild has been around for decades. They’ve always been cruelty-free, plus they sell vegan products.
The Photo Focus liquid foundation has buildable coverage. It’s been tested under seven different photo lighting conditions.
The result is a perfected, flawless complexion that stays matte and doesn’t require extra filters.
If you want to try Smashbox, but don’t have the budget for it, get this foundation a try instead.
wet n wild Megacushion Foundation
The Megacushion Foundation isn’t a powder – it’s liquid in a compact. Compare it to the Covergirl AquaSmoothers foundation above.
This is a water-based gel that comes with its own blender sponge.
You can build the coverage without worrying about it caking or cracking. It also provides SPF 15 sunscreen.
The sunscreen comes from chemical and mineral filters.
If you’re well-informed about ingredients, you should also know that this makeup contains parabens and a fragrance.
Milani Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer
Milani is a company based in Los Angeles. They make products for real people, not supermodels.
If you have trouble finding the right shade for your skin, you’re going to love this foundation. It’s available in 45 colors.
It’s a liquid formula that sets to a satin matte finish. Since it’s oil-free, it won’t clog pores.
Moreover, the medium to full coverage is water-resistant. It’s both foundation and concealer in one bottle.
Milani Even Touch Powder Foundation
While you can pump the bottle to apply the foundation above, you’re going to need a puff or brush to put on this one.
The powder is buildable, though. You can also use it to bake your makeup or touch up your face during the day.
It has reflective particles to give your complexion a soft focus while it blurs imperfections.
The downside is that it only comes in seven shades, from Shell to Golden Beige.
PACIFICA Alight Foundation
If you have acne-prone skin, Pacifica makes a non-comedogenic cruelty-free foundation.
It reduces shine to a satin finish for hours.
I also love the fact that it’s free of harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, talc, drying alcohols, petroleum derivatives, and silicone.
Yes, it’s vegan, too.
The water-based makeup is surprisingly moisturizing for something that mattifies. That’s probably since it’s packed with hydrating ingredients like squalane and coconut water.
It also has anti-aging nutrients from seaweed and Damascus Rose.
Clinical testing showed that 93% of users found their skin looked healthier after six weeks of using it.
e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation
Did you know that e.l.f. stands for “eyes, lips, face”?
This foundation is good news for your face. It’s oil-free and it sets to a semi-matte finish.
The full coverage will last for hours. You can get even more mileage out of it if you apply primer first. Or if you prefer sheer coverage, mix it with your moisturizer.
As a rule, this company avoids parabens, phthalates, and other problematic components. Besides being 100% cruelty-free, they are also vegan.
e.l.f. Cosmetics HD Mattifying Cream Foundation
You don’t have to worry about irritating oily, acne-prone skin when you wear this foundation.
It says it’s creamy, but it resembles a powder. The mattifying effect is kind to dry skin, too.
The package includes an applicator sponge for even coverage.
And like the foundation above, it’s certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA.
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Drop Foundation
NYX makeup isn’t available in all drugstores, but Target and CVS tend to have it.
The brand has achieved a cruelty-free certification from PETA.
The Total Control Drop Foundation comes with an applicator that makes blending colors a snap. It also simplifies building coverage.
The finish is matte, but not flat.
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation
For full, flawless coverage, try this liquid foundation from NYX.
It’s highly pigmented and comes in 45 shades.
Better yet, the waterproof finish lasts up to 24 hours without transferring or smudging. It reduces shine better than many drugstore makeup brands.
Luckily, it’s safe for sensitive normal, combination, and oily skin types.
L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Liquid Foundation
You gotta love pump applicators like this one since they prevent the foundation from becoming contaminated.
LA Girl’s liquid foundation comes in 15 shades. If those don’t match your skin tone, use their White Mixer to alter the color.
The finish is buildable from medium to full. It goes on equally well with a brush or sponge.
Furthermore, this makeup is free of parabens and boosted with antioxidants.
L.A. Girl Pro Matte Foundation
If you have oily or combination skin, check out this lightweight liquid foundation.
LA Girl promises that it sets to a “suede-like” finish. That sounds pretty soft and enticing to me.
It blurs fine lines and pores as well as freckles, plus it mattifies.
The addition of vitamins B5 and E ensure that blemishes heal more quickly.
Pixi Color Correcting Powder Foundation
I’m ashamed to admit that I’d never heard of Pixi Foundation before I began researching these reviews.
It’s a brand that doesn’t have wide distribution. But it definitely has a devoted following.
Pixi’s powder foundation is enriched with peptides to keep your skin healthy and young-looking.
It’s also packed with antioxidants from coffee and superfruit to prevent premature aging.
The silky texture starts with medium coverage but layers to full blemish camouflage. Auspiciously, it doesn’t cake or feel heavy.
Hard Candy Glam Oflauge Foundation
Hard Candy is another brand without widespread distribution. That’s a shame as this foundation has a lot going for it.
It’s oil-free liquid makeup that endures up to 16 hours.
Fans say the full coverage doesn’t oxidize, crease, or cake.
Mineral Fusion Liquid Foundation
Instead of bareMinerals, try Mineral Fusion. It’s an inexpensive alternative that’s well worth the experience.
This liquid foundation offers full coverage and anti-aging benefits.
It contains mineral extracts to mattify and nourish normal to oily skin without clogging pores.
Then, it has licorice root and lavender to soothe redness, plus aloe to moisturize and promote healing.
Choose from eight different shades, from light to dark tones.
Not only is it not tested on animals, but it’s also paraben-free.
Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation
Mineral Fusion’s pressed powder is made in the USA from natural ingredients. It’s gluten-free, vegan, and hypoallergenic.
In other words, it doesn’t have parabens, dyes, fragrances, talc, or phthalates. You can’t get much more natural than this.
The powder calms and soothes the skin with anti-aging ingredients. A blend of kelp, tea, and pomegranate make the complexion more radiant. They also heal the damage caused by free radicals.
PÜR 4-in-1 Love Your Selfie Longwear Foundation & Concealer
You might have the beauty filter turned on for your phone’s camera, but what if somebody else takes your portrait?
If you can’t find what you need among the drugstore brands, it’s time to step up your game.
Stop worrying about your appearance when you use PUR’s foundation/concealer. (Since’s it a 2-for-1 product, you’re not spending as much as you think.)
You’ll never be disappointed that you can’t find the right shade anymore. This makeup comes in 100 colors with warm, cool, and neutral undertones. The only problem is deciding which one you like best.
Fortuitously, it’s both vegan and cruelty-free.
Feel better about your complexion and your place in this world. Switch to a cruelty-free foundation.
One small purchase like this sends a message. The world is changing.
Big business needs to respect the environment and all the creatures that live in it.
If you found new makeup today that you love using, tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/animal-testing-china-the-road-to-market-for-cruelty-free-beauty-brands/Animal Testing & China: The Road To Market For Cruelty-Free Beauty Brands, by Allie Rooke, published January 31, 2020, accessed April 7, 2020
2. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/415019-covergirl-becomes-largest-makeup-brand-to-go-cruelty-free by Morgan Gstalter, published November 5, 2018, accessed April 7, 2020
3. https://www.leapingbunny.org/about/faq accessed April 7, 2020
4. https://www.peta.org/living/personal-care-fashion/completely-vegan-beauty-and-body-product-brands/ accessed April 7, 2020