Although it seems that the market is now becoming awash with cruelty-free brands (which, let’s be honest, is an absolutely wonderful thing,) it can sometimes feel overwhelmingly difficult when it comes to knowing which brands to go for, especially if you’re either on a budget or spend more consciously. I’ve complied a short list of my absolute go-to, die-hard, can’t-really-live-without-these-on-my-face brands, and a few of my favourite products from each. Some brands are more affordable while others are on the higher end of the spectrum, but all in all it’s so wonderful to now see such a great range of so many wonderful products for people to enjoy, without the totally un-necesary suffering of animals for cosmetic purposes. These are in a random order as they are all great in different ways…
1. Jeffree Star Cosmetics
Jeffree Star Cosmetics was my first experience buying cruelty-free when I purchased the Androgyny palette about a year ago. This brand introduced me to the world of cruelty-free makeup and while it’s clear that the products are not the cheapest on the market, they’re neither the most expensive and for the quality of the vast majority of JSC products, I can totally justify the price for quality ratio. I’ve also said before that I love the individuality of the brand, the thought that is put into packaging and the heart behind these great products. I don’t purchase every item from every collection, because apart from the fact that I work a low-key retail job and of course my purse doesn’t stretch that far, I’m a firm believer that you should only purchase something if you know you will enjoy using it and use it well. Conscious shopping is the way forward!
The Eyeshadow Palettes
As I said, I haven’t purchased every palette release from the brand because I want to be sure that I’m purchasing to use, not purchasing for the hype. I have both the Androgyny and Thirsty palettes in my collection and as well as some beautiful nude shades, they of curse feature a few bolder, brighter shades- it wouldn’t be Jeffree Star otherwise. My experience with both palettes has been excellent, and although I tend not to reach much for blue/ green shades there are definitely people out there who love a bright and colourful look on the daily who I’m sure will appreciate these. The Bloodsugar palette is supposed to be one of the absolute best on the market, recommended and used by some of the best artists in the industry for it’s vivid pinks, purples and reds but I knew that these weren’t shades I’d be reaching for a lot, hence why I didn’t purchase, but if you do like a bold look then it’s definitely one to consider.
The Velour Liquid Lipsticks
I’ve gradually built my collection of liquid lipsticks as these are also some of Jeffree’s top selling items; the shade ‘Androgyny‘- this nude brown/mauve has got to be the OG of this collection and after a year of owning it, is one I continue to reach for on a daily basis. I tend to collect more classic shades from this collection- ‘Anna Nicole’, a stunning orange/ red for summer, ‘Calabasas‘- a true block pink/mauve, ‘Redrum’– the truest boldest purest red and lastly ‘Nathan’– a terracotta nude which I often layer with Androgyny for a beautiful ombre nude look. They are all also eye-safe! *Androgyny is a great shade for lining the lips with most other nude/ pink looks and lasts like no-other- still perfectly intact after a 9 hour shift!
24 Karat Highlight Palette
This is my daily highlight palette which I find meets all my needs, from a rosy, blush metallic sheen to a gold or iridescent white shimmer sheen- there is something in this palette for everyone. I often also dust a little of the pink shade ” over my lids as a substitute for eyeshadow foe those days where I’m in a bit more of a rush. All shades are warm-toned and incredibly pretty- another palette worth the money from JSC. The pan size in all of Jeffree’s products is always generous, especially compared to many other brands on the market.
This is a brand I discovered thanks to the vast scope of incredible brands stocked by Beauty Bay. BH is definitely more on the affordable side of the products I’ve tired and I’m yet to be disappointed. My first product purchased was the BHCosmetics X It’s My Raye Raye palette- a product I would highly recommend to anyone. It’s very much an all-in-one palette, perfect for those who are looking to try a bit of everything or for those who travel often and need something a bit more compact. The pigment and quality of the shadow shades is excellent- they last for hours without creasing and the highlight shades have got to be the most blinding of any I’ve tried- and I’ve tried a few. I wasn’t expecting to be this blown away by a palette that costs as little as £22. There are also 3 contour and highlight shades along the bottom, so definitely an excellent all-round palette where you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
I also recently tried out a new set of shadow brushes by BH and have been equally impressed by the quality. I recently also purchased 2 of their Galaxy Chic Baked Shadow palettes, one for myself and one for an upcoming giveaway which look all celestially gorgeous (is that a word?) because I’m a total sucker for anything space-themed and let’s be real- the packaging sucked me in! I have high hopes for this as I was so impressed with my first palette. Stay tuned for the giveaway!
For the most part, the majority of my makeup bag is made-up of NYX products. They have to be the most affordable, readily-available brand who rarely ever fail me on quality. They’re great for the staples; powder, bronzer, fixing spray, liquid eyeliner…and of course LIPSTICK! Their Liquid Suede Liquid Lipsticks have a top place alongside the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipsticks on my ‘best of lipsticks’ chart because the pigment is unreal, along with the staying-power and also a much more affordable alternative to many other liquid lipsticks. My collection of Liquid Suede’s is HEFTY, and aside from the constant repurchases of ‘Cherry Skies‘ and ‘Kitten Heels’, I was so glad to receive the vault collection a few years ago for Christmas which gives a perfect taster size of every single shade. I’ve also heard that the Liquid Cream Lipsticks are equally as great, and again feature a huge colour selection. NYX is my first recommendation to anyone looking to get into cruelty-free beauty as well as to those who stop to ask me what ‘that amazing colour on [my] lips is.’
I’m yet to try any eyeshadow palettes from NYX, as I definitely tend to stick to what I like and know but I feel the use of this post is knowing what certain brands do best in my humble opinion. I haven’t tried their palettes or pigments, so I can’t comment just yet! If you are however in the market for a new palette, Makeup Revolution have a huge selection of palettes which are extremely budget-friendly but again, I’d prefer not to recommend any specific products unless I’ve tried them myself. I absolutely always suggest reading reviews and looking at swatches for ANY products like palettes or lipsticks before purchasing. For U.K readers, NYX are available in Boots stores and Makeup Revolution in Superdrug so you can swatch and test until your heart’s content!
4. Kat VonD Beauty
Similarly to JSC, Kat VonD Beauty is on the upper end of most cruelty-free budgets but similarly to NYX, my face would be nothing without them! I’ve always said that I’ve followed Kat’s journey from the start- being 12 years old watching ‘LA Ink’ on repeat dying for my mum to take me for a secret and very illegal tattoo- needless to say, she didn’t, but my admiration and respect for such an individual artist in this very confirmative world remains ever-strong and the fact that her products are actually really great makes it all much easier.
My go-to base products; foundation, contour/ highlight and now even eyeliner are all KVD. I find that the foundation works well with my skin, I haven’t experimented too much with building coverage as I prefer a more natural look but it is advertised as full-coverage. The Shade & Light Contour Palette is again also a good match for me though I do question whether it is suitable for a vast range of skin tones? I believe there is a darker palette available too. Diversity and range of selection in shades is absolutely necessary in the beauty world because for so many years it has been far too limited. *A brand that is undoubtably great with shade range is Makeup Revolution (mentioned previously.) I use their full-coverage concealer which comes in a huge range of shades, is super affordable and recommended by Jeffree Star himself. * I have checked the KVD Beauty website and it seems the foundation does come in a range of 30 shades, which although I hope is adequate I can’t help but feel could be a little more extensive? – Let me know what you think below. Fenty Beauty for example, is well-known for their 40 shade range but is not certified as cruelty free- YET.
The Eyes & Lips
I’ve also recently started using the infamous Tattoo Liner, and I’m sorry to say it, but I do prefer it on a quality level to the NYX Epic Ink Liner, I am incredibly picky with eyeliner though. You came here for the secrets and here they are! Obviously the NYX alternative is slightly more affordable and still a great product but eyeliner precision is an area of my life in which I’m not willing to make much compromise.
I think Kat does a great job at creating totally artsy and unusual products and shades, so I caved a little when the 10 Year Anniversary collection. I picked up the eyeshadow palette along with the Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick in the shade ”. The pigments and shade range in the palette is really lovely- bold, bright, exotic, glimmering and iridescent shades which blend and sit well on the eye but because the shades are so ‘out-there’ I find myself reaching for it scarcely which is a shame because it really is amazing. The lipstick is also great, but potentially better suited to someone who isn’t fixed upon matte lipsticks as it has a more buttery crème (obviously) finish but still great in pigment and quality- a great selection of shades is available if you prefer this finish. KVD Beauty is also available at Debenhams for U.K. readers, and occasionally on promotion there so keep eye out!
I haven’t tried a great deal from Too Faced but the products I have tried, I’ve really liked. I’ve been testing out the new The Sweet Smell Of Christmas Melted Liquid Lipstick set and have been greatly impressed. If you’re into kitsch concepts and sugary scents then this is definitely the brand for you. The pigments of these lipstick shades have been incredible, along with the unique scents for each one. I wore the red Cinnamon Bear recently and it gave excellent coverage, bold pigment and didn’t budge for hours (despite me spilling my drink down my face- what can I say some of us are just blessed…)
I’ve also been using a combination of two of their most highly rated products- the Better Than Sex mascara, original and waterproof. I ordered these travel size from ASOS- I’m also so pleased to see that ASOS have started stocking so many great beauty brans too now– because I wasn’t sure if I’d like them. The truth is, I haven’t tried a great deal of mascaras in my time so I don’t have a lot to compare them too but as far as I can see they are really buildable and after two or so coats give a really beautiful open-fan feel to the lashes. If you are however on a budget I’m sure there are other great options available- if you are already aware of any then please let me know too!
Other Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands worth trying out (not tried & tested by me YET)…
Urban Decay- highly acclaimed for their Naked Palettes and All Nighter Setting Spray, Tarte Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Charlotte Tilbury, Marc Jacobs Beauty, CoverFX, Gosh, Elf, Barry M, Milani, SugarPill lastly Lush & The Body Shop both also have makeup collections which I am yet to try too. The list is honestly endless, please see here for the best and most updated list- Cruelty Free Kitty is an amazing and informative site to follow!
I hope this post has been both helpful and informative and as always please let me know of any great brands/ products you think I should try- comment down below or find me on Instagram @lifestyleev.blog !