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11 Cruelty-free drugstore makeup brands that won’t break the bank

Shireen Platt

Is it ironic that the beauty industry that aims to let us look like a better version of ourselves has a very dark side to it? Currently, there are global efforts — with endorsements from top celebrities — bringing awareness to the public in hopes of putting an end to cosmetic animal testing by beauty companies. The good news is that more brands are joining the fight against animal cruelty. So, let’s celebrate our animal-friendly drugstore beauty brands.

1. Annabelle

Annabelle is a Canadian beauty brand owned by Groupe Marcelle, which doesn’t test products or ingredients on animals. More good news: Annabelle is not sold in China, a country that has animal test requirements for cosmetic products.

Try Annabelle SkinTrue Foundation for a lightweight, natural-looking base that looks like skin. (Annabelle, $11)

More: 15 Drugstore beauty gems you have to try

2. Ardell

A well-trusted and go-to brand by makeup artists and beauty lovers for false lashes, Ardell’s false lashes are not only cruelty free but also vegan. Try Ardell Lashes #Demi Black for a bolder eye makeup for the evenings. (Walmart, $5)

3. e.l.f.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the most budget-friendly beauty brands, e.l.f., is cruelty-free and carries a large number of vegan products. The paragraph below is taken straight from the brand itself:

“We do not test on animals or endorse such practices. Our products do not contain animal derived ingredients. Beeswax has been replaced by synthetic beeswax and lanolin has been replaced by Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladinpale-2. We currently support HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project.”

Try e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit to create your full, bold brows. (Walmart, $4)

4. EcoTools

Not only are the EcoTools high-quality brushes made from highly sustainable materials such as bamboo, the bristles are also soft synthetic instead of animal hair, which makes them vegan. Another reason to love EcoTools? They donate one percent of their annual sales to 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses committed to leveraging their resources to create a healthier planet.

I bought EcoTools’ six-piece Day-to-Night Brush Set in 2013, and the brushes are still one of my favorites today. (Walmart, $20)

More: 11 Drugstore cruelty-free makeup brands that won’t break the bank

5. Marcelle

Just like its sister brand Annabelle, Marcelle is also owned by Canadian company Groupe Marcelle, which doesn’t test products or ingredients on animals nor sell in China.

I personally am a huge fan of their products and swear by the Duo Eyebrow-PRO. (Marcell, $15)

6. Milani

Milani is certified by both PETA and the Leaping Bunny program as cruelty free. There are many reasons to love the brand: the products are some of the best drugstore gems in the market, and the quality rarely disappoints.

Try: Milani Baked Blush for a gorgeous, long-lasting glow on your cheeks. (Well, $8)

7. NYX

Despite the fact that NYX is currently owned by L’Oréal, it remains a cruelty-free company and is certified by PETA.

According to the company, “NYX Cosmetics is certified and acknowledged by organizations, such as PETA, as a cruelty-free brand. We are committed to producing 100 percent cruelty-free cosmetics. We do not test any of our products on animals.”

I own and love so many NYX products, but their Butter Gloss is my favorite lip gloss on the market. Beautifully pigmented without being overly thick and tacky, they are the only lip glosses I reach for. (London Drugs, $8)

8. Physicians Formula

Another PETA-certified, animal-friendly group, Physicians Formula tests the safety of their products “using such alternate methods as ‘in-vitro’ testing, human clinical evaluations and human use-trials under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist.”

Physicians Formula is on the higher price range for a drugstore brand, but they do have some hidden gems. Try Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Loose Powder, which was created for sensitive, breakout-prone skin for a smooth, natural finish on the skin. This loose powder doesn’t settle into my fine lines and is perfect for days when I don’t feel like wearing a foundation. (Physicians Formula, $15)

9. Prestige

This is a lesser-known drugstore brand, which I’ve only seen sold at London Drugs here in Canada. I’ve personally only tested their Classic Lip Liners, and they are beautifully pigmented and glide across the lips smoothly without any tugging. (London Drugs, $4)

10. Sonia Kashuk

Sonia Kashuk was exclusively sold at Target and is on the higher end of drugstore brands. Unfortunately for Canadians, Target has since shut their doors in Canada, so the only way for us to get our hands on her products is online (try or

Try: Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon, you won’t be disappointed. (, $13)

11. Wet n Wild

One of the most budget-friendly drugstore brands, Wet n Wild is PETA-certified, cruelty-free and also makes a point to work with cruelty-free third party vendors. Another bonus point: Wet n Wild has a decent list of vegan products.

Try Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color lipstick in shade Stoplight Red, which is one of their best-selling products. (Walmart, $4)

More: 10 Vegan and cruelty-free beauty gifts

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