Cruelty-free beauty product picks

When you first start looking for cruelty-free products, it can be a little overwhelming. Not only do you start to realize just how many products you use - hair and facial care, makeup, etc. - but also how many companies may not be completely transparent about whether they test on animals. They do so either by hiding their parent companies, or selling their products in countries, such as China, where animal testing is required by law.

It can be frustrating trying to find cruelty-free options, but it can also be very rewarding. You don’t need to switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle overnight; you can start by substituting products gradually, doing your research and finding things that work for you.

Here is a list of some products and brands to start your cruelty-free journey.

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter
A beloved brand, Burt’s Bees lip balms are among the most delicious fighters of chapped wintery lips. Oftentimes the ingredients in lip balms actually further dry out lips - forcing you to constantly reapply. But with Burt’s Bees, I found the 100 per cent natural oils and butters work to replenish and nourish my lips, leaving them feeling smooth and healthy, without that greasy residue that some lip balms leave behind.

Synthetic makeup brushes
The word synthetic has a bad rap, but in the case of makeup brushes there are a lot of reasons to go synthetic. In terms of price, I use makeup brushes that range from drugstore brands to more expensive brushes. But there’s one quality that I always look for: synthetic.

There’s little to no shedding and breakage with synthetic brushes, making them last much longer than animal hair brushes, while retaining shape. As well, we all know that makeup tends to provoke acne. Synthetic brushes repel bacteria and dirt much more effectively than hair brushes do, meaning less grime in your pours and better prevention from dirt being reintroduced into your products. On top of their longevity and cleanliness, synthetic brushes are also great for people with animal hair allergies and are effective with powder and cream makeup products.

Annabelle Kohl Eyeliner
Annabelle Cosmetics is part of Groupe Marcelle. Both companies are not only cruelty-free, but available at your local drugstore. Annabelle Kohl Eyeliner is known as one of the best drugstore eyeliners. Its soft texture makes it ridiculously easy to apply and shape, with a great selection of colours.

bareMinerals Prime Time
Prime Time is bareMinerals’ award-winning foundation primer. The price can be surprising, but you need only apply so little at a time that it’s a worthwhile investment. What amazed me about the oil-free primer was how rapidly it absorbed into my skin, leaving it feeling smooth and moisturized - a perfect canvas for foundation.

tarte Amazonian clay foundation
Foundations can feel heavy and suffocating at times, so when I first tried tarte’s airbrush foundation I was amazed. It gives you full coverage, but without feeling like a mask. The Amazonian clay helps to absorb the oils in the t-zone area, while hydrating and nourishing skin. The best part is that when I take it off there are no consequences like clogged pores and acne. Its paraben-free, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free; unfortunately, it’s more expensive than your typical drugstore brand. But since it’s sold at Sephora you can ask to have it applied and tested on your own skin before you commit.

Tip: My advice to you is whenever you’re in a store ask which of their products are cruelty-free. It might feel awkward, and they might not be able to verify testing, but some stores, like Sephora, have extensive and accurate lists of cruelty-free products, making the search all the more easier.

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