Welcome to the latest post in my Going Cruelty Free series.
If you’ve decided to take a stand against animal testing, are in the process of decluttering your make-up bag, and want to know where to find some cruelty free replacements, then this guide is for you.
(Live overseas? There’s a post about buying cruelty free products online coming your way in the next couple of weeks.)
When I first decided to avoid brands that conducted animal testing, I was shocked at how many of my everyday staples I could/would no longer use, and also by how widespread animal testing is in the beauty industry. Why torture rabbits and mice for the sake of a lipstick or mascara when there are so many humane alternatives out there?
Finding brands I could use always felt like a victory. Sometimes it was easy — some companies take great pride in their ethics. Others are a little quieter, but if no animals are harmed then I’m happy to buy. It’s always lovely to support independent brands, but sometimes you just need to stock up on well-priced essentials while you’re out doing your shopping, and where better to do that than the high street?
If you’re planning a one-stop shop then Superdrug is the place to go.
They have an impressive range of own-brand products, all of them certified cruelty free and bearing the Leaping Bunny logo. Superdrug’s products also specify if they’re suitable for vegetarians and vegans, so you don’t need to research if you’re in a hurry. B., their make-up and skincare range, is completely vegan.
Popular brands available at Superdrug include Barry M, GOSH, Sleek, e.l.f., theBalm, and Lottie London. Prices start at £1 for MUA and Makeup Revolution products, which is a godsend if you’re on a particularly tight budget (I used their make-up a lot during my student days).
I should point out that Superdrug are own by a testing parent company, but whether or not you buy from a brand with a parent company is completely up to you. If you’re only just making the switch to cruelty free and want to keep your options more open, then Superdrug are an affordable, accessible starting point.
Beloved by many for their delightfully scented bath bombs and bubble bars, Lush also have an impressive range of cruelty free skincare products, make-up, and perfumes. Lots of products are suitable for vegans (and clearly labelled if so). Lush are out and proud when it comes to their ethical stance — they even sell a canvas bag with Against Animal Testing written on it.
I find that Lush is a good place to go if you’re looking buy a specific type of product, e.g. shower gel or a hair treatment, but aren’t sure what to get. I’ve had some lovely experiences with the assistants, who are always happy to grab lotions and potions for you to sample in-store before you make a decision. Some of them will even throw in free sample pots of products they think you might like, and you can request samples if you’re curious about a product but don’t want to part with your cash straight away.
I know some people are put off by what I’ve been told is ‘the Lush smell’, but if that doesn’t bother you then you can’t go wrong.
My picks: The Fresh Face Masks (I like Catastrophe Cosmetic (v) and Rosy Cheeks (v); my mum prefers Oatifix (v)); Ultrabland Facial Cleanser; Dream Cream (v); Sex Bomb (v); Butterbear (v); Cheer Up Buttercup (v)… it’s very rare for me to find a Lush product I don’t like.
The Body Shop
Since being bought by cruelty-free parent company Natura, The Body Shop has been back in the good books of cruelty free consumers everywhere. They’re a good place to go for targeted skincare, plus their bronzers and shimmer wave blush compacts give the complexion a gorgeously healthy glow. They’re currently trying to veganify as much of their range as possible and promote their existing vegan products, which is so encouraging to see.
Marks & Spencer
Although not every product they sell is animal friendly, Marks & Spencer have brought several cruelty free beauty brands to the high street, brands that you could only previously buy online, such as Pixi. Their cult Glow Tonic is available in two different sizes (and often sold out) but they also have a range of other, less-talked about products that do just as good a job. I love the Glow Mud Cleanser, which clears up congested skin, and the MultiBalm sticks — pretty, multi-purpose creams for lips and cheeks.
M&S also have their own lines. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s make-up range, Rosie For Autograph, is absolutely stunning, both in terms of packaging (metallic rose gold) and formula (the Cream Blusher in English Rose Flush is one of my everyday go-to products). If you’re looking for a brand to bridge the gap between budget and high end then this is it.
I hope you found this guide helpful. Committing to only buying cruelty free is a big change, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one — there are plenty of accessible, ethical brands out there. Happy shopping!
Where do you like to shop cruelty free on the high street? Let me know on the comments!
(v) = vegan
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you go through to the retailer and purchase an item, I’ll receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travel, gin, and the Oxford comma.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!