For a long time, animal testing was the ugly side of the beauty industry. However, consumers have become far more conscious about the type of products they want to buy,  and due to public pressure, more and more companies are deciding to stop testing their products on animals. 

Some brands market themselves on being cruelty-free, but there are plenty of other great new brands you may not have heard of that respect animal welfare and are staunchly against animal testing.

So if you’re looking for skincare or makeup that you know is just as kind to animals as it is to your skin, look no further. Here are nine of the best cruelty-free makeup, hair, and skincare brands.

1. Faith in Nature

If you’re looking for a decent yet affordable cruelty-free beauty brand that you can buy from most supermarkets and chemists, then you might want to check out Faith in Nature.

Founded by Rivka Rose in 1974, Faith in Nature is just as focused on sustainability as it is on animal welfare. All the packaging is recycled, the refill containers are a great way to save money as well as reduce packaging, and every time you shop with Faith in Nature, they plant a tree with Treesisters.

Their product range is pretty extensive, and includes body washes, lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and deodorants – and the ingredients are all vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and SLS- and paraben-free.

The lavender and geranium body wash (£5.79) has an especially lovely scent, and if you’re after a more unisex-smelling product, the blue cedar body wash (£5.79) might be for you. The shampoos and conditioners (all £5.79) are aimed at dry hair, oily hair, and normal hair – and there’s even great-smelling coconut dog shampoo (£5.79)!

2. Beauty Pie

Beauty Pie was created by Canadian beauty guru Marcia Kilgore, who also founded popular brands Soap & Glory, Bliss, and Remède. She came up with the idea for Beauty Pie after wanting to give people greater access to luxury makeup, hair, and skincare products at more affordable prices; saying, “I believe there should be no guilt in getting gorgeous!”

All of Beauty Pie’s products are 100% cruelty-free, and they don’t believe in, or authorise, testing on animals. What’s more, they’re always trying to improve their eco-credentials. At present, they’re committed to using vegetable-based inks (on tissues, shopping boxes etc), and using minimal,
recyclable packaging.

So how does Beauty Pie work? This brand operates a bit differently from most other beauty brands out there as it’s the world’s first Beauty Buyers club. Becoming a Beauty Pie annual or monthly member gives you access to shop for Beauty Pie products direct, from the best suppliers in premium skincare, makeup, supplements and now home fragrances from across the world for up to 75% less than similar brands on the market. It’s essentially luxury product and packaging for not so luxury pricing. For example, their award-winning Triple Hyaluronic Acid Elastic Lifting Eye Serum would be £50, but members pay £14.23.

Some of their other bestsellers include Super Retinol (+Vitamin C) Night Renewal Moisturiser (typical price £75 or £11.75 for members), and Deluxe Precision Liquid Eyeliner (typical price £25 or £8.02 for members). Annual memberships start at just £59 for the year or £15 monthly.

3. UpCircle

New UK brand UpCircle has a very fitting name: a circular economy is at the heart of the brand’s values, and it also hints at upcycling – which is also at the centre of everything this company does.

In 2015 brother and sister Will and Anna were enjoying a cup of coffee in London when they started talking about what they could do with all the leftover coffee grounds in the city. Inspired by the idea of creating something better from things that already exist, they launched UpCircle.

One of their first products was a coffee face scrub (£14.99), that just as they’d hoped, was made with repurposed coffee grounds. Their hydrating toner with mandarin and camomile (£17.99) uses the residual water of green mandarin fruit that would usually be thrown away, and the camomile is a by-product of the tea industry.

The soothing body cream with date seeds (£24.99) and brightening maple and coffee eye cream (£14.99) have also won rave reviews and awards. And of course, the brand is entirely vegan and cruelty-free, and the packaging is 99% plastic fee.

4. The Body Shop

Launched in Brighton in 1976 by Anita Roddick, The Body Shop has long been a company known for pioneering social change. In the UK, it became a trailblazer for using sustainably sourced Fair Trade ingredients – but was also the first British brand to campaign to end testing on animals in 1989, long before it was banned in the UK in 1998.

Since their humble beginnings, The Body Shop has never tested on animals, and their stance today remains just as passionate.

In terms of products, The Body Shop’s range is diverse and affordable, and includes face, body, and hair products, as well as makeup and fragrances – and their gift sets are Christmas crowd-pleasers.

Best selling products include the Hemp Hand Protector (£6.50), the Coconut Body Butter (£18) and the Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (£7.50), but their makeup range is also popular. The lipsticks in particular are of great quality, come in a wide range of colours, and at £8, won’t break the bank.

5. Evolve Organic Beauty

If you’re looking for indulgent skincare that’s ethical, sustainable and totally natural, then Evolve Organic Beauty might be for you.

For such a small Hertfordshire-based brand, where all products are handmade by their team of artisans, this brand has been making big waves in the world of beauty – and also winning multiple awards. All products aren’t only cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly, but they’re all also entirely organic.

Evolve Organic Beauty’s range includes body and hair products, but it’s their skincare that’s really exceptional. There are moisturisers, serums, toners, cleansers, face masks, eye creams…. but the best product (according to countless rave reviews and awards) is their hyaluronic serum 200 (£29), which plumps and smooths skin. The gentle cleansing melt cleansing balm (£19.55) is also excellent.

6. Charlotte Tilbury

For a more luxurious makeup brand that’s a celebrity favourite, there’s Charlotte Tilbury.

Makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury spent more than 20 years creating makeup looks for some of the world’s biggest stars – and in 2012 she put her expertise to good use and launched her eponymous makeup range, which is now known for its glamorous products. And unlike many other high-end makeup brands, Charlotte Tilbury is firmly against animal testing and is a certified cruelty-free company.

Cult favourites include the Hollywood Flawless Filter (£34), a complexion booster that combines the benefits of a primer, highlighter and filter to give skin a flawless, glowing radiance.

The Airbrush Flawless Foundations (£34) are also very high-quality and come in a wide range of colours, and the Airbrush Flawless Finish face powder (£35) will ensure your perfect skin lasts all day. The Magic Night Cream (£30) is also a bestseller. While certainly not cheap, the quality is excellent.

7. Lush

Lush was founded in 1995 by six friends who shared a simple vision: they wanted to create natural, effective products that were good value, had cost-effective packaging, and were fresh.

Lush has a very stringent policy against animal testing, refusing to buy any ingredients from suppliers who test any of their materials on animals for any purpose. Lush is also passionate about sustainability, and most of their products are designed to be solid – which means they don’t require any packaging.

Today Lush now has nearly 1,000 stores across the world – and thanks to the telltale aroma that floods out of their shops, you always know when you’re close to one!

Lush’s best selling products include their bath bombs, which come in sophisticated scents like lavender, jasmine and rose, and fun novelty scents like candy floss and bubblegum, which make great gifts. The face masks (£9) are an indulgent treat and leave skin feeling soft and smooth, and the makeup range is colourful and affordable (mascara is £15.50, lipstick is £10).

8. TRUE Skincare

TRUE Skincare is another new brand that’s been creating a buzz among skincare professionals and beauty writers.

After appearing on Dragon’s Den, the brand secured an investment from Deborah Meaden, and has since gone on to sell out at both Boots and Holland & Barrett, as well as win a host of awards. And for good reason: though the beautiful frosted glass products look expensive, they’re actually very reasonably priced – and TRUE Beauty is also 100% cruelty-free and vegan.

The brand also aims to become carbon neutral, and because it’s passionate about reducing water usage, is a fully waterless brand. Products include facial oils and serums, cleansers and toners, and masks and exfoliators – and one of the most popular products is the rosehip and rosemary facial oil (£13.50), which rejuvenates and hydrates the skin to leave an even, radiant complexion. The hydrating blossom and pine toner (£14.50) is also a best-seller, as is the vitamin C serum (£18.99).

9. Glossier

Ever since it launched in the UK, Glossier has become rather a cult classic in the makeup world. But Glossier is so much more than a makeup brand and is fast becoming known for its skincare, body products, and fragrances – as well as its merchandise like sweatshirts, blankets, water bottles, and bags.

Bestsellers include the Universal Pro-Retinol nightly renewing complex (£30), the Boy Brow eyebrow wax that thickens and shapes (£14), and the nourishing Milky Jelly Cleanser (£8).

When a company expands so quickly it can sometimes result in them abandoning some of its values, but that’s not the case here. Their website states ‘We’re committed to being cruelty-free: this means we do not test on animals at any stage of product development, and we will only work with vendors who uphold the same standards.’

All Glossier products comply with the international cruelty-free certification standards, so you can buy anything from Glossier with a clear conscience.

Final thoughts…

Whether you’ve always strived to buy products that aren’t tested on animals or have only recently become more conscious about animal welfare, today there’s a whole range of excellent, cruelty-free products just waiting to be discovered. Some, like The Body Shop and Lush, you’ll probably have heard of, but others are new UK brands that have been making waves across the beauty industry.

And aside from not contributing to animal cruelty, another great thing about all these brands is that many of them are passionate about sustainability and protecting the environment – whether it’s using recycled packaging, planting a tree for every purchase, or using repurposed ingredients. So now we can buy top-quality products that are not only kind to your skin and kind to animals, but also kind to our planet.

Have you used products from any of the brands listed above? Or perhaps you have your own cruelty-free skincare and makeup recommendations you’d like to share with our readers? Join the conversation on the style & beauty section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

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