When faced with the sheer volume of beauty products on store shelves, it can be a bit daunting to pick a color or a brand, let alone try to figure out what their animal-testing status is! It’s not as difficult once you know what to look for to find budget-friendly + cruelty-free products right at your local drugstore or Target, so I wanted to share a few of my favorites!
Top 5 cruelty-free brands with products under $5!
1. ELF cosmetics- I could not in all good conscience begin this list with any brand other than ELF, also known as eyeslipsface cosmetics. They offer so many good quality cruelty-free beauties at remarkably low-cost, they even have a line of $1 products! You can find select products at Target, and order their full range from their website. They even recently opened a flagship store in Manhattan (if only I wasn’t going to still be on my Lenten beauty no-buy during my next visit)!! I have too many ELF faves to list here (see my Empties! Vol. 1 for one of them), so I thought I’d highlight their crème shadows. As you can see from my collection, they come in a lovely array of colors and all 3 varieties I’ve tried, the Essential Smudge Pots, the Studio Crème Eyeshadow, and the Studio Long-Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow are available for ~$3. Sometimes they’re even on sale up to 40%-50%. I mean, you just can’t beat that with a stick.
2. Wet n Wild- This available-at drugstores-brand is a ‘cult favorite’ for their smooth, buttery, highly pigmented eye shadows. I swear the color payoff (i.e., how well the color you see in the pan transfers to the color you see on your lids), blendability, and staying power of these shadows could go toe to toe with any of the (much) spendier eye shadows I own… The singles and even the 3-shadow palettes in their outstanding Color Icon line all run $3 or less! I also think their lipsticks deserve a shout-out. They’re a little under the radar relative to the eye shadows, but they also come in gorgeous colors, are comfortable on the lips, and, thank you to the heavens above, no sticky-sweet, fruity taste.
3. Jordana- So, basically, I’m obsessed with their mascaras. An absolute favorite is their Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara, and the Extreme Lengthening formula was recently featured in my cruelty-free lashes post! Both available for $3 or less! I’m also a fan of their Easyliner Lip Liners, a smooth retractable (i.e., no sharpening) formula that comes in some gorgeous neutral and deeper colors.
4. Milani- Their line of Color Statement Lipsticks includes some of my all-time favorite shades to wear and, bonus, they smell (but don’t taste) just like watermelon Jolly Ranchers! Alas, for the purposes of this post, the lipsticks are over $5, but this brand does offer some under $5 beauties, including the Easyliner Mechanical Lipliner that’s part of the Color Statement line and the Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eye shadow. I’m also dying to get my hands on their Anti-Feathering Lipliner to help keep those bold lip colors I love from straying beyond my lip line.
5. Yes to Carrots (and Tomatoes and Blueberries and Cucumbers and Grapefruit and Coconuts)- I’m pretty devoted to a number of their skin-care and makeup removal products (also featured in my recent Empties! Vol. 1). Many of these items are a bit over $5, but one product from the Yes to Coconuts line that is under $5, the Yes to Coconuts Lip Balm, has basically taken up permanent residence on my nightstand. And, their Color Balms are just a smidge over $5, and they have good coupon codes for ordering from their website. So, that counts, right?
That’s it for this edition of my faves! Stay tuned for the skin care edition of budget-friendly beauties and for the other end of the spectrum, cruelty-free splurge-worthies…
*These are only my opinions, formed through my personal experience as a consumer. I am not a medical doctor, an aesthetician, or a health/beauty professional. There is no guarantee what effect, positive or negative, these products may have on anyone else.
**All products were purchased by me from brands that, to the best of my knowledge, are cruelty-free.