There's been a lot of coverage on cruelty-free cosmetics companies lately, and some debate on what that means. Even if a brand is cruelty free, they may be owned by a larger corporation that is not, or a company that was previously cruelty-free has changed its policy to accommodate their business in other international markets that insist on (in my opinion, the rather barbaric and useless practice of) animal testing for cosmetic purposes.
In an effort to showcase smaller indie companies and possibly introduce more options to those of us who are concerned with this stuff, here are some of my favourite completely cruelty-free cosmetic brands!
This is all done with Fyrinnae. The bright blue is 1.22 Gigawatts. Yeah, I posted this pic before.
I can't say enough great things about Fyrinnae! They create all of their own colours and are the inventors of Pixi Epoxy, the Beauty Blog World's favourite foiling medium. The shades they come up with blow my mind in terms of complexity and attention to detail (check out the Arcane Magic Eyeshadows on their website). As we've established, I don't do neutrals, so the outright brazen vibrancy of their eyeshadows is perfect for someone like me.
Quality-wise, the pigmentation is outstanding, and when used with an eyeshadow primer, they last all day and all night without creasing or fading at all. Their matte shades are easily blended (something that's pretty hard to do) and everything - EVERYTHING - is vegan.
Their pricing is also extremely affordable. We're talking $6 for a full-size eyeshadow and free shipping with a $50+ purchase (most other companies only do free shipping with a $100+ order), and even if you do somehow manage to stop yourself from ordering at least $50 worth of product, it will cost you a measly $3, $4 or $6.50 in shipping depending on where you live.
Their communication and customer service is always spot on, and they do go above and beyond if you've got a problem (If, let's say, one of your eyeshadows busts open in transit, drop them a line and presto! There's a new one on its way to you, likely with a sample or two thrown in for good measure).
PRIDE eyes from 2010, all done with Sugarpill's pressed eyeshadows.
They've only been around since 2010, but in that time, I have purchased every single one of their matte eyeshadows and loose eyeshadows. I cannot stop myself! The brainchild of Amy from Shrinkle, "Sugarpill Cosmetics is a custom line of vibrant, richly pigmented, velvety pressed eyeshadows and sparkling loose powders."
Yes, I took that right from their website.
Amy herself has always loved bright and crazy colours, and dreamed for years of starting her own custom cosmetics line so she'd have control over quality, branding, packaging and variety. It took her YEARS to get everything right and I think it was totally worth the wait. While she doesn't make the actual products herself, she oversees all of it and is 100% involved in everything, right down to packing and shipping orders.
The pressed eyeshadows are mostly matte, meaning they're really rich in pigmentation and lasting power. They're nice and soft, so they blend nicely whether you're using synthetic or natural brushes, and when you use an eyeshadow primer, there is absolutely no fading from the time you put it on to the time you take it off. Loose eyeshadows are the same, and although they're not all matte, Sugarpill has, hands-down, the brightest, most blendable and beautiful royal blue I have ever come across (Royal Sugar).
Most of the colours are vegan and they've got clear indications of which ones on the website.
The pressed eyeshadows are $12 each, which is a bargain on their own since they're 4g/0.14 oz - nearly TWICE the size of Makeup For Ever pressed eyeshadows - or you can purchase them in pre-made quads for $34 (that's a 30% discount, if you're keeping track!). The loose eyeshadows are also $12 for 4.5g (same size as a MAC pigment for $7 less, and Sugarpill's quality, dare I say, is better). Shipping is free over $75, or $6, $8, $10 or $12 for under $75, depending on where you live.
Amy also has a extreme fondness for fake lashes, and she's just released a ton of them for $5, if you're into that. I've tried a couple of them out, and I like how thin and flexible the bands are - usually, for $5, you wind up with a big old thick band the size of your wrist, which makes it difficult to apply and stay on your lashes. Not with these! I've had them on for a full day, and I had no problems with corner-lifting or sudden migration.
The communication and customer service are great - I can't even tell you the number of "Ack! I'm sorry, I put down the wrong apartment number because I don't know how to proofread!" emails I've sent them, and they've always been extremely patient and lovely with me about it, even though it probably slows down their whole processing system.
3. Geek Chic Cosmetics
I assure you, the photo is not doing Geek Chic justice.
Just try to not squeal over their collections, I dare you. The Geek Chic team are exactly what they sound like - a bunch of geeks that like makeup. They make everything themselves, presumably while listening to the Dr. Horrible soundtrack, and they come out with a new collection frequently.
One of the coolest things about their stuff is that each collection released is true to the inspiration when it comes to the actual product. What I mean is, rather than a generic colour collection released under a recognizable name, they develop the shades and formulas around the inspiration and it shows. Take a look at the Storybook Love collection, inspired by the Princess Bride. Or Big Damn Heroes, inspired by Firefly. I've never seen an episode of Babylon 5, but I think I need every single shade that just came out with the Last Best Hope collection, because OMG SPARKLES.
Geek Chic do mostly loose colour, which plays well with different kinds of mixing medium (water, saline solution, etc) and primer, so you get incredibly vibrant and long-lasting results. Once again, because they formulate everything themselves, each colour is unique and complex. They also have a lovely variety of soft and bold shades, so there really is something for everyone.
The only things they've got that aren't vegan are their lip products because they do contain beeswax.
Each eyeshadow is an extremely affordable $5.99 for the standard 1g of product, or $1.25 for a sample. You can also buy them by collection (varying prices depending on how many products are in each), or you can go nuts and buy every single eyeshadow they make for $484 (this works out to be about 20% off, or $4.79 each). Shipping is also free over $50, and there's usually an additional 10% code floating around online that you can find to save even more. They also do a half-price Colour of the Month thing, which is cool.
Reading their About Us page is hilarious and totally sets the tone for what they do and why. Really great stuff, really great customer service, really great prices!
4. Morgana Cryptoria
The lips are Morgana, and of course I can't remember which one.
Lipstick, lipstick, lipstick. I didn't understand the hype around Morgana's lipsticks until I ordered some. She formulates and makes them herself, using skin-softening and soothing ingredients and butters, none of which irritate my extremely sensitive lips in the slightest. This is a pretty big accomplishment since almost everything I put on my lips either dries them out or makes them swell faster than a teenage boy's.... pimples.
Okay, so I totally wanted to link to her 1920s lipstick collection here, but her site is down right now, so here are some great shots of them on Blix, from Glitter is my Crack. She was also the model for the product shots on Morgana's website, so really, the pictures wouldn't be any different.
Morgana's facebook page has some swatches of her lipsticks as well, and the shots are nice and clear.
She also makes eyeshadows and blushes and other things, all of which are lovely, but her standout products are the lipsticks. The variety is mind-boggling. Need a green lipstick? Do you want icy green, forest green, sea green, teal green, lime green or some combination of them all? And do you want lipstick or a gloss or a balm? It's all there - in theory, anyway, when her site comes back up - and 99% of her products are vegan.
There are tons of glowing reviews online about her customer service, too. Honestly, the only thing that's not awesome about Morgana Cryptoria is the dark background of the website. It's cute (there's a little coffin "shopping casket" that tells you exactly how much you're at as you go along, which pulls at my teenage goth heartstrings), but the background and font sometimes look kind of dated. But who cares? The website has nothing to do with the product.
The lipsticks are all $12 or thereabouts, not too shabby when you consider that they're developed, formulated and made by hand by one person, and again, you can always find coupon codes and stuff online when you're about to place an order. I honestly don't remember how much shipping was, since I can't check the website, but if I don't remember what it was the last time I ordered, then it can't have been anything too steep.
5. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC)
The lips are OCC NSFW, my favourite red ever. Well, one of them.
Every year, when I attend IMATS Toronto (the Makeup Show), I visit the OCC counter first, and usually right as soon as the doors open. If you wait until the second day, they'll be out of stock of everything. This is how much everyone loves OCC. It doesn't matter if they bring a truckload of their legendary Lip Tars, all the popular colours will be sold out if you don't get there fast enough, and I refuse to take chances.
It's the Lip Tars that they're mostly known for - richly pigmented liquid lip colour that's truly comfortable to wear. They're so light that they don't feel like anything, and once they're on, they set to a satin finish that lasts for ages. If I put one on at 8am when I'm on my way to work, it's there until I take it off. Even when it fades after 8 hours or so, it leaves behind a pretty stain that still looks fresh.
These things are so pigmented that anything more than half of a pea size amount on your lips is way too much and it won't apply properly. You want to gently squeeze the tube, get your tiny drop on your lip brush and then go to town. You'll be amazed that the colour is still going even after you spread it all over the place. That makes them even more economical - for $14.50 (or a straight up $10 at IMATS) for 0.33 fl. oz, you have it for the rest of your life. Really.
OCC also do Loose Colour Concentrates ($12 for 2.5g, which is an incredible deal) which are mineral-based pigments which you can use for eyes, cheeks, face and lips, depending on how you mix them. I've only purchased one of them so far (Jubilee), which I loved so much that I was annoyed with myself for not giving them more attention at IMATS - I was sort of in Lip Tar Haze.
Everything they've got is completely vegan and quite reasonably priced. I haven't ordered from the website, so I'm not sure about shipping, but if it's a bit steep, you can always wait until IMATS comes around again. They've always got really good deals at shows like that, so you can usually save somewhere between 20% and 30%.
So those were just a few of my favourite cruelty-free makeup companies. I hope that gives everyone some other options to consider when continuing to fight against animal testing. Thanks!