Cruelty Free Drugstore Beauty Brands

Cruelty-Free Drugstore Beauty Brands

Let’s face it: making sure everything you use in your daily routine is cruelty-free is hard. REALLY hard. You may see “not tested on animals” on the label and think you’re golden, but sadly, that isn’t always the case.

Straight from the FDA:

Some companies may apply such claims solely to their finished cosmetic products. However, these companies may rely on raw material suppliers or contract laboratories to perform any animal testing necessary to substantiate product or ingredient safety. Other cosmetic companies may rely on combinations of scientific literature, non-animal testing, raw material safety testing, or controlled human-use testing to substantiate their product safety.

In addition to the possibility that these claims may apply only to the finished products, “Cruelty-Free” and “Not Tested on Animals” don’t actually have any legal definitions. That’s right, much like “natural,” a company can throw these on their labels without much to back it up. So we, the consumers, have to do our research. And boy is it strenuous. It takes all the fun out of plucking a new product off the shelf to try.

I’m on a budget and I don’t have a ton of wiggle room when it comes to beauty products. If you are able to order online or in specialty stores, supporting cruelty-free brands may be easier for you. But I buy most of my shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and potions at Target or Walmart, and the selection of cruelty-free products there is dismal. But that’s where the thrill of the hunt comes in. Do a little research before you run out of shampoo, and you’ll be fine! I’ve gathered a few brands here that are actually cruelty-free (from raw materials to final products) to make your next trip to the store a bit easier.

Please note that not all products from these companies may be vegan. Check the ingredients lists for things like beeswax, lanolin, and carmine if this is important to you. For this post, I’m focusing only on brands available at big box stores or drugstores.

Alba Botanica

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Skincare and haircare products available.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Avalon Organics

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Skincare and haircare products available.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Bonne Bell
This is the company that makes Lip Smackers. Turns out we’ve been supporting cruelty-free brands since childhood. Use this as an excuse to start wearing Dr. Pepper lip balm, again.

Burt’s Bees

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Skincare, haircare, and limited makeup products available.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Eyes Lips Face

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Makeup and limited skincare products available. All products are vegan.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and some Walgreens. I’ve also seen E.L.F. at my local grocery stores, dollar stores, and Big Lots.

Giovanni Cosmetics

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Skincare and haircare products available. All products vegan except lip balms and Magnetic line.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.

Jordana Cosmetics




Physician’s Formula

Tom’s of Maine

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Dental care, anti-perspirant, and soap available.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Wet n Wild

Yes To

  • Cruelty-free policy here.
  • Haircare and skincare products available.
  • Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Other Resources

One last hint: check your grocery store! Many grocery stores have extensive health and beauty sections and are carrying a surprising amount of cruelty-free products. It may be a bit more expensive than the big box stores, but watch for sales.

Happy shopping! xo Sara


15 thoughts on “Cruelty-Free Drugstore Beauty Brands

  1. This is a fantastic post – great to see there are so many cruelty-free brands that are affordable. I’m very tempted to follow your lead and do a similar round-up post for the UK :)

    • Dear Natalie, please spread the word that Burt’s Bees is NOT animal-cruelty free! They are part of Clorox which drips chemicals into animals eyes and sticks them in plastic containers according to

  2. This is a very informative list, thank you!. True. there are no regulations and one must be aware that “cruelty-free” relates to lab testing only. Fortunately, the vegan options are increasing; I particularly like E.l.f :-)

  3. I agree, it is really hard to find a good cruelty-free brand. Hopefully that will change in the future:) I just don’t know how it’s possible that some countries still require animal testing.

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  5. Thanks for the follow.I really enjoyed reading your post, since beginning my journey for a cruelty free lifestyle I have noticed Target is gaining more products by the month! I cant speak for Targets everywhere but I’m happy my local Target now carries vegan cleaning products, frozen items, makeup, personal items and dental care. Its really a step in the right direction!

    • That’s great! The Target in my town is slowly getting there, but the one in the next town over is really awesome so I stop by there sometimes to explore (aka impulse shop!).

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