Affordable Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands And Where to Get Them

affordable cruelty free makeup inexpensive
credit: Jess Harper Sunday

Finding cruelty-free makeup brands is hard — but finding affordable cruelty-free makeup brands is harder.

It’s understandable, after all. It’s significantly easier and cheap for inexpensive makeup brands to just get their products produced in China, where animal testing was literally required by law up until May 2021.

On top of that, it can be tricky to figure out which beauty brands are actually cruelty-free and which brands are just faking it. There are so many different labels and certifications. Not to mention that marketing tactics can be *extremely* misleading.

So before we get to our list of affordable cruelty-free makeup brands, first let’s break down all the vocabulary and certifications.

Leaping Bunny vs. PETA-Approved vs. Certified Vegan

The two main forms of cruelty-free certification are Leaping Bunny and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program.

The most reliable certification is Leaping Bunny. The international certification organization is extremely selective and conducts independent audits into companies that want the certification.

In order to be Leaping Bunny-certified, a brand must not test on animals, purchase products from a company that tests on animals, and must agree to an independent audit.

In order to be PETA-approved, companies merely need to commit to never testing their products on animals or allowing animal testing at any phase of the product development. PETA does not complete an independent audit and the certification is more of an honor system. Companies also need to pay a fee to use PETA’s cruelty-free label on their products.

The last certification you should know is certified vegan. assigns certified vegan labels to products only after a review process in which they look into a product’s ingredient list and investigate suppliers and manufacturers. only gives out vegan certifications to products and not entire companies.

The most important thing to remember here is that just because something has a cruelty-free certification doesn’t mean it’s certified vegan and vice versa.

Affordable Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

Ok, now that we have our certifications straight, let’s get to the list.

Every brand on the list below is Leaping Bunny-Certified, which, as you’ll recall, is the highest certification a beauty brand can have. Additionally, every makeup brand below has a majority of products for under $20 (or less!).

To view a full list of Leaping Bunny-certified brands, view the organization’s shopping guide here.

Burt’s Bees


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Burt’s Bees (@burtsbees)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Burt’s Bees is Leaping Bunny-certified. While you might know the brand mostly for its lip blam, Burt’s Bees has significantly expanded its makeup line to include a full array of eye, lip, and face products, most of which is under $10. You can usually find Burt’s Bees at drugstores, Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Amazon, and more.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by COVERGIRL (@covergirl)

Surprised? Turns out your favorite drugstore mainstay Covergirl is Leaping Bunny-certified. As you probably already know, Covergirl is super affordable and available at drugstores, Target, Walmart, Ulta, Amazon, and more.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Milani Cosmetics (@milanicosmetics)

Next on the list is another drugstore staple, Milani Cosmetics. Most Milani products are under $15 and can be found at drugstores, Target, Amazon, and Ulta.

The Ordinary


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Ordinary (@theordinary)

That’s right, you’re favorite affordable skincare brand The Ordinary is also Leaping Bunny-certified! And what you might not know is that in addition to all those amazing serums, The Ordinary also has a line of makeup that includes primer, foundation, and concealer.

You can shop The Ordinary at Sephora, Ulta, Target, Amazon, Selfridges, ASOS, and more. And basically everything is under $10. Does it get any better?

This article includes affiliate links.


An Affordable Guide to Going Cruelty-Free

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.