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10 Cult Makeup Favorites and Their Cruelty-Free Dupes

by Suzana Rose

May 22, 2018

Move over, Smith's Rosebud Salve! There's a better lip balm in town. It's more moisturizing, doesn't contain nasty chemicals, and has a heavenly scent. It's Lush's Honey Trap! Yum.

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Edit: I was informed that Rosebud Salve might not have distributors in mainland China, therefore being cruelty-free. I'll update when I have more news.

Make Up For Ever's HD setting powder is a praised by makeup artists because of its lasting powder and mattifying effect. Too Faced makes a highly comparable pressed powder that's very finely-milled. Great for oily skin and during the summer. Get this holy grail powder !

Laura Mercier's Silk Creme Foundation has been raved about for providing a full coverage that lasts. I think Tarte's Amazonian Clay does a better job at this, as I said in my review. Tarte's foundation is fabulous and you even get .

READ MORE: The 10 Best Cruelty-Free Foundations

Guerlain's Meteorites, the beautifully-packaged shimmering pearls that are used as a highlighter, have recently been surpassed by Hourglass's Ambient Lighting Powders. They're getting so much well-deserved hype -- and they're cruelty-free! Try Diffused Light for the

benefit hoola vs illamasqua hollow

Benefit's Hoola bronzer is a classic: unlike many bronzers, it's not orange and has a matte finish, making it the perfect contour for pale to medium skin tones. Luckily for us animal-lovers, Illamasqua's Hollow is an . And since it's a cream pigment, it gives you more control and lasts longer. Hint: I'm pale and this is the contour I personally use!

Benefit's Benetint, the cheek-and-lip tint that was originally created as a nipple tint (no joke!), has a lovely cruelty-free dupe: and gives you the same lively pop of color. It's a best-seller too!

stila stay all day liner vs milani eye tech

Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner has been praised for refusing to budge. But not many people know that Milani has been making a liquid liner with extra-tough lasting-power for years. Their Eye Tech Extreme Eyeliner is a cruelty-free secret weapon for anyone who wants perfect wings that stay put all day. If you're lucky enough to find it in a store, grab it! They're seriously always out of stock. You can also find them on amazon for around 10$. Not a bad deal considering Stila's is double that price.

ysl touche eclat vs milani hd advanced concealer

Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat has been a cult highlighting conealer for years. Milani's inexpensive dupe is equally amazing for just a fraction of the price. You can find it at your local Walmart, Walgreen's, CVS, or buy it online.

Clinique makes the infamous Chubby Stick, a moisturizing lip balm in the shape of a big pen. Equally hydrating and praise-worthy is Tarte's LipSurgence™ Skintuitive Lip Tint. It only comes in one shade but it mixes to your own lip color to create a unique, personalized natural shade. It's also hydrating without being overly glossy.

stila kitten vs thebalm standoffish

If there is such thing as a cult eyeshadow, it's Stila's Kitten. Because it's such a versatile shade that works with most skin tones, it's on every beauty blogger's list. There are a few options available for animal-lovers who seek this shimmering nude shadow (wet n wild's walking on eggshells, ELF's Mineral Eyeshadow in elegant), but the best dupe I've found is theBalm's Stand-Offish. It's part of their Nude 'Tude palette, which includes a multitude of beautiful highly-pigmented neutral shades. It's an underrated palette that's worth checking out.

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to share these cruelty-free dupes on Pinterest!

Further Reading

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

+ Show Comments (43) - Hide Comments (43)
  • CarolCats says:

    I purchased Smith’s Rosebud Salve yesterday because I could not find a cruelty-free lip balm at Sephora that was NOT plumping which I do not want to use. The tin stated that this balm is not tested on animals. I researched this product further and learned that these salve’s are distributed throughout many Asian countries including China. I’ve e-mailed this company and am waiting for a reply. I will return this salve to Sephora if Rosebud products are indeed sold in China. You have listed other lip salve choices.

  • Adey M. says:

    I love these. Have you done or know a site that has done a comparison for lipsticks? I’ve never liked wearing lipsticks but if I did I work Mac. I have Nyx lipsticks or stains but I’m looking for something that doesn’t rub off.

  • Susan says:

    Have you ever come across a cruelty-free dupe for the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation? I’ve been hunting with no luck.

  • Vanessa De Anda says:

    I have been trying to find a substitute for the Benefits proefessional primer, I have combination skin, I am going to go to Sephora this Saturday to ask for samples of different primes from cruelty free brands. Do you have an suggestions on which ones I should try.

  • Phoebe Sage says:

    Would anybody be able to recommend a good alternative foundation to MAC studio fix fluid? I love it but having recently changed to a vegan diet I am trying to adjust to using cruelty free products too. Thank you for the amazing content on this website by the way, it has been so helpful!

  • Chantelle Haworth says:

    Hey I just thought I would put in an update by saying that Stila is cruelty free now

  • Nienke says:

    Hi Suzi! Thank you for your amazing work! Your website has been a great help to me. I am close to making my makeup collection fully cruelty free (still finishing up some non-CF products). 🙂 My holy grail mascara has been Le Volume by Chanel ever since it came out. I am searching for a CF dupe. Do you happen to know any mascara’s that are similar to Le Volume? X

  • Kristen Lombardi says:

    I need alternatives for benefit roller lash mascara and mac lingering eyebrow pencil please…

  • Sophie says:

    Does anyone know an alternative for maybellines lash sensational as it is the only mascara (that I’ve tried) that keeps my eyelashes up all day xx

  • Tam says:

    I loved the Coty Airspun powder for baking and setting my makeup.. then I read that Coty isn’t cruelty-free. Is there an inexpensive dupe? I’d love to try the RCMA or Ben Nye, but I’m afraid they might cost more than something I can find at the drugstore.

  • Tanya Kennedy Luminati says:

    I am one of G.F.Smith’s great-grandchildren. Smith’s Rosebud Salve is cruelty-free and contains no ‘harsh chemicals’, but this article and Pinterest image are making rounds on the internet and tarnishing our good name and reputation. Please correct the article and especially the image as soon as possible!

    Our Rosebud Salve was formulated in 1892 and is comprised of seven different essential oils which are derived from roses and their stems and leaves. This is how essential oils are
    made. It is not made with ‘harsh chemicals.’

    We have never tested on animals. Ever. We have basically tested the products on ourselves through the years. We Smiths all love our balms.

    And just because a product is being sold in China doesn’t mean it’s been tested on animals. As mentioned in another post, you can avoid any animal testing in China if you ship your products into Taiwan and Hong Kong or Macau. These areas we ship to do not require animal testing. We have never shipped into Mainland China and refuse to do so because of our firm beliefs. One important thing to note is that the animal testing in Mainland China may soon be lifted and this is a wonderful thing!

    • Hi Tanya- My information is based on your Press Kit, where we can read:

      “We have a long term relationship with numerous loyal companies in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, P.R. China, Taiwan, and The Philippines.” (Source, page 2)

      If your products are sold in mainland China (P.R. China), even if they bypass the pre-market animal testing, they might be subjected to post-market testing at any time. If you don’t sell your products in mainland China as the Press Kit implies, contact me at suzi@crueltyfreekitty.com.

      • Tanya Kennedy Luminati says:

        Suzi, is this about preventing cruelty in the manufacture/testing of products or preventing sales in China due to their stance on animal testing? Rosebud Perfume Company has never tested any of our salves/balms on animals. Period. We do have some sales in China at this stage as we have products going into Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau and then they are flowing into main China from there. We do not understand why we are on this list of yours. You seem to be implying that any product that ends up in China could be snatched off the shelf by the government and tested on animals, so is your stance that no products of any kind should be sold to China? It is absolutely your right to take this stance, but it is not your right to imply that our Smiths Rosebud Salve is actively ‘cruel’ and should be swapped out for a ‘cruelty-free’ alternative. You’ve told folks to go buy Honey Trap as an alternative … well, what if a can of Honey Trap ends up on a shelf in China? Does that mean they are now ‘cruel’, too? (PS: I have several vegan friends who feel it is ‘cruel’ to ‘steal’ honey from bees, so let’s all keep in mind that the definition of ‘cruel’ is highly subjective.)

    • BMax says:

      So glad to hear this Tanya. I love lots of Lush products, but I’ve tried several of their lip balms and they’re not as good as Smith’s. Rosebud Salve is the best and I’m so happy that I can keep using it!

  • Luisa says:

    Really interesting! Do you by any chance know of a cruelty-free alternative to Audrey Hepburn’s lipstick she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I have read that Revlon’s Pink in the Afternoon is the exact one/or at least the best dupe around but it’s obviously not cruelty-free…. :/


  • Thank you Krystel! Their website stated they have a distributor in “R.O.C.” which might only stand for Taiwan. I’ll follow up as well.

  • Taryn says:

    On what grounds is Smith’s Rosebud Salve not cruelty free?
    I was under the impression that it was both cruelty free and vegan. :/

  • D says:

    Yes, but everyone knows that Arbonne is just a pyramid scheme.

  • Jacki says:

    I am new to the whole cruelty free lifestyle and I have a question. When a company says they “do not test their products on animals; only when required by law”, does that mean, for example, that the same foundation found in a US drugstore wasn’t tested on animals, but one found in China was tested? Or does it depend on the company making that foundation? I hope that makes sense. Sometimes the Chinese or Japanese version of a foundation looks different or even performs differently than other versions and that’s why I am confused on the statement “only when required by law” when it comes to being cruelty-free. Is there a list that says which countries require animal testing (other than China, as that seems to be the main culprit).
    Thank you for your time.

    • Suzi says:

      I can see what you mean, but if the company tests on animals when required by law, this means that they fund the testing and therefore the company itself isn’t cruelty free. There’s no distinction between different versions of products.

  • anotherstrongopinionpart2 says:

    thank you for this list. think that laura mercier might be cruelty free? but if you know something i don’t please do tell….

  • Suzi says:

    I haven’t seen them IRL but based on a google search, they seem to have a similar metallic finish to a lot of Colourpop eyeshadows. I can’t rec specific shades (sorry about that) but if you like that finish, definitely check them out. 🙂

  • CeltincOne says:

    Tarte is no longer cruelty free as far as I am concerned. Directly from their facebook page: To all of our tartelettes: As you may have heard, tarte has recently been acquired by Japanese company KOSÉ. It’s truly been an amazing ride, from the little venture Maureen Kelly started in her bedroom 15 years ago to the global powerhouse we’re privileged to join. Our vision has always been to create beauty products that are ‘healthy treats for your skin,’ foster the highest level of customer service and give back to the community and the environment. By joining the KOSÉ family and adding to that rich portfolio, we can build on what we’ve already accomplished with powerful products and explore expanding the tarte brand in new and exciting countries. And rest assured, we are committed to remaining a cruelty-free brand and will not test on animals. Maureen will stay on as the CEO and looks forward to continuing a lasting relationship with our tartelettes.

    xo, the tarte team!

    KOSÉ tests on animals, therefore when buying Tarte, you are contributing to KOSÉ, I anon cruelty free company.

    • Suzi says:

      I’m fully aware of Tarte’s acquisition by Kose last year. Tarte is still cruelty-free even though they’re owned by a company that isn’t. Many people, myself included, choose to support all cruelty-free brands. It’s a matter of choice.

      • CeltincOne says:

        I’m not sure how you can consider Tarte cruelty free when they’re owned by a company who profits off of testing on animals. Hypocritical in the least.

        • Suzi says:

          Because Tarte is a separate entity from their parent company.

          There’s nothing hypocritical about it. I’m here devoting my time to the cause and writing informative posts about cruelty-free living, not calling other cruelty-free shoppers hypocrites. Please look around and inform yourself before jumping to conclusions.

          • CeltincOne says:

            So sorry to offend you with the facts Suzi. Clearly KOSÉ benefits off of Tarte products that are bought and sold to ill informed consumers, therefore Tarte is indirectly feeding into animal cruelty and lab testing on animals. It is what it is, and it IS hypocritical to promote a company as cruelty free when the company owns them is clearly NOT cruelty free. It’s blood money, period!

          • Heidi says:

            I think Suzi makes a great point in supporting these kinds of companies. There’s nothing like a committed and successful example, and supporting the efforts of the smaller company may influence the larger owner to rethink their views of what customers want.

          • MissPenny says:

            Let me first say that I have found Suzi’s site indispensable and I can’t express how much I appreciate the hard work she does for the rest of us. This post is in no way meant to take anything away from that. It’s meant to be informative, if anything.

            As a CPA, I can undoubtedly tell you that just because Kose and Tarte file separate tax returns and have separate FEINs, you’re still ultimately giving your money to Kose. Plain & simple. Tarte doesn’t get to keep it’s own secret stash of money and never give a penny to Kose. It’s not how it works. If L’Oreal now owns Urban Decay for example, L’Oreal will now get some of the profit off of anything Urban Decay sells from now on. It may be 1%, it may be 50%, but it does get the profit.

            I respect your and Suzi’s opinions, but I myself can’t in good conscience say that I’m CF if I give my money to a company that tests on animals, no matter how indirect it may be.

          • Suzi says:

            Fair enough! You’re bringing arguments to back up your beliefs, and like I said in my post devoted specifically to this issue, I totally respect this opinion. What I have no respect for is ad hominem attacks.

          • Suzi says:

            And MissPenny, of course the parent company gets the PROFIT, this isn’t what I meant. But by buying from Urban Decay as opposed to Lancome, part of the “financial support” (or however you want to call the money you spend) goes to Urban Decay itself, in the pockets of employees. It’s not black and white and there are pros and cons to each position you wish to take.

          • Natalya Napier says:

            It would be better still to not buy from any company that has some part in animal testing and instead buy from a company that is all cruelty free and has no mother company that tests on animals etc. By supporting these companies and boycotting the others, surely that’s the way to show the bigger companies what the consumer wants?

        • Lisa says:

          I know I am ridiculously late to the convo, but for future readers I think this should be said. If you buy products that aren’t Vegan, they aren’t TRULY 100% Cruelty Free. Honestly, I can’t imagine that everyone, including myself, isn’t somehow supporting cruelty indirectly or directly. Bare with me…

          The supermarkets where I buy my Vegan food, also sells non-vegan food.

          I only wear non-leather sneakers, such as Converse, but Converse also makes leather sneakers.

          I buy CF Vegan beauty products at Target, Ulta, Sephora.. all of which also sell Non-CF, Non-Vegan products.

          I buy CF Vegan products directly from Vegan companies, who most likely employ non CF and non Vegan workers. And they do business with other non CF and non Vegan companies.

          So unless you buy a CF Vegan product directly from a 100% Vegan store/shop, that ONLY hires CF Vegan employees, and ONLY does business with other CF Vegan companies; then somewhere, somehow your money is going to animal cruelty. Obviously that is the extreme and 6 degrees of separation kind of way to look at it but its true if you look at how the profits go down the line. Sadly that’s just life. This is something I had to come to terms with when I started my CF & Vegan lifestyle change. Its unfortunately impossible [as far as I can imagine] to be truly & purely cruelty free. BUT we can do our best to support those CF companies that are selling CF [and Vegan preferably] products and hope for a better world in the future.

  • Nic Lyon says:

    Stila, YSL, Clinique, Benefit and Guerlain all test on animals. In fact they all pay high prices to test their products on animals so they can enter the lucrative Chinese market. Rule of thumb, if it is available to buy in China, it is tested on animals.

    • Suzi says:

      Non-cruelty-free items are on the left, cruelty-free items are on the right! ALL the companies on the left test on animals, hence the cruelty-free dupes. 🙂

  • Louise says:

    Love this 😀 I think Urban Decay Sin might be another cf dupe for Stila Kitten? It’s a favourite of mine! PS I agree with you on TBS too, I am happy to use them! xx

  • christina says:

    Thank you for the info! I would like to mention that Body Shop is not really cruelty free as it’s parent company is L’Oréal, which is one of the companies that DO test on animals.
    Also cruelty free should be a company that is palm oil free, or using palm oil from sustainable sources and has a proof about that.

    • Suzi says:

      Hi Christina, thanks for the feedback! While The Body Shop is owned by L’Oreal, the company is Leaping-Bunny certified, which is the highest cruelty-free standard. You can read more about my opinion on non-cruelty-free parent companies in this post. Cruelty-free brands owned by non-cruelty-free corporations still maintain a great deal of autonomy. They file their own tax reports and operate as cruelty-free businesses.

      Also, if you take a look at our list of cruelty-free brands, you’ll notice that I mark every brand that’s owned by a parent company that tests. Hope this helps!

      • christina says:

        Hi Suzi! Thanx for your help! 🙂 I agree with you, but If you would own a (cruelty free) company and you would really care about animal rights could you ever cooperate with a non cruelty free company (which does not do anything to be less cruelty in the future)?

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