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Affordable Cruelty-Free Makeup That Performs Like High-End Products

I get asked about affordable cruelty-free makeup available at drugstore all the time. Frankly it’s very easy to find great cruelty-free products that won’t break the bank, and I’m always happy to share my favorites with you!

First of all, these are some of my favorite budget-friendly makeup brands that are also cruelty-free:

  • Milani
  • Physicians Formula
  • ELF (100% vegan)
  • Pacifica (100% vegan)
  • NYX (parent company not cruelty-free)
  • Covergirl (parent company not cruelty-free)
  • Hard Candy
  • Flower Beauty
  • Annabelle (availably in Canada)
  • Jordana
  • GOSH
  • Pixi
  • Mineral Fusion

There are so many options, and most of them are available in stores and easy to find. You can also supplement with online purchases if you can’t find something in stores.

For this post, I picked some of my favorite products available at Walmart — most are available in stores, and some only online.

Walmart’s Beauty section offers a ton of cruelty-free brands to choose from. They also have exclusive products that are only available at Walmart, like some collections from ELF and Covergirl. I love their online selection too, because you can find high-end items at a better price.

The Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso ($6.97) is a classic. It’s universally loved, and continues to be one of my favorite blushes of all time. First of all, it’s super pigmented. The amount of pigment is similar to a high-end blush. Second, it doubles as a highlighter because of the beautiful radiant effect. But fear not: it looks natural, doesn’t have any shimmer or chunky glitter, and gives your cheeks the prettiest glow.

I love the shade of Luminoso. It’s the perfect peachy pink, and it goes with any natural makeup look. For $6.97, you can’t ask for a better blush. Milani is general is a drugstore brand that never ceases to amaze me, and most of the products I’ve tried from them are great quality. This blush is made in Italy.

Hard Candy’s Plumping Serum ($6) is a lip gloss that “instantly plumps lips”. I enjoy plumping lip glosses for their tingling effect, and this one is no exception. Some of them are more peppery which I don’t like as much, and some of them are more minty. This one is definitely minty, and it feels nice and refreshing.

I love the thin formula because it’s non-sticky and feels like a thin layer of hydration on the lips. I also love the small doe-foot application because it’s precise and makes it easy to apply a thin coat. This lip glosses promises to be “hydrating” which it absolutely is. After hours of wear, my lips don’t get dry or chapped.

Hard Candy as a brand can be hit or miss, but they have some great affordable products, especially if you’re looking for fun, glittery, or colorful makeup. The quality is nice and this product is made in the USA.

Another ~classic~, the Murumuru Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula ($13.23) blends like a dream and smells like a tropical paradise. It has such a yummy coconutty scent. This is my favorite drugstore bronzer because of the shade and blendability.

I use the shade Light Bronzer, but it comes in a total of 4 shades, which is fantastic. Light Bronzer is a great neutral shade, not too ashy and not too orange. This is a matte bronzer that doesn’t have any shine whatsoever. I love how blendable it is on the skin, and how velvetty it feels in the pan. It’s very smooth and buttery, and it’s definitely an aptly-named product.

The only thing I dislike about this product is the bulky packaging. It makes it less convenient to travel with, and just overall more clunky. It comes with a flat sponge applicator (does anybody use this?) which only takes up space.

I love a glowy skin look, but not all foundations have a radiant finish. Enter a product like Soft Focus Glow by Milani ($9.97). You can mix it with any foundation, or wear it under your foundation as a glowy primer. You can also wear it on its own if you don’t need foundation, and it provides a beautiful glow.

I have mine in the shade Nude Glow, but there are 2 more shades to choose from. Nude Glow is the lightest one, but it’s considerably darker than my skin tone. Once I blend it into my skin, it doesn’t leave much of a tint, but if you have pale skin you might find the lightest shade to be too dark.

Applied underneath foundation, it brings a subtle glow but makes for a nice smoothing primer. For a less subtle effect, I mix it with a fuller coverage, matte foundation. Keep in mind that this product offers no coverage by itself, so mixing it with your foundation will take away from the coverage. It also contains silicones, so it’s important to mix it with a silicone-based foundation or it won’t mix well.

Next, I’m cheating a little. These products aren’t the most affordable, but they’re some of my favorites and I’ve included affordable alternatives.

First, the Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara by 100% Pure ($26) is available at Walmart online, so I had to pick it. It’s one of my favorite “green beauty” mascaras. Its main ingredient is certified organic Black Tea leaf extract, and it contains extracts of Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Raspberry, and even cocoa powder.

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Given all the natural ingredients, you wouldn’t believe that it performs as well as a mainstream mascara, but it does a fantastic job at lengthening, which is what it claims. This mascara is “100% vegetarian” and not vegan since it contains Honey Beeswax.

Affordable Alternative: Pacifica mascaras, which are also 100% vegan.

Second, I know what you’re thinking. Stila? At Walmart? Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($19.99) is available at Walmart online, not in stores. I was looking for an eyeliner to replace the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, and I knew Stila’s always had similarly positive reviews.

I was pleasantly surprised by how black and intense this eyeliner is, and how easy it is to apply. It also doesn’t fade or smudge and stays put all day, just like the claim.

Affordable Alternative: Physicians Formula or ELF.

In Conclusion

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found some affordable products to try out! Remember to try out the brands mentioned at the top of this post before anything else, because I’m positive you can find great, affordable makeup that’s also cruelty-free. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post and supporting Cruelty-Free Kitty. All products were chosen and purchased by me.

View Comments (6)
  • This was such a helpful post Suzana! I have always got my eye open for cruelty free finds so definitely going to keep my eye out for more of these products!

  • May I ask why were you looking to replace the Kat Von D tatto liner? I just bought it and want to make sure not to again after I use it up if there was a reason to not. -Thanks! 🙂

    • They’re still cruelty-free, but I’m disappointed with the direction the brand is going in general and how they’re dealing with the controversies surrounding Kat Von D. I’m not boycotting the brand, but there’s some icky stuff involved and I’d rather find alternatives right now.

  • Hi Suzana, I love this post and I love your blog. I know I can always rely on your posts to be factual, thank you for all the hard work you put into researching all of this for us! I have been eyeing (no pun intended!) that Stila liquid liner, I too am feeling a little funny about KVD and I used to love Stila back in the day before I focused on cleaner and cruelty free beauty. What kind of a tip does the liner have, a brush or felt? I like KVD’s because of the brush tip and finding another brand with a brush tip is proving to be quite challenging. Thank you!

    • Hi Vicki! First of all thank you so much, you’re too kind! The Stila eyeliner has a felt tip and it does take some getting used to. I do love how dark it is though. Wishing you all the best! 🙂

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