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Glass bottles of beauty products and a dry brush on a counter.

Do you feel conflicted knowing that many of the beauty products you use actually test their products on our furry little friends? Maybe you’ve really been wanting to make the switch to using only cruelty-free beauty products, but your teeny tiny budget just isn’t on board. 

I have great news for you. There are more and more affordable cruelty-free drugstore brands available each year that are kind to animals and kind to your wallet.

Affordable Cruelty-Free Beauty Products

It’s a common misperception that all cruelty-free beauty products are expensive.

More and more beauty brands are making the leap to doing away with testing their products and ingredients on animals, and more and more consumers are making the switch to shopping more consciously.

Your dollars are your vote, and you have the right to refuse to support animal testing by switching to using only cruelty-free beauty brands. Switching to using products with safer ingredients and safer testing and manufacturing processes is finally a reality for those of us with smaller budgets, and it’s totally possible to make the switch to cruelty-free beauty brands without breaking the bank.

There are multiple organizations that can certify a brand as “cruelty-free.”  If you’re unclear on what the specific terminology means, PETA and Leaping Bunny are great resources to check out. PETA even has a searchable database you can look up brands to check on their cruelty-free status prior to purchasing.

Best Cruelty-Free Drugstore Brands

I typically purchase a lot of generic brands to save money, but when it comes to beauty brands, I prefer brand names because they seem to use better ingredients, and I have started to be pickier about what types of ingredients I want to see in my beauty products. 

Many people (myself included) wrongfully assume that cruelty-free products are so much more expensive than their non-cruelty-free counterparts. Thankfully, that is simply not the case.

There are so many affordable beauty brands out there that are cruelty-free and actually care about the welfare of our furry friends over cutting costs.

In fact, you can even find many cruelty-free drugstore brands with great quality products at a very reasonable price point.

I’m so excited to share with you all of the affordable cruelty-free beauty brands that I’ve been loving recently, so let’s just jump right in.

ALSO READ11 cheap and easy ways to practice self-care on a budget

Cruelty-Free Haircare Brands

Starting with some cruelty-free drugstore haircare, these are the best brands I’ve found that will leave your hair looking like a million bucks without breaking the bank.

Kristin Ess

Kristin Ess’ products are super affordable without being bottom-line products.  Not only are they cruelty-free, but many of her products are sulfate-free as well. If you’re trying to be more intentional with the products you put on your body, you will approve of the quality ingredients plus, she has a big range of salon-quality products, accessories, and styling tools.

This curling iron is so great because it actually pivots to make it easier to reach pieces in the back.

Love, Beauty, and Planet

Love, Beauty, and Planet products have the BEST scents! I notice the scent of the shampoo and conditioners don’t seem to be very strong in my hair once it’s dry, but their lotions are very scented and are very affordable.

In addition, this brand seems to go on sale a lot, and I often find available rebates on Fetch Rewards and Ibotta as well.

This brand uses very clean ingredients, and they also use recycled plastic for their bottles. 


I used to be a dry shampoo lover, but when I started diving deeper and transitioning into using cruelty-free brands, I noticed many dry shampoos were not really cruelty-free and used less-than-ideal ingredients.  

Batiste dry shampoo used to be my jam, but I stopped using it once I saw they were not a cruelty-free brand, and I’ve been using Hask ever since.

Not only does it smell amazing, but it doesn’t make my hair feel weighed down – you’re going to get great results from this brand.

They have a bunch of different options, so you’re sure to find one that works well for your hair type plus, a little goes a long way, so a bottle lasts me longer than with other brands.

They also have amazing hair masks, and to be honest, I haven’t found a Hask product I haven’t loved!

Cruelty-Free Skincare Brands

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it’s important to treat it well!  Here are some amazing skincare brands at drugstore prices…


This is great to use as a moisturizer and a wonderful addition to your bathwater – it will make your skin baby smooth.  Although I don’t necessarily love the smell, I’ve found it doesn’t last on my body and fades quickly.

As someone who’s dealt with eczema and sensitive skin my whole life,  I’ve started using this on dry patches, and it works really well without irritating my skin plus, it’s great for stretch marks too.

The Ordinary

The Ordinary is probably my favorite brand on this list. Its mission is really to kind of pull back the curtain on the skincare industry and let consumers know that you don’t have to pay a million dollars for skincare.

They are very formula focused, and they have a ton of information on their website regarding usage, etc.

Their products range anywhere from $5 – $25, so it’s really been an awesome way for me to try to expand my skincare regimen.

I love everything they stand for, especially the fact that they’re completely cruelty-free.

I never did much for skincare my whole life besides a moisturizer because I have really dry skin and just didn’t pay attention to it until now.  It’s never too late, right?

Mario Badescu

Who doesn’t love a good facial spray? Especially in the warmer months, a nice, cooling facial spray not only feels refreshing but refreshes your makeup as well.

Mario Badescu offers affordable and cruelty-free facial sprays in three popular options. Spoiler alert: all three are awesome, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Makeup setting sprays can be ridiculously priced, which is why I prefer to make my own DIY setting spray, but when I do purchase them, this one is my go-to.

Shea Moisture

Naturally and sustainably sourced, Shea Moisture has become one of my favorite brands. They have everything you could want – skincare, baby products, and even a men’s line. 

I have loved every single product I’ve tried by Shea Moisture, and they offer some incredible ingredients at incredible prices.

Alba Botanica

This brand is natural and tropical. Their products are 100% vegetarian and botanical.

You will love their clean ingredients, and you’ll love their prices even more.


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Nourish Organics

I have very sensitive skin, so a lot of products I try don’t work for me, and I have to end up returning and trying something else. But I’ve loved the Nourish Organics products I’ve tried, especially this avocado eye cream.

Their products are GMO-free, cruelty-free, and vegan…win, win, win!

Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

There are a lot of cruelty-free prestige makeup brands, but they will cost you a pretty penny. Save your money and check out some of these cruelty-free drugstore makeup brands out there.

Wet n’ Wild

Wet n’ Wild has really upped its game in the past few years! They have some really unique products at extremely affordable prices, plus you can find them anywhere.


Another low-priced brand, Jordana, isn’t found as widely as Wet n Wild, but their liquid lipsticks and dirt-cheap lip liners are worth the purchase if you come across them.

Makeup Revolution

I’ve found Makeup Revolution at Ulta and on Amazon. They have a lot of trendy products and a TON of different pallets at very reasonable prices.

If you prefer to have most of your makeup in a few pallets, this is your brand. You’ll find strobe pallets, eyeshadow pallets, and contour pallets – just to name a few.


Milani can be found at most drugstores, and their brand has really grown in the past few years. They make makeup for every shade, attitude, and ethnicity. Their baked blushes are amazing, and their products are very pigmented, so they’ll last a long time.


Morphe does a lot of collaborations with YouTubers or other makeup artists, so you’ve probably seen its name before.

They sell a ton of pallets and huge eyeshadow palettes at really affordable prices with a ton of color choices, but in addition to cosmetics, they also have quality cruelty-free makeup brushes at great prices.


I saved the best for last!  E.l.f. (stands for eyes. lips. face.) products are easy to find and carried all over.  Their products are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and 100% vegan, plus they have the best prices, hands down.

E.l.f. has recently begun to add more skincare products to its already huge range of products, including cosmetics, brushes, beauty tools, and other accessories.

Bonus Brand

While this brand would not be considered a cruelty-free drugstore brand, I wanted to include it as a bonus because I’ve been so impressed with their products.

Thrive Causemetics

If you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, you should definitely have a look at Thrive Causemetics

While Thrive’s price points are definitely higher than the other brands we discussed, I wanted to include them because to me being frugal to me means spending money on things that bring you value and are important to you and really cutting back on the things that don’t matter as much.

We’ve talked about a  bunch of budget beauty products, and saving money on those products is what will allow you to splurge on a few more expensive products that you feel are worth the money.

I use most of these drugstore brands and save money, so I can purchase Thrive’s Liquid Lash Extension Mascara…a higher price point but worth every penny to me.

I have really straight stubby eyelashes, and I have a very difficult time finding a mascara that works for me that doesn’t aggravate my eyes, and that isn’t waterproof.

This mascara goes on nicely, gives great length, and doesn’t have those little fibers that fall off into your eyes. It never smudges. It never flakes off and falls down my cheek. It never irritates my eyes, so I’m not itching or rubbing them throughout the day. It’s also a tubing mascara, so it comes off very easily (in little tubes) with some warm water.

If supporting more conscious beauty brands is important to you, get out there and check out some of these cruelty-free drugstore brands.

This article was produced and syndicated by Cents + Purpose.

Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.

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