We are back on our quest and this time in search of the best cruelty-free foundation. After many samples and swatches, we have found our top contenders that perfectly complement this list of cruelty-free concealers.
But first, we need to determine what is it that makes a product cruelty-free? A product that claims it is cruelty-free must certify that the product, nor its ingredients, were tested on animals and any testing that was outsourced was not tested on animals either.
Cruelty-free is limited to the testing phase. It does not extend towards the usage of animal products in its formulation – for example, Lanolin is an emulsifying product that is found in creams and lip balms. Lanolin is also a byproduct of the wool industry and nearly all the lanolin in the world comes from sheep. This means that products containing lanolin may be cruelty-free, but they aren’t vegan.
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Vegan makeup is created with absolutely no animal-derived products, such as beeswax, carmine or lanolin.
Using cruelty-free makeup sets out the standard that animal cruelty is absolutely unacceptable. Plus, the knowledge that your favorite foundation that makes you look and feel amazing stayed far away from animal testing makes it all the more superior. Therefore, our search has been conducted under the banner of cruelty-free and these are, in no particular order, our top picks of the best cruelty-free foundations.
1. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
|Coverage:||Medium to Full|
Calling all ladies with combination to oily skin – we have found the perfect product for you! This cruelty-free foundation comes in a squeezy tube and is free of all irritants. The texture is smooth and you can build it to full coverage. The best part? Once it is on, it locks into place and it isn’t going anywhere.
We recommend that you apply the product with your hands and then blend it in with either a cruelty-free dense buffing brush or your favorite blender. It sets to a powdery finish and remains that way, so one tube should go the distance.
2. TARTE Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation
This product claims to be a 12-hour, full coverage foundation that is oil-free and will not cake up. And it delivers! The product feels velvety and smooth on the skin and if you use a gentle hand, it is very lightweight too. Its gently formulated so it doesn’t feel like its sitting in your pores and weighing you down. That said, a little goes a long way so be careful with the amount you use – about 2 peas worth should do it.
The best way to use this foundation is with a brush or your fingers and it will hug your skin like it always belonged there! And here’s the wonderful part – if you can gently build it up over problem areas, it can easily double up as a concealer. This product is a true winner!
3. Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation
Who needs an Instagram filter when you have this guy in your arsenal? This cruelty-free foundation from Urban Decay has a cult following because its viscous formula is loaded with pigment that diffuses the light and blurs out imperfections. Its waterproof formula does wonders to mattify your complexion.
Now we warn you, this foundation comes with a learning curve; to maximize its benefits, we suggest that you prep your skin well before applying it, and a little goes a long way! Additionally, it dries down fast, so work in very thin layers, using a damp beauty blender, but do not use your fingers. Finish it off with your favorite setting spray and you’ll have natural-looking, glowing skin!
4. Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation
Cover FX Pressed Mineral Foundation has been termed a good dupe for MAC Studio Fix powder, minus the skin-irritating ingredients. This product is cruelty-free, paraben-free and sulfate-free! It builds to a medium covered and even that can be pushed to a medium-full if applied with a wet sponge – so to build it to full, press the product onto your skin instead of sweeping it on.
It can be used across the board from dry to oily skin and since it is made with clean ingredients, it doesn’t tax-sensitive skin. And because it is in a compact form, it can easily stow away in your purse can be used for touch-ups throughout the day. Just sweep it on and go!
5. Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Hydrating Foundation
Calling all you beautiful people with sensitive skin. This cruelty-free foundation comes armed with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E to nourish and soothe your skin. Acid is a humectant, which means it pulls moisture from the atmosphere and absorbs it into your skin. Vitamin E, on the other hand, is an antioxidant that protects and heals the skin. So not only does it look good on you, but it’s also good for you too!
Related: check our article about best foundations for sensitive skin!
The only catch to this product is that it sets quickly, so you have to work fast with a sponge. But here’s the good news; its sweat resistant, hardly transfers and it can withstand humidity! This has been tested by wearing it at the beach. So, if you live in humid climates and want a foundation that doesn’t break down at the first drop of sweat, you have your winner!
6. e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation
If you’re looking for a cruelty-free foundation that doesn’t break the bank, say hello to your new best friend! This oil-free formula has a unique quality that isn’t found often in budget-friendly brands; it can be built up to full coverage but it never feels heavy. It’s unheard of! The formula is lightweight and dries down to a dewy, satin finish that gives you all the coverage while looking hydrated and healthy.
Related: Best Dewy Foundations
People with sensitive skin, a word of caution – this product has a strong scent to it, so it may cause irritation, but that can be mitigated by using a primer to create a protective layer between your skin and the formula. A little goes a long way, so one or two pumps should suffice to give you all the coverage you need. We highly recommend this product, if you can find the right shade for your skin tone.
7. KIKO MILANO Skin Tone Powder Foundation
KIKO MILANO is a cruelty-free foundation in a compact form. It comes with a powder puff and it has a matte finish. To apply, load up the applicator puff and press the product where you need it rather than sweeping it. This ensures good, respectable medium coverage – that said, you can sweep it if you want a sheer finish.
Not a fan of the powdery look? You can set it with a finishing spray and it will settle onto your skin and won’t move! While it claims 8 hours of coverage, we saw it last for a good 6 hours, which is excellent for any powder foundation! For fuller coverage, use this foundation to set your BB cream. We promise you will love it!
8. Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation
Are you ready for some serious coverage? Because this foundation is here for business. Celebrity tattoo artist, Kat Von D, formulated this foundation with the purpose of covering up tattoos. So, if it can cover tattoos, then acne scars don’t stand a chance. This guy is heavy-duty, full coverage! It is a popular choice for drag performers and it holds its own under the harsh stage lights. This means, if you’re purchasing this for everyday use, a little goes a very long way! It is best suited for normal to oily skin as it is mattifying and that can have uncomfortable effects on those with dry skin.
If you do have dry skin, then prep your skin well before use; exfoliate and moisturize well before application. We recommend applying it with a damp sponge over brush or fingers and it blends better. And if you’re looking for lighter coverage, mix a pea-sized amount in with your favorite moisturizer. There is no wrong way to use this foundation! Long-wearing, mattifying and doesn’t crumble under pressure.
9. Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation
Dry skinned beauties, you are in luck! This is a matte foundation that is recommended for dry to normal skin! Who would’ve thought? Formulated with light-diffusing complex, this foundation is recommended for people who are on camera has it provides a soft-focus, matte finish. But that matte finish needs to be achieved with a little bit of setting powder as the formula doesn’t dry down itself – which means you have more time to work with it before you’re ready to lock it into place with your favorite powder.
It comes with a paddle applicator and people either love it or hate it. We approve as it allows you to transfer the product directly to your face without wasting any on the back of your hand. We suggest you buff it in with a dense foundation brush for that lovely, airbrushed finish. It holds up against hot climates, though we wouldn’t recommend wearing this to the beach. That said, it’s perfect for photoshoots! Did we mention, its budget-friendly too!
10. NYX Professional Total Control Drop Foundation
|Coverage:||Sheer to Full|
So, this is one of those miracles products that rules the spectrum! It can be applied sheer and be built to full coverage! How many products can do that! It comes with a handy dropper, allowing you to deposit the product directly onto your skin and it can be blended out with your fingers, a brush or a sponge. But you can build it!
By depositing a few more drops and blending them out, you can turn up the volume to your desired coverage. This formula is recommended for people with dry to normal skin – if you have oily skin, it will still work wonderfully for you, but after a few hours of wear, it will become a little glowy. So, we recommend that you keep some setting powder or blotting paper handy. The good thing about this foundation is that it doesn’t break down around the nose and mouth much. You can get a good 6 hours of flawless wear out of it. And in our books, that is a winner!
Remember, when you’re looking for cruelty-free products such as mascaras, moisturizers, face washes or deodorants, look for the Leaping Bunny certification on the packaging. That is the universal mark to let you know that the product in your hand has no testing done on an animal in any stage of its production or on the ingredients sourced for its creation.
Applying foundation gives you a sturdy surface to build your makeup look onto. Whether you are looking for full coverage or just to even out the canvas, all of the above-mentioned products will be well suited to your needs, be it luxurious high end, or the budget-friendly drugstore variant. However, the true ‘beauty’ (pun intended) of our list is that every single foundation is cruelty-free, which means you get all the coverage and none of the guilt! You can be at ease that by purchasing these products, you have made a conscious effort to invest in companies that are actively working to ensure that no animals are put in harm’s way to get you your desired results. So, go ahead, pick your potion and wear it loud and proud.
As always, no bunnies were harmed in the writing of this post.
Joan S. Wilson is a lifelong makeup and skincare enthusiast. She used to work as a makeup artist for 5 years. Joan is always curious and wants to learn more when it comes to makeup and skincare. She tries her best to make other people’s skin health better. This is why Joan is so passionate about writing articles on beauty topics. She always looks for products that are high-quality, dermatologist-tested, and does that it says on the label. In every article, she shares her knowledge to make your life healthier and happier!