Being cruelty-free is a conscious choice that many in the beauty industry are making. Companies are straying away from cruel practices and are ensuring that their products are created by complying with the highest ethical standards. This means that not only are the products cruelty-free, but the tools are also! And to that end, we have found some of the best cruelty-free makeup brushes available.
That said, what does it mean to be ‘cruelty-free’? If a company makes this claim, they are promising that the final product, or any of its components, weren’t tested on animals nor was any outsourced testing conducted on animals. So, if you’re looking for a company’s solemn promise that they are cruelty-free, 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.
Then what does it mean when one says that a makeup brush is cruelty-free? A lot of makeup brushes are made with animal hair and unfortunately, the conditions surrounding the harvesting of animal hair are heartbreaking. The trouble with using brushes made of natural hair is that they tend to house bacteria, are difficult to clean as animals have porous hair follicles, shed a lot and may cause allergic reactions on those who are prone to animal hair allergies.
Therefore, companies have now started making makeup brushes from synthetic fibers that are much easier to clean with a face wash and work well with many different formulas, from liquids to creams to setting powders. So, if you are as passionate about being cruelty-free as we are, then for you, we have compiled a list of the best cruelty-free makeup brushes available for purchase.
The 8 Best Cruelty-Free Makeup Brushes:
1. Kat Von D Lock-It Edge Foundation Brush – Our Top Pick
The Kat Von D brand prides itself on being vegan and cruelty-free, so it should come as no surprise that her concealer brush is also held to that high standard. While the brush has been designed to be aesthetically pleasing, it serves many functions. The brush handle can be used as a mixing spatula if you prefer to combine your concealers or mix your foundation with a primer. The brush fibers are soft and smooth and do not irritate the delicate under-eye skin. The tapered bristles are designed to deliver product into the hard to reach spaces and blend it out flawlessly.
2. Urban Decay PRO Tapered Blending Brush
Urban Decay proudly proclaims that their brushes are made from recycled materials: The handle from recycled aluminum and synthetic hair from recycled plastic bottles! But it doesn’t feel like it at all! It feels soft and luxurious on the skin. The tapered bristles are designed to pick up the product and deliver it exactly where you want to place it – such as the crease or the lower lash line. The soft bristles work to concentrate the color at the tip while the tapered edges work to diffuse and beautifully blend the edges. If you must invest in one blending brush, let it be this one!
3. Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush #55
Sephora is a name widely known in makeup and the best part is that ALL their brushes are cruelty-free! This brush, though advertised for all formulas, works brilliantly with powders and creams. The domed bristles hold the product well and buffs the product into your skin for an airbrushed finish that is buildable! Its bristles are extra soft, so they won’t irritate sensitive skin. Use it to bake, to bronze, to blush or to buff in your foundation. You cannot go wrong with it!
4. Too Faced Teddy Bear Hair Professional 5 Piece Brush Set
The second-best thing about these brushes is that they’re unbelievably smooth – and the absolute best thing about them is that they work like a dream! This set comes with one face brush and four eye brushes. These brushes can be used for delicate and detailed eye looks while the face brush, you would want to use for powder. Also, they come incased in the cutest packaging! They feel sturdy and because they are synthetic, they don’t shed as much. Finally, feel free to use them with careless abandon as no teddies were employed to make these brushes.
5. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Heavenly Luxe Foundation Brush No. 22
This is one fabulous brush! It is densely packed, uniquely shaped and recommended for sensitive skin. Among the best cruelty-free makeup brushes, this guy has a tapered shape that is able to buff foundation into your skin, even in the toughest of spots, like the hairline, around the nose, and under the eyes. Recommended to be used with liquid foundations, however, it can also be used with cream products such as cruelty-free concealers or blushes.
Pro tip: Use the brush to first apply your moisturizer. This is a good safeguard for when you use the brush to apply foundation, the moisturizer will act as a barrier and the brush won’t absorb too much product.
6. Marc Jacobs The Seamless Brush No. 4
This gorgeous brush exudes luxury! With its sleek design and comfortable grip, this brush would be a go-to in anyone’s makeup kit. Designed specifically for liquid foundations, this brush has tapered edges and flat sides to help push the foundation into your skin, creating a flawless finish. But don’t think this brush has limited functions – you can use it to apply serums, creams, and primers onto your skin before working on the foundation. Lightweight and so delicate on the skin, this brush is a game-changer and you can use it with any cruelty-free foundation!
7. FENTY BEAUTY Face and Body Kabuki Brush
If FENTY BEAUTY prides itself on one thing, it’s the fact that they are 100% cruelty-free. Therefore, you should experience no guilt at all when you buff body bronzer over your arms and shoulders because this brush is the last word in luxury! Extremely soft and densely packed, this brush deposits and moves liquid and powder products over the skin with such perfection, that it looks almost natural. The handle has been designed for a comfortable grip and the bristles pick up the perfect amount of product needed to work onto your skin.
Related: Drugstore contour kits
8. REAL TECHNIQUES Bold Metals
These brushes were designed by YouTube starts, Sam and Nic Chapman, and being makeup artists themselves, they know their brushes! The Bold Metals collection has been created with the purpose of durability and they delivered! These brushes have a comfortable grip, the synthetic fibers are so soft and luxurious on the skin and they hardly shed! The ferrules are made of brass, which means that not only will they last longer, they provide the user with brilliant balance when applying makeup. These cruelty-free makeup brushes come with their own beautiful carrying case as well.
So, if you’re in the market for brushes, we hope that our selection of the best cruelty-free makeup brushes has helped steer you in the right direction. When purchasing a brush, softness is key and with the advances in makeup technology, the synthetic fibers are getting softer to use and easier to look after – the major benefit being that the fibers aren’t porous. This means that there is more product on your face than there is soaked up by the brush in your hand.
This deliberate shift away from natural hair to synthetic bristles has sparked an industry-wide change as now, makeup brushes are being made faster and therefore cheaper, as there is no animal testing involved. Materials used to range all the way from plastic water bottles to synthetic fibers, in a conscious effort to put out quality products in the market and not adversely affect the environment.
But do not confuse cruelty-free with vegan – vegan, specifically means that no animal products were used in the creation of the product in your hair. Therefore, if the brush bristles purport to be natural, then they are definitely not vegan, even if they are technically cruelty-free, as the latter refers specifically to testing the products, or any part of the product, on animals.
So, when you purchase cruelty-free products, you retain the joy of knowing that absolutely no bunnies, or any other animals, were tested upon when the product in your hand was being developed. And ensure that the product in your hand is indeed cruelty-free, the Leaping Bunny Program has implemented strict standards and guidelines that over 1,300 companies have subscribed to and have attained their cruelty-free certification. This shift has sprung a movement, forcing major companies to check their carbon footprint and so, animal lovers, you can rest easy now that you know that our fur babies are in good hands and you can indulge guilt (and cruelty) free!
Interested in cruelty-free products? Check also:
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!