Which cruelty-free foundation is best? 

People choose cruelty-free natural makeup brands for many reasons. It is important to become educated on the horrors of animal testing and the harm that synthetic products cause animals, the environment and our skin. Many countries have banned the sale of products that test on animals. A few ethical beauty companies have been testing their formulas on their human staff and family for years with success. 

When purchasing a cruelty-free foundation, it is important to consider how much coverage you want, your skin type and shade and how you will be applying the foundation. A top choice, the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation is a favorite among many due to the way that it supports skin health and leaves skin looking flawlessly smooth. This product also has a pleasing, fresh scent. 

What to know before you buy cruelty-free foundation 


Coverage refers to the opacity of the makeup. Foundations provide coverage ranging from sheer/light to medium to full. If your skin is breaking out and you have a lot of blemishes to conceal, consider a full-coverage foundation. If you have oily skin or want more of a natural look, consider a light-coverage foundation. If you desire a natural look but have texture or blemishes that you would like concealed, consider purchasing a medium-coverage foundation. 

Skin type

  • Dry skin: People with dry skin will want to consider a hydrating foundation. When applied to dry skin, the foundation can look patchy and uneven. An oil-based hydrating foundation will ensure that the makeup goes on smoothly and blends with all other makeup products. Make sure the foundation that you purchase is alcohol-free to prevent excessive drying. 
  • Oily skin: People with oily skin should consider an oil-free, matte finish cruelty-free foundation. This will lessen the chances of the makeup, easily smudging and making the pores appear larger. People of this skin type may prefer a lighter foundation or one that is matte and eliminates extra shine. 
  • Sensitive skin: Those with sensitive skin should avoid any foundation with questionable chemicals and dyes. Look for the word “natural” in the product description and avoid products with added fragrance. 


To best match shade, buyers can do an online wear test. You can take this test at most beauty websites where cruelty-free foundation is sold. Before applying the foundation to your face, consider swatching the color on your wrist to make sure it is a match. It is important to know your undertone when selecting a shade of foundation to best fit your skin color. To discover your undertone, spend some time out in the sun. If the skin becomes pinkish and red, you have a cool undertone. A good makeup line will have a wide array of shades available for all skin colors and undertones. The specific undertone that the foundation is meant to complement will be listed on the packaging. 


  • Brush: Brushes allow for a concentrated application and can be compared to applying foundation with your hands. They are ideal for applying shadows and powder but take extra work to create a seamless liquid foundation look.  
  • Beauty blender:  Beauty blenders provide a flawless finish and do not create a cakey makeup look as much as brushes do. The coverage is buildable, and it will leave makeup looking seamless for a longer period of time. 

Cruelty-free foundation features 

Foundation style

  • Liquid: This style of foundation is designed to blend seamlessly into your skin. The base of liquid foundation allows for a streak-free finish that provides the most natural look. This formula is more hydrating but has a higher chance of melting if the user is in hot temperatures and is sweating. 
  • Powder: This style of foundation is good for users looking for light to medium coverage. Just a swipe of the product will do, and the build will not look cakey. Powder foundation is also an ideal choice for anyone with oily skin. The powder absorbs excess oil and sweat and does not melt in the heat. 


All-natural, cruelty-free foundations will not use toxic chemicals to add scent to a product. If you have sensitive skin, consider purchasing a product that is scent-free. Even if a product’s scent is made with all-natural essential oils, this could cause irritation for those with sensitive skin. 

Cruelty-free foundation cost 

Cruelty-free foundations are available in a variety of price ranges. Shoppers on a budget will find cruelty-free foundations between $15-$20. Foundations in the $30-$40 range provide customers with natural, skin-perfecting benefits. Premium foundations that include all of the best features and naturally sourced ingredients are between $50-$80. 

Cruelty-free foundation FAQ 

If a product is cruelty-free, does that mean that it is vegan? 

A. If a product is cruelty-free, that does not mean that it is vegan. But if something is vegan, it is cruelty-free by default. In general, brands that do not test on animals tend to use more natural ingredients, but it is not a guarantee. 

How do I know if a product is cruelty-free? 

A. If a product is cruelty-free, it will feature a leaping bunny on its packaging. Some packaging will not include the symbol but will specifically state that the product is cruelty-free. If you are unsure if your favorite foundations are cruelty-free, visit crueltyfreekitty.com for a verified list of items that do not test on animals. 

Which cruelty-free foundation should I get? 

Best of the best cruelty-free foundation 

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation 

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation 

Our take: This cruelty-free foundation aids in delicately replenishing skin’s moisture levels and helps support skin health. 

What we like: It is free of parabens, gluten, oil and is also vegan. In photos, it does not cause flashbacks (where makeup can appear whitish compared with the rest of the skin). The hyaluronic acid gives users smoother-looking skin.   

What to consider: Users with oily skin have noticed it sinking into pores and making pores look larger. 

Where to buy: Sephora and Ulta 

Best bang for your buck cruelty-free foundation

NYX Total Control Pro Buildable Vegan Drop Foundation 

NYX Total Control Pro Buildable Vegan Drop Foundation 

Our take: This product is lightweight and matches skin’s true tone while minimizing the appearance of pores. It provides customizable coverage with a dropper. 

What we like: The formula is free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and preservatives. It is blendable. 

What to consider: This product is not for oily skin, lack of control in the formula. 

Where to buy: Ulta

Honorable mention

Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation

Our take: This product is free of parabens and mineral oil, and is also vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free.

What we like: It is water-resistant and easily blendable. The foundation applies seamlessly and is available in 50 shades. 

What to consider: Can be cakey and doesn’t hold well throughout the day.  

Where to buy: Sephora


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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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