Student Voice


April 25, 2024




Ask Abigail: How to buy affordable makeup that isn't tested on animals

November 1, 2017

Dear Abigail,

I’ve recently been getting more interested in makeup but I keep running into a problem when I go to purchase new makeup. I only want to buy makeup from brands that don’t test on animals but I also can’t afford to spend $20 on one eyeliner. Do you know of any good cruelty-free makeup brands that fit a college budget? Why do brands test on animals anyway?

Sincerely, An Animal Lover

Dear Animal Lover,

I’m so happy that you are looking into cruelty free cosmetics! This isn’t something that many people choose to do so I applaud you for this decision.

Testing beauty products on animals is something that is widely known but usually swept under the rug and forgotten about. The main reason that cosmetics brands test on animals is that the FDA requires certain tests be done to ensure that a product is safe for humans.

The problem with this is that the cheapest way to do these tests is on animals such as rabbits. To test products on humans requires a lot more money because those humans want to be reimbursed for their trouble and the risk they are taking. This leads to lower priced cosmetic brands, or drug store brands, opting to save money and run the cheaper tests so they can make more money.

Despite this, there are still many brands that are committed to being cruelty-free, and they are often very vocal about that choice. Some brands that are readily available at Target or Wallgreens and on the lower end of the cost spectrum are Wet N Wild, Essence, Elf and NYX. The prices of most of these brands range from $1-10 and I would recommend any of their products to you.

Some brands that are more in the middle of the price range are Pixi, Sonia Kashuk and Pacifica. These brands can be a little harder to find; Sonia Kashuk, for example, is a brand that is exclusive to Target, but they are well worth the hunting you may have to do. These brands are a bit more expensive but the quality is a little higher as well. My favorite mascara from Pacifica is $13, and most mascaras made by CoverGirl, a brand that does test on animals, are around $9.

It can be hard to find new products that are as good as your tried and true ones. It is good to note the return policy of some retailers. Target, for example, will accept open and used beauty products so long as it is within the appropriate time frame. This is a godsend when trying new things so you don’t end up with a whole drawer full of things you will never use. I wish you the best of luck in the new adventure and let me know your favorite product that you find!



Abigail Erickson is a student at UW-River Falls.