By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Cruelty free cult beauty brands are like chickens’ teeth: they’re pretty hard to find. In fact, scratch that – they’re probably even rarer than that. After all, they need to tick a lot of boxes: vegan friendly, effective and globally available, to name a few.
But thanks to the blogosphere, increasing numbers of beauty addicts are sharing their favourite cruelty free cult beauty brands, boosting sales for deserving companies in the process.
I tried and tested each of these brands (and their hero products) myself, so can confidently say that yes, these do work – and are well worth trying yourself.
Our Top 7 Cruelty Free Cult Beauty Brands
1. RMS Beauty
Why it’s cult: RMS Beauty is best known for its collection of non-toxic products that heal and nourish skin. Founder Rose Marie Swift (RMS) has been a makeup artist for over 35 years, so she’s well aware of all the hideous chemicals used in the industry that go on people’s faces and was adamant about creating a line of clean cosmetics.
About their Hero product: The RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek lip and cheek stain has a rich concentration of mineral pigments, therefore you don’t need much product to get an outstanding effect. No matter where you place it, it’s good for your skin, since it contains organic virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil and argan oil that hydrate, protect and nourish while enhancing your complexion.
2. UMA Oils
Why it’s cult: This brand creates the world’s finest organic oils, blended with Ayurvedic traditions and derived from their own hundred-acre meadow. This is the key to the luxuriousness of the brand founded by Shrankhla Holecek: craftsmanship and attention to detail provide true, simple, and effective beauty products.
Hero product: Uma’s Brightening Rose Powder Cleanser gently exfoliates, penetrating deep into the skin for a thorough cleanse that brightens dullness with every use, via its exotic blend of nutmeg, orange peel and peppermint. The secret lies in the healing powers of the rose, that’s antibacterial, toning, anti-inflammatory, moisturising, antioxidant, and aromatherapeutic.
3. Too Faced
Why it’s cult: Weirdly enough, the two founders of this company are dudes! Jerrod Blandino and Jeremy Johnson felt the cosmetics industry in the ‘90s needed shaking up. Championing the transformative power of cosmetics, the duo launched Too Faced to create innovative, cruelty-free cosmetics that truly kick the game up a notch.
Note: Since the writing of this article, the company has sadly been bought by Estee Lauder, which is NOT a vegan friendly company. However, Too Faced insists on maintaining its cruelty free ethics and refuses to sell in China, where animal testing is required.
About their Hero product: Better Than Sex Mascara The number one selling prestige mascara in the U.S., this revolutionary, non-animal collagen-fuelled formula thickens, lengthens and curls after just one coat, thanks to its ingenious hourglass-shaped brush.
Why it’s cult: This Los Angeles-based skin care cosmetic company was founded by Craig and Julia Noik in 2012, with the goal of creating products that are natural and non-toxic. The brand is basically a tribute to South Africa’s pristine nature, and is inspired by ancient African phytochemistry and rich botanical pharmacology, which both help protect skin from environmental stresses and inhibit the negative effects of ageing, restructuring cells assisting with the production of high-quality collagen and elastin.
About their Hero product: The gold shimmer illuminates and complements every complexion, while moisturising and firming the skin thanks to its restorative oil formula. Marula Oil is well known for its anti-ageing benefits and rich Vitamin C content.
It’s easy to apply: shake it and pour a few drops onto your fingers, then gently massage it into your skin with circular movements to allow the product to get fully absorbed. This will stimulate circulation and boost collagen on face, body and hair!
Why it’s cult: Josh, the founder of this cruelty free cult beauty brand, is a bit of a prodigy: he opened his first salon in Portland at the age of 10, after he found an antique barber’s chair in his basement and decided to style the hair of his peers! Through the years he acquired the know-how and skills to develop his own label coalescing plants and herbs, true health and beauty. Josh has developed his own cruelty-free botanical formulations that have become cult favourites.
About their Hero product: This LIFT Hair Texture & Volume is not like any conventional volumizing spray. It is impressively lightweight, and instantly enhances your natural style, imparting texture and volume, thickening matte finish.
The herbal synergy of horsetail, lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary and peppermint stimulate the scalp, increasing circulation to make each strand stronger and thicker in the long-term as well as the short. Moreover, organic yucca plant soothes and protects the scalp, creating pliability and making your mane more manageable.
6. Winky Lux
Why it’s cult: This eye makeup specialist helps you grow the longest lashes and get the best brows ever, mainly thanks to the power of natural oils.
Hero product: This pencil’s sleek design is loved by makeup artists and beautyistas alike. The firm texture allows for maximum control, creating a universally flattering look every time. The harder the pressure the darker the brow. For extra polish, brush your Unibrow through with the custom-made tip. The effect you’ll see is natural yet dramatic, and the product can be easily removed with warm water or make-up remover.
7. Dr Bronner’s
Why it’s cult: Of all the cruelty free cult beauty brands, this may be the best known. For several decades, this family-owned business has been a favourite with families around the world for their use of absolutely pure ingredients, and ethical manufacturing processes. Their soaps are labelled as 18-in-one due to the fact that they’re highly multi-functional, due to their gentle, yet effective, ingredients.
Hero product: Hemp Peppermint Castile Soap. This gentle soap began to be used as a shampoo, and users were astounded to discover that it helped hair growth, most likely due to the high concentration of peppermint oil, which serves as a mild stimulant to tingle the scalp and stimulate hair growth. In addition to a shampoo, it can be used as a body and face wash, baby shampoo, and even a pest spray and laundry wash!
Why it’s cult: This is perhaps the purest of all the cruelty free cult beauty brands, since it’s certified organic. Inika produces loads of colour cosmetics, from lipsticks and cheek stains to foundations, eye liners, mascaras….basically, you name it!
Hero product: Not a fan of the shiny face? Try Inika’s Liquid Foundation and you’ll see why it’s beloved by customers around the world! There is the perfect hue of this matte formula for all people of all complexions. It goes on really smoothly, lasts all day, and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive of skins.
Main image: Wander Beauty