I’m a big eyeshadow fiend, which I think is pretty obvious by now. Here are some of my favorite cruelty-free eyeshadow brands, in case you want to start wearing eyeshadow also, but don’t know where to start.
Please note that by cruelty-free, I mean brands that do not themselves test their products and ingredients on animals. For that reason, I have included cruelty-free brands that are owned by parent companies who test. I will state which ones are owned by whom.
1. Le Métier de Beauté
Le Métier de Beauté is a beautiful brand from New York City. They make small quantities of their exquisite inventions, which makes me want to buy them ASAP.
One thing I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to is their limited edition Kaleidoscope Eye Kits ($95), four-tiered eyeshadow palettes that are especially designed to be layered on. Sometimes, the pigmentation of these shadows leave a lot to be desired, but they blend like a dream. I never really understood how “blendability” can affect how much you love an eyeshadow until I used eyeshadows that didn’t blend quite as nicely as Le Métier de Beauté’s.
I am a sucker for well-considered things, and their collections are designed really well. I love them. If there’s a luxury brand that is worth falling head over heels for, it’s really Le Métier de Beauté.
2. bareMinerals (READY) (owned by Shiseido)
While I love the bareMinerals loose shadows also, I’m here to talk about what kick-started this eyeshadow addiction. The bM READY line is a fairly recent release (just a few years) and it’s a range of beautiful pressed shadows. I picked up a duo on a trip to France and then I spiraled into an eyeshadow obsession. “I didn’t know eyeshadow could be this good!” I thought.
I had been using e.l.f. and I think my only high-end eyeshadow was by NARS, which I liked but I did not fall in love with it as deeply as I did with my READY 2.0 in The Scenic Route. The READY line comes in 3 “sizes.” There are the duos ($20), the quads ($30), and the eight-pan palettes ($40). I honestly find these to be so worth the money, especially if you are just starting out with eyeshadow and can’t think of where to start.
If you’re thinking of going cruelty-free, this is definitely a great option to consider. You won’t even miss your non-CF eyeshadows. 🙂
3. Urban Decay (owned by L’Oreal)
Of course, this had to be in here somewhere! I only have the Naked Palettes ($50 each and $26 for the Naked Basics), but from there, I can gauge UD’s quality, and Urban Decay wins at pigmentation. I do tend to find some of their shadows a bit too frosty, but I still think they’re great.
I didn’t want to cave and get the Nakeds, but curiosity got the better of me and I’m happy I did. They’re quite nice to use with other shadows, though of course they are great also by themselves.
* Since I know someone’s bound to ask: I prefer the Naked 2
4. NARS (owned by Shiseido)
Oh, NARS. I wanted to put this higher up on the list, but my experience with NARS has been very hit or miss. It’s a little tricky to get something from them without swatching them first or researching, because while you expect great quality from them from a previous good buy, there’s a chance that you won’t get it the next time around.
Though it pains me to say all of that, I have to. Still, they have made some of the best eyeshadows I’ve ever tried. This particular palette (And God Created the Woman set, $59) has such a great range of shadows. You can just keep on using this if you’re a neutral freak. Velvety, easy to blend, great pigmentation and color selection.
On top of all of that, they have the best names, too.
theBalm’s Nude ‘Tude ($36) was my first eyeshadow palette and I used the heck of it before I got all my other eyeshadows. It’s beautiful, versatile, and I prefer this over the Urban Decay Naked Palette because of more textural and tonal variation. It was the reason why it took me a long time before succumbing to the hype of UD.
This is my only eyeshadow experience from this brand, but I still love it enough to include it in my top 5 CF eyeshadow brands.
REVIEWED: Nude ‘Tude Palette
So, those are my top 5! These are mid-range to high-end brands, because I haven’t extensively explored the drugstore for quality CF eyeshadows. My favorite, though, is Wet n Wild. Another affordable option is Art Deco.
Please also keep in mind that I haven’t tried a wide range of eyeshadows, and some of the stuff I own and enjoy using are not cruelty-free, so they’re not on this list.
For curiosity’s sake, my favorite non-CF eyeshadow formulas are by shu uemura, Addiction by Ayako, Suqqu, Laura Mercier, and Guerlain. MAC is also quite nice.
Hope this helps you out! Let me know which cruelty-free eyeshadow brands you think I should try. I personally want to see how I get on with Too Faced and Hourglass, but feel free to leave suggestions. 🙂