Trying to Live Cruelty-Free

**UPDATE: Since writing this, Wet n Wild has lost its cruelty-free status. I now use e.l.f products** 

Towards the end of my freshman year of college, I started dating someone, let’s call him Steve (even though he totally knows who he is). He introduced me to his group of friends (who I’m still friends with and who I love dearly) and their passion project: a magazine called Green. They had created this magazine because they were all interested in preserving the environment, something which I hadn’t given much thought to since I was in third grade. One day, I was sitting at lunch with all of them, and I overheard one girl tell another that a brand she liked was no longer cruelty-free. I can’t remember what brand it was, but I do remember it being a brand I used, and a thought struck me: why do I not use cruelty-free products? It was something I had never considered before, but when I really thought about it, I had no good reason not to be cruelty-free.

I’ve always loved animals, and companies testing on animals always left a bad taste in my mouth when I was little. I just didn’t know what I could possibly do about it since I was about seven when these problems were first brought to my attention. But as I’ve gotten older, I know that I can now make my own decisions when it comes to products I use, so there was really no excuse for using products that tested on animals. I began to do my research and switch my products over. I made it my mission to be completely cruelty-free with my cosmetics by the end of the summer.

Steve and I broke up shortly into summer vacation, but I still wanted to make this change, so I started making small switches with my cosmetic products. It ended up taking a bit longer than just a summer, but as of April 2019, almost every single beauty product that I use is cruelty-free! There are still a few things that I use that aren’t, as it takes a bit of time for me to find products that work really well, are not ridiculously expensive, and are cruelty-free, but I’m making efforts as best as I can. I was concerned about doing this because most drug-store brands are not cruelty-free (that’s how they’re so cheap), and I can’t afford to buy high-end makeup frequently. But with the help of a blog called Cruelty-Free Kitty (, I found a few brands that are available at CVS and I resolved to ask for some high-end makeup (and Sephora gift cards) for Christmas.

I wanted to share a list of the products I used to use and the products I replaced them with because I want to show how easy it is to make that switch. I thought that completely overhauling my cosmetics would be difficult, and I was almost certain that finding cruelty-free products at reasonable prices would be impossible. I couldn’t have been more wrong! All of the items that I now use were available at shops that I already went to, and for the most part, they were within the same price range.

Before I get into the breakdown of the products I used to use and the products I use now, I want to just point out that I am fortunate enough that I can financially make the choice to make the switch to cruelty-free. While some of the products that I’ve switched to are either the same price as or cheaper than the products I used to use, some of them are more expensive. Obviously, if it is more financially responsible for you to use the cheaper products that also test on animals, that’s okay. However, if you can afford to splurge a little bit more, I highly recommend these products, as they are better for the environment. Secondly, the prices listed here are the ones on either CVS’ website, Amazon, or Sephora’s website, so there’s a chance they might be different in the actual stores, or at other retailers. Finally, wherever it says “n/a”, that means that prior to making the switch to cruelty-free, I had either already been using the cruelty-free product, or I had not used any product at all.



Instead of…                                                          I use…

Maybelline Unstoppable Smudge                 Wet n Wild Megalast Retractable
Resistant Eyeliner (~$8.29)                              Eyeliner (~$2.49)

Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise          Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
All Day Liquid Eyeliner (~$8.29)                    (~$20.00)

Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Define              Wet n Wild Retractable Ultimate
And Fill Duo (~$8.99)                                         Brow Pencil (~$4.39)

n/a                                                                           Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear
                                                                                 Brow Gel (~$22.00)

Maybelline Volum’ Express The                    Milk Makeup Kush High Volume
Colossal Mascara (~$7.99)                               Mascara (~$24.00)

Sephora Collection Blush                                Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour
(~14.00)                                                                  Blush (~29.00)


Instead of…                                                          I use…

Neutrogena Makeup Remover                       Yes To Grapefruit Facial Wipes
Towelettes (~$7.49)                         (~$6.49)

Nivea Moisture Lip Care                                   Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
(~$3.39)                                                                  (~$3.99) 

n/a                                                                          Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

n/a                                                                           Yes To Cucumbers Complete Care
                                                                                Facial Hydrating Lotion (~$15.49)

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup                   Glossier Milky Oil Waterproof
Remover (~$6.99)                                                 Makeup Remover (~$12.00)

Nivea Nourishing In-Shower Body                 Love Beauty and Planet Body
Lotion (~$8.29)                                                     Lotion (~$8.92)


Instead of…                                                          I use…

L’Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy               Love Beauty and Planet Blooming
Intensive Shampoo (~$4.99)                             Color Shampoo (~$8.99)

L’Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy               Overtone Extreme Red Daily
Intensive Conditioner (~$4.99)                         Conditioner (~$18.00)

I know that I have a long way to go before my eco-footprint has been reduced, and I know that there are still some products that I use that are not cruelty-free. But to me, making even the smallest switches could be deeply impactful to the environment. Yes, I as one person am not going to change the world overnight. But maybe if enough people start giving money to corporations that don’t test on animals, then other companies will think “hey, maybe cruelty-free really does sell.”

I don’t make this post to sound preachy (I don’t think you’re a monster if you don’t buy cruelty-free), but rather to showcase how easy it was for me to switch over to using environmentally conscious products. If you have the means to do so, consider choosing products that don’t test on animals. It’ll make you feel good for protecting the little guys, and who knows? You might just find your new favorite product.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@liz_zarb) to follow along with my day-to-day activity finishing up my sophomore year at college, and like Zarb Musing’s Facebook page to be notified when I publish a new blog post. I’ve also started an Instagram account for my calligraphy projects that I’ve been working on, which you can find @zarbcalligraphy, so go give that a follow, too. Thanks for reading!

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