3 Best Cruelty-Free Drugstore Foundation (Budget + Animal Friendly)

Animal cruelty is a prevalent issue in the production of cosmetics and the beauty industry as a whole.

Animals are harmed in this process, and for the sake of a foundation, this doesn’t seem right or fair.

Contributing to animal testing is cruel and can be easily avoided with a cruelty-free alternative. 


According to PETA, ‘animal experiments for cosmetics and household products continue even though non-animal tests are widely available’.

So if there’s a cruelty-free alternative that’s just as good, what have you got to lose?

If we’re all more mindful in our purchases and the brands that we support, then, this unnecessary suffering can be overcome. 

When it comes to drugstore foundations, there are an array of cruelty-free options.

Now you know there are cruelty-free alternatives out there, how can you spot them? We’ve got you covered.

Check out our top pick below.   

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OUR TOP PICK

COVERGIRL TruBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation, True Ivory

The COVERGIRL TruBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation is a comfortable matte foundation that gives you a flawless-looking finish! 

Covergirl products are Leaping Bunny Certified by Cruelty-Free International, meaning that they are never tested on animals.

The mattifying powders absorb excess oil and minimize the appearance of your pores for a smooth, polished look.

Pros

  • This drugstore foundation is versatile as it is available in 40 shades, so you’re sure to find the perfect match for your skin tone! 

  • Developed with Flexi-hold technology, this formula creates a strong yet flexible film on the skin to deliver the smooth, matte appearance you love without looking dry or cakey.

  • The transfer-resistant foundation won’t budge, so you can enjoy long-lasting coverage for up to 12 hours.

Cons

  • This foundation is reported to cling to dry patches.

EDITORS CHOICE

wet n wild Photo Focus Dewy Foundation, Bronze Beige, 1.06 Ounces

The Wet n Wild Photo Focus Dewy Foundation comes in twenty unique shades that complement multiple skin tones to create the ultimate glow that makes you look as good as you feel.

This ultra-moisturizing and dewy foundation blends seamlessly for a luminous look that blurs imperfections while hydrating the skin.

Color-matched for all undertones with a matte, second-skin finish, this foundation delivers buildable coverage for a flawless-looking complexion in any kind of light! 

Pros

  • Wet n Wild cosmetics never test on animals and are always 100% cruelty-free, so you can put your trust into this foundation! 

  • Lightweight and buildable, this foundation hydrates and nourishes as it provides a moisturizing effect for normal to dry skin.

  • This foundation does not use any animal products and is free of harmful ingredients such as gluten and talc.

Cons

  • Some users find this foundation’s coverage wasn’t as high as they were hoping.

BEST VALUE

e.l.f, Acne Fighting Foundation, Full Coverage, Lightweight, Evens Skin Tone, Reduces Redness, Fights Blemishes, Buff, 6 Shades, SPF 25, Infused with Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree, 1.21 Fl Oz

The e.l.f, Acne Fighting Foundation is a lightweight liquid foundation that provides full coverage to help even skin tone and reduce acne redness while working to clear your skin.

Unlike heavy cream and stick foundations that can clog your pores, the lightweight formula is infused with salicylic acid, witch-hazel, camphor, tea tree, and aloe vera to soothe skin, fight blemishes and improve your complexion!

This drugstore foundation is proudly PETA-certified cruelty-free and vegan, so you can feel good about using this foundation.

Pros

  • This lightweight yet full coverage foundation works to even skin tone while reducing acne redness and improving your complexion.

  • This foundation is free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone, so you don’t have to worry about any hidden nasties upsetting your skin!

  • Infused with acne-fighting ingredients to ensure that your skin is being taken care of and always looking its best!

Cons

  • You may have trouble picking out the correct shade for your skin tone.

RUNNER UP

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Pro Drop Foundation, Buff

The NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Pro Drop Foundation is a lightweight vegan formula that gives skin a natural, healthy looking finish while minimizing imperfections!

NYX makeup is certified and acknowledged by PETA as a cruelty-free brand! Rest assured knowing that their products are never tested on animals.

This matte finish foundation has a buildable sheer to medium coverage, so you can look as natural or as done up as you’d like!

Pros

  • This foundation works to minimize the appearance of imperfections and keeps skin looking hydrated.

  • This foundation provides full coverage that lasts up to 24 hours, for those nights that you just don’t want to stop dancing!

  • You can use as many drops as you want to suit your skin or preference, as more drops, more coverage.

Cons

  • Some users find this foundation has an odd smell but it's not universal.

RUNNER UP

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation with SPF 18 - Liquid Foundation Makeup with Buildable Coverage & Breathable/Lightweight Formula - Natural Complexion (Caramel)

The Flower Beauty Light Illusion Foundation with SPF 18 is cruelty-free and is made to be effective, long-lasting, and is superb quality!

Build your base seamlessly and diminish uneven skin tone while you conceal and perfect a flattering soft luminosity on your skin with this Light Illusion breathable foundation.

This powerful blur foundation with SPF 18 gives medium to buildable coverage, hiding imperfections and creating a smoother, youthful complexion.

Pros

  • Versatile. The Flower Beauty Light Illusion foundation is a great cruelty-free foundation for the majority of skin types!

  • Soft, luminous feel with buildable coverage, so you can alter your look as you wish!

  • Made with SPF 18, to ensure that you’re always protected from the sun regardless of the weather.  

Cons

  • Depending on your complexion this might not work well for you.

Best Cruelty-Free Drugstore Foundation Buying Guide

There are a few things to take into account when purchasing a cruelty-free drugstore foundation, but it mainly comes down to coverage, the type of foundation, and skin type.

Although cruelty-free products are becoming more popular, it is important to note the difference between vegan and cruelty-free.

Whereas vegan means no animal products are used, cruelty-free means that no part of the product was tested on animals.

Cruelty-free products may or may not be vegan, and vice versa. If you’re vegan you should make sure that the brand you’re buying from aligns with your beliefs completely.

Although some brands have vegan collections, some of their products aren’t always vegan, so make sure that you check before proceeding with your purchase. 

Take a look at the factors below before making your purchase. 

Coverage

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a cruelty-free drugstore foundation is the coverage that it provides.

Generally speaking, people wear foundation as a base to even their skin tone and to apply other makeup products that will bring out their features.

The coverage can determine how natural a product looks on the skin and is often down to personal preference, as everyone has different opinions on how much of their skin should be able to shine through under the foundation. 

Foundation is great on those days where you need an extra boost of confidence if you’re not feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Typically speaking, light to buildable coverage is for a more natural look, whereas high coverage foundation is designed to cover blemishes and discoloration.

Medium coverage foundations are best if you're looking to cover imperfections, but also leave the skin with breathing room to feel hydrated and whilst also looking radiant. 

You might find that the coverage you want will also change day to day, depending on how you feel.

This might mean that you’ll have a couple of foundations in your makeup collection to mix and match your look depending on the situation or social occasion that you’ve got planned.

Whereas a light foundation is great for everyday use, you might want something more full coverage for a dinner out. 

Type of foundation

When it comes to purchasing a cruelty-free drugstore foundation it is important to consider the type of foundation.

It is likely that you’ll already have a preference, but below are the different types of foundation in more detail if you’re new to wearing makeup:

Liquid foundation - An easy-to-blend consistency and smooth appearance makes liquid foundation one of the most popular and readily available options available on the market.

There are formulas to suit all needs and skin types, such as oil-free, waterproof, and 24-hour wear.

You can create natural looks or alternatively build up fuller coverage by applying multiple layers until you’re satisfied with the coverage. 

Cream foundation - This is a handy on-the-go option, with compact or stick forms ideal for touch-ups during the day as your makeup begins to wear.

Cream-to-powder foundations achieve a matte finish, which is ideal for oily skin.

Powder foundation - Pressed powder foundations have excellent oil-absorbing properties to help lessen shine throughout the day naturally without looking cakey.

This evens out the skin tone, creating effective but barely-there coverage.

Mineral foundation - A true mineral foundation is made of completely natural ingredients that won’t clog the pores, and in turn, banishes breakouts.

It can be as buildable as a liquid foundation and gives an incredibly natural finish.

Whichever type of foundation that you choose, make sure that you do your research on your skin type to ensure that the type of foundation is suitable for it. 

Skin type

A big thing to consider when purchasing a cruelty-free drugstore foundation is your skin type!

Although there are all-rounder foundations that market themselves to cater to all types of skin, generally speaking, a foundation will be catered specifically for your skin type.

Your skin type is important to take into account as it will affect how the product looks on the skin and the way that it will wear.

Typically speaking, those that tend to get oilier might need a setting powder on certain areas over their foundation to ensure that it wears as well as it is designed to. 

Generally speaking, skin types are broken down into three different categories:

Dry skin - The best foundation for dry skin will hydrate without being greasy.

Typically speaking, you should try to avoid a matte finish as this can exaggerate flaky dry patches.

Oily skin - The best option for oily is to choose a foundation to help control shine, cover any blemishes and absorb excess oil, as your skin doesn’t need more oil caked on top of it.

Combination skin - Recommended foundations for combination skin will be oil-free and rich in hydrating ingredients to moisturize any dryer patches of the skin.

Choosing one that's easily buildable will ensure that dryer areas of skin get full coverage while oilier areas can breathe.

Whichever skin type you are, there is a cruelty-foundation out there that that is perfect for you.

To avoid disappointment, make sure that you check which skin type the foundation is targeted at before clicking ‘buy’.

Finish

Something very important to consider is the finish of the cruelty-free drugstore foundation that you choose.

The finish of a foundation is typically marketed as dewy or matte and will determine how the product will sit and look on your face. 

The finish can affect how cakey a product looks on your face. Whether your foundation has a dewy or matte finish, you’ll want your skin to be able to breathe.

The finish of the foundation that you opt for will also determine how long the product will last on your face.

Typically speaking, dewy foundations tend to slide around more and wear quicker if you opt to not set them with a setting powder, so this is something to be mindful of.

Shade range 

Something important to take into consideration when you’re purchasing a cruelty-free drugstore foundation is the shade range. 

You’ll spend time matching your foundation to your shade to get the most natural result.

However, if your shade isn’t made by the brand, it can lead to customers feeling alienated.

You can tell a lot about the inclusivity of a brand if they cater to multiple different shades, in turn making them so much more accessible if they cater to more of their customers. 

Always make sure that you’re happy with the shade range of the foundation that you’re purchasing before heading to the checkout.  

Wear

An important factor to think about when purchasing a cruelty-free drugstore foundation is the wear.

Some foundations claim to be long-wear, such as 24 hours, but it is rare to find a foundation that doesn’t budge at all throughout the day without the reapplication of setting powder.

Although determining the wear of a product is difficult without trying it out for yourself and your skin type, you will be able to gather a good indication from the product reviews.

The reviews will reveal the coverage, how well the foundation wears, and any problems that the customer may have had with the formula and finish depending on their skin type.

Always check the product reviews to ensure that you’re going to be happy with the cruelty-free foundation!

Frequently Asked Questions


Which drugstore makeup brands are cruelty-free?

If you’re looking to change your lifestyle, it’s good to know which brands are out there that also align with your beliefs on animal cruelty.

The cruelty-free market is expanding exponentially and there are some excellent drugstore brands out there that offer a wealth of options.

These brands include:

  • Wet n Wild.
  • E.l.f.
  • NYX.
  • COVERGIRL.
  • MILANI.

These are just a few of the foundations that we found, but with the options expanding, the market is headed in a positive direction with more and more brands offering cruelty-free options for their customers to choose from.

How do I find which foundation shade I am? 

To find out which shade you are, follow the tips below:

  • Check the color of your veins on your wrist. If your veins are purple, then it means you have a cool undertone. If they appear olive, you have a warm undertone. Lastly, a combination of blue-green means you have a neutral undertone.

  • Next, you should test three swatches of foundations you think may have potential by applying them to your jawline. Foundations have a tendency to oxidize once they’re on the skin, so choose the match that most appears to disappear into the skin.

  • It is important to  note that you should remember to test in natural light where possible.

Last update on 2021-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API