A Review of Cruetly-Free Make-Up E.L.F.

I have to be honest and disclose that giving up my MAC make-up has been one of my hardest vegan tasks, yet. It has been a few months and I am still struggling to find make-up that is not tested on animals, but is still good quality.

E.L.F. products were recommended to me (thanks, everyone!) because they are cruelty-free and extremely affordable. Those were two huge selling points, but I wondered about the quality of products that were so inexpensive.

I finally made my way over to Target, and purchased a few items. I bought the Essential liquid eyeliner in black, Matte lip color in Nearly Nude, 3-in-1 mascara in Very Black, Waterproof eyeliner pen in Black, Flawless eyeshadow quad in Tantalizing Taupe, and the following eyeshadows: Moondust, Wheat, Pink Ice and Teal.


I first tried out the Tantalizing Taupe quad. I was very impressed with how well the colors went on, and blended together. I followed the directions in using the colors corresponding with the base, lid and crease, but the liner did not show up as dark as I would have liked. However, I did find that the liner made a perfect match to fill in my eyebrows. I was extremely pleased with this quad.


I also used the Essential liquid liner. I was loved how easily this glided on, and how fast it dried. One of my biggest make-up peeves is eyeliner that dries slowly and smears when I curl my eyelashes.

The only disappointment of this day was the 3-in-1 mascara. It went on too watery and my eyelashes lost their curl pretty soon after I applied one coat. I have had such a hard time finding a good, cruelty-free mascara. I know part of the issue is that I prefer curved brushes for my mascara, they seem to hold the curl better in my eyelashes, that grow straight out.

12498373385_993e19d8f1_oOverall, I was happy with the quality of these products. Please excuse all the car selfies in this post, I seemed to find the best light in the car to show off my make-up.

12498375495_c0facf7495_o The next product I was anxious to try out was the Teal eyeshadow. I love vibrant colors and have been having an especially hard time finding them in cruelty-free brands.

I was very pleased with the Teal shadow. It went on pretty bright, even without a primer (which I always used under my MAC shadows). I used the same base from the quad eyeshadow and brushed the Teal shadow on the crease of my lid.

I also used the Waterproof eyeliner pen. It went on easily and also dried very quickly.


I used the Matte lip color as the base for my lipstick (NYC Ultra moist lipstick in Blossom). I have been looking for a Nude lipliner that I can use underneath my vibrant lipsticks, to help them adhere better. This lip color worked well and helped the color from my lipstick to pop.


This is the finished look. I was happy with the way the colors stood out:

12498542513_7ebe00fac6_oNext, I tried the other eyeshadows. I used Pink Ice under my brow as a highlighter, Wheat all over my lid and Moondust in the crease. I used the Waterproof eyeliner pen again. These colors did not stand out as much, but I did like the natural look they created, with a touch of shimmer. The picture below was taken at the end of my work day, and I felt the make-up lasted well, even amongst my bad habit of rubbing my eyes and smearing my make-up.

12498898274_faf88283fd_oThe last product was a present from my sister (we still give each Valentine’s presents). It is the Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Movie Star. I liked the soft color this gave off. I love me some bold, red lipstick, but this lip gloss was a nice option for work. It gave my face a nice glow of color without coming off too harsh.

I also used the Pink Ice eyeshadow all over my lid and under my brows, and the Waterproof eyeliner pen.

12498545523_d5c0514cf4_oOverall, I was extremely pleased with their products and am excited to try more. I love supporting a company that is committed to not testing on animals. I am eager to have fun with make-up again, I had almost lost hope that maybe I would not find quality, cruelty-free products.

Why I Got Rid of all my MAC Make-Up


This post is not about any recipes or food, but I thought it was appropriate to share it in Vegan MoFo. This past week, I gave away all of my make-up that has been tested on animals, or contained non-vegan ingredients.

This was a HUGE step for me and something that I had been conflicted about for a long time.

Let me back up and give some history on my LOVE for all things cosmetic. I have been a girly girl about my appearance for as long as I can remember. My mom likes to tell me how I would be upset as a toddler, if I did not have on a matching necklace, earrings and bracelet set before leaving somewhere. I always adored playing dress up and could not wait till I could have fun with make-up.

I remember very distinctly, when I was around 13, my mom saying, “you can wear make-up if you want, but you have to buy it all yourself.” That was all I needed to hear and I ran with it. I saved up money from baby-sitting and started experimenting with various colors, shades and textures. I loved glitter, shimmers, bright colors and coordinating everything with my outfits. It was a little out of control, and I cannot believe my mother let me leave the house with some of the crazy “ideas” I had at the time, but I am grateful she was allowing me to find myself as an individual.

I started building up quite a diverse collection of make-up and even after downsizing some of it as an adult, it was still pretty eclectic.

Once I had a “real” job, I started making my way to the MAC make-up counter, each payday. I was in heaven amongst their variety and quality. I was always there when a new collection arrived and I slowly started to build up a sizeable amount of their products.

I had worn a decent amount of make-up for a few years. Even as an adult, I would regularly have on a full face of eye shadow, blush, lipstick and sometimes even fake eyelashes, when going out somewhere.

old picture of me

old picture of me

However, over the past few years, I realized it started to matter less and less to me how much make-up I wore. I think part of it had to do with being more comfortable and happy with who I naturally am, and not feeling that I needed so much time and products to present myself a certain way. Another part of it had to do with how time consuming it can be, and my priorities shifted to prefer using my time other ways, especially in the mornings.

As I made the transition over to vegan, I had a few people ask if that meant I had to change out all my make-up. I had not really considered it to be an issue before, but once I started doing more research, I felt the guilt creep in about animal testing and using animal products on myself, even if I was not literally ingesting them.

I begin telling myself I would no longer buy a NEW products, that had been tested on animals, but I could not do anything about the things I already owned. This made me feel better for a little while, since I would start feeling anxious and uncomfortable when I thought of losing nearly all my make-up collection.

However, two concepts truly resonated with me, as I went through my yoga teacher training; that of ahimsa (non-violence, which is part of the yamas, the first branch of yoga) and that of non-attachments (discussed extensively in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras).


The branch of ahimsa, or non-violence is one I strive to really demonstrate in my life, diet, mannerisms, beliefs, ethics, etc. It is incredibly important for me to do good while I am on this earth, and at the very least, not harm. What I contained in my make-up drawer was representing that, and every time I thought of losing it, I made excuses and tried to rationalize it away in my head. I soon realized that I was far too attached to these “things” and therefore, should try to practice non-attachment, and be at peace with losing them. They are only material possessions, and being truly honest, I hardly used most of them anymore, so why was I so resistant about their loss?

I truly hate to be a wasteful person, and since the products were already purchased, I decided to give them away to someone who would be appreciative of them, my younger sister.


I did as much research as I could, and found PETA’s website the most helpful in figuring out which products were tested on animals. I gave away all of my MAC make-up, and a handful of other products.


I considerably downsized from two big boxes to one smaller one, which more realistically reflects what I will actually use.


I purchased a few new products. Sephora was very helpful, and they have a list on their website of which companies test on animals. I am happy to report, they carry very few make-up brands that do testing.

I did my best, and from what I can tell, these products are vegan and not animal tested. If I am wrong in this assumption, please let me know. I am still new to this and learning which are the animal friendly companies.

Clockwise from left to right:

Cover FX pressed mineral foundation

Urban Decay waterproof liquid eyeliner

Tarte Lip Surgence

Bare Minerals Eyeshadow

Sephora Mascara

Urban Decay Eyeshadows in various shades

Sephora Blush

9695365973_7b2d33e434_o I am still getting used to the change. MAC has been my main source of make-up for so long and I am truly saddened that they still choose to test on animals. They have lost a loyal and enthusiastic customer.

However, I feel better about my choice and once I decided to do it, it was hard to figure out what my hang up was about it for so long. It’s interesting how strongly we form attachments to “things” and understanding my story behind my love of cosmetics helped a bit, but it felt so much better to let go and try to follow my ethics and heart of not doing anything to cause violence or harm to another living being.

Any recommendations on vegan cosmetics?