My Cruelty-Free Makeup Routine


Hi, I am Ariel and I cry when I meet dogs. I bombed a recent audition where I was asked to “pretend like I was seeing a puppy I was going to adopt tomorrow” because I started weeping.

I grew up in a house where my mother called our dogs “her girls.” I am literally her daughter, but I was not one of “her girls.” She loves our dogs more than me, but it’s fine because I love them more than her, too.

I think my second favorite thing, after meeting dogs, is buying makeup. I didn’t realize that they could ever be related until just a few years ago, when I came across a picture on Instagram of a dog cowering in a corner of a makeup testing facility. Don’t say the explore section never changed anyone’s life. I don’t even know if the picture is real but I’m obviously welling up with tears at my desk right now just thinking about it so it did its job. I saw that sad pooch and immediately made a commitment to, from that moment on, buy only cruelty-free makeup. And you know what, I have actually stuck to it. Because it was so easy. There are so many amazing cruelty-free brands out there that I see no need to buy anything that tests on animals!

In my search to find the best cruelty-free makeup, I believe that I have found the best makeup, period. Here’s what’s inside my cruelty-free makeup bag:


So maybe you’re thinking I love my makeup collection because I am one of those people who swipes on mascara and chapstick and calls it a full lewk. Lol, no. I gotta cover that face in some good goops. I recently got the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and not one but TWO people have told me I’m glowing today. Dang! Since I slept for a cool five hours last night and ate Doritos for breakfast, I’m officially obsessed with this stuff. For moisturizer I use the previously ITG-approved Image Skincare with SPF. I’m still hoping to get cast on Riverdale one day so I need to look like a teen forever, and this might just do it. I also love how it smells, but I have no idea how to describe it so why did I even say anything? It’s like summer? Like candy? That doesn’t help at all.


After priming my skin, I choose from one of two foundations. Number one is Glossier Skin Tint. It makes my skin look like my skin except a thousand times better because it’s got makeup on it. If I’m looking for more coverage and I have a little more time on my hands, I use Tarte’s water based foundation. Tarte is cruelty-free but it’s owned by a parent company that is not. I know this from listening to my girl (sure, I don’t actually know her) Jackie Johnson’s podcast Natch Beaut. I get a lot of my information and inspiration re: my cruelty-free makeup bag from her.

On top of my foundation, I use Collection Cosmetics Lasting Perfection Concealer. I only know about this amazing product because of my insomnia. See, when I can’t sleep at night I watch British YouTubers put on makeup for hours at a time. Watching beauty vloggers rave about this product right as I hit the pillow night after night hypnotized me into needing this concealer. So, when I was on vacation in London last year and found it in a Superdrug I frantically used up all my data to google whether or not it was cruelty-free. I screamed in the aisle of the store when Google revealed that it was. I immediately purchased five tubes. I might move to the UK to make purchasing this concealer easier for my everyday life.

Cheeks & Eyes

I’ve tried a thousand blushes and it turns out the best one is Glossier Cloud Paint. I use Puff on my cheeks every day to make me look happy and alive even when I feel the opposite of both. Before Cloud Paint came out, I was using Chantecaille Cheek Gelée Happy Hydrating Gel-Cream Blush, which is a great option if you want your blush to shimmer and also if you want to figure out how to pronounce “Gelée.” For highlighter, I have one I love from Colourpop. Follow their Instagram stories if you want to order a new one every day, because they are always swatching colors that look too good to be true. I’m obsessed and I need all of them. You can also find some of the greatest eyeshadows there, but I stick with my Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette because I use eyeshadow once every other month when I wake up more than five minutes before I have to leave in the morning.

Regarding mascara: I wondered if I should put this in because, like, everyone knows it already. Like, you already know what I’m going to write, right? But Too Faced’s Better than Sex Mascara is everything to me. For a cheaper version, try NYX’s Doll Eye Mascara. YES, NYX is cruelty-free! I may not know whether to pronounce the name of the company “N,Y,X” or “Nix” but I know they don’t test on animals. When I first committed to buying cruelty-free makeup I was worried about being able to make emergency purchases in the drugstore on the way to meetings or dates, but NYX has proven my savior in that arena.


I don’t know the names of any of the lipsticks I use because I always just find something that looks like it could be called “Berry Kiss” and buy it without trying it on. What I can tell you is that my favorites come from Bite. Man, do they know what they’re doing for a lip. I don’t think any chic, animal testing competitors can, um, compete with them. Go to the Bite Lip Lab in Soho if you’re in NYC and make your own custom shade. Honorable lip mention goes to Colourpop’s Lippie Stix, and of course Charlotte Tilbury for a little bit of GLAMOUR in your makeup bag. Seriously, put a gold tube of a Tilbury lipstick in your purse and soon find yourself saying, “Charles, get my coat, we’re going to the theatre!” And then your Lyft Driver will be like, “Ma’am that’s not my name, I’m bringing you to a basement bar, and you’re in sweatpants.” For something sheer I throw on some Elf Gotta Glow Lip Tint Perfect Pink. It turns my lips hot pink, which is what I consider to be a super casual look.

And there ya go! That’s what’s in my cruelty-free makeup bag. The best part is I’m not sacrificing anything. I love my makeup collection and I love celebrating brands that don’t test on animals. I found such good stuff that I can look snatched and still know that my mom’s “girls” aren’t looking at me with judgemental puppy dog eyes. I am, however, crying right now thinking about them doing so.

—Ariel Gitlin

For lipstick inspiration, watch Charlotte Tilbury get ready to go out for the night here.