Miscellaneous, This or That
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Top Five Eyeshadow Brands (Cruelty-Free)

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 Metier de Beaute

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.

LMdB - Eyes

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.

REVIEWED: Kaleidoscopes – Northern Lights, Silk Road. Palette – Mélange de Colour Fashion. Single – Alexandrite. Duo – Brown as a Berry.

2. bareMinerals (READY) (owned by Shiseido)

bareMinerals READY

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.

bM Ready

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. 🙂

REVIEWED: The Happy Place (quad), The Cocktail Hour (8 pans), The September Issue (8 pans)

3. Urban Decay (owned by L’Oreal)

Urban DEcay

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.

UD Naked - CF

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.

REVIEWED: Naked, Naked 2

* 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.

REVIEWED: Duos – Habanera, Paramaribo, Grand Palais, Dogon. Trio – Ramatuelle. Palette – And God Created the Woman

5. theBalm


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. 🙂


  1. I only have the Naked 1 palette and I’m forever debating about getting the Naked 2 ir skipping it. I also want the Nude Tude but then that means I’ll be having three neutral palettes.

    • I like the Naked 2 better, but I don’t think you need both. 🙂 And yes, hahaha that’s what will happen. It’s hard to say no but when you look at your current collection and see too many duplicates, I think it becomes easier to say no!

  2. I really want to get the Naked Basics and I think you’re super tempting me with them. I’ve only gotten into eyeshadow a few months ago (because of the Wet n Wild ones, whodathunkit?) so I’m very very new. Curse these hooded eyes of mine.

    Thanks for this post! Remember when I said thanks in your eyeshadow tutorial post? This is another one of those posts I love because I feel like I have so much more to learn in terms of eyes! The bareMinerals Ready looks super pretty too. I may want to get those instead.

    • I’m actually not a huge fan of the Naked Basics, but I love the WnW Color Icon shadows. I have hooded eyes, too. 🙂 They’re also uneven on top of that. LOL. Don’t let that stop you!

      No worries; I’m glad it helped you out. 🙂

  3. Pingback: September’s Softly Special: All About the Eyes (Master List of Posts) | Softly Sometimes

  4. Would love to see your drugstore CF top 5! I of course have most of these on my wish list, but I can always start with the cheaper ones. 😀

  5. I had no idea that NARS was part of Shiseido! Cool! I love that you included The Balm in this post, that’s one of my favorite brands yet a LOT of people still haven’t heard of them! I, too, get more use out of that palette than the Nakeds.

    • Haha yup, they were acquired a few years ago! I really want to try more palettes from them, but I am resisting. Which one is your favorite?

      • I use that Nude’tude palette a lot but I really love all 3 of the Shady Lady palettes, so many colors to play with! 🙂 Once a year, they do a sale on their site where you pay for one palette and get all three, that’s how I got mine.

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