Now being 100% honest, many of these brands when I originally made the switch to being cruelty free only, I made the mistake of purchasing from some of them. And some of these products even made it into my favorites and I didn't even realize how wrong I was. Because I read the packaging which in the United States, the FDA doesn't regulate if a company puts cruelty free on or not. So in the United States they might not test on animals, but that doesn’t mean they would where required by law. Which means they aren't actually a cruelty free brand, so to help anyone else out that wants to be cruelty free only as well, these are brands that are not cruelty free that you might have mistaken were:
This brand is commonly mistaken as cruelty free but actually aren't. I have purchased things from them thinking they were. And now I am in the process of finding new homes for all of those products that I had gotten as I do not want to support any brand that tests on animals. My sister is just starting to get into makeup more than just eyeshadow so most of those products will probably go to her or to a women's organization.
Benefit’s animal testing policy, however, is clear about the fact the company tests on animals where required by law. We also know that Benefit products are sold in mainland China, as Chinese Sephora stores carry the brand.
From the FAQ: We do not test our products on animals nor do we permit others to do so except where it is required by law.
Brands to use instead: Anastasia Beverly Hill, theBalm, Too Faced, or Tarte. Note Tarte's and Too Faced's parent company are not cruelty free.
This is a huge parent company and brand that somehow many people often confuse to be cruelty free when they are not. And this includes their other brands including: MAC, Bobbi Brown, Bumble and Bumble, Clinique, Tom Ford, La Mer, Jo Malone, and Origins. And it's many due to their animal testing policy:
Brands to use instead: Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, Becca, or Kat Von D.
This is a company I used to get products from all the time because I loved the way it looked. But it was one of the first companies that I cut out of my collection. And I'm glad I did, because though their FAQ states they do not test on animals for any of their products. They do have a built in loophole that allows this for new ingredients and where required by law. L'Oreal is also a parent company for other brands like Kiehl's, Maybelline, and Lancome which are also not cruelty free using these same guidelines.
From the FAQ: L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world. Nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. (…) An exception could be made if authorities required it for human safety or regulatory purposes.
Brands to use instead: Milani, Sonia Kashuk, Pixi, or Marcelle. Or NYX which is a brand they own but is not subjected to the same policies. Buying products from NYX instead of the parent company sends a message that cruelty free products are better and that L'Oreal should implement the same in their own line.
This is another drugstore brand often confused as being cruelty free. And I used to love their lipsticks before I decided to only use and purchase cruelty free brands. This is often confused as a cruelty free brand because their website states that they are against testing on animals, but if you dig deeper they also state on their animal testing page, "The only exceptions are the very few countries where, by law, the regulatory authorities require us to submit our products or ingredients to them for testing on animals as a mandatory part of their regulatory protocols in compliance with their local regulations."
Brands to use instead: Wet'n'Wild, e.l.f., and NYX. Note: NYX's parent company is not cruelty free.