When it comes to beauty and household products, the terms “cruelty-free” and “low-priced” don’t usually mix.
An increasing number of beauty and household product brands choose not to test their products on animals. But most of these brands are small and can’t compete with the low prices of larger competitors, many of which do test on animals.
While it’s a great idea to support small companies, many consumers simply can’t afford a $25, 10-ounce bottle of shampoo, or even a tiny $5 bottle of liquid hand soap.
Fortunately, a few companies offer both low prices and animal-friendly practices.
Here are five companies — and two alternative shopping methods — that help you buy cruelty-free without breaking the bank. Plus, check out this list of 100 places to find coupons to save even more money!
You may recognize this household product brand from its quirky television commercials and stylish packaging, but Method is also known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and conscious practices.
Method products are never tested on animals, contain no animal ingredients, are non-toxic and biodegradable.
They’re also affordable and widely available.
Prices rival those of mainstream brands, including a $3.25, 28-ounce bathroom cleaner, 36-ounce hand soap refill for $3.99 and 45-tab dishwasher detergent for just $11.39.
To find the lowest prices, your best bet is buying Method products online, though you can also find them in Target, Lowe’s and many supermarkets.
2. Trader Joe’s
If you know what to look for, you can get some great deals at Trader Joe’s, particularly on store-brand household and beauty products, which are never tested on animals.
Like Method, Trader Joe’s focuses on using sustainable and non-toxic ingredients that are safe for people and pets.
If you’re vegan, you may want to check ingredient labels for honey and beeswax, but many products contain no animal ingredients.
My go-to Trader Joe’s products include $2.99 all-natural toothpaste, 128-ounce laundry detergent for $9.99 and 25-ounce dish soap, available in tea tree lavender and mandarin orange, also for $2.99.
They also offer a Tea Tree Tingle line of bath and body products priced at $3.99 for 16-ounce bottles, and a 16-ounce citrus body wash for $2.50.
3. Body Essences
My bathroom cabinet is filled with colorful bottles from this under-the-radar brand, which exclusively sells paraben-free gel and cream body washes.
Body Essence products are not tested on animals and contain no animal ingredients — with the exception of honey in one gel wash.
Plus, the body washes are super moisturizing and come in great scents like coconut and vanilla shea butter.
If you can believe it, a 28-ounce bottle runs at just $3.47 online or in-store at Walmart. You can also find them at many pharmacies.
4. Freeman Beauty
Sold under several different lines, Freeman Beauty products range from papaya-scented shampoo to anti-aging serums, and all are reasonably priced and cruelty-free.
Frugal shoppers should check out Freeman’s Papaya line of $2.99 shampoos and conditioners. They contain natural ingredients — like papaya extract, herbs and acai oil for moisture.
To treat yourself, try their $3.79 bare foot, “spa-inspired” foot care products, $4.29 Feeling Beautiful facial masques and Eclos line of $7.99 corrective serums.
Freeman products are sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond, the Christmas Tree Shop and many supermarkets. You can also shop their website, which often runs great clearance sales.
5. e.l.f. Cosmetics
When some of my less thrifty friends head to Sephora, you’ll find me browsing retail store shelves for e.l.f Cosmetics.
This budget-friendly line of makeup launched in 2004 and has since skyrocketed to international success, thanks to its low-priced and well-reviewed products.
The company’s line includes lipstick, eyeshadow, concealer and blush for $1 — and lip and eyeshadow palettes for under $10.
Along with its commitment to keeping prices low, e.l.f. is 100% cruelty-free.
It even uses synthetic beeswax and lanolin instead of the two commonly used animal ingredients. PETA recognized e.l.f.’s animal-friendly practices, honoring CEO Joseph Shaman with a “Trail-Blazer Award.”
E.l.f. products are available in several stores — including Walmart, Target, and most pharmacies — as well as on the company’s website. Savvy online shoppers can also take advantage of promotions such as free shipping and bonus items.
Bonus Idea 1: Thrive Market
If you have a large family, consider signing up for Thrive Market, a grocery delivery service that’s been called a cross between Whole Foods and Costco.
Thrive charges a $59.95 annual membership fee, but you can easily recoup the cost by saving up to 40% on cruelty-free products, from cosmetics to sunscreen and baby care products.
Best of all, when you shop at Thrive, you can buy products from many of the smaller cruelty-free and higher-end brands that might otherwise exceed your budget.
You’ll find 11-ounce Kiss My Face shaving cream for $4.95 (normally $7.95), 4-ounce Alba Botanica facial scrub for $6.95 (normally $11.95) and 16-ounce EveryDay Shea baby shampoo for $5.66 (normally $9.99).
Bonus Idea 2: DIY Products
It also allows you to control what ingredients go into your products and ensure they’re cruelty-free.
For example, you can make a great general cleaner using vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, lemon, water and a few drops of dish soap.
If you’re serious about going DIY, invest in some essential oils. Just a few drops will add not only a lovely scent, but also important antibacterial and antiseptic properties to your products.
Your Turn: Will you try any of these brands or ways to get cruelty-free products?
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Jennifer Wyglinski is a freelance writer and marketing consultant specializing in green lifestyle and vegan topics.