My Favorite Beauty Brands

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Shopping for beauty products takes so. much. time. I had never bothered to quantify it before, but last week I spent an entire hour of my life searching for a new shampoo. Thankfully I ended up liking the shampoo (and it's below), but I can't help but think about how many times I've invested that much research into a product and it has turned out to be a dud. I don't even want to think about all the creams, cosmetics and toiletries I've thrown out over the years because they didn't work for me.

While finding regular products is difficult, finding cruelty-free/vegan cosmetics is even more of a challenge. Unfortunately, a lot of brands aren't totally transparent, and a few even imply that they're cruelty-free when they aren't. Target has included cruelty-free as a filter on their beauty brands which is a HUGE help (and how I've found several of the items below!), but I still wanted to compile some brands that I 100% recommend.

While I haven't tried every product from all the brands below, I've tried enough that I feel comfortable choosing them again when I need other products in the future. None of the brands featured here are tested on animals, most can be found at your local Target/Sephora, and they all make quality products that are worth your hard-earned cosmetics budget! From shampoos to makeup to face washes, here are some of my faves:


Yes To: I’ve used so many of the Yes To products and every single one has been a hit for me. They were one of the first cruelty-free, small-ish brands I tried out, and while not every product has been a standout hit they've all been at least solid and usable. While it didn't work for my skin long-term, their grapefruit scrub is a great product. I'm currently using this fragrance-free daily SPF and while it goes on a little thick, it settles in nicely and works great under makeup.

The Body Shop: My friend Kailey told me about The Body Shop and I've never looked back. Their shipping takes FOREVER but it is so worth the wait. I stocked up during a sale, coming away with this body wash, this face scrub, and this primer/pore treatment. I love them all, but the primer/pore treatment is in the top ranks of beauty products I've ever used. I can actually tell a difference in my pore size, and tea tree oil is an effective ingredient for acne prevention. The wash and face scrub are also products I would highly recommend.

Love Beauty & Planet: When I bought this shampoo from Target, I didn't fully do my research and assumed I was supporting a small, sustainable brand. What I found out when I received it is that it's actually a division of Unilever...but I do love the shampoo. It does utilize sustainably-sourced ingredients, it smells great, and it makes my hair incredibly silky. While having a huge corporation pose as a smaller brand does feel deceptive, this is one of my favorite shampoos I've ever used so it still deserved to make the cut.

Pacifica: I got this Pacifica Body Butter on clearance at Target a month or so ago and couldn't wait to run out of my other stuff to give it a try. I like that it dispenses like a lotion with the creaminess of a body butter, and its smell is a 10/10. Everything Pacifica produces feels like a luxury beauty item, but it has the benefit of being available at regular stores, too. I've also been pleased with their face washes and shampoo in the past, and they often have deals through Target so you can stock up and save!

Fenty: The entire Fenty collection has been making waves, and for good reason. I've tried a few different products, but nothing has compared to my instant love for the Flyliner. I've used the Kat Von D tattoo liner for years but the Flyliner blows it out of the water. It's perfectly opaque, super long-lasting, and at the same price point. The application has taken some trial and error because of just how saturated the color is — i.e. if you make a mistake, it's noticeable — but it's worth the time to perfect. 


This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but if you're in the market for new cosmetics this is a great place to start! Let me know your favorite beauty brands in the comments 👇

Amanda McDowellComment