1- Naturally, the first step in buying cruelty-free products, is identifying them. I have found that a lot of people don't realize that unless something specifies right on the label that it isn't tested on animals it almost certainly is tested on animals. The easiest way I have found to identify companies as cruelty-free, or not, is with PETA's list. It's quite extensive and, as far as I know, they keep it pretty up-to-date.
2- As with vegan foods, cruelty-free body care, and beauty products can be expensive and hard to find. So again I will recommend Vitacost and iHerb. For things that can't be found at either of those places, Amazon is usually my go-to.
3- If you still can't afford to buy the fancy vegan products, it is possible get generic cruelty-free
products. Food Lion's store brands are not tested on animals. Though they are not necessarily vegan, this is still a huge step in the right direction, and they offer a wide selection of products, from health and beauty to cleaning supplies.
4- My all-time favorite brand of hair dye is Surya. It is certified vegan and cruelty-free, natural (henna based), and actually good for your hair. Plus it comes in some really beautiful shades. If you try it though, make sure you get the cream, not the powder. I haven't tried this particular brand in powder form, but all of the other henna powders I have used were a huge pain, and the cream is super convenient. Also, you should be aware that the box tells you to leave it on for up to an hour but, since it's actually beneficial for your hair and you get better results the longer you leave it on, I just put it on with a cap over it before I go to bed and leave it overnight. I have yet to find a color that didn't come out amazing with this technique.
5- If you want a more intense hair color, I recommend Manic Panic. They are cruelty-free and at least most of their products are vegan; supposedly there are some that aren't, but I can't seem to find out which ones. I will warn you though, their colors do fade a lot, and they really only work if you bleach your hair first. And, again, the longer you leave the colors on, the better (like overnight). If you want the white-blonde look though, you can't beat Manic Panic's Flash Lightening. I used the 40 volume, and it was much more effective and slightly less harsh than any other bleach I've tried. Also, I found that to keep the blonde white, instead of yellow, mixing a drop or two of Ultraviolet into my conditioner worked really well.
6- I absolutely love Sarawen's perfumes! I have tried quite a few of them and have yet to find one that didn't smell wonderful! My favorite, at the moment is Chocolat Rose, though the Ambrosia Chocolat is a close second (I don't know, I guess I just like smelling like foods that I don't eat). The scents are all vegan and cruelty-free, and she donates some of the proceeds to animal charities. Plus, it's just fun to shop for her perfumes, because most of them are inspired by fictional characters.
7- Speaking of good smells, Crazy Rumors lip balm is absolutely amazing! It comes in tons of great scents, and it works better than any other lip balm I have tried (even before I went vegan). Plus, they are another completely vegan company.
8- I will admit, I'm not as good with makeup as some girls (like my sister) are, so my opinion here may not be worth as much as in other ares, but I really like e.l.f.. They are ridiculously affordable (like nearly everything is between $1 and $3) and, for as much as I can do with makeup, they work as well as any other brand I've tried. They are cruelty-free and, while they are not vegan certified, I did find this correspondence from e.l.f. in response to a question asked by Cruelty Free Kitty "All ingredients used in e.l.f. cosmetics are vegan friendly, safe and meet F.D.A requirements."
9- As some of you may know, I have had issues with acne my entire life and I have finally gotten it (mostly) under control. I'm sure that a lot of that has to do with my overall lifestyle being so much healthier these days, but I also think that a big part of it has been due to Dr. Woods Shea Vision soap. I have been using it as hand soap, body wash, and face wash for months now and my skin has never been better. Dr. Woods products are all cruelty-free and, as far as I can tell, they are all vegan.
10- Along with my acne issues, I have also always had problems with dry skin (and dry hair). Coconut Oil has all but fixed this problem for me. I use it on my face, body, and hair, and it has made my skin incredibly soft. I have given up any ideas about my hair ever being soft (since it seems to be made of cactus needles) but the coconut oil definitely helps keep it more manageable.
So, there are my favorite products. I hope they make life a little easier for someone out there.
My new hair color, Surya in "mahogany". Also, lots of e.l.f. products. Also, almost everything else on this list.