You are looking to take veganism to the level and want to start purchasing vegan makeup brands? Look beautiful on the inside, and also the outside!
Here a fun fact that beauty enthusiasts should probably know: did you know that it is estimated that women will be spending $300,000 worth of makeup on their faces in their lifetime?
With the amount of money that goes into the makeup industry, you would probably wonder about the lengths people go to gain or to profit from all this.
As vegans, we have probably heard of the horror stories surrounding the beauty industry in regards to animal testing, etc.
However, this does not mean that every single brand is guilty of questionable business practices that are inhumane and unethical.
In a world as big as that of make-up, there are so many brands out there that fit a vegan’s needs and requirements.
With so many options available, it can get quite topsy-turvy. This is why I decided to curate some of the best vegan makeup brands in the world and listed them according to their price ranges. Hang tight and let’s check them out!
MakeUp Through The Years
Makeup is no modern invention. From ancient Egypt to the 21st century, makeup has evolved and has come a long way. In ancient times, people used kohl to darken their lips and their eyelashes.
The ancient Romans also used kohl for their eyes as well as chalk and rouge (which was either made of rose petals or the dangerous red lead). In the Middle Ages, pink was the “in” color for women.
In the centuries that followed, makeup was either considered a health risk or something that was used to give the impression of being healthy and fun-loving.
It was also in these periods when people were using mercury and white lead as makeup aids. However, there were also people who used natural ingredients such as vegetables, flowers, herbs, and strawberry.
The breakthrough of makeup happened in the 20th century when the mascara was invented and brands like Maybelline and Max Factor were born.
The use of pressed powder and lipstick became popular. As the years progressed, new makeup innovations were born. And they have managed to evolve, giving birth to new makeup trends and products, including cruel-free and vegan options!
Red Alert: Non-Vegan Ingredients You Need To Watch Out For
When you come to think of it, makeup is like food, there are various materials and ingredient involved.
If you take a look at the ingredients list of some make up products, you will probably see some that are against your vegan ethos.
Avoid any purchasing mishaps by taking note of some ingredients that you should look out for!
Apart from staying away from the ingredients I have listed below, I always recommended to be vigilant when shopping for makeup!
Give the makeup ingredients list below a run through. Watch out for the following
In makeup, glycerine is used as a bonding agent. It is usually derived from animal fats. It can also be obtained from plant-based sources like soy, coconut, and palm (although this might not sit well with some vegans).
This ingredient is used as an emollient or softener that comes from sheep wool. It is normally used lip products such as glosses, balms, and sticks.
This is one is usually used in lip balm and is procured from shark liver oil. There are vegan alternatives from wheat germ and olives. However, you might have to confirm where the squalene listed in your makeup product is from as the source is usually not listed.
Made by scraping the scales of dead fish, Guanine is used to add sparkles in found in makeup products such as blushes, highlighters, bronzers, and eyeshadow.
If you are looking at the ingredients of your makeup product, you might see the word carmine or either of the following:
- Natural red 4
- C.I. 75470
Carmine is used as a red colorant in products like blushes and lipsticks. It is derived by crushing cochineals and extracting the color. To produce a gram of de, thousands of insects are killed.
If your lip plumping or anti-aging product contains collagen, you might want to check where it comes from. Collagen is usually derived from the tissue, skin, bone or ligaments of animals.
In cosmetic products, beeswax or Cera Alba is used to keep the liquid and oil components of the emulsion from separating. This ingredient is also found in mascaras.
8. Animal Hair
This is usually found in makeup brushes. Hair from animals such as horses, sables, goats, foxes, squirrels, and minks are being made into brushes.
Animal hair such as the one from minks is also being used in false eyelashes.
The Truth About Animal Testing
Apart from animal byproducts being added to makeup products, there is another issue that the cosmetic industry is in. It involves testing on animals!
To shed light on this highly controversial matter, here are some questions that you might find yourself asking regarding the subject. I looked into these to find the answers that will hopefully help us understand what is happening behind the scenes.
1. Why is there animal testing in the makeup industry?
Whenever a company comes up with something that contains untested ingredients, it will conduct assessments or tests to confirm the safeness of these new components. To evaluate the safety of these new ingredients, companies conduct animal testing. This practice is cruel and inhumane and it needs to stop.
2. Is animal testing required in the United States?
Animal testing is not required in the United States. However, based on the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the sale of adulterated and mislabeled products are prohibited.
3. Is animal testing required in the other parts of the world?
I am sad to say that there are certain parts of the world where animal testing is still a practice. Let’s take China for example.
The Chinese government requires mandatory animal tests on all the cosmetic products being imported into their country. Apart from this, the government is also conducting animal testing on products being sold in stores.
With these rules set by the Chinese government, cosmetic companies that do not conduct animal testing but are importing their products into China are not considered cruelty-free.
In the European Union, animal testing has been banned. Similar laws have taken effect in other parts of the world like Israel, Switzerland, India, and Norway.
Asian countries like Taiwan and South Korea have passed laws banning or limiting animal testing.
4. What happens to animals during testing?
Before you continue, please be warned that this section can get graphics.
While not necessarily required by the law, there are companies that are conducting several cosmetic tests on unsuspecting animals like guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, and rats.
Some of the brutal tests being conducted on animals are:
- Animals are coerced into swallowing lethal doses of chemicals. This is to check the dosage that could cause death.
- For eye irritation and skin tests, chemicals are dripped into the rabbits’ eyes or are rubbed on their shaved skins.
- Animals are force-fed for long periods of time to check for signs of health hazards or illnesses such as cancer.
After they are tested, animals are killed with no pain relief whatsoever. They are either decapitated, asphyxiated or their necks are broken.
5. Are there alternatives to animal testing?
Yes, there are! Apart from using ingredients that have been proven to be safe, companies are also looking into different testing methods that do not involve animals at all. These options are cost-effective, efficient and cruelty-free.
Ultimate Makeup Guide
If you take a look at the makeup world in general closely, you might find yourself overwhelmed with so many options. The same thing can be said about the vegan makeup brands.
These brands make no use of animal by-products and are cruelty-free. If you are on the lookout for some new makeup products, consider the following:
If you’re feeling like a high-roller, there are several luxury makeup vegan brands that you can spend your Benjamins on!
If there’s a phrase to best describe what UK makeup brand Illamasqua is all about, it’s “beauty not brutality”. Since the brand’s launch in 2008, it has committed to producing high-quality products that reflect their principles.
As a brand against animal testing on any products, it only works with companies and suppliers who believe in the same ethical principles as well.
As a PETA certified brand, Illamasqua supports a cruelty-free lifestyle by staying away from inhumane production processes and ingredients. If you are shopping for brushes and other stuff, check out Illamasqua’s vegan options here.
2. Cover FX
If you are looking for a diverse and innovative makeup brand, then you will love Cover FX. The brand is the brainchild of a For its products, the brand only uses ingredients that are good for people. The makeup is free of fragrance, mineral oil, parabens, talc, and gluten. According to its website’s FAQ, Cover FX products are vegan and have not been tested on animals.
Apart from being vegan and cruelty-free, Cover FX prides itself on having 40 unique shades that you can find across all of the lines it offers.
If you are looking for something multi-functional, use their Custom Enhancer Drops ($42.00) which can enhance your other makeup products.
Another best seller is their Pressed Mineral Foundation and Natural Finish Foundation which comes in 40 shades! Talk about variety!
While the price points for Cover FX’s products are a little on the pricey side, rest assured that you will be only getting the high-quality products with the best formulations. If you are keen to check the brand out, shop for Cover FX’s products on their website now!
3. Hourglass Cosmetics
“Cruelty-Free Luxury Beauty” is how Hourglass Cosmetics describes itself. Founded in 2004 by its CEO Carisa Janes, this brand focuses on creating luxurious and high-quality makeup.
If you are looking for something combines functional makeup and sleek, modern design, then check out Hourglass Cosmetics.
Hourglass Cosmetics first made its debut at Barneys New York but over the years, it has been carried by other luxury department stores in the United States and as well as in over 800 stores around the world. If you want to check out its vegan makeup options like its range of brushes, you can drop by its flagship stores in Venice, California or in New York.
4 Axiology Beauty
A $30.00 lipstick is certainly not cheap. However, what you will be getting once you get your hands on one of Axiology Beauty’s lipstick is a high-quality product that does not pose any threat to the consumer, animals or the planet.
In the past, Axiology Beauty founder Ericka Rodriguez tried vegan and cruelty lipsticks that were available in the market but she was left disappointed. This prompted her to come up with a brand that promised to make the “cleanest, most ethical lipstick on the planet”.
5. Milk Makeup
While the name sounds like a dairy product which is non-vegan, Milk Makeup is anything but. As a cruelty-free brand, it does not test its products on animals. Also, they are not affiliated with any other company that does.
When you buy a Milk Makeup product, know that only good ingredients go into it. According to the brand, their products do not contain oils, musks, and oils. All the colorants being used have been approved by the FDA.
Milk Makeup is cruelty-free, paraben-free and vegan! It is also free of the following irritants and allergens:
- Mineral Oil
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Resorcinol Ingredients
Get a taste what Milk Makeup has to offer by checking out its range of products here.
Founded in the “Land Down Under”, Inika is a 100% cruelty-free and vegan brand. It has been recognized by Australia’s Choose Cruelty-Free Organisation. It has also been to the registered with the UK Vegan Society.
Apart from these, the brand has also been certified by Australian National Organic Standard which means that the products contain more than 70% Certified Organic ingredients.
One of the principles by which the brand stands for is “healthy is beautiful”. And this is evident through the natural ingredients being used in the making of their products. Take a look at some of them here.
Put together your eye look by adding these eye makeup products to your cart. Pucker up and color your lips using the various lip products being sold. And lastly, if you need some fine brushes to help you achieve that look you want, they have a wide range of makeup brushes for you to choose from.
For over 38 years, cosmetics brand Arbonne has created products including makeup using the best botanical-based ingredients available.
As it continues to grow, the brand has pledged to a sustainable path that cements its commitment to the people, the planet and its products.
Apart from using botanically based ingredients in its products, Arbonne is also cruelty-free and vegan. It believes in sustainable procurement as well as carbon neutrality and zero wastage.
If these environmental and ethical commitments are something that tickles your fancy, perhaps you can support the brand by purchasing its products from its official site.
8. Adorn Cosmetics
Adorn Cosmetics was first launched in 2008 by founder Briony Kennedy. The brand is committed to creating the best Eco-Luxe beauty products, mineral makeup and organic skincare in the market.
This Aussie brand only uses mineral makeup and skincare ingredients that have been sourced ethically. These ingredients are non-toxic and are free from anything that can be harmful to its consumers.
Adorn Cosmetics has been certified vegan by The Vegan Society and cruelty-free by PETA. If you wish to splurge on luxury makeup minus the guilt, check out Adorn Cosmetics now!
9. Sappho New Paradigm
Conscious, clean and vegan – these are perhaps the perfect words to describe the brand Sappho New Paradigm. Launched in November of 2016, it was founded by Canadian makeup artist, JoAnn Fowler.
Her desire to build the brand came from knowing about the chemicals found in makeup and how toxic some of them are. This led her to look into developing a makeup line that provided clients with non-toxic options.
The brand is all about creating natural and organic products that are free from preservatives that could increase the risk of developing different types of cancer. Sappho New Paradigm only uses the best certified organic ingredients that can blend perfectly well with all skin types.
Apart from choosing only to use organic ingredients, Sappho New Paradigm pledges to be a company that is very ethical and transparent when it comes to its business dealings. If you are looking for consciously curated vegan makeup, make sure you check out Sappho New Paradigm line here.
BONUS: To learn more about how to transition into vegan makeup, check out the video below!
If you are looking for something that won’t burn a hole in your pocket but can somehow still give you a luxurious feel, here are some makeup brands that aren’t necessarily expensive and aren’t cheap.
Basically, these are brands whose prices fall somewhere in the middle and are “just right”.
1. NCLA Beauty
What started out as a brand offering nail wraps in 2008 has certainly come a long way. Founded in Los Angeles by Elin Dannerstedt, the line grew – offering an exciting line of award-winning gel polishes and nail lacquers. In addition, they have lip products.
NCLA Beauty now offers cruelty-free and vegan lipsticks. These semi-matte lip products are made with antioxidants, Vitamins C & E and castor oil. Also, the following should also be remembered when picking up these lippies:
- Phthalate Free
- Hyper Pigmented
- Long-Lasting Lipstick
- Made in the U.S.A.
Treat yourself to an NCLA Beauty lipstick for $16 or its full semi-matte lipstick set for $96.00 by checking out their website here.
2. Half Baked
Are you looking for a trendy and fun lip product that is 100% cruelty-free and vegan? Well, you can get that and more from Half Baked!
Launched on Valentine’s Day of 2016 by two Florida based sisters, the offer mousse to matte Lip Fondants that are not only unique but are delicious and long-lasting.
Half Baked Lip Fondants currently come in a variety of exciting shades and each retails for $16.00 each. Watch out for their other lip products that are coming out soon!
3. PHB Ethical Beauty
It is perhaps pretty rare to hear about cosmetic brands being family owned and operated but that is what PHB Ethical Beauty is.
The brand believes that everything our skin needs to become and happy healthy can be provided by the earth.
With its mission to provide consumers with the “purest and most effective beauty products you”, PHB Ethical Beauty only uses ingredients that have been naturally and ethically derived.
With PHB Ethical Beauty, you know you will be getting products including makeup that does not contain the following:
- Animal Ingredients
- Palm Oil
- Synthetic Fragrance / Parfum
- PEG / Petrochemicals
- DEA / TEA / Phthalates
If you want to give PHB Ethical Beauty’s cruelty-free and vegan makeup line that is handmade in Canada, check out the range of products here!
4. Concrete Minerals
Since 2009, Concrete Minerals has been producing high-quality and cruelty-free makeup with an exciting twist. To make sure the color payoff of their products is at its highest, they use fewer ingredients but add more pigments.
When you buy a Concrete Mineral, you won’t find gluten, parabens, and preservatives in them. Also, the products do not contain bismuth oxychloride, talc, and other low-quality fillers.
5. Black Moon
Since 2015, Black Moon has been creating vegan-friendly and cruelty-free makeup products. The brand started with their liquid lipsticks but has now expanded to other makeup products for the eyes, face, and body.
Inspired by the beauty and magic of the moon, Black Moon delivers high-quality products that are colorful, innovative and shiny! When you use the brand’s makeup, it’s like having a celestial experience!
If you want a taste of this and a whole lot more, you can start shopping for Black Moon makeup from its official website.
When you check Emani’s website, you would probably come across this “More than just makeup, it’s where great skin begins”. This is perhaps one of the best ways to describe the makeup brand.
Emani only uses the best natural ingredients in its makeup products. These natural ingredients are able to nourish the skin as well as promote the healthy regeneration of skin.
Apart from ingredient being natural, they are also 100% vegan and gluten-free. The brand is certified by Vegan.org and PETA. If you want to try Emani makeup products including its brushes, check out its website here.
Since she was a young girl, Pacifica founder Brook Harvey-Taylor has always been fascinated with scents. This led her to mix her own essential oils and studying aromatherapy in Eugene Oregon. While in the West Coast, fate led her to meet Billy.
Combining their personal strengths and their love for the outdoors, the couple decided to create Pacifica. In the process of creating their products, they focused heavily on making sure they came up with great ones that would have people talking.
Brook and Billy were absolutely right. Because of how great their fragrance products were, people loved them and began to talk about them. With their success, this led to more natural product development.
Over the years, Pacifica has grown exponentially and has become one of the most creative and innovative natural beauty brands in the world with their line of cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances.
As a natural beauty brand, Pacifica is proud to be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. If you are keen, you can explore their full range of makeup here.
8. Atomic Makeup
Atomic Makeup was born out of the desire to create a line that would allow the consumer to be able to express their artistry. Also, the brand was founded with the idea that their products should fit every skin tone and personality.
Each Atomic Makeup product is handmade in New York City. All of the brand’s products are vegan and cruelty-free. The brand is certified by both the Vegan Action and Vegan.Org.
It has also been certified by Vegan and Cruelty-Free by PETA. It is also part of the Beauty Without Bunnies family.
If you want to check out this brand, head on over to its website and shop away!
9. Trust Fund Beauty
Don’t let the name of this brand fool you! While it may sound like it’s for those born with silver spoons in their mouths, the fact is that it’s really not!
Trust Fund Beauty is a makeup brand that believes in beauty without being cruel. Founded by Samara Granofsky, Trust Fund Beauty was born from the lack of natural nail polish options in the market.
This is what Samara realized when her mother was diagnosed with cancer and there were very limited nail polish options that were safe for her mother to use.
Since this epiphany, Samara founded Trust Fund Beauty which focused on ethical products with very interesting and fun names! All products being sold are formulated in the US and Europe. These products are non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan!
If you are interested to know more about Trust Fund Beauty, check out their site here.
10. Clove + Hallow
Founded by a professional makeup artist named Sarah Biggers who lives and breathes cosmetics, Clove + Hallow is all about producing cruelty-free and vegan makeup that is affordable and conventional.
With Sarah’s deep and profound understanding of makeup, the brand’s product range includes diverse and high-quality products. Clove + Hallow makeup products are made in the USA and it follows the EU’s strict formulation standards.
11. Furless Cosmetics
Are you looking for high-quality, functional and stylish makeup products that are also furless? Well, look no further as you can get that and more from Furless Cosmetics!
Furless Cosmetics has an amazing range of makeup brushes and loose pigments that are free of any animal derived ingredients.
The brand is proud to be certified cruelty-free and vegan by various organizations including Choose Cruelty-Free, Fur Free Retailer, PETA, and the Natural Ingredient Resource Center.
Say goodbye to crusty and scratchy makeup brushes by shopping for new ones here!
Drug Store Brands
Looking and feeling beautiful does not need to cost an arm and a leg! While some people might be skeptical about this but you can some find some amazing vegan makeup brands inside the drug stores!
Yes, you heard that right! If you know how to look and what to look for, you just might come across some affordable finds that would make you feel and look great without breaking the bank!
1. ELF Cosmetics
If you step into some drug stores and head on to the cosmetics section, the chances of you seeing ELF on the shelves are high. The brand is known for its high-quality makeup at incredibly affordable prices!
Founded in 2004 by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba, ELF (which stands for Eyes Lips Face) started with 13 products only but it soon expanded into a wide range of products including makeup, brushes, and skincare.
As a drugstore brand, some people might find it surprising that ELF’s makeup and brush lines are 100% cruelty and vegan!
If you are looking for something affordable but has great payoff, drop by our favorite drugstore and pick up some ELF products. If you can’t go to a physical store, you buy ELF makeup from their website!
2. B Cosmetics
If ever you find yourself in one of the branches of high street brand Superdrug in the UK, you will probably be surprised by how big its range of makeup is! Through B Cosmetics which is the chain’s beauty brand, makeup enthusiasts would be delighted to know that they have over 130 products available!
In 2017, B Cosmetics was relaunched into a cruelty-free and vegan makeup brand that offers high-quality cosmetics.
At first, the brand found it quite challenging to create makeup products without animal-derived ingredients. However, they were able to find the best solutions and alternatives leading them to sell vegan B Cosmetics makeup.
If you can’t make it to any Superdrug branch for some makeup shopping, log on to their website to shop!
3. Glamour Dolls
If you want to be part of the “Glam Fam”, then you should check out the makeup brand Glamour Doll! The brand is the brainchild of Jessica Romano and Peter Georgotas.
The mission of Glamour Dolls is to bring you high-quality vegan and cruelty-free makeup whose price ranges are accessible to many people.
Jessica loves showing off her girly flair through the products she designs and the names she comes up with. Look good and feel glamorous with Glamour Dolls range of makeup products that you purchase from its website.
While it may not be sold in drug stores, the price points of the makeup products from the brand Root feels like it should be sold there. If you are looking for products that are natural without the hefty price tags, the go for Root!
Root’s products are made from high-quality natural ingredients that are good for the skin even the sensitive ones. Apart from these, the brand is vegan and gluten-free too! If you are in for a treat, check out Root’s makeup line here.
When embracing the vegan lifestyle, we are all about living a life that is both healthy and cruelty-free.
Apart from taking care of our health, we also need to take care of ourselves in other ways. For vegan women, it’s by beautifying ourselves both on the inside and outside.
As a vegan woman, I believe in feeling good and looking great at the same time.
Through beautifying myself using various vegan makeup products, I feel more confident and more put together. If I feel that on the outside, that will surely help me on the inside as well.
With so many makeup brands in the market, it can get pretty saturated. However, with vegan makeup, we know which ones we should give our attention and money to! Just pick a brand from the ones I listed above.
If you know other vegan makeup brands that I have failed to mention, do let us know by leaving your comments down below. Or if you know a vegan beauty enthusiast who needs to know these details, shares this on their favorite social media platform!