Have you ever stopped and thought about what’s actually in the makeup you wear every day? Unfortunately, vegan makeup is not always available from major cosmetic brands. And unlike checking food ingredient labels, makeup ingredients can be trickier to identify. With various dyes, chemicals, and other compounds, it can be a minefield to know what you’re actually putting on your face!
For those of us that wear makeup, we know that choosing the right mascara and perfect lip color is something quite personal. Perhaps you’ve been using the same foundation for years, or maybe there’s a shade of blush you absolutely can’t live without.
Luckily, vegan makeup is becoming more and more popular. Even Lady Gaga is getting in on the vegan makeup game. Thankfully there are already a lot of vegan makeup brands that make things easy for consumers.
This guide will show you that you don’t need to sacrifice your personal style when searching for that new eyeshadow.
If you’ve landed on this article and don’t really know what veganism is, check out this guide.
What is Vegan Makeup?
Vegan makeup excludes animal-derived ingredients, which can be found in many major makeup brands. This includes makeup brushes. It’s important to note that vegan makeup doesn’t necessarily mean eco-friendly or cruelty-free.
Animal testing is still rampant in the cosmetics industry. If in doubt, always check for a cruelty-free label. Some brands may even try to fool you by labelling their products with “this finished product was not tested on animals.” Let’s take concealer as an example. If you find these words on the bottle it means the concealer itself wasn’t tested on animals, but the ingredients that went into making the concealer were.
Be careful of terms like “natural” and “organic”. These don’t necessarily mean that the products are vegan!
What is Non Vegan Makeup Made of?
While some vegan makeup brands actively use natural ingredients, others simply use standard pigments and chemicals. The main feature is that vegan makeup doesn’t contain any ingredients that are animal derived.
You might be surprised to learn which non-vegan components are commonly found in popular makeup brands. Here are some ingredients to watch out for:
- Lanolin – A moisturizing ingredient that comes from sheep’s wool and can be found in many lipsticks and concealers
- Gelatin/collagen – Connective tissues from animals often found in face cream, foundation, and prosthetic makeup
- Silk powder – Made from the cocoons of silkworms and is an ingredient in loose makeup powders
- Beeswax – Wax produced by honeybees and used as a thickening agent in mascaras
- Squalene – Usually derived from shark liver oil and is an emollient which can be found in lipstick, eye shadow, and foundation
- Albumen – Egg whites which are added to moisturizers for anti-wrinkle properties
- Carmine – A bright red dye made from beetles and found in lipstick, blush, and eye shadow
Vegan Makeup Brushes
Another pesky thing to keep in mind when shopping for vegan makeup is the brushes themselves. Some are made from animal hair and are often labeled as “natural makeup brushes”. These can include hair from squirrels, horses, goats, and minks.
Luckily, there are many brands offering synthetic vegan makeup brushes made from fibers like nylon or Taklon. There are several eco-friendly companies now making brushes from recycled plastic bottles and bamboo.
The best part about buying vegan makeup brushes is that they are cheaper than their non-vegan counterparts. They are also easier to clean!
10 Vegan Makeup Brands
Now that we’ve covered the basics of vegan makeup, you’re probably wondering which brands to check out.
Here is a list of some of the best vegan makeup brands which are either fully vegan or offer a separate vegan line. Some of these are personal favorites, and others have only recently launched.
Whatever your taste in makeup is, there’s a brand listed that you’ll love.
Kat Von D
As a long-time vegan herself, celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D has a line of 100% vegan cruelty free makeup. She credits her makeup as suitable for beginners and “makeup junkies.”
You’ll find everything you could possibly need here. Including vegan foundation, vegan eyeliner, vegan lipstick, vegan palettes, vegan mascara, and accessories. Best-selling items include the Tattoo Liner, Lock-It Foundation, and Everlasting Liquid Lipstick.
You can tell Kat Von D really cares about animals. She created The Farm Sanctuary Everlasting Liquid Lipstick. 5% of the retail price goes to the animal charity Farm Sanctuary, which rescues farm animals.
E.L.F. stands for “every eye, lip, and face.” Indeed, you’ll find all the affordable vegan makeup you need here. In fact, some products costing only a few dollars. This brand is 100% cruelty-free and vegan. You’ll often find E.L.F. products in your local supermarket or drugstore.
Best-selling items include the Liquid Matte Lipstick, Contour Palette, and Baked Highlighter. You’ll find gift sets and makeup accessories such as sponges and brushes. They also have a whole skincare line of moisturizers, makeup remover, and hydrating masks. You can really indulge and pamper yourself with E.L.F. products without breaking the bank!
Jeffree Star Cosmetics
Jeffree Star himself is a famous YouTuber, with millions of subscribers. Fans tune into his videos to watch his makeup tutorials and learn about the latest product launches. Which other brands offer such an interactive makeup experience?
The Jeffree Star makeup line is 100% cruelty-free and vegan. The prices are mid-range, and bestsellers include the vegan eyeshadow palettes and concealers.
What makes this brand unique is the overall style and aesthetic. With pigment names like “Diet Root Beer” and “Cry On My Couch”, this is not a boring vegan makeup line. Plus, customers love the cute and colorful packaging that has featured magic wands, rainbows, and even pigs.
A big player in the cruelty free and vegan cosmetics game for years, Lush Cosmetics is a pioneer in packaging-free makeup. Many of its makeup products are “naked,” meaning they use no bottles, containers, or boxes. The company has been fighting to end animal testing globally and only buys from suppliers do not test any of its ingredients on animals.
You’ll find everything you need for a full makeup experience at Lush. Including cruelty free mascara, vegan eyeshadow, naked foundation, and refillable lipstick. Many of its products include natural soothing ingredients like aloe vera, jojoba oil, and oats.
This New York City based makeup brand is 100% vegan, cruelty free, and paraben free. Milk Makeup don’t use any allergens or irritants as ingredients, such as talc or synthetic fragrances. Plus, they are also 100% Leaping Bunny Certified, meaning that no animals are harmed in the making of its products.
Counting celebrities like Billie Eilish and Zoe Kravitz as regular customers, Milk Makeup offers a full range of vegan lipsticks, foundations, and eyeliners among others. Best-selling items include the KUSH High Volume Mascara and Hydro Grip Primer. They also include SPF in several products which shows they care about the health of your skin too.
Haus Laboratories is a newly launched vegan makeup line by pop star Lady Gaga is already impressing droves of fans with its 100% vegan and cruelty free products. Gaga’s inspiration for the line came from when she was young and discovered that makeup made her feel like a “superhero.” This vegan makeup line lets consumers to explore self-expression and reinvention through makeup.
Products include eyeliner, lipsticks, and eyeshadows. With quirky names like “Chained Ballerina” and “Rose B*tch”, you’ll get a taste of Gaga’s imagination and creativity. Prices are mid-range and there’s several collections and holiday sets available.
Co-Founder of Cover FX Victor Casale was originally a founding partner of MAC cosmetics, one of the biggest makeup brands in the world. Cover FX was born from the founders working in a lab in a women’s college. They created formulas to help with skin conditions like eczema, burns, rosacea, and psoriasis. This then grew into a full-fledged vegan cosmetics brand that’s dermatologist approved.
This 100% vegan and cruelty-free company has 40 shades across all its products to suit all skin tones. It uses “clean ingredients” like green tea leaves and aloe instead of mineral oil and fragrance. Must-haves include the Pressed Mineral Foundation and Illuminating Setting Powder.
Urban Decay is a renowned makeup brand isn’t 100% vegan itself, but they offer a separate vegan line. All products are cruelty-free and clearly labelled. There’s a range of vegan makeup brushes, eyeliner, brow putty, primers, and lip colors available. They even offer vegan makeup removers that target different areas of the face.
Recommended products include the Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation (which lasts 24 hours!) and the 24/7 Eye Pencil. The pigments are colorful and the packaging is very stylish. This is a great vegan cosmetics line for those who like to experiment with bold makeup looks.
Nyx Cosmetics is a 100% cruelty free makeup line which has a large selection of vegan products. They believe in providing pro-level makeup that’s easily accessible and up to date with current beauty trends. It’s easy to find their vegan products on their website. All you have to do is select the vegan filter while browsing – it’s so convenient!
Their top products include the Lip Lingerie liquid lipsticks and the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop contour concealer. This brand really caters for all, as they offer how-to makeup tutorials for beginners, yet sell train cases for professional makeup artists.
When a brand describes itself as “makeup for unicorns”, you know you’re in for a treat. Lime Crime is a 100% vegan and cruelty free makeup brand which promises to transport you to a magical world. Besides offering a full-range makeup line, they also offer vibrant full color hair dyes.
Highly rated products include the Venus palettes and Diamond Crushers lip toppers (which really look like crushed diamonds on your lips!). With an overall brand aesthetic that evokes rainbows and sparkles, you’ll really feel like a beautiful unicorn with this makeup.
Will You Wear Vegan Makeup?
With more and more makeup brands offering vegan products, it’s simple to find the right shade to make you feel confident and glowing. Seeking out vegan cosmetics is not as difficult as it seems.
Do you have a favorite cruelty free mascara or vegan lipstick that you just can’t live without? Let us know in the comments below!