The vegan diet has increased in popularity recently and is fairly easy to follow these days, but what about those products in your makeup bag? A'listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman have all touted the benefits of glowing skin and hair that come with the vegan lifestyle. However a plant-based diet is fairly easy to stick to, but really living the vegan lifestyle can be a little trickier. Especially when it comes to fabulous vegan cosmetics that live up to their non-vegan counterparts.
The good news is that now when you filter your makeup search by "vegan or cruelty free make up" would once have yielded nothing particularly enticing, the tide is happily changing. Vegan lip balms and lipsticks abound, with the rest of the makeup counter from foundation to eye shadows, blush and mascara catching up fast too. Kat Von D recently made the headlines with plans to overhaul her entire makeup line to ensure that every product is 100% vegan, and even iconic beauty brands are offering cruelty free options in their ranges.
So with the hunt for vegan makeup on the increase, the past decade has seen a 350% rise in the number of people opting for a vegan lifestyle in the UK I thought I'd give you my 'humble' opinion of some of the best vegan makeup offerings on the market.
But firstly .... what is actually meant by vegan makeup ?
There are many misconceptions surrounding what exactly makes a product suitable for vegans. Some confuse it with simply being cruelty-free, which of course it does need to be, animal testing is a huge no-no, but actually its much more than that, vegan makeup needs to contain absolutely no animal-derived ingredients or byproducts. That includes popular natural moisturising agents such as beeswax, honey and lanolin, plus colour pigment carmine, which is derived from the cochineal beetle. If you are in the process of going vegan I have a full list further down on the ingredients you now need to avoid.
Another misconception is that vegan products are free from all synthetic chemicals and are therefore immediately better for your skin. As with all free-from products, this isn’t necessarily true. It basically means that it is free-from animal derived product not that it is automatically a healthier alternative. Although lots of vegan and cruelty-free brands do tend to put an emphasis on using gentle, plant-based formulations that are kinder to the skin, many do still include synthetic pigments, preservatives and formula “fillers” (used to create texture and consistency) while skipping the animal derivatives.
As always, it’s imperative that you learn to read labels and check the ingredients to make ensure you’re actually getting what you’re really after.
Ingredients lists are crucial here, and it’s important to know what you’re looking for. We likely don’t need to remind you of the many marketing loopholes, ploys and downright fibs that still proliferate the beauty aisles.
Brands such as , Arbonne, Axiology, Cover FX, OCC, PHB Ethical, Lime Crime and Zao Cosmetics ensure that every product they produce is 100% vegan, while natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty brands includbaing Green People, Tarte Cosmetics, Ilia Beauty, RMS, Hourglass, The Body Shop and BareMinerals all offer a selection of vegan products too.
Several mainstream brands are also dipping their toes into the vegan sector—Urban Decay, Eyeko, Too Faced, Barry M and Anastasia Beverly Hills all offer a handful of vegan products (most of these will still contain synthetic chemicals), although, understandably, some vegans still feel conflicted about buying from companies that aren’t fully committed to a total boycott of animal-derived ingredients.
For a complete list of beauty ingredients that aren’t suitable for vegans (brace yourself, it’s an eye-opener), see PETA.org, but in the meantime, we’ve rounded up some of the biggies right here.
Ingredients not suitable for vegans
Determined to switch up your kit after reading this? Look no further than our gallery of Byrdie-approved products to weave into your makeup bag, all from brands that are 100% committed to the vegan lifestyle. Get scrolling to discover your new beauty faves…
Welcome to your guide to beautiful skin. I'm a cruelty free hair and makeup artist, skin expert, nutritional therapist and advocate for gorgeous glowing skin !