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Ultimate Guide to Vegan and Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

Updated: Mar 21

In the world of beauty and cosmetics, choosing products that align with your values and beliefs has become increasingly important. The rise of cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands has provided consumers with options that not only enhance their beauty but also contribute to a more ethical and sustainable industry.

This ultimate guide aims to delve into the realm of vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands, exploring the definitions, benefits, and impact of these products on both animals and the environment.

Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

Cruelty-free makeup brands are companies that do not test their products on animals at any stage of production. This commitment to animal welfare is reflected in their practices and policies, ensuring that no harm comes to any animals in the creation of their cosmetics.

Popular cruelty-free makeup brands have gained recognition for their ethical stance and high-quality products, making them a favourite among consumers who prioritize animal-friendly options.

Definition & certification

The term "cruelty-free" is not regulated by law, which can lead to confusion among consumers. However, various organizations such as PETA and Leaping Bunny offer certifications to brands that adhere to strict cruelty-free standards. These certifications serve as a reliable indication that the products are developed without any animal testing involved.

Popular cruelty-free makeup brands

In the beauty world, cruelty-free brands like Doll Smash, known for their bold and innovative makeup products, have set the standard for cruelty-free beauty. Their extensive range of products, from foundations to eyeshadows, caters to a wide audience looking for ethical alternatives without compromising on quality or style.

  1. Fenty Beauty

  2. Urban Decay

  3. Abba

  4. Henry Rose

  5. Beauty Bay

Benefits of cruelty-free makeup

Choosing cruelty-free makeup brands not only supports the well-being of animals but also promotes a cleaner beauty world. By opting for completely cruelty-free products, you're contributing to the movement towards a more ethical and compassionate beauty industry, where animals are not subjected to unnecessary tests for the sake of cosmetics.

Vegan Makeup Products vs Cruelty-Free Products

While cruelty-free makeup brands focus on eliminating animal testing, vegan makeup products take it a step further by excluding all animal-derived ingredients from their formulations. This distinction ensures that no animal by-products are used in the creation of vegan makeup, making them suitable for individuals following a plant-based lifestyle.

Top vegan makeup brands

The beauty market offers a variety of top vegan makeup brands that cater to different preferences and skin types. From mineral-based foundations to matte lipsticks, vegan brands like Kat Von D Beauty and Cover FX provide a range of vegan-friendly options that deliver on both quality and performance.

  1. Milk

  2. Hourglass

  3. KVD Beauty

  4. Lime Crime

  5. Bybi

Impact of vegan makeup on the environment

Vegan makeup's impact on the environment goes beyond animal welfare. By sourcing plant-based ingredients and avoiding animal testing, vegan makeup brands contribute to a more sustainable beauty industry. Choosing vegan makeup not only benefits the animals but also minimizes the environmental impact of cosmetic production.

Benefits of vegan makeup products

  • Healthier for your skin: These products are free from harsh chemicals, synthetic dyes, and artificial fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions.

  • Non-toxic: Typically free from harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and sulfates, making them safer for your skin and overall health.

  • High-quality ingredients: Made with high-quality, plant-based ingredients that provide nourishment and hydration to the skin, resulting in a more radiant and healthy complexion.

  • Wide range of options: Vegan makeup products are becoming more popular, leading to an increase in the availability of a wide variety of products, shades, and finishes to suit all skin types and preferences.

Identify Ethical Cosmetic Brands

Identifying ethical cosmetic brands involves understanding labels, certifications, and ingredients. By paying attention to certifications like PETA and Leaping Bunny, consumers can ensure that they are purchasing products that are cruelty-free and free of animal testing.

Labels & ingredients

Reading labels and understanding ingredients is crucial when looking for cruelty-free and vegan products. By familiarizing yourself with common animal-derived ingredients and choosing products without them, you can ensure that your beauty routine aligns with your ethical values.


Look for certifications from organizations like PETA and Leaping Bunny, which indicate that a brand is cruelty-free and does not test on animals. These certifications provide assurance that the products you are purchasing are ethical and humane.

Transparency and accountability

Choose brands that are transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing processes. Look for companies that have clear policies on animal testing, ingredient sourcing, and sustainability. Brands that are open about their practices are more likely to be ethical and environmentally conscious.

Social responsibility

Support brands that prioritize social responsibility and ethical business practices. Look for companies that support fair trade, and ethical sourcing, and give back to the community. By choosing brands that are committed to making a positive impact, you can feel good about the products you are purchasing.

Animal-derived components

Animal-derived ingredients like carmine, collagen, or lanolin are commonly found in cosmetics and beauty products. By avoiding these ingredients and choosing brands that use plant-based alternatives, you can contribute to the demand for cruelty-free and vegan options in the beauty industry.

Ingredients To Avoid

  1. Carmine: A red pigment derived from crushed insects, often used in lipsticks, blushes, and eyeshadows.

  2. Lanolin: A fatty substance derived from sheep's wool, commonly found in lip balms and moisturizers.

  3. Beeswax: A natural wax produced by bees, commonly used in lip balms and mascaras.

  4. Collagen: A protein derived from animal connective tissues, often used in skincare products.

  5. Keratin: A protein derived from animal hooves, fur, and feathers, commonly found in haircare products.

  6. Squalene: A compound sourced from shark liver oil, commonly used in skincare products.

  7. Guanine: A crystalline material derived from fish scales, commonly used in shimmery eyeshadows and nail polishes.

  8. Silk: A protein fiber produced by silkworms, commonly used in skincare and haircare products.

  9. Tallow: A fat derived from animal tissues, commonly found in lipsticks and skincare products.

  10. Stearic acid: A fatty acid derived from animal fats, often used as an emollient in cosmetics.

Switch to Vegan and Cruelty-Free Makeup

Educate yourself

Learn about the benefits of using vegan and cruelty-free makeup and understand the negative effects of using products that contain animal-derived ingredients or are tested on animals.

Research brands

There are many vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands available now, so take some time to research and find brands that align with your values.

Check labels

When shopping for makeup products like eyeshadow, always check the labels to ensure they are vegan and cruelty-free. Look for certifications such as the Leaping Bunny or PETA logo on the packaging.

Replace your current products

Start replacing your current makeup products with vegan and cruelty-free alternatives. You don't have to do this all at once, but gradually replacing your products as they run out is a good way to make the transition.

Experiment with new products

Trying out new vegan and cruelty-free makeup products can be fun and exciting. Don't be afraid to experiment with different brands and products to find what works best for you.

Share your journey

Share your switch to vegan and cruelty-free makeup with others to help spread awareness and encourage more people to make the switch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the trends in the vegan and cruelty-free makeup industry?

Some of the trends include an increased demand for natural and organic ingredients, sustainable packaging, and a focus on inclusivity and diversity in product offerings. Brands are also becoming more transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing processes, as consumers are increasingly concerned about the ethics and environmental impact of their beauty products. 

Is Maybelline cruelty-free PETA?

No, Maybelline is not cruelty-free and is not certified by PETA. Maybelline also sells products in China, where animal testing is required by law for imported cosmetics. 

How do cruelty-free makeup companies test their products?

Cruelty-free makeup companies do not test their products on animals. Instead, they utilize alternative testing methods such as in vitro testing, computer modeling, and human volunteers to ensure the safety and efficacy of their products.

Are vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands the same thing?

Not necessarily. Vegan makeup brands do not use any animal-derived ingredients in their products, while cruelty-free makeup brands do not test their products on animals. Some brands may be both vegan and cruelty-free, while others may only adhere to one of these principles.

Where can I find vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands?

There are many online retailers and specialty stores that carry vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands. Some popular options include Sephora, Ulta, and specialty beauty stores like Credo Beauty. Additionally, many vegan and cruelty-free brands have their own websites where you can purchase directly from them.


When looking for cruelty-free makeup brands, whether you're avoiding brands that test their ingredients on animals or you're simply a vegan, the options are widely available worldwide. From intensely pigmented eyeshadows to high-performance vegan eyeliner, there are so many must-have products to choose from that are completely vegan and eco-friendly.

The best cruelty-free makeup brands are certified by Leaping Bunny, ensuring that they don't test on animals at any stage of production. If you're in the UK, you may want to consider supporting clean beauty brands that are accredited by this organization. Many of these brands also donate a percentage of their profits to animal welfare organizations to help end animal testing altogether.

For those on a budget, there are plenty of affordable vegan and cruelty-free makeup options available that don't compromise on quality. These brands offer a wide range of products, from mineral powder foundations to primer formulas that are exclusively vegan and cruelty-free. Some brands even go beyond the ban on animal testing and ensure that every part of their supply chain, from the ingredients to the suppliers, adhere to strict cruelty-free standards.

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1 Comment

Fenty is no longer cruelty free as they’re selling in China.


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