Vegan Makeup: Make the Switch to a Cruelty-Free Alternative.
Makeup trends come and go, but there is one movement we hope sticks around for a long time. Very recently, vegan, natural, and cruelty-free makeup started making huge waves in the beauty industry. Millennials are famously more health-conscious and environmentally conscious than previous generations, so it makes sense that brands would go the extra mile to cater to this new market.
With all of the vegan options available, you thankfully don’t have to sacrifice makeup altogether just to maintain a cruelty-free lifestyle (we know we couldn’t!). You can still look fabulous and flawless while doing your part to make this world a much better place.
Switching to vegan makeup and skincare is scary, especially because you have to give up your usual brands and holy grail products. We put this guide together to help you out in your journey towards a more health-conscious, eco-friendly beauty routine – and better, more radiant skin.
What Is Vegan Makeup?
A lot of products proudly claim the vegan label, but what does it really mean? Vegan makeup is basically any makeup product (like eyeshadow, foundation, etc.) that follows the standards set by the vegan lifestyle. This means that none of the ingredients are made or sourced from animals or animal byproducts, including milk, honey, and beeswax.
Two other common labels you’ll see are “cruelty-free” and “natural.” While these are in the same family as “vegan,” it’s important to know that these are all different and not interchangeable.
Makeup products that claim to be cruelty-free have not been tested on animals at any point in the manufacturing process, whether it’s the raw ingredients or the final product. Natural cosmetics, on the other hand, are products that are made of ingredients that can be found in plants, the earth, and nature. So no toxic, synthetic, artificial, lab-created chemicals like parabens and sulfates.
Most of the time, you can find all three of these labels on a single product. Vegan makeup can also be cruelty-free and natural, but this isn’t always the case. There are cruelty-free products that aren’t vegan and vice versa.
Popular Vegan Makeup Brands
- E.l.f. Cosmetics
- Everyday Minerals
- Anastasia Beverly Hills*
- Kat Von D Beauty
- Makeup Revolution*
- Urban Decay**
- Too Faced*
- Milk Makeup
- Lime Crime
- Jeffree Star Cosmetics
- BH Cosmetics
- Cover FX
*not all the products are 100% vegan, but these brands do have vegan product lines
**Urban Decay products are vegan and cruelty-free, but their parent company’s products (L’Oreal) aren’t
Why Vegan Makeup Is Becoming More And More Popular
Thanks to the internet and social media, we have constant access to all sorts of information right at our fingertips. Because of this, more and more people are becoming aware of the things we put in and on our bodies. This helps us make smarter and more ethical choices, especially with the products we buy.
It’s also much easier now to find products that fit our vegan lifestyle. Hundreds of bloggers and online personalities share the vegan makeup that they love, which brands are cruelty-free, and so much more on a daily basis. Plus, companies can see that there’s a huge demand for this online and will be encouraged to create more vegan-friendly products.
Since everything on the internet has the potential to reach a global audience, rallying for or against companies online can be incredibly influential. Through our collective online voice, we can reach companies directly and influence their markets, so they’re more likely to listen to us now more than ever.
We’ve seen it happen time and time again: the news comes out that Company X has shady manufacturing practices or uses harmful ingredients. There’s an uproar on social media, and online protests and petitions start making rounds. Because of the super public nature of all of this, brands are more persuaded to make that shift towards vegan and cruelty-free makeup.
After growing up in the era of fast food, younger generations are much more health-conscious than their older counterparts. Gone are the days of “convenient” and “cost-effective” synthetic chemicals; fresh, organic, all-natural goodness is where it’s at now.
Due to advances in technology, we’ve made huge strides in extracting the amazing benefits of healthy ingredients. There’s no longer a need to resort to unethical manufacturing processes or animal cruelty just to make great-looking (and long-lasting) makeup.
Reasons You Should Choose Vegan Makeup
Our well-being is so important to us as a society that even non-vegans are making the conscious choice to shift towards clean, healthy living. Brands that used to pack their products with hard-to-pronounce chemicals and synthetics are rediscovering how powerful natural, plant-based ingredients really are. With real ingredients, you get only real benefits.
You don’t have to be vegan to want clearer, more radiant skin. It’s so common, it’s almost become a joke that your skin will drastically improve once you start making healthier choices and shift over to a vegan diet and lifestyle.
Animal products are harsh on your skin and can clog up your pores. Often, these makeup brands contain toxic chemicals and pesticides that your skin can absorb, causing irritation and inflammation, especially on sensitive skin.
On the other hand, using plant-based derivatives and other natural ingredients have a huge positive impact on your skin. Gently cleansing and detoxing your skin, vegan makeup can help provide hydrating vitamins and minerals, reduce your pores, prevent acne, and give you glowing skin every day.
Every year, over 115 million animals are used for animal testing worldwide. Fortunately, this number is most likely going to go down in the next few years due to the huge backlash over animal cruelty in the beauty industry. Many countries have already banned animal testing, like in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, and South Korea.
While not all vegan products are cruelty-free, many of them are. Plus, any makeup product that contains animals or animal by-products is directly contributing to the unnecessary suffering of animals. Now that we know that there are literally hundreds of vegan alternatives, there’s no need to use makeup that hurts our planet in the long run.
Challenges To Making The Switch To Vegan Makeup
Even though there are already dozens of brands that manufacture vegan makeup items (and that number is increasing every year), we have to admit that there are still fewer choices than if you also bought non-vegan cosmetics. Some products might not even have a direct replacement… yet.
The biggest obstacle to most people going vegan-friendly with their makeup is the cost. First, vegan products tend to be more expensive because they don’t cut corners; they only use high-quality, healthy ingredients. Also, they have to meet very high moral and ethical standards in the manufacturing process, which also raises the price.
Second, throwing out all of your old non-vegan makeup to replace them with new vegan ones can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re a fellow makeup fiend!
Remember how long it took you to find your favorite brands and products for your current beauty routine? Sorry to say that you’ll have to do that all over again. Finding new vegan makeup to use can take a lot of time, but we can promise you that it’s well worth the effort, even for the skin benefits alone.
Vegan Makeup: What You Should Look Out For
The best way to find out which makeup items are truly vegan is to look through the product’s ingredient list. Remember: you can’t have an excellent, high-quality product without excellent, high-quality ingredients. Reading this list before you make your purchase will help guarantee that you really are getting vegan, cruelty-free, and natural makeup.
Learn how to spot harmful, non-vegan ingredients and you will start making smarter, more ethical choices. Even if you can’t get your hands on a sample, you can contact the company or manufacturer with questions about what ingredients they use, how they source it, and what their manufacturing process is like.
We’ll go into a list of common non-vegan ingredients in just a little bit, but here’s a quick little note first: some non-vegan ingredients have plant-based substitutes, like squalene. Don’t panic right away if you see these on your makeup! If it’s derived from plants or vegan, they will usually note it in parenthesis after the ingredient name, as in “squalene (vegan/vegetable-derived/made from vegetables).”
Non-vegan ingredients include:
Gelatin (a.k.a. gel, hide glue, resin glass)
Bee by-products (beeswax, honey, propolis, royal jelly)
Carmine (a.k.a. Cochineal dye, Natural Red 4)
Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t have strict regulation on vegan, cruelty-free, or natural products, so technically anyone can claim that their products fall under these categories. To address this, many third-party organizations have stepped in to provide credible certifications that ensure these products are completely vegan and cruelty-free.
Look out for the Certified Vegan Logo (from Vegan Action) or the Vegan Society Logo (by The Vegan Society); you can trust that products with these logos do not contain animal ingredients or their by-products. Plus, they are certified cruelty-free as well. While there’s no auditing for either organization, companies have to submit documents before they can use the logo.
The Leaping Bunny Logo (cruelty-free)
Beauty Without Bunnies Logo by PETA (vegan, cruelty-free)
No logo or label doesn’t always mean that the product isn’t vegan, however. You just gotta dig in a little deeper and do more research yourself, just to be sure.
How to switch over to vegan cruelty-free makeup
Make sure you can commit to it
We’re not going to lie, replacing all of your old makeup faves with vegan alternatives isn’t easy. It’s definitely way less convenient than not thinking about your purchases at all.
However, the more you know about the ethical vegan lifestyle, the more you understand why it’s important to do so even if it’s hard. Read up on the effects of non-vegan makeup on your skin and arm yourself with knowledge and passion to get you through the process.
Do your research
Everyone does their due diligence before buying makeup to make sure they’re not wasting money, but you’ll need to take it to the next level if you’re buying vegan cosmetics. Research which brands have vegan products (and which ones to avoid), contact the manufacturers and check product labels to make sure everything is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Never underestimate the power of the vegan beauty community! Read reviews, get recommendations from your favorite bloggers and influencers, and comb through the websites and apps that were created just for this purpose.
Reduce your stash
Makeup is just one of those things in life where no matter how much of it you have, you always want more. Don’t be ashamed, we’re all unapologetic makeup hoarders. But buying vegan makeup can be pricey, so it’s best to stick to your absolute beauty essentials.
Find out what you actually use on a regular basis, like foundation, eyeliner, or whatever else it is. Don’t buy the things you don’t need, and you’ll save money and reduce your waste too. It’s easier to make the transition for all the other products once you have your favorites down. Plus, replace your most-used items first will significantly impact your skin without breaking the bank.
You might be tempted to chuck your old makeup stash into the garbage, but you definitely don’t have to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Every step you take towards a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.
It’s impractical to completely replace your entire makeup and skincare routine in one go. Replace it slowly over time so that you don’t go broke. Some people like to finish the makeup they currently have before buying a vegan alternative, while others donate their old makeup products to family and friends.
Making the switch to vegan makeup doesn’t have to be impossible. Just follow this guide and you’ll be one step closer to a more ethical and guilt-free vegan beauty routine.