It’s been a little while since I wrote a beauty post and I’d forgotten how much of a minefield shopping for genuinely cruelty free & vegan cosmetics can be. Whenever I have a choice, I always choose cruelty free with make-up and almost always choose vegan, I’m not perfect after all and it does become tiresome checking every loophole and label. To cut to the point, I’ve pulled together five (almost entirely) vegan and 100% cruelty free brands that you should check out. I’ve not included the boring ones though, I’ve picked ones that are creative and colourful too. There’s a few obvious ones that are missing, I know and I’ve chosen not to include some of them for reasons you can easily find if you Google the brand name + drama. I’ve also chosen to focus in on brands that are free of parent companies, which can often throw a massive spanner in the works if you’re trying to be as ethical as possible. I’ll explain more on this later.
If you want to get a little more insight into cruelty free and vegan beauty loopholes, I wrote an article for Illamasqua’s magazine back in 2013 which explains a little more. If you want the latest information, I’d recommend checking out Fashion Fix Daily’s edit of some cruelty free beauty bloggers to follow for some more cruelty free inspiration. Basically, you need to make yourself aware of who owns the beauty brand and whether or not they sell in China, as these are two things that have an impact. Since the EU policy change and the rising popularity of ethical shopping, there are loads of cruelty free brands and many that cater to vegans too, but to find one that is 100% cruelty free, vegan and ethical is tough. If you can give me any stellar examples, I’d love to discover some new beauty brands!
The main ingredients to look out for it you’re shopping vegan beauty are beeswax, carmine and lanolin which are most commonly used in lip products, skin products and red toned coloured items. If in doubt, always read the ingredients and ask the brand. If they don’t give you a super clear and confident answer somewhere, I’d be suspicious. Naturally, with all of these ethical shopping topics, it’s up to you how far you want to/can go with your cruelty free and vegan beauty finding, but I hope this article will help guide you.
So here’s my latest edit, I’ve given you all the information I think is relevant to help you find your new favourite vegan and cruelty free make up brand!
This is a classic. If you have ever lived in the UK you will 100% have owned at least three Dazzle Dusts in your time. The best bit about good ol’ Barry M is that it’s super affordable and easy to find in Boots and Superdrug stores all over the place. The brand is 100% cruelty free, but does occasionally use animal bi-products such as beeswax, however, they’ve implemented a super clear vegan symbol to highlight their vegan friendly products. So although you can’t have full reign of the range, it makes it a hell of a lot easier. Ethical Elephant has published a list of their vegan friendly products if you want a quick reference guide. Not all of their products are amazing, which is fair enough considering the low price point, but I’ve personally always gone back to them for blushers, liquid liners and nail polishes in particular. I’ve always found Barry M a particularly great choice if you want to experiment with a look before committing to buying a better quality, more expensive version.
This brand is super cute and only a recent addition to the European beauty market. Created by Cashmere Nicole, the brand aims to be a sweet and friendly addition to a beauty market that is flooded with bad girl stereotypes. This comes through in a timeless and pretty collection of wearable, adorable collection inspired by candy, cakes and ice cream. Their campaign imagery is consistently diverse and is a much needed dose of pretty originality in a sea of pastel pinks and bleach blonde hair. I love their branding and packaging design ALOT! Although not 100% vegan technically, they class themselves as vegan friendly as the only animal by-product they use is carmine in a few items with red pigments, this is derived from beetles, so I guess it depends how you feel about beetles.
One of my all time favourites is American brand, Sugarpill created by Amy Doan (aka Shrinkle) and independently owned, this brand has its roots firmly in alternative subcultures, popular with drag queens, punk rockers and kawaii style seekers a like. The brand is 100% cruelty free and always has been and the vast majority of their products are vegan too. Their eyeshadows and pigments are stunning and available in a wondeful range of shades with quality to rival even the most expensive professional make up brands. In recent years the brand has added lipsticks and liquid lipsticks to their line-up too. The prices start from a tenner, it’s fairly priced so good for treat. In the UK and Europe you can shop the range from CutECOsmetics.
If you’re looking for a brand with a little bit of a gothic edge, you’ll dig one of my last two picks the most. Lunatick Labs is another American independent brand with everything 100% vegan and cruelty free! Huzzah! A straight forward brand that ticks all the boxes. Their entire brand is inspired by old school horror movies, so you’ll find coffin shaped palettes, lipsticks in bullet casings and ouija board inspired packaging. They push the boundaries with the colour ranges too offering everything from neutral to bizarre blues and greens. You’ll find a slightly higher price range here, but the design and quality make it justifiable. One to put on the wishlist, you can shop the range in the UK & Europe from CutECOsmetics.
The first thing you might want to know about this brand is that it’s owned by the same parent company that makes Fenty by Rhianna, Marc Jacobs Fragrances and Beauty, BITE Beauty and a few more, Kendo Brands. The majority of their business seems cruelty free, with vegan friendly options, however as they sell Marc Jacobs fragrances in China (where it is law to test cosmetics on animals currently) there’s a tiny loophole here. However, Kat Von D has been consistently one of my favourite brands since I first discovered it in Sephora in New York, many moons ago. They offer an incredible range of colours, textures and product types to suit all skin tones and personalities whilst also delivering professional quality and stunning branding & packaging. Naturally, the punk rock goth aesthetic that Kat Von D brings to the table is very much my style, so it’s my favourite on this list. In Europe you can find Kat Von D in Sephora and in the UK the range recently launched into Debenhams. The highest price point on this list, but if you really want to invest in your products, this is one of the brands I’d always go back to. They also have a brilliant Instagram account and recently launched collaborations with drag superstar Divine and Billie Joe Armstrong of Greenday, yes really!
I love discovering new beauty brands, especially if they’ve got a good story and great morals behind them too. If you spot anything that you think I’d dig, get in touch via the contact menu or find me on Twitter or Instagram @JayneKitsch.
@wearefoodscouts & @KitschInc. Digital Marketing & Creative Direction. Illustration, writing, creativity & style. Fan of films, TV, cartoons, colourful hair & clean beauty. Blogger since 2009.