Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vegan Makeup Guide!

Being a longtime vegetarian and makeup enthusiast, it can sometimes be a challenge to find great makeup with highly pigmented and bold colors that don't use animal ingredients. Now, most makeup brands have gotten the hint that consumers (regardless of diet) aren't down with animal testing. While some big brands still test, most have stopped. The main concern for us bleeding hearts are the ingredients used in production. Ingredients like Carmine (crushed insects), seem to sneak their way into a surprising amount of otherwise fabulous products.

Being able to feel truly good about where your makeup comes from is, after all,  a part of being more beautiful. But what you're after is quality and color. Those can be hard to come by if you don't look more closely. We've all seen the beauty aisle in Whole Foods or other natural food stores: boring colors, bad product performance, and ugly packaging.... sooo not what you're looking for! So what can you do when you want the best of both worlds? Research, research, research! It really isn't the most fun. I've scoured the internet for hours and done loads of testing while tracking down some of the best vegan products so you can rest your fingers and your mind. Below are some great options for quality and color as well as a full-face breakdown of my favorite products for a beauty arsenal you can feel good about.

The following are some of the best brands when it come to offering cruelty-free and vegan products:

  • Everyday Minerals is fantastic mineral makeup that is 100% vegan. They specialize in bases and concealers, but have a large range of eye, lip, and cheek colors as well. Prices are very reasonable starting at $4.50 for eyeshadow, $5 for concealer, and $12.99 for their mineral base.
  • 100% Pure is a company specializing in all-natural ingredients frequently featured on QVC and on shows like Dr. Oz. The only animal ingredient they use in some cosmetics is a cruelty free honey. All brushes are vegan. Concealer is $16, Foundation $32, eyeshadows $15. Their coffee bean eye cream is a cult favorite.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics is a fantastic brand with amazingly pigmented eyeshadows, lip tars, and airbrush foundation. Mid-range prices are worth it for the great quality of the products.
  • Juice Beauty vows to be all-vegan by mid-2012 except for their lipstick which contains sustainably sourced beeswax. Alicia Silverstone has a new collection with them, all of which is vegan.
  • Emani is a great line of 100% vegan makeup that is again, primarily mineral. They have liquid mineral foundation as well. Their eyeshadow, lip, and cheek colors are fairly natural without too many highly pigemented shades. A good option for the natural look.
  • Tarte Cosmetics is a popular company that has a special page showcasing their 13 different vegan products, including their famous lip tints.
  • Urban Decay makes it easy to spot their vegan products with their "Marley Approved" paw symbol designating vegan products. They have a total of 53 different vegan products, all available in multiple shades. Highly pigmented eyeshadows are a highlight.
  • Johnny Concert has amazing 100% vegan, organic, all natural, and eco-friendly products. They have mineral eyeshadows, eyeliner, lip and cheek tints, lipstick, gloss, and mineral blush between $16 and $24. Colors are fun and highly pigmented. 
  • Cozzette has amazing vegan brushes at reasonable prices.
  • Furless is a great Australian company that ships its vegan brushes internationally.
Perfect Vegan Face Kit: 
My picks for the best vegan items for a perfect everyday look comprised of items from popular, high-end brands.
(If shade is not listed it indicates that all shades in the line are vegan)
Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Cover-Up: MAC Select Cover-Up
Liquid Foundation: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream (has matte, longlasting, and buildable coverage and an SPF 35)
Concealer: MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer or Smashbox Camera Ready Full Coverage Concealer
Powder: Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder 
Bronzer: Urban Decay's Baked Bronzer
Blush: MAC Powder Blush in "Mocha" (a universally flattering "Soft plum pink"
Lip Liner: Smashbox "The Nude" Lip Liner
Lipstick: MAC "Kinda Sexy" lipstick
Lip Gloss:  Urban Decay's Lip Junkie in Peroxide
Brow Pencil: Tarte emphasEYES Amazonian clay waterproof brow pencil
Eyeshadow: Urban Decay: Lid: Virgin, Crease: Bust, Brow Bone: Zephyr
Eyeliner: Avon Glimmersticks Waterproof Eye Liner in Blackest Night
Mascara: Urban Decay Lush Lash Mascara 
Setting Spray: Urban Decay's All Nighter Long Lasting Setting Spray 

Last, but not least is a great site to use as a reference when considering makeup to purchase: Here is a very thorough list of vegan products by popular brands (Good news! All of MAC's classic red lipsticks (Ruby Woo, Russian Red, and my favorite, Lady Danger, are vegan!).

What are your favorite vegan products? Let me know!


  1. Anonymous5/24/2012

    Great info Joel. I'm always looking to use vegan cosmetics whenever possible but I'm not as diligent about it these days. I was wondering what you think of Aveda products. I use their daily powder/coverup. Also, a lot of people I know seem to like Bare Minerals. I haven't tried it yet as its pretty pricey. Are they any good? Vegan?

    (BTW: This is Natalie Pinter)

  2. Hey Natalie! I find Aveda to be a fairly average company with pluses and minuses. Their advertising boasts a more natural approach then they actually take. They do contain plant derived ingredients, but still contain chemical ingredients that irritate some with sensitive skin. Their tinted moisturizers and concealers tend to be good. However, I find that their blushes and most skincare products leave a little to be desired. As far as I know the only cosmetics that Aveda uses animal ingredients in are their lip products. When it comes to haircare, its a different story. Here is a link to a site that lists the only Aveda products that DO contain non-vegan ingredients. So, everything else is fair game!

    Bare Minerals (parent company is Bare Escentuals, who are local to the Bay Area) gets a lot of praise from consumers. It is made from natural ingredients and is great for sensitive skin. The coverage tends to be light. They say their products provide buildable coverage but I still find that they are best for days/times when you have a clear complexion to begin with. Traditional cream or liquid concealers do a better job of covering undesirable skin issues. Besides that, the downside with minerals are that they are messy. So it really depends on what you are looking for. If you don't need much coverage, its a great option. Besides being local, they are also a company with good ethics, being philanthropic and charitable as well as providing good products. They have a variety of vegan products listed here:

  3. None of MAc lipsticks are vegan... They contain carmine...

    1. Hi Stephanie! While MAC is not one of the most highly recommended brands for vegan use, they do offer quite a few completely vegan products, including lipsticks without carmine. To obtain a full list of the vegan safe products, including lists of products that do not contain carmine, lanolin, or beeswax, simply contact the MAC customer service department at 1-800-387-670 and choose option #7.
      Thanks for reading!

  4. Hi Stephanie! While MAC is not one of the most highly recommended brands for vegan use, they do offer quite a few completely animal-free products, including lipsticks without carmine. To obtain a full list of the vegan safe products, including lists of products that do not contain carmine, lanolin, or beeswax, simply contact MAC Customer Service at 1-800-588-0070 and choose option #3.
    Thanks for reading!

  5. Great that these products are vegan, and though I have not tried specific 'makeup' products by vegan have purchased vegan shadow appliators, foundation/brow/and smudge brushes, eyelash wand and curlers and have found that these items are by no means built to last. Flimsy, the shadow applicators fell apart within two days of use, and the bristles on the foundation brush fall off regularly. My hunch is that they are cheap because you are indeed getting what you pay for, vegan or otherwise.
    vegan makeup brands


  6. Vegan cosmetics refer to the makeups made with natural and organic ingredients. They do not contain any animal ingredients or any by products. They have never been tested on animals neither.
    vegan makeup brands

  7. It was nice article to find vegan makeup brushes products and it was natural , organic so good it was beast product for makeups

  8. Not ruby woo. MAC customer service confirmed that Ruby Woo does contain carmine.