The absolute best vegan makeup brands (and some to avoid)

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There’s no getting away from the fact that when you shop with ethics, sourcing everything takes longer, especially vegan makeup and beauty products.

Think about everything you use in one day, in terms of personal care, and you’ll realise that even the most understated and natural of us reach for a plethora of potentially animal-tested products. From shower gel to deodorant and dry shampoo to moisturiser, everything needs to be dermatologically proven out and makeup is frequently the worst offender in terms of cruel testing processes.

We won’t delve into the specifics of animal testing here, but we will say that it’s a disgrace, unnecessary and nothing short of torture. This is why it is vital that we all actively boycott any and all brands that still subscribe to it.

There hasn’t been a need for animal testing, really, ever, but to continue in this technology-driven modern era is nothing short of immoral, lazy and no doubt driven by greed. And who wants to support a company with that at their core?

If you need a stark reminder of why we don’t support animal testing, read about and watch Save Ralph.

If a cosmetics brand continues to test on animals, we have to vote with our feet and our money. No eyeshadow palettes in the world are so incredible that they should cost an animal its life, and given how many spectacular makeup products, brands and founding entrepreneurs are committed vegans, you have plenty of alternative options.

We will include a list of the brands that continue to test on animals, despite public furore and explicit information regarding the intolerable cruelty of the practice. But first, let’s pay tribute to some of the best and most ethical vegan makeup brands in the world.

Kat Von D Beauty


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Kat Von D has always been outspoken about her veganism and there’s a lot of love to be had for her. A proud vegan mumma bear, designer of stunning fetish-inspired vegan shoes and globally recognised tattoo artist, she also has a range of vegan makeup.

What makes Kat Von D Beauty worth the investment? The quality of each individual product, the striking packaging and the ethics of the company as a whole. It might not be a bargain brand, but everything has exceptional longevity, particularly the eyeliner, which Kat Von D herself is said to have designed to be tattoo-like in its ability to last.

Definitely a brand to treat yourself to now and then. Oh, and don’t snooze on the highlighters, which are a favourite with makeup artists around the world.

Milk Makeup


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Milk Makeup specialises in dewy, barely-there but beautiful and multifunctional cosmetics. Think cheek tints that make amazing eye and lip colours too, lash-enhancing mascara and summery colours. All of the products are vegan and cruelty-free (don’t forget that these are not one and the same) and they suit all skin tones. But actually.

In the past, many beauty brands have sought to be performative in terms of having a token spectrum of foundations, with up to 15 caucasian shades to every two BIPOC offerings. Milk Makeup has added equality and choice into the mix, alongside animal-free manufacturing and we are so here for it.

We’ll take one of everything please, starting with a Glossy lip Plumper and a KUSH mascara (which we can personally recommend).

Aether Beauty


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If stunning packaging is all part of the joy of buying makeup products for you, Aether Beauty is a brand you simply have to check out. Sleek, chic and understated eyeshadow palettes with beautiful names, cheek palettes that make us swoon and the ultimate must-have, the Desert Moon Illuminating Oil are all on our ultimate cosmetics wish list.

Confirmed as being fully vegan-friendly, Aether takes things one step further and donates a percentage of its profits to planet-focused charities, in addition to using natural and non-animal derived ingredients in its products and having created the first-ever zero-waste eyeshadow packaging. Wow.

Lime Crime


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Now then. Lime Crime hasn’t always been a favourite brand, after enduring some very unflattering press in the past. But it has gone from strength to strength in recent years and keeps adding new and exciting products that its devoted legion of unicorn-loving fans snap up in seconds.

Infamous for its range of liquid lipsticks, gorgeous eyeshadow palettes, glitter and holographic topcoats and, now, fantasy hair colours, Lime Crime is an unapologetically fun brand. If you want the natural I’m-not-wearing-any-makeup look, this is not the brand for you. If, however, you love to experiment with bold styles, want to tap into a more vibrant kind of vegan beauty, then we can’t think of a better range for you to try.

If you were considering giving Jeffree Star a go because you like a bold look, swerve to Lime Crime instead. There are no troubling behaviour or attitudes to overlook here and the whole range is vegan-friendly, not just cruelty-free, as Star’s lines are.

Of course, there are countless smaller and independent ranges to enjoy as well, but these are our top choices that cover a wide spectrum of makeup abilities and finished look styles. Natural beauty queens and full drag goddesses alike will all be able to enjoy something from the companies we have listed. And trust us, if we had the talent, we would be serving full RuPaul realness every day.

Non-vegan makeup brands to avoid

We aren’t always a name-and-shame platform but when it comes to highlighting the unethical brands that have decided to keep testing on animals, we feel absolutely no guilt about putting them on blast.

Yes, your eternal favourite lip colour might not be animal-free, but don’t worry, there are plenty of vegan lipsticks to try, love and feel good about wearing, so if you’re still supporting any of the below with your hard-earned vegan money, now is the time to stop.

non vegan makeup brands
Photo: Cruelty Kitty

The infographic has been shared from Cruelty-Free Kitty, one of our favourite resources for finding cruelty-free brands, which also clearly labels everything that is suitable for vegans, organic or considered “clean”.

It’s 2021, so the fact that there are still companies that test on animals is bordering on unbelievable, but we can force positive change. Buy from vegan makeup brands, create demand for cruelty-free products to be the norm and let’s save some animals.

Amy Buxton
Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.