The best vegan lipsticks and where to find them

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The Cosmetic Industry

The cosmetic industry uses some animal-by ingredients and most of the times is easy to find out if our favorite products are vegan and cruelty-free or not. However, sometimes it may be quite complicated to spot suspicious ingredients, since they may be listed under different and anonymous names. More specifically, lipsticks are one of the most ‘critical’ product category in terms of vegan suitability. 

There is a long list of non-vegan ingredients that may be present in many lipstick formulas. For example, the most common one is carmine, which is derived from crashed red insects (Coccus cacti), in order to obtain a specific pigment for red tones. It may be listed as carmine, but also as CI 75470, at the end of the INCI, where all the other color pigments are listed. Other animal-by raw materials can include lanoline, from wool, used a moisturising agent, like beeswax (cera alba in latin). 

On top of the ingredient list, consumers should also check whether a brand adopted a satisfactory animal testing policy, since vivisection for cosmetic purposes is not completely over and is still largely practiced in some countries. Sometimes it can be tough to find a brand that offers some quality vegan lipsticks that are also cruelty-free. 

The following companies chose to use only vegan raw materials and are certified cruelty-free by the most reliable associations. They currently offer some of the best vegan lipsticks on the international market.

Beauty Without Cruelty 

BWC is the pioneer of cruelty-free cosmetics. Founded in 1959 by Lady Dowding, this British company specialises in make-up and, in particular, lipsticks. BWC offers different ranges and format of lip products, including pencils and lipglosses, but BWC’s jewel in the crown is their Natural Infusion moisturizing lipstick. It comes in 45 different shades, including some matte ones, to be matched with the nail lacquer in the same color. 


This young Italian brand, created by the talented make-up artist Mr Daniel Make-Up, has always followed a cruelty-free policy, and all of their products are suitable for vegans. Nabla’s highly pigmented lipsticks (Diva Crime) are featured by many MUA on YouTube, and their range is often implemented with limited editions. On top of the classic lipsticks, Nabla created even a range of liquid matte lip tints (Dreamy Creamy Lipstick) and super shiny lipglosses (Shine Theory). 


This Australian brand offers every kind of lipstick formats, from the chubby stick (Crayons) to the classic one, in a very elegant golden pack. They have recently launched a zero-waste range of lipsticks, called Balmies, that come in a small carton box as if they were wax crayons. This luxury vegan brand claims to be ‘100% evil-free’, as they are certified cruelty-free by PETA. 


Zao is a French brand with a cosmopolitan soul. They offer a wide range of vegan and cruelty-free make-up that is also eco-friendly. As a matter of fact, their products are sold in refillable bamboo packaging, including their lipsticks. ZAO produces two ranges of refillable lipsticks, Classic and Cocoon, which has the same moisturizing effect of a lip-balm. Both ranges are long-lasting and nourishing, thanks to their 100% natural formula.

Valentina Nieddu
Valentina Nieddu
Valentina Nieddu is a Communication Specialist based in Italy. She graduated from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy) in Languages for Communication in International Enterprises, with a case study about sustainable business in Europe. Valentina has been vegan since 2010, when she was only 15 years old. As a professional in the communication field, she has always tried to inform people about the reasons supporting the vegan choice, using reliable sources. In particular, she aims at telling stories about people giving their positive and personal contribution to the animal cause, so that they can inspire others. That is why she joined The Vegan Review in March 2020.