Choosing 100% cruelty free make up doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself when it comes to creating the perfect look. For every brand that puts ground up bug parts in their eyeshadows or tests their lipstick in the eyes of rabbits, there’s another that refuses to take part in these unnecessary practices. The best thing? These brands have products that are just as great, if not better, than mainstream brands.
First, a short lesson.
Generally the term “cruelty free” in the make up world, means not tested on animals. “Vegan”, when applied to cosmetics, means it doesn’t contain any animal products, such as: crushed up insects, honey, fur, etc. However this guide can be helpful even to people who do not follow a vegan lifestyle, since I’m sure there are omnivores out there who maybe just don’t want to slather dead bugs on their face. You don’t have to be a vegan to lust after beautiful vegan cosmetics!
Without further ado, I put together this quick little guide to help make it easier to find the best cruelty free make up.
I don’t frak around, and neither should you
Shopping for make up should be fun and easy. You shouldn’t have to do research to find out if a company’s products are tested on animals or strain your eyes reading ingredients lists. Why not instead choose companies that are upfront about their animal testing policy? Why not choose from one of the many fabulous companies that actually bother to label their vegan products “VEGAN”? My attitude is, if a company can’t be bothered to do this for me, they obviously don’t care that much about getting my money. And as for reading ingredients? Aw hell naw. I waste enough time reading ingredients on food, I’m not doing it when I go to shop for make up. Our time is too precious for that bullshit, and you know it.
This is not a dream.
There are companies who care. And they’re awesome. And below are my top three picks for cruelty free and/or vegan make up. These brands are way better than MAC, Anna Sui, or any other companies that are less honest about their practices.
Sugarpill is my favourite make up company. For years I was dying for some brightly coloured eyeshadows that were vegan and NOT just repackaged mica. Sugarpill finally answered my prayers, and then some. Run by the immensely talented Amy, a.k.a Shrinkle, Sugarpill features packaging that is as beautiful and inspiring as the products themselves, and offers some of the boldest and brightest eyeshadow colours on the market. Their prices seem high at first glance, but they so aren’t, considering the amount and quality of product you get. No matter how many times I order from them, I’m always amazed. The sparkle! The creaminess! How brightly they show up on my olive skin! Their shadows are a dream come true. The Sugarpill website is beautifully designed, easy to order from, and the vegan products are clearly labeled. I wish more brands were this considerate. All of their loose shadows are vegan and about half of their pressed ones are. That’s fine with me because I actually prefer loose shadows, but in case you were wondering, the vegan pressed shadows are Buttercupcake (yellow), Poison Plum (purple), Midori (green), and Afterparty (blue). [Edited to add: The Sugarpill pressed black and white eyeshadows (Taro and Bulletproof) are now vegan too!] My only beef with Sugarpill is that none of the 4 colour pallettes are 100% vegan – they all contain at least one non-vegan shade. Boo.
Fyrinnae’s website didn’t have any photos that I could steal so thank you to Ana from Lipsticks & Lightsabers for letting me using the above photo of this stunning a look she created with Fyrinnae products!
As far as I’m concerned, Fyrinnae raises the standard as far as what can be accomplished in the make up world, and everything they sell is vegan. If you can be bothered to look at only one brand on this list, choose Fyrinnae, because they are guaranteed to have something you want (or need!). Before I added their products to my collection, I had no idea how complex and layered eyeshadow colours could be. They even have ones that change colour depending on how close you are to a light source. The sheer variety of colours they have is amazing, and their prices just can not be beaten when you consider the quality of their cosmetics. In addition to eyeshadows, they also carry primers, blush, lip products, and bronzer. Perhaps most famously, though, they make an eyeshadow “glue” called Pixie Epoxy that is a must have for anyone who wears sparkly shadows. Applying just a tiny amount Pixie Epoxy over a primer will make your eyeshadow look foiled and fierce, not to mention it’ll keep your shadows looking great all day. I am so grateful for Fyrinnae and their commitment to bringing beautiful cruelty free make up into the world.
3. Urban Decay
Generally I’m not that into upscale make up companies, but I have to give mad props to Urban Decay for being one of the leading brands in making vegan and cruelty free cosmetics widely available. They make it ridiculously easy to buy from them by having a convenient list of all their vegan products (their vegan products are also marked with a paw print on the website). The Urban Decay website boasts a massive variety of products, ranging from lipsticks, to glosses, eyeliners, nail polishes, brushes… you name it. Furthermore, if you don’t like loose shadows, UD has a good selection of vegan pressed eyeshadows, both matte and shimmers. Their make up can be found practically anywhere, from Sephora, to Macy’s, etc. So if you’re the kind of person that prefers to browse make up in person before buying it, or you have a phobia about shopping online, Urban Decay is your best bet. But be warned: their Eyeshadow Primer Potion is not vegan anymore (see below for an amazing alternative!).
But wait! There’s MORE!
These are brands that I’ve sampled and loved too. I’ve only tried a few of their products, but they’re worth checking out!
Eco Tools Brushes – I have the eye brushes, and I love them. I’ve heard mixed reviews for their face brushes though.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics: Everything OCC sells is vegan and cruelty free. I’ve tried their Lip Tars and they are 100% amazing. I can’t wait to own some myself.
Silk Naturals – They sell a vegan clone of the extremely popular NARS Orgasm blush that is a must have if you wear blush. It is really just like Orgasm, except better because it’s vegan. It goes with any skin tone, even if you have tan skin like mine. Check out the rest of their vegan section.
SoBe Botanicals – Mostly, but not completely, vegan. Their eyeshadow primer is better than Urban Decay’s, but way cheaper and in more sensible packaging. It’s what I use and is a must have, especially if you wear loose shadows. Check out the guest post I wrote for VeganBeautyReview on their primer.
The following brands I haven’t personally tried, but I’ve heard lots of great things about! Also I’ve been known to drool over their product photos on a regular basis:
Beauty Without Cruelty – Everything they sell is vegan.
Cozette – Professional Quality make up brushes
Morgana Cryptoria – Not all their cosmetics are vegan, but those that are are clearly labeled. And they have a ton of vegan lipsticks in every shade imaginable!
Shiro Cosmetics 100% Cruelty Free and Vegan. I’m dying to try their pastel eyeshadows! edited to add: I have bought from them now, and I loved them!
As you can see, it’s easier than ever to beautify yourself without harming animals – no matter how rich or poor you are, and no matter what you look like. If you are really concerned with buying cruelty free make up and brushes – stick with companies that care enough to let you know that they are cruelty free. You deserve that much!
Until next time –