Opposing animal cruelty and looking at the very height of glamour are certainly not mutually exclusive. It’s never been easier to buy animal-friendly beauty products, with some entirely vegan brands emerging alongside vegan ranges from high street shops, and certifications which help you spot products that haven’t been tested on animals. But that’s not to say it is easy. Sometimes these vegan beauty terms get jumbled up in a pic’n’mix of buzzwords and hashtags, so it might be worth defining them first, right here, right now:

Vegan: These are beauty products which do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products, such as honey and beeswax. Some brands are certified by PETA, but if they’re not certified they may still be using 100% vegan ingredients. Best to ping over an email to a company’s customer service if you have any doubts.

Cruelty-free: This should mean that neither the beauty products nor the ingredients were tested on animals. It’s worth noting that some brands claim to be cruelty-free, when actually their raw ingredients have been tested on animals by other suppliers. Best way to make doubly sure is to look for the Leaping Bunny certification, or to search the brand’s FAQs on animal testing. Also worth double underlining and highlighting: cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is vegan, so do watch out.

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Thankfully, the EU put in place a ban on the sale of all animal-tested cosmetics back in March 2013. This was a fantastic achievement after years of campaigning, and it started to look like animal testing would soon become a thing of the past. However, on an international scale, companies can still test make-up on animals and sell it to markets outside of Europe, and so doing that extra bit of research on a company before you pay up will really pay off. Luckily, PETA have looked into it already and has a sturdy list of all the companies that don’t test on animals, and some of these are also entirely vegan brands.

Make-up brushes usually are made from animal hair (normally squirrel, raccoon or badger) as well, which in turn supports the fur trade. Synthetic brushes have many advantages, such as being easier to clean, repelling bacteria better than animal hair, and of course not involving any animal cruelty. In this blog, we’ll pick out our top 4 vegan & cruelty-free make-up brands, and let you know where to get vegan make-up brushes as well. Without further ado, let us begin…


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[Images: www.inika.co.uk]

INIKA has a full set of medals for its animal niceness. It is certified by Australia’s Choose Cruelty Free Organisation, and by the Vegan Society in the UK, so all its products are 100% free of animal derivatives. You can click away on this website adding items to your basket without having to scour the small print. INIKA also have a range of products, from warm and sumptuous lipsticks to loose blush powders to the brushes themselves. You can also pick up your eyeshadow, kohl eyeliner and mascara here, and all at a price not too far off of mainstream high street brands, especially considering INIKA are using certified organic ingredients. Another plus of using natural make-up is that it’s friendlier to sensitive skin and eyes, so if you count yourself in that camp, then this is the brand for you, doll.

Barry M

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[Images: www.barrym.com]

Hands up, Barry M isn’t an entirely vegan company, but they are absolutely committed to being cruelty-free, and they do have a great range of vegan products. What’s good about Barry M is that their products are available in Boots and Superdrugs up and down the land, so if you chip your nail varnish and are in need of emergency cosmetics and pronto, you can rely on ol’ BM. They have a helpful Vegan label on their ingredients, so you don’t have to squint reading them too much. Aside from their credentials as a high street cruelty-free brand, they are perhaps better known for their bold, bright and beautiful colours. Barry M have foundation, eyeshadow, lipsticks and of course nail varnishes.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

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[Image courtesy of David Phelps]

This brand is housed over the pond, and is famous for the opaque matte finish of its Lip Tar, available in a handful of vibrant hues. It’s made using organic hemp oil, , soy-derived Vitamin E and peppermint oil, so it’s both practical and pout-worthy. Word on the street is, their NSFW red is the most balanced red out there. They’re entirely vegan and cruelty-free, and you can buy them in the UK from Beauty Bay.


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[Images: www.aromibeauty.com]

Another US company is AROMI, and are made in small batches by hand. The people at AROMI are big animal-lovers, and neither their products nor ingredients are tested on animals or derived from animals, so they’re cruelty-free and vegan, through and through. AROMI have eyeshadow, lip gloss, lipstick, and a matte liquid lipstick. These liquid lipsticks are applied like gloss but dry after one minute, leaving a matte finish. Sounds high tech, doesn’t it? Not only to they have cosmetics, but they also have a range of solid perfume and Eau de Parfum products, so you can look and smell gorgeous.

Directories of Cruelty-Free Brands

I should point out that there are a lovely bunch of vegan beauty bloggers out there, making it easier for us all to find the best brands, so if you want to look further in to vegan beauty, search for the #cfbeauty, #crueltyfree or #veganbeauty hashtag on Twitter, or alternatively, launch a good old fashioned Google search. Here are three super useful websites that’ll help you on where to find cruelty-free cosmetics brands like these, so you can continue your research at your leisure:

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