Many make up brands aren’t open about whether or not they test on animals or contain animal products (because they don’t have to be) which is why it can be difficult to navigate the market. Cosmetics can often get away with testing on animals OR containing animal products as being vegan and being cruelty free are different beasts but can be largely understood as being the same. When it comes to vegan food, a common reason for avoiding eating animal products is that it is cruel in and of itself. With cosmetics, cruelty free implies that the product is not tested on animals, whereas vegan implies it doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals. What a mouthful.

Cosmetics companies outside the UK aren’t required to tell you that they test on animals, although companies within the UK  have been required by law to make it clear since 1998. However just because they claim to be cruelty free doesn’t mean that they don’t contain some of the creepers.

Look out for these sneaky ingredients in some of your favourites:

Cochineal Dye (also listed as carmine): Crushed cochineal beetles (found in lipstick and blush).

Guanine: Crushed fish scales (found in nail polishes, mascaras and lipsticks).

Oestrogen: obtained fly extracting urine from pregnant horses (found in creams, lotions and perfumes).

Ambergris: This is the waxy oil that lines Whales stomachs (often used to set the smell in perfumes).

The Body Shop and Lush are particularly reliable and have long since marketed themselves as cruelty free so are a great place to start, but check on all products that they have these on them if you’re looking to hit the jackpot.

Brands that are Cruelty free and vegan are:
1. Pacifica


2. Urban Decay have a delectable and far reaching selection of vegan and cruelty free make up.

3. Cover FX

4. Axiology

5.Kat Von D has done a recent upheaval of her entire brand. The process obviously takes work, so she has a section of her website that is ever growing.


7. B. Beauty, now available at Superdrug. Doesn’t contain any animal products or by products including beeswax. Also very affordable.

8. PHB ethical beauty is fab, particularly for mascara.

9. And finally for all your tools, spectrum make up brushes and eco tools are just great.

Happy face decorating!

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