Bold red lipstick has been a makeup bag staple for decades, but if you've chosen to live a vegan lifestyle, finding one can quickly become frustrating.
The majority of lipsticks, particularly those with ruby hues, are made from a red dye called carmine. For those who aren’t aware, some 70,000 cochineal insects are crushed and boiled to make just one pound of the stuff and, to make matters worse, it’s only the females that are killed. Sexism is rife everywhere, folks.
It’s not just carmine that vegans have to look out for, either. The cosmetics industry’s trusty pal beeswax is the base of most lipsticks, so make sure yours uses an alternative (plant-based candelilla and sunflower seed waxes are popular).
It can be tricky to find a lipstick that is totally free of these animal by-products, especially when some shades in a particular range are and others aren’t. If in doubt, stick to brands that have declared their full lip range vegan – as we have done here – so you can focus on choosing the right color instead of fretting over the ingredients list.
Vegan doesn't have to mean boring, and Milani’s dazzling range of creamy, full-coverage metallic lipsticks proves that. There’s a variety of shades, from shimmery rose gold to beautiful burgundy.
Milani Amore Mattallic Lip Cream, $9, available at Milani. More
Vegan lipsticks are the name of the game for brand Axiology; better still, they’re natural and organic. Choose from the rich mulberry of Infinite, the electric purple of Reflection, or the gothic black of Existential.
And there's even more reasons to love this brand: Axiology is firmly against animal testing at any phase of production, helps protect the rainforests by shunning palm oil, donates a percentage of its profits to wildlife charities, and has its packaging made by female artisans in Bali from recycled island waste. How could you
not want one? Axiology Natural Organic Lipstick, $28, available at Axiology. More
Many liquid lipsticks claim to have the soothing feel of a gloss with the mattifying effect of a lipstick, yet often end up drying out our mouths. Fortunately, Nars stays true to its promise, delivering intense color without leaving us craving our lip balm. The special, oil-infused formula gets full marks for its long-lasting power and stylish, semi-matte finish. The 13 shades range from subtle nudes to punchy pinks and berries.
The names are cool, too – all inspired by the iconic venues and counterculture of the sexually liberating 1970s. Francois Nars is vegan himself, so every single Nars product is ripe for the picking.
Nars Velvet Lip Glide, $26, available at Nars More
Kat Von D
If you’re after something punkier, Kat Von D is your woman. She’s in the process of reformulating her entire collection to be vegan friendly and has already worked her magic on the Studded Kiss lipstick range. There are a whopping 39 shades to swoon over, from gothic blacks and purples to rebellious reds, glittery pinks and daring greens and blues, and each comes packaged in a striking black studded bullet.
The vitamin-rich formula helps keep lips luxuriously soft and supple without compromising on vibrancy, and there are no nasty parabens lurking in the ingredients list. Try the fully vegan Everlasting Liquid Lipstick collection, too.
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick, $21, available at Sephora. More
Recently rebranded, Inika now boasts a fabulous, award-winning range of lipsticks that aren’t only vegan but certified organic, too. These creamy lipsticks glide on silkily while keeping your mouth hydrated, thanks to moisturizing avocado and jojoba seed oils. There are 12 shades available, with Nude Pink, Sheer Peach, Honeysuckle, and Dark Cherry among the newest additions.
Inika Certified Organic Vegan Lipstick, $23.04, available at Inika. More
These vegan liquid lipsticks have been specially formulated for intense colour that doesn’t start fading moments after arriving at a party. You only need a tiny amount for full opaque coverage, so expect the tube to last (OCC advises that over-applying can lead to bleeding and feathering – so it's good to be stingy!).
There’ something for every skin tone in the extensive color palette but try the regal reddish-purple of Lush or the champagne shimmer of Alchemy for a truly decadent lip. It’s also worth nothing that these lippies are gluten-free, silicone-free and totally devoid of any synthetic preservatives: hemp and peppermint oil are used as much more appealing alternatives.
OCC Lip Tar, $17, available at OCC. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? PSA: MAC Is Coming To Ulta This Spring This May Very Well Be MAC's Prettiest Collection Yet This Throwback Beauty Look Is Anything But “Damsel In Distress”