These Expert-Recommended Vegan Makeup Brands Will Help You Get Your Glow On

Photo credit: Peathegee Inc - Getty Images
Photo credit: Peathegee Inc - Getty Images


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Whether you have sensitive skin or are looking for products without animal byproducts, the best vegan makeup brands supply powerhouse products that fit the bill. And vegan makeup is rising in popularity as more people are looking to change up their beauty routines.

According to a report from The Vegan Society, the amount of plant-based beauty options has more than tripled in the last seven years. And, the global vegan beauty industry is expected to continue to grow to a value of $21.4 billion by 2027; the U.S. vegan beauty market has already reached a value of $4.1 billion. Plus, it’s not just people who already live a vegan lifestyle that are buying vegan makeup, as 39% of people who buy vegan beauty products aren’t vegan in other areas of their lives.

With such an influx of cruelty-free, and vegan makeup brands, it can hard to know what those qualifications actually mean.

“Vegan means that there are no animal products used, while cruelty-free means a product is not tested on animals,” explains Michele Farber, M.D., F.A.A.D., a dermatologist with the Schweiger Dermatology Group. “Most people choosing vegan skincare prefer to have both, so it’s important to know that it is possible to be one or the other and choose products accordingly.”

You might be wondering if there are actually that many animal products in makeup to begin with, and unfortunately, the answer is yes. Many of the most common ingredients found in the products in your makeup drawer are derived from animals, including collagen, squalene, lanolin, keratin, and more.

But fear not, there are plenty of options to choose from for vegan beauty these days, that both look and feel amazing. “Vegan makeup is not only a great option for those who live a vegan lifestyle, but it is also generally well-tolerated in sensitive skin,” says Dr. Farber. “Vegan packaging is often more environmentally friendly as well.”

If you’re looking to switch to a vegan makeup routine, look no further. Whether you have sensitive, dry, oily, or acne-prone skin, we’ve got you covered with all of our favorite vegan makeup brands and must-try products.

How we chose the best vegan makeup brands

We consulted Dr. Farber and our Beauty Director, April Franzino, for their vegan makeup recommendations. We also conducted our own research and poured over countless reviews to bring you the vegan makeup brands that customers love.

Our top picks

Colorescience

This 100% vegan brand is committed to preventing skin damage, whether it comes from the sun, pollution, or anywhere else. Their products are all mineral-based with no harsh chemicals, making it a great choice for sensitive skin. Plus, they always include SPF to protect against those harmful UV rays. Dr. Farber loves the Total Eye 3-in-1 for minimizing dark circles and puffiness while also adding sun protection.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Recommended by our Beauty Director, April Franzino, “e.l.f. is a great vegan makeup brand with a wide selection of super affordable products that are good quality.” The 100% vegan brand is also double-certified cruelty-free and partners with organizations that protect animals. We love the Hydrating Camo Concealer, which is available in 25 different shades and is great for all skin types.

Pacifica Beauty

Pacifica’s 100% vegan and cruelty free line is a great choice for sensitive skin, as many of their products have gentle, hydrating ingredients like ceramides and vegan collagen. Plus, they’ve started a plastic collection initiative and partnered with the ACLU to support human and animal rights. We love their Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream, which includes nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and coconut water for a hydrated glow.

Cover FX

Cover FX creates 100% vegan and cruelty-free makeup and skincare products with carefully chosen natural ingredients like green tea and algae. Plus, all of their products are formulated without harsh fragrances, parabens, or sulfates. We love their best selling Pressed Mineral Foundation, which comes in a wide variety of shades for all skin tones and delivers great coverage without clogging pores.

Juice Beauty

A favorite of celebs like Kate Hudson, Juice Beauty’s line of vegan and cruelty-free products was born from founder Karen Benkhe’s passion for wellness and environmentalism. The products are all formulated with organic ingredients to make your skin look and feel amazing. Our must-try product is the Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation, which is formulated with plant-derived ingredients like grapeseed oil that your skin won’t be able to get enough of.

Mented Cosmetics

Mented is a Black-owned cosmetics brand that’s committed to creating products that are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and non-toxic. After struggling to find a nude lipstick that matched their skin tone, founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson set out to create the perfect makeup line that works for every skin tone. We love the Brand Nude Matte Lipstick for a long-lasting look that’s easy to apply.

Thrive Causemetics

A personal favorite of mine, Thrive is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and uses no harsh fragrances, parabens, or sulfates. Plus, for each purchase, they donate to a variety of causes to “help women thrive” while they’re fighting cancer, surviving domestic abuse, emerging from homelessness, or adjusting to life as a veteran. Their best selling Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara is available in three colors (including a fun deep blue), is water resistant, and will give you your best lashes yet.

Milk Makeup

Milk’s philosophy is to start with only the best ingredients for a line that’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and free of harsh parabens. Their iconic makeup sticks deliver amazing pigment and are super easy to apply for all-day wear. We’re particularly fond of the Lip + Cheek, a cream blush stick that doubles as a lip tint for your easiest makeup look yet.

Tower 28 Beauty

Tower 28’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free line is formulated with the gentlest ingredients, making it a great choice for sensitive skin. They’re also the only makeup brand to 100% follow the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines for completely hypoallergenic, non-irritating cosmetics. We’re obsessed with their ShineOn Lip Jelly Gloss, which comes in several super cute shades for that perfect pop of color.

KVD Vegan Beauty

Formerly Kat Von D Beauty, KVD has been killing the vegan beauty game since 2016 when they re-formulated their entire already cruelty-free line to be 100% vegan. Having started in a tattoo studio, this tattoo-inspired makeup is made to encourage creativity and bold artistic self-expression. We’re obsessed with their best selling Tattoo Waterproof Liquid Liner which is formulated with bold pigment that’s easy to apply for all-day wear.

Rare Beauty

A celebrity-founded beauty company, Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez is 100% vegan and cruelty-free and uses sustainable packaging. Plus, it’s committed to raising mental health awareness, and provides a space for donations and resources on the Rare Impact section of the website. We’re big fans of the Soft Pinch Liquid Blush, which weightless and buildable, affordable, and available in several fun shades.

Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass has always prided themselves on their cruelty-free line, and they reformulated their products in 2020 to become 100% vegan as well. They’ve also partnered with the Nonhuman Rights Project, and donate a percentage of their profits to support the organization. We love their best selling Ambient Lighting Blush, which is a hybrid blush and highlighter that comes in eight shades for a soft glowy look.

bareMinerals

“bareMinerals makes many vegan options that are useful for many different skin types,” says Dr. Farber. While not all of their products are completely vegan, bareMinerals prides themselves on being 100% cruelty-free, with options for every skin type. Several of their best selling products are vegan, including their BarePro Performance Wear Powder Foundation, which Dr. Farber recommends for sensitive or acne-prone skin along with their other tinted moisturizers and foundations, which are all non-irritating. Plus, bareMinerals has pledged to support women’s education worldwide by donating a percentage of proceeds to organizations like Room to Read and Girls Who Code.

Supergoop!

The sunscreen experts at Supergoop! pride themselves on their 100% cruelty-free products, and apart from just two products that contain beeswax, their line is also vegan. Plus, all of their packaging is completely recyclable, and they’re committed to donating their sunscreen to schools across America to protect kids from skin cancer. Dr. Farber recommends the CC Screen, which comes in a wide variety of different shades and protects skin with SPF 50.

COOLA

COOLA is dedicated to creating products with 70% certified organic ingredients that you’ll love wearing every day, and many of them are vegan too. Plus, Dr. Farber often recommends the brand for those who struggle with dry skin because they use so many hydrating ingredients. She particularly likes the Rosilliance BB Cream with SPF 30, which “has glycerin to moisturize and as well as antioxidants.”

How to choose the best vegan makeup brand

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
  • Consider your skin type. “For acne-prone skin, mineral-based products are best,” says Dr. Farber. “For dry skin, look for hydrating ingredients.” If you have oilier skin, you might gravitate toward powder foundation to soak up oiliness, whereas a cream foundation might be a better choice if you have dry skin. Thinking about these factors will help you decide which products are best for you.

  • Remember that cruelty-free does not mean vegan. While cruelty-free products aren’t tested on animals, vegan products don't contain any animal-derived ingredients. It's helpful to do your research on the brand you're considering to determine if they’re actually vegan, cruelty-free, or both.

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