The rise of the conscious consumer has pushed companies to re-evaluate how beauty and skincare products are made and how ingredients are sourced. This has paved the way for beauty brands to remove aggressive fragrance and strongly comedogenic elements from formulas and create new formulas that are free of animal-derived ingredients.
While the terms “clean,” “green,” “vegan,” and “organic” can have different definitions based on their industry of application, within the beauty community, these products are classified by their lack of animal by-products, lack of animal testing, use of sustainable ingredients and gentle formulas for sensitive skin.
There are a couple of things you should know. Cruelty-free makeup brands are not necessarily vegan; they can contain animal byproducts without testing on animals. The same with organic beauty products. They could contain natural ingredients, including beeswax and carmine, organic but not vegan.
A growing number of brands have understood to either incorporate products into their existing line that are vegan/ clean/ green or lose their market share to fast-growing vegan makeup companies. Here are the clear front-runners offering unique formulas and stunning packaging.
K.V.D, formerly Kat Von D Beauty, was founded by famed tattoo artist Kat Von D and saw substantial success with its goth-inspired packaging and long-wearing formulas. In January of 2020, Kat stepped down and sold her brand to cosmetic brand Kendo prompting the switch to K.V.D.
While she may not work with the brand anymore, the company has retained its exclusively vegan formulations since 2010. As a result, the products are aesthetically pleasing, high coverage, and a cult favorite.
Two of their best-selling products are the iconic Tattoo Liner that gained notoriety after a woman got into a car accident. Still, her liner remained perfectly intact, and their Good Apple Skin Perfecting Foundation Balm works to create lightweight yet shockingly full coverage.
2. Milk Makeup
The perfect blend between art, fashion, and beauty; Milk Makeup, founded by Milk Studios co-founder Mazdack Rassi and a panel of well-established trendsetting professionals. The brand has been taking the world by storm since its launch in 2016. Log on to any social media platform and watch any beauty influencers’ content; chances are you’ll see Milk makeup make at least one cameo.
While the company has been cruelty-free since its launch, it is 100% vegan as of 2019. The company not only offers some of the best makeup products on the market but some truly rich and nourishing skincare options as well.
Unsure where to start? Their award-winning Hydro Grip Primer is a staple for anyone looking to prolong the seamless wear of their foundation. The Kush mascara is also a cult staple for long, fluffy, voluminous lashes that work as hard as you do. In addition, the company frequently puts together new sets of minis, allowing for trial before committing to a full-size purchase.
Looking for a more affordable, clean, cruelty-free, and vegan makeup company to purchase from? Look no further than E.L.F (eyes, lips, face) cosmetics. The brand offers one of the widest ranges in terms of products and shades to fit all demographics. The formulas have recently seen a major update in terms of switching out beeswax and lanolin with synthetic yet safe alternatives.
At this time, all formulas crafted by E.L.F. for both makeup and skincare are 100% vegan. E.L.F. also offers dupes from some of the industry’s most popular products offering a more pocket-friendly alternative. These include;
- The Power Grip Primer instead of the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer
- The Poreless Putty Primer instead of the Tatcha Silk Canvas Primer
- The Camo Concealer instead of the Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer
- The High Definition Powder instead of the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
- The Lock on Liner and Brow Cream instead of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
And these are just to name a few; a quick google search will offer you an endless amount of dupes and unique formulas that look amazing and are well priced.
4. Lime Crime
Originally launched as an independent cosmetic label Lime Crime would soon come under scrutiny thanks to founder Doe Deere. The company was acquired in 2018 and saw a complete overhaul in both image and approach to the customer. For makeup lovers looking for ethereal formulas with vibrant packaging, this is the brand for you.
The company launched in 2008 and slowly became a favorite of makeup artists across the globe. The company not only offers a wide variety of makeup and hair products to add a punch of color wherever you’re looking for them.
Cult favorites include the Velvetines Liquid Lipstick, available in a wide range of 24 shades, and the Unicorn Hair Full Cover Hair Dye. Their Venus series of eyeshadow palettes are perfect for indecisive makeup lovers looking for strongly pigmented colors that blend seamlessly on the eyes.
5. Tower 28
Tower 28 is a newer addition to the clean-beauty space. Launched in 2019, the vegan makeup brand prides itself on clean formulas that work wonderfully for sensitive skin. The brand prides itself on non-toxic and non-irritating formulas that are hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free, and dermatologist tested.
The playful yet simple packaging and phenomenal formulas have made Tower 28 a staple in any vegan makeup enthusiasts’ collection. Famous for their ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly and Original Lip Jelly, the formula glides effortlessly on for a hydrated, glossy lip. Their cream bronzer and balm highlighter are also quick sellers for their easy blend-ability and buildable coverage. While their collection is currently seven products, we look forward to what the brand comes up with next.
Vegan beauty is the latest in environmentally sustainable skincare and beauty movements to gain momentum. The makeup industry is slowly migrating from its dated reputation of harmful chemicals that irritate the skin. This slow change encourages better permanent decisions to create new standards for skincare and beauty formulations.
And hey! Along with vegan makeup, don’t forget to switch to vegan makeup brushes too.