Thinking of switching some of your beauty and skincare products with vegan alternatives? Wondering if all these makeup products are really vegan? We explain what you need to watch out for.
The vegan cosmetics market is growing rapidly and gaining popularity among young people. When you're embracing a plant-based lifestyle, we know how important vegan makeup is.
That is why we wrote this ultimate beginner's guide to answer all your vegan beauty questions to help you shop for your favorite vegan lipsticks, moisturizers or eyeliners!
What’s vegan cosmetics?
The term "vegan beauty" refers to products that do not contain animal or animal-derived ingredients, which can be found in many leading cosmetic brands.
How do you find vegan beauty products?
Finding a quality vegan beauty product is not easy, but it has definitely gotten easier as more products hit the market. Many traditional and established beauty brands have launched vegan-friendly and cruelty-free makeup and skin care products.
Look for (Certified) Vegan Logo
The easiest way to get a vegan face or body hair product is to look for a label that says 'Suitable For Vegans' or a certified vegan trademarks on the products or packaging.
The common vegan symbols from trusted and recognized organizations include PETA, the largest animal rights organization in the world, and The Vegan Society, a registered charity and the oldest vegan organization in the world.
However, there are also cosmetics that do not have this certification on their products, but can still be vegan. Then you need to carefully analyze the ingredients list to see if the product contains any non-vegan ingredients.
** Tip: Some online stores like Sephora, Soko Glam, and K Beauty World have filtered out options to help you choose your favorite vegan beauty brands.
🌱 The Vegan Society
In 1944 The Vegan Society created the word "vegan" and their trademark is the authentic international vegan standard. All products must meet the following criteria to be eligible for registration.
- Animal: The Vegan Society understands the word ‘animal’ to refer to the entire animal kingdom, which is all vertebrates and all multicellular invertebrates.
- Animal ingredients: The manufacture and/or development of the product, and where applicable its ingredients, must not involve or have involved, the use of any animal product, by-product or derivative.
- Animal Testing: The development and/or manufacture of the product, and where applicable its ingredients, must not involve or have involved, testing of any sort on animals conducted at the initiative of the company or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control.
- Genetically Modified Organisms: The development and/or production of genetically modified organisms (GMO) must not have involved animal genes or animal-derived substances. Products put forward for registration which contains or may contain any GMOs must be labeled as such.
Read ingredient labels carefully
The Ingredients list is the powerful tool to help you make the right choices for your purchase, but the problem with them is that they are difficult to understand.
One important thing to remember is that on a product label, the ingredients are listed in the order of their predominance, with the ingredients in the largest amount being used first, followed by those in the lesser amount in descending order.
What ingredients should avoid in vegan cosmetics?
Here's a rundown of the key ingredients to avoid when looking for vegan skin care, hair care, and makeup products. However, some ingredients can be derived from both plant and animal sources, and examples include glycerin, retinol, and squalene. It is difficult to know what has been used, so it is best to contact the manufacturer.
They also have many different names, such as beeswax is also known as Cera Alba, Cera Flava, Retinol is known as Retin-A, Retinyl Palmitate, Adapalene, Isotretinoin, Tazarotene and Silk Powder is known as Silk Peptides, Silk Protein, Silk Amino Acids.
Common animal-derived Ingredients in cosmetics include:
- Oleic Acid
- Silk Powder
- Stearic Acid
(A related blog post: How to choose organic and natural cosmetics and beauty products?)
Best (korean) vegan skin care brands to try now
Klairs is a vegetarian, cruelty-free and soon-to-be vegan cosmetics brand from South Korea, where the K-Beauty phenomenon was born. Although not yet a vegan beauty brand, Klairs has been against animal testing and believes in using plant-based ingredients to formulate their products since their inception in 2010.
Currently, about 80% of their products are suitable for vegans. The formulas are based on plant-based ingredients like centella extract, black sugar, and black sesame oil, to name a few. They cater to all skin types and provide solutions to different types of skin problems with their gentle, yet powerfully effective products.
Launched under Sephora in 2017, Biossance is best Known for clean and ethical skincare enhanced by 100% plant-based squalane, the brand's exclusive superhero ingredient that is made through a patented biological process.
The beauty brand has been verified by the Environmental Working Group, which advocates for environmental health and clean beauty products, and their products contain no animal ingredients or by-products and are not tested on animals.
Summer Fridays is created by digital creators and entrepreneurs Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland, who have went from being friends and influencers to founders of a cult skincare brand. All of Summer Fridays products are 100% vegan and contain no animal ingredients or by-products.
The instafamous beauty brand has the "Clean at Sephora" stamp of approval, which means it is free of certain ingredients like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and more. Their products are also cruelty-free.
Olivarrier is a hypoallergenic and vegan skincare brand dedicated to clean, high-quality facial care products without the worry of side effects or toxins. Formulated for sensitive skin, all products are dermatologically tested and their products are made with non-irritating ingredients, free of harmful chemicals.
The brand focuses on strengthening the skin barrier and creating fragrance-free products to leave your skin healthy and beautiful. They use more than 95% organically grown or wild-collected plant materials. They are EWG verified and certified by The vegan society, Canada's cert clean, European COSMOS.
💘 See more Olivarrier's products
Launched in 2019 by Kylie Jenner, Kylie Skin is an offshoot of her cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics. As Kylie is mega-celebrity status and her brand Kylie Cosmetics already popping, her skincare company has been one of the fastest and most engaged beauty brands on social media.
Kylie Skin is a vegan brand, which means that none of its products contain animal-derived ingredients and that none of their products or formulas have been or will ever be tested on animals.