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Is ELF a vegan brand? 4 Things You Need to Know!

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ELF cosmetics is known for their affordable but high-quality makeup products. I’m always recommending ELF as a cruelty-free drugstore brand but lately I’ve been hearing some compassionate shoppers question ELF’s cruelty-free status and asking whether ELF products are actually vegan?

Which is totally understandable as ELF has evolved and expanded their products in the last couple years so I thought I’d clarify everything up in this post!

4 Things to Know About ELF

In an effort to keep things as simple and straight forward as possible, here are the basic facts that you need to know about ELF’s cruelty-free and vegan status.

1. All ELF brushes are synthetic and vegan!

In 2016, ELF announced they were planning to discontinue their makeup brushes that were made out of horse hair and switching to animal-free makeup brushes instead.

“it is possible that some old brushes remain in the market. We believe these to be extremely limited in number. We are very proud that all of our high quality brushes are now made with 100% synthetic, cruelty-free fibers and are vegan-friendly.

2. ELF is NOT sold in Mainland China!

There have been some confusion about ELF making and selling their products in China and whether their products are required by law to be tested on animals.

In case you didn’t know, all imported cosmetics in Mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals.

However, ELF only manufactures their products in China, they don’t sell any of their products in China. There is a big difference when it comes to China’s animal testing laws that depends on whether you’re making or selling cosmetics in China.

Therefore ELF can manufacture their products in China but just as long as they are not selling in China, then they remain to be cruelty-free!

“our products are manufactured overseas, mainly in China. We have strict quality control procedures to ensure that our products are free from lead and hazardous materials. Please note that we do not sell our products in China, due to our cruelty free policy.”

3. All ELF Makeup is Vegan!

It is indeed true that all of ELF makeup products are considered to be vegan and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients!

“You can find all e.l.f. ingredients indicated on the packaging of our products as well as on our website. All ingredients used in e.l.f. cosmetics are vegan friendly, safe and meet F.D.A requirements. Ingredients are listed on our website as well as on the packaging of our products.”

4. But Is ELF Skincare Vegan?

This is where it gets complicated. In 2016, ELF launched their new skincare collection but there was no official word on whether the entire skincare collection was considered vegan-friendly. When I reached out to ELF and specifically asked about their skincare products, I received a cookie-cutter email response saying again, like the above response, “All ingredients used in e.l.f. cosmetics are vegan friendly.”

This is confusing because I don’t know if they’re using the word “cosmetics” as part of their brand name, which implies all of their products are vegan, or if they’re trying to say only their cosmetics are vegan friendly?

So is it,

All ingredients used in “e.l.f. cosmetics” are vegan friendly.


All ingredients used in e.l.f. “cosmetics” are vegan friendly.

I’ve tried to ask for clarifications but was told, “Our products do not contain gluten or beeswax.” For the time being, it is unknown if all of ELF skincare products are vegan but you can rest assured ELF makeup are vegan.


All ELF brushes are now synthetic and vegan!

ELF products are NOT sold in Mainland China and they are cruelty-free!

All of ELF makeup products are considered vegan!

All of ELF skincare products may or may not be vegan

14 Responses
  • Molly
    March 19, 2018

    All products seem to be vegan, based on what I read in the FAQ section this morning…

  • Stephanie
    March 7, 2018

    Sadly, I just bought ELF mascara and they now use beeswax.. no longer vegan, what a shane!!

    • Vicky Ly
      March 7, 2018

      Oh no! That’s so disappointing to hear!! =( Would you mind telling me which ELF mascara it is? I want to look into this because that would be incredibly sad if they were using beeswax in some of their products. I know that they use SYNTHETIC beeswax in some of their mascaras, which are vegan.

      • Molly
        March 19, 2018

        Seems it is synthetic beeswax, though it should be labeled as such…

  • KB
    January 17, 2018

    If a skin care product is not soap, it is a cosmetic, as dictated by the FDA. So that would cover all of their skin care products, not just makeup. So their response is correct.

  • Diana
    January 2, 2018

    Hi, I have an old E.L.F eyeshadow pallette. I was wondering if it’s vegan. Has their make-up been vegan from the beginning? Thanks!

    • Sue
      January 8, 2018

      I just walked in a lipstick duo has beeswax

  • Megan
    September 15, 2017

    Just wanted to let you know I emailed E.L.F yesterday after reading this article and just got a reply.
    All of their products are vegan including their skincare.
    Hope this helps. X

  • Maria
    July 12, 2017

    Jordana is made in America and not sold in China . I stick with them

  • Maria
    July 12, 2017

    Elf should do business here in America .
    Not selling in China , but manufacturing in china does not help . I’m not buying it .

  • Bia
    July 9, 2017

    Hello. This is a nice blog you’ve got here, and I admire the efforts you’re doing. I’ve got a little question though: if a brand claims to be vegan, can we rest assured that it has NO animal derived ingredients, such as carmine and cochineal?

  • Bia
    July 9, 2017

    Hello. This is a nice blog you’ve got here, and I admire the efforts you’re doing. I’ve got a little question though; if a brand claims to be vegan, can we rest assured that it has NO animal derived ingredients, such as carmine and cochineal?

    • Vicky Ly
      July 10, 2017

      Hi Bia,

      Unfortunately there isn’t a universal or standard definition for what qualifies a product to be labelled as “vegan”. So this means the term “vegan” can mean something different from one person to the next. Some companies would consider beeswax or honey to be vegan ingredients and I’ve dealt with a number of companies who are very adamant that beeswax is vegan so they’ll continue to label their products as vegan because that’s how THEY define the term.

      There are a number of third party organizations who verifies products to ensure none of them contains animal derived ingredients like the Vegan Society and Vegan Action. You can check out some of these logos and their standards in this post here (scroll to the bottom where you can find the logos) http://ethicalelephant.com/cruelty-free-vegan-labels-logos/

      Hope that helps!

  • […] This may not be news to beauty product aficionados but it is awesome news to me! Retailing at just $2 USD per brush, this is an excellent example of bringing on more cruelty-free products to the masses. In fact, I recently learned that e.l.f. cosmetics’ entire product line is, in fact, cruelty-free! […]

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