One of the biggest struggles I hear from compassionate shoppers is finding affordable makeup that is both cruelty-free and vegan. To clarify the main difference between the two, cosmetics labelled as ‘cruelty-free’ implies no animal testing has been performed meanwhile ‘vegan’ products do not contain any animal derivatives.
There’s some great cruelty-free drugstore brand lists and similar resources available online but not one specifically catered for vegans only. It’s probably because it’s a much shorter list but you may be surprised that although a brand isn’t considered 100% vegan, they do offer some options that are animal-free in addition to being cruelty-free of course!
Here you will find a list of drugstore makeup brands that are either 100% vegan or carry some vegan options as well as to how you can find those V-options. I also list drugstore makeup brands that are NOT cruelty-free and continue to test on animals and therefore should be avoided at all costs. Finally, I will mention brands that are cruelty-free BUT not vegan-friendly and is probably best to avoid.
List of Vegan Makeup Drugstore Brands
Ardell Lashes (vegan false eyelashes)
Ardell is a popular drugstore brand with a growing selection of cruelty-free and synthetic false lashes. Their lashes are made without animal-hair.
Available in-store at most drugstores.
B. (100% vegan makeup)
Available in-store at Superdrug.
Barry M (some vegan cosmetics)
Barry M is a great cruelty-free makeup brand for UK shoppers. Not all of their products are vegan but they clearly label which ones are on their website under each product description.
Available in-store at Superdrug.
China Glaze (vegan nail polish) – Currently reinvestigating China Glaze’s animal testing policy but confirmed none of their nail polish contain animal ingredients or derivatives (April 10, 2016) Will update when I receive more info.
All regular nail polish by China Glaze are vegan-friendly and they’re around the same price as Essie nail polish.
Eco Tools (100% vegan makeup brushes)
Eco Tools makes 100% vegan and affordable animal-free makeup brushes with quality soft bristles, sleek bamboo handles, and recycled aluminum ferrules.
e.l.f. Cosmetics (all cosmetics are vegan)
All of e.l.f.‘s cosmetics are vegan-friendly and do not contain any animal ingredients however some of their makeup brushes are made with animal-hair. They offer a complete line of makeup at an incredibly affordable price (lipsticks are only $3!).
GOSH (some vegan cosmetics)
Available in-store at Superdrug, Shoppers Drug Mart
Jordana (some vegan cosmetics)
Jordana cosmetics is based in the U.S. and their line of makeup are extremely affordable (lipsticks start at $1.99!). But only some of Jordana’s beauty products are considered vegan. They have confirmed to me “Jordana has identified only 4 animal derivatives exist in our products, these are: carmine, guanine, lanolin and beeswax. For a particular product, view ingredients section for carmine, guanine, lanolin and beeswax. If not listed, then it is vegan.” *Update: Jordana now has a vegan product page on their new and improved website! Find it here!
Available in-store at Walmart, Walgreens, Kmart
Milani (some vegan cosmetics)
Mineral Fusion (some vegan makeup products)
Mineral Fusion products are at a higher price point compared to other drugstore brands but they also claim their products are free of gluten, parabens, SLS, phthalates, artificial colors and synthetic fragrances. All of Mineral Fusion products are 100% vegetarian, and most are even 100% vegan – full list of Mineral Fusion vegan-friendly products is available on their website here.
ORLY (vegan nail polish)
All of ORLY‘s regular nail polish are vegan-friendly and they’re around the same price as O.P.I. nail polish.
Pacifica (100% vegan cosmetics)
Pacifica is a 100% vegan and sustainable makeup brand. They offer beauty and skincare products that are formulated without: parabens, sulfates, propylene glycol, benzene, mineral oil, petroleum, peanut oil, triclosan, phthalates, and FD&C color.
Pixi (some vegan cosmetics)
Available in store at Target
Real Techniques (some vegan makeup brushes)
Real Techniques has a cult following for their synthetic and vegan makeup brushes that are sold in just about any drugstore at a reasonable price.
Wet N Wild (some vegan makeup)
Wet N Wild is another affordable makeup brand that has a ton of vegan options (lipsticks for $2!). You can now tell which of Wet N Wild products are vegan as it’s clearly labelled on the store display and some product packaging, or find a full list on their website here.
Non-Cruelty-Free Makeup Drugstore Brands
Avoid these brands as they continue to test on animals.
Cruelty-Free But Not Vegan Drugstore Brands
Some makeup brands claim to be cruelty-free and do not test on animals however they may use ingredients derived from an animal. Common non-vegan ingredients used in cosmetics include honey, beeswax, milk protein, lanolin, and carmine.
It is difficult to tell if an ingredient came from an animal or a vegan source just by reading a product’s ingredient list because manufacturers and companies are not required to disclose this on the label. However most vegan-friendly brands will usually tell shoppers which products or ingredients to avoid as they contain animal by-products.
Unfortunately some cruelty-free brands choose not to disclose this information, as a result, I am unable to warrant any of their products as being vegan.
NYX Cosmetics – owned by L’Oreal (a company that does test on animals), state they are unable to give out generalized ingredient information.
Burt’s Bees – owned by Clorox (a company that does test on animals), uses milk, lanolin, honey, royal jelly and carmine in some products and claim that since many of their products are produced on shared lines, they don’t call them “vegan”. (Burt’s Bees is no longer considered cruelty-free as they now sell their products in mainland China)
Physicians Formula – claim that their formulas do not contain any animal derived ingredients but they sometimes use ingredients like beeswax, carmine, etc. No response after multiple attempts asking for other animal ingredients used in their products.
MUA (Make up Academy) – although a cruelty-free brand, MUA states “Our products are not Vegan or Vegetarian suited as some of the ingredients are derived from sources not accepted by Vegans or Vegetarians.”
Essence – Essence does not test any of their products or ingredients on animals and is a cruelty-free brand however they told me “due to the nature and origin of our products’ components we do not consider our products ‘vegan’.”
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