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ALWAYS 100% CRUELTY-FREE & VEGAN

Vegan Makeup Drugstore Brands

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.

Full list of Vegan makeup drugstore brands and which brands to avoid that test on animals!

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.

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.

Available in-store at Ulta, Walmart, Walgreens,

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.

Available in-store at Target, Ulta, London Drugs, Walmart, Superdrug, Walgreens

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!).

Available in-store at Target, London Drugs, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens

GOSH (some vegan cosmetics)

GOSH cosmetics offers an extensive product range and you’ll be happy to hear that most of them are indeed vegan-friendly! For a full list of GOSH cosmetics’ vegan products, check it out here.

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)

Some of Milani cosmetics are classified as vegan-friendly and you can find a vegan product list on their website here.

Available in-store at Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens

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.

Available in store at London Drugs, Target, Ulta

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.

Available in store at Target, Ulta, Walmart, CVS

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.

Available in store at Target, Ulta

Pixi (some vegan cosmetics)

Pixi offers a range of natural cosmetics and beauty products, only some are considered vegan. For a full list of Pixi by Petra vegan products, find it here.

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.

Available in store at Target, Ulta, London Drugs, Walmart, Superdrug, Walgreens

Wet N Wild (some vegan makeup)

Wet N Wild is another affordable makeup brand that has a ton of vegan options (lipsticks for $2!). They do have a vegan product list at the bottom of their website’s FAQ however I’m not sure how frequently it is updated but it’s still a great starting point nonetheless! Find it here.

Available in store at Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS

Non-Cruelty-Free Makeup Drugstore Brands

Drugstore brands to avoid that test on animals

Avoid these brands as they continue to test on animals.

  • Maybelline
  • Max Factor
  • Neutrogena
  • New York Color (N.Y.C.)
  • OPI nails
  • Pure Ice nails
  • Revlon
  • Rimmel London
  • Sally Hansen
  • Sinful Colors

Cruelty-Free But Not Vegan Drugstore Brands

drugstore brands that are probably best to avoid that are not vegan-friendly

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.”

Vicky Ly

I'm Vicky! I've been a vegan for 4 years and want to do my small part in making the world a kinder place. When I'm not on my laptop creating or designing, I enjoy running, vegan chocolate chip cookies + ice cream, and the occasional Simpsons marathon.

29 Comments
  • Nakia Fukuda
    Reply
    April 9, 2017

    Hi! Love your articles. I’m currently vegan but I’m having trouble with finding brands and products that do not test on animals. Could you post about the products you use? Thank you!

  • Adelina Teodorescu
    Reply
    March 24, 2017

    Sorry, but I have to ask this. You stated that “Burt’s Bees is no longer considered cruelty-free as they now sell their products in mainland China”
    Just selling a product in a certain area is relevant how exactly? Or am I misunderstanding this?

    • Genesis Martinez
      Reply
      March 28, 2017

      China has a law that all products must be animal tested. SO definitely not cruelty free and if not even that it’s pointless to say vegan because animals were harmed for a product to be put in stores.

  • Andria Groark
    Reply
    February 19, 2017

    Hi Vicky Ly, first thank you so much for this list! Second, do you know what/where the laws are for cosmetics testing on animals? I had thought that testing on animals was illegal now. I’m also wondering where you get your information from? Is it just from the businesses site, have you talked to people working for the brands, do they have concrete proof in the ingredients lists for their products? Would love to know how/where to find proof for these products! Thanks again!

  • Witchs Brew
    Reply
    October 24, 2016

    Any information on Butter company nail polish and cosmetics. They have are high pigmented colors for polish and always wondered if they were vegan. They are found at Ulta

  • Ella Brooks
    Reply
    October 18, 2016

    Hi! Thank you for all the information.
    What do you know about Essence? They strongly claim on their website that they do not test on animals, I don’t know about being vegan though…
    Also Collection, Nails Inc London and Helen E Cosmetics (british brand, they claim to not test on animals but on some of their products appears made in China i don’t know if the packaging or the product itself is made in China. A friend of mine works with Helen E and she got me some products but I’m not sure if I should use them yet. I couldn’t find much info on that so please help me. The Eyeshadows look great by the way).

  • Debbie bradley
    Reply
    October 15, 2016

    I agree, you are a lifesaver! I am beginning to switch out all of my cosmetics as well. This makes is so much easier.

  • anonimo
    Reply
    October 8, 2016

    Hi Vicky,
    Thank you so much for this post first and foremost, for taking out the time to research all of these brands. However, when I looked at a few products from Jordana and Wet n Wild which have a “list” of vegan products, I found most of them to be not vegan. Please let me know if a product is considered vegan and/or cruelty free if it contains:
    1. squalane: which is derived by the hydrogenation of squalene, which is derived from the liver of sharks. Approximately 3000 sharks are required to make 1 ton of squalene. The vegan alternative is phytosqualene derived from plants. Squalane is used as an emollient/moisturizer and is found in the Jordana Blush
    2. Lanolin oil: Wool-grease. Obtained by boiliing sheep wool. It is found in all of their lipsticks, eyeliners, and lip gloss
    3. Carmine: Obtained from carminic acid which is obtained by boiling cochineal beetles alive until they’re dead and liquid! Some methods of producing carmine dye include adding egg whites, fish glue or gelatine which are again animal sourced ingredients and are neither vegan nor cruelty-free!! Carmine is used in ALL bright red colored foods and makeup!! Sometimes the dye will not even show up as carmine, these companies will mask it up with complicated names like “E120” or Red xyz number!
    It is becoming frustratingly difficult and expensive to stay vegan!

      • Madison bowman
        Reply
        October 21, 2016

        I just emailed Jordana because they put out a vegan list but when you look at the ingredients on the products most contain carmine so we will see what they say!

  • September 20, 2016

    Ok, so I love Rimmel London’s BB cream, but hearing that they are not cruelty free breaks my heart. Is there a lightweight BB cream brand you can recommend? I hate foundations, I’ve been using BB cream for about 5 years now.

  • Stephie
    Reply
    September 18, 2016

    Elf cosmetics has parabens in them i could not possibly understand how they can be vegan. I though the whole purpose of being vegan to eradicate all products that are harmful to the human body.

  • September 15, 2016

    Physician’s Formula is awful at replying. I asked them about their blush and they wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I had to harass them a second time specifically asking them to name any ingredients that are not vegan before they would answer me.

    I won’t support them anymore. They’re not interested in being transparent.

  • Sherami Fernando
    Reply
    September 11, 2016

    Hi Vicky, my name is Sherami Ferando and I’m a vegan as well and I loovee your website. I find it super helpful and easy. But I did want to mention one thing, I researched the ingredients in Orly nailpolishs and I found that some of the older versions have pearl. Also, even the current polishes have guanine in it so the brand isn’t 100 vegan in the nailpolish section. I’m sorry if I’m just telling you somrthing you already know, I saw that you said that Orly’s “regular” nail polishes are vegan and I didn’t know what was considered regular or not but I thought I’d mention it anyways. But anyways, thanks so much for your helpful info.

  • September 10, 2016

    I’ve just checked Physicians Formula FAQ site regarding vegan options, and it says:
    “Are your products vegan? We do not claim vegan as some of our products may contain ingredients like beeswax, carmine and lactic acid (from milk). We recommend checking the ingredient listing of each product prior to purchase.” Seems like they saw either this post or some other similar one. I’ve send them a Facebook message regarding a product containing lactic acid. They’ll probably say it’s not vegan (the Touch of Glow Foundation), but I kinda hope it is.

  • Erynn Irene
    Reply
    August 30, 2016

    Just started looking into vegan and non-cruelty makeup options. I don’t always use makeup but decided that for the times I do I wanted something I was comfortable wearing. I never even considered cruelty free as something I should do because it’s not something that is promoted. It wasn’t until I saw JKissa on Instagram and started following her (she is a makeup artist who is AMAZING and just made the final switch to a cruelty free makeup artist) that I thought about it and how much it truly bothered me. So, here I am looking at all these different websites, and yours has stood out to me the most. Now you have inspired me to look into vegan options as well. 🙂 I have tried to stick to organic/ 100% natural brands for a long time since I have bad reactions to chemicals, but reading quite a few of your posts are making me look at more. So I guess in some ways this is a thank you for having the site and keeping it updated and getting a bunch of great info that I feel is actually useful.

  • Robin Price
    Reply
    August 24, 2016

    Vegan for almost 2 full years and this is an amazing list Well done. As much as I want to try Kat Von D and other brands I simply cannot afford it.

  • Amirah Zulkefli
    Reply
    July 8, 2016

    You have no idea how life-saving this list is! I’m a new vegan, and currently swapping out my cruelty and non-vegan make up. It is REALLY difficult to get any vegan products where I live, and again, some brands claim to vegan but not cruelty-free, vice versa. Thanks to your list, I can actually get ethical make up that is in line with my values! I spend hours today trying to find vegan and cruelty free make up & I end up feeling defeated with the confusion of the terms. Luckily, I have a nearby drugstore that sells GOSH. Will definitely look into it. Once again, thank you so much! Your blog is a lifesaver!

  • February 18, 2016

    Love this! Drugstore is the best and there is suprisingly so much variety for vegan and crueltyfree make up. WetnWild is my fave, their matte lipsticks are so much better than MAC!! :))
    http://thehappyvegangirl.com/

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