Updated on December 31, 2023

Why Natural Animal Hair Makeup Brushes Aren’t ‘Cruelty-Free’

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If you’re against fur farms and mink lashes, then you should reconsider ‘natural’ makeup brushes that are made with natural animal hair.

It seems archaic that we’re still using makeup brushes made with animal hair but they’re still around and used by many in 2021. But there’s no reason why we should as synthetic and non-animal makeup brushes do the job (and most of the time, a better job) of applying our makeup sans animal cruelty.

Even some of the biggest beauty brands agree. L’Oreal and MAC Cosmetics (ironically both aren’t even cruelty-free, as they test on animals), have pledged to ditch their animal hair brushes with non-animal & synthetic fibers.

Also, be careful of some companies claiming their natural bristles are derived in a ‘cruelty-free’ manner stating the animals aren’t harmed and comparing it to the animals getting a haircut or their hair brushed. But here’s why natural makeup brushes aren’t ‘cruelty-free’ as some brands claim:

Why ‘Natural’ Makeup Brushes Aren’t Cruelty-Free:

  • They’re often made in countries with minimal to no animal welfare laws or regulations
  • There is no one policing or enforcing laws to protect fur-bearing animals used for makeup brushes
  • Lack of traceability, most brands aren’t even aware of where the animal hair is sourced or derived from
  • These are wild animals, they don’t belong in cages or held in captivity while we “brush” their hair, give them a haircut, or wait patiently for them to shed a healthy coat to make enough makeup brushes
  • And finally, animals are not willingly giving us their hair, we’re taking it from them

Please don’t fall for any marketing claims that ‘natural’ animal hair brushes were obtained in a ‘cruelty-free’ fashion.

Check out these vegan makeup brushes instead.

Last month, I asked on my Instagram would you consider a brand to be ‘Cruelty-Free’ if they sell animal-hair makeup brushes or if this is a deal-breaker for you?

Almost everyone that left a comment said they wouldn’t consider a brand to be ‘cruelty-free’ if the brand sells makeup brushes made with natural animal hair. There were a couple of cruelty-free consumers that said they would continue to buy from the brand but just won’t buy their makeup brushes.

So I took this feedback into account and have now made it clear on each brand’s post if they sell or offer makeup brushes made with animal hair.

See below which ‘cruelty-free’ brands I’ve discovered sell animal hair makeup brushes. And as an alternative or swap, I’ve listed some truly cruelty-free + 100% vegan = (no animal hair) makeup brushes to choose from instead.

Animal Hair Brushes

These ‘cruelty-free’ brands offer & sell some makeup brushes made with animal hair:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills
  • Ben Nye
  • Gabriel Cosmetics
  • Inglot Cosmetics
  • jane iredale
  • LA Girl
  • Mineral Fusion
  • Natasha Denona
  • StudioMakeup
  • Surratt Beauty

*Note: There is no standard definition of what’s considered ‘cruelty-free’. So it’s up to you to decide what you feel comfortable calling ‘cruelty-free’. As mentioned, some cruelty-free consumers wouldn’t consider a brand that sells animal hair makeup brushes to be ‘cruelty-free’ to them. My goal is to provide you with this information so that you can decide for yourself what you want to support.

‘Cruelty-Free’ Brands With Animal Hair Brushes

If you wanted to know out of the 105 ‘Cruelty-Free’ makeup brands, from our CF Brand Directory, that offer makeup brushes, which of them sells animal hair brushes, then keep reading!

If you buy from one of the below beauty brands, consider writing to them to ask them to ditch their animal hair brushes with vegan and synthetic fibers only! BH Cosmetics used to sell animal hair brushes but they recently state on their website that all of the brushes are 100% vegan. (I’m waiting to hear back from them to confirm none of their old animal hair brushes are still in stock by them or their retailers.)

Anastasia Beverly Hills – Their Brush #14 – Dual Ended Firm Detail Brush states it’s made with “natural fibers” but doesn’t indicate what type of animal hair is used.

Ben Nye – Some of their makeup brushes have a hyphen next to its name along with the animal hair like – pony, goat, or sable.

Gabriel Cosmetics – All but one of their makeup brushes states, “this cruelty-free brush features both natural pony and goat hair.”

Inglot Cosmetics – Most of their makeup brushes says “made of high-quality natural hair” and they clearly label what type of animal hair is used. I’ve seen some say: raccoon, goat, or pony.

Jane Iredale – They told me that all of their new makeup brushes (labeled Rose Gold) are vegan and that they are in the process of discontinuing all of their animal hair (described as Graphite) brushes. I checked their website and their Graphite brushes are made with goat hair.

LA Girl – On LA Girl’s website, they claim their makeup brushes are “synthetic/natural” but they don’t state what animal hair their natural bristles are derived from.

Mineral Fusion – Mineral Fusion states some of their makeup brushes are made with natural animal hair, including pure pony hair, black capra (goat) hair, and natural squirrel and pony blend hair.

Natasha Denona – They told me their brushes are not vegan and are made with synthetic and natural hair, which they claim their “natural hair is supplied by companies that strictly avoid animal abuse.” 🙄 But did not disclose what type of animal hair is used for each brush.

StudioMakeup – Some of their makeup brushes say, “bristles made of ultra soft goat hair” or “bristles made from firm, high-quality goat hair.”

Surratt Beauty – Their makeup brushes contain natural goat, Blue Squirrel, or sable hair.

I’d love to hear from you, if a ‘cruelty-free’ brand sells animal hair makeup brushes.. is it a deal-breaker for you or would you just not buy their makeup brushes?

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What do you think

2 thoughts on “Why Natural Animal Hair Makeup Brushes Aren’t ‘Cruelty-Free’”

  1. Elaine Funderburk

    I have no problem buying makeup brushes made from animal hair as long as the animal doesn’t suffer or is not killed. Hair grows. Everything we use comes from a plant or animal that lives. Many animals give their lives for humans to live. I do have my limits, and killing animals for makeup is not an option. No, I wouldn’t buy a mink coat if they kill the animal for the coat. As an older woman, I must use powder based products. My makeup brushes are not picking up the product like they should. I’ve been searching for days to find natural brushes and then found this. I was a hairdresser for years. Did you know that wigs, that women who have cancer wear, can be made from 100% human hair? People sell their hair for wigs. Hair grows back. Some of this stuff is just silly. If you give me a viable alternative that will pick up my powder products, I will be glad to reconsider.

  2. Glad to finally find a list of natural hair brushes!! I’ve been looking for them for a while as synthetic brushes just aren’t good enough. Also plastic is the worst crime of humanity, why would anyone prefer to destroy nature instead of using perfectly good, bio-degradable animal hairs?? Many more animals suffer from plastic then fur farming.

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