A Guide to Vegan Cosmetics

It’s one thing switching to vegan food in Veganuary, but have you ever thought about the contents of your makeup bag?

There’s a common misconception that if a product is ‘cruelty-free’ then it’s also vegan, but often that isn’t the case. ‘Cruelty-free’ tends to mean the product was not tested on animals but many cosmetics may also contain animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients, including things like honey, beeswax, carmine, collagen and gelatine.

Over the past few years there’s been a significant rise in the number of vegan cosmetics on the market, so here are some brands to try if you want to make the switch to a more vegan-friendly cosmetics bag.

Lush logo - a brand with great vegan cosmetics


Around 80% of Lush’s products are vegan, making it one of the more vegan-friendly places to shop on the high street. All its vegan products are clearly marked, and the company works to make sure there’s a vegan alternative available in all their ranges. Lush also use ethically sourced ingredients and recently launched a range of plastic-free products to help the environment even more.

Kat Von D brand logo. Vegan cosmetics specialist.

Kat Von D

When Kat Von D first launched her makeup line she wasn’t vegan, and was the first to admit that she hadn’t thought about the ingredients in her products. Since then, she has announced plans to re-launch her line to ensure every product is free of animal products and by-products, and has been working hard to reformulate anything with carmine (red dye made from insects) in it. Today, the brand is known as KvD Vegan Beauty, and every product is vegan.

Urban Decay logo. The brand sell vegan make-up brushes

Urban Decay*

Looking to brighten up your makeup bag? Then look no further than Urban Decay. Not only do they have a range of colourful vegan lip glosses, eyeliners and lipsticks, but they also have vegan makeup brushes made with synthetic hairs. The vegan products are marked clearly on their website. No wonder, this is such a popular makeup among vegans.

Barry M logo - not all of their stock could be categorised as vegan cosmetics but each are clearly labelled

Barry M

Barry M has been a long-time supporter of campaigns to end animal testing for cosmetics, and even has a dedicated section on their website for it. Not all their range is vegan, but they mark the products that are which includes nail varnish, lipstick, foundation and eyeshadow. The products are reasonably priced and available in Superdrug stores.

e.l.f. logo


This fully vegan company started in the USA and is now available from most Superdrug stores. As well as a great makeup line, e.l.f has an extensive skincare range to suit all skin types. All of their brushes are also synthetic and vegan.

B. logo


This Superdrug range disappeared from shelves for a couple years, but it is back! B. has a great range of makeup which is completely cruelty free and vegan. Their lipstick line ranges from soft nudes to loud and bright reds, which makes this affordable vegan beauty brand a great option.


This is another fully vegan company that not only sells eyeshadow, highlighters, lipstick and mascaras, it has a beuatiful range of vegan brushes and kits. You can buy at Boots or online.

*indicates parent company tests on animals.

You may also be interested in these beauty product recommendations from the Veganuary team!


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Veganuary is the world's largest vegan movement, inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year.