Converting to a vegan make-up regime is a sound choice for anyone, no matter your dietary preferences. It’s an easy way to avoid the dubious animal-derived ingredients hidden in some non-vegan make-up products, such as squalene, a shark liver oil often found in lip balms, and shellac, which is often made from lac bugs and used in nail polishes.
For those making the switch to plant-based formulations, we share the best-designed products from vegan make-up brands. While you're at it, why not extend your cosmetic veganism to your skincare regime too with our edit of design-minded vegan skincare brands.
Our favourites from vegan make-up brands
Milk's Pore Eclipse Primer is a perfect vegan tool for masking blemishes or mattifying particularly oily skin. The lightweight cream creates a breathable second layer on top of skin so that foundation goes on evenly and stays on throughout the day. We recommend using a light vegan moisturiser before application to ensure skin doesn't dry.
19/99’s multipurpose colour pencils and gloss
19/99’s colour sticks are highly pigmented, multipurpose pencils that can be used as a precision eyeliner and lipliner, or blended into a lipstick or eyeshadow. The vegan pencils come in a range of neutral shades as well as three more vibrant colours – cobalt blue Wasser, hot pink Rozsa, and a fiery orange called Meleg.
19/99’s mission is to narrow the generational beauty gap by creating playful cosmetics that are marketed to women of all ages. It’s a noble, and much needed, aim in a largely youth-obsessed beauty industry, and a message that is buttressed by the brand’s strong visual identity and inventive product range.
When using the colour sticks, we recommend smudging Wasser or Rozsa over the eyelids as a shadow, and then coating in the brand’s High-Shine Gloss for colourful, vinyl eyes that are high-impact but quick to apply.
Tower 28’s buildable cream bronzer
Inspired by Californian sunsets, Tower 28’s Bronzino bronzers come in five cream shades that range from the light bronze of ’Sun Coast’ to the deep bronze of ‘Pacific Coast.’ We recommend experimenting with a variety of shades from this vegan make-up brand and applying them to the typical bronzing areas – temples, cheeks, nose, and chin – as well as eyes and lips.
The easy build-ability of the shades means they can be used to create everything from a light glimmer to a deep glow on any area of the face.
Lashify’s lightweight fake lashes
Lashify's artificial lashes are made from the brand's patented 'Gossamer' material. This revolutionary form of artificial silk is so lightweight you hardly feel it on lids, making it a welcomed vegan and cruelty-free alternative to mink lashes.
Even fake eyelash novices will find the application process easy with the brand's curved application tweezer and non-sticky adhesive glue. Once applied the lashes can last two to three days.
We recommend playing with colours beyond the typical black. We featured Lashify's sliver lashes in our March 2020 beauty story, while lavender and red are other vegan make-up favourites.
Kosas’ painterly blush and highlighter
Kosas’ vegan cream blush and highlighter can be applied to the skin in the same way oil paint is applied to a canvas – it can be built up for more intense pigmentation or mixed with a few drops of face oil for a more subtle, natural finish. Whether painting on a pronounced Frans Hals-esque flush or channelling the subtle rosiness of a Manet, artists and amateurs alike can easily experiment with the glide-on cream for any look.
Even better is the fact that Kosas’ products are designed to improve skin, making for a natural, as well as cosmetic, glow. The blush is, of course, vegan and is formulated with jojoba seed oil to calm and balance skin, as well as vitamin-packed rosehip seed oil.
Brow kit by Refy
Refy’s vegan brow collection is an effective toolkit for achieving slightly enhanced, natural-looking brows or a bold, ultra-feathered look. The three products- including a brush, pomade, and pencil, allow you to shape, set, and colour brows according your desired intensity.
J.Hannah’s artist-inspired nail polishes
The colours of J.Hannah’s polishes are inspired by artists' palettes and natural landscapes, making them some of the most inventive nail shades we’ve come across. ‘Hepworth’ is an elmwood brown that references the material often used by the famous sculptor.
‘Ghost Ranch’ is a terracotta shade similar to the hues of Arizona’s Red Rocks, while ‘Eames’ is a lime green inspired by the fabric of a midcentury modern chair. The rest of the line includes a range of similarly inspired shades, including a recent collaboration with New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
La Bouche Rouge’s 100 per cent plastic-free mascara
‘I have designed these products with two key focuses,’ La Bouche Rouge co-founder Nicolas Gerlier told Wallpaper* ahead of his brand’s new make-up launch. ‘The first is to create something perfect, something extremely precise like an Apple design… the second is to stay sustainable in every part of what we do.’
The brand has certainly achieved both those aims in its latest cosmetic line, which is vegan and designed to be completely plastic-free. Its mascara is a particularly remarkable feat of cosmetic product design, with a glass wand and application brush made of plastic-free castor plant fibre.
Hourglass’ high-pigment foundation
Luxury brand Hourglass cosmetics has pledged to be 100 per cent vegan by the end of 2021, and one of its first vegan offerings is its Seemless Finish Liquid Foundation. The brand’s unique formula of coated pigments means that only half a pump is required for even-toned skin, making it a preferable option for those worried about a decrease in effectiveness when switching to vegan skincare products.
Highr's on-the-go lipsticks
It’s an old beauty rumour that regular lipstick wearers inadvertently ingest pounds of the product over the course of a lifetime. True or not, it makes sense that the products you put on your body should be as good for you as the food you put in it.
With that in mind, Highr has created a range of vegan, cruelty-free lipsticks that forego commonly used lipstick ingredients like lanolin, a fat derived from sheep wool, or carmine, a pigment made of ground insects.
Instead, the lipsticks are made from a blend of natural oils and butters, enhanced by the addition of hyaluronic filling microspheres that plump the lip, organic rosehip oil for promoting collagen production, and dragon's blood oil to repair and nourish. Our favourite shade is Chateau, a 1990s matte muddy-pink, which can be applied anywhere using the tube’s convenient built-in mini mirror.
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Mary Cleary is a writer based in London and New York. Previously beauty & grooming editor at Wallpaper*, she is now a contributing editor, alongside writing for various publications on all aspects of culture.
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