Do the labels on your go-to makeup products make you do a double-take? What ARE all of those impossible-to-pronounce ingredients, anyway… and are they safe?
If you’re a makeup lover like me, you might wonder if you’ll ever find healthier alternatives that work just as well as your go-to brands. Because when it comes to makeup, terms like eco-friendly and vegan haven’t always gone hand-in-hand with professional quality. But don’t put your brushes away just yet—beautiful cruelty-free makeup DOES exist, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about today!
As a kid, watching my mom do her makeup was one of my favorite activities.
I’d join her in the bathroom every morning—perched on the toilet, transfixed by each and every brushstroke. She was the glamorous teacher and I was the eager student.
My fascination only grew when I got one of those 70s Barbie styling heads, remember those? She came with her very own makeup palette: bright red, baby blue and pea green (gorg!!). I practiced on her all the time—poor Barbie had her fair share of makeup mishaps. Luckily, she was a very patient customer. 😉
It wasn’t long until I started begging my parents for my first lip gloss, which was a big N-O until I was 13. But you probably know by now how I feel about that no word… So I’d sneak my Barbie palette onto the school bus and do my bold makeup when she wasn’t looking. And let’s just say it was bold enough to garner more than my fair share of sideways stares!
As I evolved over the years, so did my taste in makeup.
My career as a professional actress and dancer motivated me to refine my skills, and I learned a thing or two from the incredibly talented makeup artists I worked with along the way! Today, I feel most like myself with a more natural, toned-down look. And when I’m working from home, running my business and leading my unicorn team from my laptop, I prefer to let my skin breathe and just be me—totally makeup free.
But don’t get me wrong, I still love makeup! It can be a wonderful creative outlet and way to express ourselves. I’ve just learned that I don’t NEED it to feel beautiful or confident, and neither do you!
I’m also a lot more conscious about the cosmetics I do and don’t use.
Since going vegan and better educating myself about my carbon footprint, I pay much closer attention to what goes my makeup, as well as how it’s tested and its impact on the environment. To be honest, sometimes I’m still taken aback by the nasty junk hidden in our personal care products. Not to mention the brands that continue to use animal testing… what?!
I have good news, though—cosmetics don’t have to come at the cost of your conscience! The cruelty-free makeup brands I’m about to share are changing the face of the beauty industry by making kinder products without sacrificing quality.
12 Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands to Add to Your Makeup Bag
1. Thrive Causemetics
Every single product from this fabulous brand is vegan and cruelty-free. But that’s not all, Thrive Causemetics also gives back with every purchase. That’s right—every single product sold results in a donation to support domestic abuse survivors, women fighting cancer, women seeking a path out of homelessness or women veterans. You can learn more about Thrive’s mission here.
2. Milk Makeup
What can I say? I’m a sucker for cruelty-free with a side of cute branding! But Milk Makeup’s products aren’t just beautiful on the outside—they’re also vegan and cruelty-free. They even have a list of ingredients they promise never to use up on their website!
3. Mineral Fusion
You might have spotted this EWG Verified brand at Whole Foods or your local health food store, which means you don’t have to make a separate trip to restock on your faves! All of Mineral Fusion’s products are cruelty-free and made in the US, and you can check out a list of vegan options on the FAQ page on their site.
In my makeup bag: I love Mineral Fusion’s vegan nail polish in the shade Tiara— it always makes me feel like a queen! ?
This cruelty-free makeup brand is raising awareness about something we don’t hear much about—issues with the mica industry. Mica is used in a lot of cosmetics, but it’s often not responsibly sourced (learn more in the informative video here). I love seeing brands use their platforms to educate consumers! Check out Beautycounter’s vegan makeup options here.
5. Cover FX
I dig Cover FX for a lot of reasons, but the diverse shade range they offer for foundations is at the top of my list! Many makeup brands exclude folks, especially people of color, by having really limited shade ranges. I support brands like CoverFX because they’re committed to inclusion. Their products don’t come cheap, but it’s worth the investment if you can swing it!
In my makeup bag: The Natural Finish Foundation and pretty much everything else for that matter—did I mention they’re 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free?
EcoTools proves that sometimes it IS a good idea to put all your vegan eggs in one basket! They’ve got one mission—making vegan makeup brushes that look, feel and work even better than the alternatives made with animal hair. They also use recycled and renewable materials like bamboo. Even their packaging is made of tree-free paper. EcoTools brushes are also affordable, what more could we ask for?!
7. Juice Beauty
This brand lives up to its name by using botanical juice concentrates instead of water as the base for their makeup and skincare. That means their products don’t just look great—they’re also packed with antioxidants and other vitamins, as well as good-for-you phytonutrients and hydroxy acids. Turns out juice is more than just a delicious drink!
In my makeup bag: The Phyto-Pigments Last Looks Cream Blush in the shade Flush is a gloriously smooth pop of color for my cheeks!
And more cruelty-free brands for your makeup bag!
I don’t have them all on hand at once (like I said, my makeup routine is pretty minimalist these days!), but here are some more notable cruelty-free brands that deserve shoutouts!
9. W3ll People’s Hypnotist Eye Pencil is a longtime love of mine (if you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember that it was also featured in my What’s in my Makeup Bag post back in 2017!). It creates the perfect cat eye for date night… meow!
10. Axiology makes cruelty-free, vegan lipstick in knockout shades. I haven’t yet, but I can’t wait to try one of their Sheer Balms!
11. Urban Decay is always expanding their vegan options—their Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluids are incredible!
12. Anastasia Beverly Hills has some great vegan highlighters—I’m a big fan of the Sun Dipped Glow Kit.