5 Myths about Vegetarian and Vegan Makeup

Makeup artists have a fundamental, ethical duty to ensure they can provide products to suit the needs of their vegetarian and vegan clients. As a vegetarian or vegan model, actor, dancer, or musician, you must speak to your makeup artist on-set to ensure the makeup products they’re using on you are in line with your ethical standards.

Similarly, no vegetarian bride wants to be smothered in animal-tested, animal-based products on their wedding day. But so many makeup artists still steer away from vegan and vegetarian products, for all the wrong reasons…

Myth 1

Vegan makeup doesn’t last long

There is a misconception that vegan makeup is low on pigment and durability, but formulas have come a long, long way. Urban Decay shadows and pigments are vegan-friendly, yet are so pigmented, waterproof, and photograph so beautifully. Lip pencils like the Ulta range are incredibly pigmented and last just as long or longer than their non-vegan competitors.

Myth 2

Vegan foundation won’t give me as much coverage

Gone are the days of poor wearing vegetarian formulas. The range of cream-based foundations could not get any better—and Cinema Secrets is proof of that. Cinema Secrets is not vegan, however, it is cruelty-free as they don’t test on animals! I discovered Cinema Secrets last year speaking to some of the celebrity makeup artists at the London IMATS and fell in love with the product. The concealers, correctors, and foundations come in dozens of colors, making them perfect for media work, plus once set with fixer and powder they are completely waterproof. My model Nikki pictured above is very fair, and Kit 1 was perfect for her skin tone. I managed to conceal any flaws and create a creamy, dewy finish.

Myth 3

Vegan makeup doesn’t come in as many colors and shades

If you ever happen to go to an Urban Decay Counter or visit ELF’s website, you will see the shades, textures, and finishes are endless when it comes to vegan and vegetarian makeup. In fact, I would say most of my most loved shades of eyeshadow and lip colors in my kit are all vegan.

Myth 4

Vegan and Vegetarian makeup is more expensive

This couldn’t be more misguided. ELF is one of the most budget-friendly brands on the market, and all its products are vegan-friendly. Lipsticks are as little as $3 or less! On top of this, synthetic brushes are becoming far more desirable and affordable than their natural hair competitors. Superdrug, a UK pharmacy, has its own makeup brand called B. cosmetics. They offer quality vegan and cruelty-free makeup that won’t break the bank.

Myth 5

It is a waste of time trying to decipher the ingredients

A little effort can go a long way in ensuring your clients’ needs are met. Ensure to avoid these ingredients if you are vegetarian, vegan, or a makeup artist catering for your clients’ animal-friendly needs:

  • Carmine or cochineal—coloring made from boiling and crushing insects (many blushers and lipsticks contain carmine)
  • Lanolin—a moisturizing agent derived from sheep (The Body Shop’s body butter contain lanolin)
  • Beeswax/pollen/bee products: often found in lipsticks and lip balms
  • Lard
  • Tallow
  • Lactose or Lactalbumin
  • Silk derivatives
  • Propolis
  • Elastin (from cows)
  • Hyaluronic Acid

Vegan, eco-friendly, or cruelty-free makeup brands for your makeup kit

We already mentioned Urban Decay, ELF, and Cinema Secrets that are vegan, eco-friendly or cruelty-free! Here are some other brands you may not have known are eco-friendly!

  • Pacifica
  • Eco-tools
  • Milk
  • Bite Beauty
  • Inglot
  • Cover FX
  • Kat Von D
  • Tata Harper
  • Jeffree Star Cosmetics
  • Crown Brush
  • Select Hourglass & Urban Decay products are cruelty-free, vegan, or eco-friendly.

Vegan and vegetarian makeup is a usable option, lasting just as long, giving just as much coverage, coming in just as many colors, and costing just as much as regular makeup. Plus you’ll be catering to a growing group of clients who will demand cruelty-free and non-animal-based makeup. So don’t steer away from vegan and vegetarian products, embrace them!

Author Azzi Williams

More posts by Azzi Williams

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Followvegan says:

    Very informative article. I have tried a lot of vegan cosmetics and use to struggle and spend a lot of time reading the ingredients in them. I am startled and amazed at how can one turn a blind side to the amount of inorganic, animal based ingredients used in the cosmetic industry by and large. Its not just the question of cruelty against the animals, its also about how badly we choose to treat our own body and skin with these non vegetarian products

  • Inèz says:

    I came across your article when researching whether Cinema Secrets foundation is vegan. You say in this article it is, however it contains Carmine (Ci 75470). Are you able to give me any more information why you think/know it’s vegan?

    • Katie Deck says:

      Hi Inez,
      Thank you for your comment! You’re right – Carmine is an ingredient in Cinema Secrets’ foundation and therefore is not vegan. We’ve classified it as “vegetarian” in this article as many vegetarians do consume animal by-products. We’d love to hear about other makeup and beauty products you’ve found that are vegetarian or vegan!

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