On the look out for the vegan and sustainable makeup brands?
Thankfully, there are quite a few vegan brands out there to choose from.
In fact, according to this report, the global vegan cosmetics market is set to reach $20.8 billion by 2025 – great to know the trend is going in the right direction!
The problem though, is trying to find vegan brands that are also truly ethical and sustainable. That is, they make eco friendly makeup in all senses of the phrase!
You can spend literally hours researching which eco friendly makeup brands are not only good for you but also for the environment. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for the best brands that meet each of our sustainable beauty criteria.
If this is your first time visiting, our approach to sustainable beauty is to look for brands and products that are:
We know it’s tall order and believe us, it takes a fair bit of time to find these brands to meet all or most criteria (note this list prioritizes vegan and cruelty free).
While we hope to provide a useful resource for you, we would also love to hear your thoughts and suggestions if we missed anything or if you have any experience with these brands. While we’ve tried our fair share of them, we haven’t tried them all…yet.
Cotton pads or cotton balls are a makeup staple. We all use them. But, these little unassuming aids are not all that benign.
They are one of the major contributors to makeup waste. There are millions upon millions of these cotton pads tossed in the landfill every single month. But, it’s not just the waste generated it’s the environmental impact of growing cotton.
Pollution, soil degradation, water contamination are just some of the examples of the impact this crop has on the surrounding areas.
That’s why its super environmentally helpful to buy some reusable cotton rounds or reusable cotton pads. They’re easy to use and clean, they’ll last you an age and you’ll be saving on mountains of plastic packaging and single use waste!
You can pick up some designer options on Etsy too which we think are pretty cool.
If you are considering compostable or biodegradable makeup wipes as another alternative be extra sure that they are indeed compostable.
There’s a lot of marketing these days, and often when a product says it’s biodegradable or compostable it may just mean that on an industrial scale. I.e. it won’t just break down in your composter at home (or worm farm) or worse, it basically won’t break down at all.
Another important makeup tool is the trusty makeup brush.
While looking for eco friendly and sustainable makeup brands to support, why not make sure (next time you need one) you get an eco friendly makeup brush to boot?
There are a fair few brands on the market now that make sustainable, plastic free and environmentally friendly options using renewable sources like bamboo. EcoTools, the Peta-certified brush company is a good example or check out Inika (which is also featured on our list below) for vegan, cruelty free and organic brushes.
Also, if you are trying to live a Zero Waste Lifestyle or just trying to reduce your plastic impact (good on you!), you may be interested in our other article: 13 Zero Waste Makeup Options For Glamming Up and Going Green.
It lists a bunch of zero waste alternatives for an even greater environmentally positive impact! Almost all of the brands featured are vegan and cruelty free too.
Axiology’s Makeup Range:
Axiology is a luxury lipstick specialist. The quality of their products are some of the best we’ve reviewed. So, it’s no surprise that around 70% of the ingredients (e.g. avocado oil and butter, orange essential oil, elderberry extract, coconut oil, and grape seed oil) are organic.
As a brand, they have some exceptional sustainability credentials. They’re certified by PETA as being cruelty-free and completely vegan. They’re a palm oil free makeup brand and they source all of their outer packaging from a woman-owned recycled-paper boutique in Indonesia.
Axiology also provide financial support to the Orangutan Foundation International and their shea butter and moringa oil are purchased through fair trade channels.
Dirty Hippie’s Makeup Range:
Dirty Hippie offers a pretty large range of makeup including foundation, bb cream, primer, liquid eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, brow powders, blush, lipstick pots, and cheek tint (as well as a decent range of skin and hair care products).
Their entire product range is vegan, cruelty free and they’re another example of an intentionally palm oil free brand.
About Dirty Hippie:
Hailing from Australia, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics are one of the most sustainable brands we’ve had the pleasure of contacting.
They create handmade organic and clearly quality products (based on hundreds of super reviews). They’re a 100% cruelty-free, palm oil free and vegan friendly. When it comes to sourcing they’ve covered all bases, either purchasing through fair trade channels, buying local or growing their own raw ingredients!
As for packaging, they haven’t skipped a beat. Their lip balms, sunscreens, deodorants (we’re currently testing this out and so far so good!) and eco tubs are made using recycled paper (which can be composted!). They also use tins and glass bottles which can be recycled or reused of course!
Their labels are printed with refillable veg-ink and their operations (which currently have a 50% carbon offset) will be powered with solar when they move into their new HQ. They are based in a zero waste community (read more about it here).Their lab also makes use of naturally collected rain water!
Finally, they’re involved in a number of charitable initiatives and projects from raising awareness for suicide prevention to animal rescue to support for cancer sufferers. Truly inspirational!
PHB Ethical Beauty’s Makeup Range:
PHB’s entire makeup range is handmade.
They use mineral colours that are rich in pigment. They also enhance the makeup’s overall effectiveness and performance by including organic oils, vitamins and plant waxes which nourish and protect sensitive skin.
Their products are also suitable for those who wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes.
PHB are a great example of an eco friendly makeup brand that have branched out beyond makeup. From skincare, to body and haircare, they have a comprehensive range of entirely handmade, natural / organic and palm oil free products.
They’ve also been featured in The Good Shopping Guide and The Good Scrub Guide. Both independent publications that rank only the most ethically and environmentally conscious brands. To learn more about this brand see here.
Elemental Beauty’s Makeup Range:
Elemental Beauty (Pretty Powders on Etsy) has a wonderful range of bronze/blush, foundation, finishing powder, eye shadow and concealer.
None of their products are tested on animals and all are 100% vegan friendly and halal.
About Elemental Beauty:
Based in the UK, Elemental Beauty sells makeup wholesale and direct to the public via their Etsy store (Pretty Powders).
They’re a small batch cosmetics maker so don’t have any certifications but their policies are clear: natural, simple ingredients; 100% vegan; cruelty free. Their reviews on Etsy are amazing and looking at their list of ingredients, they appear to be palm oil free too (we are clarifying this).
Divinia Oganics’s Makeup Range:
Divinia has an impressive range of foundations, concealers, blush, bronzers, highlighters, eye pencils, lip colours, eye shadow and even skincare.
All their products are cruelty free and vegan friendly.
About Divinia Organics:
Divinia Organics is a small batch cosmetics manufacturer who use the “highest quality organic, wildcrafted, and sustainably harvested ingredients”. Their products are all cruelty free and mostly vegan. Though, a small number of products contain beeswax or honey.
They use minimal packaging and are natural – they do not contain any synthetic chemicals like petrochemicals, silicones, phtalates, PEG, SLS, parabens, or other preservatives. However, some of their products do contain ingredients like glycerin.
We are confirming their use of palm oil derivatives.
About BareFaced Beauty’s Makeup Range:
Barefaced Beauty is an award-winning brand that produce an impressive range of 100% naturally derived cosmetics. Their products are free from chemicals, parabens, ethanol alcohol and synthetic fragrances, making these an ideal choice for normal or sensitive skin.
About BareFaced Beauty:
BareFaced Beauty is a really good example of a truly eco friendly makeup brand.
They’re certified cruelty-free by Cruelty Free International (Leaping Bunny) and PETA. They’re certified vegan friendly by the Vegan Society. None of their products contain palm oil derivatives, so are a truly palm oil free makeup brand.
BareFaced Beauty has also gone the extra mile to ensure that their raw materials are ethically sourced. For example their mica (naturally occurring mineral dust) comes from a legal (i.e. no child labor involved) and fenced off mine which also runs a charity for children. In fact, they also have their own charitable initiatives for the benefit of animals.
All their packaging is recyclable and most of it (including their plastic jars) is made from post-consumer materials. They also strive for a paperless work place to reduce waste and their own carbon footprint – brilliant!
About Antonym’s Makeup Range:
Antronym has a broad range of foundation (liquid and powder), highlighter, blush, eye shadow, eye pencils, mascara and lipstick pencils. Their products are cruelty free and vegan friendly except their lipsticks which contain beeswax.
Antonym was founded in 2010 by Miami makeup artist Valerie Giraud.
They use bamboo containers for their eye shadows, powder, blush, highlighter and brush handles although their liquid foundation comes in plastic and they don’t yet offer refills. They also use FSC certified paper for their outer packaging and marketing material.
They support charities and causes (Pawworks, Lipstick Angels, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Oceana, Earth Day, and others) as they “believe that sustainability and empowerment are keys to developing a more balanced and just society“.
We’re assuming Antonym’s products contain palm oil however we are clarifying this with them.
Zao’s Makeup Range:
Zao has an impressive range of products for face, nails, lips and eyes as well as accessories and collections.
Zao’s range is certified cruelty-free with Cruelty-free international. Most of their products are certified vegan although some contain organic beeswax (lip glosses, lipbalm stick and liquid lipbalm, and concealers) so do be sure to check the ingredients list.
Zao was founded by David Reccole in the UK.
One of the best things about Zao is their packaging. Some of it is refillable and the containers are made out of sustainable bamboo. If you’re strictly zero waste though, the refills do unfortunately come in plastic.
Their makeup is 100% natural (10% organic certified) and free of synthetics like parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oil, paraffin, polysorbate, EDTA, BHT, BHA etc. Their powders are also talc free and contain NO nanoparticles.
Zao has been extremely open about their use of palm oil. They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to reduce its use in their products – read more about it on their FAQs.
Elate Beauty’s Makeup Range:
Elate Beauty offers a large range of eye makeup (pressed and loose powder, mascara, eyeliner and brow balm), face makeup (foundation, powder, concealer, blush, highlighter, bronzer), lipstick, lip gloss, palettes and kits.
All of which are cruelty-free, vegan and gluten free.
They describe their range as “Products that don’t compromise the health of any person, animal or the planet. With integrity and kindness, we strive for balance and aim to redefine the future of the beauty industry and help save the planet“.
About Elate Beauty:
Elate Beauty hail from Canada but their products are available in the UK and US.
They’ve grown quite the following in the zero waste community because their makeup has no packaging and you can buy the bamboo product containers separately (e.g. a bamboo compact).
Elate describes their approach as “With integrity and kindness, we strive for balance and aim to redefine the future of the beauty industry and help save the planet“.
Their products are cruelty-free (certified with Cruelty-free International & PETA), vegan friendly (certified with PETA) – they do not sell any product in China.
They prioritize ethical sourcing of their ingredients which are 90% organic. They’re also phasing out a couple of ingredients so will be 100% natural, soon, if not already.
Their packaging is 80% waste free and they’re moving towards 100%. Everything they use can be recycled or composted, including the plastic lids and pumps on their foundations and the tubes of their liquid liners and mascara.
They offset all their emissions with Bullfrog Power. They use a local resource recovery company to recycle everything from plastic, tin, glass and styrofoam.
They have a charitable giving program which supports multiple local charities, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (they sponsor three elephants named Maisha, Dololo, and Larr – which we love!) and several women’s based charities.
Lush’s Makeup Range:
Lush’s range is somewhat limited as they’re not a pureplay makeup brand.
They have concealers, blush, foundation, highlighters, skin tint, blush and in some countries, mascara and eyeliner.
Lush’s products are not completely vegan so be sure to check the ingredients first.
Lush offers a variety of fresh, handmade personal care products, including perfumes, deodorants, soaps, make-up, sunscreens, even Henna hair dyes. Their products are vegetarian (and many are vegan) and cruelty-free.
They only purchase ingredients from suppliers who are also cruelty-free and do not participate in animal testing.
Unfortunately, Lush products are not palm oil free (read more here) or entirely natural, as many of them do contain the sulfate SLS (read more here). For us, the palm oil thing is a deal breaker (see our thoughts here, here and here) and we choose not to use Lush for this reason.
However, Lush does seem to be putting in a tremendous amount of effort to do the right thing and we appreciate their transparency. If you’re considering using Lush, do read up on them and make your own decision based on your ethical priorities.
Lush are doing a great job on the packaging front. For creams, bottles, lipstick tubes, and the like, Lush uses a simple black plastic pot, a simple, no-frills packaging that “ensures customers pay for the ingredients inside their product, not the distractions on the outside”.
These Lush black pots can supposedly “have more lives than a cat”, made from BPA-free mixed polypropylene (PP) that can be reused again and again.
Because PP plastics are harder to recycle, Lush will do it for you at an in-house recycling center where old pots are chipped, washed, melted, and remolded before refill. As a thanks for returning your pots and reducing plastic waste, they’ll send you a free face mask.
Gift boxes and tags are made of recycled cocoon paper and cardboard that can later be composted. Delicate items that require some padding are wrapped in biodegradable cellulose that can actually be composted!
They also provide clear guidelines on how to recycle all their products.
Beauty Without Cruelty’s Makeup Range:
Beauty Without Cruelty have been in the ethical makeup business for over 30 years.
They use completely natural ingredients in all of their products, which are also hypoallergenic, fragrance free and a good option for those with sensitive skin.
About Beauty Without Cruelty:
Beauty Without Cruelty are pioneers when it comes to sustainable beauty and ethical makeup – they were the first brand to start the cruelty-free revolution!
They also ensure that their packaging is recyclable and also use recycled material wherever possible.
Cover FX Makeup Range:
Cover FX is an Ontario based brand that specialize in foundations, concealers, primers and powders.
They manufacture products that avoid the use of all irritants, have therapeutic benefits and are suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
About Cover FX:
Cover FX are a progressive cruelty free sustainable makeup brand.
They’re Peta certified. They state that they do not test their products or ingredients on animals, nor do they buy ingredients that have been tested on animals. They don’t sell products in China either.
With the exception of two products (MintTint FX & MintGlaze FX) they’re a completely vegan friendly brand.
Devita’s Makeup Range:
Devita is one of the fastest growing all-natural cosmeceutical skin care lines in the world.
They don’t have a particularly wide range of makeup products but what they do have on offer is making waves. They’ve won a fair share of awards like the Betternutrition’s Best of Natural Beauty Award for their whipped creme foundation, prime corrective and tinted coverage, to name a few…
Devita are committed to the protection of animals and the environment. They’re affiliated with PETA, Choose Cruelty Free, and carry the Leaping Bunny logo. They’re also 100% vegan and certified by Vegan.org.
They have strong reduce, reuse and recycle policies in place.
Most of their packaging comes from post-consumer recycled materials including glass bottles and they also use recyclable non-leaching tubes.
They’ve taken the “Truth in Labeling” Pledge which prohibits them from using any synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, petrochemicals, parabens and pesticides. These guidelines mirror the USDA’s requirements for organic food – very impressive!
Tata Harper’s Makeup Range:
Tata Harper is principally a skincare brand but they do have a small makeup range including tinted moisturiser, cheek and lip tint, creme highlighter and lip treatment.
They’re cruelty free certified with Leaping Bunny and Peta and have vegan friendly options (but not all their products are vegan).
About Tata Harper:
Tata Harper is surely one of the most natural brands around. It was founded by Tata and Henry Harper on their 1,200 acre organic farm in the US, where they manufacture all their products.
They’re advocates for the “farm to face movement” sourcing some ingredients from their own farm.
Their packaging is made from glass. The plastic resin used in their tubes is derived from corn, which is a renewable resource instead of petroleum.
They’ve put a lot of thought into their shipping material, ensuring their boxes/cartons are responsibly sourced. They also use 100% post-consumer materials, or recycled paperboard and soy-based ink for printing.
We’rere confirming their palm oil and sourcing policies with them.
Ere Perez’s Makeup Range:
With a combination of Mexican and Australian heritage, Ere Perez pride themselves in creating healthy, natural and nourishing makeup.
They have a comprehensive makeup range covering everything from foundations and powders to mascaras and lip tints.
They use oils, plant extracts, minerals and blended antioxidants to create effective yet gentle products that suit all skin types with added sun protection.
About Ere Perez:
While Ere Perez are not certified cruelty-free they state that they never test their products on animals.
They also ensure that none of their products are manufactured using child labour.
Most of Ere Perez’s products are vegan friendly, however, they do use beeswax in their Rich Olive Oil lipsticks and brown Sunflower Oil Mascara.
INIKA’s Makeup Range:
INIKA is another super sustainable makeup brand.
Their entire range, which consists of a sizeable selection from primers to bronzers to eyeshadows and everything in-between, is certified organic by Australia’s OFC.
All their ingredients are completely natural and derived from botanicals and minerals. They’re also cruelty free and vegan friendly.
Born in Sydney Australia in 2006, INIKA have become a world renowned brand for some of the most eco-conscious makeup. They’re certified by Choose Cruelty Free, the Vegan Society, AFIC (halal) and Truth in Beauty, which guarantees INIKA’s products are completely safe, ethical and environmentally conscious. Much of the packaging used by INIKA comes from post-consumer recycled materials and all of their products are recyclable.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic’s Makeup Range:
OCC first started out as a Lip Balm specialist but it wasn’t long before they extended their range to nail polish, tinted moisturizer and their famous lip tar.
If you’re in need of pop, OCC has you covered – they have some of the best colors to choose from! Thanks to the popularity of their products and their ability to make a statement, they can now be found in several celebrity makeup artists’ kits.
About Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics:
The Founder, David Klasfeld, attributes the success of OCC and quality of their products to his own obsessive compulsive condition.
The brand is proud to be 100% cruelty-free and vegan. They’ve won both the Trail-Blazer Award and The Best Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Company Award from PETA, for their compassion and commitment to never testing on animals.
Looking at their products ingredients, they don’t appear to use palm oil or palm oil derivatives. We’ll update this info as soon as we know for sure.
The beauty industry is filled with crap, literally!
Synthetic junk, cheap fillers and additives. It’s a wonder that the whole consumer base hasn’t already jumped ship from the conventional to eco friendly makeup brands.
Beauty is and should be all natural.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t glam up as little or much as you want, but just be selective about the products you choose and brands you support.
Elate Cosmetics sums it up quite nicely: “Intentional, purposeful, ritual. For many of us, putting on makeup is an automatic act, a routine. […w]e believe everyday routine becomes ritual when the action is more meaningful than the outcome.”
Also remember, if you’re looking to reduce the plastic packaging in your life, then check out our Zero Waste Makeup Article for some great brands doing special things.
We hope this article has given you some food for thought on ethical makeup brands. Who says you can’t spend Saturday night out on the town and still be sustainable?!
As always, please reach out for questions, suggestions, or comments.