Ask any stylist or makeup expert to name one cosmetic item that alone can make or break your look, and they will give you the same answer – lipstick.
There’s a reason why there is such a wide variety of lipsticks available out there. But did you know that this seemingly harmless product may not always meet your vegan lifestyle requirements?
There may be animal products lurking in some, while others may not be cruelty-free. Figuring it out can be tricky, so I decided to put together a list of the best vegan lipsticks available on the market.
However, there are a few things that I feel we need to discuss before getting down to the list. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
What is the Difference between Vegan and Cruelty-Free Lipstick?
Vegan and cruelty-free are the two widely used terms in the plant-based industry. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, so you can make the right choice according to your lifestyle and ideology.
Vegan lipsticks are those that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, whereas cruelty-free lipsticks (or any product per se) are the ones that do not involve animal testing at any stage of their development.
What’s important to note here is that vegan lipstick isn’t necessarily cruelty-free, and a cruelty-free product isn’t necessarily vegan. They are both different concepts. The ‘vegan’ label indicates the ingredients used in a product, not its manufacturing process.
One surefire way to determine if a cruelty-free product is also confirmed vegan is to look or PETA’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies logo. Here’s why:
Checking the vegan status of makeup products is comparatively easier than knowing their cruelty-free status. Here’s a video that highlights some famous makeup brands that people don’t know still test on animals:
What Can Make Lipsticks Non-Vegan?
Here’s a quick list of the commonly used non-vegan ingredients in lipsticks. Take a look, so you know what you’re looking to avoid.
- Beeswax – Though it doesn’t contain animal ingredients, the harvesting process used in the commercial industry is considered unethical. There are also concerns about the impacts harvesting of beeswax has on the bees. For these reasons, many vegans avoid it.
- Squalene – A moisturizing agent added to many lipsticks to give your lips a soft and smooth appearance, squalene is made from shark liver oil. About three to six million sharks are killed every year to meet the global demand for squalene, 90% of which comes from the skincare and cosmetic industries.
Apart from lipsticks, it’s also commonly used in lip balms, moisturizers, sunscreens, foundations, and eyeshadows.
- Lanolin – Known for its incredible moisturizing properties, lanolin comes from the sweat glands of sheep. It helps protect the sheep from harsh weather. For use in skincare and cosmetics, lanolin is extracted from sheared wool.
Some may claim that since lanolin is harvested from wool that’s already sheared, it’s not harmful to sheep; hence, there’s no problem using it. But it’s a flawed approach. A company that uses lanolin becomes a party to or a supporter of the cruel wool industry, and those who buy these products indirectly support animal cruelty.
- Carmine – This is the famous red dye from the cochineal insect that we all know of. Those red lipsticks you go gaga over may have bugs in them (gross).
- Pearlescence – Also called pearl essence, this is a shiny ingredient found in fish scales (and gives them their distinctive shine). It often appears with the name of guanine on ingredient lists.
- Palm Oil – Though it is a plant-based product, many vegans avoid palm oil for ethical reasons. The palm oil industry significantly contributes to the destruction of rainforests, which is not only bad for the environment but has also caused the loss of wildlife.
Some brands also add gelatin and/or collagen to their lipsticks, both of which are non-vegan, as they come from cattle bones and hides.
The 7 Best Vegan Lipsticks That Are Also Cruelty-Free
To save staunch vegans among my readers from the hassle of hunting down lipsticks that are both vegan and cruelty-free from the list, I decided only to include the products that meet both criteria.
Even if you aren’t too hard on the cruelty-free aspect, it doesn’t harm to use lipstick that is animal-friendly. It only makes your product better.
Here are some of my top picks for vegan and cruelty-free lipsticks:
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. The options are numerous. There are just a few of my favorite ones.
1. INIKA Organic Lipstick – Best Organic Vegan Lipstick (link)
INIKA is not just a cruelty-free and vegan beauty brand, it also has the world’s first certified organic vegan lipstick range.
Characterized by their clean, ethically-sourced, nourishing ingredients, like shea butter and argan, jojoba, and avocado oils, INIKA Organic lipsticks have a moisturizing formula that keeps your lips hydrated.
They offer soft, smooth application, high-impact color, and a beautiful satin-matte finish, giving just the amount of sheen you need in everyday lipstick.
INIKA’s organic vegan lipstick comes in 12 shades and lasts well for about 4-5 hours. If you’re also committed to using only clean beauty products, these INIKA non-toxic, vegan lipsticks are a great choice.
2. Folly Fire Matte Manipulation – Best Vegan Matte Lipstick (link)
Whether you’re someone who likes to play it safe in makeup or the one who doesn’t hesitate to push boundaries, try out new things, and experiment, the Folly Fire Matte Manipulation range caters to your needs.
There are 12 shades, ranging from the usual reds, pinks, and browns that are perfect for everyday wear to fuchsia, blue, green, purple, silvery grey, and black for an edgy look.
They come in the form of sticks, have a creamy texture, and offer a matte finish. However, unlike many other matte lipsticks, it doesn’t dry out your lips. The creamy formula is infused with argan oil known for its ultra-hydrating properties to prevent dryness and keep your lips nourished despite the matte finish.
Folly Fire’s vegan matte lipsticks are also fragrance-free and made without toxic chemicals. Made in Italy, the lipsticks are buildable, allowing you to get your desired coverage.
3. E.l.f Liquid Matte Lipstick – Best Vegan Liquid Matte Lipstick (link)
Like matte finish but prefer liquid formulation as opposed to the stick one? Try Liquid Matte Lipstick from e.l.f.
The liquid formula and the custom diamond-shaped wand offer smooth and effortless application, while the infusion of vitamin E ensures your lips remain nourished and soft.
Highly pigmented with full coverage, the vegan and cruelty-free liquid lipstick stays put the whole day. It comes in seven stunning shades and is highly pocket-friendly. What more do you want?
4. Belle En Argent Auteur Crème Lip Color – Best Vegan Lipstick for Dry Lips (link)
Do you love to wear lipsticks but hate how most of them look on your dry, chapped lips? Belle En Argent’s Auteur Crème Lip Color is the solution to your problem.
Infused with natural plant oils, it’s super-hydrating with an ultra-creamy texture that offers a smooth application and a velvety, semi-satin finish. It comes in 14 beautiful shades.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect shade of nude for your skin tone or want to add a few more daytime colors into your collection, searching for the classic red lipstick without bugs, or want to try new bright, bold colors, Belle En Argent’s Auteur Crème lipstick range has got you covered.
Belle En Argent doesn’t just claim to be vegan and cruelty-free; the brand is also Leaping Bunny Certified and a clean beauty brand. The lipsticks are also paraben, sulfate, silicone, gluten, and fragrance-free.
Say goodbye to dry, chapped lips and lip colors that crack after a while. Get your hands on these Leaping Bunny Certified vegan lipsticks to redefine your glam game.
5. Tarte Sugar Rush Sugar Coat Velvet Liquid Lipstick – Best Vegan Liquid Lipstick (link)
Lipsticks come in a range of neutral shades and smell like sweet vanilla cake. If this sounds like the kind of lipsticks you would like, you should check out Tarte Cosmetics’ Sugar Rush Sugar Coat Velvet liquid lipstick. But only if you don’t mind buying from a brand that isn’t 100% vegan.
Tarte isn’t fully vegan, but it’s 100% cruelty-free.
The lipsticks come in four beautiful neutral shades that go with most (if not all) skin tones and offer a smooth, creamy texture that dries to a subtle matte, making them perfect for daytime wear.
Whether you’re heading to college, work, or just stepping out for some home chores, this vegan liquid lipstick from Tarte will give you the instant pick-me-up and a polished look; just what you need to look put together.
The lipsticks offer full coverage and do not cake or crack upon drying. The rosehip and sunflower seed oils in them will keep your lips hydrated and nourished. All in all, these Tarte’s vegan liquid lipsticks offer comfortable wear.
6. bareMinerals BAREPRO Longwear Lipstick – Best Long-Lasting Vegan Lipstick (link)
Characterized by its weightless gel formula that offers smooth application, full coverage, and a gorgeous soft matte finish that doesn’t make your lips look dry, bareMinerals’ BAREPRO lipsticks last easily for up to eight hours.
They are vegan and come in a variety of beautiful colors, ranging from neutrals to plum, cherry red, and shades of brown.
bareMinerals BAREPRO is made with plant-based waxes extracted from jojoba plants and sunflower seeds. The waxes are then infused with berry oils, baobab, and a range of other nourishing minerals to ensure comfortable wear and prevent dryness. Your lips remain conditioned and nourished all day long.
These vegan, long-lasting lipsticks are also waterproof, smudge-proof, budge-proof, transfer-proof, fragrance-free, and toxin-free. There’s no sulfate, paraben, or phthalate in bareMinerals BAREPRO. bareMinerals is a clean beauty brand that’s also cruelty-free. It’s not 100% vegan, though.
7. Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss – Best Vegan Lip Gloss (link)
Hourglass is another completely vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand that intends to redefine luxury cosmetics and make the industry more vegan-friendly by identifying newer animal-free ingredients that offer the same results as their non-vegan counterparts.
Hourglass’ Unreal High Shine Volumizing vegan lip gloss is infused with shea butter, avocado oil, and the holy grail of skin hydration, hyaluronic acid. It’s incredibly hydrating and offers great coverage and a glossy finish.
The thick, creamy texture makes it easy to apply; it glides onto lips effortlessly and provides a flawless finish.
It doesn’t stay for too long, though. The average lasting period for Hourglass’ Unreal High Shine vegan lip gloss is two to three hours. However, it comes in 18 gorgeous colors, including several shades of pink, brown, red, and nude.
This vegan and cruelty-free lip gloss is also free of synthetic fragrances and does not contain any of the usual toxic chemicals used in cosmetics. These include mineral oil, GMOs, silicon, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, talc, and alcohol. This vegan lip gloss from Hourglass contains none of these.
Conclusion – Which is the Best Vegan Lipstick?
It’s hard to take one name because it depends on multiple factors. What shades, formulations, and finish are you looking for, brand characteristics that you consider before making a purchase, and price contribute to determining the best product.
For this reason, I have included a variety of different types of lipsticks in the list. They are all vegan and cruelty-free. Most of them also come from vegan brands, but a couple is from brands that aren’t 100% vegan.
They also have varying distinguishing characteristics, so you can choose the one that best suit your needs and preferences.
Did you find this article helpful? Interested to know vegan options for more makeup products? Check out my article Best Vegan Concealer Brands to hide your skin imperfections with guilt-free products.