Have you just spent hundreds of dollars on animal-free, ethical makeup products? Before you boast about your commitment to animal safety, you may want to look at the tools you use to apply those products.
If you use makeup brushes, which most people do, and haven’t replaced them, chances are your makeup routine still isn’t completely vegan and cruelty-free.
Makeup brushes aren’t always vegan. Therefore, it’s important to consider who you’re buying from. To help make the process easier, I have put together a list of some of the best vegan makeup brushes on the market.
But, before we get onto the list, let’s clear a few things for those who may not know.
Why Are Some Makeup Brushes Non-Vegan?
While it’s now fairly common knowledge, in case you didn’t already know, makeup brushes are often made with animal hair. These are the ones that come with the name of ‘natural’ makeup brushes (another reason why you shouldn’t trust labels).
These hair can come from various animals, but the most common ones, as highlighted by PETA, include minks, sables, squirrels, horses, and goats.
How Do Makeup Brushes Contribute to Animal Cruelty?
It’s easy to understand why certain makeup brushes are non-vegan. But many struggle to understand how makeup brushes could contribute to animal cruelty. If you’re wondering the same, here’s a quick answer from PETA:
There is no such thing as a cruelty-free natural makeup brush. If a brush is made from animal hair, it contributes to animal cruelty, even if indirectly.
Animals are mistreated and often injured during the saving process, as workers are paid by how much hair they collect and not by how carefully or gently they snip hair from animals’ bodies.
Moreover, as is common knowledge, animals are kept in captivity under inhumane conditions for meat, fur, skin, and hair.
Even if the animals remain unharmed during the shaving process, the fact that they are caged and kept in poor conditions disqualifies anything obtained from them from the cruelty-free category.
So, don’t fall prey to misleading labels; choose your makeup brushes carefully.
Unlike makeup products, all vegan makeup brushes are cruelty-free, and vice versa.
However, brands often use the term ‘cruelty-free’ too loosely, especially with regard to makeup brushes. Therefore, it’s best to look for the ‘vegan’ label to make sure your brushes are 100% animal-free and ethical.
What is a Vegan Makeup Brush?
A vegan-friendly makeup brush is one with non-natural or synthetic bristles. The most commonly used materials for vegan makeup brushes are nylon, polyester, and Taklon.
7 Best Vegan Makeup Brushes
Here are some of the makeup gurus’ and enthusiasts’ favorite makeup brushes that are not made of animal hair (in no particular order of preference):
1. MOTD Lux Vegan Makeup Brush Essentials (LINK)
MOTD offers a range of PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free makeup brushes for beginners, experts, and professionals.
This particular set is great for beginners looking to secure the essential makeup tools but not sure what type of brushes they should buy. It has (as the name tells) all the basic brushes one may need to create whatever look they want, from everyday natural makeup to full glam.
What I particularly like about this MOTD vegan makeup brush set for beginners is that all the brushes come labeled, eliminating confusion and guesswork about what each brush is intended to be used for; a great feature for all the noobs out there.
The eight-brush set is made of Taklon, a high-quality synthetic polyester that closely mimics animal hair in both appearance and performance, minus the risk of skin allergies that some people may experience with animal hair.
These MOTD cruelty-free brushes are anti-bacterial, dry quickly, durable, and come in a simple and chic white and rose gold zipper pouch, making it easier to carry and store brushes.
Get your hands on this synthetic makeup brush set by MOTDto start your makeup journey on the right foot.
2. Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush #55 (LINK)
If you want to buy just one makeup brush, get this one. A domed-shaped face brush that won the Allure’s Reader’s Choice Award a few years back, this multi-purpose vegan makeup brush from Sephora can be used for foundation, powder, blush, or bronzer.
Its wand-shaped sleek handle is easy to hold and offers a good grip, and its synthetic bristles guarantee an airbrushed finish with all the different kinds of makeup formulations; powder, cream, and liquid.
3. EcoTools On-the-Go Makeup Brush Kit (LINK)
EcoTools is a cosmetic brand that really understood the assignment. Not only are its brushes 100% vegan and cruelty-free, but they also come in biodegradable packaging. With this, they offer great quality, performance, and value for money, too. What more does one want?
This vegan makeup brush set is essentially a travel kit (as the name clearly tells) with four essential brushes for full-face makeup. The brushes are crafted with high-quality eco-friendly materials. They have Taklon bristles attached to renewable bamboo handles with sleek ferrules made of recycled aluminum.
Compact and lightweight, the brushes can easily fit into your handbag, allowing you to get ready anywhere, anytime. EcoTools’ vegan makeup brush travel kit is light on the pocket, too.
4. EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Makeup Brush Kit (LINK)
Another tiny makeup brush kit from EcoTools (can you tell I am a fan of EcoTools brushes?), this one caters to all eye-makeup aficionados. It’s a two-piece set, but it gives you four different kinds of brushes (each brush has two heads) to define, shade, blend, and smudge; all it takes to create those perfect, dreamy eyes.
Like the ones mentioned above, these eco-friendly makeup brushes by EcoTool also feature synthetic Taklon bristles, recycled aluminum ferrules, and bamboo handles.
Using eco-friendly and recycled materials shows the brand’s commitment to promoting sustainability. If you’ve committed to do the same in your life, you should go for EcoTool’s makeup brushes. You won’t regret buying them.
5. Bdellium Tools Professional Makeup Brush Studio Series (LINK)
Featuring long, lacquered wooden handles and soft, durable bristles, this hand-crafted vegan makeup brush set will make an eco-friendly addition to your makeup bag. The brushes are anti-bacterial and come in a professional roll-up pouch that’s super convenient to store and carry around.
This vegan professional makeup brush set offers great value for money and caters to all your makeup needs for a full glam look.
Whether you’re searching for a complete vegan makeup brush kit for your personal use or a professional looking to add another brush set to your collection, this one from Bdellium Tools is a great option.
Bdellium is strictly against animal testing and doesn’t even sell its products in countries where it’s required by the law.
6. Niré Beauty Professional Makeup Brush Set (LINK)
This 15-piece award-winning vegan makeup brush set can be a great purchase if you’re looking for an all-in-one professional kit without breaking the bank. It contains 12 brushes, a case, a makeup sponge, and a brush cleaner.
Like MOTD brushes, these also come individually labeled, so there’s n confusion about what purpose they are intended to serve. Moreover, the kit includes a detailed guide explaining the use of every tool it contains.
These features make it an excellent choice for beginners willing to learn and master the art of makeup application.
The brush set is not only vegan and cruelty-free but also environment-friendly. It’s handcrafted with premium quality synthetic fibers, sustainably sourced wood, and recycled aluminum bonding to provide users with quality choices in the ethical and sustainable beauty category.
7. SHANY Bamboo Makeup Brush Set (LINK)
Exuding class and quality from their shape and finish, these vegan makeup brushes stand a class apart from their contenders. Their luxurious appearance may make you think they will cost a lot.
But that’s not true. If you’re looking for an affordable vegan makeup brush set that isn’t cheap quality, it will be really hard (if not impossible) to find a set better than this one from SHANY.
With bamboo handles and premium quality synthetic hair, these brushes come inside a cotton canvas pouch that helps keep dust and bacteria away. The set includes seven brushes, one each for foundation/powder, blush, bronzer, concealer, liner, eye shadow, and eyelash-brow.
The synthetic bristles are soft enough for sensitive skin yet durable enough to last you a long time.
SHANY may be a newer name in the beauty industry (the brand launched in 2006 only), but its products are no less than those of seasoned industry players we have known for decades. The brand is PETA-approved.
8. E.l.f Flawless Face Brush (LINK)
Any vegan and cruelty-free beauty product list cannot be completed without mentioning e.l.f. A 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand since the very beginning and known for offering quality products at great prices, e.l.f is a leading player in the ethical beauty industry.
Like other beauty categories, E.l.f has a good variety of makeup brushes, too. This Flawless Face Brush is one of them.
Whether you’re looking to put together a brush kit of your own or want a multi-purpose makeup brush, e.l.f’s Flawless Face Brush makes an excellent option.
High-quality and extremely affordable, it can be used as a foundation or powder brush to contour and define your face or to apply blush. Its synthetic fibers guarantee a smooth and flawless application with the lightest touch.
Why Choose Synthetic Makeup Brushes?
Besides being vegan-friendly, there are several reasons why synthetic makeup brushes are better than natural ones. Here are some of them:
- Synthetic bristles are more durable
- They are hypoallergenic
- They repel dirt and bacteria more than their natural counterparts
- Synthetic fibers are less porous and hence, are easier to clean and disinfect
‘Cruelty-Free’ Cosmetics Brands That Offer Animal Hair Brushes
It’s easy to presume that a brand that characterizes itself as 100% cruelty-free wouldn’t make makeup brushes with animal hair. But it isn’t always the case in reality.
There are some cruelty-free cosmetics brands that offer makeup brushes made of animal hair, and you may want to steer clear of them. These include:
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Studio Makeup
- Inglot Cosmetics
- Jane Iredale
- Ben Nye
- LA Girl
- Gabriel Cosmetics
- Surratt Beauty
- Natasha Denona
- Mineral Fusion
Are Mac makeup brushes vegan?
Mac cosmetics may not be cruelty-free, but its makeup brushes are. The brand replaced animal hair in its makeup brushes with 100% synthetic bristles a few years ago.
Are L’Oreal makeup brushes vegan?
They are. L’Oreal banned the use of animal hair in its makeup brushes in 2021. The brand, however, isn’t 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Are Morphe brushes vegan?
Some are. Morphe’s line of makeup brushes includes both synthetic (vegan) and natural (animal hair) brushes.
Are Sigma brushes vegan?
Sigma Beauty brushes weren’t always vegan, but they have been animal and cruelty-free for several years now.
Whether you’re a professional, a makeup aficionado, or someone who uses cosmetics only sparingly, one thing that your makeup bag must have is a set of brushes. You may not necessarily need an extensive 15 or 20-piece brush set, but you do need a few to get a flawless look every time.
Choose your items from our list of the best vegan makeup brushes to get the best value for your money.
Not sure what makeup brushes you really need? Check out the following video to know…
Since you’re transitioning to vegan beauty and buying animal-free makeup, how about picking some vegan-friendly skincare items alongside, too? Check out my article Best Vegan Skincare Brands to know where to get your skincare items from.