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Vegan Beauty Brands To Know – The Best Skincare, Makeup & Haircare Picks

There’s a lot to get excited about when it comes to vegan beauty. If you’re thinking about giving your beauty stash an animal-friendly shake-up, there’s never been a better time. Dozens of trailblazing brands like Milk Makeup, Cover FX and Le Labo delivering on trending and luxe-feeling formulas without compromising on their ethics. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg. 

While the vegan beauty options available were once minimal, the sector has evolved endlessly. And nowadays? Vegan beauty products easily stand up against their non-vegan counterparts, with ingredient innovations meaning that the formulas deliver on performance, where both quality and price are not compromised. From powerful pigments, to potent plant-based alternatives, choosing vegan beauty isn’t purely a matter of ethics anymore, it’s a lifestyle.

Even so, more of us are questioning the need for animal-derived ingredients, especially given the huge advancements that have been made in plant or lab-based alternatives. And the comparatively earth-friendly impact of veganism, undeniably factors in, too.

But what exactly is vegan beauty?

Strictly speaking, vegan beauty means products that contain no animal derivatives (which includes ingredients such as lanolin, from sheep’s wool, honey and beeswax from bees and carmine, a red pigment derived from insects that’s often used in lipsticks). So although it goes hand in hand with the Leaping Bunny accreditations for Cruelty-free, it’s not quite the same. Cruelty-free means that the product was developed without any tests on animals, while vegan means that the product also does not include any animal-derived ingredients.

Isn’t animal testing already banned in the UK?

Animal-testing is banned in the UK and Europe in general, so none of the products you buy here have been tested on animals. However, some brands that sell in China (and many choose to), used to first subject their products to third-party animal testing. Therefore, some vegans prefer not to buy from beauty brands that sell in China, as it indirectly supports animal cruelty. However as of 1st May China has officially removed the mandatory animal testing requirements for imported ‘general’ cosmetics.

General cosmetics includes beauty products that do not have claims such as ‘anti-ageing, skin whitening or anti-acne’. These comprise the bulk of the market and that means that some of our favourite brands will not need to compromise animal testing if they want to sells their goods in China.

@sarah_novio / Instagram

Are vegan beauty products any good?

The problem is, historically, vegan beauty has been frowned upon for ineffectual formulas and the lack of luxe-factor. But, that’s changed rapidly in recent years with an influx of exciting fully vegan brands like KVD, Le Labo and Skyn Iceland creating high-performing, indulgent-feeling options and affordable brands like E.L.F and Superdrug’s B. Beauty range providing high-street vegan alternatives.

Vegan brands vs vegan products

Alongside fully-committed vegan brands are a host of beauty brands heading in the right direction. While their entire offering may not be vegan (just yet), many like Charlotte Tilbury, Urban Decay and Glossier offer up a wide range of vegan options. They just require a little extra research to ensure each product you pick is vegan.

To help you on your vegan journey, we’ve put together a guide that spells out the difference between vegan, natural and organic, a list of the top vegan beauty products and a scoop on beauty products you didn’t know were vegan.

But first, these are the very best, fully vegan beauty brands you need to be shopping from…

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