Vegan Makeup: 11 Stunning & Chic Plant-Based Products To Try
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
If you follow a vegan lifestyle, one area worth paying attention to is your makeup bag. The thing is, you may imagine clean and vegan beauty go hand-in-hand, but that's not always the case; while they both can emphasize plant-derived actives, just because a product is marketed as clean or natural doesn't mean it is also vegan. And just because something's vegan, doesn't mean it's also natural—many vegan brands rely on synthetic ingredients (not always a bad thing either, we should note) for their formulas.
The point is that if you want to shop clean and vegan, you might have to take an extra close look at that ingredient label.
What does "vegan" mean for makeup?
Let's be clear: Vegan makeup refers to products without any animal-derived ingredients. (It's different from cruelty-free, which you can learn more about here). That said, there are a few common players you might not realize are animal-derived: Honey, collagen, and beeswax are perhaps the most recognizable, as they're found in many clean beauty items (ever come across a collagen-infused lip balm with a beeswax base?). Clean and natural, sure, but vegan, they are not. There's also carmine—a dye commonly used in bold, red lipsticks that's actually derived from beetles.
Not to fret: The vegan makeup market is loaded with playful options and luxe formulas, and it's not so difficult to find brands that share your plant-based values. Here, we've rounded up the very best.
Beautycounter Color Intense Lipstick
Beloved by beauty editors and insiders alike, Beautycounter's lipsticks are a true fan favorite. Thanks to jojoba esters and castor seed oil, the velvety formula practically glides across your lips. And that color payoff? Nothing short of brilliant: a vibrant, classic red that leaves a satin finish. Evidence that vegan makeup certainly doesn't skimp on bold color.
Color Intense Lipstick, Beautycounter ($34)
Mented Cosmetics Blush
A vegan and cruelty-free option, this blendable blush is a must-have. The peachy shade is perfect for just a hint of color—a staple for that slightly flushed, "no-makeup look." With vitamin E for some welcomed nourishment, this blush is your go-to for a subtle glow. You'll have people wondering whether you just left a yoga class or went for a brisk jog. You know, sans sweat.
Blush, Mented Cosmetics ($22)
Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
Despite the ode to lactose, Milk's entire brand is 100% vegan—meaning you can't really go wrong with any of these gorgeous formulas. Perhaps our favorite is the lip-to-cheek multiple, formulated with mango butter, avocado oil, and apricot oil to hydrate your skin plump as you blend in the pigment. Tap on your cheekbones and lips to amp up your features and provide natural-looking color.
Lip + Cheek, Milk Makeup ($28)
Journ Beauty Alpenglow
A favorite from celebrity makeup artist Camara Aunique, this concealer is the perfect antidote to bleary-eyed mornings. Why? It's purple upon application, meaning it instantly brightens dark spots for any skin tone. (It also contains vitamin C, just in case you needed some extra brightening properties.) Just apply wherever you need to lift and even, blending in for a seamless finish. Dull and sallow skin no more.
Alpenglow, Journ Beauty ($39)
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara
Looking for a mascara that leaves your lashes feathery soft? This Juice Beauty mascara has them covered, with a formula that volumizes beyond belief. Thanks to vitamin E and organic aloe vera juice, your flutters are conditioned, never crunchy or clumpy. Plus, it's Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free.
Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara, Juice Beauty ($24)
Touch In SOL Pretty Filter Mattish Liquid Eyeshadow
Another bold number that proves vegan makeup is far from boring. For showstopping neon lids, swipe a couple of layers of this fun liquid shadow (the more layers, the more matte it will appear; apply a single swipe for a more sheer look). If you're looking to upgrade your winged liner game, feel free to also brush it on as a thick eyeliner. Ball's in your court, here.
Pretty Filter Mattish Liquid Eyeshadow, Touch In SOL ($16)
LAWLESS Summer Skin Velvet Matte Bronzer
This finely milled powder bronzer glides effortlessly on the skin for a rich, smooth finish. Whether you're going for a full contour or an allover bronze, this formula is versatile and blendable (the texture feels nothing short of velvet). Pro tip: Use a large, fluffy brush on the collarbones and décolletage for a natural, sun-kissed look.
Summer Skin Velvet Matte Bronzer, LAWLESS ($38)
UOMA Beauty Say What?! Foundation
Ever met a foundation that's full-coverage, yet buildable? Enter UOMA Beauty's vibrant-matte finish, with a weightless formula to blur imperfections in a resounding 51 shades. A caky cover-up this is not: You can customize your coverage with the application, warming it up between your fingers for more of a sheer foundation.
Say What?! Foundation, UOMA Beauty ($39)
ILIA Beauty Essential Brow Natural Volumizing Brow Gel
Brow gels are admittedly more difficult to make vegan: Many are formulated with beeswax to coat the hairs and keep them fluffed. ILIA's, however, uses shea butter for optimal control, along with sunflower seed oil and aloe vera juice to condition the brow hairs and keep them touchably flexible. The result? Full, lush arches in just a few swipes.
Essential Brow Natural Volumizing Brow Gel, ILIA Beauty ($26)
NakedPoppy Clean Liquid Eyeliner
For those partial to a strong, winged liner, this liquid number is your best bet. The precise tip lends flawless application, and it's formulated with cornflower water to soothe the delicate eye area (you know, in case you need to remove and reapply a couple of times before getting the wing just right).
Clean Liquid Eyeliner, NakedPoppy ($18)
OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Face Primer
Thanks to its banana-powder-inspired pigments, this primer instantly offers an illuminating glow that's hard to ignore. It's all about the dew: packed with vitamin C and E to nourish and protect the skin, as well as squalane for a boost of hydration. Feel free to apply this star product under your makeup base, or on its own for a bout of brightness. It even doubles as a highlighter—it's that glow-inducing.
Banana Bright Face Primer, OLEHENRIKSEN ($38)
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.