Transitioning to a Vegan Lifestyle

Many beauty products are labeled vegan or cruelty-free, but it’s important to remember that “vegan” means no animal ingredients and “cruelty-free” doesn’t necessarily mean no testing on animals. Some companies may use synthetic ingredients or preservatives that aren’t harmful, but are still not considered vegan.

The vegan beauty trend is growing and even big companies like Dove, Axe and Dermalogica are taking notice. Here are a few of our favorite Vegan beauty products to try.

No Animal Ingredients

If you’re a new vegan, transitioning to a plant-based diet can seem overwhelming. After all, there are animal products lurking in everything from toilet paper to your skincare routine. The good news is that avoiding animal products in beauty is easier than you might think.

Unlike non-vegan products, vegan products do not contain any ingredients derived from animals or animal byproducts, including beeswax (also labeled as cera alba), lanolin, carmine, honey, silk, milk protein, gelatin, and more. Instead, vegan products use naturally sourced, vegan-friendly ingredients like shea butter, olive squalene to replace squalene derived from shark liver, and synthetic pearls instead of guanine from fish scales.

In addition to ensuring that all of their ingredients are vegan, many vegan beauty brands go the extra mile to ensure their manufacturing processes and packaging are ecofriendly. Athrbeauty offers gorgeous eye shadow palettes that are nontoxic, sustainable, and made with plant-based ingredients, while Artist Couture has a glittery highlighter that’s cruelty-free and vegan.

No Cruelty

There’s a lot of confusion between vegan, cruelty-free and vegetarian beauty products. To be considered vegan, cosmetics cannot contain any ingredients or byproducts that are derived from animals. This includes common beauty ingredients like beeswax, honey, lanolin and carmine. These can be found in many brands that are not specifically considered to be vegan.

Cosmetic chemist Ginger King says that the best way to ensure your makeup is vegan is by reading the label. She recommends looking for products that have been certified by Leaping Bunny, a symbol recognized internationally that guarantees the product has been tested on animals at no point during the manufacturing process.

Another good indicator is to look for a brand that has been certified by PETA (PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). This certification ensures that a brand is against animal testing and will not sell any of their products in mainland China where they are required to test on animals.


Many consumers who opt for vegan beauty products also value environmental sustainability. This means choosing brands that offer minimal packaging and materials that are biodegradable or recyclable. You can look for certifications like The Vegan Society, Leaping Bunny, and PETA to find brands with environmentally conscious practices.

Brands with a commitment to eco-friendly makeup include lilah b, which offers serum highlighters and lipsticks with a clear vegan collection, and ilia, which has gorgeous foundations, cheek and lip tints, and finishing powders. Both offer a recycling program to send your empties back to be recycled, and use plastic-free glass and aluminum.

Another great option is RMS Beauty, which has a range of products with cute little tins that are refillable and reusable. They also have a wide selection of zero waste face oils, with blends made with nourishing ingredients like oat milk and argan oil. They ship without plastic, and are certified vegan. Plus, their labels are made from recycled paper and Forest Stewardship Certified bamboo, and you can plant them to grow flowers!


Once upon a time, vegan beauty was a bit of a rarity – it would be found tucked away in Holland & Barrett or gathering dust at the back of Whole Foods. But today, with 20% of Gen Z in the UK adopting a meat-free lifestyle, vegan-only brands are having their moment in the sun.

As well as being cruelty free and environmentally friendly, vegan products are healthy for the skin too – meaning they’re packed with beneficial ingredients that have been ethically sourced. So if you’re in the market for some new skincare, try these plant-based picks:

This nourishing facial oil from Monday Muse is a must-have for acne-prone skin. Made with cold-pressed oils like prickly pear seed and black cumin seeds, it will soothe and balance even the most temperamental complexions. The brand is also Leaping Bunny certified, PETA Business Friend and halal-certified so you can feel good about your purchase. £48, Sephora.

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