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Are cruelty free products vegan?

I recently discovered that many people don't know the answer to that question even some folks who work at Ulta. My daughter stopped in at our local Ulta store to shop for makeup for a vegan friend. She consulted a sales associate to point out the vegan brands. The associate quickly pulled out her list of cruelty free brands as a list for vegan brands.

The answer to the question "Are cruelty free products vegan?" is sometimes but not always.

Cruelty free means the cosmetic product and it's ingredients have not been tested on laboratory animals. Alternative, highly precise non animal testing methods, such as in-vitro testing, are used to determine product safety instead of torturing caged animals. 

Vegan means free from animal ingredients and animal by products. Animal includes insects, too. Carmine, honey, beeswax and milk which are a few animal derived ingredients.

A cosmetic may be cruelty free yet contain animal ingredients. For example, Burt's Bees is a nice, natural cruelty free brand which contains beeswax, royal jelly, honey, lanolin, carmine and buttermilk in some products. It's not vegan. It's a great cruelty free brand that has some vegan products within the line.


You may be fine with ingredients like milk and honey which are produced by animals but not fine with ingredients that result in the killing of an animal such as collagen or gelatin. Ingredients produced by animals without the loss of life of the animal are considered to be vegetarian but not vegan

Urban Decay is another great cruelty free brand. They have many vegan products listed in a vegan section on their website, but not all of their products are vegan.

Tarte and Too Faced are two more big name cruelty free brands that offer a list of some vegan products on their sites but not all of their products are vegan.

Even inexpensive cruelty free brands including NYX, Wet n Wild and Milani offer a nice variety of vegan options, but not all of their products are vegan.

Now, can a vegan brand tested on animals? I highly doubt it. I can't think of a company that avoids animal ingredients yet tests on animals.

Get familiar with animal ingredients. There may be some surprising animal derived ingredients that you never knew about. Always, Always, Always read the ingredient lists on products.

Click here for a list of animal derived ingredients. 

Makeup Brushes

Don't assume that your makeup brushes are vegetarian or vegan. What do you think natural bristles are? Many makeup brushes are made from animal hair including goat hair, ox hair, boar hair, horse/pony hair, sable, etc. I have been a makeup artist for many years. When I first started, many moons ago🌙, it was virtually impossible to find cruelty free makeup brushes or cruelty free art brushes for painting. Things are much better now.

Many companies are jumping on the cruelty free vegan makeup brush band wagon and are creating really great synthetic material, such as Taklon, makeup brushes. Wet n Wild, Eco Tools, NYX, Spectrum, e.l.f., It Cosmetics, Too Faced (Teddy Bear Hair Brushes), Urban Decay all make vegan brushes though some are not 100% vegan companies.

You can make life easy on yourself and buy from 100% vegan brands. I found it's not so hard to do. You will be surprised at what cosmetic brands are 100% vegan. Every product in their line is vegan.

vegan makeup
100% (or almost 100%)Vegan Cosmetic Brands Available Retail Stores

e.l.f. available at some Target, Kmart, Walgreens, Walmart, Old Navy, CVS Stores

Kat Von D Beauty (is transitioning to 100% vegan. Look for #Veganalert on her website). Available at Sephora

Pacifica available at Ulta

Eco Tools brushes for makeup, skin care. Available at many retail stores including Ulta, Kmart, Walgreen. Consult website for list of retailers

CoverFX All but 2 products, MintTint FX & MintGlaze FX, are vegan. Available at Sephora

100% Vegan Cosmetic Brands You can Order

Obsessive Compulsive (signature product Lip Tar)

Illuminaire Cosmetics available for retail in some states at salons and spas. Visit their site for locations

Everyday Minerals


Aniology (highly pigmented organic lipstick)

P.H.B. Ethical Beauty  (a smashing brand from across the pond!)

Lime Crime 

Jeffree Star

Arbonne sold through Arbonne Consultants

Click here for more brands that are 100% Vegan

Cosmetic Brands that Offer Many Vegan Options Available Retail Stores

Urban Decay available at Ulta and Sephora

Tarte available at Ulta and Sephora

Too Faced available at Ulta and Sephora

Lush available at Lush stores nationwide. Lush products are 100% vegetarian and more than 80% vegan

Milani available at CVS and Walgreens

Visit the websites of these brands for lists of their vegan products and store locators.

Vegan Nail Polish

Zoya My Favorite! available at salons and spas

Orly available at salons, spas and Sally Beauty

Color Club  available at salons and spas

Spa Ritual available at salons and spas

Piggy Polish available online and some retail locations

Click here for more vegan nail polish brands

       Have a Beautiful Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

PS: Thanks for using my amazon & direct links💋
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. That keeps my blog running and supports the care of animals in need!😸


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