Whether you’re trialling a vegan lifestyle for the first time or are a fully-fledged vegan in search of some makeup inspo, you’ve come to the right place! With hundreds of vegan makeup must-haves from your favourite brands, shopping for vegan makeup at Superdrug has never been easier. So join us as we take you through a little bit of terminology training, (yes, there’s a difference between vegan and cruelty-free), as well as some non-vegan ingredients to look out for. What’s more, we’ll finish up with our vegan makeup top picks. Your makeup collection is in for a serious glow up…
Let’s start with the basics…
What is vegan makeup?
Vegan makeup describes products that are free from any animal by-products. A by-product can be an animal ingredient or animal-derived ingredient. So, for example, a vegan lipstick wouldn’t contain the ingredient beeswax as this is derived directly from bees.
However, the word ‘vegan’ is not to be confused with ‘cruelty-free’. A product that is labelled cruelty free has been produced without any form of animal testing throughout the creation and production process. But here’s where things get a little tricky! Many people assume that vegan and cruelty free go hand in hand, but vegan products can actually be tested on animals, and cruelty-free products can contain animal by products.
How to be sure if a product is vegan
For extra peace of mind when purchasing products, look out for certified logos on the packaging. To ensure a product is vegan, check for certifications such as The Vegan Action ‘Certified Vegan’ logo. If you want to check whether a product is cruelty free, look for the ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo.
For our Superdrug Own Brand ranges, we’ve also created a set of symbols to be super transparent about what to expect from our products, including a vegan symbol. Find out more here!
Animal by-products you need to look out for
To make your life easier we’ve picked out common ingredients that you will want to avoid if you’re looking for vegan beauty products.
Often used in anti-ageing products due to its plumping and firming effect, collagen is naturally produced in animals. In order to get the protein for beauty purposes, it is normally taken from dead animal’s bones, connective tissue and skin – definitely not vegan-friendly!
Beeswax (also known as cera alba, cera lava)
This is taken directly from a beehive and can be used in eye shadow, foundation or lipstick. It is taken from worker bees and can take six or more pounds of honey to create just one pound of wax.
Known by many different names such as cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, E120 and carminic acid – phew! This deep red colour is taken from crushed insect body and legs and used to dye makeup products such as lipstick and eyeshadow.
Used to give you luscious hair this is a protein that is naturally found in mammals, it’s generally taken from hair, nails and horns.
Guanine (aka CI 75170)
This gives extra shine and sparkle to your blusher, eyeshadow and nail polish. It is created by scraping fish scales off dead fish and soaking them in alcohol to create an iridescent solution.
Sometimes used in lip balms and lotions, this is a fat that’s created from the grease in sheep’s hair.
Commonly used in various moisturisers and cosmetics, this ingredient is made from the oils found in the liver of sharks.
Not to be confused with squalane, which is a cruelty-free alternative usually made from either olive or sugar cane.
Need some vegan makeup inspo? Try these…
NYX Micro Brow Eyebrow Pencil
Whether you’re after a bushy brow or the laminated look (bang on trend, btw!) the Micro Brow Eyebrow Pencil by NYX is a must for your makeup bag. With an ultra-fine brow pencil on one end and a spoolie on the other, you’ll have everything you need to create tiny hair-like strokes for flawlessly fluffy brows.
MUA Pro Base Long Wear Matte Finish Foundation
For those on the hunt for a foundation that does it all, call off the search. Enter: MUA Pro Base Long Wear Matte Finish Foundation a.k.a. the foundation you’ll wish you had in your kit sooner. Complete with a vitamin E enriched formula that’s heavy on hydration and easy on shine, this foundation gives a comfortable matte finish that looks fab right up until it’s time to take it off.
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
Collection were on to something when they named it Lasting Perfection Concealer! The long-lasting formula effortlessly melts into the skin to conceal blemishes and hide dark circles, all while giving a lightweight, virtually undetectable finish. Oh, and did we mention that there’s twenty-two shades to choose from? Spoiler: it’s worth the hype.
E.L.F Lip Plumping Gloss
Enriched with lip-loving ingredients like vitamin E and coconut oil, this high shine (vegan and cruelty free) gloss glides onto the lips and gets to work plumping and hydrating. Whether you want to give your lips a daily dose of hydration or save the shine for special occasions, the Plumping Gloss from E.L.F deserves a spot in your lip line up.
Maybelline Colossal Curl Bounce Mascara
If you missed the TikTok hype for this revolutionary mascara, then now’s the time to listen up! The Colossal Curl Bounce Mascara is Maybelline’s answer to luscious, long and lifted lashes. The vegan, memory curl formula will have you waving goodbye to clumps and flakes (good riddance, we say) and welcoming big, bouncy and beautiful lashes!
Find more vegan makeup must haves!
About Rosa Morell
Rosa is a creative copywriter who has been writing about beauty, fragrance and her personal interest, sustainable fashion, for over two years. When she’s not hunting in her local charity shops for vintage homeware, she’s scrolling through the latest beauty trends on TikTok. Her favourite range at Superdrug? B. Skincare.