Although there is no legal definition for vegan makeup and beauty products, there are some general standards. Dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldfaden, MD, defines vegan beauty as "products that are free of any animal byproducts or derivatives." But this begs the question -- aren't all beauty products vegan? You don't exactly think of your lipstick containing bacon bits. According to Paulina Nelega, registered clinical herbalist for Hair Essentials, there are some less-than-pleasant animal derivatives in non-vegan cosmetics. We're talking collagen, emu oil, fish scales, gelatin, shark cartilage, ambergris (which is essentially whale splooge) and many more. Yowza.
In addition to being fish-scale-free, vegan cosmetics also tend to be cruelty-free. That means, "There has been absolutely no form of animal testing at any point throughout the creation of the product, including the ingredients," says Goldfaden. (Though not all vegan makeup brands abide by this definition -- if animal testing is a deal-breaker for you, do your brand research).
We ventured through the world of vegan beauty in search of products that are not only ethical, but just as effective as their non-vegan counterparts. We picked our 14 favorites, many of which are organic and cruelty-free -- and all of which are so high quality, you'd never guess they were made without standard cosmetic ingredients.
Try these sensational products from some of the coolest vegan makeup and beauty brands out there -- your skin, hair (and karma) will thank you.
Vegan Lip Color That Lasts Forever
This unique lip tar packs a whole lot of pigment that lasts and lasts (and lasts some more). The stuff applies with the ease of a gloss -- especially with its new ready-to-wear design -- but wears more like a lipstick. Plus, it comes in about a million shades, from sophisticated pinks to edgy purples to costume-y yellows and blues.
Weightless Concealer That Airbrushes Skin
This stuff is the cat's pajamas -- it provides full coverage, camouflaging dark circles and spots, but has an ultra-lightweight texture (read: won't settle into fine lines). The formula contains healing peptides and hydrating sodium hyaluronate, so your skin doesn't dry out over the course of the day. Plus, it's easy to apply and blend. Consider us smitten.
Also try the makeup brand's vegan Sheer Revolution Lipstick, $22, which is both moisturizing and crazy-pigmented.
Matte Bronzer That's Made for Contouring
Even better, the blendable texture and matte finish make this the ideal contouring bronzer. Use a contour brush to sweep the powder under each cheekbone, across the temples and below the jawline for natural definition and glow. Even if it weren't vegan and paraben-free, we'd be all over this bronzer. Too Faced, by the way, is a 100 percent cruelty-free makeup brand. You can find a complete list of their vegan makeup products here.
Chemical-Free Polish That Stays Put
The long-lasting "lakurs", $16, come in an extensive variety of seasonal and classic colors, from sophisticated neutrals to sassy brights. Effortless to apply, quick-drying and richly pigmented, we were colored impressed.
Also try the brand's soothing Cuticle Oil, $25, which heals dry, cracked cuticles and hang-nails like a charm.