The 13 Best Vegan Makeup Brands and Products of 2022 For a Guilt-Free Routine

Milk Makeup takes the cake for their 100% vegan and cruelty-free products

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Best Vegan Makeup Brands

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Veganism has been on the rise for years — and not just when it comes to what you eat. In fact, more and more people have been paying closer attention to what’s in their makeup products.

But what makes a beauty product vegan? “For a product to be vegan, it cannot contain ingredients that are derived from or created by an animal, including insects,” says Cara Bondi, a cosmetic chemist who over 22 years of experience at major beauty companies like Seventh Generation, Tata Harper, Ursa Major, and Sol de Janeiro.

Between all of the confusing beauty terms (clean, natural, cruelty-free — you get the idea), it can be difficult to find products that are actually vegan. So to make things easier for you, we researched and asked for experts' advice to find the best vegan makeup products of 2022. Though there are tons of vegan beauty products and brands, Milk Makeup nabbed our Best Overall spot. The entire line has been vegan since 2018 and has successfully created impactful formulas in almost every category. 

From mascara and eyeliner to foundation and blush, keep reading for the 13 best vegan makeup products and brands of 2022.

Best Overall Vegan Brand: Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup

Sephora

What We Love: The brand is 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free

What We Don’t Love: There could be more shades within their bronzer options.

Milk Makeup has been formulating vegan products long before vegan makeup was getting attention from beauty experts and trend forecasters. Not only are all of the products 100 percent vegan (and cruelty-free!), they’re also offered at an affordable price point, with most being under $30.

As the industry has changed, Milk Makeup has stayed true to their core values: Never compromising on ingredients, while creating impactful formulas in almost every category. Nearly every product becomes a viral hit, and their campaigns are just as beautiful as they are effective in telling the stories of diverse individuals within their community. Some of our favorite Milk Makeup products are the Hydro Grip Primer, Bionic Glow, Infinity Long Wear Eyeliner, and Kush Mascara.

Bestsellers: Hydro Grip Primer, Kush Mascara, Matte Bronzer, Sunshine Skin Tint | Price Range: $14 - $45 | Leaping Bunny-Certified: Yes

Best Vegan Primer: PYT Beauty Baby Got Base Face Primer

PYT Beauty Baby Got Base Face Primer

Target

What We Love: It’s super light, hydrating, and utilizes a pump function for mess-free application.

What We Don’t Love: It’s difficult to get every last drop without cutting the tube open.

Baby Got Base is a weightless, serum-like primer that preps your skin, and creates a smooth canvas for your makeup. Featuring a unique blend of hyaluronic acid, jojoba seed oil, coconut oil, and aloe extract, the primer works to plump skin for a more youthful appearance and keeps your complexion hydrated while giving makeup a strong base to grip onto. Though the vegan formula already makes the product more earth-friendly, PYT took things a step further with the packaging: It’s made with post-consumer recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable. 

Size: 0.53 oz. | Shade: Clear | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Jojoba seed oil, Coconut oil

Best Vegan Foundation: Caliray Free Dreaming Skin Wellness Diffusing Tint

Caliray Free Dreaming Skin Wellness Diffusing Tint

Sephora

What We Love: It feels lightweight on the skin and creates a natural, sunkissed glow.

What We Don’t Love: The product can sometimes separate, so you have to remember to shake it before each use.

As a beauty writer, I try a lot of products, and this is the best skin tint I have ever tried — vegan or non-vegan. The lightweight liquid texture provides medium coverage, while still looking like my skin and allowing my freckles to shine through. It’s impeccable at toning down redness and evening skin tone — almost acting like a real-life Instagram filter. Less is definitely more with this, too: All you need is a little dot on each section of your face, then blend it in with your fingers for a natural, sunkissed finish. Just be sure to shake it well before each use because the formula tends to separate otherwise.

Size: 1 oz. | Shades: 10 | Coverage: Medium

Best Vegan Concealer: LYS Beauty Triple Fix Brightening Concealer

LYS Beauty Triple Fix Brightening Concealer

Sephora

What We Love: Despite being full coverage, this product doesn’t feel heavy, and seamlessly blends into skin. 

What We Don’t Love: It can crease if your under eyes aren’t hydrated enough.

Whether you want to conceal under eye circles, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, or redness, Triple Fix is the vegan concealer to grab. Made with hydrating and antioxidant-packed ingredients like hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and watermelon extract, it smoothly swipes onto the skin and blends out easily. Plus, it’s available in an impressive 25 shades, so anyone can find their perfect match. “What I love the most about this ultra-creamy concealer is that it satisfies the craving for coverage while giving normal to dry skin types a boost of hydration,” says Tisha Thompson, Founder and CEO of LYS Beauty. “With highly buildable coverage, the vegan formula is designed to build and layer beautifully on the skin without accentuating fine lines or pores.”

Size: N/A | Shades: 25 | Coverage: Full

Best Vegan Blush: Merit Flush Balm

Merit Flush Balm

Sephora

What We Love: The stick formula is multi-use and lasts forever.

What We Don’t Love: It has a sheer, natural finish, so if you want a more dramatic blush look, you may want to go with something else.

The beauty of Flush Balm is that it’s multi-use — which makes it so fun to play around with. Infused with vitamin E to condition skin, this tint gives you a sheer, natural flush that’s perfect for those days when you want a no-makeup makeup look. The unique dome shape of the product makes it easy to swipe directly onto your face, whether that be on your cheeks, lips, or eyes. You can also rub the product off onto your fingers or a beauty blender for more control (personally, I use the latter method to avoid harsh lines).

Size: 0.31 oz. | Shades: 5 | Finish: Satin

Best Vegan Bronzer: Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer

Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer

Sephora

What We Love: This bronzer contains moisturizing mango butter and green tea extract to calm skin.

What We Don’t Love: We wish this came in a stick form for easier application.

Vegan beauty brand, Tower28, knows exactly what they’re doing: They create all of their products with sensitive skin in mind. “​​We want our customers to feel 100% confident about using our products, and a big part of that is doing away with any animal testing or animal by-products,” says Amy Liu, Founder of Tower28. “We actually went one step further, and the entire line is PETA-certified.” The Bronzino Bronzer is ideal for maintaining that healthy, summer glow we love all year round. The creamy, illuminating formula is easily blendable once it’s warmed up, and is best applied using your fingers. Though, we do wish it came in a stick format for a more seamless application.

Size: 0.158 oz. | Shades: 5 | Finish: Glowy

Best Vegan Highlighter: Saie Glowy Super Gel Lightweight Dewy Highlighter

Saie Glowy Super Gel Lightweight Dewy Highlighter

Sephora

What We Love: The formula feels like water on the skin and leaves you with a gorgeous, dewy glow.

What We Don’t Love: Sometimes the product can come out a bit separated, so you need to remember to give it a shake before using.

Highlighter formulas have changed a lot over the years — what was once made to be a finisher on the high points of your cheeks has transformed into a catch all product to give your entire face an ethereal glow. Saie Glowy Super Gel is one of those highlighters that can be used in a variety of ways: Apply it on bare skin for a radiant glow, dab it on your cheekbones and nose to finish your makeup, or blend it with your SPF for a glass skin effect. The consistency is light and airy, and it feels refreshing when applied thanks to the papaya extract in the formula. With so much to love about this product, it’s no wonder a ton of celebs and influencers, including Instagram’s fashion it-girl Matilda Djerf, say it’s their go-to highlighter. 

Size: 1 oz. | Shades: 2 | Finish: Glowy

Best Vegan Eyeliner: Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner

Thrive Causemetics

What We Love: You’ll never need to sharpen this pencil thanks to the retractable design. 

What We Don’t Love: The waterproof formula can be difficult to remove at the end of the day.

Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner is different from most eyeliners because when they say smudge proof, they mean it. The formula utilizes the brand’s signature semi-permanent micro pigment technology, which enhances the hue of the product, and prevents fallout — not even sweat or tears can get this eyeliner to budge once it’s set. The eyeliner is also hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested, and proven to be non-irritating, so even those with super sensitive eyes can use it.

Size: N/A | Shades: 7 | Formula: Kohl

Best Vegan Eyeshadow: ILIA The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette

Ilia The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette

Sephora

What We Love: It’s compact, making it extremely travel-friendly.

What We Don’t Love: It only comes in two colorways.

At first glance, this minimalist palette may seem average, but once you dip your brush into the buttery formulas, the color payoff and versatility will completely shock you. The compact features four matte and two shimmer shadows, which allow you to create seemingly endless combinations for both day and night. Each shade is more than a pretty hue — they’re also formulated with vitamin E, jojoba seed oil, and honeysuckle flower extract to nourish and soothe skin.

Size: 0.05 oz. | Shades: 6 shades in each palette, 2 colorways | Finishes: 4 matte shadows and 2 shimmery shadows

Best Vegan Brow Gel: Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel

4.9
Kosas Air Brow Tinted

Kosas

What We Love: It contains castor oil to support brow growth.

What We Don’t Love: The product sometimes flakes. 

The Kosas Air Brow is a cult-favorite product — if you’re on BeautyTok, it’s nearly impossible to scroll through without seeing it. It not only delivers amazing volume to your eyebrows, it also has three ingredients to support healthy brows and hair growth: Castor oil, panthenol, and peptides. Available in nine versatile shades, including Auburn and Grey, it’s easy for everyone to find a match. One note: Be sparing with this product as it can flake if you use too much. If a tint isn’t quite for you, it also comes in clear.

Size: 0.12 oz. | Shades: 10 | Wear time: 8 hours

Best Vegan Mascara: MILK MAKEUP KUSH High Volumizing Mascara

4.8
MILK MAKEUP KUSH High Volumizing Mascara

Sephora

What We Love: It contains ingredients that condition eyelashes and promote growth.

What We Don’t Love: Because the brush is thick and you may experience clumping.

If you’re after super thick, full, volumized lashes, the KUSH Mascara from Milk Makeup will give you that in just one swipe. The formula contains hemp-derived cannabis oil to condition and smooth lashes over time; and, instead of beeswax (which isn’t vegan!), it uses rice bran wax to keep fibers locked onto lashes all day, preventing fallout. The unique, criss-cross bristles on the wand only amplify the formula, coating every single lash from root to tip, but it can sometimes be clumpy, so don’t apply too many coats. 

Size: 0.34 oz. | Shades: 1 | Best for: Volumizing

Best Vegan Lipstick: KVD Beauty Everlasting Hyperlight Liquid Lipstick

KVD Beauty Everlasting Hyperlight Liquid Lipstick

Sephora

What We Love: The formula is extremely pigmented and lasts for up to eight hours.

What We Don’t Love: They renamed their best-selling shade Lolita to Queen of Poisons, which can be confusing for those wanting a restock.

I recently wore this lipstick to an outdoor wedding in 95-degree heat, and it lasted me through the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing thereafter. Sure, by the end of the night the color was looking a little dull, but for the most part, this lipstick was stained on my lips. Though the formula is matte, it contains raspberry stem cells to nourish lips, so it isn’t drying and doesn’t flake around the edges. Bonus: it also layers well with other products. Apply over another lipstick for a custom color or add a gloss on top for a high-shine look.

Size: 0.23 oz. | Shades: 21 | Wear Time: Up to 8 hours

Best Vegan Makeup Brushes: Idun Minerals Makeup Brushes

Idun Minerals Makeup Brushes

Idun Minerals

What We Love: You can buy the brushes individually or in a three piece set.

What We Don’t Love: According to reviews, the bristles can sometimes fall out.

Many makeup brushes are made with horse hairs, but these from IDUN Minerals are made from taklon, a completely vegan, hypoallergenic fiber that is not only extremely soft but also gentle enough for the most sensitive skin. Though makeup brushes can be a pricey investment, each brush in this line is under $30 (or you can get a three piece set for $36). Their best seller is the Kabuki Brush, which can be used for blending primer, foundation, bronzer, or blush. 

Made from: Taklon | Sets offered: Yes | Best selling model: Kabuki brush

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients 

Brands aren’t always great at touting if they’re vegan or not, which puts the responsibility on us consumers. If your product isn’t labeled vegan it still might be — you just have to dig into the ingredients a bit to find out.

There are a few popular, non-vegan ingredients you should look out for, including bee-related by-products (like honey, propolis, bee pollen, bee venom, royal jelly, and beeswax), dairy-based ingredients (like milks and yogurts), colorants/pigments (like carmine, cochineal, carminic acid from beetle shells, and guanine from fish scales), and bone-derived ingredients (like keratin, bovine collagen, and elastin).

Of course, it’s helpful when brands explicitly say when a product is vegan, but if you want to stay up-to-date on cosmetic formulations, some plant-based alternatives to the ingredients above include carnauba wax, plant-based collagen, and plant-derived squalane, to name a few.

Your Questions, Answered

What is vegan makeup?

Vegan makeup products are formulated without animal by-products. You’d be surprised to learn that makeup can often contain beeswax, honey, milk, and other animal-derived ingredients, but vegan makeup doesn’t include any.

Is vegan makeup better than non-vegan makeup?

This is still up for debate (and totally a preference!). But because vegan products typically include fewer ingredients than non-vegan makeup, they are often less irritating for those with sensitive skin.

If a product is vegan, is it also cruelty-free?

While your makeup products may be vegan, it doesn’t mean the product is cruelty-free. The two concepts are actually quite different and not mutually exclusive. “Vegan refers to the origin of an ingredient, while cruelty-free refers to the way a product is tested for human safety,” explains Bondi. “So, for a product to be cruelty-free, it cannot be safety tested on animals.”

Can a product be vegan even if the package doesn’t say so?

Yes. Many beauty products are not certified by organizations like PETA Approved Vegan, Vegan Action, and The Vegan Society. However, this doesn’t mean the product in question isn’t vegan — you just need to know your stuff. Reading ingredient lists and being able to spot common animal-derived ingredients is just as important in determining if a cosmetic product is vegan.

Why Trust InStyle

Olivia Cefalu is a Brooklyn-based freelance beauty editor and writer. She covers everything beauty and wellness related, and has a real passion for SPF, a good facial, and nail art. With bylines in Shape, Well & Good, Fatherly, Ipsy, and Very Good Light, her research is thorough and inspired by a passion for teaching others about beauty practices and products. She first learned about what makes a beauty product vegan when she worked at The Body Shop as a teen. Since then, she’s been spending years carefully reading labels, researching ingredients, and making sure every last bit of her makeup collection is 100% vegan.

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