A Guide to Vegan Beauty & Skincare

Different vegan beauty and skincare products

Looking for lots of vegan cosmetics to try out? I’ve got just the guide for you! I’ve been dabbling with clean, green, and cruelty-free beauty for years now, and there are a few brilliant vegan brands out there challenging the usual high street favourites.

When it comes to cosmetics, the one thing I always look for is cruelty-free certification. There’s just no justification for beauty products being tested on animals any more – and that includes any brands who are selling in mainland China, where testing is required.

Once they’ve passed the cruelty-free check, I’m game to try them out! I’ll still try to avoid 25 harmful beauty ingredients in particular, but for many of these brands, their formulations are plant-based and free of animal bi-products already…

What’s the difference between cruelty-free and vegan?

Before we get into my favourite beauty products, and the list of the best UK brands (in my opinion), I wanted to share a little insight into the difference between a product being cruelty-free, vs. a product that’s vegan.

Cruelty-free products are never tested on animals. If you’re an animal lover, this is the thing to really look for. A cruelty-free certification means these products were never painted onto bunnies, spayed onto mice, etc. etc.

To be sure of this, look for the phrase “cruelty-free” on packaging, or go one better and only buy from brands who are independently certified by places like Cruelty-Free International (look for the Leaping Bunny symbol) or PETA (look for the Beauty Without Bunnies symbol).

Vegan products contain no animal-based ingredients. Vegan products avoid ingredients like beeswax, honey, lanolin (from sheep’s wool), and carmine (from beetles), but that doesn’t mean they’re cruelty-free. A vegan product can easily have been tested on animals (and similarly, a cruelty-free product can have animal-based ingredients). If you’re looking for vegan beauty as your main objective, look for the word “vegan”, or certification from places like PETA (look for the PETA Approved Vegan symbol) or Vegan Association (look for the Vegan Trademark).

My Favourite Vegan Beauty Products

So, onto my collection of vegan beauty bits! My favourite items are all cruelty-free, vegan, and many of them use natural ingredients too. It feels great to be kind to animals, the planet, and myself!

In my makeup bag… You know me – I’m a big fan of a few, high performing beauty brands. My PHB Beauty black eyeliner* has been a repeat-purchase for years, and the same can be said for all my Kure Bazaar nail polishes*, as well as my Floral Street perfumes* (I have three!)

New to me are Aether Beauty’s eyeshadow palette (kindly gifted by Feelunique), which I’ve loved playing around with for daytime and nighttime looks. I’ve also switched my face powder to INIKA*, whose products are always raved about on vegan beauty blogs, so I had to give them a try! So far, so good.

In my bathroom… It appears I’m currently on a bit of a caffeine high… I’m loving UpCircle’s coffee face scrub*, as well as Frank Body’s coffee body scrub (both gifted), which together makes for exfoliation heaven. Of course, you could also make your own DIY coffee scrub

Out of the shower, I am loving REN Skincare’s jelly cleanser*, followed by Herbivore face oil* (both gifted). Together, they’re keeping my skin soooo well hydrated!

And to buff away winter lips I’ll also have occasional swipe of Bybi Beauty’s lip buffer*. If you’re new to Bybi, check out my general review of Bybi Beauty and why I love them so much!

19 of the Best Vegan Beauty Brands in UK

Let’s get into the part you’ve probably been scrolling for… my big vegan beauty brand list! I’ve only included brands who are wholly vegan, so there’s no tripping up or double-checking needed. Enjoy!

Aether Beauty: Sustainably-made eye-shadow palettes in jewel tones.

Beauty Kitchen*: Wide range of natural vegan skincare products made in refillable and recyclable packaging.

Bybi Beauty*: Rainbow-bright bottles full of vegan, cruelty-free, clean skincare. Love love love!

Dr. Bronner’s*: Go back to basics with Dr. Bronner’s range of natural vegan soaps – both liquid and solid.

e.l.f.*: My favourite low-cost beauty brand has to be e.l.f. Their primer is my absolute favourite!

Elsa’s Organic Skinfoods: Natural vegan deodorants that actually work, and now come in eco-friendly packaging.

Evolve Beauty*: Organic skin, body and hair care products that are vegan-friendly and handmade in small batches.

Floral Street*: One of my favourite perfume brands, creating a range of floral scents from natural ingredients, all vegan, all cruelty-free.

Frank Body: Scented coffee scrubs for the ultimate exfoliation, made with clean ingredients and vegan formulae.

Gallinée*: Futuristic probiotic skincare without any animal-based ingredients or testing on animals.

Glow Recipe*: Fruit-forward, antioxidant-rich skincare. Such a fun selection of products!

Herbivore*: Natural, vegan skincare that smells as good as it feels.

Hourglass*: For high-end vegan makeup, go for Hourglass. I couldn’t live without their concealer!

Inika*: Well-established makeup collection that’s vegan, organic, cruelty-free, and above all, it works.

MERIT: A new discovery for 2023, MERIT provides minimalist, high performance vegan cosmetics.

Pai Skincare*: Natural, vegan skincare designed for sensitive skin.

PHB Beauty: Natural, organic makeup that’s also made in the UK, and is great value too.

Romilly Wilde: Clean, high-end skincare that is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

UpCircle*: Face, body, and soap scrubs made with natural, upcycled ingredients.

P.S. Now you’ve got your vegan beauty sorted… have you read my guide to vegan fashion?

Disclaimer: This post contains gifted products (denoted 'gifted') and affiliate links (denoted '*')


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