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Vegan Cosmetics: The Newest Wave in Fashion Brand Building

By Glenn S. Demby, Esq.

Quality is no longer enough. Today’s consumers also want their brands to have a moral and social conscience. Few sectors have been more responsive to this demand than fashion. Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of this is the proliferation of vegan makeup brands.

The Appeal of Vegan

“Natural, organic and clean are the buzzwords across the beauty industry this year,” according to one industry observer. In addition to meeting all of these criteria, vegan products are morally appealing because they’re made without animal products. Vegan cosmetics range not only by price but by degree of purity to the cause. Thus, some products purporting to be vegan are less “cruel,” than others.

So far at least, vegan cosmetics haven’t driven a whole lot of licensing activity. Although actress Drew Barrymore and tattoo artist Kat Von D are among the first celebrities to lend their brands to a vegan cosmetics line, the vast majority of products come from established brands or companies founded by conscience-driven entrepreneurs for the express purpose of creating cruelty-free products.  

An example of the latter is Ericka Rodriguez, a longtime vegan who founded a company called Axiology in November 2014. Axiology’s vegan lipstick products are sold in about 80 U.S. boutiques as well as a handful of international stores. This week, Axiology made news by releasing three new shades. “The point was to create something that felt like a lip balm but looks like a lipstick,” Rodriguez told WWD. The company also plans to launch on Free People’s website by year’s end and offer its first non-lipstick products in 2017.

Leading Vegan Beauty Brands

Over 100 companies offer “cruelty-free” vegan cosmetics. So which brands do the vegan consumers prefer? Here’s a list of about 75 leading brands from  We’ve noted the brands that are licensed below with an asterisk:

Mid & High-End Brands

  • Hourglass
  • Too Faced
  • Illamasqua
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills
  • Kat Von D* (Branded after famous tattoo artist)
  • Becca
  • Charlotte Tilbury* (Branded after the well-known makeup artist)
  • Josie Maran (Branded after American actress, model and entrepreneur)
  • Cover FX
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
  • The Balm
  • Bite
  • Face Atelier
  • IT Cosmetics
  • Perfekt
  • Nudestix
  • Blinc
  • Cargo
  • DuWop
  • Eyeko
  • Ardency Inn
  • Edward Bess
  • Korres* (Branded after Greek apothecary)
  • Catrice
  • Chantecaille
  • Ellis Faas
  • By Terry
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge

Drugstore Brands

  • l.f.
  • Hard Candy (Walmart exclusive)
  • Milani
  • Physicians Formula
  • Sonia Kashuk (Target exclusive)
  • Wet’n’Wild
  • Jordana (owned by Milani)
  • Flower* (Drew Barrymore line offered exclusively at Walmart)
  • Jane Cosmetics
  • Prestige
  • Pixi
  • Pacifica
  • Mineral Fusion
  • Essence
  • GOSH
  • Marcelle*
  • Annabelle*

Natural & Green Brands (scoring high points for purity in following vegan principles)

  • W3ll People (pronounced “Well People”)
  • RMS Beauty
  • ILIA
  • Kjaer Weis
  • Vapour
  • Jane Iredale
  • 100% Pure
  • Sappho
  • Au Naturale
  • Alima Pure
  • Everyday Minerals
  • Haut Minerals
  • Olo Minerals
  • Afterglow
  • Ecco Bella
  • Pur Minerals
  • Youngblood
  • Lily Lolo
  • Inika

Other Brands

  • Antonym
  • Bellapierre
  • Zuii Organic
  • Makeup Geek
  • Sugarpill
  • Colourpop
  • BH Cosmetics
  • Zoeva
  • Rituel de Fille
  • Aromi
  • Gabriel Cosmetics
  • Melt
  • Dose of Colors
  • Coloured Raine
  • Girlactik
  • Cate McNabb
  • Cailyn Cosmetics
  • Sugar Venom
  • Christopher Drummond
  • Silk Naturals
  • Fairy Girl
  • AFK Cosmetics
  • Pumpkin and Poppy
  • Shiro

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