As more and more beauty brands ditch ingredients derived from animals, you may be considering making the switch to a fully vegan beauty routine.
And you wouldn’t be the first. Sales of vegan beauty products saw an increase of 38% between February 2017 and January 2018, according to data from the NPD Group, while the Soil Association reveals to HuffPost UK that vegan product launches have risen 175% from July 2013 to June 2018.
There’s no sign of demand slowing down for more ethical and environmentally conscious beauty options. And when brands commit, they really commit.
So, rather than a simple product round-up, here’s a definitive list of our favourite vegan beauty brands across skincare, haircare and makeup and some of their best buys – so you can shop with peace of mind (and without any guesswork).
Better Considered, or Beco for short, is a small brand doing big things – 80% of Beco employees are visually impaired or otherwise disabled. From its factory in East London, the brand makes soaps, hand washes and now even shampoo bars. Packed with lush ingredients like wild berries, honey and blossom, each bar is handmade and handcut, and did we mention they smell amazing?
Next time you’re in Waitrose, try the Wild Berries Soap Bar, £2.59. It’s an inexpensive but effective soap that will keep your hands clean and make a difference to people in the community, too.
All of Evolve’s products are handmade in small batches from its Hertfordshire studio to keep waste to a minimum. From skincare to bodycare, you’ll find everything you’ll need to stock up your bathroom cabinet including hydrating serums, lip balms and tinted SPH.
Our favourite is the Hyaluronic Serum 200, £30. This cruelty-free formula is pumped with hyaluronic acid, a superstar ingredient that delivers, attracts and maintains moisture on the skin, leaving you with a smooth, plump and intensely hydrated complexion.
Mother Dirt was born out of Boston. The brand is part of the emerging probiotic skincare movement, employing live bacteria to help restore, repair and maintain the skin microbiome. These formulas are said to balance the skin’s ecosystem, which can often be dried out from excessive alcohol in traditional skincare products.
It has a small collection to shop from: a shampoo, foaming cleanser, moisturiser and body wash – but our favourite by far is the newest addition to the range, the Body Oil, £39. As a dry oil delivered via spray, it’s easy to apply and fast-absorbing (so there’ll be no dripping on the bathmat). It has a light scent of lemongrass thanks to the essential oils in it and is a must-have for your bathroom shelf.
Pestle & Mortar
Born out of County Kildare in Ireland, Pestle and Mortar was created by Sonya Deasy and her husband in 2014 with a small but simple line up of high performing products. A carefully curated range, it’s made with the aim of simplifying our often over complicated beauty routines.
It’s Pure Hyaluronic Serum, £39, is a standout serum. It’s a combination of multi-molecular weight hyaluronic acid and pantheonl, which work together to deliver intense hydration and diminish fine lines and wrinkle.
Bybi stands for By Beauty Insiders, inspired by the founders Elsie & Dominika who created a line of beautifully packaged products that are both effective and eco-friendly. While the ingredients are all vegan, the packaging is also socially consious. Its tubes are made from a sugar-cane derived bioplastic that are recyclable and compostable, with glass bottles used too.
Its Babe Balm, £18, is a multi-purpose balm that’s a versatile tube to keep in your beauty routine at all times. The rich balm is great for dry skin especially when used as an overnight treatment but also works well as a subtle highlighter on cheekbones, and on cracked skin on your elbows, heels and cuticles. However you’ll also find facial oils, cleansing oils and bronzing balms to choose from too. *Adds everything to basket*
Skyn Iceland was born out of stress – founder Sarah Kugelman fell ill in 2003 as a result of stress, which forced her to leave her job. As part of her recovery, she travelled to Iceland, which was the inspiration for her skincare brand, which she launched in 2003. The products promise to reduce the impact of stress on the skin and thanks to their vegan formulas, you can have peace of mind that none of the ingredients have come from animals, or animal by-products.
The Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, £25 for a pack of eight are a must-have for tired eyes – bring them with you on flights or use them to soothe after a late night out. They promise to reduce puffiness, brighten dark circles and diminish the appearance of fine lines. Sign us up.
Isle of Paradise
After a sun-kissed glow, but don’t have a holiday booked? Head to the self-tanning aisle and straight for Isle of Paradise. Developed by Jules Von Hep, a tanning expert with more than a decade’s experience tanning celebs, the range of body and face tanning products is colour coded to ensure you get a faux glow that suits your skin tone, looks natural and won’t leave you with streaks.
Our favourite product? The Tanning Water, £18.95. Sounds strange, but it’s an innovative way to tan. What looks like a clear spray is actually a gradual self-tanner, so you can spritz and buff to your hearts content without the stained towels or bedsheets or the biscuity smell that lingers with traditional fake tans.
Soaper Duper offers body washes, body butters, body scrubs and hand creams to fill your boots with, enriched as they are with shea butter, vanilla, coconut, lemon and eucalyptus. Each product is packaged in a pretty green bottle made from recyclable plastic – pumps and all – and the brand also works with WaterAid, to bring clean water, toilets and hygiene to those who most need it.
The classic Mini Creamy-Deluxe Shea Butter Body Wash, £3.50 is a shower staple that will make bath time that much more luxurious without an expensive price tag.
The Ordinary burst onto the beauty scene in 2017 and quickly became a cult brand, known for its advanced yet affordable products that outperform costly counterparts from luxury brands. Whether it’s a simple cleanser or fast-acting retinol you’re looking for, there’s a solution to almost every skin concern in its lineup.
And best of all, it’s all available on Asos. If you’re on the hunt for clearer, blemish-free skin, then pick up a bottle of the Salicylic Acid, £4.50, which exfoliates pores and prevents future breakouts without drying skin. Simply apply after cleansing and follow with moisturiser.
Isla Apothecary is a small, London-based brand and each of its vegan face and body products – including naturally scented scrubs, oils, mud masks and balms – are handmade in small batches weekly before being packed into recyclable boxes.
The Blood Orange and Vanilla Scrub, £23 is a great body scrub that will buff away dead skin with a sugar cane and shea butter rich formula that’s deliciously scented with orange oils. Simply massage into damp skin in the shower, the scrub melts into a conditioning oil and when rinsed off, you’re left with smoother and softer skin.
This vegan and cruelty-free brand’s mission is to tackle the effects the environment has on our skin through plant-based products. Try the Radiance Daily Facial Wash, £11.99, an antioxidant-rich cleanser that best suits dry, blemished, inflamed or hyper-pigmented skin. Simply massage onto your face and rinse to remove makeup, dirt and grime.
Maria Nila is a Scandinavian brand, based in Stockholm, well known for its hair masks – especially for coloured hair. It wants things to be easier for everyone to make more sustainable steps with our haircare (we also raved about it in our vegan shampoo roundup).
If you have coloured hair in need of some TLC, try the True Soft Masque, £21.79. Used weekly promises to reduce the loss of colour which can happen with washing and heat styling, while smoothing flyaways, frizz and intensely hydrating dry tresses.
Hairstylist Alex Brownsell founded Bleach London in 2010 as a salon focused on colour rather than cutting, and since then the name has become synonymous with experimental shades in pastel hues and neon brights. If you want to switch up your look and try something new, Bleach London is your happy place. Plus, all its boxes are made from 100% recycled cardboard.
The product line features hair dyes, treatments and styling kits, all for under a tenner. Our favourite has to be the Awkward Peach Dye, £6.50, a pinky coral hybrid that will flatter all skin tones. Don’t know where to start on getting the Pantone colour of the year? No worries, we’ve got you covered here.
Founded in 2016 by four expert hairstylists, IGK aimed to fit into the lives of busy women who wanted effective products that were easy to use and simple to style. Anything that means we can get a few more minutes in bed in the morning sounds good to us.
The Jet Lag Invisible Dry Shampoo, £10 is a lifesaver when you don’t have time to wash your hair, but need a quick top up of volume and vitality. When spritzed onto locks, it promises to absorb excess oil and gently cleanse your scalp without leaving a dusty white sheen or weighing you down. Think fresh hair in a can.
Milk makeup burst onto the UK beauty scene in April 2019 and is not one to miss out on. The majority of its products come in solid stick form – with everything from bronzers and cheek tints, to pore-blurring primers and cooling face masks. They’re a dream to travel with.
Our top pick? The Glow Oil Lip and Cheek, £12, which gives a flushed-from-within wash of colour on cheeks and a subtle lip tint. Coming in four shades – from a light pink to vibrant orange – it delivers a pretty shimmer, with not a touch of glitter in sight.
Spectrum Collections is the brainchild of sisters Sophie and Hannah Pycroft, who started selling makeup brushes from their garage in Barry, Wales. What began as a side hustle has become a multi-million pound business and the brand is now well known for its themed collections, be it Disney, unicorns or the zodiac.
Whether you’re after an individual brush or a whole new set, there’s oodles of choice. Our pick is the 10 Piece Essential Set, £39.99, which includes every brush you’ll ever need, and is an absolute bargain for good quality, completely vegan brushes to blend, buff and contour to your heart’s content.
Glow up with Cover FX, whose illuminating products – from setting sprays to foundations – have a cult following due to the customisable formulas. It also has an extensive shade range, offering 40 foundations, as well as liquid highlighters and palettes to suit all skin tones.
Its Custom Enhancer Drops, £34, are a bestseller for good reason. The creamy liquid texture blends seamlessly as a highlighter, or gives a sun-kissed glow when worn under your foundation.
Shiro started as a skincare brand, then branched out into makeup – and we are all for it. Shiro, meaning white, uses natural and seasonal ingredients sourced and manufactured in Japan, housed in beautifully minimal packaging.
Its Mint Ginger Lip Butter, £35, is a great introduction to the brand. It’s a cream-gloss hybrid, which is non-sticky, and the doe-foot applicator makes application fuss-free. Wear on its own for a hydration boost for dry lips or layer over matte lipsticks for a glossy finish and added definition.
Nailberry is a nail polish brand that’s not only vegan, but also halal and cruelty-free. It started off as an independent nail salon in Chelsea, but has since gone on to release a slew of polishes in a rainbow of shades, and that aim to combat the damage done by gel manicures and bad habits, following feedback from customers.
While you can take your pick from every colour under the sun, we’re drawn to Bluebell, £14.50, a bright lilac that’s the perfect summer shade.
Gender-neutral fragrance brand Laboratory Perfumes offers scents inspired by natural flowers, herbs and aromatic botanicals across five different fragrances: Amber, Gorse, Samphire, Tonka and Atlas. Each one is completely different from the last and is designed to evolve with the wearer throughout the day.
Our favourite is Gorse, £65, a blend of citrus, coconut and cardamom that feels like a warm summer’s night when liberally spritzed on.
Although Lumene isn’t strictly just makeup, it does skincare too, its range of liquid foundations, blushers, bronzers and highlighters are too good not to include. Taking an effortless approach to beauty, its focus is on creating naturally luminous skin, hence the name.
Try the Invisible Illumination Instant Illuminizer, £22.50, the easiest liquid highlighter you’ll ever use. Trust us, we’ve tried it. The pearlescent lightweight formula is easily blendable – simply tap on to the hight points of cheekbones, brow bones and your cupids bow for an instant hit of radiance.
Unicorn Cosmetics is run by founder Mel and her small team of four – it started off as a vegan lash brand, and has since expanded into makeup brushes that are bold, bright and as over the top magical as the name suggests.
It’s also pretty affordable. Try the Pro Range, £19.99, which includes three essential brushes for all your makeup needs: foundation, powder and contour.
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.