Best vegan makeup 2020: a complete guide

best vegan makeup 2020

Far from a fad, vegan makeup has never been so accessible, and filling your cart with ethical goodies never so easy. The vegan component doesn't mean you need to sacrifice on quality either. In that vein, here are the best vegan makeup products 2020, handpicked by savvy Mumsnet users.

What is vegan makeup?

You probably don't look into your makeup bag and think: “There are plenty of animal by-products in there.” But, in all likelihood, there are. Your favourite lipstick might contain beeswax, your shimmery eye-shadow might get its gleam from fish scales, and anything boasting collagen got that substance from dead animal bones/skin/connective tissue.

Weird, right? Put simply, vegan makeup doesn't contain any animal by-products.

Is vegan makeup the same as cruelty-free makeup?

No. Cruelty-free makeup is manufactured without testing on animals, so you can have cruelty-free makeup that isn't vegan, and – strangely – vegan makeup which isn't cruelty-free. If you're ever uncertain about whether a product is cruelty-free, look for the 'leaping bunny' logo.

Don't have time to read the article? Take this quiz:

1. e.l.f. cosmetics

elf vegan makeup

If you're after cheap vegan makeup, e.l.f. should be your go-to. Committed to being 100% vegan and cruelty-free, the beauty brand has produced many cult favourites which – though amazingly low in price – can give their luxury counterparts a run for their money.

Their Camo concealer (£5) is one of these products, providing 16 hours of coverage for a mere £5.

The e.l.f. Makeup Remover Pen (£4.50) is another vegan beauty product worth shouting about. If you've ever messed up your eyeliner (read: if you've ever tried to apply eyeliner), simply use this makeup remover pen to tidy things up. No messing about with bits of tissue or cotton buds – and so much more eco-friendly.

Their vegan eyeshadows also get a lot of acclaim. Our favourite is the Best Friend Eyeshadow Duo in Peach Squad (£4.50). Alarmingly pigmented, it's comparable with much pricier palettes, and is also available in darker and more neutral shades – including Tea for Two, Pink Pal, and Bestie Brown.

And if you struggle with oily skin, their water-based primer (£9) could be a lifesaver. Enriched with cucumber and vitamins B and E, you can wave goodbye to photos where you look like an actual beacon of sweat.

What Mumsnet users say

“e.l.f. is a brilliant brand. It's very cheap but the quality is brilliant and it's great easy option for all the basics.”

“I blooming love e.l.f.”

“I really rate what I've bought from e.l.f. – especially the eyeshadows.”

“I've had two orders from them now and have absolutely no complaints – they're fab.”

Try these:

Makeup Remover Pen, £4.50
Best Friend Eyeshadow Duo in Peach Squad, £4.50
16HR Camo Concealer, £5
Oil Control Primer Mist, £9

2. Superdrug's B. range

superdrug vegan blush

The Superdrug 'B.' line was founded as a hub of cruelty-free, vegan products, and has won many an award over the years. Their liquid blush (£6.99) is lightweight, easily buildable, and leaves a lovely, natural glow. It's also available in apricot, coral, nude, berry and candy.

What Mumsnet users say

“A good range is Superdrug's B. range. It's vegan, has great products and is excellent value for money.”

Try these:

Superdrug B. Liquid Blush in Plum, £6.99
Superdrug B. Stubborn Make Up Remover, £7.99

3. Charlotte Tilbury's vegan range

charlotte tilbury vegan makeup

Blessed news – Charlotte Tilbury have launched vegan versions of their cult beauty products. And no word of a lie, their Filmstar Bronze & Glow contour palette (£49) will sculpt you for the gods. Claiming to make you red carpet-ready, the bronzer will leave you sun-kissed and chiselled; the highlighter positively glowing. In fact, it even uses: 'Light Flex Technology to capture and reflect light just where you want it.' The future is now.

The Superstar Lips (£25) are also iconic for good reason. They're silky smooth, creamy, and glide on with glorious ease. This formulae 'combines the high shine of a gloss with the staying power of a lipstick', and all without any animal ingredients.

Meanwhile, flawless brows aren't out of reach with their vegan eyebrow gel (£18.50). It coats, shades and defines brows in a few brushes, and lasts all the livelong day.

What Mumsnet users say

“Bronze and glow is just lovely.”

“I have Pillow Talk and I love it. It's smooth and moisturising and is such a gorgeous colour – I'm pale and blonde and it's the perfect nude on me. It also smells delicious!”

“I can't get enough of Charlotte Tilbury's products. I'm addicted.”

Try these:

Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows, £18.50
Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Lips, £25
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49

Related: the best eye creams on the market, according to Mumsnet users.

4. M&S' vegan makeup range

m&s vegan makeup

M&S isn't just great for comfy pants, it also has a criminally underrated vegan makeup range. Their vegan eye primer (£10) has a wonderfully brightening effect. Suitable for sensitive skin, it'll keep the boldest looks in check all day.

And if your eyebrows are in need of an upgrade, their vegan brow fixer (£13) colours and fills with a buildable texture, so you can achieve whatever darkness you desire. It's smudge-proof too, and dries quickly.

What Mumsnet users say

“M&S makeup is BUAV approved and excellent. In fact, their entire own-brand cosmetics range is fab!”

“The M&S beauty section is fabulous. The quality is the same as much more expensive brands and it comes in lovely packaging.”

Try these:

M&S Autograph Long Lasting Primer, £10
M&S Eyebrow Volumizing Fixer, £13

5. Poppy Austin cosmetics

Poppy Austin vegan makeup

Poppy Austin's makeup is responsibly-produced, vegan, cruelty-free and organic, made 'using only the finest, most ethically sourced cosmetics'. A beauty blogger favourite, the argan oil-infused mascara (£12.75) delivers on length and thickness, and is sweat and smudge-resistant.

What Mumsnet users say

“Poppy Austin is vegan-friendly and very nice quality.”

Try these:

Poppy Austin Argan Oil Mascara, £12.75
Poppy Austin Eyelash Serum, £24

6. The Ordinary's vegan range

The Ordinary vegan serum foundation

The majority of this cult beauty brand's products are vegan, and it only works with suppliers who don't perform animal testing. Its serum foundation (£9.34) has caused quite a stir, and for good reason.

As true beauty fans know, you should choose your foundation with your skin's undertones in mind. Available in 21 shades, this foundation is labelled with undertone identifiers (P for pink, N for neutral, R for red, Y for yellow), so finding your perfect match is easy. And for less than a tenner, it's an absolute bargain.

“The Ordinary is so good it's scary. I only started using it yesterday, and my skin looks so much clearer and brighter.”

“I've bought shedloads of the stuff. I love it.”

Try these:

The Ordinary Serum Foundation, £9.34
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque, £9.90

7. KORRES' vegan range

korres makeup

Specialising in all-natural ingredients, this Greek brand has plenty of animal-friendly products. One of our favourites is the Natural Black Pine Foundation (£26.99). This vegan foundation hits the refresh button on your skin – lifting, brightening and firming everything up. It’s so effective, a clinical study found that 88% of participants saw younger-looking skin eight hours after application. Pair it with a great night-time moisturiser and notice the difference in days.

Another anti-ageing gem, the Natural Black Pine Concealer (£24) reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles – brightening skin and covering dark circles all the while. Just a little goes a long way, too.

What Mumsnet users say

“Korres is cruelty-free and, in my opinion, awesome. I don't like makeup generally as I find that it makes me itch, but their foundation feels perfectly comfortable and gives smooth, light coverage. It just makes me look like a well-rested version of myself.”

Try these:

KORRES Natural Black Pine Concealer, £24
KORRES Natural Black Pine Foundation, from £26.99

Related: the eight best makeup brushes, according to you.

8. BareMinerals' vegan range

BareMinerals vegan lipstick

Full of 'clean, natural and good-from-the-earth ingredients', BareMinerals boasts makeup free of harsh chemicals and additives. Their vegan lipstick (£20) has some serious staying power. Available in more shades than you can shake a stick at, it's waterproof, smudge-proof, transfer-proof (heheh), and has a beautifully soft, matte finish.

What Mumsnet users say

“Bare Minerals is amazing and makes my whole face look 100 times better.”

Try these:

BareMinerals BarePro Longwear Lipstick, £20
BareMinerals Matte Liquid Lipcolour, £18

9. Lime Crime cosmetics

Lime Crime vegan makeup

Vegan and cruelty-free, this award-winning brand delivers on bold and brilliant makeup. The Venus XL Palette (£56) is something special. Yes, it's on the pricier end of the scale, but this eyeshadow palette is the stuff of dreams. Complete with rustic reds, bronze neutrals and opalescent pinks, it can be used to create a whole host of traffic-stopping looks.

What Mumsnet users say

“I would recommend Lime Crime if you want high pigmentation. It's on the pricier end of the scale but, in my experience, cheap cosmetics tend to be false economy.”

Try these:

Lime Crime Venus XL Palette, £56
Lime Crime Venus XL II Palette, £56

10. Hourglass' vegan range

Hourglass vegan makeup

Hourglass isn't entirely vegan, but several of its stellar products are. One of these is the Ambient Lighting Palette (£59). The price tag might be hefty, but this cult palette is an absolute game changer. Designed to capture your complexion in the most flattering light (we're talking candlelight, morning light), you'll always be looking your best.

Another winner is the Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner (£31). Honestly, if you're serious about eyeliner, meet your holy grail. Long-wearing and ultra-black, this liquid liner's got drama for days. It's a dream to apply, too – with a flexible, high-precision felt tip that makes even strokes a thing of ease.

What Mumsnet users say

“Hourglass have loads of gorgeous, vegan, cruelty-free products.”

“Hourglass cosmetics are fab. I love their stuff.”

Try these:

Hourglass Voyeur Waterproof Liquid Liner, £31
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, £59

11. Lumene's vegan range

Lumene vegan blush

This cruelty-free Scandi brand uses 'pure Arctic spring water, native plants and fruits' to create its impressive beauty products. Many of these are vegan, including the Invisible Illumination Watercolor Blush (£22.50). If you've ventured to the mirror only to ask: “who is this lifeless zombie I see before me?”, this animal-friendly liquid blush can help. Silky, weightless and highly-pigmented, just a few drops make all the difference.

What Mumsnet users say

“I use Lumene, and it's amazing.”

Try these:

Lumene Invisible Illumination Watercolor Blush, £22.50
Lumene Invisible Illumination Watercolour Bronzer, £22.50

Related: the lip balms Mumsnet users swear by.

Too Faced's vegan range

too faced vegan makeup

Beloved by many a beauty blogger, Too Faced has cult products coming out of its ears. One of these is the Better Than Sex Liquid Eyeliner (£18). Bold claim, eh? But it might just be right. Highly pigmented, this rich, jet-black eyeliner lasts for an entire 24 hours. It glides on easily, making the perfect cat eye obtainable.

The Better Than Sex Mascara (£12) is another bold claim that might prove true – thickening, lengthening and curling lashes in a single application.

Another wow-worthy product is the Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer (£25). Infused with actual cocoa powder, this deliciously smooth bronzer will give you the sun-kissed glow of your dreams. Cue raised eyebrows when you tell colleagues that, no, you haven't jetted off anywhere recently (and a whole lot of smugness).

What Mumsnet users say

“I have this bronzer and I love love love it.”

“The Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara is really good. I bought a mini from eBay to try and will be buying the big version ASAP.”

Try these:

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, from £12
Too Faced Better Than Sex Liquid Eyeliner, £18
Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, £25

Prices correct at time of publication. Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).