Editor L'Oréal Blackett ditches her 'meaty' makeup bag and finds ethical alternatives
“I’m a vegan now,” said a pal, sipping on her soya Americano with a quiet smugness. “I just thought it was time, you know?”
I nodded politely as I spied her leather shoes and well co-ordinated leather purse. Maybe she hadn’t got round to updating her wardrobe yet. Not to mention her makeup bag.
It wasn’t her fault. The current conversation surrounding veganism – the rapidly growing community, the health benefits, Cowspiracy, the vile things to be found in dairy – focuses much more on what’s on your plate than in your purse.
Does the lack of animal product mean a reduction in the quality of the makeup?
The makeup industry is an ethical minefield for both new and veteran vegans. With animal fat potentially in your blusher and eye shadows, crushed cochineal beetles in your red lipsticks and beeswax in your lip gloss, your current makeup bag could be equivalent to one big meat plate.
Admittedly my own collection is particularly meaty. Like most, I have many products created by cosmetic giants such as Dove, Nivea and, yes, L’Oréal; while the UK has strict laws against animal testing, cosmetics sold in China undergo mandatory animal testing. With that said, it's time to say goodbye to meat - cosmetics-wise at least.
Using 100% vegan products, I attempted to recreate my favourite dewy skin makeup look, with blinding highlighter, winged eyeliner and bold red lips. Even the nail polish is vegan and there's not a cochineal beetle in sight.
LOREAL'S 'VEGAN DEWY MAKEUP':
SHOP L'OREAL'S 'VEGAN FACE' ONLINE OR VIA HARVEY NICHOLS MANCHESTER.
TOTAL PRICE: £382 (YIKES)
So why choose vegan-friendly makeup if you're not vegan?
A disclaimer: I’m not vegan. I don’t plan on being. But I do care. For some, this isn’t enough but it is enough for me to re-evaluate the things I buy and the brands I purchase.
My first foray into vegan beauty shopping was a confusing one - cruelty-free products aren't necessarily vegan products and some cruelty-free products are owned by big, non-vegan companies much like NYX cosmetics. Still, it was interesting to see just many big brands are cruelty-free and/or vegan overall.
You may be wondering, does the lack of animal product mean a reduction in of the quality the makeup? Turns out, the very opposite. High-end brands used by makeup artists such as Illamasqua, Urban Decay and more have made a public commitment to staying cruelty-free and are continually introducing more vegan-friendly products as the demand grows. Vegan makeup doesn't mean a lack of choice either. For example, Cover FX is a 100% vegan line featuring 40 foundation shades and one of the most coveted highlighters on the market.
Most importantly, it's comforting to know that my want for great makeup isn't causing harm to a living thing just for the sake of me being 'selfie-ready'. For me, with so much choice on the high street, I'm left with little excuse than to go meat-free makeup more often.
BEST CRUELTY-FREE PRIMERS
*not all are vegan
BEST CRUELTY-FREE FOUNDATIONS
*some not considered vegan