Sustainable Beauty: Why Make the Switch to Vegan Lipsticks

What do you think of when you see the label vegan on a cosmetic product? Well, the last time, for me, it was the sudden realisation that there are actual animal-based ingredients in our skincare and beauty products. Now, I can’t unsee it, and I can’t help but wonder which animal parts worked their way into my night cream and foundation. I mean, even the lipstick?

You’d be surprised to hear that many traditional lipstick ingredients are animal-derived. Knowing that the average woman swallows up to two kilos of lipstick in her lifetime makes us ask ourselves: what are we putting on our lips (I meant to say eating, but okay)?

Is Vegan Lipstick Better?

Vegan lipstick

Veganism is more than a trend involving food choices – many people are adopting this lifestyle for reasons bigger than caring for animals. It’s about making more sustainable and healthier choices for us, our planet and the life surrounding us. Here are five reasons why you, vegan or not, should start using skin-friendly vegan lipsticks.

No Correlation Between Animal Testing and Human Safety

The unfortunate creatures often chosen for laboratory experiments include rats, fish, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys, cats, and dogs. These animals’ skin, eyes, and other body parts differ significantly from those of humans; therefore, there is no evidence linking animal testing to human safety. Tests that yield “favourable” results in animals are ineffective or dangerous when conducted on humans abound.

Most raw materials used in cosmetics have been around for a long time, meaning that their properties are well-known and have undergone extensive testing. Extensive research and experience have shown us which cosmetic raw components are safe and don’t cause allergies. That’s an immense reason not to support animal testing and contribute to the already large numbers of animals killed in these trials for our next piece of lipstick.

No Insect-Derived Colourants

Naturally, vegan brands don’t use carmine, often known as cochineal extract or dye, as a colourant to create red lipsticks and cosmetics. In short, cochineal bugs are the source of carmine; in Central and South America, the female insects consume cactus berries. Crushing the beetles to release a red pigment is the manufacturing procedure for carmine. Uses of this colourant include food and supplementation, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and numerous “natural” items.

Cruelty-Free Formula

Vegan lip cosmetics (free of animal derivatives) can undergo animal testing; hence, not all vegan lipsticks are cruelty-free. Opt from buying from a brand concerned enough to provide a vegan product free of animal testing and cruelty, such as Adorn Cosmetics. For a lip product to be labelled cruelty-free, it must not contain any components tested on animals. These brands go the extra mile to provide a genuine, all-natural product.

No Ingredients from Dead Animals

Horrible. Some cosmetic chemicals come from different sections of dead animals. People would undoubtedly switch to vegan products if they were aware of the origins of some of these ingredients. Bi-products of the meat business include materials derived from animals. It is occasionally possible to employ animal parts in other companies and to make lipsticks and other cosmetics from their bare ingredients.

Better Environment-Friendly Ingredients

Natural vegan lipsticks have the added benefit of frequently having fewer raw ingredients, which makes them hypoallergenic. Lipsticks contain a lot of typical allergens that come from deceased animals. Sticking to all-natural lipsticks is a simple approach to avoid common allergic chemicals found in lipsticks.

How Do You Know If Lipstick Is Vegan?

A woman putting on a vegan lipstick on lips

Labelling products have become a real mess lately, and the trend doesn’t exclude cosmetic products. People often confuse vegan with green, cruelty-free and all-natural. However, that’s not the case. Companies know that and frequently take a savvy approach to cosmetic labelling. What should you know if you’re looking for a natural vegan lipstick employing environment-friendly ingredients?

Vegan doesn’t always mean natural – a product that’s 100% synthetic can also be 100% vegan, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Also, cruelty-free means that a product hasn’t been tested on animals or that no animals were harmed. However, that doesn’t mean it has no animal-derived ingredients. So, what can you do?

Your best bet to make the right makeup choices is to shop from brands that are transparent about their product’s ingredients and possess certifications like cruelty-free and vegan. Avoid buying lipsticks with hidden ingredient lists. And, even if you’re not positive about a brand, you can always check the ingredients, which is why knowing what to avoid is immensely helpful.

Here are some lipstick ingredients you should be careful of:

Always Animal-derived

Beeswax or Honey

Companies sometimes label beeswax as cera alba, making it less apparent that it’s animal-derived. It’s a waxy ingredient formed by working honeybees in their abdominal glands. They use this wax to build honeycombs and protect their larva.

Carmine or Cochineal

Carmine, carminic acid or cochineal, is a brilliant red dye produced from crushed Dactylopius coccus beetles, often mislabelled as an E number (E120, natural red 4, or C.I. 75470). Throughout Central and South America, scarlet cactus berries serve as the food source for these microscopic insects.

About 70,000 cochineal bugs are ground and then boiled in ammonia or sodium carbonate to yield 400 grammes of red dye, used in lipstick, eyeshadow, blusher, and nail polish.


Lanolin, known as “wool fat,” is a waxy fluid from sheep and other animals that produce wool. It helps sheep shed water and maintain the dryness of their wool by conditioning and protecting their coat. Lip balms often contain lanolin. Frequently branded as “cruelty-free,” it’s unquestionably not vegan.


Similar to carmine, lac bugs are the source of shellac. These insects exude a resin that is extracted, dried, and sold in flakes form from the bark of trees. Between 50,000 and 300,000 lac bugs are needed to produce one kilogramme of shellac. Inevitably, producers catch live bugs in the resin during harvesting, and the shellac is heated over a fire to melt it.

Almost Always Animal-Derived


Sometimes Animal-Derived

  • Glycerine
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Retinol
  • Squalene
  • Stearic Acid