Give me 5...Vegan Make up essentials


By Jess Moody


Illustration by Stephanie Berkmann

Cruelty-free cosmetics are not necessarily vegan. Many contain ingredients such as beeswax, lanolin (wool wax), collagen, carmine (produced by scale insects), and gelatine. To help give you some ideas, I’ve curated a list of my top five vegan makeup essentials, dividing each category into affordable and luxury items. Note that all the brands included here are cruelty-free, however it is essential that you research individual products to check they are vegan before purchasing them! Contrast to the past few years, many websites now have a ‘Vegan’ filter to make shopping much easier, instead of endlessly scrolling through and reading ingredients lists in order to assess their suitability. Beauty Bay have really nailed this, with approximately 1,500 makeup products which are fully vegan, as do lots of other websites.


Beauty Bay EYN Bright 42 Colour Palette, £23, Beauty Bay:

At less than £2 a shade, with a HUGE range of colours, the Beauty Bay 42 Colour Palette is of excellent value, let alone quality. Containing warm, cool and neutral tones in almost every colour of the rainbow, unleash your creative side and experiment with an infinite number of looks. With everyday nudes and greys, contrast to pretty pastels and bright greens, there is something for everyone. Check out Beauty Bay’s smaller palettes as well, if this many shades seems too much, or you want to spend less money. This is an excellent alternative to the popular Morphe 35B Color Burst Artistry Palette, which despite being cruelty-free, is not in fact vegan.


Lime Crime Venus XL Palette, £56, Cult Beauty:

If you love luxury makeup, look no further. With 18 shades of warm berries, corals, deep reds and rusty browns, the Lime Crime Venus XL Palette is perfect for day and night use. The shades are buttery and apply with little fall-out, making for smooth application and intense pigmentation. Containing a mixture of mattes, sparkles and metallics, amongst the beautiful packaging and sunset colours, this looks equally amazing on your dressing table as it does on the eyes. Personal favourites include ‘Passion’, ‘Flora’ and ‘Fresca’.


TOP TIP: Make it pop! Apply metallics with a clean ring-finger and sweep across the lid to achieve pigment perfection. Alternatively, coat a dense synthetic brush (a tapered concealer brush is perfect) with setting spray before applying metallics to the lid, inner corner or brow bone. Check out the NYX Professional Makeup Dewy Setting Spray (£7, Superdrug) for a fresh, lasting glow, or Urban Decay’s classic All Nighter Long Lasting Setting Spray for up to 16 hours of staying power (£24, Urban Decay).


The Ordinary Coverage Foundation, £5.90, The Ordinary: (also available at Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay):

If it’s a full-coverage, smooth finish look you’re after, look no further than The Ordinary Full Coverage Foundation. With a pigmented yet lightweight texture, this high-spreadability foundation lasts for months with daily usage. As with most of The Ordinary products, they offer a comprehensive guide to selecting the shade most appropriate for you: each shade range (fair-light, medium and dark) are divided up by depth, followed by undertone (pink, red, neutral, or yellow). Some even contain metallic pigment added for highlight! For example, shade 1.2YG contains subtle gold highlights, suitable for someone with a fair-light complexion and yellow undertones. Containing SPF 15 and a semi-matte finish, this foundation is of excellent value and quality.


Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £27, Boots:

Although shocking that it has taken so long for a brand to curate a foundation range with a shade for everyone, the Fenty Pro Filt’r Foundation does not disappoint. Available in an incredible 50 shades, with a diffused and instantly smooth finish, this foundation is worth the investment. A little goes a long way, and has a buildable, medium-to-full coverage. It blends seamlessly, and feels luxurious on your skin. If you have dry skin/patches, use a hydrating primer or mist before application to ensure you achieve the best finish: check out facetheory’s Ultraglide Primer with shea butter and vitamin E for a fresh, even base (be sure to look at their amazing skincare as well!), or the Too Faced Hangover Primer (Boots, £26) for a dewy, brightened finish.



Makeup Revolution Revolution X Soph Highlighter Palette, £8, Beauty Bay (and Superdrug):

Containing eight beautiful shades, suitable for all skin tones, the Revolution X Soph Highlighter Palette is of excellent value. Easy to blend and super pigmented, this is an excellent choice if you want to experiment with different shades of highlighter without spending a fortune. These can easily double-up as eyeshadows, meaning you can create a range of multi-dimensional looks.


BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter, £30, Cult Beauty:

Awarded ‘Best Highlighter’ in Glamour’s 2018 Power List, BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector blends pigments with liquids to create a buttery, non-glitter formula. Containing multi-toned pigment pearls, each shade adjusts to your natural undertones to create a beautiful, illuminating glow. It comes in 14 stunning shades, ranging from gold, champagne, lilac, rose and icy pearl. Lightly dust on with a fan or tapered brush for a natural-looking glow, or using the fingertips for a more intense, radiant look. Albeit pricy, this highlighter is top of the range, and long-lasting.



e.l.f Wow Brow Gel, £4.50, e.l.f (also available at Superdrug/Boots):

e.l.f is renowned for their high-quality, low-price products, and the Wow Brow Gel lives up to the reputation. The small spoolie brush deposits hair-like fibers onto individual brow hairs to give the effect of fuller-looking brows. Easily buildable, with a voluminous finish, this wax-gel formula is amazing for everyday appliance.


Milk Makeup KUSH Fiber Brow Gel, £15, Cult Beauty:

A vegan alternative to beeswax (found in many brow gels), hemp-derived cannabis oil is hydrating with excellent staying power. The small spoolie brush allows for controlled application, allowing you to style and groom your brows without getting unwanted product on the surrounding skin. Without feeling stiff or flaking off throughout the day, Milk have seriously delivered! Available in eight shades, with a volumizing effect (for a really natural finish, try out the Milk Makeup Brow Gel in 'Clear').



GOSH Rebel Eyes Mascara, £8.99, Superdrug:

The thin, long curved brush allows for lashes to be fully-coated, uplifted and curled. The GOSH Rebel Eyes Mascara lengthens, defines and volumizes without flaking off. The formula is non-clumpy, or too thick. Layer it up for a more dramatic look.


Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, £21, Tarte:

Known for their iconic Shape Tape Concealer, Tarte has always delivered first-class products with luxury ingredients. The Light, Camera, Lashes Mascara does not fail to keep up with Tarte’s cult status! With thousands of five-star reviews and enriched with the likes of rice bran and vitamin C to strengthen and condition the lashes, this mascara lifts, curls and volumizes for a false-lash effect. Lashes are fully coated, intensely black and defined. Formulated without parabens, this mascara has serious staying power and doesn’t flake. Good vegan mascaras are hard to find, and this is a winner!

Words by
Jess Moody

Art by

Stephanie Berkmann

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