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From Beeswax to Collagen: What Makes Makeup Not Vegan?

Why wear Vegan Makeup.

Last updated on December 15th, 2023

If you’re wondering what makes makeup vegan? Well, you’re in the right place, because I’m going to fill you in on all you need to know.

Makeup is a normal part of so many people’s everyday routines. We wear makeup to look and feel our best and for many, it’s a way of expression.

As we know makeup is not a new thing, in fact, researchers say ancient Egyptians wore makeup over 6,000 years ago. Here’s an interesting article on the history of makeup

However, even though it’s so deeply ingrained in the world’s culture, not all makeup products are created equal. And some, unfortunately, are not suitable for vegans. 

Let’s talk about what makes makeup not vegan.

What Makes Makeup Not Vegan?

Makeup products can contain ingredients derived from animals or animal byproducts and knowing some of the most popular ingredients can be helpful.

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients found in makeup include:

1. Beeswax

Beeswax is a wax produced by bees, it’s commonly used in lip products, eye shadow, and mascara.

2. Carmine

Carmine is a red pigment that comes from beetles and is often used in blush, eye shadow, and lipstick.

3. Lanolin

Lanolin is a wax secreted by sheep and is commonly used in lip products and moisturizers.

4. Collagen 

Collagen is a protein that comes from animal tissue and is often in skincare products to improve the skin’s elasticity.

5. Guanine

Guanine is a material that comes from fish scales and it is sometimes used in makeup products to add shimmer.

6. Keratin

Keratin is a protein derived from animal hair, hooves, horns, and feathers, and is often used in hair care products.

What is vegan makeup

Makeup that is Tested on Animals

So, the obvious thing that makes makeup not vegan is if there are any non-vegan ingredients in the formula. However, many vegans also avoid makeup products that are tested on animals. 

Animal testing involves exposing animals to potential irritants, allergens, or toxic chemicals to assess their safety for human use. The process can be painful and distressing for animals, and it’s not necessary for creating safe and effective makeup products, there are other options available. 

Why Use Vegan Makeup?

Using vegan makeup has so many wonderful benefits.

Firstly, it avoids the use of any animal-derived ingredients and usually avoids animal testing and as a result, makes it a kinder and more ethical choice to make.  

The next reason is, that not always, but often, vegan makeup products are free from harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances that can irritate the skin, making them a healthier and safer option. But please do your research because there are some nasty vegan makeup products out there too. 

What Makes Makeup Not Vegan

Vegan Makeup is Also Better for the Environment. 

More and more people are becoming aware that animal agriculture is having a major impact on our environment and that it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution. 

So, avoiding animal-derived ingredients can also help reduce the demand for these environmentally damaging practices.

So, it’s kinder, usually has less nasty stuff in it, and is better for the environment but that’s not even all. Vegan makeup has come a long way in terms of quality and performance.

Many vegan makeup brands use innovative, plant-based ingredients to create high-quality makeup that is long-lasting and performs just as well, if not better, than conventional makeup products.


Makeup is a personal choice and because it’s there to make you feel the way you want it to there is no right or wrong way to wear it. 

However, using vegan makeup can have several benefits, including aligning with personal values, and promoting a healthier lifestyle. As well as being better for the environment.

With more vegan makeup options becoming available, there has never been a better time to explore and incorporate vegan products into your beauty routine.

If you want to give vegan makeup a try why not take a look at these posts about some of my favourite vegan and cruelty-free products?

Meet the Author

Author Bio - Sinead OCarroll - The Wondering Wandering Vegan

Meet Sinead O’Carroll: Vegan explorer, sustainability advocate and the founder of The Wondering Wandering Vegan. Embracing veganism since 2018 and vegetarianism since 2005, Sinead is armed with a Vegan Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle qualification, and is on a mission to share her passion for cruelty-free living. 

With a taste for adventure and a heart for eco-conscious choices, she’s here to prove that vegans never miss out on flavour, fun or style. Join her in enjoying the delights of a vegan-friendly world! 🌱✈️🌍
Want to know more? Check out Sinead’s About page here.

Follow me on Instagram to see all the delicious vegan food I find, the vegan and cruelty-free products I use and what I get up to as a travelling vegan.

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