Vegan/Cruelty-free/Ethical brushes

(originally published 04/11/2016)

Long are the days gone when only one or two brands ruled the world of the make-up brush. There’s such a wide variety out there sometimes it’s hard to pick and choose your favourites. Do you go for hype? Quality? Old classics? Looks? Natural hair? Cruelty-free?  Highstreet? Pro? Budget? Luxury? The possibilities are endless. At an age when cosmetics brands come and go, the competition is fierce and it is hard to deliver anything new or truly amazing.

When it comes to brushes everyone has their personal preference in shapes, sizes, bristle types, etc. but there’s definitely one type that has had a growing public demand and in the past few years and has come a long way: cruelty-free, vegan and 100% synthetic brushes. People are conscious of animal welfare and the environment more and more but would this mean that they have to compromise on the quality of their makeup brushes? Not anymore. If you wish to avoid animal hair bristles you don’t have to make do with rough, unflexible brushes with a plastic feel that are hardly able to blend products, there are plenty of alternatives.  It is a trial and error finding the ones that will work for you but it’s so much easier these days  and you don’t even have to break the bank to get pretty good quality.


Be aware that vegan and cruelty-free are not one and the same, so if you are truly concerned about animal welfare, make sure you read the labels carefully and go for 100% synthetic and vegan. Cruelty-free is a label that companies are free to use even if they still might use animal hair because technically you don’t have to test a brush on animals. It’s a bit like the ‘paraben-free’ label: the product itself doesn’t list parabens as an ingredient, but the ingredients of the product might have been treated with it. Apart from protecting animals, there are many other advantages of using synthetic brushes:  they don’t absorb oils, they are easier to clean, they are very durable, cost less and great if you have allergies to certain animal hairs or have sensitive skin.

Here’s a few, vegan, cruelty-free and ethical options that I have used and love:

Louise Young – not fully vegan or an eco brand, but one of the more ethical ones, handmade in the UK, responsibly sourced made sure no animals have been harmed or killed for their hair. They use both natural and synthetic hair, there is a nice variety there. 


You can find them here.

Eco Tools –  cruelty-free and vegan, tree-free using recycled materials and recycled bamboo. This has got to be one of my favourites for quality, variety, price point and for their philosophy. 


You can find them here.

Urban Decay – cruelty-free and vegan, using recycled plastic bottles, they have a good variety of soft brushes and they have just released a fantastic, pro range. 


You can find them here.

Real Techniques – who hasn’t heard of the Pixiwoos and the fantastic business they have built on the success of their Youtube Channel? Their collaboration with Real Techniques has become one of the fastest growing brush brands in recent times and no wonder: the brushes are great quality,  cruelty-free, vegan and a dream to work with.


You can find them here.

Look Good Feel Better – I’m all up for getting behind amazing charities like Look Good Feel Better (the only worldwide cancer support charity, providing practical support for women struggling with the side effects from cancer treatments). Bespoke Europe has created twelve handmade brushes using super-soft Taklon bristles making them allergy free, cruelty free and suitable for sensitive skin.  8%-12 % of the sales go for Look Good Feel Better (I wish it was a little bit more). 


You can find them here.

Going vegan when it comes to brushes is a great way to make sure that the sourcing of the bristles doesn’t involve cruel treatment of animals and I love that I can make a choice. The fact that a large number of brands realize the importance of animal welfare and opting out from taking part in senseless animal abuse and are more inclined to make ethical choices shows that companies are more willing to be influenced by public demand and be innovative about their products rather than following sometimes archaic corporate behaviour.

Other cruelty-free, vegan options: Illamasqua, Zoeva, Two Faced, OCC, INIKA, Aveda, The Body Shop, Kat Von D Beauty, Origins, It Cosmetics, Artis, Tarte.

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