Vegans are typically associated with eating a diet free of animal products, such as meat, eggs, and sometimes even honey. But, there are actually many other consumer products that don't fit with the vegan lifestyle. Many animal rights supporters are cognizant of the ‘cruelty-free’ badge emblazoned on labels, but a closer look is required to determine if products are actually vegan. Here's a guide to help you choose the best vegan-friendly items that won't cost a chunk of your paycheck.


Big drugstore brands — including L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel London, and CoverGirl — all test on animals, striking them all from being considered cruelty-free, PETA reports.

A bit of background knowledge is sometimes necessary if you support animal rights and want to shop responsibly. For example, Burt’s Bees is certified that it does not test on animals, (it’s printed on every label), but the brand is owned by a major corporation, Clorox, which is not cruelty-free.

If a product is vegan it means that there are no ingredients in it that came from an animal. A good amount of these cosmetics don’t specifically put it on the label, so it’s the consumer’s job to be aware. For instance, carmine is often used in shampoos and other cosmetics like lipstick, but, according to PETA, it is actually red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. Reportedly, 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye.

Many vegan beauty products are also considered cruelty-free, but be sure to double check the label or an online source.


There are a slew of other ingredients like carmine that originally came from a living creature. PETA has reported that these ingredients are not considered vegan:

  • Albumen

  • Allantoin

  • Ambergris

  • Boneblack, can also be labeled as bone charcoal

  • Carmine, can also be labeled as cochineal, carminic acid, and E120

  • Castor and castor oil

  • Cetyl alcohol, can also be labeled as cetyl lactate, cetyl myristate, cetyl palmitate, and ceteth-1, 02

  • Cholesterin

  • Choline bitartate, or lecithin

  • Civet

  • Collagen

  • Fish oil

  • Gelatin

  • Glycerin, or glycerol

  • Guanine

  • Hydrolyzed milk and animal proteins

  • Keratin

  • Lanolin

  • Musk

  • Palmitate, or palmitic acid

  • Pristane

  • Propolis

  • Quaternium 27, can also be labeled as tallow, stearamide, stearate, stearic acid, and stearin

  • Squalene


Believe it or not, your typical drugstore carries some vegan beauty products and at pretty reasonable prices. Don’t think you’ll have time to meticulously read labels for vegan ingredients on your next trip to CVS or Target? Keep your eyes peeled for these go-to brands.

  • Ardell Lashes

  • China Glaze nail polish

  • Eco Tools brushes

  • e.l.f. Cosmetics (but some brushes are made with animal hair)

  • ORLY

  • Pacifica


Despite not being completely vegan brands, some companies offer a sample of products that contain no ingredients from animals. Check out PETA’s top 12 vegan makeup products, all priced under $10, here.

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