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An Exhaustive Guide to the Best Vegan Beauty Products

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailers

In the time the two of us sisters have been vegan — ten years for Giorgina and and three years for Gabriella — we’ve heard just about every stereotype there is. There’s an assumption that all vegan beauty products smell like patchouli and are as crunchy as granola. And yes, we personally do and will always love Dr. Bronner’s soap. But our search to find quality vegan beauty products has only gotten easier over time, as a number of new all-vegan lines have launched and existing brands have expanded their offerings. We’ve tried a ton of them, swapped tips, and found that some have been way more successful than others. (Most importantly, we suffered the indignities of rubbing natural deodorant paste under our armpits, so you never have to.)

If you’re unsure of whether a beauty product is vegan, first look that it hasn’t been tested on animals — the Leaping Bunny logo is an easy indicator. Then, double-check for any animal products like carmine, lanolin, collagen, or tallow. And don’t forget about beeswax, a common ingredient binder in products like mascara.

Here, we’ve pulled together 27 of our favorites, across a range of budgets and brands. Dr. Bronner’s forever!

Cleanser

Glossier Milky Jelly
$18 at Glossier

Yes, it literally has the word “milk” in the name, but Glossier’s best-selling product is fully vegan. I got on board after years of using disastrous face scrubs (I know, I know, so much irritation) and my skin has never been clearer or softer. It cleanses my face thoroughly without drying it out, and has a fresh, unimposing scent. —Gabriella

Face Creams

Pacifica Dreamy Youth Day and Night Face Cream
$16 at Ulta

I’m picky about moisturizer — in addition to being vegan, it needs to hydrate without being greasy and clogging pores, has to feel light but still work, and can’t have a strong fragrance that irritates my sensitive skin. I can’t yet attest to the anti-aging benefits of this face cream (I do, however, love the “refuse to obey time” imperative on the packaging), but I can say that this moisturizer is hands down the best I’ve tried, exceeds my expectations for moisturizer must-haves, and is an absolute staple that also happens to be under $20. —Giorgina

Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Cream
$48 at Dermstore

I second Giorgina’s pickiness about face cream, and my personal favorite is the Youth to the People. It’s tantalizingly light, feels incredibly cooling when you slather it on, and comes in a dreamy pale mint green shade. It also contains kale and spinach (lol), which I’m pretending counts toward my five-a-day. —Gabriella

Face Masks

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
$80 at Sephora

I almost wish this wasn’t vegan, so I didn’t feel quite as compelled to keep shelling out $80 on a face mask. But the mix of acids exfoliates fully and gives my skin a complete overhaul when it’s looking and feeling spotty and dull — I emerge feeling fresher and brighter. And I especially appreciate the slightly punishing tingle that lets me know it’s working. —Gabriella

Aztec Secret Clay Mask
$8 at Amazon

This is as natural as it gets, considering that it’s actual clay from the earth. Your face, as the packaging promises, will “pulsate” in a really satisfying way as the mask dries on your skin. I like to mix it with apple cider vinegar to get the full pore-tightening, acne-eliminating effect, and the jar also lasts for ages. —Giorgina

Sunscreen

Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen
$9 at Amazon

I live by the beach now, so I tried a lot of options to find a safer, affordable sunscreen that I really love and look forward to reapplying (which is the whole point of sunscreen in the first place!) This one smells summery — with hints of coconut, banana, and pineapple — and rubs in easily, so you don’t have to sport a zinc-oxide nose. The formula is water-resistant and moisturizing but not oily, so it hydrates after a day spent outside. And I’m a sucker for the cute faux wood-paneled packaging. —Giorgina

Body Wash

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap
$16 at Amazon

I first bought cult-favorite Dr. Bronner’s when I was on a natural beauty kick and was lured by the multi-tasking minimalist promise of 18-in-one use soap. You can even use it to brush your teeth, but don’t, because it will just taste like you are brushing your teeth with soap. The peppermint — my favorite — is invigorating enough to wake you up in the morning, and smells so good, I even use it to clean my house. —Giorgina

Foundation

Tarte Amazonian Clay
$39 at Ulta

I’ve always been foundation-averse because a lot of brands feel heavy and make me break out, and shade-matching is a nightmare. But this Amazonian Clay foundation looks really natural, doesn’t dry your skin out, and comes in 40 shades. It’s full-coverage but feels like you aren’t wearing anything — this stuff has made me a foundation convert, and I’m a hard sell! —Giorgina

Concealer

Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer
$27 at Ulta

There’s an assumption that vegans automatically have better skin but, while cutting out dairy does often help people, it’s not a magic cure. I still get hormonal breakouts and, sugar face be damned, I’m never going to give up sugar. This is the most effective concealer I’ve found for covering up blemishes and dark circles. Plus, like the Amazonian Clay foundation, Tarte ensures that it comes in many, many shades. —Gabriella

BB Cream

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream
$16 at Ulta

In the summer, I’m tanner, sweatier, and I absolutely don’t want to use a full foundation. This Pacifica BB cream gives me just enough coverage and brightness to make me feel like I can hold it together at the office when I really just want to be at the beach, in my Tevas. —Gabriella

Highlighter

e.l.f. baked highlighter
$4 at Ulta

I first got this as a free gift in an e.l.f. haul, and it’s now one of my favorite products. I was originally wary of the highlighter trend because I thought it would make me look like a walking disco ball, but a dusting of this on cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and cupid’s bow makes you look dewy and awake. —Giorgina

Eye Shadow

e.l.f. Prism Eyeshadow Palette
$10 at Ulta

Whenever I buy eye-shadow palettes, I fall in love with one or two shades and the rest usually go untouched because they’re too bold for everyday or just aren’t colors I tend to use. Every single shade in the “Naked” palette is gorgeous and wearable — the shimmer brightens eyes without being over-the-top, and they’re silky and super pigmented. —Giorgina

Eyeliner

Pacifica Natural Eye Pencil in Fringe
$10 at Amazon

Switching over to brown eyeliner was a game changer for me because it’s more subtle for daily wear, and it opens your eyes while still looking natural. This eyeliner goes on so smoothly, is water-resistant, and lasts a long time — even once it starts fading, it looks soft and beautifully lived-in rather than giving you raccoon eyes (sorry, raccoons wear it best) I have sensitive, allergy-prone eyes, and it doesn’t make them water because it’s formulated without harsh chemicals and colors. The pencil is available in a black and a silver-gray, too, if you can’t part with your favorite shade. —Giorgina

Liquid Liner

e.l.f. Intense Ink Eyeliner
$4 at Ulta

I love a good cat eye now and then, but it’s sometimes hard to keep a steady hand and make both sides even, especially with liquid eyeliner and thin felt tip eyeliner. This eyeliner pen is thick and easy to control, so it’s pretty foolproof, and the bold, intense black outlasts eyeliners I’ve tried that are five times more expensive than e.l.f! —Giorgina

Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex
$24 at Sephora

I’m a natural contrarian, so before I tried Better Than Sex, I expected to find it completely overrated. But this is one of the rare times when I found a product that’s hyped beyond belief — America’s best-selling mascara! — to actually be correctly judged. One swipe of the wand is enough, but I prefer two, and it lasts all day. I’m even willing to overlook the name because it makes me look like a sexy cartoon character or a car with eyelash attachments on its headlights. —Gabriella

Brow Gel

Milk Kush Clear Brow Gel
$18 at Sephora

My genetic makeup consists of two of the hairiest ethnicities — Egyptian and Italian — and so I was thrilled when the over-plucked brow trend died down and I could finally let mine grow out in peace. After taking a hands-off approach for a couple of years, I remember looking at a photo of myself once and realizing that I was channeling Eugene Levy, and not in a good way. I experimented with a lot of brow gels before settling on Milk’s clear version, which holds them in place without crunch. —Gabriella

Blush

e.l.f. Beautifully Bare Cheeky Glow
$4 at Ulta

The best way to enhance (or fake!) that vegan glow. These blushes really brighten your face and give you the prettiest flush, even with no other makeup on. The cream texture looks more natural than powder, which can look dry on your skin and settle into fine lines, and unlike some cream blushes, these feel light and aren’t sticky or greasy. —Giorgina

Lipstick

e.l.f. Matte Lip Color
$3 at Ulta

I’m obsessed with this $3 lip crayon from e.l.f., to the point where my go-to red lip is their “Rich Red” shade. When I wear it, I usually have to reapply a couple of times a day, but I never get the heavy-lip feeling I hate from most lip colors. It’s the perfect product for when I haven’t gotten much sleep and I generally feel rundown but I want to look like I have it together that day. Oh, and it’s three freaking dollars!!! —Gabriella

Lip Balm

Smith’s Rosebud Salve Tube
$7 at Ulta

I’ve tried a lot of vegan lip balms, but always come back to this one. It’s the best for flaky lips, lasts forever, and the rose scent is so comforting. I’m a total germophobe, so while the tin is nostalgic and beautiful, I’m thrilled they started making this in a tube so I don’t have to be wiping my fingers all over my lips each time I need to reapply. —Giorgina

Lip Gloss

Em Cosmetics True Gloss
$20 at Em Cosmetics

I associate lip gloss with the early aughts and the terrible sensation of hair getting stuck in sticky gloss, but these smell nice, aren’t sticky, have great color payoff, and plump your lips slightly. My favorites are Ruby Wine, a bright burgundy that makes it so easy to pull off a wine lip color, and Moroccan Sunset, a dusty coral that feels really fresh. (P.S. Watch out for the the Caramel Glaze and Red Jasper shades, which are not vegan.)  —Giorgina

Nail Polish

Zoya
$9 at Ulta

Yes, I am always thinking of Zoya the Destroyer from GLOW when I use this nail polish. Other positives include a wide array of shades, vibrant and long-lasting colors, and a brush that makes for deft handling and even coats even for the clumsiest of us. And my self-administered manicures manage to last for an entire week, which is ten years in my chip-prone life. —Gabriella

Nail-Polish Remover

Karma Naturals Nail Polish Remover with Soybean Oil and Lavender
$12 at Amazon

This nail polish remover from Karma Naturals is free from toxic chemicals and smells like lavender essential oil — no more gnarly scent — but is magically also incredibly effective at quickly removing even the darkest polish. It leaves your nails moisturized, too. —Giorgina

Deodorant

Jāsön Dry Spray Deodorant
$9 at Amazon

I have the distinct honor of having tried nearly every natural deodorant on the market since 2008, and I had pretty much given up on the possibility that I’d get even close to the results of an aluminum-laden formula. Like all natural deodorants, this isn’t an antiperspirant, but it smells great (my favorite is the delicate floral Soft Rose, but it also comes in a refreshing Fresh Cucumber), and there’s something incredibly comforting about using something that is recognizable to others as deodorant, rather than frantically rubbing a crystal stick or coconut oil paste under your arms while saying a quiet prayer every time the temperature rises above 60 degrees. —Giorgina

Body Lotions

Beauty Without Cruelty Unscented Lotion
$8 at Amazon

Whenever I used a lotion with fragrance, I would always break out in crazy hives. I didn’t make the connection until I got my first tattoo a few years ago and had to buy an unscented lotion for healing. Since I started using it all over my body, the hives have disappeared and my skin has been hydrated. A bonus is that I get to support an old-school vegan business — they’ve been doing their thing since 1963. —Gabriella

Premium Nature Fractionated Coconut Oil
$25 at Amazon

I love the simplicity of coconut oil as a body oil. Fractionated is the best because the long-chain fatty acids have been removed, so it always remains liquid, and it’s completely odorless, so you don’t have to walk around smelling like an actual coconut. I also use it on a cotton pad to take off eye makeup. I discovered it was remarkably effective by chance after once slathering my hands with coconut oil and accidentally rubbing my eye completely clean of makeup. —Giorgina

Perfume

Pacifica Spray Perfume
$22 at Ulta

Dispelling the patchouli-anointed vegan stereotypes, Pacifica perfumes are beautiful and super affordable. My favorites are the Tahitian Gardenia, French Lilac, and the Waikiki Pikake (RIP because I think it’s discontinued now!), which smell just like the flowers they’re named after. They don’t make me sneeze like most chemical perfumes, and they smell really authentic, whether you prefer floral or fruity scents. Many come in solid perfume, roller-ball, spray, and body lotion, so you can coordinate your products if you really fall in love with a scent and are type A like that. —Giorgina

Shaving Cream

Kiss my Face Moisture Shave
$8 at CVS

As promised by the product name, this is the most moisturizing shave cream out there. Kiss My Face (arguably the best-named brand in the natural beauty business) offers this in a fragrance-free option and a range of lovely scents, like lavender shea, green tea and bamboo, and pomegranate grapefruit. It’s a thicker cream rather than a foam and doesn’t melt off in the shower, so you can shave just like the fancy ladies in razor ads. —Giorgina

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27 of the Best Vegan Beauty Products Ever