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Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog

Two Ingredients to Avoid in Your Makeup

These days, with so many options and advancements available, there is no reason for any makeup ingredients to be sourced from animals. We can have fun with makeup without harming other creatures and I’m thrilled to see more and more cosmetic companies eliminating them. I have been using vegan cosmetics for 18 years so I know it’s not only possible, but there is plenty of great quality vegan makeup out there.

While there are a number of animal-derived ingredients to avoid, let’s look at 2 of the most common to give you a place to start:

Carmine: Many red or pink lipsticks and blushes get their red hue from carmine. What is carmine? It’s made from crushed cochineal insects. Even if you don’t care about insects, you probably aren’t happy to know there are bugs in your makeup. Eeewww! Some of the companies that have beautiful vegan lipsticks: Mayuur Naturals (this is where the lipstick I wear the most comes from), PrimePrometics, Thrive Causemetics, Arbonne, Bare Minerals, Jane Iredale (except their Playon Lip Crayon)…to name just a few!

Animal hair: The act of acquiring the hair and fur to make cosmetic brushes is horrific and there is absolutely no benefit to using animal hair brushes. I was a professional makeup artist for many years providing makeup services for weddings and I used synthetic brushes. The results were beautiful and completely indistinguishable from someone using animal hair brushes. Vegan options are everywhere. As with animal hair bristles, there is a range of quality—you’ll be surprised at how affordable they are. When you take good care of your brushes they will last for years. There are too many options to mention, but some of the companies above offer them as well as Honest, BK Beauty and Sephora has a wide range of options.

Quick note: When cosmetic companies say their products are cruelty-free, it only means they are not tested on animals. They could still contain animal ingredients which means they really are not cruelty-free. I encourage you to read the labels carefully.

Be sure to check out my resources page on my website for some discounts (Fun Resources) – the list is always growing! (I only recommend products I like and use myself and that I feel you’ll enjoy knowing about. If you use one of the links or coupon codes to purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)


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Ginger Burr is a fashion stylist and personal shopper serving clients worldwide from metro Boston.