The perfect lip color can not only provide a finishing touch for your makeup look, but given the wide range of colors and finishes, it is a subtle way to express your character and personality.
Are you bold, reaching for dramatic matte reds, or looking for a softer, sweeter look with a shimmery sheer?
There are almost as many options out there as there are people.
Luckily, people who want to live a compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle don’t need to sacrifice personal beauty because they forego animal products and testing.
With the knowledge of a few key ingredients to watch for, along with knowing what finish and texture of lipstick fit you best, even strict vegans still have their choice of a wide variety of brands and products to fit a makeup look for every season and occasion.
We’ve listed our top picks for different lipstick categories below, but you can read the details of each recommendation further on.
Article NavigationList of the Top Vegan Lipstick BrandsVegan Matte LipsticksVegan Liquid LipsticksVegan Mineral LipsticksVegan Sheer LipsticksVegan Shimmer LipsticksWhat Is Vegan Lipstick Made From?What Should I Look for in Vegan Lipstick?Colorful, Compassionate Lips with Vegan Lipstick
List of the Top Vegan Lipstick Brands
Vegan Matte Lipsticks
Matte lipstick is all about statement!
The lipstick creates a smooth, suede-like finish with zero shimmer, and come in bold colors like electric pink to lush burgundy.
A matte finish is perfect if you’re heading out for drinks or a dinner date, as the lipsticks are highly pigmented and super long-lasting, which means you can apply once and not have to worry about making trips to the bathroom to touch it up.
These lipsticks are a good choice for people who don’t like the feel of glossier lipsticks, as they glide on effortlessly, don’t have an annoying sticky texture, and provide lots of drama for minimal effort.
It’s important to make sure you’re hydrating your lips when using matte lipstick, as they have a tendency to dry out lips after extended wear. Use a good moisturizing lip balm when you’re not wearing matte lipstick to keep lips soft and kissable.
Top Pick for Vegan Matte Lipsticks
Our top pick for matte lipsticks, BH Cosmetics Color Lock is rich and creamy, and long-wearing without any smudging. Bold pigments stay in place all day while their Triple Butter Complex with Shea, Coconut and Mango butters nourish skin for soft and beautiful lips.
This line offers a great selection of pigments for even the pickiest lipstick wearer and offers value for your money – high-quality but easy on the wallet.
e.l.f.’s Matte Lip Color is the perfect blend of high-quality and budget-friendly. This vegan-friendly lipstick is richly pigmented and glides on effortlessly for long-lasting color. Unlike many matte lipsticks, this formula is hydrating and moisturizing thanks to added vitamins A, C, and E, and the twist-up tube means you’ll never have to sharpen.
Milani’s Color Statement Moisture lipstick comes in eight bold colors, including fun shades like Matte Orchid, Matte Glam, and fiery red Matte Passion. This vegan lipstick brand goes on creamy and dries into a smooth matte finish, and holds up even after close encounters with coffee cups. Milani offers beautiful shades that go with all skin types, in particular for women of color who are looking for a bold and dramatic lip color.
Known for their line of bold hair colors, it’s not surprising that Manic Panic’s line of vegan-friendly matte lipsticks come in 16 dramatic colors, including the classics like dark red all the way to matte white, black, and midnight blue for a super attention-grabbing pout. This cruelty-free lipstick does tend to transfer onto cups, straws, and faces, but it won’t smudge on your lips, and rarely needs more than one application over the course of an evening. This formula includes moisturizer, but lips will still benefit from some extra hydration.
Vegan Liquid Lipsticks
Liquid lipsticks are a unique formulation that applies like a lip gloss but dries to a matte finish that ranges from mousse-like to very, very dry.
Like stick matte lipsticks, lips will require some extra moisturizing due to the drying capabilities of these lipsticks, especially during the colder months.
For flawless application, liquid lipstick should be applied to exfoliated and moisturized lips, and used with a lip liner to create a full, luscious pout. Liquid lipsticks are easy to apply, and you’ll only need one coat for perfect opaque pigment, but you can layer two to three coats for a super dramatic look.
Top Pick for Vegan Liquid Lipsticks
Lime Crime Velvetines Liquid Matte lipsticks are bold, opaque lipsticks that are long-lasting and come in 40 unapologetically dramatic tones. Lime Crime Velvetines color lineup includes matte classics like dark reds and browns but also includes trendier colors like dusty pinks and gray tints. All products are PETA verified vegan and Leaping Bunny certified. This formula is a little pricier than others, but you’re getting what you pay for here. This vegan lipstick is highly rated, creates a truly flawless look, and a little goes a long way – a single tube will last you awhile.
Kat Von D’s liquid lipsticks are long-wear, full-coverage formulas with smooth, matte finishes. The lipsticks come in shades like chestnut rose and fawn nude, which creates the illusion of fuller, poutier lips to make the most of what you’ve got. The formula is infused with natural comfort-enhancing ingredients like vitamin E and sunflower seed oil, so lips stayed healthy and moisturized even after all-day wear. Kat Von D’s liquid lipsticks are available at online retailers like Amazon, as well as Sephora.
OCC’s Lip Tar brings something new to the game for people who want a liquid lipstick but don’t want to be pigeonholed into a typically smooth, matte finish. OCC offers colors like Black Metal Dahlia, which include a metallic pearl for a shimmery finish, while still going on easily like a traditional liquid lipstick. A teeny tiny amount of product is needed for completely opaque coverage, which means a single tube will last you quite some time. The product is gluten free, silicone free, and synthetic preservative free, and is made with peppermint oil, a natural antibacterial.
Vegan Mineral Lipsticks
Unlike traditional lipsticks, which use chemical colors, wax, and other manufactured materials, vegan mineral lipstick uses natural minerals and plant-based wax to create different shades and finishes of lip color.
Minerals like mica, soy, titanium dioxide, tin oxide, and silica are blended with natural pigments and treated with heat to produce the lip color, while the addition of wax allows the makeup to be easily applied.
Mineral lipsticks come in a variety of finishes, including matte, shine, sheer, and glossy. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies, mineral lipstick is a good choice, as the natural ingredients have a reduced tendency to cause reactions and irritation.
Top Pick for Vegan Mineral Lipsticks
A respected name in vegan and natural cosmetics, Pacifica’s Devocean Lipstick is a hydrating blend of natural ingredients. This vegan lipstick brand is full color and long-lasting so that it won’t feather during wear, and you won’t have to worry about reapplication.
The formula is created without any animal ingredients such as carmine, beeswax, or lanolin, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, propylene glycol, SLS, peanut oil, and other ingredients that might irritate skin or cause an unpleasant reaction. The long-lasting wear and affordability make this our #1 pick for mineral lipsticks.
Mineral Fusion’s natural lipstick delivers high-quality color without sacrificing the quality of the ingredients. The long-lasting color resists smudging and feathering while hydrating lips with pomegranate, red and white tea, vitamins C and E, shea butter, and jojoba seed oil. The lipsticks come in 13 colors and finishes and are free of gluten, parabens, artificial colors and fragrances, talc, and phthalates, making these lipsticks a good choice for extra sensitive skin.
A premiere name in mineral makeup, bareMinerals’ Marvelous Moxie Lipstick comes in 17 colors, including “Make Your Move” and “Never Say Never.” The colors are rich without being garish or over the top, and the are long-lasting without the drying effects of other long-wearing makeup. The lipstick is creamy and glides on smoothly, providing full coverage in a rich satin finish that instantly makes lips look plumper and full. Each color provides a moisture hydrating complex with Abyssinian oil and omega fatty acids, so lips stay healthy and happy.
Vegan Sheer Lipsticks
Sheer lipstick is the perfect choice for an “I woke up like this” kind of day when you’re looking for a natural, subtle finish with minimal drama.
These products leave lips with more gloss and shine than matte finishes and tend to feel somewhere between a traditional lipstick and lip gloss.
Sheer lipsticks tend to have a high oil content to achieve that shiny, glossy finish, so they may appear darker in the tube than they do on your lips.
Remember that the high oil content also means sheer lipsticks will transfer easily, and need to be touched up frequently, so they’re best for use while you’re out running errands or an outing where you’ll be doing minimal eating and drinking.
Sheer lipsticks are a solid daytime wear product, where you don’t want too much drama and boldness, and are looking for just a little touch of color instead of going for a super eye-catching, dramatic look.
Top Pick for Vegan Sheer Lipsticks
Available in 23 beautiful and subtle shades, NARS’ sheer lipstick wears somewhat like a tinted balm, adding just a touch of slightly glossy color for days when you’re going for a more natural look. Because it’s fortified with vitamin E, this lipstick is just as nourishing and non-drying as it is beautiful and natural, and the product is long-wearing when compared to other sheer lipsticks. A single application of the pigment provides enough color to make a difference, but won’t compete with a more dramatic eye or whatever other makeup you choose to wear with it.
With over 100 shades in natural to bold colors, there is a sheer Vice lipstick from Urban Decay for every personality and occasion. This lipstick gets rave reviews by users, and it’s praised for its staying power, quality, ease of use, and blendability with other products to further customize these already personalized colors. The products have a creamy texture that goes on without effort and provides just a touch of pigment for a subtle, but still completely customizable look. For those who want a slightly more assertive color, the lipstick is buildable, so you can achieve exactly the saturation you’re looking for.
For those looking for a subtle, tinted look without harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients, Pacifica’s Color Quench should have a spot in your makeup bag. Color Quench provides sheer, natural color and immediate moisture for thirsty lips, giving you a look you’re going for without having to apply harsh, reaction-inducing ingredients to your face. This lipstick contains 100% natural ingredients so as not to cause irritation, while still giving a dewy, natural lip color. In fun colors like coconut nectar, the product supplies light tint with a mild shimmer that makes it perfect for summertime wear.
Vegan Shimmer Lipsticks
Shimmer lipstick has an opalescent finish and is a good choice for evenings out or days at the office, as it looks great under artificial light and helps your lips appear plumper and fuller.
These lipsticks can take on a wide variety of hues, from a deep color with a shimmering finish, or a more nude, natural color that uses the finish alone to play up lips for a subtle yet put-together look.
Shimmer lipstick uses flecks of cosmetic-grade glitter or mica to give a glimmering look to lips rather than the simple shine of traditional glossy lipsticks.
If you have thin lips that you’d like to make appear fuller, or you want a soft, less intense look than something provided by a matte lipstick, it’s a good idea to have at least one shimmery lipstick in your arsenal.
Top Pick for Vegan Shimmer Lipsticks
The Aqua Luxe lipsticks from NYX are glamorous, silky smooth lipsticks packed with extra shine and shimmer to create the illusion of full, lush, luminous lips. The lipsticks come in nine colors, including Razzle Dazzle, Jet Set, Splendid, Pink Jewel, Holistic, Enchanting, Glory, Aurora, and Elusive, each of which is a perfect pearly shimmer for summertime wear. The individual colors or a multi-pack of all nine shades is available on Amazon and gets rave reviews from buyers. With a good mix of quality glimmer and affordability, the Aqua Luxe line is our pick for vegan-friendly shimmer lipsticks.
Made from natural ingredients, Gabriel Organics’ Maple Shimmer lipstick is enriched with nourishing ingredients that provide all-day or night hydration and long-lasting shimmering color. It can be applied with a lip brush, fingers, or straight from the tube, and is available online at retailers like Amazon, or at a Target near you. The product has a solid, easy-to-apply coverage and wears comfortably, so you won’t have to deal with the tacky, goopy feeling of wearing lipstick all day.
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Axiology’s earth-based tones work well with every skin type and complexion, and The Goodness shade provides the perfect amount of summery shimmer for a fresh, natural lip. The lipstick helps preserve lips’ softness with pure organic ingredients like avocado butter and coconut oil – these high-quality natural ingredients make the product feel like a moisturizing balm while providing the color and look of lipstick. The formula is toxin free, cruelty-free, vegan, and provides long-lasting wear so you can spend your summer enjoying time with friends and family instead of applying and reapplying your lip color. The color is described as pearly and “seashell shimmer,” and goes on smoothly from a sustainable and well-designed tube.
What Is Vegan Lipstick Made From?
The ingredients in vegan lipsticks vary depending on each brand and product.
For each animal-based ingredient in traditional lipsticks, vegan lipsticks find a plant-based or synthetic alternative, depending on whether or not that particular product is a natural/organic lipstick or not.
Vegan lipsticks can be made with synthetic ingredients that are created in a lab and are not sourced from animals.
While they are free from animal products, those with sensitive skin prone to irritation may do better with a vegan-friendly natural lipstick.
Natural lipsticks use minerals and natural plant-based dyes to create each color and finish and blend them with vegetable-based wax instead of beeswax for easy application. Vegan natural lipsticks usually include things like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and sunflower seed oil to apply the makeup and to keep lips healthy and hydrated.
What Should I Look for in Vegan Lipstick?
While finding animal ingredients in food is pretty straightforward once you get the basic lingo down, animal products can sneak their way into cosmetics under all kinds of confusing and inconspicuous names.
In order to make sure you’re purchasing a product that is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, make sure you avoid products that list tallow (fat), lanolin (a liquid derived from sheep’s wool), Carmine (a dye made from crushed bugs), collagen, and beeswax, which are all common animal ingredients added to lipstick to improve texture and application.
If you can find a product that advertises itself as “vegan,” you’ll take a lot of the guesswork out and circumvent any sly omissions the company has chosen to do.
It’s important to remember that a vegan product does not necessarily mean cruelty-free, and vice versa – just because a lipstick doesn’t contain animal ingredients doesn’t mean it hasn’t been tested on animals.
To go 2/2 and find a guaranteed animal-friendly lipstick, look for products that are both entirely plant-based, and cruelty-free. Look for the Leaping Bunny logo to be 100% sure the product is cruelty-free, or look up the company to see if they do or do not engage in cruel animal testing practices.
Once you find a vegan and cruelty-free lipstick, it’s also best to find something that has moisturizing agents to keep lips from being dried out by long-lasting wear.
Each of the recommended lipsticks in the list above has ingredients to hydrate lips, but if you find something that is not included in the guide, reach for one that includes shea or vitamins A, C, and E to keep lips healthy and soft.
Colorful, Compassionate Lips with Vegan Lipstick
Whether you’re looking for a lipstick that is simply vegan and cruelty-free or a blend that goes the extra mile with only natural ingredients, you can still achieve a look that perfectly expresses your personality without having to sacrifice your morals.
By paying careful attention to the ingredient list on each product and seeking out lipsticks that are guaranteed vegan and cruelty-free, you can still include bold, beautiful, and high-quality lip colors and finishes into your everyday makeup look.
With so many options, there is no need to buy lipsticks that include animal ingredients like lanolin and carmine, or that have been needlessly tested on rabbits, mice, and rats. The lipsticks in this list – and vegan, cruelty-free lipsticks off this list – will make for happy lips and happy animals.