Cruelty-Free Beauty: Exploring the World of Vegan Cosmetics

What are Vegan Cosmetics?

Vegan cosmetics are cosmetics/beauty products made from 100% vegetarian food. These products do not contain animal residues. They are made without ingredients such as animal fats, beeswax, honey, collagen, carmine, or lanolin, which are often found in traditional cosmetics. Instead, they contain vegan herbal ingredients, minerals, and synthetic alternatives for similar or better results. These products are also not tested on animals, so they are cruelty-free. The concept of Vegan Cosmetics was developed in the early 1980s. The term was coined by Donald Watson, who is the founder of the Vegan Society.

Why is Vegan Cosmetics seeking consumer's attention?

The increase in demand for vegan cosmetics is due to several factors, such as the clean beauty trend. Clean beauty includes safe and non-toxic cosmetics that prioritize human health and the environment. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the effects of chemicals on their bodies and the environment, so they are looking for vegan cosmetics that avoid animal-derived ingredients and promote cruelty-free practices. The desire for transparency of product ingredients and the growing awareness of the potential risks associated with certain chemicals have increased the demand for vegan cosmetics. As consumers become more aware of their choices and look for ethical, sustainable, and transparent beauty options, vegan cosmetics have emerged as a major contender in the beauty industry.

Why are Vegan Cosmetics a preferred choice?

Vegan cosmetics are gaining popularity due to their many benefits. First, they are cruelty-free, which means they are not tested on animals and contain no animal products. It conforms to ethical values ​​and supports a more compassionate beauty industry. Second, vegan cosmetics often contain natural and herbal ingredients that are gentle and nourishing to the skin. They also usually do not contain harsh chemicals, so they are suitable for sensitive skin. Choosing vegan cosmetics helps to save the environment because it avoids the environmental effects of animal products. Finally, vegan cosmetics allow for a more ethical, sustainable, skin-friendly beauty routine.

Innovations in Vegan Cosmetics-

The year 2020 saw the growth of the vegan cosmetics industry as more and more brands focused on being environmentally friendly. Lush has launched packaging-free products called the Bare range, which reduces waste. Fenty Beauty has introduced a "Full Frontal" mascara that is both vegan and cruelty-free.

In 2021, the vegan cosmetics industry has made inclusion a priority. Brands offered more shades for different skin tones and created gender-neutral products. Rare Beauty launched "Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation" in 48 shades and Fluide introduced the versatile "Universal Gloss" for lips, cheeks, and eyes.

The year 2022 saw natural and organic ingredients come into focus. Brands avoided synthetic fragrances and harmful chemicals. Ilia Beauty's "Super Serum Skin Tint" used herbal ingredients such as squalane and hyaluronic acid. Herbivore Botanicals Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme contains natural rose water and aloe vera.

Must have Vegan Cosmetic products.

Vegan cosmetic must-haves include cleansers, moisturizers, foundations, lipsticks/lip balms, mascaras, eyeshadows, brushes/tools, and nail polish. Vegan cleansers and moisturizers are made without animal ingredients, while vegan foundations offer a cruelty-free alternative for flawless skin. The lipsticks and lip balms are made without beeswax or other animal products, and the vegan mascaras do not contain ingredients such as beeswax or keratin. Vegan eyeshadows offer a wide range of shades without carmine or other animal pigments. Brushes and tools made of synthetic fibres are used instead of animal bristles. Vegan nail polishes do not contain ingredients such as guanine or shellac.

Reason for boosting startups in the Vegan Cosmetics industry.

There has been a gradual shift in the beauty industry towards a demand for vegan beauty products and companies have embraced this trend. The Unilever-owned brand Hourglass Cosmetics has just launched a vegan red lipstick, demonstrating its commitment to providing alternatives to traditional animal ingredients such as carmine. Startups that bring innovative ingredients and technologies to the vegan market have also played an important role in driving this movement.

One notable startup, Upcircle, focuses on sustainable and vegan cosmetics. They prefer recycled packaging and exclude ingredients such as SLS, SLE, parabens, mineral oils, perfumes, and sulphates. Curology, another rising star, offers personalized vegan skincare developed by dermatologists through an online subscription service. Typology, which has gained considerable popularity, offers vegan skin care products that are free of harmful ingredients and is certified by B Corp, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability.

Beyond product development, startups like Skin-Match are revolutionizing the industry with software solutions that provide consumers with detailed ingredient information. Petit Vour offers a vegan beauty subscription box that allows consumers to find personalized products based on their preferences. Modern Meadow has developed Bio-Coll@gen, a vegan collagen derived from engineered yeast strains, eliminating the need for animal extraction methods. These examples highlight the growing influence of startups in the vegan beauty industry. Their commitment to sustainable practices, vegan ingredients and personalized offerings has resonated with beauty consumers, who often prefer independent brands because they lack trust in larger companies. Thanks to the combined efforts of established brands and innovative startups, the vegan beauty market continues to expand, offering consumers a diverse selection of ethically sourced, cruelty-free products.

Challenges for Vegan Cosmetics

Sourcing vegan ingredients has proven to be one of the main obstacles as companies try to find sustainable alternatives to animal components, considering cost and availability. Achieving the desired product performance and composition without using traditional animal-derived ingredients is a difficult task for formulators, requiring extensive research and development. Also, the challenge is to ensure adequate shelf life and shelf life without relying on non-vegan preservatives.

Compliance with regulations and accurate labelling is also a major obstacle. As vegan labelling regulations and standards evolve, companies must meet complex requirements and obtain certifications to ensure their products are accurately labelled as vegan and cruelty-free. Limited awareness and accessibility further hamper the growth of the industry. Despite the growing demand, many consumers are still not aware of the benefits of vegan cosmetics and find it difficult to find them on the market. Besides all, due to sustainable sourcing and ethical practices, the higher price of vegan cosmetics can become an obstacle for price-conscious consumers.

Celebrity & Influencer’s Vegan Cosmetic brands

Celebrity and influencer endorsements have played a crucial role in popularizing vegan cosmetics and raising awareness of its benefits. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Scarlett Johansson, Jared Leto, and Stella McCartney have all embraced vegan beauty and used their status to promote these ethical alternatives. With their huge following and influence, they helped take the concept of vegan cosmetics from niche to mainstream.

Kylie Jenner's Kylie Skin brand has gained widespread attention, and her advocacy of vegan skincare has helped bring vegan beauty into the spotlight. Scarlett Johansson's The Outset has also been recognized for its commitment to veganism, and these celebrities are using their platforms to reinforce the message. Famous fashion designer Stella McCartney has successfully expanded her influence into the beauty industry with her vegan fragrance line Stella, proving that vegan cosmetics can be luxurious and high quality.

Also, artists such as Pharrell Williams with Humanrace and Rihanna with Fenty Skin were significant influences. Their endorsements not only increased consumer interest in vegan skin care but also demonstrated the effectiveness and desirability of their products. In the makeup world, Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty, Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics, Lady Gaga's Haus Labs, and R.E.M. by Ariana Grande. Beauty has promoted mainstream acceptance of vegan makeup through its celebrity brands. With their support and broad appeal, these celebrities have helped shape the story of vegan cosmetics and expand its reach to a diverse audience.


The vegan cosmetic industry has seen innovations in eco-friendly packaging, a wide range of shades and natural ingredient formulations. The rise of the industry reflects growing consumer demand for ethical, sustainable, and cruelty-free beauty products. Vegan cosmetics are made without animal ingredients and are not tested on animals, making them a recommended choice for those who value compassion and transparency.

Both startups and established brands have contributed to the expansion of the vegan cosmetics market, offering diverse options for different preferences and needs. Although, challenges such as ingredient sourcing, formulation complexity, regulatory compliance and limited availability remain.

Celebrity and influencer testimonials have played an important role in popularizing vegan cosmetics and raising awareness. The growth of the vegan cosmetics industry represents a positive shift towards a more conscious and responsible beauty industry that offers consumers a variety of ethical and sustainable options.

Posted by  Tatyasaheb Kumbhar
Retina Graphics

An Agronomist and insightful Market Research Analyst in Agriculture, and Allied industries. A market research professional with 3 years of experience in Agriculture, Food and beverages, FMCG, Animal Science, Agricultural Machinery, Chemicals, Service Industry, and other major domains. Worked on over 30 different projects, with the help of research methodologies. Designing business proposals, case studies, and business models for client-sponsored studies. Identifying gaps and opportunities for global companies in the potential market. In addition to this, result-oriented data-driven interpretation of data and making recommendations through understanding the various types of analytical tools including SWOT, PESTEL, PORTER’s Five Forces, and other aspects of consumer analytics.