But first, let’s break down the different labels that adorn our favourite products:
What’s the Difference Between Vegan and Cruelty-Free?
For a product to be considered vegan, it must contain no animal-derived ingredients – including common additives like beeswax and honey. A cruelty-free product is one that hasn’t been tested on animals (all vegan products are cruelty-free by default). Discover the best of both with our selection of vegan and cruelty-free beauty brands.
Exclusive to Harvey Nichols, Hermetica’s artisan fragrances tick all the boxes for a clean, green scent: vegan and cruelty-free, their innovative alcohol-free formula is also sensitive skin-friendly. The Parisian brand was founded in 2018 by John and Clara Molloy (the noses behind cult brand Memo Paris), who were passionate about concocting the perfect perfume using a powerful blend of natural ingredients and synthetic molecules. Hermetica has also pledged to plant one tree for every bottle of scent sold, in partnership with the French non-profit organisation Planète Urgence.
Launched in 2016, The Ordinary caused a worldwide skincare revolution with its simple premise: to strip back skincare and make products that were affordable, accessible and, most importantly, easy to understand. And – with most items priced in the single digits – the Canadian brand’s "clinical formulations with integrity" have since proven a hit with everyone from beauty editors to skincare newbies. As well as being vegan, all products are free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils and other chemical additives. The brand also produces a much-loved vegan makeup range.
Not only designed to make you look good, cosmetics brand Hourglass is also rooted in feel-good sentiment. Always aspiring to do better and uphold its commitment to animals, the American brand is proudly cruelty-free and has pledged to become fully vegan in 2020. Having recently launched its Eye to Eye campaign to raise awareness of the cruelty-free-beauty cause, 1% of Hourglass’ profits are donated to the Nonhuman Rights Project, an organisation that works to secure fundamental rights for animals. Currently, the brand has an extensive selection of vegan make-up, including its best-selling Ambient Lighting collection.
Not only is cruelty-free skincare brand Sunday Riley a beauty-industry favourite, it’s also committed to implementing cleaner, greener technology into its products. Its founder Riley spent years working as a cosmetic chemist before developing the wildly popular skincare range. The company prides itself on blending clinically proven ingredients with botanicals. From the bestselling Good Genes to C.E.O. Glow, Sunday Riley’s best-selling products all have aspirational names that deliver a positive, powerful message through skincare.
If you assume all perfume is vegan, think again. Popular ingredients including musk and ambergris are, in fact, animal-derived. Enter Le Labo – French for ‘the laboratory’ – a fragrance brand based in New York that creates vegan perfume. After founders Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi became tired of soulless scents, they went on to establish their company in 2006. Spearheading the fine art of perfume, each hand-crafted Le Labo scent is made without parabens and preservatives.
Founded around the principles of holistic beauty, Aveda harnesses the power of plants through science to create gentle but effective products. The company also follows the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurveda – the belief that treating the whole individual leads to greater balance and wellbeing. Which is why Aveda’s cruelty-free cosmetics take into account not only the external appearance, but mind, body and spirit, too. The brand’s range spans everything from cruelty-free shampoo to plant-powered skincare.
What began as its founder’s passion, Chantecaille is now a beauty company with a mission. Dedicated to environmental philanthropy, the French brand has recently released a permanent collection of Luminescent Eye Shades that aims to raise awareness and money for Africa’s endangered species. Each individual eyeshadow supports its own wildlife conservation. The six non-profit organisations supported by Chantecaille were chosen for their notable impact.
Vegan Beauty Brands
- Cover FX
- Experimental Perfume Club
- Juliette Has A Gun
- Le Labo
- Sunday Riley
- The Ordinary
Cruelty-Free Beauty Brands
Looking for ways to up your sustainable beauty game?
Check out our refillable beauty guide for all the must-have picks.