This is the story of how I started my search for the perfect vegan and cruelty-free red lipstick. I’d recently been infatuated with the look of red lips worn with no other makeup: clean skin, fluffy brows, and just a swipe of vibrant color on the mouth as a statement accessory. My routine is generally heavy on skin care but light on makeup, so I thought a one-step beauty look would be an easy way to add some oomph to my usually bare face. The only bump in the road is that I’m vegan, and so there’s usually some difficulty when it comes to obtaining a great vegan red lipstick.
Why? Because traditionally, the most vibrant (and let’s be honest, the best) red lipsticks are made with a pigment obtained by pulverizing cochineal insects which isn’t exactly “cruelty-free.” Lucky for us, we live in an era where the demand for vegan products is at an all-time high. Beauty brands are mobilizing research and development to address the new consumer appetite and the market has thus blessed us with an amazing spectrum of vegan lipsticks.
I am constantly inspired by Anna Lappé who wrote, “every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want,” so I tested dozens of brands and colors so that I could cast an informed vote. In my quest to find that one perfect vegan red, I actually had the good fortune of discovering 10. Each of these lipsticks has a depth of pigment that requires only one coat for full opaque coverage, good texture, staying power, and of course, a flattering shade of red. It goes without saying that what works on my olive complexion isn’t necessarily universal, so use this list as a starting point to discover some vegan-friendly brands and ultimately choose the specific shade that’s most flattering for you.



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