Tried & Tested Cruelty-free Lipsticks That Even Marilyn Would Wear (probably)

Olivia Burton

As much as I’m into the au natural look, there’s one thing I could never stop wearing – bright lipsticks.

Sadly, bright lipsticks are often from stores such as M.A.C, which come at the high cost of being tested on animals. It’s 2018 people, why are we still torturing animals for beauty (I’m looking at you China)?

Image via Urban Decay

urban decay cruelty free

“several tests are commonly performed that expose mice, rats, rabbits and guinea pigs to cosmetics ingredients. These can include: Skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed onto the shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of restrained rabbits without any pain relief.” – The Human Society of the United States

I’m a big fan of the Marilyn Monroe red lipstick look; nothing beats putting on a bright lipstick when you feel like sh*t. Marilyn’s lipstick was a bold and warm red, semi-matte and highly pigmented. These types of lipstick can be difficult to find in natural and cruelty-free brands, however more and more are popping up.

I’ve been wearing bright lipsticks for nearly a decade, and about five years ago I turned my back on mainstream beauty brands such as M.A.C to see what cruelty-free alternatives I could find. I can safely say I’ve tried and tested a vast range across Europe and Australia and drum roll… there are alternatives out there that are even better than M.A.C’s Ruby Woo.

cruelty free lipstick

Image via Manrepeller

From my lipstick journey, I’ve discovered a few critical steps to make lipsticks look and feel better and, last longer. Firstly, the lips must be looked after. Try using a bit of coconut oil or olive oil on your lips at night, even brushing them lightly with an old toothbrush if they are dry (I warn you, this tickles). Secondly, use sunscreen on your lips if you’re going outside, it hurts when they burn. Lastly, always use a lip pencil before lipstick as a liner and undercoat.

Below are my tried and tested best lipsticks that aren’t tested on animals – FYI they aren’t all natural.

Kat Von D Beauty – Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick

Kat Von D is an American tattoo artist, turned makeup entrepreneur and animal activist. Her makeup brand Kat Von D Beauty is sold worldwide by Sephora and online, specializing in long-wearing and highly pigmented makeup. The brand is famous for Kat’s strong stance on cruelty-free and vegan products.

‘Born from Kat’s relentless pursuit of product perfection, our mission is to create hyper-performance vegan makeup so everyone can make compassionate choices without sacrificing bold, beautiful colour and everlasting wear.’

Kat has achieved the best bold vegan lipstick I’ve ever found – Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick (in 41 colours). They are mostly all highly pigmented and semi-matt. However, there are a few wild shades in metallic and glimmer. My favorite shade is Outlaw (satin-matte brick red).

Charlotte Tilbury – Matt Revolution

Charlotte is an English A-list celebrity make-up artist, with a client list including the likes of Kate Moss and Natalie Portman. She launched her makeup line in 2013, and since then it’s been flying off the shelves. She has an endless list of beauty and fashion awards. Basically, this woman knows her sh*t.

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Ltd and their suppliers do not test products or ingredients on animals. They also have a range of vegan-friendly products (not containing any animal products such as beeswax).  There are 17 shades to choose from, some bolder than others. These lipsticks are paraben and sulfate-free and packed with oils to soften and hydrate lips. Soft Neutral Wine Matt lipstick is my top choice.

Too Faced – Melted Matt

Too Faced is sold in Mecca Cosmetic stores or online, with reasonably priced fun beauty products set up by Jarrod Blandino and Jeremy Johnson in the ‘90s. The lipstick ranges are pretty bold, from matte lip plumping colours with metallic shades to natural nudes. The Melted Matt is a liquefied matte long-wear lipstick, containing Avocado oil, Vitamin E and Hyaluronic Filling Spheres. The formula is without parabens and cruelty-free.  If you want a seriously deep red shade, try Lady Balls.

ILIA – Color Block High Impact Lipstick

This clean beauty brand is sold online at Mecca Cosmetics, and it is well worth checking out. They strive for natural and organic ingredients, with minimal and recycled packaging. The lipsticks are highly pigmented and long-lasting, with organic oils such as Apricot and castor seed oil. These lipsticks come in a range of colours, with four times more pigment than any other lipstick they’ve made before. Flame is my pick.

RMS Beauty – Wild With Desire Lipstick

Make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift, who has worked with the likes of Miranda Kerr and Tilda Swinton, started this natural beauty brand to reduce some of the toxins in beauty products. Her packaging is even made with glass and aluminum rather than plastic.

‘Rose-Marie is an outspoken advocate for women protecting themselves from the toxic chemicals found in products they use on their bodies daily. She created the website to dispel beauty myths and expose some of the dangers of personal care products.’

I was pleasantly surprised by how pigmented RMS’s lipsticks were – with a creamy and hydrating finish. Wild With Desire lipsticks come in a range of bright colours, from deep brick red (rapture is my favorite) to blush pink. These certified organic lipsticks are packed with the good stuff, from hydrating oils to turmeric.

Urban Decay – Vice Lipstick

I was surprised to find out that Urban Decay is cruelty-free and vegan, which is terrific. Urban Decay is known for it’s feminine, wild and fun make-up, with the eyeshadow palettes purchased worldwide. The Vice Lipstick has nearly 1,500 five star reviews online and multiple colours out of stock. Luckily, there are 135 shades available from blue to orange. The formula is luxurious and creamy with Aloe vera, vitamin E and avocado oils. You can also try the shades online through the ‘Try it on’ camera, all you need to do is upload a photo or turn on your camera.

Olivia Burton

Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.