Shortly before I committed to a vegan lifestyle, I was surprised to learn how many makeup products not only tested on animals but also contained animal products. Many cosmetics' ingredients include beeswax, especially lipsticks, as well as lanolin (a derivative of sheep's wool), and carmine, which is produced from the bodies of bugs. There is no reason to cause other beings harm in the pursuit of a painted face. A bounty of bright and beautiful animal-free makeup products are available, produced by an ever-growing collection of cosmetics companies that are either all vegan (such as Manic Panic, Arbonne, and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics ), or clearly indicate which of their offerings are (such as 100% Pure, Tarte, Ecco Bella, and Urban Decay). Recently I went in search of vegan versions of this fall's makeup trends and found a treasure trove of fun and fabulous products to create them with.
I love the look of metallic makeup and was happy to see it is making a comeback this fall. For just a touch of metallic, Urban Decay offers its easy to use, 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Eldorado, a beautiful gold that sparkles on eyelids and is good for achieving this look. For intensifying the gold factor, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics's Loose Colours in Cruising and Flawed go on somewhat sheer, but with a stunning shimmering quality that is great for nights out. Metallic lips may not be for all people on all occasions, but I'm fantasizing about donning a flowing black dress and wearing Manic Panic's Tarnished lipstick in an edgy bronze with neutral eye shadow and ebony mascara to at least one event this season. If you feel like playing it a little bit more on the safe side, and relegating the metal factor to your nails, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics makes a beautiful reflective silver nail polish called Spanglemaker.
One of the hottest makeup trends for fall is a metallic smoky eye. Smoky eyes can be challenging for the novice to say the least, let alone bringing metallics into the picture. Arbonne has two beautiful little compact kits that come with instructions for creating a metallic smoky eye. Their Super Nova Quad Shadow Palette combines various shades including Lilac and Bronze for a romantic effect. With Silver, Gold, Bronze, and Black Out, Arbonne's Solar Wind Quad Eye Shadow Palette makes me feel like I should be awaiting rescue by my prince in a decrepit gothic castle.
What better accessory to go with a smoky eye than navy nails. The color is a hot trend for manicures this season. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics offers a vegan option with Inky, which is as deliciously deep and dark as the night sky.
Intense black lashes are another trend that's big for fall. There are so many television commercials for big, bold, beautiful lashes achieved with mascaras that have been tested on animals, contain animal products, or both. I sought to find a vegan mascara with all of the visual drama and none of the cruelty. Lately I've been living in Manic Panic's Creature of the Night, which comes with a great big application brush for high impact black lashes that last all day. Urban Decay offers Lush Lash Mascara which is great for defined lashes, while Arbonne's Triple Action Mascara goes on thick for a heavier lash.
I first became entranced by red lipstick when I was a senior in high school, preparing to go to prom. I wore the same Coco Red color from Chanel until I went vegan and found out that it was not cruelty free. Red lips are in fashion this fall and luckily there are a myriad of animal friendly shades and textures to choose from. Manic Panic provides a rich true red for pink/orange-toned skin like mine with Tainted Love. Arbonne's creamy and opaque Runway Rouge lipstick is a timeless shade with bluer tones. I never thought I'd be a fan of lipstick in pencil form, but Urban Decay's Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color has turned me into one. It provides opaque color with an irresistibly intense gloss that stays on lips. The F-Bomb shade is a perfect vampy red, great for someone with some blue in their coloring.
The intensity of a red lip isn't for everyone. Even as a fan of dramatic makeup, sometimes I like to play things a little lower key and go with a natural look (especially for work). Despite being vegan for a few years, I've only recently discovered the mostly vegan cosmetics brand 100% Pure. Their tinted moisturizer is pigmented with fruit, has an SPF of 20, and is the perfect foundation for a more natural appearance. To add some color I use Urban Decay's Baked Bronzer in Toasted. 100% Pure also offers a pair of light creamy Fruit Pigmented Satin Eye Shadows in Fiji and Tahiti that have touches of shimmer and can be used together. The company's sheer Lip Glazes provide a little bit of gloss and color to complete the more subtle face. To turn on the sparkle factor for evening, I like to add a layer of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Loose Colour in Platonic, a glimmering, delicate pink, on my lids. For darker complexions, the Loose Colour in Smote and Dope will work better. To add more drama, there's always the option of augmenting the natural look with a little bit of a cat eye. Urban Decay's 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black ("Perversion") is easily swooped along the lash line to achieve this effect. A quick mascara application and I'm in full Audrey Hepburn mode, and ready to take on the night.
One of the things that I've learned in seeking out great vegan makeup is to always do research before going shopping. I was, on more than one occasion, given misinformation about whether or not a brand was vegan by employees of a large cosmetics chain store. For a great list of vegan cosmetics, along with application tutorials, visit author of The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, Melisser Elliott's makeup blog, Cruelty-Free Face.
Maya Gottfried is the author of books, essays and articles for children and adults. She has previously written on her experience with cancer for crazysexylife.com. Her autobiographical essay "Untitled" appeared in the book "Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes." Maya's most recent book for children, "Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary," is about the real-life residents of national farm animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary. Read her blog on Red Room.