I have been a beauty enthusiast for most of my life. I remember being a little girl watching my mom do her makeup; I remember all of my cringey high school hair experiments; and I am currently inspired by evermore sparkly eyeshadow. The way that beauty rituals can help people express themselves and boost confidence is truly special, and I am excited that beauty has become even more accessible over the years.

However, I had to take a good, hard look at my favorite beauty products when I decided to go vegan back in January of 2019. I had been pescatarian and then vegetarian for a few years, and ultimately decided to go vegan for environmental reasons. But as I learned more about animal rights, I realized how many animal products are unnecessarily used in beauty products. Honey from bees, lanolin from sheep, emu oil from slaughter, the list goes on and on – the unfortunate situation is that beauty products with animal ingredients have been the norm for a long, long time.

But there is hope! Vegan beauty has been a popular trend for the past couple of years, as millions of consumers are demanding to know more about the ingredients in their skincare, makeup, nail polish, and haircare. As cliche as it sounds, veganism isn’t a trend – It’s an all-encompassing lifestyle.

As a beauty enthusiast and an unapologetic vegan, here are my picks for the best local and global vegan beauty products!

LOCAL

Beauty N Simplicity

This Black-owned vegan beauty line was founded by Mavis Hicks and has skyrocketed to success! Based in Quincy, Beauty N Simplicity features incredible skincare and bodycare products that facilitate luxurious rituals of self-care.

I first discovered Beauty N Simplicity last December during the Black Owned Boston holiday pop-up market in Dedham. I was so mesmerized by all of the appealing products, but one stood out to me – the Rosewater Toner Refreshing Facial Mist. I have combination skin prone to hormonal breakouts, but this toner soothed my skin and provided an extra kick of hydration that I needed this winter!

Ms. Hicks and her company were the subject of an amazing profile from Elisabeth Morgan featured in VeganZine last fall – check it out!

Brianna’s Handmade Soap

I first encountered Brianna Handmade Soap last year and I was immediately impressed (and obsessed). Brianna uses natural ingredients that are vegan and cruelty-free, and she not only creates amazing soaps but scrubs and skincare as well!

I tried the Green Tea & Lemongrass scent – as a fan of fresh and zingy fragrances, I absolutely loved this scent. Other options include Lavender, Oatmeal Agave, Rosemary Peppermint, and Unscented.

GLOBAL

Clionadh Cosmetics

Remember when I said that I was obsessed with sparkly eyeshadow? I’m talking about Clionadh (clee-oh-nah) Cosmetics and their absolutely wild vegan eyeshadows. Hand-made by two sisters in Toronto, these eyeshadows are a cult favorite of beauty enthusiasts around the world.

Clionadh is famous for their line of Stained Glass multichrome eyeshadows. What’s a multichrome shadow, you ask? Well, a duochrome has two colors, a tri-chrome has three, and a multi…well, you get the picture. Each Clionadh multichrome flashes multiple gorgeous hues from different angles. The result on the eyes is truly stunning and unique. Get in line though – as a small indie brand, Clionadh has long turnaround times for pre-orders and restocks, but in my opinion, the wait is well worth it!

Derma-E

I have had quite the skincare journey throughout my life – from the harsh St. Ives Apricot Scrub of my youth, to the ill-advised coconut oil masks of my college years, to the expensive luxury skincare products that promised (and failed) to help me.

Derma-E has been a recent discovery of mine, and I am so glad that I finally found it! They were founded in 1984 and have a fully vegan and cruelty-free skincare line. My favorite product so far is definitely the Vitamin C Concentrated Serum. When I break out, I tend to be left with pesky dark spots as a result. This serum really does a great job at gradually and gently improving the overall evenness of my skin tone. While not quite drugstore pricing, Derma-E products work great, last a long time, and shouldn’t break the bank!

Briogeo

I’ve been very skincare- and beauty-focused throughout my life, and my poor hair has always felt pretty neglected. However, I discovered Briogeo a couple of years ago and I am now flourishing in my hair journey! This Black-owned company was founded by Nancy Twine with the intent to create easy solutions for hair issues.

Briogeo’s permanent product line is vegan (they unfortunately had a limited-edition honey-based hair mask available last year). I would highly recommend their “Don’t Despair, Repair!” products – they have definitely brought some life back into my hair during the ongoing home haircut fiascos this past year during the pandemic.

 

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