Vegan makeup brands have been quietly taking over the cosmetic and skin care industry, offering products that are not only cruelty-free but also made without animal-derived ingredients. Because of this, more and more Gen Z and Millennials are choosing vegan beauty brands. They want products that match their values and come from companies that understand and care about their impact on the world.
Social media is vital for brands to educate and connect with their community on shared values. On these platforms, cruelty-free makeup brands can showcase the efficacy of their products through tutorials, share testimonials and highlight the ethical and sustainable aspects of their operations.
Moreover, social media is a direct line for vegan cosmetic companies to gain feedback and foster customer relationships. This connection to community can influence product development to help make products that better fit what people want and like.
The embrace of vegan beauty brands on social media is more than just about personal beauty — it's a statement about the type of products future consumers want to see: sustainable, ethical and all-inclusive.
In this blog, we cover:
You might have heard the term ‘cruelty-free’ or even ‘clean’ being thrown around in the same sentence as ‘vegan’ when referring to vegan beauty products, but there are a few notable differences.
First off, a cruelty-free label communicates to the public that the product was developed without animal testing but only speaks to that aspect, not the ingredients, and is typically given out by:
Although a lot less common on beauty products, a vegan packaging label indicates that on top of being cruelty-free, the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. The most common vegan cosmetic labels are from:
Essentially, a brand can be certified cruelty-free, but it does not mean they’re a vegan makeup brand or its products are vegan. As for the indication of a product being ‘clean,’ it simply implies that it is free from harmful chemicals, but it’s not necessarily vegan or cruelty-free. It does not need to apply or adhere to standards to make this claim.
Neither of these labels or certifications are mandatory for any brand, even if they are vegan, as there are no legal requirements. The lack of vegan packaging regulations can make it difficult for consumers who are vegan or prefer cruelty-free products to make informed purchases.
The beauty industry offers an array of exceptional vegan products, even from brands that carry non-vegan options. Buying vegan makeup or beauty products from these mixed-range companies is a personal choice based on individual preferences and values. However, for this list, we've focused exclusively on brands that are 100% vegan, ensuring that every product they offer aligns with vegan standards.
You may be shocked to find out that a lot of the biggest beauty brands in the world are, in fact, vegan — especially celebrity-owned beauty companies. This makes the list of best-performing vegan beauty brands on social not as easy to get on as you think.
Dash Hudson analyzed over 90 vegan beauty brands using its Competitive tool to understand who leads the way on Instagram in 2023. Although some of these brands are not certified by vegan organizations, as it’s not a requirement or currently regulated, they are free from animal testing and do not use ingredients derived from animals in any of their products. The content analyzed was posted between January 1, 2023, and November 9, 2023, and includes Instagram only.
We’ve ranked the following vegan skincare brands and vegan makeup brands according to their engagement rates on Instagram. Engagement rate reflects how followers interact with and appreciate the content. High levels of likes, comments and shares indicate a strong connection between the brand and its audience, showcasing that the content is well-received and resonates with its followers. Without further adieu, let's get into it.
Launched by the acclaimed pop icon Ariana Grande in November 2021, r.e.m. beauty is a Peta-certified cruelty-free, vegan-friendly beauty brand. Grande's deep personal involvement in developing and promoting the products has been a critical driver of the brand's allure and success. Her genuine approach and transparent conversation about mental health have created a powerful bond with her fanbase. This authentic connection not only endears her fans to her music but also extends to their appreciation and support of her vegan makeup brand, making r.e.m. beauty the top performer on this list.
Launched in June 2022, Rhode is a Leaping Bunny and Peta-certified vegan skincare brand co-founded by Hailey Bieber. Both accreditations indicate animal testing is not used to make or develop Rhode products. Thanks to Hailey's fame and her reputation for flawless skin, Rhode quickly caught the public's eye. The brand focuses on simple, essential vegan skincare that perfectly fits today's natural and authentic beauty products trend. The effective strategy of fostering community on social media has played a significant role in making the brand successful and well-loved by a broad audience.
The Outset, a Leaping Bunny-certified vegan skincare brand co-founded by Scarlett Johansson and Kate Foster in 2022, emphasizes high-quality, effective skincare products, focusing on clean, vegan and sustainable ingredients. Its alignment with the rising demand for environmentally conscious and ethical beauty products positions The Outset as a leader in skincare.
Although Byoma is one of the few non-celebrity-owned vegan beauty brands making the top of this list, CEO Marc Elrick is a notable figure in his own right. Elrick founded Future Beauty Labs, the British conglomerate behind successful brands like Isle of Paradise, Tan-Luxe and Tanologist (all 100% cruelty-free and vegan). Byoma is a Peta-certified brand whose success is deeply rooted in natural ingredients, sustainability and addressing specific skin concerns. The brand's competitive pricing strategy and their dedication to product accessibility ensure they reach a diverse consumer base — this has been instrumental in its widespread success.
Florence by Mills, a brand created by Millie Bobby Brown in 2019, has succeeded as a Peta-certified vegan brand due to its appeal to young audiences, engaging content and commitment to vegan and cruelty-free products. The brand's effective use of interactive social media strategies, innovative product reveals, influencer collaborations and a visually appealing Instagram aesthetic all contribute to its popularity and strong online presence.
Rare Beauty was launched exclusively in the US, Canada and Mexico in the fall of 2020 at Sephora. Since then, Rare Beauty's success as a vegan, Peta-certified brand has only grown and can be attributed to its authentic engagement with followers, the celebrity influence of its founder, Selena Gomez and its commitment to inclusivity and mental health advocacy.
The brand's visually appealing content and innovative product launches also play a key role in attracting and retaining a diverse and engaged audience on the platform.
GXVE Beauty was founded by Gwen Stefani in 2022. The beauty brand’s recipe for success on social is a combination of emphasizing personal expression, creativity and engagement with followers. The brand's unique, artistic aesthetic and focus on high-quality, vegan products resonate well with Instagram users, helping to establish a loyal and enthusiastic online community.
Starface is a vegan, Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free beauty brand widely known for its star-faced pimple patches, co-founded in 2019 by former Elle Magazine Beauty Director Julie Schott. Starface's success on Instagram as a vegan skincare brand is driven by its playful, vibrant aesthetic, engaging and interactive content, and its focus on destigmatizing acne. The brand's innovative approach to skincare, coupled with its commitment to vegan and cruelty-free products, resonates strongly with Instagram's younger, socially conscious audience.
MOB Beauty, co-founded by industry veterans from MAC Cosmetics, Cover FX, and Briogeo (among others), debuted in January 2021. MOB Beauty is a Peta and Leaping Bunny certified vegan brand whose success stems from its focus on sustainable and refillable beauty products, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. The brand's commitment to clean, vegan ingredients and transparent practices resonates with a growing audience seeking ethical beauty options. Their aesthetically pleasing and informative content further strengthens their connection with like-minded communities.
Glamlite is a Peta and Leaping Bunny-certified vegan brand that successfully incorporates creative product themes, vibrant, eye-catching visual content, active engagement with followers, and a focus on inclusivity and diversity. Founded in 2018, Glamlite is a perfect example of how an established brand can succeed on social without a celebrity founder. All you need to do is be innovative, creative and be in touch with your audience – a little risk tolerance helps, too. Their commitment to vegan and cruelty-free products and collaborations with influencers play a significant role in attracting and retaining an interactive audience.
Dash Hudson is your secret weapon if you're a vegan beauty brand looking to amp up your social media game. Imagine being able to tune into what your audience is talking about – that's where social listening comes in. It's like having your ear to the ground; you get to hear all the buzz about vegan beauty trends, what people love and maybe even what they're not too keen on. Then there's LikeShop. Think of it as a bridge between your social posts and your website. People see a product they love on your feed, and with just a click, they add it to their cart. It's all about making shopping super easy and fun for your followers.
With Dash Hudson's Campaigns feature, you can track your launch posts' performance in real time — it's like having a dashboard that shows you exactly how much buzz your new product generates. Competitive Insights is a bit like having a sneak peek into what your competitors are up to. It's not about copying them but understanding what works for them and what doesn’t. This way, you can figure out how to stand out.
And Vision – it's like having a crystal ball for your content. It uses AI to predict which photos and videos are likely to perform best. So, you're not just guessing what to post next; you're making intelligent, data-driven decisions. It's all about giving your vegan beauty brand an edge in a competitive and crowded space.
Yes, Rare Beauty is a vegan cosmetics brand and states this on their website. The brand, founded by Selena Gomez, is committed to being cruelty-free and vegan, meaning their products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products, and they do not engage in animal testing at any stage of production.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is not entirely vegan, but it does offer a selection of vegan products. While the brand is cruelty-free and does not test on animals, not all its products are free from animal-derived ingredients. However, Fenty Beauty has been expanding its range of vegan products, responding to the growing demand for vegan beauty options.
First Aid Beauty, also known as FAB, is not entirely vegan but offers a range of vegan products. While the brand is committed to being cruelty-free and does not test on animals, some of their products contain ingredients derived from animals. However, First Aid Beauty provides clear labeling on their vegan products, making it easier for consumers who prefer vegan skincare to identify suitable options.