Friday, April 23, 2010

Sephora's "vegan" it accurate?

I was a strict vegan for several years, and while I have not been as strict recently, I know from personal experience how incredibly difficult it is to find completely vegan products. It made me really happy to see the most recent Sephora blog, listing many products that they claimed to be vegan. Though the list was rather short, and dominated by Urban Decay products that are well-marked elsewhere (at sephora stores and on the UD website itself), I gave them kudos for compiling a list that would be very helpful to vegan makeup lovers out there. 
...But I spoke too soon. Just ONE check to ONE of the products listed (Illamasqua lipstick) showed that their list was factually inaccurate. I started commenting on the blog with the inaccuracies they posted, but it got to be too much. So, I'm here, and I will be checking EACH product they listed (aside from Urban Decay...I'll explain...)and reporting whether they were telling the truth or not. Here is the list they provided; I have highlighted in bold the items that claim proof of veganness, and in italics those that may be vegan, but it is unclear; a call or email to the manufacturer would be in order before I would feel comfortable claiming them as vegan. 
(NOTE: Thank you to Cheryl Locke, the author of the original post on the Sephora blog, for removing the illamasqua items once I commented about them in the Sephora blog comments!)
All Boscia products - This appears to be true. From their website Q&A: Are boscia products tested on animals? We do not conduct any testing of ingredients or products on animals. In addition, our products do not contain any animal ingredients. 
Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleansing Cloths - This also appears to be true. From their website: We are certified cruelty-free by PETA, which means we oppose animal testing and wouldn't dream of hurting animals — ever! We're also 100% vegetarian, which means there are no animal derived ingredients in our products. Even vegans can feel good about skyn ICELAND.  
Tarte Smooth Operator SPF 20 - Also true! Tarte has transparency with their products, and even has a page of Peta-certified Vegan and Cruelty-free products: (This item is on their list).

All Illamasqua products - False. Some shades may contain Carmine, and nowhere on the Illamasqua site does it state that these products are vegan. However, they do not test (the finished product) on animals.
Duwop Foundation of Youth - Maybe. I don't see anything on the ingredients list that isn't vegan, and the DuWop website has the Cruelty-free icon on the bottom, though there's nothing in the FAQ or on the website (that I could find) about any products specifically being vegan. I'd email the company before feeling comfortable making this claim (though Sephora lists it as vegan in their product description).
Urban Decay Surreal Skin Mineral Makuep (Universal, Dream, Hallucination, Illusion, Mirage, Nirvana, Supernatural, Trance, Vision)
Urban Decay Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation (all shades)
Tarte Lifted Natural Eye Primer - True:
Tarte Clean Slate Natural Face Primer - True:
Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder
Tarte the Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer - Maybe. It is listed as 100% cruelty-free, though Tarte does not even list this on their own site as vegan.
Urban Decay Surreal Skin Creamy Concealer (Dream, Hallucination)

All Illamasqua products - False. Right on Sephora's page, the pigments, powder eye shadow, and the eyeliner cake all list "All shades contain...Carmine." The Liquid Metal eyeshadow contains lanolin, beeswax AND carmine.
Tarte Multipleye Natural Lash Enhancer - True:
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara - Maybe. It is listed as 100% cruelty free, though Tarte does not list this as vegan on their site.
Tarte Lash Hugger Mascara - False. Contains Shellac, which is derived from secretions from the Lac bug (gross, right?). It is still listed as cruelty-free because shellac collection does not require killing bugs. But vegans don't use any animal (including bug!) derivatives, even if the animal was not necessarily harmed.
Urban Decay Deluxe Eye Shadow (Graffiti, Honey, Peace, Shag, Underground, Zero)
Urban Decay Ink for Eyes (all shades except Empire)
Urban Decay Matte Eyeshadow (ABC Gum, Chronic Matte, Foxy, Naked, Narcotic, Perversion, Secret Service, Revolver, Yeyo)
Urban Decay Loose Pigment (Baked, Goddess, Graffiti, Gunmetal, Protest, Rockstar, Shag, Shattered, Smog, Yeyo)
Urban Decay Eye Shadows (Acid Rain, Baked, Chains, Chopper, Eldorado, Flipside, Goddess, Green Goddess, Half Baked, Kiddie Pool, Lounge, Maui Wowie, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Mildew, Oil Slick, Roach, Shattered, Smog, Speed, Stray Dog, Strip, Twice Baked, Urb, Vapor, Vert)
Urban Decay Smoke Out Eye Pencil (Green Goddess, Mary Jane, Mauie Wowie, Purple Haze, Smoke Out)
Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eye Pencil (Air Guitar, Baked, Distortion, Glam Rock, Metalhead, Mullet, Spandex)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil (Baked, Covet, Deviant, Dime, Electric, Gunmetal, Honey, Lucky, Stash, Yeyo, Zero)
Tarte Emphaseyes Brow High Definition Brow Pencil - True:
Urban Decay Brow Beater (Brilliant Blonde, Brunette Bombshell)

All Illamasqua products - False. All lipstick shades contain beeswax and some contain carmine. Both the sheer and intense lipglosses list that all shades contain carmine.
theBalm to the Rescue - claims to be vegan both on Sephora's website and theBalm's site.
Tarte Frxtion Natural Sugar Exfoliator and Lip Balm Duo - True:
Tarte Lip Gloss Double Dose Berry Boost and Gloss - True:
Urban Decay XXX Shine Lip Gloss (Baked, Guys Love Betsey, Heatherette, Joyride, Kinky, Love Junkie, Ozone, Quickie)
Urban Decay Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss (all shades except Doug)
Urban Decay Lipstick (all shades)
Urban Decay Lip Envy (Envious, Greedy, Jealous)
Urban Decay LIP PENCIL (Fur, Midnight Cowboy, Roach)
Urban Decay 24/7 GLIDE ON LIP PENCIL (all shades)

All Illamasqua products - False. The powder blush contains beeswax and some shades contain carmine. Some cream blusher shades contain carmine.
Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer - True:
Urban Decay Afterglow Blush (Exhale, Fetish)
Urban Decay Baked Bronzer (Baked, Gilded, Toasted)

All Urban Decay brushes are animal-hair free

All Pacifica products - True! All of their products are vegan!
Urban Decay Santa Tanita Body Bronzer
Tarte Celebutante Moisturizing Dry Oil Spray - True:
Tarte Glam Gams Bronzing Leg Stick - True:

All Pacifica products - True! All of their products are vegan!

I did NOT do an item-by-item check on the Urban Decay products listed; they have clear markings on their website, and their exhaustive list of vegan-certified items (including a printable list!) are listed here:

There are many vegan products that were not listed in the Sephora blog list. I felt compelled to share the initial extras I found while doing my research, and then my research began to take on a life of its own. I have started contacting product manufacturers directly, in order to compile a  more comprehensive list for vegans who are sick of having to write to every company before using their products (I know. I remember.). Sephora should thank me! More vegans will buy products from them when they know FOR SURE (not maybe) that they are 100% animal- and cruelty-free!
My list is being compiled in a separate blog entry, which can be found here.


  1. Thanks so much for putting this list together, trying to buy animal product-free beauty products can be quite the endeavor. I definitely appreciate it!

  2. Thank you for compiling this list. I too, have found several "vegan" listed products on Sephora emails and on their site, which clearly list Carmine. Hello! The use of ground up beetles/cockroaches in pigments = not vegan. Also very unappealing in make up. Thanks again!

  3. I appreciate this list, but I don't like supporting companies that sell non-vegan items. If they can make 1 or 2 then their whole line can be cruelty free.

    theBalm to the Rescue is vegan, but other products by theBalm aren't - hence I won't be supporting them in any way. ><

  4. Sadly, almost all of Urban Decay's allegedly vegan items contain carmine. I tried to write to them about this but the contact form isn't working.

  5. rimmelThanks so much for putting this list together,eye liner,eye shadow,mascaraI'm trying to product-free beauty products,say something my friend your looking nice .

  6. Thank you very much! I do most of my makeup shopping from small business, natural vegan shops on, but I'm going there with my cousin today and wanted to know if I could shop there at all. Much appreciated!

  7. Thank you! I didn't want to get anything off the internet, and I've been trying to figure out which products I can trust and which I cannot in stores.
    This list is very helpful! Thanks again! :)

  8. ah i am so glad to find this post. really appreciate your hard work to check it.. thank you sooooo much

  9. Thank you so much for the good list . I glad to read this list.
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