There’s a reason red vegan lipsticks are hard to find. Read on to see why – and where to find the best ones!
By Jessica Dickson
Red! It’s one of the oldest and most frequently used colours for creative expression. Passion, respect and power – this is what red has symbolised in many cultures across the world. For that reason, it has been worn by the bold and the beautiful in the form of clothing and makeup for centuries.
But did you know? During Mediaeval times, all colours of makeup were branded as ‘unnatural’ and were seen as going against God’s will. Red was seen as especially ‘devilish’. That sentiment continued for quite a long time. Even in the early days of Hollywood, women who wore red lipstick were considered to be somewhat amoral.
After centuries of moral debates and being associated with ‘ladies of the night’, red lipstick became a sign of female rebellion and sexual liberation.
Elegant and always in trend, red lipstick is a timeless option with a powerful effect on all of us. But did you know red cosmetics have a not so elegant secret?
Why vegan red lipsticks are hard to find
So now you may be wondering; why is red vegan lipstick partially hard to find? Well unfortunately, to get the iconic red colour pop we all know and love so much, carmine is usually required.
Carmine, or cochineal extract, is what is used in many red pigments. Otherwise known as ‘scale insects’, these are crushed and produced into red dye to be used in lipsticks. Not the most glamorous thing! Nor could this activity be considered cruelty free or vegan.
What’s more, there are other nasty ingredients found in many non- vegan red lipsticks. Some of these include:
- Toxic metals: Some lipsticks may include zinc, aluminium, lead, chromium and iron. These are some examples of heavy metals that can be found in your makeup, and have been proven to lead to health risks in long-term exposure.
- Inorganic dyes and pigments: Many synthetic pigments and lake dyes are made up of metallic compounds from potentially dangerous elements that were just previously listed.
- Harmful petroleum and mineral oils: For those of sensitive skin, definitely avoid these. Through prolonged use, they may cause inflammation and skin allergies, even potentially put your immune system at risk.
- Preservatives and synthetic antioxidants: BHA, BHT, and parabens are common synthetic antioxidants and preservatives. These chemically made composites have been known to cause skin irritations and hormonal imbalances.
What cruelty-free ingredients make lipsticks red?
So, with creepy bug talk out of the way, which ingredients should you look for in vegan red lipsticks?
Fortunately, there are plenty of plant and mineral based sources for red pigment to replace bugs.
Look for mica pigments, which is made from the group of mineral crystals, micas. They are most likely used in any beauty product that shines and shimmers. Many cosmetics will certainly use this natural mineral dust to create an illuminating effect in their products.
Also, you could look out for ruby powder, a red pigment literally made up from ground rubies. Fancy! Others would include pigments made from plants, either flowers, fruits, or vegetables. Beetroot and pomegranate are two centuries-old favourites!
What other ingredients should you look for?
Here below, I’ve added a list of some other vegan ingredients to look out for in your red vegan lipsticks. Each has its own unique beauty benefits.
Aloe is used for its outstanding soothing and cooling effects. With aloe in your lipstick you won’t have to worry about inflammation or chapped lips.
Another saviour for chapped lips. With moisturising effects, this ingredient has the added benefit of being antibacterial, helping to keep red vegan lipsticks germ-free.
The main ingredient of many lip balms is extracted from the nut of the shea tree in Africa. It’s full of natural vitamins and fatty acids; is nourishing, hydrating and great smelling.
As it absorbs rather easily, you won’t have to worry about a greasy film being left behind with this oil. Having Jojoba oil in your lipstick means you’re guaranteed a smooth, yet un-smeared look.
Known for keeping your lips smooth, this ingredient helps to remove dead skin and promotes new skin cells. Remember, fine lines can appear early on the lips. But glycerin can help delay signs of ageing and keep a youthful look.
Ready to check out some of the best red vegan lipsticks, by some of the cleanest beauty brands around? Read on!
Main image and image below: PYT Beauty
Romantic Red Vegan Lipsticks We Love
You only need one application to get everything you need from this high-impact lipstick by ILIA. Their Colour Block Lipstick is formulated to be hydrating and long-wearing, leaving your lips feeling nourished for day-full wear. Sport this deeply red Tango shade if you’ve got cool undertones to your skin.
This vegan red lipstick from 100% pure is for full coverage with a classic matte finish. Softening and nourishing with cocoa and shea butter, this lipstick is made purely from real fruit pigments. The result? A vibrant ruby red called Nopal. This rosy hue works well with most skin tones.
Price: Around $28
This Luxe Lipstick by ULTA is filled with healthy and cruelty-free ingredients! Vitamin E brings antioxidants and shea butter adds a more moisturising and nourishing effect. Murumuru butter is also added to help restore the moisture barrier of your lips. This is best known for healing damaged and/or ageing skin. We love their deep wine-red lipstick in the shade Red Flag 321. It’s perfect for date nights, and if you’re not sure if it suits you, ULTA has an online tool where you can try it on virtually!
4. PYT Beauty
We love that PYT Beauty sells their makeup in sustainable packaging. Housed in recycled/recyclable plastic, and made with avocado oil and jojoba seed oil, vegan red lipsticks don’t get more gorgeous than the bright red shade Rorange! Rocking this scarlet shade instantly infuses you with an aura of confidence and sexiness.
5. Juice Beauty
With certified organic formulas, Juice Beauty has made a beautiful red vegan lipstick called Reese, named after the actress, Reese Witherspoon. With just a single, smooth swipe from this liquid lipstick you’ll get a bold look from plant derived ingredients including cape lilac and fruit stem cells.
Looking for a lippy to intensify your pout? A swipe of Illamasqua’s Ultramatter Lipstick will cloak your lips with a bold, show-stopping pop of colour. The matte lipstick won’t crease or bleed, so you can be confident wearing it all day. Not into this brick red hue, called Liable, below? Don’t worry. There are a plethora of hues to suit all skin tones!
Seriously Satin Lipstick is a spicy, peppery shade by e.l.f Cosmetics. With its powerful pigmentation and silky texture, this red vegan lipstick is rich with nutrients and healthy oils for protecting and moisturising your lips. And check out that price! Ideal for those on a budget.
Cruelty-free and vegan, SCOUT Active Beauty offers you a versatile lipstick whose elegant colour and smooth finish wears beautifully for either a casual affair, or a big, glam evening out. The Excite shade is is long-lasting and non-drying. It’s also infused with Certified Organic moisturising ingredients to hydrate your lips from day to night.
Price: Around $25
All lipsticks by Axiology Beauty are made with just 10 natural ingredients, and are vegan, clean and cruelty-free. For a subtle look, go with this red vegan lipstick in the Strength shade for a light wash colour finish. With avocado and coconut oil, this lippie gives you a silky, balmy feel. Strength is a soft, rosy hue that suits all skin tones.
Le Rouge Francais brings a colour revolution to your lips through the use of plant based colours. These come from hibiscus, beetroot, and rose petals, for example. These vibrant colors glide on like a second skin for a luminous, satin finish. The intensity of the red hue depends on the number of layers applied. Not only are these lippies 100% natural and vegan, but their packaging is made from biodegradable castor oil.
Our pick? The intense raspberry shadeAlizarine is perfect for all seasons.
Price: Around $45