Cruelty-Free & Vegan Beauty: Which Brands To Buy

Opposing animal cruelty and looking at the very height of glamour are certainly not mutually exclusive. It’s never been easier to buy animal-friendly beauty products, with some entirely vegan brands emerging alongside vegan ranges from high street shops, and certifications which help you spot products that haven’t been tested on animals. But that’s not to say it is easy. Sometimes these vegan beauty terms get jumbled up in a pic’n’mix of buzzwords and hashtags, so it might be worth defining them first, right here, right now:

Vegan: These are beauty products which do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products, such as honey and beeswax. Some brands are certified by PETA, but if they’re not certified they may still be using 100% vegan ingredients. Best to ping over an email to a company’s customer service if you have any doubts.

Cruelty-free: This should mean that neither the beauty products nor the ingredients were tested on animals. It’s worth noting that some brands claim to be cruelty-free, when actually their raw ingredients have been tested on animals by other suppliers. Best way to make doubly sure is to look for the Leaping Bunny certification, or to search the brand’s FAQs on animal testing. Also worth double underlining and highlighting: cruelty-free doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is vegan, so do watch out.

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Thankfully, the EU put in place a ban on the sale of all animal-tested cosmetics back in March 2013. This was a fantastic achievement after years of campaigning, and it started to look like animal testing would soon become a thing of the past. However, on an international scale, companies can still test make-up on animals and sell it to markets outside of Europe, and so doing that extra bit of research on a company before you pay up will really pay off. Luckily, PETA have looked into it already and has a sturdy list of all the companies that don’t test on animals, and some of these are also entirely vegan brands.

Make-up brushes usually are made from animal hair (normally squirrel, raccoon or badger) as well, which in turn supports the fur trade. Synthetic brushes have many advantages, such as being easier to clean, repelling bacteria better than animal hair, and of course not involving any animal cruelty. In this blog, we’ll pick out our top 4 vegan & cruelty-free make-up brands, and let you know where to get vegan make-up brushes as well. Without further ado, let us begin…


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INIKA has a full set of medals for its animal niceness. It is certified by Australia’s Choose Cruelty Free Organisation, and by the Vegan Society in the UK, so all its products are 100% free of animal derivatives. You can click away on this website adding items to your basket without having to scour the small print. INIKA also have a range of products, from warm and sumptuous lipsticks to loose blush powders to the brushes themselves. You can also pick up your eyeshadow, kohl eyeliner and mascara here, and all at a price not too far off of mainstream high street brands, especially considering INIKA are using certified organic ingredients. Another plus of using natural make-up is that it’s friendlier to sensitive skin and eyes, so if you count yourself in that camp, then this is the brand for you, doll.

Barry M

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Hands up, Barry M isn’t an entirely vegan company, but they are absolutely committed to being cruelty-free, and they do have a great range of vegan products. What’s good about Barry M is that their products are available in Boots and Superdrugs up and down the land, so if you chip your nail varnish and are in need of emergency cosmetics and pronto, you can rely on ol’ BM. They have a helpful Vegan label on their ingredients, so you don’t have to squint reading them too much. Aside from their credentials as a high street cruelty-free brand, they are perhaps better known for their bold, bright and beautiful colours. Barry M have foundation, eyeshadow, lipsticks and of course nail varnishes.

Lime Crime

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This brand is housed over the pond, so if you’re looking to keep your eco-footprint down, this might not be the best option. But heck, we just had to include this brand for it’s vibrancy! Lime Crime have zapped up the colour saturation and are a 100% vegan brand who most certainly do not test on animals, so they have our official stamp of approval. If you wanted to stay safely in the realms of red and pink then you’re more than welcome, but we dare you to try out one of the louder shades of their Unicorn Lipstick. They also have a range of eyeliners, eyeshadows and nail varnish, so you can dress like the rainbow from head to toe.


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Another US company is AROMI, and are made in small batches by hand. The people at AROMI are big animal-lovers, and neither their products nor ingredients are tested on animals or derived from animals, so they’re cruelty-free and vegan, through and through. AROMI have eyeshadow, lip gloss, lipstick, and a matte liquid lipstick. These liquid lipsticks are applied like gloss but dry after one minute, leaving a matte finish. Sounds high tech, doesn’t it? Not only to they have cosmetics, but they also have a range of solid perfume and Eau de Parfum products, so you can look and smell gorgeous.

Directories of Cruelty-Free Brands

I should point out that there are a lovely bunch of vegan beauty bloggers out there, making it easier for us all to find the best brands, so if you want to look further in to vegan beauty, search for the #cfbeauty, #crueltyfree or #veganbeauty hashtag on Twitter, or alternatively, launch a good old fashioned Google search. Here are three super useful websites that’ll help you on where to find cruelty-free cosmetics brands like these, so you can continue your research at your leisure:

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Natalie Portman wears Beyond Skin in Marie Claire’s September Edition!

No, you’re not seeing double – Natalie Portman has worn Beyond Skin’s shoes again! This time she struts in our heels across the pages of Marie Claire’s September 2015 issue, which is also the cover story. We’re thrilled to the max to have such high profile coverage from Natalie Portman, and ever so grateful for her long-term support. Her interview with Marie Claire was taken at the time of the Cannes Film Festival back in May, following Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A Tale Of Love And Darkness, a film adaptation of Amos Oz’s autobiographical book for which she also wrote the script for (entirely in Hebrew), and stars in. This is clearly an exciting time in her career as she explores directing, adding yet another string to her bow. During the festival she was snapped is a plethora of glamorous ensembles, confirming her status as an A-lister at the very height of fashion.

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[Image: Marie Claire UK, September 2015 edition, page 206-207]

PETA Award-Winning Design

In this striking photo she’s wearing our Alice heels, which have quite the tale about how they came about. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin… Once upon a time, in late 2013, Beyond Skin and animal rights organisation PETA joined forces to launch a competition for new ambitious shoe designers to dream up an animal-friendly boot, heel, wedge or pump. Like us, PETA sees the importance of sustainable fashion for the future, and this competition was intended to encourage new shoe designers to embrace compassionate fashion. The best style was chosen by MTV presenter and PETA ambassador Laura Whitmore out of our top 10 favourite entries, and she crowned fashion student Alice Lambert-Gorwyn as the winner. Her design has a sleek combination of faux suede, faux leather and faux reptile skin, all composed of 100% vegan materials.


Leather & the Environment

Vegan footwear isn’t just kind to animals, but also the environment. As you may already know, the production of leather is an inefficient use of water. On average, one cow hide makes 18 pairs of leather shoes, and each pair uses 1.4 million litres of water including raising and slaughtering the cow, and in the tanning process. 1.4 million litres. Crikey. That’s equal to having a bath everyday for over 40 years! When you put it that way, using that much water is obviously frivolous and unnecessary, even besides the intensely wrinkly fingers, scales and gills you’d eventually develop. Considering that 4 out of every 10 people in the world are affected by water scarcity, and much of the water in lower-income countries is being industrially used, we definitely need to reassess the way we use water. A good place to start is to shun leather.

As leather production is increasing at a faster rate than meat production, the argument that leather is a by-product of meat is losing traction. It’s up to you lovely conscious compassionate consumers to vote with your money and make the right purchases. Thanks to tip top textile technology, there are plenty of alternatives that look the part and avoid the many pitfalls of using leather or reptile skin. Using and researching new sustainable and eco-friendly materials is at the heart of Beyond Skin’s production process, and it also never gets in the way of our shoes being beautiful. It’s a myth that vegan shoes have to be dowdy frumpy sandals, and we’ve always created shoes with aesthetics to match their ethics.

Ethics & Aesthetics

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Alice’s design is a fantastic example of this ethos. These pointy-toed beauties would certainly suit a night out on the town, and it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t invite a tidal wave of compliments from passers by. These stilettos are sexy, there’s no denying it. And all of this style comes without the ethical and environmental costs of using animal skin. The materials used include mock crocodile skin, made from Italian printed polyutherane (which is more environmentally friendly than PVC), microfibre faux suede and faux vegan leather, with a resin sole which is 70% recycled. The materials we use are sourced locally to our factory in Alicante, Spain, to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible, whilst keeping your footprint as stylish as possible. Alice was over the moon to see her shoe design turned into reality, and must be pleased as punch to see Natalie Portman wearing her design in a glossy magazine, just as we are.

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These show-stopping Alice shoes are £145 and are available here, and don’t forget that there’s free worldwide delivery on orders over £100. 10% of profits from the sales of these shoes go straight to the PETA charity. If your shoe size is out of stock, don’t worry! Click on the ‘Size Out Of Stock?’ tab right under the image of the shoes, and we’ll let you know when they’re back.

Ethical Fashion Becoming More Mainstream

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[Image: Marie Claire UK, September 2015 edition, cover page]

With more celebrity endorsements in fashion magazines like this one, ethical fashion will become more and more common. The future of fashion relies upon sustainable, environmental and cruelty-free materials, and some bigger brands are now responding to this. High-street brand H&M are launching a nationwide Fashion Recycling Week from Monday 31st August to Sunday 6th September, in order to draw attention to their initiative to repurpose unwanted clothes. They’re working with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, and it’s a step in the right direction that they’re raising awareness of sustainability in fashion. There will be huge clothes collection boxes in Covent Garden which the students will use, if you wanted to take part, by the by.

This philosophy mirrors that of many sustainable fashion brands who promote slow fashion and work to restore value to each individual product. It wasn’t that long ago that magazines had whole features on repairing clothes and sewing on patches, which seems to have become a lost art in the midst of fast fashion. With more big brands like H&M championing slow fashion, hopefully other brands will follow suit and invest in ethical production rather than fast production.

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Natalie Portman wears Beyond Skin for the Cover Shoot of Harper’s Bazaar US!

For the cover story fashion shoot of August 2015’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar, we’re beaming with pride to say that Oscar-award-winning Natalie Portman was wearing Beyond Skin’s Ellen shoes! This shoot is breath-taking in its elegance, and each composition is delicately artistic and surreal. We’re beyond pleased that the stunning Natalie Portman has long been an advocate of Beyond Skin. These photographs are far too opulent to simply glance over them, so we’re going to peruse each one and match up more pairs of our luxurious ethical shoes to her other exquisite outfits in this shoot.


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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

Gazing out of shot with her back to a tranquil sea, Natalie also wears a hot pink dress whipped in the wind, bejewelled ears and a flower in full bloom in her hair: femininity manifest. Of course, we won’t be long drumming our fingers for long thinking what could work with this dress – Natalie is already wearing Beyond Skin in this shot! Our Ellen shoes are handcrafted with luxury Italian fabric, and don an oversized bow on each toe, emanating Natalie’s flourishing flower. This design is available in red, white and black, and the black Ellen is currently in the summer sale, so Lady Luck is smiling on you!

At the Wheel

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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

This shot oozes decadence, as Natalie sits in the driver’s seat of a classic car that belongs on the silver screen. Her hair sits in full sculpted curls reminiscent of the 1930s, and coupled with her ruby red lips, this look is the epitome of chic. The Beyond Skin shoes we thought might best accompany this look are the Autumn platform court shoes. They’re vintage-inspired and the Italian print is met with an art deco metallic detail on the toe and heel. The platform is a modern twist on a retro style, and the cream matches perfectly with Natalie’s look in this shot. These shoes are currently in the summer sale: they were £159, and have been reduced to £125. ‘Luxury’ and ‘bargain’ are normally mutually exclusive terms, but certainly not in this case! If your size is out of stock, click on the ‘Size Out of Stock?’ tab directly underneath the photo on the product page, and we’ll notify you when they’re back, for sure.

Floral Finesse

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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

Clutching a full bouquet of delicate roses, Natalie wears a dress decorated in floral patterns, and is laden with plush hair clips and earrings. The glitter of the jewellery mirrors the metallic detail on the dress, and this is what inspired our choice of the best Beyond Skin shoes to match this outfit. Our Zoe design has a silver T-bar, and its intricate straps weave in to a V-shaped pattern around the foot. It has a small platform and a stiletto heel, and is also part of our bridal collection. As with all of our shoes, Zoe is 100% vegan and vegetarian and expertly handmade in Alicante, Spain.

Pretty in Pink

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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

Lounging on these marble steps in the sunshine, Natalie Portman is wearing a dress embellished with jewels and two thick neat bows. She also looks out amongst two lush flowers, and you might notice that this is the shot used for the front cover of Harper’s Bazaar (see below). We thought that our simple Bessy flats would compliment this outfit, mimicking the neat bows from the dress. As they’re in a nude colour, they’d blend with the dress’s pastel tones a treat. They have a classic almond toe and are made from faux patent leather, so no animals were harmed in the making of these cute flats.


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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

With a heavy collared coat hanging off her shoulders, this pure pink look has unbridled sophistication. We selected Emily, our nude faux patent stilettos for the occasion. With a small bow at the heel and a classic peep toe, this design matches her look for its grandeur and grace. These heels are made with Italian faux patent leather, in a pastel tone that neighbours that of her fine attire in the spectrum.

La Vie Parisienne

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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

Natalie looks ever the Parisian in this shot, and she did move to Paris last year, so perhaps she’s been practising. The dress she wears is printed, pleated and loose. As this dress is beautifully floral, we thought a similarly feminine shoe would work best with it: May, our cream and gold stiletto sandals. Made with faux patent leather, this design is vintage-inspired, so would be the perfect match for this look steeped in timeless French style. A new delivery of these shoes are arriving next week, so make sure you stock up while stocks last, won’t you?

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[Photo: Harper’s Bazaar US, August 2015, available here:]

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