Is It Time You Switched To Cruelty-Free Makeup? Here's Where To Start

Fifteen, ten, even five years ago, if you were looking for vegan beauty options, you’d be hard-pressed to find any beyond that homegrown-lavender-infused body lotion with a handwritten label on it. But thanks to the rise of the vegan food industry (2018 Nielsen research showed plant-based food sales increased by 20%), which is often attributed to consumers seeking out more ethical and environmentally friendly options in general, more and more beauty brands are now reformulating, retesting, and getting on board the vegan and cruelty-free bandwagons. So you don’t have to trek it to your once-a-week farmers' market to get your beauty fix.
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Still, when it comes to the luxury beauty market in particular, only a handful of brands have adopted the same principles. Hourglass is proudly one of them.
“Hourglass has been cruelty-free since we launched in 2004, and we continue to look for opportunities to improve and innovate,” says Carisa Janes, Hourglass’ founder and CEO. “When we asked ourselves the question, ‘To truly be cruelty free, does it make sense to use animal-derived ingredients in our products?’ the answer was no. So, we pledged to become completely vegan by 2020.”
And Hourglass is making good on its promise. The PETA-certified cosmetic giant has steadily re-released new, vegan formulas of its cult-favorites and has even launched a vegan section on its website. Ingredients like beeswax, lanolin, and carmine are either being replaced with non-animal-derived substitutes or the brand is developing new, innovative ingredients altogether. “Creating vegan alternatives that perform just as well, if not better, takes time and testing, but we’re committed to investing our resources in this effort,” says Janes. On top of over 80% of the line already being vegan, the brand is also donating 1% of all profits from HourglassCosmetics.com to animal rights nonprofit Nonhuman Rights Project. Ahead, we're breaking down our favorite vegan, cruelty-free beauty products from Hourglass, so the next time you're taking a much-needed beauty field trip to Sephora, you can feel good about splurging on some shiny new vanity buys.
This Veil Translucent Setting Powder may just be the most luxe translucent setting powder there ever was. Not only does it go on with a silky, weightless feel, the custom cap and gold sifter also dispenses the perfect amount of the diamond-powder-infused, talc-free powder every single time, giving you a subtle glow while also setting your makeup perfectly.
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Let’s be real, a glossy lip formula that’s not only ultra-pigmented but also not sticky AF was practically a unicorn — until this Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss came into our lives. Plus, it’s infused with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and avocado oil, so it works to smooth, hydrate, and volumize your lips while you wear it.
When we asked about Janes’ favorite product from the entire Hourglass range, she noted the Vanish Seamless Finish Stick Foundation without a second thought — so that must be saying something. While many solid foundations can feel heavy or greasy, this one’s quite the opposite. Its buildable, creamy formula is easy to blend for a seamless full-coverage finish — think of it as a liquid foundation with the convenience of a stick. “It’s the one product I can pull out of my makeup bag that helps me look refreshed in an instant. It’s also easy to travel with and you don’t have to worry about TSA confiscating it,” she says.
Part blush, part finishing powder, part all that is good in the world, the Ambient Lighting Blush formula has a cult-like following — and it’s worthy of it. The handmade powders give your skin otherworldly depth and dimension, when most other blushes seem to, well, fall flat. So whether you’re going for that popular “dewy dumpling” glow or you’re just looking for a solid, everyday (and multipurpose) color, this one’s for you.
We know, we know, mascara can be fickle — what’s one person’s go-to is another’s no-go — but this Caution Extreme Lash Mascara may just be our new favorite. Its dual “4DAmplifier” brush head, you guessed it, amplifies, and the volume is basically what you'd get from fake lashes, with length, lift, and definition all in one swipe. Plus, the mascara lasts; even after a full day of running around, you won't notice any smudging.
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