Makeup artist and youtube beauty guru Jaclyn Hill recently posted a video about her “Ride or Die” makeup products. Beauty bloggers and vloggers have since created lists of their own “dessert island” products. The idea is pretty cool—especially considering that those of us in the beauty industry are exposed to so many great products in the form of PR samples, subscription boxes, swaps, purchases based on research, and, of course, impulse buys.
The original categories include face primer, foundation, concealer, face powder, under-eye setting powder, bronzer, blush, highlight, lashes, mascara, eyeshadow palette, lipstick, liquid lip, lip gloss, setting spray, and perfume.
I’ve modified by own list to reflect what I use (for example, eyebrow product is a big deal for me), and I’ve left off under-eye setting powder and liquid lip because I don’t have/use those products—but I’d love to hear your recommendations!
My Vegan & Cruelty-Free Ride-or-Die Makeup Products
Primer: Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer. For most of my makeup-wearing life, I haven’t used primer. I was concerned that it would make my skin breakout! After doing some research on the molecular structure of silicones (the starring ingredient in most primers) and experimenting with a few products, I realized that primer and my skin generally agree. I love the way the Too Faced’s primer creates an invisible layer on my skin—and it doesn’t make my skin look tight or dry. It doesn’t perform miracles (it’s not, in fact, actually poreless), but it provides a great base for makeup.
Liquid foundation: Uggghh. This one was so hard! I’ve tried so many and really loved only a few. I want so badly to be wedded to an all-natural liquid foundation, but nothing has looked so good on my skin as Kat Von D Lock It Foundation in Warm 45. It’s full coverage without looking cake-y. Compared to some full-coverage foundations, wearing it doesn’t feel like wearing a pancake of makeup. It’s perfect for special occasions.
Mineral powder: Hands down Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation in Olive 1. I’ve repurchased this powder so many times (which is unusual for me when it comes to makeup because I normally want to experiment!). It’s a really clean product with no bismuth oxychloride (a generally harmless mineral that appears in some mineral products and may cause skin irritation for some—including me). I love wearing this when I’m going to be fairly active, and I’m not going for a full coverage look.
Concealer: The only concealer that I swear by to cover active acne is actually Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation (above). I simply use a clean, dense eyeshadow crease brush to buff a small amount over the spot. Stays all day! For a liquid, under-eye concealer, however, I turn to Too Faced Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer in Fair. A little bit goes a long way, and I love how easily it blends. Again, not a miracle product, but it manages to avoid emphasizing fine lines around the eye—which we can’t say for every concealer!
Bronzer/Contour: I really don’t use a whole lot of bronzer because I find that most shades look a bit dark/ruddy on me, but I do value a good contouring shade. I went back and forth on this one a bit, but I have to go with Anastasia Beverly Hills Fawn. I’ve yet to find a natural product that so beautifully mimics what shadow actually looks like on my skin. For those seeking a natural option, Alima Pure makes a neat contour powder called Sombra. (It’s a non-warm shade–which is great for contour–but comes out a bit dark on me depending on the time of year.)
Blush: One of my favorite blush products is actually one that I don’t have on hand right now! It’s Mai Couture Blush Paper in Sunset BLVD. These papers are perfect for the lit-from-within glow. They’re just so, so pretty. I would probably love them even more if they were in pressed powder compact form.
Highlight: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light. Hourglass is cruelty-free and many of their products are vegan (including this one!) . This champagne-pearl powder is so finely milled that it never looks glittery. I buff it onto my cheeks, and I feel like I’m being bathed in the light of angels.
Lipstick: I apologize for yet another Too Faced product, but if I’m completely honest, I’m in love with Too Faced La Crème Color Drenched Lipstick. The color I have, Loganberry, is discontinued (insert sobbing emoji here). But the formula is really what I love. This is a lipstick that stays and really acts as a stain without being too drying (only a little bit). Because I have thin lips, I usually stick to sheer or rosy lipsticks, but this is one darker lipstick I feel comfortable wearing, and I will probably experiment with their other shades.
Lipgloss: Modern Minerals Lotus Wei Infused Lip Gloss in Violet Rose. I almost recommended another product until I remembered this stuff, which I ran out of a while back. The reason I haven’t reordered it is because lipgloss is more of a luxury for me (i.e. not something I prioritize in my beauty spending), but I’m really considering picking up another tube! This is truly a lipgloss for the spiritually-minded modern woman. It’s literally infused with gemstones (a.k.a. crystals), so you can have your zen and look posh at the same time. The smell is amazing, too.
Eyeshadow: This one was another toughy! If I had to pick one eyeshadow, it would be Lily Lolo Vanilla Shimmer. This loose powder, pink-beige shimmery shade is my go-to for a no-makeup look. It brightens my eyes and is perfect on its own. It’s also a great base for more dramatic looks. Plus, the packaging is so chic.
Brows: My friend turned me on to e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit (I wear medium), and I’ve never looked back. The colors aren’t too warm, and they blend beautifully for a natural finish. I never feel like I have a “drawn on” look when I wear this. You can even use the brush it comes with! When does that ever happen?!
Setting spray: I love using my face toner: Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses. I’ve repurchased this several times. It contains hyaluronic acid (which plumps and hydrates skin), so it’s a great choice for those with a tendency towards dryness.
Natural perfume: I give my heart to Grasse Roots Perfume Ingenue Perfume Oil. This choice surprised me a bit since I normally tend to favor eau de parfum formulas, but this fragrance is one that I want around me for the rest of my life. It’s a sophisticated blend of Moroccan rose, ylang ylang, and lemony leaves and grass. It’s a blend of essential oils, but it manages to smell quite complex.
Eyeliner: I find eyeliner to be somewhat of a chore, so I try to find foolproof eyeliner products when possible. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Nvey Eco High Definition Cake Liner. I don’t know if it’s really “high definition” in the way that a dramatic liquid liner would be, but it’s perfect for creating a diffused, smoked-out look along your eyelids.
Mascara: The only mascara that I’ve ever repurchased is Lily Lolo Mascara. As much as I want to volumize, lengthen, etc., a mascara is no good to me if it smudges by 10AM (or lasts all day but burns my eyes when I try to remove it). Lily Lolo Mascara is a bit of a miracle because it resists transferring (even in humid weather), and gives you doll lashes. The one bummer about it is that it dries up fairly quickly. You’ve got about two months to enjoy your tube!
Lashes: I’m such a klutz with false lashes that I almost never wear them, but one brand I really admire is Georgie. They’re 100% vegan and so cute. I don’t have a favorite style because…I’m horrible at lashes! One Two Cosmetics has come out with magnetic lashes, which are vegan and reusable. I definitely want to review those for you guys once they’re available. (Right now they’re on preorder.)
That’s it for me! What are your ride or die vegan makeup products?
Related: Vegan Dupes for Cult Classic Lipsticks
10 Best 5-Free Nail Polish Brands
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Photos: Respective brands & Mary Hood Luttrell