Veganuary is in full swing and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week is set to kick off in early February — but going animal-free doesn't have to be limited to just dining or dressing. Vegan beauty is one of the industry's fastest-rising categories, with Google reporting that searches for the term have doubled every year since 2012.
As the movement has grown, so has the number of brands offering clean, green options, giving customers a cruelty-free and sustainable option. In fact, more than 6 per cent of beauty products launched in the UK in 2017 were certified vegan, according to Glamour UK, with that number set to double by 2022. For a product to gain such status, it needs to be crafted without animal ingredients or their by-products — such as beeswax or collagen — and not tested on animals.
However, it’s not just the UK where the trend is gaining pace. Whether on the shelves or online, the number of vegan beauty brands available to shoppers in the UAE has evidently swelled in recent years, with a wealth of options at our fingertips.
Keeping your beauty regime vegan doesn’t mean you need to hunt out niche brands or flash the cash either — supermarket staples such as Colgate and Dove all have animal-free options. However, for true beauty buffs, there are plenty of other places where you can stock up your bathroom cabinet.
Whether you’re a committed vegan looking to amp up your beauty routine or a first-timer looking to dip a toe into the ethical trend, here are a few places to start in the realms of make-up, skincare and more.
The vegan, Peta-approved make-up line, available at Sephora in the UAE, also says its products are gluten-free, cruelty-free and entirely safe to use during pregnancy. Famed for its wide range of shades when it comes to its many foundations, this is a staple label for those seeking a flawless base. Whether it’s a primer, setting spray, blotting powder or concealer, Cover FX is a one-stop-shop for all complexions (and its highlighter and contour offerings are also worth a browse).
This cosmetic accessories brand, available at Boots stores or online at www.ecotools.com, produces vegan synthetic make-up brushes and sponges. With options from foundation blenders to brush cleansers, this environmentally and purse-friendly brand has a tool for any need. Made using recycled materials and renewable bamboo, the minimal designs will also look chic in any make-up bag (well, if you're the kind of person that routinely washes them, anyway).
This Australian brand is made from 100 per cent natural ingredients — but don't think that means it hasn't got any oomph behind it. Using botanical actives and natural peptides, products from its skincare line can help tackle everything from fine lines and discolouration to blemishes and dullness (we love the Detox Serum and Gentle Facial Cleanser). Grown Alchemist, which also creates haircare and bodycare products, is available online at Namshi and at www.grownalchemist.com, and in-store at Harvey Nichols Dubai and Bloomingdale's Dubai.
With its whimsical packaging and fun use of colours, this cruelty-free cosmetics brand is one to turn to when you’re going out-out. Available at Sephora, its primers and mascaras are particular bestsellers, with its brightening, fresh-faced range of blushers and bronzers also worth a try.
This plant-derived haircare line — available at Namshi, Ounass and Harvey Nichols Dubai — is centred around the use of one ingredient: the oil of the Amazonian ungurahua nut. Rahua’s range of organic shampoos, conditioners and treatments are targeted towards several different hair types, with an A-list fan base that reportedly includes Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez.
This celebrity-beloved make-up artist launched her namesake brand in the UAE last year, opening a boudoir-inspired boutique in The Dubai Mall that stocks everything from her extensive beauty line. While not all of Tilbury's products are vegan, many of her bestsellers — including the Magic Foundation, Matte Revolution lipsticks, and Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette — are animal-free. Every vegan product is clearly marked on www.charlottetilbury.com, so you can do a little research before compiling your shopping list.
With stores located around the UAE, this British-born brand is considered one of the first to embrace 100 per cent vegetarian ingredients, ethical buying, and to oppose the use of palm oil. From its famed bath bombs and handmade soaps to soothing body lotions, Lush’s myriad offerings typically leave your skin feeling as good as it smells. Not all products are completely vegan, but those that are are clearly labelled.
Its artisanal scents have garnered a cult following, but did you know this New York-based perfume house is cruelty-free? Le Labo, which also creates bath and body products, has won over fans such as Alexa Chung with its minimal, Scandi-inspired packaging and intriguing fragrances, such as bestselling, sandalwood-led Santal 33. Even better news? The brand now has a new standalone boutique in The Dubai Mall, as well as an existing store in Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall.
Available at Boots stores and select pharmacies, this Californian beauty brand offers skincare brimming with vitamins and antioxidants — and no soy, gluten, or mineral oil. The cruelty-free formulas use effective natural ingredients, such as vitamin E, vitamin C and green tea, with its nourishing range of facial moisturisers a must-try.
Kat Von D
Whatever you think about the tattoo artist’s stance on immunisation, there’d no denying her make-up line lives up to the hype. While not every product is vegan, Kat Von D vowed in 2016 she would eventually make the entire line animal-free, with reformulated products being rolled out over time. The range’s hero product is arguably the Lock-It Foundation, available at Sephora, with the Tattoo Liner also a firm favourite for many.
This American brand was ahead of the curve, first launching in 1978 with a focus on sustainable and ecologically friendly products. You can find it in Organic Foods & Café locations in the UAE, with the lavender body wash and coconut hair defrizzer among our most-recommended picks.
If smoother skin is one of your 2019 goals, then this organic body scrub brand will help. Scrub Love, which uses organic, fair trade, ethically-sourced coffee in its products, is available at Sephora and www.beautysolutions-me.com. Just one handful of the micro-bead-free formulas rubbed over your skin in the shower will give you glowing, polished limbs so soft you can forgo body lotion for the day.
This German-born brand, which can also be found at Organic Foods & Café locations, is based on biodynamic principles, with all products free of synthetic dyes, fragrances and preservatives. Perfect for the sensitive-skinned, its stand-out products include the Rose Day Cream and Sage Mint deodorant.
Want haircare products to help you achieve beachy, textured locks? This performance-drive line, found at Harvey Nichols Dubai and online at Ounass, has been developed with Swedish scientists, and is credited with perfecting the strands of stars such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Its sulphate-free formulas also help tame the frizzier-haired, promising a gentle yet effective clean.
And don’t forget…
If you want to find a selection of vegan-friendly beauty brands under one (digital) roof, there are a range of online shopping destinations that stock clean, ethical formulas. Here are three of our favourites.
My Green Treat
Want a batch of beauty products delivered to your door without having to peruse endless web pages? This UAE company offers a monthly subscription service, cherry-picking a range of premium natural products for you.
This Dubai-based e-commerce site has many brands in its roster, with vegan-friendly brands such as Tarte, Lottie Tools and Milk Make-up among the ranks.
This British site — which ships to the UAE — houses a sprawling range of niche and powerhouse brands, with vegan ranges on offer including Hourglass, RMS, Tata Harper, Skyn Iceland and Pai.