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All the Best Vegan Eyeliners to Get That Perfect Sweeping Flick

by Charlotte Pointing

Jul 22, 2022

Arguably, there is nothing more satisfying than perfecting a sweeping, clean, sharp cat eye look. To get there, you need a few things: patience (lots and lots of patience), a steady hand, and, of course, a great eyeliner. And naturally, it has to be vegan and cruelty-free.

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The vegan cosmetics industry is growing. In fact, it's predicted to hit a market value of more than $16 billion by 2030. And that means there are plenty of vegan eyeliners on the market to choose from. But there are still a number of products out there that contain animal ingredients.

Non-vegan eyeliner ingredients

Some eyeliners contain ingredients like beeswax, for example. The latter is a thickening agent that helps the product stay on the skin. But, as the name suggests, it's not vegan. It comes from honeycombs, which are produced by honey bees. (Beeswax is essential to bee wellbeing, as it helps them to store pollen and honey for the winter months.)

Another animal ingredient sometimes found in eyeliner is carmine, which is often used to add color to cosmetics and comes from crushed cochineal beetles.

There's also stearic acid, which is naturally found in animal fats and is used as an emulsifier, emollient, and lubricant. (Stearic acid is not always derived from animal sources, however, and can also come from vegetable oils.)

The best vegan eyeliners

If you're after an eyeliner that is bug- and animal fat-free (and who can blame you?), you've come to the right place. These are some of the best products on the market and they're 100 percent vegan. As always, they're certified cruelty-free too.

Parent company tests on animalsNo
VeganYes
TypeLiquid
WaterproofYes

Picture the scene: you've spent ages perfecting your eye makeup, only to look in the mirror when you get to work or the bar and it's smudged. So. Frustrating. With elf Cosmetics' H2O Proof Eyeliner Pen, you shouldn't have that problem. The long-lasting, highly-pigmented formula dries quickly, and after that, it's water- and smudge-proof.

Thanks to the felt tip-style applicator, the eyeliner is easy, comfortable to put on, and, the most important part: it will make your eyes pop. Plus, the addition of antioxidant vitamin E means it also nourishes and softens the skin around your lash line too.

Parent company tests on animalsYes - LVMH
VeganYes
TypeLiquid
WaterproofYes

KVD Vegan Beauty (formerly known as Kat Von D Beauty) was founded by celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D back in 2008, as she set out on a mission to disrupt the beauty industry with high-performance, cruelty-free formulas. Von D stepped away from the brand in 2020, but one of its most iconic products, the Tattoo Liner, remains.

Available in Trooper Black or Mad Max Brown, this bold, waterproof liquid liner is ideal for creating sharp lines and flicks, thanks to the ultra-pointed and precise brush tip. To get the best out of your liner, make sure you store it lying down and give it a shake before you use it.

Parent company tests on animalsYes - L'Oréal
VeganYes
TypePencil
WaterproofYes

Urban Decay is all about vivid color, and this eye pencil doesn't stray from that philosophy. With a gel-like formula and more than 35 shades, the 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil lives up to its name: it's super long-lasting.

Heading to a festival? Shimmering purple Psychedelic Sister won't budge. If you're heading for a day in the office, the classic and sleek Black Market shade won't let you down.

The formula also contains hydrating vitamin E, as well as moisturizing jojoba oil and cottonseed oil.

Parent company tests on animalsNo
VeganYes
TypePencil
WaterproofNo

If you're looking for a super affordable option but don't want to compromise on results, try Essence's Long-Lasting Eye Pencil.

At less than $3, this creamy, robust formula is budget-friendly and easy to apply. It also comes in a few different shades, including turquoise and sea green.

Parent company tests on animalsNo
VeganYes
TypeLiquid
WaterproofNo

This liquid eyeliner isn't advertised as waterproof, but plenty of fans of the product suggest otherwise. (One claims it even stayed on through a six-hour crying session. That's resilience.) Available in simple black, the Pro Tip eyeliner dries quickly, lasts for up to 12 hours, and doesn't smudge.

The tip has been designed for flexibility, making for an easy glide if you're seeking to perfect that cat eye. To ensure a nice, even application, make sure you give it a good shake before use. (Let that internal ball shaker really work its magic!)

Parent company tests on animalsYes - L'Oréal
VeganYes
TypeLiquid
WaterproofYes

With a fine, slender tip and a highly-pigmented formula, NYX Professional Makeup's long-lasting liquid eyeliner will give you sleek, clean lines, whatever look you're going for. If you want a thicker finish, just press down a little firmer. (Likewise for a thin line, keep your touch light.)

This product is ideal for taking away with you if you're vacationing somewhere hot: it'll make it through humidity and sweat, as well as tears and rain too. (So you can head out the door knowing you're covered for all eventualities!)

Parent company tests on animalsYes - LVMH
VeganYes
TypeLiquid
WaterproofYes

At this point, it's starting to seem like Rihanna can literally do nothing wrong. The singer and entrepreneur's popular cosmetics line Fenty Beauty has created Flyliner, a fast-drying, easy-to-use, long-lasting liquid eyeliner that really delivers.

While some eyeliners require a few goes over to get the right finish, this highly-pigmented product ticks all the boxes on the first stroke. But don't panic if you're a beginner with a shaky hand: it's easy to wipe off and start again with a little cleansing oil.

Parent company tests on animalsNo
VeganYes
TypePencil
WaterproofNo

100% Pure's Creamy Long Last Liner is available in a few different shades, which one is right for you depends on the level of intensity you're after.

For more of a soft, coffee brown look, try Dark Cacao, but if you're after classic jet black, then you'll need to try Blackest. The brand also offers a silvery option, called Gleaming Pewter.

All of the shades are easy to apply and long-lasting. But they go further than just offering eye definition, they nourish your skin too, thanks to the addition of moisturizing chamomile butter, mango seed oil, and jojoba.

But one note: this product isn't advertised as waterproof, and this time, it really isn't. So if you opt for this liner, try to hold back the tears for the sake of your makeup!

Parent company tests on animalsYes - Kosé
VeganYes
TypeLiquid and pencil
WaterproofYes

If you can't decide on liquid or pencil, don't. Tarte's Double Take Liner gives you both in one. Both sides are long-lasting, and while the thin tip of the liquid option allows for a sleek, clean flick or wing, the gel formula in the pencil gives strong definition to the upper and lower lashlines.

The liner is also infused with Amazonian clay. A popular skincare ingredient, clay has a number of benefits, including its ability to draw out impurities and promote collagen production.

Parent company tests on animalsYes - Shiseido
VeganYes
TypeLiquid
WaterproofYes

For a thicker, wider flick, try bareMinerals' waterproof liquid eyeliner. The flexible brush gives you smooth, clean lines of the jet black formula, and if you mess up and have to start again, don't panic! There's a generous amount in the bottle.

The long-lasting liner is fortified with microalgae, which is known for its hydrating and revitalizing benefits in skincare, but is also nourishing for your lashes too. And as an extra plus, the packaging is made with 50 percent recycled plastic.

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