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5 Best Vegan Eyeliners to Highlight Your Perfect Peepers (2019)

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I’ll be honest with you, I’m no pro when it comes to eyeliner. I have friends who are, and their eyes are always on point, literally.

But that’s precisely why I’m writing this article. Because no matter your skill level, there’s a vegan eyeliner for you!

They really highlight the eyes beautifully and now I’ve learned which ones are great and safe picks.

I’ll be taking you through 5 eyeliners plus an eyeliner brush at the end in case you need one, so let’s dig in!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks

What Makes an Eyeliner Vegan?

The obvious factor that makes a product vegan would be the lack of animal-derived ingredients. What animal ingredients could possibly go into an eyeliner? Several.

Eyeliner comes in many forms, pencil, gel, liquid…and many of these often contain animal byproducts.

Beeswax

The most common is beeswax. Beeswax seems innocent enough, and if you speak with a hobby beekeeper, they’ll probably tell you how they go to great lengths to care for and protect their bees.

Unfortunately, cosmetic companies aren’t buying beeswax from small apiaries, and the “care“ the beekeepers provide isn’t always what it seems.

Your best bet is to avoid bee products like beeswax and honey in your cosmetics, and plant bee attractants in your garden instead.

Lucky for us, nature provides us with plenty of alternatives like vegetable oils and fats, carnauba wax, candelilla wax, and ceresin. These ingredients are what gives the eyeliner it’s stick-to-it-tiveness, whatever form it comes in.

Lanolin

The next animal culprit is lanolin from sheep. Again, a seemingly innocent byproduct of the wool industry.

Lanolin is used for its waxy emollient properties and is easily replaced by plant and vegetable oils or butters.

Collagen

Collagen is another animal-drived ingredient rising in popularity over the last decade.

Prized for its plumping and firming properties, collagen is used in eyeliner to feed and renew the delicate skin around your eyes.

However, it’s is sourced from animals, which means a thumbs down from us.

Soy protein, almond oil, and Amla oil from Indian Gooseberry have shown the same desired effects without any animals involved. Sweet!

What Other Ingredients Should You Avoid?

Like with any cosmetic or personal care product, you want to find the most natural product available. Many articles will tell you to avoid all ingredients you can’t pronounce and hail them as evil chemicals.

The truth is, chemicals are natural, too, and not all natural ingredients are easy to pronounce. I’m no Latin scholar, and scientific names trip up my tongue, but they’re still natural!

The only way to learn all the ingredients to avoid is to read up on them, so I’m here to give you a little breakdown of some ingredients we avoid as much as possible.

As a general rule, waterproof products contain more iffy ingredients than regular products, so if waterproof is important to you, use those products sparingly.

Making the area around your eyes waterproof can lead to dry eye disease, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but can lead to degenerative eye conditions as you get older.

Waterproof makeup isn’t intended for everyday use. If you must have waterproof eye makeup for special occasions when you know the tears are going to be uncontrollable, make sure you use a thorough makeup remover and don’t wear it every day.

Carbon Black

Okay, here are a few more things you’ll want to avoid. Carbon black, also known as D & C Black No. 2, acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black, and thermal black, is a byproduct of petroleum used to create that inky black look you may desire.

Unfortunately, it’s a known carcinogen, so look for plant-based pigments instead.

Benzalkonium Chloride

Benzalkonium chloride is used as a preservative and is well documented to be toxic to the cells which keep dust, water and bacteria out of the eye, so you definitely don’t want to harm them.

It’s also known as BAK, quaternium-15 or guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride. Other preservatives to avoid are Formaldehyde aka quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, and urea.

Aluminum Powder

Aluminum powder or other heavy metals such as Nickel and Chrome, are often used to give eye makeup its hue. Aluminum powder and heavy metals are both a neurotoxin and have been linked to organ system toxicity.

These may show up as aluminum, LB Pigment 5, or pigment metal on a label, or may not be listed at all (these metals can contaminate other ingredients).

Many consumers also have a nickel allergy, which can cause dry, itchy eyelids, a red skin rash and watery blisters.

It’s best to avoid these metals and use companies which regularly test for contaminants.

Drugstore brands often do not, so be wary and vigilant in your shopping and product research. Lucky you, for stumbling here, so we can do the hard part for you!

6 Top Picks for Vegan Eyeliner

Whether it’s the first time you’ve lined your eyes, or you’re a professional makeup artiste, there’s a vegan eyeliner perfect for you.

Skin2Spirit Better’n Ur Eyes Natural Eyeliner Pencil – Brown

Better'n Ur Eyes Natural Eyeliner Pencil: BROWN | Hypoallergenic & Great for Sensitive Eyes | Natural | Vegan | Certified Cruelty Free | Paraben Free | Gluten Free | Smooth Application | Long Lasting

Skin2Spirit is well known for its amazing natural products, and this eyeliner pencil is no exception. It’s specially formulated for sensitive eyes and won’t irritate your skin or make your eyes water.

Better’n Ur Eyes is a glorious blend of Jojoba and Castor oil, Shea and Cocoa butters, creating a creamy, thick pigment which glides effortlessly over your eyelids, while keeping the skin as healthy as it can be.

This eyeliner can be used to create multiple looks, from a severe cat eye to a more sultry, smudged, smoky-eyed look (using our recommended eyeliner pencil, or your fingertip).

It’s not as long-lasting as other brands, but the gentle formula makes the need for touch-ups bearable.

What We Like

  • Perfect for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers
  • Smooth, even application
  • Heavily pigmented

What We Don’t Like

  • Smudges easily, not long lasting
  • Beeswax is the first ingredient listed in some places, but the formula has recently been changed and they now use a blend of plant-based waxes. Double checked with the manufacturer.

Zuzu Luxe Eyeliner Defining Pencil Infused with Jojoba Seed Oil

Zuzu Luxe Eyeliner (Indigo),0.04 oz,Eye Defining Pencil, Infused with Jojoba Seed Oil, Super Smooth formula glides on to define eyes. Natural, Paraben Free, Vegan, Gluten-free, Cruelty- free, Non GMO.

I love playing with fun colors when it comes to eyeliner, though I’m no pro! Zuzu Luxe Defining Pencil makes it easy to get quality eyeliner in feisty shades, without all the yucky ingredients you don’t want near your precious peepers.

The infusion of Jojoba Seed Oil and Vitamin E help to keep the delicate skin around your eye moisturized, while still providing highly pigmented colors to accentuate and highlight your best asset!

Don’t be afraid to mix colors and have fun with these pencils. They look perfect in precise lines, or smudged into a sexy, smoky, smolder.

The colors may not be as bold as you expect but try to layer them for a more eye-popping look.

I personally like a softer shade, so I can build the product for the look I desire. It’s much easier to put more color on then take it off without ruining your whole look.

What We Like

  • Multiple fun shades to choose from
  • Smooth, easy application
  • Great for sensitive eyes

What We Don’t Like

  • Difficult to sharpen
  • Not as pigmented as others

Mirenesse Define Art Duet Jet Black Eyeliner

Mirenesse Define Art Duet Jet Black Eyeliner, 2 in 1 Thick & Thin, Award Winning 24hr Liquid Pen Eye liner, Long Lasting, Paraben Free for Sensitive Eyes, Oil & Waterproof, Vegan, Glossy Black 0.05oz

The first liquid eyeliner on our list, and it’s perfect for beginners! Mirenesse’s Define Art Duet eyeliner is a dual-ended, marker style pen which makes every eyeliner look easy to achieve. The shape and size of the marker makes it easy to hold, and intuitive to apply.

Use the fine point for perfect lines across your lids, then flip the pen over to sweep the line out with the thicker point for an elegant cat eye.

Use our favorite brush to smudge out the precise lines if you so desire! Easy as pie!

This eyeliner has long-lasting power, but isn’t necessarily waterproof, so don’t expect it to weather every storm.

It will be there for you through your regular daily activities, though, so get ready to make a bold statement with your newly found love of wings and things!

What We Like

  • Dual tips for multiple looks
  • Easy to apply
  • Long-lasting

What We Don’t Like

  • Can dry out if not sealed properly (like a marker)
  • Some users experienced flaking

Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner

Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner - Everlast (0.17 Fl. Oz.) Vegan, Cruelty-Free Liquid Eyeliner to Define & Intensify Eyes for Up to 24 Hours

This eyeliner takes a steadier hand to perfect, but at this ridiculously low price, you just have to give it a try! Milani’s Infinite liquid is just that…infinite! It lasts and lasts and lasts! If you’re looking for an eyeliner which stays on through anything, this is the one.

Liquid eyeliner can be a bit tricky to master, as there isn’t as much room for mistakes, but after a few tries, you’ll be making sweeping cat eyes like a pro!

I’ve found the easiest way to practice with liquid is to make dots with an eyeliner or eyeshadow pencil, and then fill in between with the liquid.

Due to its “everlast” abilities, it’s a bit tough to remove, but if you’ve got a great makeup remover, you’ll be golden.

Quite a few customers report falling asleep with this on, and while we don’t recommend it, there hasn’t been any reports of increased irritation or sensitivity from doing so.

What We Like

  • Super long-lasting
  • Waterproof, but gentle
  • Super affordable

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be difficult to apply if you don’t have a steady hand
  • Hard to remove

Lovoir Wingliner Eyeliner Stamp

Winged Eyeliner Stamp - The Flick Stick by Lovoir Black, Waterproof Make Up, Smudgeproof, Long Lasting Liquid Eye liner Pen, Vamp Style Wing, 2 Wingliner Pens In A Pack (10mm Classic, Midnight Black)

This is the only eyeliner stamp we are featuring, and it’s just too fun! If you’re like me, bold statement eyes are super intimidating to even attempt, and I always seem to look a little off kilter. It takes skill and practice to get the symmetry just right, and I often give up.

The Lovoir Wingliner eyeliner stamp is the perfect tool for people like me! It takes all the guesswork out of the perfect bold wing style you’re craving. And you don’t even have to be steady handed to make it work. It’s genius.

I love and appreciate that the pens are clearly marked left and right and are really intuitive to use. It’s so easy to create the perfect wing in less than 2 minutes, even for a beginner. I’ve never been able to get this look in so little effort and it’s a game changer!

What We Like

  • Super easy to use
  • Lasts all day
  • Comes in varying widths

What We Don’t Like

  • One size, one style (but man! What style!) per set
  • Made in China, but vegan and cruelty free according to the manufacturer

Beauty Junkees Gel Makeup Eyeliner Brush Fine Angled

Gel Eyeliner Brush Fine Angled - pro Precision Eye Liner Makeup Brushes with Ultra Thin Slanted Flat Angle Bristle for Tightline, Professional Applicator for Liquid, Powder, Cream, Cake Cosmetics

This is the only brush we are featuring, and for good reason. Did you know that many makeup brushes, especially those deemed “natural” are made from animal hair? Now, much of the hair is acquired through brushing or shearing, with ideally no harm to the animal, but nonetheless, no thank you.

Beauty Junkees’ fine angled eyeliner brush is 100% synthetic, and super soft. This may not be ideal for beginners but is perfect for applying eyeliner with a gentle hand and creating the ideal smudge out. It works best with powder or liquid eyeliners but a little iffy for applying gels.

With some skill, this brush helps create angled wings and cat eyes, fishtails and the like. Use it in combination with all the above eyeliners to find your own individual style and signature.

There is no wrong way to make your eyes look their best, and these tools help you achieve it with ease.

What We Like

  • Soft, synthetic bristles
  • Angled for better control
  • Works with many types of liner

What We Don’t Like

  • Some of the other brushes in the line are made with animal hair
  • Too soft for precise lines

Top Choice for the Best Vegan Eyeliner

Mirenesse Define Art Duet Jet Black Eyeliner, 2 in 1 Thick & Thin, Award Winning 24hr Liquid Pen Eye liner, Long Lasting, Paraben Free for Sensitive Eyes, Oil & Waterproof, Vegan, Glossy Black 0.05oz

This was a tough decision, as I liked so many of these products, for so many different reasons. However, I’m choosing  Mirenesse’s Define Art Duet eyeliner simply because it is perfect for everyone.

It doesn’t matter if this is the first time or the millionth time you’ve attempted to use eyeliner, this just works the best!

It’s easy, it’s fast, it lasts, and it looks amazing. For me, it’s all about multi-tasking, and this eyeliner marker can create so many different looks without all the fuss.

I love the idea of the wing stamp, don’t get me wrong, but a one trick pony doesn’t make for the best of the best, and that’s why I chose this as the overall winner.

The only thing truly lacking for this eyeliner is the lack of color choices, but honestly, I’m not brave enough to go for bold colors AND bold lines, so it isn’t a deal breaker for me.

I love the long-lasting effects, but don’t need it to last through the apocalypse. I also don’t want to scrub my eyes off to remove my makeup, so this wins there, too.

All in all, don’t be afraid to try a new, bold look with your eyes. We all have that one friend who makes this look effortless. Why aren’t YOU that friend? Here are the tools to make it happen!

Meet

Michelle M. VanGurp

I'm a mom of two tweens. It's important to find food that satisfies our hunger and also fits into our busy lives. I love to find and share food that's easy, delicious, and plant-based. Writing about cooking is a dream come true.

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