My Top 8 Vegan Makeup Brushes for pros and amateurs alike

My Pro Brush Selection is massive, I have at LEAST 85 brushes and that was when I counted about 4 years ago, and includes both Synthetic (Vegan/Cruelty-Free) and Natural brushes. As with EVERYTHING I purchase, I do my research and I make sure I am happy with the ethics or policies of the brand before I spend my hard-earned cash. In general, I prefer and EU made product, because of the Stringent laws on work hours, ethics, good practices, and the ethical treatment of animals

Photo by Brighitta Moser

Why Buy Quality Makeup Brushes?

A good makeup brush, well taken care of, will last you forever.  I have had some of my brushes since I started 20 + years ago. I have never discarded a makeup brush in my life. ( I have probably lost about 20 though!) When I no longer love one of my make up brushes it either

  • Ends Up in my SFX makeup bag

  • Goes to one of my assistants

  • Ends up in my personal bag

I am a minimal consumer, which means I only buy things when I need them and I am very much "Waste Not Want Not" in my life philosophy. I believe in investing in a bit of quality, and taking care of things, especially my brushes, but more on that later.

Vegan V. Natural Makeup Brushes

I will also state that I am not vegan, but I do believe that animal cruelty is wrong (of course) and I certainly do not believe in animal testing for cosmetics purposes of any kind in any circumstances. I used to dislike synthetic brushes because they left streaks in the makeup, but the availability and range of quality synthetic brushes has improved,  and it has become a great, economical option with excellent results.

I am an environmentalist and since I am not vegan, I personally have no problem with real hair makeup brushes provided the methods of manufacture are sound and ethical. I prefer Natural hair to apply certain products, especially on the cheeks. I am also conscious and concerned about the environmental impact the large scale manufacture of the polyester fibers (non biodegradable, energy consuming, sometimes petroleum based) mostly in China (who have questionable animal rights policies for cosmetics and production) for Vegan and Cruelty free brushes.  Often these types for brushes are seen as disposable and also come heavily packaged in plastic.

Many of my pro brushes are Natural hair because I have had them for many years (and will continue to use them until they no longer work properly), but in recent years, I tend to only get synthetic (vegan) fibre brushes, but only high quality ones that I can wash and keep.

1. LY Cosmetics

Not only is Louise a LOVELY person and talented artist, she also has a fabulous Brush line and cruelty free cosmetics too.  Recently, Louise switched her whole brush range top Vegan fibres and the quality is exceptional. The Louise Young Brush Collection is definitely designed for Professional Makeup Artists, but work well for avid amateurs as well. The range come in a variety of shapes, perfect for the whole face. My favourites are the powder and eye shadow brushes.

2. Real Techniques

Sam and Nic Chapman are an amazing pair of sisters, also known as Pixiwoo . In case you don't know, they single (double) handedly revolutionized the way young people learned about makeup. Tutorials had been around for a while, but not like this. Finally Real Techniques was born in 2011, an affordable range of Cruelty-Free brushes designed by Pros. Real Techniques Brushes are available everywhere and according to their site monitor their manufacturing practices.  I love their Sculpting brush for base and contouring. They have many different ranges now, and although eventually they do shed, I find they do last fairly long as well.

3. Eco Tools

I really like Eco Tools for it's over arching principles that include using bamboo handles, using recycled materials and have a strong philanthropic mission. I really love their soft but firm eye makeup brushes - and I love their double ended ones for my personal makeup bag .  Eco Tools brushes are inexpensive and convenient and come in some great sets - though I am finding they are using a lot of packaging for some of them. 

4. Tina Earnshaw 

If you are a Pro Makeup artist and do not know who Tina Earnshaw is, you need to look her up now! You might recognize a few little films she did, Like TITANIC for example... Tina has created a beautiful range of brushes made in the UK with beautiful wooden handles. The Tina Earnshaw Makeup Brush  offers Vegan and Natural brushes of premium quality and design. There is also the Sweetest selection of Japanese fabric bags and rolls as well, all designed by Tina herself.

5. Artis Brushes

Artis Brushes revolutionized the shape of Makeup Brushes several years ago years ago. I got my set just after they came out. I loved this new shape and the fact that the synthetic fibres are specifically designed for cosmetics. The hairs are so densly packed and fine that they act almost like a sponge.  They have been imitated by many, but never duplicated. My personal faourites are Oval 3, 4 and 6.

6 Everyday Minerals

Everyday Minerals Makeup brand makes Vegan Brushes and also uses renewal Bamboo for their handles. They have a lovely makeup range and their brush selection is based on Kabuki makeup brushes. I love the Itahake , Everyday Smudge and Foundation Brushes.

7. MOTD Brushes

MOTD Brushes come in a wide variety of shapes, and my favourites are the eye ones that I use a lot for concealer. The face ones take FOREVER to dry - That is because the fibres are also densly packed - and I also had some problems with the face brushes shedding - although I really loved using them, I think they are not designed to be washes as often as I did.. These brushes are better for personal rather than professional use.

8. Nanshy Brushes

I really love the fluffy eye brushes by Nanshy - they are super soft, but keep the colour focused and concentrated. I do like the face brushes as well, but have been vey taken by the eye set. They wash easily and retain their shape and feel. Just a MUA note, there is an option for White handles, but I assure you they will never stay that way - opt for the black ones if you can!

9. My Kit Co Brushes

I love all these brushes but especially the pro range. there are lots of funny little shapes and sizes, perfect for intricate work, along with all the standard shapes. Created by Amazing Artist James Molloy, this line of brushes is wide and vast, and there are many kits and accessories as well to choose from.

10. Emj Brushes

A capsule collection of Vegan Makeup Brushes created by Cruelty Free Makeup Artist EmJ that complements her selection of Brush belts, pencil rolls etc. the limited collection has a few sets as well if you are looking for a little collection. the long hand;es are perfect for the Pro MUA. brush belt or holder.

Caring for your makeup brushes

During my work day, I am constantly sanitizing my brushes. I use 99% Alcohol or preferably Natural Hand Sanitizer like Dr. Bronner or Bentley Organic sprayed on my Artis Microfiber cloth/pad (washable so saves tissues) .

To properly care for my Soldiers (as I call them), I treat them like my own hair and have always done so.


When I began, I used to shampoo and condition my brushes with Aveda hair care ... no joke, for YEARS ( I started in an Aveda Salon)! Now I often Use a brush cleaning Solid shampoo like London Brush Company  but my favourite is the OSCA Tea Tree soap which has a refillable and contains organic oils. Also, the insert and the lid has those handy nubbly bits, perfect for really getting makeup out!

For my Foundation/Concealer and Lip Brushes I use anti-bacterial Hand soap like Bio D Sanitizing Wash which I have all over the house anyway (I buy 5L and refill the bottles near the sinks). For really stubborn stains and product, I use the Beauty Blender Liquid wash. You can buy lots of fancy pads and tools now, but I just use my hands, and ALWAYS leave your brushes to dry flat on the edge of a counter to let the air pass through and dry them properly.

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