Clean and green: The best vegan beauty products

Annabel Harrison

8 November 2018

Extending Veganuary to more than just mealtimes? Imelda Burke, of Content Beauty & Wellbeing, singles out the best vegan beauty and skincare products available now.

"Some things in life we have little control over - the skincare we use is one area we do."

8 November 2018 | Annabel Harrison

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Small step or big leap, we all need to do something. It has never been more important to change one, some or all of those daily habits of ours that are killing our planet, and hurting some of its inhabitants. For many people, going vegan is their step in a new direction, whether it's the food they eat or the fashion they buy into. In fact, ‘vegan’ gets almost three times as many Google searches as vegetarian and gluten-free. PETA recognises London as the most vegan-friendly city on the planet, with more specialist restaurants opening every year – here are some of our favourites.

However, although it may have taken over kitchens across the city, thoughts about vegan living don't immediately extend to our bathrooms, even though there are plenty of brands in the vegan cosmetics and skincare field. Content Beauty & Wellbeing, a treasure trove of natural, organic and vegan beauty in Marylebone, has been at the forefront of this industry since launching 12 years ago, providing a curated selection of the most advanced, cult natural beauty brands from around the world. Product selection means meeting strict criteria, which ensures undesirable synthetic chemicals are eliminated, resulting in effective, high-end beauty brands. The number and quality of these brands proves "that the desire to go natural is no longer a compromise on results or luxury".

Here founder Imelda Burke - who lives by the mantra "Some things in life we have little control over - the skincare we use is one area we do" – chooses her top 10 vegan make-up, cosmetic, hair and skincare products available now.

Pai Middlemist Seven Camellia & Rose Gentle Cream Cleanser

Burke says: "Certified vegan by PETA, the Pai Cleanser is ideal for sensitive skin types."

We say: Also containing caster and sweet almond oil, this gentle yet effective cleanser from Pai is perfect for everyday use. Apply before moisturising to restore the skin's pH balance and prevent blemishes.

Middlemist Seven Camellia & Rose Gentle Cream Cleanser, £34, Pai Organic Skincare

Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator

Burke says: "This has become our best-selling facial mist and Josh Rosebrook has a cult following internationally."

We say: A combination hydrator, toner and moisturiser, this is the perfect vegan skincare product for the time pressed. Simply spritz on after cleansing and allow the advanced formula to do its thing.

Hydrating Accelerator, £35, Josh Rosebrook

Whamisa Organic Seeds Hydrogel Sheet Mask

Burke says: "Sheet masks have become a massive beauty trend in the past few years and natural brands do them too. This one is great for skincare in the winter."

We say: Containing 95% organic ingredients, including rice, soy and oat ferments, set aside 20 minutes for yourself with Whamisa's soothing sheet mask. The refreshing serum will soften skin and improve its elasticity to leave your complexion bright and clear.

Organic Seeds Hydrogel Sheet Mask, £6.50, Whamisa

Twelve Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser

Burke says: "Formulated for sensitive skin Twelve’s complete range is vegan. This moisturiser is great for a range of skin issues and doubles as a primer."

We say: Skincare wonder ingredient Hylauronic Acid is the key to this moisturiser's power. Capable of holding up to 70% more water than any other substance, it effectively hydrates skin and preps it for make-up application.

Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser, £48, Twelve Beauty

Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum

Burke says: "Something for working against the signs of time; use it under your moisturiser or alone if your skin is prone to oiliness. This serum has been a customer favourite since its launch."

We say: This lightweight serum blend Hyaluronic Acid and essential vitamins to create a nourishing and gently exfoliating formula that is certified natural and cruelty-free. A quick pick-me-up for when your skin needs some serious rejuvenation.

Resurfacing Serum, £77, Tata Harper

La Belle Lune Organic Skin Facial Oil

Burke says: "British made in small batches this oil is ideal as an overnight treatment for most skin types, as it smells heavenly."

We say: Available with either a pipette or pump cap, this elegant facial oil will take pride of place in your bathroom. Designed to work overnight, it targets fine lines, scars and sun damage to leave skin looking healthy and rested.

Organic Skin Facial Oil, £46, La Belle Lune

Evolve Superfood Shine Shampoo

Burke says: "Some natural haircare brands use honey in products but this one avoids all animal derived ingredients and is made right here in the UK." 

We say: A winner at the Natural Health Beauty Awards, this vegan shampoo contains sugar and coconut to effectively cleanse the scalp while nourishing hair. Ideal if your lcoks are struggling in the winter weather.

Superfood Shine Shampoo, £13, Evolve

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream Citrus

Burke says: "It can take a bit of getting used to but cream deodorants can work just as effectively as their liquid counterparts. This one is not only vegan but also without Aluminium Chlorohydrate."

We say: Vegan deoderants often get a bad rap for, well, not working. Soapwalla's cream formula, however, is created using superfine vegetable powders, clay and essential oils and really does what it says on the tin.

Deoderant Cream Citrus, £18, Soapwalla

Lily Lolo Laid Bare Eyeshadow Palette

Burke says: "Lily Lolo is a great UK-made mineral make-up range. The palettes come in very versatile combinations."

We say: Designed to flatter and enhance every skin tone, Lily Lolo's Laid Bare eyeshadow palette offers eight versatile shades with pigments just as strong as their non-vegan counterparts.

Laid Bare Eyeshadow Palette, £21, Lily Lolo

Ilia Color Block Lipstick

Burke says: "It can be difficult to formulate vegan lipsticks but Ilia has led by example and avoids both beeswax and carmine in its products."

We say: Created using mango seed butter, castor seed oil and apricot oil, this volvety smooth vegan lipstick is every inch as luxurious as its traditional competitors. Also featuring sunflower seed wax, Ilia's lipstick seel in moisture and stay put all day.

Color Block Lipstick, £27, Ilia

Read more: These are the best vegan restaurants in London offering home delivery