Lip Liner

Vegan and cruelty-free lip liner and pencils. You can shop with the assurance that all of the makeup products we list on Get it Vegan, including the lip liner found below, are 100% free of animal by-products, ingredients and testing of any kind.

Lip Liner

What is ‘vegan’ & ‘cruelty-free’ lip liner/pencils?

The term “vegan”, with regard to lip liner and pencils, refers to lip liner that doesn’t contain ingredients that are derived or sourced from animals or insects, whereas the term “cruelty-free” refers to lip liner that’s free of animal testing, including the individual ingredients used to create it.

What animal and insect ingredients are commonly used in lip liner?

While it certainly isn’t exhaustive, below we’ve put together a list of some of the most widely used animal and insect-derived ingredients that are found in common lip liners and pencils, including the origins of these ingredients, their use in lip liners, their aliases, and some vegan-friendly alternatives.

Carmine: A red pigment that’s common in lipsticks, lip liners and pretty much any non-vegan makeup with a red hue. Carmine is derived from heating female Cochineal insects to death, drying them out, and crushing their shells. About 70,000 of these beetles must be killed to produce just one pound of this red dye. 

  • Aliases: Cochineal, Carminic Acid, Dactylopius Coccus Extract.
  • Vegan Alternatives to carmine: Alkanet root; beet juice; natural Iron Oxide pigments.

Beeswax: Due in part to its affordability and ease to find commercially, beeswax is everywhere in the “green” market these days. Beeswax is made from melting honeycomb with boiling water, straining it, and cooling it. It increases the thickness and structure of solid cosmetic products, allowing for a smooth application, and rigid form. It also happens that many bees are killed or have their wings and legs torn off because of haphazard handling when they are farmed.

  • Alises: Apic cerana, Apis Mel, Apis mellifera, Apis Mellifica, Cera Alba, Cera Flava
  • Vegan alternatives to beeswax: Candelilla wax; Soy wax; Sustainable carnauba wax, Cerecin

Gelatin: A protein that’s typically obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments, or bones of pigs, cows and other animals. Gelatin is generally used in lip liner as a binder, structuring agent, and/or thickener.

  • Aliases: Gel, Hide Glue, Gelatine, Isinglass, Kosher and Halal Gelatin.
  • Vegan alternatives to gelatin: Plant-based oils, as well as Irish moss (carageenan) and seaweed (agar, kelp, etc.).

Lanolin: Derived from the oil glands of sheep, and typically while they endure uncomfortably hot conditions (more heat means more oil is produced). Lanolin is often used to soften or smoothen the skin in lipstick, lip liner, and many other personal care and makeup products. Once the sheep that produce lanolin outlive their productivity, guess where they’re sent. 

  • Aliases: Aliphatic Alcohol, Cholesterin, Isopropyl Lanolate, Laneth, Lanogene, Lanolin Acids, Wool Fat, Wool Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Lanosterols, Triterpene Alcohols, Lanothionine.
  • Vegan alternatives to lanolin: plant and vegetable oils, such as sustainably harvested palm oil and cocoa butter.

Why should I buy ‘vegan’ & ‘cruelty-free’ lip liner/pencils?

Who wants to smear crushed beetles or hair grease on their lips? Nobody. But some people do it because they don’t know, and often don’t want to know, what’s in their lip liner. Aside from that, it’s important to buy vegan and cruelty-free lip liner rather than generic lip liner, because it’s a way to ‘vote with your dollars’.  If consumers stop paying companies to put these grotesque and cruel ingredients in lip liners and other products, they will stop doing it. 

What brands make vegan lip liner/pencils?

Thankfully, there are a growing number of brands that make vegan & cruelty-fee lip liner/pencils, including:

More to come! As we verify more brands, more will be add to this list!

Is vegan and cruelty-free lip liner expensive?

In general, vegan and cruelty-free lip liner is not any more expensive, or any less-expensive, than lip liner that contains animal/insect derived or tested ingredients.

Just like “normal” lip liners and pencils, the prices of vegan & cruelty-free ones can vary based on differences in the quality and the availability of the ingredients used, differences in the manufacturing processes employed, different brand names behind them, as well as various other factors.

How do you choose which lip liners/pencils to put in this store?

We maintain a growing list of companies that make lip liners and lip pencils that’s rumoured to be vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. We contact all of these companies to find out straight from them if they forego the use of animal and/or insect-derived ingredients, and to see if they abide by specific cruelty-free practices, including:

  • Not testing their final products or ingredients on animals
  • Not paying someone else to test ingredients or final products on animals for them
  • Not using ingredients that are tested on animals
  • Not selling their products in countries wherein animal testing is required by law, such as mainland China

When we find lip liner that meet this set of criteria and is sold on Amazon, we list it here for your shopping convenience.

Similar product categories

If you’ve found this page on vegan and cruelty-free lip liner & pencils helpful, check out similar product categories to learn or shop more:

For companies that make vegan & cruelty-free lip liner

If you make vegan and cruelty-free lip liner, we’d love to feature you and your products on the “Brands We Love” section of our site! Contact us at  - info(at)getitvegan(dot)com - to get started!


Some of the information for this guide on vegan & cruelty-free lip liner was gathered from the following sources: