Cruelty Free Make-up Brushes..

Veganism is a hot topic at the moment in terms of food but also in beauty. I’ve often wished that I could be a vegan, I was vegetarian for well over twenty years; I’m now considered a pescatarian as I have dabbled in a bit of fish for the last three years or so. Being a vegan is getting easier but still quite tough I would say. I love the idea of it and the many reasons behind it, I’m toying with it..

That would mean a change to my kit too as that isn’t vegan either, some of my skincare includes beeswax and honey ingredients for example; I believe they are really great for skin. They are of course organic or responsibly sourced, the welfare of the bees is paramount to me. Some of the colour products will contain carmine too, not a topic for today but one I will tackle.. Vegan beauty has always been there but it is becoming so huge now, it is making me think about my kit in a different way again.

I think one area that is getting a lot of attention at the moment is brushes. I was recently asked by the talented Anna Hunter aka The Make-up Maniac from Get The Gloss for some quotes on synthetic make-up brushes for her e-book Everything You Wanted To Know About Make-up Brushes. It is such a great read even if you just use a couple of brushes. Anna writes about the history of make-up application and then modern day make-up tools, covering both animal hair brushes and those with synthetic bristles. Strict veganism is not for everyone by any stretch, but consumers are really starting to think about where their products have come from, and they want cruelty-free beauty.

Cruelty-free make-up brushes can be a very grey area. Brands can be listed as cruelty-free in that they don’t test on animals, but unless they are vegan they can still carry products with animal ingredients including brushes made with animal hair. The question is how can we be really sure about how that hair is collected, and how the animals are looked after? Synthetic bristles are the only way to truly truly ensure brushes are cruelty free, in my opinion.

After saying that, I’m now going to say that my brush roll isn’t vegan. There are a fair few hair brushes in there, but they are brushes that I have had for years, some of them possibly 10 years or more – what can I say, I look after them 🙂 I wouldn’t buy an animal hair brush now but I’m also not going to throw away a brush that still works really well, that would be a waste for many reasons. All replacements and new additions to my brush collection for ages now have been synthetic so eventually it will be vegan, but on what time scale I don’t know.

In the past synthetic brushes have been a ‘poorer’ option next to hair bristle brushes. They were always cheaper in cost but also quality. That has changed now though and many brands have purely synthetic lines. There is still a difference of course, but the gap is closing quite fast, and some it can be so hard to tell the difference. Synthetic brushes will not absorb any of your make-up as they have no cuticle, so are great for anything liquid or cream based. Hair bristles will absorb creams and liquids so are generally recommended more for use with powder products. Synthetic bristles didn’t used to be so great for powder products but now are becoming so refined you can use them for anything, they can be just as good for blending and buffing as hair brushes are. I find that synthetic brushes are easier to clean and they also tend to shed less.

I am a HUGE fan of Ecotools and have loads in my kit. Their brushes are so good, they are super soft and many could actually be mistaken for real hair. They seem to always be introducing new exciting designs and the price point and availability is brilliant.


I go through phases of favourite brushes, the one at the moment that I’d be the most upset about losing is from bdellium. It’s the one on the far right of this picture. I like to use small brushes when doing foundation and concealer. This one is perfect for buffing in products around the nose and under eyes.


These are a selection of my foundation and concealer brushes – from left to right they include Liz Earle, Urban Decay, Nvey Eco, Inika, Aveda, Bdellium, EcoTools.

Cleaning brushes is such a boring job and one I always put off until the last minute – I never learn! I use Dr Bronner’s Tea Tree Magic Soap to clean my brushes. It is amazing. It removes everything really quickly, including heavily pigmented and grease products. It rinses out of the brushes easily too. I also love The London Brush Company’s Solid Brush Shampoo, it works a treat. I’ve used the goat’s milk one but they have a vegan option which uses coconut milk. Always let your brushes dry lying flat otherwise water can get into the handle and cause the bristles to come unstuck.


In the pot here are a selection from Bdellium, on the left my favourite I mentioned before, Aveda and Liz Earle.

What are your favourite brushes to use?