Is It Ok To… Wear Red Lipstick?


First of all, let me start by saying YES, it is 100% ok for you to wear red lipstick. In fact, I actively encourage it. But did you know that your favourite bullet probably contains beetles?

As well as beeswax, red lipsticks usually contain carmine, an animal-derived ingredient that’s definitely not vegan. The red pigment is made from cochineal beetles, whose bodies are dried, crushed and boiled to extract carminic acid. That acid is then added to blushers, eyeshadows and lipsticks. Around 70,000 insects are needed to harvest approximately 450g of dye (from Wearing non-vegan lipstick is also kind of an anti-feminist statement – most of these beetles are females.

Some brands might handily list carmine as, well, ‘carmine’ on the ingredients label, but it can also be referred to as cochineal extract, crimson lake, natural red 4 and E120 according to

So what can brands use instead? Strawberries, beetroots, berries and plants can all add a natural red tone to cosmetics. And if these brands can manage without carmine, why can’t everyone else?


Beauty Without Cruelty Natural Infusion Moisturising Lipstick in Day Lily, £9.99

This 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand is easy to slick on pretty damn moisturising.

OCC Lip Tar / RTW in Vintage, £11.50

In a word: INTENSE. Anyone who tells you vegan make-up is less pigmented needs to try this cult liquid lipstick.

Sara Hill Lipstick In Curtain Call, £17

These vegan lipsticks come in a range of matte and satin sheen finishes, and are buildable to a richly pigmented colour. I highly recommend.


For more vegan and cruelty-free brands to try, don’t forget to check out what happened when I turned my beauty routine 100% animal-friendly for a week.


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