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Is There a Squirrel in Your Makeup Bag?


Brush Up on Synthetic Makeup Brushes
You already know that being kind to animals is as easy as choosing cosmetics made by companies that don’t test on animals, such as Paul Mitchell. But wait … before you dust on that bronzer, take a good look at your makeup brush. Chances are that it’s made from animal fur, and if you wouldn’t wear fur, you definitely don’t want to use it to apply your cruelty-free cosmetics!

Cruelty That’ll Make You Do More Than Blush
Makeup brushes are commonly made from squirrel, mink, sable, horse (sometimes called “pony” or “camel”), or goat hair. Mink and sable brushes are products of the cruel fur industry. Every year, millions of animals are trapped, drowned, and beaten to death in the wild and strangled, electrocuted, or beaten and skinned alive on fur farms. Horse hair is commonly obtained from horses who are slaughtered for their flesh. Squirrels are hunted or trapped, and goats are shorn like sheep. Workers are often paid by volume, so they shear the goats quickly, which can result in serious injuries.

Many makeup brushes are manufactured in developing countries where there are few or no animal welfare regulations.

Super Synthetics
There’s no reason to use animal-hair brushes, especially when there are so many high-quality synthetic brushes available. Check out these companies’ luxurious offerings:

  • Circa carries a line of makeup brushes that use high-quality, hand-cut synthetic hair. Eva Mendes is the creative director for this cruelty-free beauty brand, available exclusively at Walgreens.
  • wet n wild is sending a positive message to cosmetics companies around the world: It dropped all animal hair from its makeup brushes and went vegan!
  • Branded J knows that animal-hair brushes aren’t just bad for animals—they’re also bad for your skin. Unlike animal-hair brushes, which are loaded with dead skin cells, bacteria, and chemicals that can cause your skin to break out, Branded J’s collection of custom-cut taklon brushes is animal-friendly, anti-bacterial, and awesome for applying make-up.
  • The Body Shop knows that if you wouldn’t put on makeup using your cat’s tail, you don’t want to use any other animal part, either—its brushes don’t contain animal hair.
  • Ecco Bella Botanicals has a range of non-animal brushes that complement its cruelty-free cosmetics.
  • Paris Presents’ EcoTools makeup brushes are made with cruelty-free taklon bristles, sustainable bamboo handles, and other natural and recyclable materials to keep you and the Earth looking beautiful. Alicia Silverstone is a celebrity fan of these luxurious-yet-affordable brushes, which can be found in many drugstores.
  • For professionals and newbies alike, It Cosmetics offers a large selection of high-quality brushes to help you apply makeup smoothly and accurately.
  • Garden Botanika brags that its 100 percent taklon brushes are actually softer than those made from fur, allowing more makeup to cling to the brush and providing a smoother application.
  • Origins Natural Resources brushes look and feel like animal hair, but don’t worry—they’re cruelty-free just like the rest of Origins’ personal-care products.
  • Urban Decay Good Karma brushes tickle your face using synthetic taklon.
  • Aveda brushes are also made of taklon, with a flax-infused, recycled-resin handle. They’re animal- and environment-friendly!
  • Nanshy uses only super-soft synthetic hair in its brushes—and its lush vegan brushes are famous for their durability, flexibility, and easy maintenance.
  • Sevi Cosmetics‘ 100 percent taklon brushes are the perfect complement to its vegan makeup. No cruel animal testing and no creepy animal ingredients!
  • Valana Minerals knows that “[t]here is no need to sacrifice quality or animals in the pursuit of beauty.” Its six luxurious synthetic makeup brushes are perfect for applying Valana’s cruelty-free and vegan powder, foundation, blush, bronzer, and eye color.
  • Afterglow luxe professional cosmetics brushes are uniquely designed to provide a beautiful, flawless finish. Handmade of the highest quality taklon, they’re super soft and ideal for applying loose mineral makeup evenly.

What You Can Do
Please write to your favorite makeup companies that still use real animal hair in their brushes and ask them to switch to taklon fibers.

Commenting is closed.
  • Gary says:

    Real Techniques ftw; however, EcoTools is pretty good as well. What’s more, they all look quality (and they’re quality, too), unlike cheap brushes. But if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly brand, EcoTools will donate a part of their revenues to helping the environments.

  • Cait says:

    EcoTools brushes are synthetic (taklon), and are not only cruelty-free, but also very earth friendy as their packaging is recyclable and their cosmetics bags are made with natural hemp and cotton. Definitely one to keep an eye on!

  • Lori says:

    Sigma brushes are seriously the best brushes I have ever used. It is comparable to Mac brushes if not better. They are synthetic which means it will take the product and deposit it right on your face without wasting any of your make up. I recommend using these instead of goat hair brushes!

  • Nanshy says:

    Nanshy a UK’s recently emerged beauty brand is 100% cruelty-free and is only offering synthetic brushes.

  • Monica Woodroffe says:

    some of these websites are misleading – for example – if you against a company not experimenting on animals you would imagine that a completely organic company like ‘Origins Natural Resources’ would come under this wouldn’t you? WRONG – read their animal policy – the clause – unless the law demands it’ says it all – this means that they will and can condone any animal experimentation of any product. Don’t use them.

  • Sarah says:

    Bare Minerals although I love their makeups are still using Pony and Goat hair brushes. The worse part is that they don’t tell people so those of us who are allergic to these animals end up with hives intense of their promised “flawless skin”

  • Kristina says:

    I would HIGHLY recommend Cozzette Makeup Brushes, just google them. They are SO Amazing, I have no words, and of course what is most important is that they are completely cruelty Free. They are rather professional brushes so yep, expect a very high quality. Also, I would like to add that Bdellioum Tools have a range of synthetic makeup brushes that are also very good and slightly cheaper than Cozzette. However. I swear by everything that once you will try Cozzette you will NEVER GO BACK. 🙂

  • ScarlieC says:

    What about Too Faced? Their Teddy Bear Hair brushes are also synthetic.

  • Love animals says:

    I found these makeup brushes at eBay for 12 dollars and they said goat hair and I was like I’m no buying them so I trying to find synthetic brushes … It’s sad that poor animals have to suffer just for their hair..

  • Sue says:

    Hey, does Mark Kay use animal fur in their brushes??

  • Toni says:

    Furless has a great range of cruelty free brushes and their prices are really good! I love my brushes. They also do makeup and other stuff:

  • Jessica says:

    Hi all, just thought I would add that Sigma has a great range of cruelty free “My Bunny” brushes. Also the best ones in my opinion would be Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman. She is a makeup artist – part of Pixiwoo on youtube and her and her sister strive hard to support cruelty free brands. So the brushes she created herself are all synthetic and great high quality tools.

  • Jennifer says:

    Most MAC brushes are made from goat hair. There are a couple in the line that are synthetic, but most are goat hair (to the best of my knowledge.)

  • sona says:

    wat about mac cosmetics’s make up brush ?

  • MDeLama says:

    I LOVE brushes. They have vegan makeup also and are cruelty free in all products. I am a LONG time customer!

  • TooTs says:

    The Sigma Mr. Bunny Brush Collection are vegan brushes

  • Aysel says:

    My fave choice of Cruelty Free Make Up Brushes is Pirouette Make up Brushes. They are professional and easy to use, but best of all – no animals were harmed in the process of making them:)

  • MysticoVerdi says:

    @Rachel Actually, according to the e.l.f. website FAQs page, all of e.l.f. brand cosmetics excluding the Essentials line makeup brushes ARE vegan. Their products DO NOT contain animal derived ingredients as they switched their original formulations, which included beeswax and lanolin with synthetic types. You can also contact an e.l.f. representative if you have any concerns like I did. If I am not mistaken, their Minerals and Studio line brushes are made from Taklon, a synthetic material which is super soft and extremely affordable. I advise the 30-piece e.l.f. Studio brush set to anyone who wants a high quality and affordable brush set for their cosmetic purposes. You can just do an online search for ‘e.l.f. cosmetics,’ or ‘eyes, lips, face cosmetics.’

  • DangerWife says:

    how are the brushes made? like the squirrel or pony hair ones? are we killing ponies for their hair?

  • vivap says:

    You forgot to mention OCC cosmetics. They are 100% vegan, and the synthetic brushes and pigments are amazing!

  • Isabella says:

    Too faced teddy bear hair brushes are synthetic 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    To the person who mentioned E.L.F., their mineral and most of their studio brushes are synthetic, but the basic line are not. Even with E.L.F. you still have to read the ingredients since they have a few makeup items that are not vegan too.

  • Chartreux5043 says:

    please stop making animal fur use for make up.. never use anything like that.. its cruel.. i always look for project that are not testing on animals.. PLEASE take action to not use poor squirrel or other animal s fur for brushes etc.. it must stop!

  • Veronica L. says:

    Pirouette Professional is a great new line of 100% vegan, luxury makeup brushes. They have free worldwide shipping too 🙂 The new site is, beautiful stuff!

  • CutestKitten says:

    E.L.F. ( is also cruelty free and pretty easy to find 🙂

  • Carol says:

    How can I tell if the brushes I’m currently using are animal or synthetic? Got my current ones as a gift with purchase from estee Lauder. Any help is greatly appreciated!

  • Hotashi says:

    Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman also has cruelty free brushes that are made with taklon. They have pretty high reviews and as an added bonus they are much more affordable than some of the other cruelty free brushes I’ve come across. I have the stippling brush ($10) and I reach for it more than my $45 synthetic foundation brush.

  • Denise says:

    What about hairbrushes? I am struggling to find an alternative to boar bristle hair brushes, which my daughter with her fine hair really needs. Can anyone recommend one?

  • Guadalupe aparicio says:

    Thanks this is great information

  • ehafh says:

    what about suggestions for synthetic artist paint brushes?

    acrylic, watercolor, and oils


  • Dreambeam says:

    Thanks for the great artice