IF YOU’RE NOT EATING A PLANT-BASED DIET in 2018, where have you been? Veganism is all over social media, and it’s one of the fastest-growing lifestyle movements of our time. For many, this comes as no surprise. Instagrammers and Pinteresters have been instrumental in propelling the momentum; from 101 kale recipes – thanks, Gwynnie – to super-supplement hauls and lovingly photographed scrambled tofu, there’s a whole array of inspo that has caught our imagination. Plus, advocates like Natalie Portman and Venus Williams are evangelical about the beneﬁts.
According to The Vegan Society, there has been a 350 per cent increase in veganism since 2006, and research by insight platform 1010data found that consumers are becoming far more conscious about their nutritional decisions. They’re mindful of the products they put both in and on their bodies, and of the wider environmental impact they have. Online searches for the words ‘plant-based’ have tripled, and as this hyper-awareness increases, brands are, understandably, taking note.
Never one to be late with a beauty trend, the Middle East is also embracing the movement. Vila Vasoodaven, Founder of Green Chic, a Dubai-based ethical-beauty store says, “We’re seeing more people becoming vegan and looking to make it part of every aspect of their lifestyle, from food to beauty.”
However, eschewing lattes and lamb shawarmas is just the beginning. Many beauty products contain extracts from animals, too, from the crushed cochineal insects that create the bright-red shade you’re wearing on your lips, to the boiled animal bones that are sometimes used to provide the fat found in foundation. Shirley Conlon, founder of Shirley Conlon Organics, Dubai, says, “Thankfully consumers are becoming more aware of cruelty-free and vegan skincare products. This is a very exciting time for the skincare industry.”
Vila agrees, adding, “There is a lot more information about vegan beauty around, and now it’s associated with not only being effective, but also being appealing. Even better, there’s increasing availability of vegan beauty products in the region.”
So whether you temporarily bought into ‘Veganuary’ last month, or you’re a card-carrying, full-time member of the club, we’ve tracked down the best in cruelty-free beauty – from the luxurious to the most results-driven – meaning you can look pretty without having to sacriﬁce your principles.
THE AYURVEDIC OPTION
Inspired by the principles of Indian Ayurveda, the Urban Veda range consists of 35-plus products to cleanse tone and hone every type of dosha.
THE HOT-WEATHER HERO
Shirley Conlon Organics products are all handmade in small batches and are sun-safe, therefore will help to combat any pigmentation issues you may have.
THE ONE BEST FOR BOYS
PHB is home to the world’s largest 100 per cent natural, vegan and halal-certiﬁed beauty selection, offering options for hair, face and nails. Plus, it has a great range dedicated to dudes.
THE TRUSTY TOOLS
Blank Canvas produces superior quality, good-for-the-planet brushes and accessories at affordable prices.
THE SUPERFOOD SOLUTION
Award-winning beauty brand Evolve handcrafts natural, organic products from superfood-based ingredients in small batches to ensure the highest level of freshness.
THE ONE-STOP SHOP
For anything to get past the doors of The Green Chic store, the products and brands undergo a screening process to ensure they are both natural and that they operate ethically. Find all its vegan products under one Dubai-based roof.
THE SENSITIVE SORT
Odylique avoids all synthetic chemical irritants and possible allergens like artifical fragrances so won’t irk even the most sensitive of skins.
THE NATURAL BEAUTY
Expect to find eminently Instagrammable cruelty-free palettes, lipsticks and skincare from ‘mostly vegan’ brand, MEMI.
THE TRUSTWORTHY TAN
Formulated with the cleanest ingredients, Irish brand Bellamianta creates luxury tanning products that also hydrate your skin.
THE FUN FIND
Founded by Elsie and Dominika, the two beauty bloggers behind Clean Beauty Co, BYBI's cool packaging and 100 per cent natural, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients have led to it becoming a cult brand for those in the know.
Photos: Jason Lloyd-Evans and supplied