Skip to content

🛍️ See What's in the KND Serenity Edition

Smiling woman wearing Red Apple Lipstick against a red background.

Is Red Apple Lipstick Vegan?

It seems like every day, your favorite influencers are touting another makeup product that is apparently even better than the last. How can you be sure their claims are true? 

Red Apple Lipstick has long been an influencer favorite, and we wanted to know if the claims about its long-lasting, super-comfortable, vegan formula were valid. We’ll share everything we found about this brand (and a few others) and discuss why it’s so important that your lipstick is vegan. 

Why is it important to buy vegan lipstick?

If you live a vegan lifestyle, you already know the importance of buying beauty products that don’t contain animal parts or byproducts. If you’re new to the animal-free game, here are three reasons why vegan lipstick is a must-have.

1. Better for you

Not all vegan lipsticks will be non-toxic, but we’d estimate 99.9 percent of them are. Traditional lipsticks contain chemicals that are anything but good for you. What’s worse, anything you place on your lips is naturally ingested while you talk and eat (and pretty much exist), making it easier for those toxins to enter your body.

2. Better for animals

Anytime animals are involved with products designed for humans, there is inherent animal harm, even if there isn’t necessarily animal testing. You might think it’s not as bad if the ingredient is “just” an animal byproduct, but those animals are raised specifically for harvesting the byproduct and are usually kept in deplorable living conditions—there’s nothing just about it. 

3. Better for the environment

The cost of animal involvement in human products is high, and it’s especially taxing on the environment. Raising animals for consumption is expensive, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and it destroys millions of acres of land each year.  

Thankfully, many vegan lipstick brands choose to be environmentally conscious by using recycled, biodegradable, or reusable packaging. 

Shop our curated collection of vegan, cruelty-free makeup.

Which ingredients should I avoid, especially in red lipstick?

It’s hard to believe that a lipstick ingredient could originate from an animal. It’s true that most of the time, the ingredients list won’t be as straightforward as you’d expect (i.e., it definitely won’t just say “milk”), which is often how non-vegan brands get away with it. 

Here are the most popular animal-derived ingredients you’ll find, especially in red shades, of non-vegan lipstick.

Cochineal extract or carmine

You’d never knowingly smear bug guts onto your lips, but if you’re using non-vegan red lipstick, that’s just what you could be doing. 

Cochineal extract, also known as “carmine,” is an ingredient made from the crushed-up shells of the cochineal beetle. These beetles are grown and crushed to create dyes for red-colored cosmetics. It takes approximately 70,000 crushed beetles to produce one pound of dye.

How to find the best lip color for your skin tone, by Kinder Beauty.


Obviously, beeswax is produced by bees, many don’t see the harm in harvesting a little beeswax to get a smooth, creamy-textured lip product. After all, beeswax is natural

The problem with beeswax is how the bees that produce it are forced to live in colonies much too small to support a happy, healthy life. Sometimes, their wings are clipped, and the queen is artificially inseminated repeatedly to produce more bees. 


You’ve probably noticed lanolin on the ingredients list of some of your body lotions and creams. Lanolin is a greasy emollient taken from sheep’s wool. Some companies may argue that lanolin is taken “humanely” from the sheep after they’re shorn, but the conditions the sheep are forced to live in in the first place can be less than desirable. 


Gelatin is made from the boiled tendons and ligaments of animals like cows and pigs. It is often added to lipstick to make it creamy and help it spread more easily, and if you’re wondering, yes, this is the same type of gelatin found in those jiggly snacks from your childhood. You’re probably rethinking that Jell-O cup right about now, huh? 


Squalene is a natural oil found in the livers of sharks. Squalene has an impressive list of skin benefits, including anti-aging properties, adding hydration, and its ability to help products more easily. These factors make it a prime candidate for inclusion in lipstick, but sharks belong in the ocean, not jammed into a tiny tube of lipstick.

(It’s worth noting that squalene does have a cousin, squalane, which can be derived from olives and rice bran—a big difference from shark livers.) 

Are all vegan red lipsticks cruelty-free?

No, they aren’t. Just because a product is vegan doesn’t mean it is cruelty-free. 

Inversely, just because a product is cruelty-free doesn’t mean it is vegan, either. 

A lot of the confusion has to do with the fact that “cruelty-free” isn’t a regulated classification. Additionally, some of the ingredients in your lipstick can’t be labeled vegan because they’re made from inorganic material like minerals. 

This means you could have a company that claims their red lipstick is cruelty-free but still includes animal byproducts in their product. Their definition of cruelty-free may be vastly different from industry standards. 

A first step would be to check for a Leaping Bunny certification. The logo looks like—you guessed it—a leaping bunny, and it signals that a product is cruelty-free. Their requirements are even stricter than PETA’s.

The safest way to know for certain your red lipstick doesn’t contain animal parts is to shop with brands you trust. Study them, read about them on The Kinder Beauty Blog, and support the ones that meet your standards. 

Do vegan red lipsticks exist?

The popular demand for vegan beauty products is at an all-time high, so there are plenty of vegan red lipsticks options available that are reputable, responsible, and, of course, vegan and cruelty-free. The next time you need the automatic burst of confidence that comes with a red lippie, turn to these options. 

Red Apple Lipstick

Red Apple Lipstick is one of the few brands to offer numerous shades of red lipstick that are richly pigmented, long-lasting, and completely vegan. 

Not only are Red Apple’s lipstick free from animal involvement, but they’re also: 

  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • GMO-free
  • Toxin-free
  • Petroleum and mineral oil-free
  • Lead and talc-free
  • Fragrance-free

With over 40 shades to choose from, we’re confident you’ll love this brand as much as we do. 

Eight vegan stay-proof lipsticks you should have, by Kinder Beauty

Vegan lipstick brands to try

Kinder Beauty is always on the lookout for the best vegan, cruelty-free brands. Here are some of our absolute favorite shades in brands that never put animals in harm's way.

  • Clove and Hallow Lip Crème in Damsel. This is a classic blue-toned red that is certified by PETA. Blue tones can help brighten your smile for that perfect selfie. 
  • Au Naturale Eternity Lipstick. These lipsticks are gluten-free and completely long-wearing. Coverage is buildable, which allows you to easily use this lipstick for sheer color or more coverage. 
  • Evio Beauty Lip-Spo Gloss in Brooke. Non-drying and completely comfortable, this vegan, cruelty-free lip gloss is formulated with shea butter and elderberry to keep your lips superbly hydrated.

If you’re not receiving the Kinder Beauty Box, learn how to get easily started and get your box of vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics delivered to your door each month.  

Feel extra fabulous rocking a red lip when you choose vegan products

Red lipstick is timeless and classic, but the dyes and ingredients can be harmful to your body, the environment, and animals. The good news is, you don’t have to settle. Cruelty-free, vegan red lipsticks outperform their non-vegan counterparts consistently. 

You might have a guilty conscience wearing the sexiest red lipstick imaginable, but if you choose a vegan formula, it won’t be because of the ingredients. 

Sign up for Kinder Beauty today!


Multiple health and environmental impacts of foods | 

Does Your Red Lipstick Contain Carmine (Dead Bugs)? | PETA 

What's wrong with beeswax? | PETA

Each month you'll get

Up to $165 worth of vegan, cruelty-free, & clean beauty
5 products from top ethical and clean beauty brands
A mix of both full-sized and travel-sized items
Skincare, makeup, haircare, body care, and more
Kinder Beauty subscription boxes with vegan, cruelty-free, and clean beauty products