ColourPop claims to be redefining luxury beauty with its cruelty-free and affordable ranges. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it might be.

ColourPop is cruelty-free but not 100% vegan, meaning some products contain animal-derived ingredients. They do not conduct animal testing on their products or distribute cosmetics where animal testing is required by law.

ColourPop is a cruelty-free brand that follows trends and has become one of the most talked about makeup labels.

It’s releasing products at a super high rate and has accumulated over one thousand items to date.

Impressive, right?

Yes and no.

This hyper-consumerist approach to beauty means murky ingredient sourcing and other ethical issues that led to recent lawsuits

Colourpop beauty range

ColourPop's Ethical Overview

Cruelty-free: Yes

Vegan: No (has vegan products)

Clean ingredients: Yes

Sustainable & Ethical: Minimal public information

Mica Mining Policy: Undetermined

RSPO Palm Oil Certified: Undetermined

ColourPop Is Cruelty-Free

Test any of its products or ingredients on animals


Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain


Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.


ColourPop is a proudly cruelty-free brand that doesn’t allow any animal testing – no exceptions. It’s also owned by the cruelty-free parent company Seed Beauty.

ColourPop has been against animal testing since launching in 2014.

ColourPop Vegan Product Finder

What is ColourPop's Cruelty-Free Status in 2022?

Here is a screenshot of ColourPop’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

ColourPop Cruelty-Free and Vegan website claim

ColourPop is Peta Certified

ColourPop is PETA certified, but we’d like to see more from them.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It seems only to require a brand's written consent that abides by the PETA code of conduct.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

Is ColourPop Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

ColourPop does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China conducts the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used annually.

If you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies – please know that there are a couple of loopholes.

Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

ColourPop is Not Vegan

ColourPop is not entirely vegan, as some of its products do contain animal-derived ingredients.

Luckily, the brand has made it easy to find the ones that are vegan.

Just look for the little "vegan" symbol underneath each product after you've landed on its page. 

The only animal-derived ingredient that ColourPop uses is Carmine.

This ingredient is a red pigment made from the crushed female cochineal insect. A little gross, no? But it is completely harmless and is used in makeup to get those rouge tones.

What ColourPop Products Are Vegan?

ColourPop Best Selling Vegan Products

ColourPop has a variety of vegan products to choose from. If you want to try something new –  here are some of its most popular options:

  • super shock shadow (ladybird, frog, ritz, moonwalk, and dgaf are award-winning vegan shades)
  • wild nothing shadow palette crème gel liner (all shades except amethyst hour)
  • bff liquid liner (all shades except ducky and try me)
  • pressed powder blush (all shades)

While ColourPop does have a page for its best-selling vegan products, unfortunately, it doesn’t include all its products on offer.

Luckily, a simple scroll through ColouPop’s website will show you whether a product is vegan once you've selected it.

Vegan Alternatives to ColourPop


price range

100% vegan


$10 - $30


Leaping Bunny

$20 - $50


Leaping Bunny

$5 - $20



$15 - $70


Leaping Bunny

$5 - $20



ColourPop Is Neither Natural nor Organic? 

While they do use some natural ingredients – the majority are clean synthetics. But this doesn’t make the brand unsafe.

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" as ingredients of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" is not always good. One of the most common allergies we see today is from peanuts!   

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. ColourPop is no exception – but it does choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it means it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

ColourPop Has a 91-100% Allergen-free Ranking

According to Skin Safe, ColourPop has a 91 – 100% allergen-free ranking for each product.

ColourPop avoids gluten, coconut, top common allergy-causing preservatives, parabens, soy, propylene glycol, irritant/acid, and SLS.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because ColourPop does not claim to have any hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic products.

Be sure to check labels and buy what your skin needs.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

We don’t want to scare you, but you HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States. The reason why will shock you.

The FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

ColourPop sets an excellent example of what true clean beauty is meant to be, and you shouldn’t have to worry about any hidden severe nasties in its products.

But it’s still worth knowing that with makeup, you want to avoid these ingredients:

  • Benzophenone, oxybenzone, and other related compounds
  • Butylated compounds (BHA, BHT)
  • Carbon black
  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, aka teflon®)
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Coal tar and benzene
  • Untreated mineral oils
  • Homosalate
  • Lead and other heavy metals
  • PPG, PEG, and polysorbate
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn’t be as safe as anything tested on animals.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there is no need.

If you’re interested, here’s more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

ColourPop's Pigment Lawsuit

ColourPop is being sued for their “inherently dangerous” use of pigments in their eyeshadows and eyeliners that are not considered eye safe according to the FDA.

This isn’t the first time a lawsuit like this has happened in the beauty world – but don’t toss your products out just yet.

Many of these pigments have been approved for use around the eye in the European Union.

And as we mentioned before - The EU and UK have stricter ingredient regulations – definitely something to consider.

Of course, some people are more sensitive, and allergic reactions can always occur – even with regulation-approved ingredients.

This lawsuit differs, however, due to a lot of wording issues.

Unlike other brands with similar lawsuits, ColourPop has been good at clearly stating whether a product is not intended for use around the immediate eye area. They don’t, however, specifically instruct the user to not use it around the eye.

You can see why people have an issue with “pressed powder pigments” and eyeliners that shouldn’t go around the eye (according to the FDA).

The good news is that there isn’t any real danger to the average user unless you are sensitive to a specific ingredient. Many people are sensitive to FDA-approved ingredients, and they won’t get banned anytime soon.

The bad news is that there really should be an update in-laws and in the FDA’s regulations – it’s been a while!

ColourPop Could Be More Sustainable

ColourPop has let us down regarding its sustainability, ethical and social initiatives.

It isn’t transparent about where it sources its ingredients from, and it encourages hyper-consumerism with its high production rates.

ColourPop is the ‘fast fashion’ equivalent of the beauty world. To give you an idea, ColourPop reportedly makes 1000 liquid lipsticks an hour. And that’s just a fraction of the thousands of different products they offer.

Some of the most questionable brand red flags include:

  • Using nonrecyclable virgin plastics.
  • Adding questionable ingredients, such as glitter made from polyethylene (a significant contributor to microplastic pollution).
  • Being suspiciously quiet when it comes to whether their mica is sourced using child labor.

Final Thoughts

ColourPop has been on top of the trend game since 2014, and with 100% cruelty-free products that are more than affordable, it’s easy to see why they have become so popular.

The fact that they are a cruelty-free brand that has gained such a huge following really proves that companies can be against animal testing and still create affordable, high-quality products, and people will support them.

But this does not make ColourPop the best cosmetics brand to support. The brand focuses a lot of its energy on being affordable – and they’ve taken shortcuts in the process!

ColourPop needs to be more transparent about its supply chains, environmental policies, and social support.

It would also be ideal to gain Leaping Bunny certification.

We hope to see a change in these issues, but it is unlikely right now. As consumers, it is up to us to stand for what we will and won't accept from our cosmetics.

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