Ilia Beauty is designed for the modern woman who wants to know what's going into her makeup and how it affects the environment around her. So, how transparent has the brand been about its cruelty-free and vegan policies?

Ilia is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. While Ilia does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Ilia was founded in 2011 by beauty entrepreneur Sasha Plavsic. She had a vision to create an all-rounded makeup brand that took skincare, healthy ingredients, and environmental responsibilities seriously – all while being practical and looking gorgeous. 

It sounds like a lot – right? But she hit the nail on the head! Today, Plavsic has partnered with her brother and created a budding empire. 

Before deciding on what to buy, here's what you need to know about Ilia's current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Is Ilia Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Ilia is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Not only is it cruelty-free certified, but it also aims to be pioneers in clean and sustainable beauty – making products that are good for your skin and the earth.

This brings us to the next point:

Ilia is Not Vegan

Although the brand is not entirely vegan, Ilia does have extensive vegan products to choose from.  

All its vegan products and ranges are marked on its website. You can see this information once you've selected the product of your choice. 

If a product is vegan, you'll find the information underneath its picture.

ILIA Beauty cruelty-free and vegan product stamp on website

At this stage, here is the only animal-derived ingredients that Ilia uses:

  • Beeswax This ingredient poses many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with essential vitamins.

Just because beeswax isn't vegan, doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?

If you're interested in which products are vegan or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Ilia vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

As a relatively new makeup brand entering the "clean beauty" sphere – it's safe to say that Ilia has ethical and transparent history when it comes to animal testing. 

Cruelty-Free Status in 2021

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

ILIA Cruelty-Free Certification-Website-Claim


Once again, Ilia really takes it home here. Not only is it certified as cruelty-free, but it has accreditation from Leaping Bunny – the only internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products it sells.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, are considered and evaluated.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations out there. So having certification from an association like Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty-Free, is ideal.

If you see a bunny stamp at the back of your product bottle – that's a really good sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself. A lot of brands are using fake logos to fool consumers. 

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is Ilia Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

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

While some of Ilia's products are made in China, please note that they are not required to be tested on animals. This law is purely for cosmetics entering the country. 

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most amount of animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes to be aware of. Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

What Ilia Products Are Vegan?

Ilia has a great range of vegan products that continues to expand. As of 2021, 16 out of its 28 products are vegan and available on the website.

This doesn't include Ilia's range of makeup brushes which are also all vegan.

To save you some time, here are some of Ilia's top-rated and best-selling vegan products to choose from:

  • Liquid Light Serum Highlighter
  • Soft Focus Finishing Powder
  • Super Serum Skin Tint SPF40
  • True Skin Serum Foundation
  • Liquid Powder Chromatic Eye Tint

For a full list of Ilia's vegan products, you can find them listed on their website. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a dedicated category for vegan products – but each item is clearly marked if it's vegan, so look out for that.  

Most of Ilia's non-vegan products are for lips or eyes. Otherwise, it's just their Illuminator, Multi-stick, and True Skin Radiant Priming Serum that are not vegan. 

Vegan Alternatives to Ilia 

Ilia is a top-quality cruelty-free brand with a vast range of vegan products. We love that no matter how much it continues to expand – its ethical values around holistically clean beauty don't waver.

It also uses limited animal-derived ingredients, which makes it very attractive (at least to us)! 

But, if you're looking for a 100% cruelty-free and vegan brand – it might not be your first choice.

Some great options to look at (which are also inspired by good skin and clean beauty) include:

  • Everyday Minerals,
  • Axiology (for gorgeous vegan lipsticks), 
  • PHB Ethical Beauty,
  • BITE Beauty, and 
  • Milk Makeup.

Is Ilia Natural and Organic? 

Ilia is not 100% natural or organic, but it does use organic ingredients wherever possible. The brand also prides itself in using clean ingredients that are beneficial for your skin's health. 

In fact, some of its products are filled with up to 85% organic ingredients that are bioactive (i.e., responsible for delivering specific benefits).

A few naturally-derived Ilia uses to enhance its cosmetics include: 

  • Hyaluronic Acid is a substance found naturally in our skin that helps maintain moisture, boost tissue regeneration and wound healing.

    As we get older, we produce less hyaluronic acid – making it an essential ingredient in our beauty products. 
  • Hydrolyzed Algae helps control oil and bacteria while conditioning skin. It's really great at providing hydration and added antioxidants. 
  • Plant-Based Squalane helps to balance skin and improve elasticity. It's a great ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's also packed with antioxidants and is non-comedogenic.

Ilia is also a fan of using mineral powders in its products because of how gentle they are on your skin.

Jane Iredale beauty started this trend in 1994, and now many other brands, like bareMinerals, have based their whole brand around it. 

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 certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients that are of immediate plant origin. 

Here's the thing – "natural" is not necessarily a good thing. Just because an ingredient is natural (take chili peppers, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin. 

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and Ilia is no exception – but it can 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. 

In an exclusive interview with Forbes, Sasha Plavsic revealed the following: 

ILIA Cosmetics Clean Beauty Quote by Sasha Plavsic

Overall, an actual clean beauty brand should not only consider the ingredients it uses; it needs to look at how sustainable and ethical it is too.

But we'll get to that in a little bit – let's talk about ingredients now. 

Does Ilia Use Safe Ingredients?

Yes, Ilia does use safe ingredients that are good for your skin's health. It avoids using any allergen where possible.

According to Skin Safe, it has an 82% - 91% allergen-free ranking for each product, but some score as high as 100%.

With that being said, you should always read your product labels as all ingredients are subject to change – especially if you live within the United States.

This is because the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe, on the other hand, has banned 1,328!

With makeup, here are some ingredients you really want to avoid:

  • Butylated compounds,
  • Benzophenone compounds, 
  • Carbon black,
  • Formaldehyde, and
  • Lead or other heavy metals.

Luckily, all of Ilia's products are made without these ingredients. 

Its products are also free from allergens such as gluten, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, mineral oil, talc, BHA/BHT, propylene glycol, PEG, cyclomethicones, and chemical screens. 

Ilia is not hypoallergenic or 100% non-comedogenic, and it does not claim to be. Certain products still do contain ingredients like irritants and dyes.

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you're worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics that are not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn't be just as safe, if not safer, than anything tested on an animal.

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 really is no need.

Here's more on the subject if you're interested: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Ilia Sustainable and Ethical? 

Ilia strives to be a pioneer in clean beauty. It has some strong sustainability and ethical initiatives as it ties in with the company values. 

This means that the brand:

  • Does not use any toxic ingredients or anything that could be an endocrine disruptor (this affects our skin a lot).
  • Is environmentally conscious – ensuring it is respectful of the natural resources it uses and ensuring its carbon footprint is minimal.
  • Supports its communities and charitable initiatives where possible.

Here are some of the ways Ilia achieves this:

  • Only using sustainable packaging made from recycled aluminum, glass and responsibly sourced paper. 
  • Donating 1% of its sales to environmental causes – with a current focus on deforestation. It plans to plant 1 million trees by 2023 in the Amazon forest. 
  • Not using any petrochemicals such as mineral oils and petrolatum at all.
  • Having highly biodegradable products (given it uses naturally-derived ingredients predominantly).
  • Working with Pact Collective to recycle cosmetics that are deemed hard-to-recycle. Anyone can mail Ilia up to five cosmetic containers per month (from ANY brand) so that it can recycle and break it down responsibly. 
  • Using Mica from certified suppliers to ensure no child labor or equally unethical practices take place before it reaches Ilia's factories. 
  • Having a brand campaign centered around looking at unites two people and effectively brings us all together. This campaign called Between Us promotes beautiful, REAL, and healthy women coming together. 

The only thing we can fault Ilia with at the moment is that it uses palm oil as an ingredient and does not clearly indicate whether or not it is sustainably sourced. 

Final Thoughts

Ilia is a well-developed makeup brand that strives to be clean, sustainable, and healthy for you. The Plavsic siblings want to be a pioneer in clean beauty, and their efforts are realizing.

It is a dedicated cruelty-free brand with internationally recognized certification to back them up from Leaping Bunny.  

Since Ilia is not 100% vegan – it might not be the best choice for activists who go the extra mile.

But we wouldn't dismiss the brand's efforts too quickly. It has an extensive range of vegan products and has great sustainability efforts. 

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies. However, we would like to see more information about where it sources its palm oil.

It's also not too costly, which makes it a great brand to try out. In the end, you can also send it back to their factory for recycling! 

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