Is Kosas Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Is It Worth the Hype?)

June 30, 2022

Kosas is about clean, clinically-tested makeup for the skincare-obsessed beauty junkies. They call themselves ‘next-level clean.’ But do they have a sparkling clean cruelty-free, and vegan reputation too? Here’s what you should know before you shop.

Kosas 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 Kosas does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Kosas combines nourishing skincare ingredients with cosmetics that work whether you want a natural finish or a more boundary-pushing look.

The brand is founded by a chemist and mom of two – Sheena Yaitanes. While she may have made her first makeup product at age 10 (cute glitter gel highlighter), it wasn’t until 2015 that she launched her brand with four earth-inspired lipsticks.

The brand aims to promote good skin health while using its products. No matter your skin type – Sheena wanted to develop products that suit your needs.

But as a chemist – what’s holding Sheena back from making her line completely vegan? Here’s everything you need to know about Kosas’ vegan policies, cruelty-free claims, and sustainability.

Is Kosas Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Kosas Cruelty-Free Makeup

Kosas 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.

Kosas has a solid cruelty-free message, and it shows. It is Leaping Bunny certified (the only internationally recognized cruelty-free, may we add).


The brand is privately owned, with funding from private firms not known to be associated with animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

Kosas is Not Vegan

Although the brand is not entirely vegan, Kosas has an extensive range of vegan products from which to choose. In fact, all but two of its current products are vegan.

But the fail-proof way to check is by selecting the product of your choice and scrolling down until you reach the “KOSAS CLEAN” heading.

You will find all the essential facts about that product there. Here’s an example to help you out:

Kosas Beauty Vegan Product Locator

The only two products that are not vegan (at this stage) include:

  • LipFuel Lip Balm
  • Weightless Lipstick

The only animal-derived ingredients that Kosas uses are:

  • Honey & beeswax these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn't vegan, it doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Lanolin – this ingredient, like honey and beeswax, is used in skincare and cosmetics because it is incredibly hydrating. It is basically the waxy oil that comes from sheep wool. Lanolin can be cruelty-free – follow this link for more details.

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

Kosas has been committed to creating clean, effective skincare-cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been its intention since it was founded.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Kosas Cruelty-Free Website Claim


Kosas is Leaping Bunny certified.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn’t hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It only requires 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.

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, is considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't be fooled by the image itself. A lot of brands are using fake logos to mislead 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 Kosas Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Kosas does not distribute its products to China or any country requiring animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most 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.

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

What Kosas Products Are Vegan?

Kosas only uses beeswax and lanolin oil in some of its products, making it 100% vegetarian with an extensive range of vegan products.

But finding out which products are vegan may require quite a bit of scrolling and checking.

So, to save you some time, here are some of Kosas most popular and award-winning products to choose from:

  • Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation SPF 25
  • Cloud Set Setting Powder
  • Revealer Concealer
  • Wet Lip Oil Gloss
  • Air Brow

Unfortunately, Kosas does not have a dedicated page for its vegan products.

However, rest assured that their only two non-vegan products are their LipFuel Lip Balm and Weightless Lipstick. Everything else (including their brushes) is entirely vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Kosas

Overall, Kosas is a good option for vegans as it provides excellent vegan alternatives to products notoriously filled with animal-derived ingredients.

They have a clean track record and noteworthy transparency with their consumers. So it is a brand you can trust. We wouldn’t shut down their efforts too quickly.

If you will not support a brand that isn't entirely vegan or if Kosas isn’t available in your area – there are some fantastic vegan makeup brand alternatives for you!

These include:

Is Kosas Natural and Organic? 

Kosas is not a natural or organic brand. However, it claims to use safe, simple, and clean ingredients.

 Its whole ethos is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use.

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 of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" is not necessarily good. Just because an ingredient is natural (take lemon juice, 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 Kosas 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.

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

  • Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance in our skin that helps maintain moisture, boost tissue regeneration and speed up wound healing.

    As we age, we produce less hyaluronic acid – making it an essential ingredient in our beauty products.
  • Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 with so many skin benefits. It helps strengthen your skin barrier and reduce inflammation, redness, pore size, fine lines, and even acne.
  • Plant-derived squalene is protective, anti-inflammatory, and has moisturizing properties. It acts as a strong barrier that is useful against air pollution in almost all environments.

Does Kosas Use Safe Ingredients?

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

All Kosas’ products are free of parabens, Propylene Glycol, Talc, petrolatum, dimethicone, phthalates, formaldehyde, aluminum, cyclic silicones, sulfates, BHA/BHT, phenoxyethanol, and undisclosed fragrances.

Still, reading the ingredient list is crucial because Kosas is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

As a conscientious shopper, you must read up on any brand's ingredient list before making a purchase – especially if you live in the United States.

This is because 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!

While Kosas prides itself in using clean ingredients – it’s always worth knowing which skincare and cosmetic ingredients you want to avoid. These include:

  • Butylated compounds
  • Benzophenone compounds
  • Triclosan
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead or other heavy metals.

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

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

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?

Is Kosas Sustainable and Ethical? 

Fun fact – did you know ‘Kosas’ comes from the Greek philosophy of the 5 interconnected layers of the self. These include the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual, and spiritual layers.

While some suggest it’s a bit much for a beauty brand – we think linking the products we use on our physical bodies with how we move through the world makes a lot of sense.

Kosas has a few sustainability initiatives that tie in with the company values. While it might not be a leading force in sustainable beauty – it’s definitely pulling its weight!

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem, and cosmetic brands only make it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

Some of the ways Kosas is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads and microplastics that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Developing sustainable packaging from bio-material tubes, FSC-certified or tree-free cartons, and PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastics.
  • Using Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified).
  • Having ethical and responsible MICA mining policies.
  • Partnering with manufacturers that have green initiatives.
  • Developing packaging that is almost entirely recyclable.

Final Thoughts

Kosas is a fun-loving cosmetics brand that appeals to anyone who wants to look after their skin by using well-developed products.

As a brand, it considers various ethical factors, like sustainability. The fact that they are cruelty-free is a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

Of course, since Kosas is not 100% vegan – it might not be the best choice for activists who go the extra mile. Especially since the brand also uses palm oil as an ingredient (although it is sustainably sourced).

But this young brand does listen to your needs, so if we speak up, they could innovate and create clean vegan replacements for their animal-derived ingredients.

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