Is Morphe Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (Or Is It Just a Cover?)

Morphe might be the “cheap and chic” brand of the cosmetics world that exudes youth and vibrancy. But for such a modern brand – we can’t believe how far behind it is with its cruelty-free and vegan policies. 

Is Morphe Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Morphe claims to be cruelty-free. While it states that it doesn't conduct animal testing on its products – it may purchase ingredients tested on animals and distribute its products where animal testing is required by law. While Morphe does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

Morphe was launched in 2008 by LA-based sibling duo Chris and Linda Tawil. They started with a professional yet affordable makeup brushes but quickly realized their true calling: color.

Morphe is world-famous (and insta-famous) for its exuberant eyeshadow palettes, specifically the iconic 35 pan eye shadow palette that competitors have replicated a million times.

The brand has collaborated with countless influencers, makeup artists, and YouTubers to gain momentum with younger audiences. 

So why are they so shady about their cruelty-free and vegan policies? We did the research, and you won’t be impressed with what we found.

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Is Morphe Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Morphe Eyeshadow Palette

Morphe Claims to be Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Ask any manufacturers to test ingredients on animals within its supply chain; or

But, it’s unclear if it:

  • Purchases any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain.
  • Distributes its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Morphe claims that it is cruelty-free, but when you look at the fine print, it’s a lot less convincing.

Most brands themselves don’t test on animals – it’s usually done at an ingredient supplier and manufacturer level.

While Morphe says it doesn’t “condone” animal testing at these stages – that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

A good example of a product being labeled cruelty-free incorrectly is when it contains untraceable synthetic pigments and colors. These are almost always tested on animals before being sold to a cosmetics company.

Without tracking their supply chain – how do we know if the products are truly cruelty-free?

Morphe might also distribute its products to China, where animal testing is required by law. If this is true, then the brand is definitely not cruelty-free. See what happened when we contacted Morphe about the issue further down.  

To top it off, the brand has no accreditation from any internationally recognized organization that guarantees the brand is cruelty-free. 

Luckily, Morphe has financial backing from a private equity firm that is not associated with animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

Morphe is Not Vegan

Although it is not entirely vegan, Morphe has many vegan products from which to choose.

BUT with a questionable cruelty-free policy – you need to decide whether these products are actually vegan or simply free of animal-derived ingredients.

While Morphe does not have a vegan indicator on product listings, it does have a whole page dedicated to its vegan products.

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that it 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?
  • Carmine – this ingredient is the 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.

    To find out why carmine is so cruel and the shocking amount of products that use it, you need to read this: Is Carmine Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
  • Squalane ­­is a cosmetic ingredient predominantly harvested from sharks' livers but can also be derived from plant sourced.

    Squalane is a great ingredient because it mimics your skin's natural oils. It's anti-inflammatory, packed with antioxidants, and non-comedogenic.

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

Animal Testing Policy and History

Morphe doesn’t share its historical animal-testing policy – which is quite disappointing given it only launched in 2008.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

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

Morphe Cruelty-Free and Vegan website claim

Certification

Morphe has no cruelty-free certification.

And when a multi-million dollar brand that could easily be certified and claims to make “cruelty-free products” without any backing – we have to ask ourselves why?

In an ideal world, all brands that consider themselves cruelty-free should be Leaping Bunny certified.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. Leaping Bunny certification is ideal because it proves that:
  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • 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.

Unfortunately, you won’t find any bunny stamps on the back of these product bottles. But if you find a cruelty-free brand with one, it’s a good sign – just don't let the image fool you.

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 Morphe Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

We don’t know.

There is a lot of conflicting information online. Morphe itself doesn’t address the issue in its FAQs section. Some blogs say they do, and others report that they don’t.

We emailed to ask them to confirm and received no reply after 21 business days. At Cruelty Free Soul, if it’s not a ‘no,’ then it’s probably a ‘yes.’

We know that if a brand like Morphe distributes its products in China, animal testing on cosmetics is required as products arrive at the border.

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

Please note that while Morphe products are manufactured in China, they are not tested on animals at all at this stage. This is a law that purely applies to international special-use cosmetics entering the country.

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 Morphe Products Are Vegan?

The Morphe 2 range and some of their collaboration ranges are reportedly vegan. But with their cruelty-free status in question, we can’t consider any Morphe product holistically vegan.

To save you some time, here are some of Morphe's most popular and award-winning products that are free of animal-derived ingredients to choose from:

  • Morphe Highlight and Contour Beauty Sponge
  • Bad Habit Good As New AHA/BHA Creamy Cleanser
  • SUVA Beauty Hydra FX Pack in Jolly Cake
  • Beauty Bakerie Sugar Stick Lip Liner in Toasted Marshmellow
  • Beauty Bakerie Neapolitan Bar Mini Face Palette

For a full list of Morphe vegan products, you can visit their website.

Vegan Alternatives to Morphe

If you are vegan or are a strong advocate of cruelty-free cosmetics – Morphe is not the right brand for you.

Luckily, there are many certified cruelty-free and vegan alternatives from which to use that you will love. 

Better yet? Just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean they need to break your bank.

Here are some cosmetic brands within the same price range or cheaper that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Is Morphe Natural and Organic? 

Morphe is not natural or organic, but it does claim to use safe and effective ingredients.

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 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. Morphe 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.

Does Morphe Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Morphe has a 91- 100% allergen-free ranking across 46 listed products.

Many Morphe products are free of allergens such as common preservatives, topical antibiotics, parabens, lanolin, nickel, MCI/MI, gluten, soy, oil, and dyes.

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

However, certain products are specifically for these concerns, so make sure you buy what your skin needs.

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 Morphe has a pretty good track record of using safe ingredients, it’s worth noting that you should avoid the following ingredients in any cosmetic products you buy:  

  • Butylated compounds,
  • Benzophenone compounds, 
  • Carbon black,
  • Triclosan,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Formaldehyde, and
  • 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 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 is no need.

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

Is Morphe Sustainable and Ethical? 

While Morphe can consider itself ethical in certain aspects, it is definitely not a sustainable brand – here’s why.  

From an ethical standpoint, Morphe has donated to many NGOs and charities to aid various causes like education, LGBTQi+ Youth, and Black Lives Matter.

These initiatives are great, but unfortunately, they start and end there.

  • Morphe is not transparent with its customers 

    Whether it's information about it supply chain, or if its products are sold in places where animal testing is required by law
  • Morphe lacks information on serious ethical issues

    It doesn’t mention anything about using ethical sources of Mica or palm oil (both linked to critical environmental and humanitarian concerns).
  • Morphe lost the trust of its vegan customers

    It previously claimed certain products were vegan, only for shoppers to discover that they weren’t.

    In response, they developed a vegan range called Morphe 2. But they’ve already lost a lot of customer trust.
  • Morphe has been in the middle of heated feuds

    The brand collaborated with several influencers embroiled in online feuds and accused of misconduct.

    And when Morphe declined to respond or make statements about these matters, followers spoke up about their disappointment in the brand.
  • Lastly, Morphe says absolutely nothing about its sustainability policies.

    Nada.
    Not. A. Word.

    It does not mention anything about environmental work, packaging or petro-chemicals used, polluting landfills or waterways, recycling, or even verifying what the pallets are made of. Spoiler alert! It’s plastic.

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 Morphe could take strong environmental accountability is by:

  • formulas that are kinder to the environment. Working on sustainable packaging developments.
  • Ensuring that the plastic containers they use are recyclable.
  • Encouraging consumers to recycle their products.
  • Reducing their use of virgin plastic in their product and shipping packaging.
  • Avoiding extra packaging and only using sustainable or recycled materials (paper) when needed.
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Using ethically mined MICA sourced without the use of child labor.
  • Using Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified).
  • Having green initiatives like net-zero greenhouse gas emission policy, carbon-neutral shipping, or renewable energy use in manufacturing.

It’s deeply disappointing to see how little Morphe does for the people and planet – especially given it’s such a big brand with the means to be better.

Final Thoughts

At Cruelty Free Soul, we like to share the facts with you. And although it’s not a competition between brands – Morphe would get a D if we were grading it.

This cosmetics brand makes millions of dollars but takes hardly any ethical factors into consideration.

The fact that they claim to be cruelty-free without any accreditation is worrying. Especially if consumers take that claim at face value and don’t know to research further.

Lack of transparency in their supply chain and being vague to the public about their testing, purchasing, and distribution policies isn’t good enough for us.

Considering their popularity, it’s a massive setback towards building a sustainable beauty industry.

Morphe is not 100% vegan, and with a shoddy track record, it’s difficult to trust them. It’s not a good choice for activists. Even for beauty addicts who aren’t activists, we’d recommend avoiding Morphe.

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