Marc Jacobs Beauty: Are they Cruelty Free and Vegan? + Product and Ingredient Review.
I’m taking a deep-dive into the burning question: is Marc Jacobs Beauty vegan? Do they make any vegan products?
It turns out that this is kind’a difficult to answer. So grab some tea and snacks, cause this will be a lengthy investigation.
Marc Jacobs Beauty is a cruelty-free company that does not test on animals and does not sell products in China. This luxury cosmetics brand is a breath of fresh air in a sea of high-end, animal-exploiting companies. Their sleek, modern packaging that will have your inner minimalist squealing with delight. (I know I was!) However, there is one big question remaining: Is Marc Jacobs Beauty vegan?
Tracking down the vegan-status of products from Marc Jacobs Beauty is no easy task. Browsing the website, you will find no ingredient lists. (!) And my emails to customer service remain unanswered. (Psst: Holla’ at your girl!) The only way to track down an ingredient list is on the Marc Jacobs packaging itself. If you have a Sephora near you, you’re in luck. But if you are buying online, then you’re stuck.
With that in mind, I thought that it may be helpful to some of you to publish the ingredient lists here in this post. Along with my honest review, I’ll also be exploring/deciphering these ingredients.
Does Marc Jacobs Use “Natural” Ingredients?
In a nutshell, this is not a botanical-based or “green” brand. *Spoiler* if you’re a fan of Marc Jacobs already, you may not want to read ahead. Or perhaps you should, because some of the ingredients I found inside are … well… not so great. For example, I found formaldehyde in their nail polish! (*edward munch scream*😱) Don’t forget that what you apply to your nails does get absorbed into your nail beds and can be passed into your body.
Formaldehyde is a known toxic carcinogen to humans, as classified by WHO and various cancer researchers. The European Union has restrictions on formaldehyde use and is also banned from beauty product in Japan and Sweden. It’s the stuff that’s pumped into corpses for embalmment and to “plump and glossify” the skin for open-casket presentation. (“Glossify.” It’s a word now.) You may have encountered the thick, clear liquid in high school science class dissection. Yeah! The stuff that smells like chemical death that prevents the dead frogs from decaying.
I don’t know about you… But I would not apply ANY product containing formaldehyde to my body. So, I avoided the nail polish and sought out three products that seemed safer to test out.
Are Any Marc Jacobs Beauty Products Vegan?
Marc Jacobs Beauty is not a vegan company. They state in their FAQ section the following:
Marc Jacobs Beauty is cruelty-free, and never tests on animals. And, while the majority of the products are free of animal byproducts, Marc Jacobs Beauty is not considered a vegan line: there are a small number of product ingredients in the line that contain ingredients of animal origin, such as beeswax & carmine.
Of course, there are many potential makeup ingredients beyond beeswax and carmine that are animal origin or animal derivatives. So… how does a vegan consumer know which items are vegan and which are not? 🤔
I will do my best to determine if these three Marc Jacobs Beauty products are vegan—however, in the end, I can’t tell for sure.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, ”But how can you not be 100% sure?” Well! *throws both hands up in despair * Let me tell you that after A LOT of research, there is still a grey area for me. Some of these ingredients can be plant OR animal origin. And they don’t specify which it is. Marc Jacobs Beauty also doesn’t specifically mark individual products as vegan. Therefore, I feel it’s best to leave some room for healthy skepticism.
Ok, enough rambling. Let’s get to it!
Air Blush – Soft Glow Duo
Shade Lines & Last Night 502 (Creamsicle/Deep Tangerine)
The Air Blush compact is so beautiful, I don’t even want to disturb the perfect striped pattern. I breathed a sigh of relief after I ran my brush over the product and it still looked perfectly untouched. In fact, I’ve used this blush at least ten times and it still looks nearly brand new. There is very little “dust” kickup. So far, I am loving both the formula and the wear of this blush. It’s literally everything I’ve ever wanted in a blush—a sentence I never thought I’d write.
Because the Air Blush Soft Glow Duo has two shades that transition into each other, you can achieve different looks from this compact. I use the Deep Tangerine on the apples of my cheeks and then I sweep Creamsicle up towards my temples in a C shape. This creates a subtle “lifted” look to the face. Typically I would use a blush and hi-lighter to do this same technique. However, this looks way more natural. It’s like I just naturally have really nice cheeks. Which is another sentence I never thought I’d write… The blush has me getting all kinds of weird, sorry guys.
Lines Ingredients: Talc, Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Dimethiconol Stearate, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Diisostearyl Malate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyyethanol, Magnesium Myristate, Zinc Stearate, Tin Oxide, Hexylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140).Last Night Ingredients: Talc, Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Dimethiconol Stearate, Dimethicone, Magnesium Myristate, Trimethysiloxysilicate, Diisostearyl Malate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Zinc Stearate, Hexylene Glycol, Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850).
Wowza, that’s a lot of synthetic ingredients. Though there’s nothing in here super nasty, it does make me pause, as this is pretty divergent from most products I apply to my face. Talc and mica can be an irritant to those with super sensitive skin. I would categorize myself as having sensitive skin, but I don’t find this blush irritating.
Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate is a cosmetic ingredient made from stearic acid. This fatty acid can be found in both plant (i.e.: coconut, cocoa butter, or shea butter) and animal fat. Because Marc Jacobs Beauty is an American Company and owned by Kendo, they are not subject to Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union—regulations which require companies to meet various standards in ingredient origin, quality and labeling. I have no way of knowing whether the Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate used in Marc Jacob’s Air Blush is animal or plant origin derived.
Dimethiconol Stearate and Zinc Stearate are also made using stearic acid. So, the same questions apply here. Phenoxyethanol is a relatively common ingredient in North American beauty items, though it is also a known mild irritant.
Re(marc)able – Full Coverage Concealer
The Re(marble) full coverage concealer is very creamy! It almost has a thick pudding consistency. And you need only a slight bit to cover a larger area. I find the application works best with a flat brush to apply over blemishes and and a fluffy brush is ideal for blending. You could also use a beauty blender, though I think it may absorb a lot of the product.
I use this to brighten my under eyes and over blemishes. It provides 80% coverage over blemishes with one application, but is buildable. Re(marc)able concealer needs to be set with a powder to prevent it from sliding on oilier skins. In the winter I don’t need a setting powder, but in the summer when my skin is oilier I do need a touch of translucent setting powder.
The shade ‘Awake’ is a tiny bit lighter than my natural skin colour. But when I’m tanned, this shade is too light to go unnoticed.
I like that the texture is very natural and “skin-like.” If you can get a good colour match, it is untraceable! I frequently use this when I’m not wearing foundation and you cannot tell where the concealer ends and my natural skin begins. Nice!
Ingredient Break Down:
Ingredients: Triethylhexanoin, Diisostearyl Malate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Cera Microcristallina, Phytosteryl, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate, Caprylic, Sorbitan Olivate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Ceresin, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Carbonate, Ethlyhexylglycerin, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Coco Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (She) Butter, Glycon Soja (Soybean) Protein, 1,2 Hexanediol, Aqua, Citric Acid.
May Contain (+/-): Mica, Titanium Dioxide (C1 77891), Iron Oxides (C1 77492, C1 77491, C1 77499).
The first ingredient is Triethylhexanoin, which is a conditioning ingredient derived from glycerin and fatty acids. It is non-toxic and can be derived from plant or animal fats.
There are a bunch of other common beauty ingredients, some more harmful than others. Phenyl Trimethicone and Dimethicone are both silicone oils which provide a clean, smooth finish and are fine for occasional use. But silicones like this have a downside. That smooth, slippery rubberized barrier they create can dry out and dehydrate the skin underneath. Or worse: it potentially forms a sticky ceiling over pores that can trap stuff inside. This is the ideal environment for acne and blackheads to form.
There are also some healthy, natural ingredients too: Coconut oil, Shea Butter, and Soybean protein. Albeit, they appear at the very bottom of the list. Which means these are the least abundant of all the ingredients listed.
This concealer has a super smooth, dewy finish that provides fairly good concealment. Because the ingredient list is mainly comprised of silicones, I would use the Re(marc)able concealer sparingly. For myself, I do not use it every day.
I definitely appreciate the “my skin but better” look that you can achieve with this! And it’s nice to find a formula that blends seamlessly into bare skin for “no foundation” days.
Perfecting Powder – Translucent Setting Powder
Another beautifully designed compact that I’m squeamish to ruin! Hahaha. But seriously, can we just look at this product?
Not only does it boast a generously sized mirror (I can see my entire head, neck, and clavicles) BUT it also comes with a snap-closure fabric pouch and product applicator sponge. How thoughtful! Nothing makes me die a little inside like the first deep scratch on a pristine makeup product you tossed into your purse with your keys. This is perfect for protecting and applying the powder on-the-go.
This performs just as well as my other translucent setting powder by RMSbeauty. (I’ll let you guess which one contains less toxic ingredients.🤔) Speaking of ingredients—and I know this is the part you are super excited about!—Let’s take a look at what really makes up this formula.
Ingredients: Synthetic Fluorphlogpite, Silica, Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimenthicone, Squalane, Glycerin, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Mica, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Ethylene Brassylate, Isoceteth-10, 1,2-Hexanediol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Xanthan Gum, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).
The first thing that catches my eye here is Squalane. Squalane, not to be confused with Squalene, can be animal (i.e.: shark) or plant (i.e.: olive) derived. I cannot find anything on the Marc Jacobs website about which version they use. And my email to a brand rep went unanswered. I think this is the most concerning ingredient in the list because I do not want to support a company that inadvertently funds the killing of sea creatures. On the other hand, the olive-origin version of Squalane is far more common nowadays because it functions nearly identically to the animal-origin version.
The first two ingredients are powdery minerals that provide the matte-effect. Our friend Dimethicone makes several appearances here, probably to help bond those powders together. Mica can be a skin irritant and you want to avoid breathing it into your lungs. Mica is a mineral, so it’s used by many natural beauty products to create subtle iridescence. However, its sharp edges and can be problematic for sensitive or mature skin.
Some final thoughts I’ll point out: EWG raises concern for potential harmful contamination in Isoceteth-10. And, interestingly, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) is actually an algae that grows on the rocky coasts of the Atlantic. Who knew!
So… I guess this is a good spot to wrap up this post—as it’s become HELL’A long. Sorry guys!
So, Are these Marc Jacobs Beauty Products Vegan??
It’s really difficult for me to rule one way or the other! I’m going to say I’m 92.5% sure these three Marc Jacobs Beauty products are vegan.
The presence of various ingredients that can be plant or animal derived leaves a grey area. However, it’s becoming less and less common for those “grey area” ingredients to be actually sourced from animals. I’ve reached out to Marc Jacobs Beauty for clarification on these ingredients, but I never received a reply.
Final Thoughts on Marc Jacobs Beauty
It is absolutely phenomenal that there is a luxury makeup line that has drawn a clear line in the sand against animal testing. And I don’t think that fact should be overlooked. I definitely applaud Marc Jacobs Beauty for refusing animal testing both here and abroad.
I’m on the fence about this brand. If you are looking for high-end (and beautifully designed) cruelty-free makeup, Marc Jacobs Beauty is a great option! I find the products do what they claim to, perform very well and just overall look amazing. But the ingredients could be improved upon. I can’t quite get over the fact that there is formaldehyde in their nail polishes—that’s crazy! Sure, some of those toxins provide a long-wearing formula… but at what cost?
I really wish I could provide you with a clear “vegan” or “not vegan” label on these makeup beauties. But after doing all this research, I feel like I have more questions than answers. Because of this, I would say purchase these products with caution. There’s no definite way to determine if they are 100% vegan.
If a Marc Jacobs Beauty rep does provide clarification on these “grey area” ingredients, I will update this post.