Is Morphe Cruelty Free, Vegan, and Sustainable?

Morphe makeup products. Eyeshadow palette, setting powder, concealer, and brush.

Treehugger / Catherine Song / Morphe

Morphe has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a Los Angeles-based brush brand. With its trademark eyeshadow palettes practically exploding with color, the now-international makeup brand has evolved into a bonafide social media sensation, touted by just about every influencer and beauty tutorialist out there.

So, yes, Morphe's vibrant color cosmetics guarantee drama—the good kind—but at what cost? Morphe has no cruelty free certifications even though it claims not to test on animals. It uses animal hair in many of its signature brushes and controversial ingredients like mica and palm oil in just about every makeup product. Never mind that the brand has partnered with one of the world's biggest plastic polluters, Coca-Cola.

Learn more about what Morphe is doing for the environment—and what it's not doing—in this deep dive into the brand's sustainability and ethical standards.

Treehugger's Green Beauty Standards: Morphe

  • Cruelty Free: Claims to be cruelty free but has no certifications.
  • Vegan: The Morphe 2 collection is fully vegan.
  • Ethical: Uses questionable ingredients without disclosing their sources.
  • Sustainable: Morphe makeup is made largely of petrochemicals and packaged in plastic.

Morphe's Cruelty Free Status Is Unclear

Although being cruelty free is central to Morphe's brand philosophy, the company has never published its animal testing policy or been certified cruelty free by a reputable accreditation organization like Leaping Bunny or PETA.

Morphe says it "does not condone animal testing in any way" and has avoided selling in countries (like China) where animal testing is a requirement.

"We do not test any of our products on animals. We also do not test any of our ingredients on animals, nor do we allow our manufacturers to do so on our behalf," the brand's website says. "Instead, we choose to test drive our products on people (with their permission, of course)."

Treehugger reached out for clarification on Morphe's cruelty free status and didn't receive a response.

Morphe Is Not Vegan-Friendly

Morphe is not fully vegan and uses ingredients like beeswax (labeled as "cera alba"), honey, carmine (an insect-derived red coloring), and lanolin (oil from sheep's wool). Of the roughly 110 brushes it sells, about half are natural—i.e., made with animal hair.

The brand does have ample vegan options, though, including its best-selling Fluidity Foundation, Fluidity Concealer, and Mega Matte Lipsticks. Vegan products are labeled as such but are not incredibly easy to find on the website.

Morphe 2, an offshoot of the original brand that focuses more on natural beauty, is 100% vegan. It includes about 20 products from skin care to sheer face makeup, brushes, and lip and cheek color.

Controversial Ingredients

Morphe might have a robust range of vegan formulas, but that doesn't make them clean, per se. The mineral mica has a history of child labor and poor working conditions, and it tops the list of countless Morphe products' ingredients lists. The company does not publicly disclose where it comes from and is not a member of the Responsible Mica Initiative. Neither is its parent company, General Atlantic.

The same goes for palm oil, shea butter, and coconut—all of which are associated with child labor, poor labor conditions, and/or animal labor. Morphe did not respond when Treehugger reached out for clarification on its ingredient sourcing.

Charity Work

Morphe "believes in inclusivity, community, and creating safe spaces for people to express themselves," it says. The brand regularly partners with nonprofits through its Morphe Gives Back initiative and has so far donated almost $1 million to civil rights organizations.

Morphe Lacks Sustainability

Morphe doesn't claim to be a sustainable brand and can't reasonably be classed as one. In addition to its use of mica, palm oil, shea butter, and animal products, the brand also relies heavily on petrochemicals. Look for paraffin—an actual fossil fuel—and you will find it in dozens of Morphe products alongside unidentified fragrance and a laundry list of other unpronounceable chemical ingredients.

Paraffin is a direct petroleum byproduct that's extracted from oil wells, which notoriously wreak havoc on ecosystems around the world. Fossil fuels are not only omnipresent in Morphe cosmetics but also in the materials used to package them. Morphe seems to be making no effort to reduce its plastic use and even collaborated with the world's biggest plastic polluter, The Coca-Cola Company, on a makeup collection between 2020 and 2021.

Alternative Vegan Makeup Brushes to Try

Makeup brushes are the foundation of Morphe and what the brand is still known for today. However, its extensive range of beauty tools isn't exactly sustainable or, half the time, even vegan-friendly. Here are some animal hair-free brush brands to shop for instead.

Elate Cosmetics

Elate Cosmetics makes its brushes with a hypoallergenic synthetic fur alternative called Taklon, recyclable aluminum, water-treated bamboo handles, and an eco-resin to hold them together. Its most popular, the Bamboo Multi Use Brush, has only five-star reviews.


One of the best vegan brushes selected by Treehugger, EcoTools' face brush set is not only vegan and made of sustainable bamboo, it also aims to reduce waste by providing interchangeable brush heads with just two handles. Oh, and it comes in a totally plastic-free tin.

The Body Shop

This beloved natural skin care brand is a B Corp, and it's certified cruelty free by both Leaping Bunny and PETA. You know what you're getting is ethically made and sustainably sourced, including its range of bamboo brushes. (The double-ended eyeshadow brush is a universal favorite.)