Guide to Vegan Paint  – Ethical & Cruelty Free Wall Paint Advice

Surely paints are Vegan already!?

**UPDATED Dec 2023

Nope! A standard off the shelf paint may well have been tested on animals, especially when imported from the far East such as China where products sold there [As far as we are aware] are required to be tested on animals – ridiculous. Conventional house paint often uses ox gall and animal derivatives in the manufacturing process, for instance most people don’t know that your average pint of beer, or glass of wine is strained through ground fish bones, or strained through a mix of animal proteins to get rid of the impurities and make it as clear as possible, had you ever wondered how they got it so clear?! Read more here

How do we know what we’re talking about? – We’ve been advising and recommending natural paints since 2012, and you might have heard of us in the press while back when the press reported that Meghan Markle bought paints from us to paint her nursery at Frogmore cottage… :) I’m also Vegan, so have spend a great deal of time thinking about it!

What do I recommend? Here is our hand picked range of recommended Natural Vegan Paints

Summary of vegan brands:

Is Graphenstone paint Vegan? 100% YES! Graphenstone assure that their entire range is both vegan and cruelty free.

Is Auro paint Vegan? LIMITED RANGE – Auro paint have some paints that are vegan, but also have lots of paints that contain casein.

Is Earthborn paint Vegan? LIMITED RANGE- Earthborn paint have some paints that are vegan, but also have lots of paints that don’t specify if they actually are Vegan.

Is Farrow and Ball Paint Vegan? NO. Unless anything has changed recently, Farrow and ball paint is not vegan.

Is Dulux Paint Vegan? 2021-22 NO. As far as I am aware they have nothing that is even close to being Vegan or chemical free either!
**UPDATE Dec 2023: YES! It seems that now they are. However – they are still full of chemicals
“All of our paints are vegan and across every formulation”

What makes a paint not Vegan?

Ingredients that make paint not vegan include animal derivatives such as from the female lac, (shellac) beetle or Ox gal. Paint (and pigments) can include animal bone, or bone derivatives, or has been tested on animals in some way. Some paints contain casein (Casein is a protein from mammalian milk) which is used as a binder to stick the pigment to the base paint.

How do I know if paint is Vegan?

This is not as straight forward as it should be, Vegan paints don’t yet adhere to the ‘standard’ of having a vegan logo / mark on them, so you need to do you research and contact the manufacture to find out. We have a list of the Vegan paint brands we know of below that might be of interest to save time!

So what are Vegan paints made of?

Vegan paints are made from plant based materials and natural minerals. Some vegan paints such as Graphenstone Ecosphere are predominately natural lime based, so have no need for animal ingredients, nor have been tested on animals. Other natural paints are predominately natural mineral based, or contain natural oils and have natural resin based binders.

Just because a paint is Vegan, does that mean it is safe?

That is a very good question. Just because it is Vegan does not mean it is chemical free, nor VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) free. It is important you check the fine print and if you are in any doubt to contact the manufacturer. It’s along the same lines as just because a paint is labelled ‘eco’, does that make it eco friendly. There is so much ‘greenwash’ around right now (labelling things as green when they are FAR from it) you really do need to be careful.

Which Brands of Vegan paint are the best?

There are three main brands of Vegan natural paint sold in the UK at the moment.

Graphenstone Paints – (I use the Graphenstone on my own walls, as I they have the best eco credentials). They are the only paint brand I know that are certified Cradle to Cradle – which is the cream of the crop in regard to creds. Cradle to Cradle is source to end product checks, that include the way they work, the facilities, factories and warehouse – it really does encompass everything. Graphenstone also say that their entire product range is Vegan. [View Graphenstone]

Auro Paints – A German brand, who do sell into the UK, I have used Auro paint and products before, they have had some great paints over the years, and they do have have Vegan paints within their range however I have not seen any new products recently so I’m not sure how focused they are on the UK at the moment. They are also not Cradle to Cradle certified. Be aware that it is only a few paint that Auro sell that are vegan, as many of their paints contain Casein.

Earthborn Paints – Another popular choice in the UK, and no doubt they are very good at nailing their audience and compassion of their products. I need to do a bit more digging into the eco creds, though although look fine from what I can see they are not Cradle to Cradle certified, which is certainly the standard I look for. They do have a range of Vegan paints, but I don’t think their entire range are Vegan friendly paints. Please check before you buy!

Which brands sell Vegan paint?

The three brands mentioned above, Graphenstone, Auro and Earthborne sell Vegan paints for walls and interiors, but I’m sure (I hope) there are others, if you know of any, please get in contact and I will add them to the list!

Are Vegan paints good?

Just because some paints are vegan doesn’t change whether they are tough, easy to use or beautiful to look at. The Vegan paints that we have used (The Graphenstone range I used on my landing walls last week) look amazing, and the same or better than other paints I have used in the past, vegan or not vegan!

Does Vegan paint need a primer?

It depends on which brand of vegan paint you’re talking about, and it also depends on the surface. I know that for the this vegan wood paint is suitable for interior and exterior wood only when using their primer, but when used directly on the walls no primer is needed. So I think it’s fair to say this is ever changing and always check the application instructions of the paint your choose.

Which is the best Vegan interior wall paint?

Ideally you want a vegan interior paint that is tough, washable, VOC free and long lasting that comes in a large range of colours – personally, I use this range of vegan friendly natural paints for interior walls.

Which is the best Vegan exterior wall paint?

I would say that I like to use this vegan exterior wall paint for most situations, but if you are looking for more of a traditional lime based exterior paint, then this exterior lime paint would be great.

What is the best Vegan wood paint?

For wood and trim, I have used this wood paint, which once you have used the universal primer works really well. It’s a 10-13% sheen, kind of like an eggshell but flows really nicely.

Skip straight to the sections below:

Can you suggest a Vegan Nursery and Child safe paint?

For a choice of suitable paints, check our this range of vegan nursery paints. They are all natural, Zero or minimal VOC, and all Vegan! It is super important to make sure we use the right paints around our children, so spend extra time researching and making sure the paint you choose is as good as possible. I used these paints in our own babies nursery.

Can I paint a cot with Vegan paint?

Yes it is possible to paint a cot with Vegan paint, I suggest using something like this primer, followed by the vegan wood paint here. Make sure you use the primer though, as cots can often have quite glossy plastic paint on them, or a hard plastic – so the primer is essential.

Which vegan paint should I use in the kitchen

Paints for the kitchen need to be tougher, hard wearing and easily washable and wipeable, due to all the steam, dirt and splashes that build up over time. I suggest using this vegan washable wall paint as a starting point, happily knowing that is doesn’t contain any animal products!

Which vegan paint should I use in the bathroom?

Your bathroom paint has similar needs to that of a kitchen paint, IE it needs to be tough and strong, as well as washable and wipeable. There is a good argument here to go for a more satin based finish here that would repel moisture better and be easier to clean, so have a look at these two options: matt flat washable paint and satin flat washable paint.

Which vegan paint should I use in the living room?

There are lots of options here, if you would like an easy to apply, tough strong and washable natural vegan interior wall paint, I suggest this option. If you want something more naturally lime based, then this option would also be good.

Which vegan paint should I use to paint a door?

For internal doors, trim and skirting boards I suggest looking at this natural primer, followed by a couple of coats of this natural multi surface wood paint, which is also a VOC free paint.

Is acrylic paint vegan?

Just because a paint is made from chemicals it can’t be Vegan, technically, but in the real world, if a company COULD say it was vegan friendly and cruelty free due to not having tested on animals it would, wouldn’t it. So I think it is fair to say that if a paint is not marked as not tested in animals I think you have to assume it is.

Are paint brushes vegan?

It is not only the animal hair for the brush part that is the issue here, as even a fully plastic paint brush with synthetic hairs on it can still have been tested on animals (toxicity to the plastics). There are vegan paint brushes out there, I think Eco Ezee have a range that I have used before. It’s a tough one as your average paint brush won’t be marked one way or the other!

Do they kill animals to make paint brushes

Lots of paint brushes are not cruelty free, no. Any sable brush made with hair would have been taken from an animal at some stage. Just because you don’t kill something ‘taking’ something from them, does not make it Vegan. “It’s dead anyway so can I just..” No, no you can’t.

Anyway – I hope that information helps you decide! If you have anything to add, please get in contact!

Who we are: The Organic Natural Paint Co. – An independent paint company specialising in natural and eco friendly advice.

The Truth about Vegan Paint

If you’ve ever browsed for paint and paint products, you would know that the stores are filled with a range of brands offering a huge variety of paint products. There are vegan interior and exterior paints, eco-paints, breathable paints, low-VOC paints and so many more. With so many options, how do you settle for one?

While it is important to find the paint that compliments the aesthetics of your dream home, it is equally or more so to choose products that do not have negative consequences on human health, the environment, and the eco-system. We offer a full interior paint range, as well as animal free and natural plant based exterior and wood paints, that had adhered to a strict environmentally friendly manufacturing process ensuring they are vegan friendly.

What we are talking about is choosing a paint or paint products that do not involve the needless slaughter of living beings – one that does not disrupt the ecosystem and is a threat to human and animal life. After all, can you really be comfortable in your home knowing your walls are coated in products that animals had to lose their lives for?

We all know Meghan Markle bought vegan paint, for their baby s nursery.

If that prospect makes you uncomfortable, we invite you to explore your options in vegan and cruelty-free paint, which we will be discussing in detail in this article.


What Makes a Paint Not Vegan?

If you’ve done some research on paint, you would know that it has three essential components: the pigment, binder, and solvent. Depending on what makes up these three components and the processes involved in the production, paint can be identified as vegan or otherwise, IE containing animal products Paint and cruelty free can finally go hand in hand.

Non-Vegan Ingredients

There are four commonly found ingredients in natural paints which can indicate that the paint is not vegan:

  1. Casein: Casein is a milk protein, that functions as a binding agent in paint. It is a dairy product, so if you are looking for vegan paint, you need to make sure it does not contain casein.
  2. Beeswax: A lot of paints use beeswax as a binding agent. Beeswax is a wax produced by a certain genus of honey bees.
  3. Ox Gall: You might not have heard of this, but most of your conventional paints tend to include ox gall as a wetting agent in paint. What it essentially does is increase the ease of application of the paint by making it flow better as a mixture.
  4. Shellac: This is a resin that is produced by the female lac bug. It is widely found in paint and paint products, so you might want to keep your eye out for this.

Animal Testing

In addition to this, if you are looking for cruelty-free paint, you would have to do some research on whether the brand you’re purchasing from tests their products on animals or not. The type of tests conducted in this sphere is known as ‘regulatory tests’.

This form of testing involves testing paint in animals to see whether they have any toxic or adverse side-effects on health. The whole process involves animals being forced to ingest and inhale paint, as well as the intravenous administration of paint into animal bodies. After this testing, the animals are monitored to observe how they react to specific doses and ingredients of paint.

Difference Between Cruelty-Free Vegan Paint and Conventional Paint

Vegan paint is eco-friendly because it is formulated from purely natural ingredients, with the added benefit that it does not include animal byproducts and derivatives. Instead of these animal-derived ingredients, organically produced vegan paints include plant-based substitutes in their constitution.

Because these are made from natural and organic ingredients, they are free of harmful chemical compounds like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or the toxic pigment, titanium dioxide. It is important here to note that vegan paint is almost always eco-friendly, but not all eco-friendly paints are vegan. Of course, there are very few vegan paints that are constituted from synthetic ingredients, replacing animal-derived compounds with synthetic substitutes, so it depends on whether or not you are okay with that.

Another difference between the two is that cruelty-free, vegan paint, as already mentioned above, do not involve animal testing anywhere in the production processes, whereas petrochemical paints are bound to go down that lane because they contain a bunch of toxic ingredients which they need to test on animals for human health and safety.

Environmental Impact of Eco-Friendly Vegan Paint

It is true that not all vegan paint is eco-friendly, but in this article, we’re going to talk about vegan paint that is made from all-natural ingredients because of their numerous health and environmental benefits.

The highlight of vegan paint is that it is free of animal-based products. This means that the production process does not involve the farming of animals, which in itself contributes greatly to the carbon footprint. So by vegan and cruelty-free products, you’re actually reducing carbon emissions.

Another plus of eco-friendly vegan paint is that it is VOC-free. VOCs are organic compounds that are emitted in gaseous form from the surfaces of certain solids and liquids. What allows them to be released in this manner is their low boiling points which in turn permits them to evaporate and sublimate into the surrounding environment at room temperature.

When these compounds are released into the atmosphere, they contribute significantly to climate change. VOCs are also associated with smog formation, which leads to reduced visibility, particularly in densely populated areas. Under the effects of sunlight, VOCs react with nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere to generate Ozone (O3) which accumulates in the environment alongside other particles to form smog.

By opting for eco-friendly vegan paint, which works just as well as the conventional paint without most of the negative aspects, you can significantly minimise your carbon footprint on the earth and actively contribute towards creating a safer and healthier environment for yourself, family and friends. Though you might find most of the eco-friendly vegan paint to be pricier than their petrochemical counterparts, the advantages and benefits it has over those make it worth the investment.

Originally posted 9 January 2021. Updated regularly!