Guide to Vegan Paint 2021 – Ethical & Cruelty Free Wall Paint Advice

Surely paints are Vegan already!?

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!

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? NO. As far as I am aware they have nothing that is even close to being Vegan or chemical free either!

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.