So yes, mink eyelashes are vegan and cruelty-free, and have nothing to do with animal mink. For the same PBT mink eyelash extensions, some brands would call them mink, while others would call them royal sabre. Once you know this information, exploiting these animals just to produce toiletries such as false eyelashes cannot be justified. There is absolutely no need to contribute to the suffering and death of animals to achieve a certain appearance, as there are a range of cruelty-free options when it comes to eyelash extensions, and many are capable of reproducing the light and subdued feel of the animal version.
Eyelash extensions are sometimes made of mink fur, and yes, they probably come from animals imprisoned in the same seedy, filthy fur farms that supply the fashion industry. The word “mink” tends to confuse many artists and eyelash clients, and many of them tend to believe that eyelashes are made of animal hair. What makes mink lashes — by definition a toilet item — an even more questionable purchase is the fact that European mink is in serious danger of extinction. In any case, mink eyelashes are highly unlikely to come from “brushing” and are much more likely to have been obtained from animals that were euthanized for their fur.
While the use of fur coats has become controversial in recent years due to growing concern for animal welfare, beauty enthusiasts have largely ignored the use of mink eyelashes, which are by no means exempt from animal cruelty. Good art supply stores should be able to recommend the best vegan-friendly brush for your project and also help you avoid other animal-based materials, such as squid ink and bone charcoal.