Animal testing isn't the only thing to look for when buying vegan-friendly cosmetics and skincare products. You may assume that brands should be clear whether their products contain parts of animals or their secretions, but that is a misconception. In fact, it can be quite difficult to know what is and isn't vegan friendly. Buying products without animal ingredients can therefore be a true minefield.
To add to the confusion, some ingredients that can be derived from plants or animals have the same name - without identifying the exact source (squalene, for example).
The only option here is to look up the manufacturer / brand website for the product in question and see if there is more detailed information.
Below is a list of some of the most common animal ingredients, and their vegan counterparts where possible.
1. Stearic acid
Obtained from the fat of slaughtered animals. Used as an emulsifier and cleaning agent in cosmetics. Stearic acid can also be obtained from vegetable fats.
Red dye obtained from crushed insects grown mainly in South America. More than 150,000 insects are required for 1 kg of the dye. Used as a colorant in cosmetics. Often in lipstick, blush and nail polish.
Dark brown resin from the excrement of lac insects, collected from the branches on which the insects live. It is used in nail polishes and polishes and in some hair sprays. Hundreds of thousands of these insects are killed to make small amounts of this product.
Mother of pearl is a component of fish scales, manufactured industrially from the scales and skin of fish. Used as a clouding agent and colorant (pearlescent pigment) in cosmetics. Think sparkling nail polish, eyeshadow, highlighters, bronzers and blushes.
Obtained from shark liver oil. Used as an anti-static emollient. Widely used in lip balm, deodorants, moisturizers and hair conditioner, among others. Vegan squalene also exists and is derived from olives and wheat germ.
Made from (rendered) fat tissue, mainly from offal. Used in many cosmetic ingredients such as emulsifiers, surfactants and conditioners.
7. Animal sharkr
Obtained by shaving or plucking the fur of live or killed animals. This can be found in makeup and other brushes and often comes from foxes, horses, goats, minks and squirrels. In particular, mink is sometimes used in artificial eyelashes. Synthetic options are available.
8. Hydrolyzed silk
Chemically altered silk proteins obtained by cooking and killing silkworms. Used as an anti-static humectant in cosmetics
The greasy substance that naturally occurs on sheep's wool. Obtained by washing the wool of sheared or slaughtered sheep. Used as an anti-static emollient and is a common ingredient in lip products (balms, sticks, glosses), as well as in hair products. There is also synthetic (and vegetable) lanolin
Obtained from animal horns, hooves, claws, nails, hair, scales and feathers. Used as a hair and skin conditioner and often found in strengthening nail and hair products. Soy protein and almond oil are used as vegan alternatives.
11. Beeswax / honey
Beeswax is secreted by bees that are used to build their honeycomb. Honey is food for nectar from flowers by bees. Used as an emollient, moisturizer, emollient, and emulsifier in cosmetics. It is also often used in mascara. There are alternatives in the form of plant and soy wax.
Iron-binding protein from milk obtained from the mammary glands of female mammals. Used as a cosmetic for skin and hair conditioner
Used in many anti-aging and lip plumping products, this fibrous protein comes from animal tissue, bone, skin, or ligaments - often from cows. The efficacy of collagen, in terms of whether it can even penetrate the skin, is questionable. Plant-based alternatives include soy protein and almond oil.
Often used in the same types of products as collagen, elastin is also a protein extracted from the muscles, ligaments and aortas of animals. Vegan alternatives include hyaluronic acid and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
As you can see, avoiding these ingredients is not easy as most major brands and especially industrial products use them. We also do not claim that this list is complete, as the research and development departments of the major manufacturers are always looking for better alternatives as they see them.
And fair is fair: we use beeswax in 1 product and that is in our conditioner bar. Because we want a perfect product. But we keep looking for better alternatives. And our bath brush has pig bristles, but we also have a better version with cactus hair.
For the rest, all our products are 100% free of any ingredient obtained from or through animals. Promise!->
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