The starting point for any vegan is to make sure that the food that they eat is free of animal-derived products. The same should go for vegan skincare.
As a vegan, you have probably gotten quite used to what you put into your body. However, when was the last time you stopped to think about the products you are putting on your body?
Once you have settled into your vegan diet, it is time to think about the other products you use that may not necessarily fall in line with your new lifestyle.
Now, if this isn’t something you have done already, it certainly isn’t your fault.
After all, most people don’t really think about what goes into your soaps, face washes, makeup, and more.
Well, now that you are aware that not all skincare products are vegan, let’s take a look at what you need to about selecting the right items for you.
Cruelty-Free vs. Vegan: Understanding the Terms
The first thing to know is that the terms “cruelty-free” and vegan aren’t actually synonymous with one another. So, what’s the difference between these two things and what should you know about labels bearing these words?
Well, cruelty-free refers to the manufacturing or testing process of a particular product. In short, when a product says that it is cruelty-free, it means that it hasn’t been tested on an animal.
This, however, doesn’t ensure that there are no animal-derived ingredients in the product.
A vegan product, on the other hand, will not contain any ingredients that have been derived from animals or insects.
It should be noted that just because a product is vegan doesn’t mean that it is also cruelty-free.
A key tip: if you are planning on buying skincare products that have been created in China, you should know that the law there mandates animal testing.
So, even if the item is deemed as vegan, it will have been tested on animals and thus, isn’t cruelty-free.
How to Know What Skincare Products are Vegan
As you can imagine, it isn’t too difficult for companies to simply add the word vegan to their label. You need to be sure that these claims have actually been backed up.
Well, the good news is that there are vegan societies all over the world that do this for you. If a product meets their approval, they get a certain stamp. Here are the logos that you need to get acquainted with:
The Vegan Action society checks that the products that receive their stamp don’t have any animal-derived ingredients. On top of this, they also verify that the products weren’t tested on animals either.
Companies who apply for this logo have to undergo a rigorous application and background check process.
The Vegan Society
The Vegan Society is yet another association that checks for both animal-derived components as well as cruelty-free processing. Once again, the company goes to great lengths to verify whether or not a product is actually vegan. What’s more, it even checks for cross-contamination!
PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies
The products with this logo are vegan as well as cruelty-free. However, it should be noted that the companies with this logo have to self-report their compliance. Also, you should not mistake this image for one that is only cruelty-free.
Although, there are many other cruelty-free logos, such as the Leaping Bunny logo! Leaping Bunny also has an app, and a database to search for cruelty-free products.
Two labels are from the Vegetarian Society. The one with the words ‘vegan approved’ is meant for vegans.
The logo with just a ‘v’ is only suitable for vegetarians. The society goes through the ingredients in products before allowing the use of their label.
Non-Vegan Ingredients to Watch Out For
Unfortunately, you can’t just rely on the above logos alone. This is because many companies won’t pay to be enrolled in these societies.
So, to make sure that you are actually buying vegan skincare items, you are going to have to go through the ingredient list.
Here are the top ingredients to look out for:
- Hyaluronic Acid: this ingredient can be a bit tricky. While it is typically extracted from the comb of a rooster, there is also a vegan version that is produced through bacterial fermentation. Unless you can verify the source, though, you may want to avoid products with this ingredient.
- Glycerin(e): it is derived from animal facts and can be found in soaps, moisturizers, makeup, and hair care items. However, there are two types, one of which is vegetal glycerin and can be derived from soy or coconut oil. This is suitable for vegans.
- Lanolin: Sheep wool contains lanolin. Lanolin can be found in a wide range of products. Lip balms, lipsticks, and lip glosses are where this ingredient is. Look for plant-based alternatives instead such as shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.
- Beeswax/ Cera Alba: while this ingredient is vegetarian, it isn’t vegan. It is used in all kinds of lotions, balms, hair products, and even makeup. A vegan-friendly substitute is waxes that are made from plants such as soya.
- Casein/Caseinate/Sodium Caseinate: it is used for softening purposes and is derived from cow’s milk. What you can do instead is to look for products that contain vegan milk.
- Keratin: this ingredient is taken from the hair and horns of animals to be used in nail and hair products. A vegan solution to this would be almond oil and soy protein.
- Collagen: if a product claims to be anti-aging or refers to actions such as ‘plumping’ there is a good chance that it contains collagen. This protein is taken from animal skin, tissues, ligaments, and bones. Soya protein and almond oil will once again work well as a replacement.
- Elastin: if a product has collagen, then it is likely that it has elastin as well. This ingredient is extracted from animal ligaments, muscles, and aortas. Vegetable-based hyaluronic acid is an appropriate alternative.
- Stearic Acid: it is often derived from cow, sheep, or pig stomachs and can be used in moisturizers, deodorant, soap, and hair care products.
- Oleic Acid/Tallow/Oleyl Stearate/Oleyl Oleate: used in soap, moisturizers, nail polish, and makeup, this ingredient is taken from animal fats. However, if it has been derived from nuts, coconuts, or olives, then it can be considered vegan.
- Carmine/Natural Red 4/E120: this ingredient is famed for its red color and can be found in lipstick, nail polish, and blush. It is produced from hundreds of thousands of crushed insects.
- Guanine: this is found in fish scales and is added to various skin care products to add sparkle. So, it can be found in eyeshadow, nail polish, bronzers, highlighters, and more.
- Squalene: found in deodorants, lip balm, and moisturizers, this ingredient is often extracted from shark liver. It should be noted that there is a plant-based, vegan version. However, you will have to verify the source to be sure.
- Shellac: this is most commonly used in nail products. Thousands of lac insects are killed to get even the smallest amount of this ingredient.
When to Be Aware of Non-Vegan Ingredients
Now, when you are buying these products for yourself, you have greater control over your purchases.
However, using your vegan products can be challenging when you visit spas, hair salons, nail salons, and more. It’s important always to check what products will have non-vegan ingredients in them ahead of time.
Of course, most people working in such places will not know whether the products are vegan or not.
Thus, you will have to ask for brand names and then do your own research. If you aren’t happy with the answers, ask salons and other institutions whether you can bring your own vegan products for them to use.
What to Know When Shopping for Vegan Skincare Products
As you can see, you may have to switch up your shopping methods a little bit when looking for vegan skincare items. Therefore, there are just a few tips to keep in mind.
Vegan skin care products are becoming more popular than ever before. So, you will find that top makeup and skincare brands actually offer up several vegan items.
Still, it is important to remember that not all of their products are vegan. Thus, you will need to double check which products are safe to use and which ones aren’t.
To make it easier for you to shop, it is a good idea to stick with brands that are certified as being 100 percent vegan.
This way, you can buy a much wider variety of lotions, balms, hair care items, and makeup without any worry at all.
Last but not least, keep an open mind when buying vegan skincare products. It may take you a while to find the perfect fit and even then, it may not be the same as a brand you relied on before you went vegan.
However, at the end of the day, your conscience will be a lot lighter.
There is no denying that it can take you some time to wrap your head around the idea of vegan soaps, lotions, and cosmetics.
Once you have embraced them, though, you will have peace of mind knowing that your beauty doesn’t come with a gruesome price attached to it.
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