What is Vegan Makeup? Why You Should Care


 You may hear the term Vegan and not quite understand what it means. Its definitely  not synonymous with Natural, Organic, Gluten Free. Just like Cruelty Free does not mean Natural. And Organic doesn’t mean Vegan. And Gluten Free isn’t Cruelty Free. And Vegan products may still contain toxic ingredients. So what’s the deal with Vegan makeup?

As you know, a Vegan is someone who doesn’t eat or use anything that comes from animals or insects whether its food or products.  There are animal products in cosmetics and skincare and often the ingredients are disguised so you don’t know you are slathering your face in animal fat. Vegan cosmetics/skincare does not use any part of an animal, fish, insect.

 Slaughterhouses take discarded animals parts and boil them down, the fat that comes to the top is skimmed off (called tallow)  and sold to cosmetics companies. That fatty substance is used in things like makeup, bath and body products, as well as skin care. Nice, right? Oh and some animal parts come from zoos and labs, others are simply roadkill.

From PETA:  “Animal ingredients are used not because they are better than vegetable-derived or synthetic ingredients, but because they are generally cheaper. Today’s slaughterhouses must dispose of the byproducts of the slaughter of billions of animals every year and have found an easy and profitable solution in selling them to food and cosmetics manufacturers.”

Have you noticed any of these animal products in your makeup lately?

Lanolin– grease from animal fur. Found in lotions, cream, makeup remover, lipstick.

Squaline– comes from Shark Liver Oil. Used in moisturizers, sunscreen, eye make-up, lipstick and bath oils.

Do you know what CI 75170 is? How about some fish scales? Pearl essence is made by processing the scraped-off scales of dead fish and suspending them in alcohol. Used in lip colors and nail polish.

Bee Pollen- Microsporic grains in seed plants gathered by bees then collected from the legs of bees. Causes allergic reactions in some people. In nutritional supplements, shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants. Alternatives: synthetics, plant amino acids, pollen collected from plants

Carmine, cochineal, or carminic acid comes to use from the crimson colored cochineal beetles. They are put in boiling water then dried into a fine powder which is then  used to color cosmetics.

How about this one, Sodium Laurel Sulphate? Its  a derivative of Lauric acid which comes from rendered animal parts.

Beeswax. Honeycomb- Wax obtained from melting honeycomb with boiling water, straining it, and cooling it. From virgin bees. Very cheap and widely used. May be harmful to the skin. In lipsticks and many other cosmetics, especially face creams, lotions, mascara, eye creams and shadows, face makeup, nail whiteners, lip balms, etc.

Collagen -Fibrous protein in vertebrates. Usually derived from animal tissue. Can’t affect the skin’s own collagen. .

Elastin– Protein found in the neck ligaments and aortas of cows. Similar to collagen.

Fatty acids – Can be one or any mixture of liquid and solid acids such as caprylic, lauric, myristic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic.

Hyaluronic acid -A protein found in umbilical cords and the fluids around the joints. Used in cosmetics.

Keratin- Protein from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals.

Oleic acid- Obtained from various animal and vegetable fats and oils. Usually obtained commercially from inedible tallow.
Progesterone– A steroid hormone used in anti-wrinkle face creams.
Silk/silk powder– Silk is the shiny fiber made by silkworms to form their cocoons. Worms are boiled in their cocoons to get the silk.

Stearic acid- Most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs.

Some people will promptly message me and say, “You’re ridiculous! There’s only trace amounts of animal by products in cosmetics!” Just as Ive received notes that there are only trace amounts of toxins in makeup and skincare. But my theory is sometimes even a little is too much. And if you are vegan, then even a little animal fat in your skincare is not acceptable.

Before researching animals and vegan makeup, I thought, much like my inaccurate opinions of gluten free makeup, that labeling something “Vegan” was a cheap ploy used by companies to lure people into buying their products. Now I understand WHY vegans, vegetarians and the like want to look for a Vegan label on their cosmetics and skincare. After reading about the odd bits and parts of slaughterhouse leftovers and roadkill, it sickens me. I will be paying extra attention to companies who are cruelty free,  natural and VEGAN. Will you?

If you want to explore this topic fully click here !


1 thought on “What is Vegan Makeup? Why You Should Care

  1. Thank you for this post!

    I have a makeup store dedicated to vegan makeup and loved the way you explained the importance of animal free cosmetics; an important read for vegans and non-vegans alike.

    We shared your post on our website and Facebook page and will continue to follow your blog.

    Carla at HeartCoeur

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