Most people don’t think twice about what they slather on their face in the name of beauty. But, it may be worthwhile to consider switching over to vegan skincare regardless of food preferences.
Whether you’re a vegan or a proud meat eater, a closer look at the formula of your signature lipstick may leave you feeling more than a little squicked out.
However, many cosmetics companies are abandoning animal-based raw materials in favor of plants.
Here’s a look at some of the animal-sourced ingredients lurking in your favorite bath bombs, glosses and sheet masks:
Typically associated with jello shots and gummies, gelatin comes from the bones and hooves of cows and pigs. Slaughterhouse waste is added to a big old pot, boiled down and made into a familiar powder that jiggles when prepared.
You’ll find gelatin in many beauty products from gel manicures to peel off face masques–as it gives products a lasting, thickness.
Lanolin comes from the oil glands of sheep kept in a hot, steamy room for use in moisturizers, lipsticks, and conditioning treatments. What’s more, many people have allergic reactions to lanolin, making it all the more important to read those labels before adding a new product to your cart.
HA is in just about any hydrating cream or serum worth its salt these days, and for good reason. HA is made naturally in the body, it keeps our eyes moist and comfortable and lubricates the joints and connective tissue. As a skin care ingredient, this item helps the skin retain moisture, keeping wrinkles and damaged cells at bay. But, animal-based HA is sourced from a couple of rather unappealing sources—rooster combs and bovine nasal cartilage.
Rather than use HA sourced from a collection of random animal parts—our products use a version that comes from plants.
Squalane is a potent anti-aging tool—working much like vitamin E to create a barrier between the skin and the environment. Plus, it provides serious moisture, making products like sunscreens, face creams and lipstick smooth and spreadable.
But, weirdly, squalane is often sourced from a surprising sea creature—found in the liver of certain sharks. Not to worry, vegan squalane is a bit easier to get your hands on—it also can be found in olive oil.
A protein found in animal tissues, collagen is found in some lip plumping products and certain anti-aging cream. The problem with topical collagen is, it doesn’t affect the body’s ability any more of the stuff.
If collagen production is what you’re after–look toward products that contain vitamin C, green tea, blueberries, peptides and more.
Retinol is a tricky one. It’s technically a form of vitamin A and is marketed as such. Unfortunately, vitamin A typically comes from animal organs–you know, livers and kidneys, as well as eggs and dairy products.
With animal-derived products, there are a lot more health risks that come into play.
Brands must make must test ingredients like collagen and gelatin for contamination before using. Meaning, these guys need several rounds of testing that plant-based ingredients just don’t.
Much like with food, going with the vegan option doesn’t always guarantee a nutrient-rich experience. However, with skin care, you’ll often find that instead of relying on additives and byproducts, you’ll find a blend of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients.
Think About the Environment
Vegan or not, there’s no arguing that the idea of putting rooster combs and various secretions on your face is just plain gross.
While the idea of being vegan in the general sense doesn’t account for packaging, preservatives and other common filler ingredients, companies that go the extra mile with plant-based ingredients tend to use recyclable containers.
Think paraben and petroleum-free, products and packaging. On a holistic level— vegan skincare products are better for you and better for Old Mother Earth.
In the end, it’s not especially clear why we’re using animals to create makeup and skin care products. With many vegan and cruelty-free brands entering the market—Fountain of Youth included—we think we’ll be seeing some shifts in the ingredient profiles of our favorite products. It’s only a matter of time.