Animals are our friends and not in our skincare, right?

Unfortunately, this is wrong.

Not only are we using animal products in our beauty routine, but we’re still testing it on animals. Around the world, over 500,000 animals are used per year on cosmetics alone.

Thankfully, laws regarding animal testing have been changing with consumer demand. Alternatives to animal testing are often quicker, cheaper and more reliable and include testing on simple organisms like bacteria, tissues and cells from humans, computer models and/or chemical methods. These humane testing methods are more scientifically advanced than the cruel and unnecessary animal tests they can easily replace.

It’s important to note that in the case of beeswax and honey, being 100% vegan means using synthetic alternatives like petrolatum. Unfortunately, the pollutants released during refinement may cause more damage than using sustainably sourced options of these ingredients.

What happens with animal testing?

Animal testing can involve chemical exposure, physical containment for lengthy periods, skin and eye exposure to product causing irritations, UV exposure and genetic alterations. Most animals will experience discomfort and pain and are generally euthanised after the experiment.


Australia…innocent or guilty?

Cosmetic testing is not undertaken in Australia, which is cool. However, many products sold in Australia have been tested on animals overseas prior to distribution in Australia, not so cool. 

Over time, an extensive 20000+ chemicals for cosmetic use have been tested on animals.  It would be a great idea for the cosmetic and beauty companies to use these chemicals to save further testing, right? Or simply use chemical free products!


Australia had legislation passed last year banning testing for new cosmetic ingredients, however the ingredients had to be for sole use of cosmetics, if there was another use for the chemical, they were still allowed to test (RSPCA Australia, 2020).


Are there other options?

Cosmetic testing is important to avoid reactions on the consumer, however, animal testing is not the only option. There are other alternatives with in vitro (test tube) testing to avoid animal research. Testing with skin cells, laboratory grown cells to mimic the eye, testing using seaweed extract, computer modelling to predict the effects of substances and there are always human volunteers who can be patch tested with products.


How do I know if my products are cruelty free?

Products that are animal cruelty free will be marked with the independant third party certifiers and product lists can be found on various sites including Choose Cruelty FreePETA and Leaping Bunny.

Marketing is an incredible art and advertising for cosmetics and skin care is expertly curated to have us believing these products are gentle, kind and workers of magic on our skin. Trusted well known brands are still involved in animal testing or selling to countries that require animal testing prior to distribution, essentially supporting animal testing.

A handful of brands to avoid if you are wanting to purchase cruelty free are: Aveeno, Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, Garnier, Kiehls, Gucci Fragrance, L’Occitane, L’oreal, MAC, Sephora Cosmetics, Thursday Plantation and SK-II.


A few suggestions for brands that are animal cruelty free: Vanessa Megan, Mukti Organics, EVOHE, Clemence, Ere Perez, Inika Organic, Eco Tan, Mokosh, Vapour Beauty, Lily Lolo and Eye of Horus cosmetics.


Yes, these ingredients are often animal derived!


We have added a handful of animal derived ingredients to the blog, however this list is far from exhaustive. Keep checking your products to ensure they are chemical and animal cruelty free.



Here are the most commonly used animal products used in skincare.

This is a product derived from fish scales. Used in cosmetic products, it provides a pearlised effect, and is quite commonly found in eyeshadows and nail polishes.


Tallow is derived from the fat around the kidneys, stomach and other organs of animals, particularly cows. It is commonly used in soaps and candles due to its hard, fatty makeup.

Stearic Acid

Stearic acid is derived either from animal fats or palm oil, or is a mixture of both. White and waxy, this is used in cosmetics as a fragrance, surfactant and emulsifier.


Lanolin is derived from the oil of the wool of sheep and is obtained by washing the wool in hot water. Used in cosmetics as an effective emollient, you will often find this ingredient in body creams and balms.


Derived from the ground feathers, claws, scales, nails and hooves of animals. Keratin is used in cosmetics as a hair and nail strengthener and conditioner.


Carmine is derived from a scale insect called the cochineal. Carminic acid comes from the insect’s body and eggs, then mixed with aluminium or calcium salts to create the dye used a dye to give a vibrant red, pink and purple colour to cosmetics. Look for ingredients listed as E120 or Natural Red 4.

Animal Hair

Animal hair is used in cosmetic brushes and is commonly derived from squirrel, mink, sable, horse or goat hair. Hair is obtained by shearing, cutting or plucking from live or slaughtered animals.


Obtained from shark liver oil, squalene is used in cosmetics such as a moisturisers and serums.

Beeswax / Honey

Used in lip and body balms, moisturisers, lipsticks, hair products, eye shadow, blush and eyeliner.

Earth & Skin


Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug. It is used in nail products, hairspray, eyeliner and mascara.

Hydrolyzed Silk

Traditional silk production requires the silkworms to be boiled alive in order to effectively unravel their cocoons. It is used in many hair products for its ability to increase shine, flexibility and strength.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is commonly sourced from rooster combs, although there is a vegan option which is from a plant bio-fermentation process. It is found in many anti-ageing or plumping cosmetic products.


Derived from cow’s milk, specifically the colostrum or first milk after a calf is born. Lactoferrin is used as an acne treatment for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and also used as a moisturiser or hair conditioner.

Ready to learn more about what’s in your skincare? Click here

Earth and Skin is a Gold Coast organic day spa with a difference. We offer beauty treatments and products that are vegan, organic, chemical-free and free from animal cruelty. We have done the research into the safety and toxicity of common beauty rituals and have developed our menu based on the safest, most effective treatments available. If you’d love to experience beauty that cares for you and the Earth, we’d love to see you. Call now on 07 5530 7959 to book an appointment or book online.

Earth + Skin

Earth and Skin, Gold Coast is a Day Spa and Beauty Shop with a difference. Situated in our gorgeous Queenslander building, iconic to the heritage village of Mudgeeraba. Our light filled space is decorated with natural decor, living greenery and soothing music which helps to create a relaxing atmosphere where our clients enjoy mindful spa treatments without negative impact to their health or the environment. Enjoy a full range of facials, body therapy and beauty treatments. Everything we do at Earth and Skin is done with care for you, planet Earth and your skin. Because beauty does not have to compromise your health.

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