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