Whether they follow a strict vegan diet in their day-to-day life or not, many people are choosing to go vegan in their beauty routine. But, what does that even mean? Is it just about not testing on animals? Well, no. Just like a vegan diet, choosing a vegan beauty routine means selecting products that don’t contain any animal-based ingredients. Sounds simple right? Not really. Although some products are quite easy to make the animal connection (makeup brushes made from horse hair, milk-based or manuka honey products), others are hidden in the ingredients listing under other “scientific” names so you may not be able to recognise them. Here, are a few of the things to look for if you’re considering a vegan beauty routine, and some you may have missed.
Carmine: this bright red pigment is often used in lipsticks (to get that perfect scarlet colour). But, it’s actually extracted from a bug (yes, a bug) called a cochineal.
Squalane: This oil (unless specifically stated as plant-derived) is found in shark livers… so if you’re wanting to try a vegan option definitely look for the plant-based variety (which often comes from olives).
Ambergris: This is where things get a little gross. Ambergris, which is sometimes found in perfumes, comes from the digestive system of sperm whales and is there to protect their intestines from any sharp things they may eat. It’s then excreted by the whales, and essentially floats in the ocean for years before it washes up ashore.
Beeswax: Probably an obvious one for most people, but what you may not know is that it’s commonly used in lip balms and lipsticks for that smooth glide-on effect.
Guanine: You know that glittery, shimmery highlight? Or the flecks in your nail polish? Yep, more often than not, this comes from guanine which actually comes from fish scales.
Lanolin: This ultra-moisturising ingredient comes from sheep (and other woolly animals) and is also known as “wool fat” or “wool wax” because it’s secreted from the sebaceous glands of the animal to protect the wool.
Collagen: You know all those collagen drinks and supplements? Yep, not vegan. That’s because the protein collagen is produced in animals (generally cow, pig, chicken and fish) – which is why we also have it present in our bodies.
Keratin: You’ve probably heard of keratin in many hair products, but this protein – which is also naturally found in our own bodies – can also be taken from the wool, feathers, hair, horns and hooves of animals.
While no means a definitive guide, the list above is a good place to start if you’re considering a vegan beauty routine. If going vegan is a little too daunting and instead you want to consider a natural or organic routine, you can read our guide here. If you are ready to take the vegan plunge, here are some products to get you started…
Badger Balm Shampoo Balm, $18.95
Shop all our Vegan products here