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What Makes a product Vegan? 15 Common Igredients derived from Animals

What Makes a Product Vegan?

You've probably seen that we have a lot of Vegan products, both in our skin care and our cosmetics as well.

We all know what it means to eat Vegan, but what exactly does this mean in our products? And why would we care about them being Vegan?

A true Vegan is a person who doesn't eat, or use, animal products.

Therefore a product is defined as vegan if it is not produced from an animal, or an animal byproduct, which means no ingredients of animal origin.

Here is a list of 15 common Ingredients derived from animals, found in skin care products or cosmetics. Some are derived harmlessly and others require the animal to be hurt or killed.

I've been in the skin care industry for 34 years and back when I started, there was no such thing as Vegan skin care or cosmetics. We simply accepted the benefits of all the products I've listed below. I'm very familiar with ingredients such as Allantoin, Collagen, Retinol & Placental Cells, commonly being part of skin care lines I've worked with.

Times have changed. We're a changing world. We care about our earth and the animals that roam it. We have animals going extinct we're trying to nurture. We also care about our bodies, what we put inside & what we use topically.

15 Common Ingredients Derived from Animals
Found in Skin Care and Cosmetics

1) Keratin

Keratin is derived from ground animal parts such as ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair. Bioactive keratin is derived from sheep's wool. The ingredient Keratin is often found mostly in hair products, nail products, and some skin care.

2) Beeswax

Beeswax has to be removed from the bee's hive. Worker bees produce the wax, and the hive workers collect it to from the cells which store the honey produced by the hive. Beeswax is used in lip balm, lip gloss, hand creams, salves, and moisturizers. It's also found in cosmetics such as eye shadow, blush, and eye liner. Beeswax is also an important ingredient in mustache wax and hair pomades, which make hair look sleek and shiny.

3) Honey

Honey is made by bees and the extraction is the process of removing honey from honeycomb. No bees are hurt or die from honey extraction. Honey is found in many skin care products such as moisturizers, face masks and cleansers.

4) Cochineal Dye

Cochineal dye is also called Carmine. It's a red dye commonly found in most lipsticks, blush, and a lot of other make-up products. It comes from the cochineal beetle. This insect, native to Central and South America, feeds on cactus plants, and the females eat the red cactus berries. When they’re crushed, an intense red dye is produced.

5) Tallow

Tallow is a common ingredient in many products, including moisturizers and other skin care products, eye makeup, lipsticks, makeup bases and foundations. Its more common name is 'animal fat'. The process involves boiling the animal carcasses to create fatty by-products.

6) Guanine

This is a crystalline material that shimmers and is light-diffusing, and found in most mascaras, nail polishes, and lipsticks. It's often confused with bat guano (or bat poop) but it's actually crushed fish scales.

7) Gelatin

Similar to tallow, gelatin is the boiled skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of animals. It’s alias names include gel, hide glue, gelatine, isinglass, kosher and halal gelatin. It can be found in creamy cosmetics and nail treatments.

8) Squalene

Sounds gross, doesn’t it? This substance is extracted from the livers of sharks and then added to most eye makeup and lipsticks.

9) Lanolin

Lanolin has long been used in the skin care and cosmetics industry as an effective emollient. An emollient is a preparation used in body creams and lotions, made to soothe, soften, and hydrate the skin, lock in moisture, and prevent water loss.

Imagine not showering for days. You know that greasy build-up in your hair? Well, imagine putting that greasy build-up on your face. Lanolin is the excretion from wool-bearing mammals. It's found in most lipsticks and makeup removers.

Lanolin also has a bad reputation for irritating sensitive skin and causing allergic reactions. There are many plant and vegetable derived oils and butters that can be used as a natural emollient substitute for Lanolin. You'll see those in our products.

10) Ambergris

Hard to believe this one! This ingredient is derived from the waxy oil that lines whale’s stomachs, commonly referred to as whale vomit. Surprisingly enough, you'll find this in most perfumes. This oil substance is used to make the scent “set”. It stabilizes the fragrance.

11) Collagen

We all have collagen in our own skin to give us form and shape, and stop us from sagging. As we age and our collagen breaks down, we look for products that help stimulate the reproduction of our own natural collagen. Collagen in skin care products and lip-plumping glosses, is a fibrous protein from animal tissue that has no proven effect on your own collagen reproduction.

12) Estrogen

This can also be listed as Estradiol. This hormone base can be found in most perfumes and restorative creams or lotions. Estrogen is obtained by extracting it from the urine of pregnant horses.

13) Retinol

Retinol as we traditional know it, is usually derived from animal sources like beef, chicken liver, eggs, and fish. There are plant based retinol alternatives that are starting to gain traction. Look for beta-carotene-rich ingredients such as mango butter, seaweed extract, sunflower seed oil and chicory root.

14) Allantoin & Uric acid

Allantoin and uric acid come from cow urine. Allantoin is considered an effective moisturizing ingredient when used in skin care as it's gentle and non-irritating. Allantoin also prevents itching or flaking of skin through its removal of dead skin cells.

15) Placenta

Placental cells are derived from sheep placenta. The sheep is not killed or hurt in order to retrieve the cells. The stem cells derived from sheep placenta are used in skin care products for their anti-aging properties as they promote collagen production and increase skin elasticity.

So before you buy your products, read the labels. You'll find that vegan formulations have more plant-derived ingredients.

Choosing products that are vegan generally means that you are choosing ingredients from natural sources, which is healthier for you and cleaner for our environment.

Going with Vegan products means you're also using Cruelty-free products at the same time.

You're saying yes to a greener planet and animal rights.. and saying no to animal suffering, and ingredients that may cause you irritation and allergic reactions.

So what are your thoughts on this? We'd love to hear so please comment below.

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