The vegan diet took over the world almost unnoticed, followed by plant-based cosmetics, and a few years ago the fashion industry also started to use this popular label. But do we know what the term “vegan” really means and why we should choose vegan products for our beauty products?
Vegan products focus on pure and natural ingredients, they use as few preservatives as possible and they do not contain any animal ingredients (e.g. gelatine, collagen) or other animal-derived substances. Most people would be surprised if they knew what they were actually using on their skin with a nicely packaged cream. It is quite astonishing how many animal by-products manufacturers can squeeze into cosmetics these days.
The carmine red colour for example, is produced by boiling and grinding cochineal beetles. It is found in most lipsticks and blushes. Guanine, or crushed fish flakes, is responsible for the shimmering sheen of cosmetics. Lanolin, or wool fat, is produced in the sebaceous glands of woolly animals and is an ingredient in many make-up removers. And the ambergris used in perfume production is a waxy secretion formed in the intestines of the ambergris cat.
Non-vegan make-up and beauty products therefore often contain ingredients that few people would want to put on their skin.
Cruelty Free International’s 2018 research showed that more than 115 million animals are experimented on each year.
Many studies and research have shown that even the tiniest creatures are affected by inappropriate conditions, stress and pain.
In 2004, the European Union banned products that were tested on animals after they were made, and in 2009 extended the decision to cover not only finished products but also ingredients. In 2013, a full ‘testing ban’ was introduced, meaning that the sale and manufacture of all cosmetic products and ingredients that are tested on animals is banned in the European Union. This has had an impact in many other countries, with Norway, Switzerland, India, Guatemala, Turkey and Israel all making changes to the regulations.
Unfortunately, despite the decision, products that were tested on animals before the law was implemented can still be sold. There are also plenty of companies that sell, manufacture or test their ingredients in China. In China, it is a law that even ingredients that are already known to be safe must be tested on animals.
If a product is labelled “cruelty-free”, you can be sure that it has been placed on our shelves without harming any animals!
Not only are natural ingredients easier to absorb, but they are also better utilized by the body, and vegan cosmetics contain more nutrients than their counterparts made by other methods. Plants are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and because vegan beauty products are made from plants, they give our skin all the nutrients it needs to stay vibrant, youthful and healthy.