Vegan Guide: 25 animal ingredients used in cosmetics
Your favourite beauty and skin care products most likely contain countless animal by-products, hidden somewhere in the ingredients list. From an economic point of view, this comes as no surprise, as the meat industry is responsible for the huge surplus of leftovers that can then be used as an affordable and effective filler in well-known beauty products. Animal ingredients in cosmetics can be used as a filler, but it is nice if this is clearly stated on the ingredients list. This is still not the case. That is why in this blog we help you decipher the ingredient list of your cosmetics.
You'd be surprised what ingredients are used in toothpaste
For anyone who has a vegan lifestyle, it can be a huge disappointment to find out that our trusted care products such as shower gel and day cream probably contain animal fats and other animal ingredients. It might be less surprising to read gelatin on the ingredient list of a candy bag than an animal glycerin in your toothpaste. If you make a conscious choice to avoid these types of ingredients, it will remain difficult to decipher and understand the ingredients listed in care products. The ingredients in a product are listed using the INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredients). This is a list of structured names that are internationally recognized to identify cosmetic ingredients. We will discuss this further in this blog.
More than 10,000 terms for different ingredients
The INCI contains a very complex language with more than 10,000 terms for different ingredients. Unfortunately, many brands do not do their best to make this understandable for the user. That is why we made a list for you with common animal ingredients in cosmetics (both in English and in the INCI). Try to avoid these products if you want to use cosmetics that are free of animal products.
The list goes on
This is a concise list that you can take with you the next time you shop at the drugstore or supermarket. It can help you somewhat understand the long list of ingredients, so that you can ultimately make the right choice yourself. Save this blog in your phone's notes so you can quickly grab it when you're in front of the cosmetics shelf.
1. CERA ALBA – beeswax
2. CARMINE E120 - a natural pigment made from lice
3. COLLAGEN – sometimes a fish-based protein
4. ELASTIN – protein, sometimes cow based
5. GLYCERIN – glycerol, often animal-derived
6. HONEY - honey made from honeybees
7. HYALURONIC ACID - hyaluronic acid, often from animal skin or bone tissue
8. FATTY ACID ESTERS - can be both vegetable and animal fats
9. KERATIN– protein from animal hair hooves and bones
10. LACTIC ACID – from blood, muscle or milk
11. LACTALBUMIN-milk proteins
12. LACTIS PROTEINUM - milk proteins
13. LACTOPEROXIDASE - milk proteins
14. LANOLIN OIL (or 15. LANOL/LANOLATE) - a wax secreted by wool-bearing animals
15. MUCOPOLYSACCHARIDES - glycosaminoglycans, sugar molecules, of vegetable or animal basis. This substance is used to make a product thick and gel-like
16. PARFUM – sometimes contains animal ingredients, perfume is a collective noun
17. RETINOL- sometimes from liver or eggs
18. ROYAL JELLY - substance secreted through the digestive tube of the worker bees
19. SILK POWDER - finely pulverized silk
20. STEARIC ACID/STEARYL ALCOHOL – sometimes animal (fatty)
21. VITAMINS – sometimes fish based
22. WHEY PROTEIN - Milk Protein
23. HYDROLYZED PEARL- finely ground pearl, from live or killed molluscs
24. TALLOWATE- tallow, rendered animal fat
25. GLUCOSAMINE - compound found in cartilage
Note: If we use the word sometimes or often , it means that the ingredient can be animal, synthetic or vegetable.
Are you looking for a more detailed description of each ingredient? Check out the handy vegan wiki site. Are you looking for a quick and easy check? Many products now have a certified vegan logo on the packaging. Be sure to check this out!
Let's all hope that the industry soon becomes more transparent in how they use ingredients, translating and listing them in understandable language. This way you can make a good choice whether you want animal ingredients in cosmetics or not.[break
Written by Nenita Heppener