If you’re looking to source natural, cosmetic products, tracking ingredient sources can sometimes be tricky. What’s hiding in your makeup? Let’s take a look. Here are 10 common ingredients derived from animal products.
Animal derivation: sheep wool
Vegan alternative: Good alternatives include plant oils such as coconut oil and olive oil or butters such as shea butter and coconut butter.
Cosmetic use: Lanolin is an emollient used to moisturize and soften. In cosmetics, you will commonly find lanolin used in lip balms, lipsticks and lip glosses.
Ingredients to watch out for: Lanolin, wool fat, wool wax, lanolin alcohol, lanolin acid, aliphatic alcohol, cholesterin, ester alcohol, isopropyl lanolate, laneth, lanogene, Lanosterols, triterpene alcohols, lanthionine.
Animal derivation: animal tissue, bone, skin, or ligaments – often from cows
Vegan alternative: soya protein, almond oil or alma oil
Cosmetic use: Collagen is often used as an anti-aging and lip-plumping ingredient. Watch for it in skincare products and lipsticks.
Ingredients to watch out for: collagen, collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, soluble collagen
Animal derivation: Keratin is made from the hooves, feathers, hair and horns of animals.
Vegan alternative: Vegan alternatives to keratin include plant based proteins such as rice and wheat, soya protein and almond oil
Cosmetic use: Keratin is commonly used in nail polishes to build and strengthen the nails.
Ingredients to watch out for: keratin, arginine, serine, threonine
Animal derivation: bees (and bee byproducts)
Vegan alternative: plant waxes and soy waxes
Cosmetic use: Beeswax is used in a variety of cosmetic products to keep emulsions from separating. Watch for it in lip balm, lipstick, lip gloss, eye shadow, eye liner, blush and mascara.
Ingredients to watch out for: beeswax, cera alba, cera flava
Animal derivation: animal fat
Vegan alternative: vegetable glycerin
Cosmetic use: Glycerine is frequently used in perfumes as a humectant and in skincare products to improve the skin’s feeling of moisture content and smoothness.
Ingredients to watch out for: glycerin(e), glycerol,glycerides, glyceryls, glycreth-26, polyglycerol
Animal derivation: Elastin is made from the neck ligaments and aortas of cows.
Vegan alternative: hyaluronic acid, MSM, synthetics and plant protein
Cosmetic use: Elastin is often used in the same types of products as collagen, namely skin-firming and lip-plumping products.
Ingredients to watch out for: elastin
Animal derivation: Carmine is produced from crushed female cochineal insects.
Vegan alternative: beet juice, alkanet root
Cosmetic use: This colorant is often used in lipsticks, blushes and nail polish.
Ingredients to watch out for: carmine, cochineal, carminic acid, natural red 4, E120, and C.I. 75470
Animal derivation: Urea can be derived from horse urine; this was more typical in the past. Today, it is most often made synthetically.
Vegan alternative: Vegan alternatives to urea include: synthetic urea, shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, almond oil, argan oil, avocado oil, and other plant-based skin conditioning products that contain vitamin E.
Cosmetic use: It can be used as a moisturizer and skin softener or as a preservative in skincare and hair products.
Ingredients to watch out for: imidazolidinyl urea, uric acid
Animal derivation: Guanine is a crystalline substance obtained from fish scales.
Vegan alternative: Some vegan alternatives to guanine can include leguminous plants, synthetic pearl, or aluminum and bronze particles.
Cosmetic use: It is used in cleanser, lipstick and nail polish to produce a pearly, iridescent effect. It can also be used to cover blemishes.
Ingredients to watch out for: guanine, pearl essence
Animal derivation: Squalene is derived from shark liver oil.
Vegan alternative: Instead of squalene, use products with vegetable oils.
Cosmetic use: Squalene is highly regarded for its restorative moisturizing properties and is commonly used as a lubricant in creams and lotions. You’ll find it in moisturizer, foundation, lipstick and eye shadow.
Ingredients to watch out for: squalene, squalane
It can be surprising to learn how many cosmetic and skin care ingredients are derived from animal products. A true vegan lifestyle extends far beyond the kitchen. We encourage you to stay on the path…and to check your cosmetic labels next time you pull out your makeup bag!