Making conscious cosmetics choices

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Discover how you can make more conscious choices when purchasing cosmetics

Making Conscious Cosmetics choices graphic featuring The Vegan Society logo and an assortment of natural cosmetic products

Self-care is incredibly important and we want to show you, or maybe those that you love, how your purchasing choices can be kinder to both your skin and to non-human animals - helping you feel beautiful, inside and out!  

Replace animal-derived products 

Sadly, many cosmetics contain animal-derived by-products and ingredients, and therefore are not  vegan-friendly. Animal derivatives found in many common ingredients are used for a range of purposes, including for colouring, adding shimmer to products or acting as binding agents. Here are just a few examples:  

Collagen: collagen is a protein taken from the bones, skin, ligaments and tissues of cows which can be found in many face creams.   

Keratin: Hair and nail cosmetics contain an ingredient called keratin, which is a protein derived from the hair and horns of animals.   

Guanine: Make-up products such as eyeshadows and highlighters use an animal-derived ingredient called guanine to make them sparkle, but this shimmering effect is achieved by scraping and crushing the scales of fish.   

Tallow: Animal ingredients can also be found in soap and foundation products in the form of tallow, which is made from the fat of farmed animals.  

By educating ourselves on the different types of animal-derived ingredients found in cosmetics, we can avoid non-vegan cosmetics more easily as we shop products that do not test on animals and contain plant-based ingredients only instead. A fuller and more comprehensive list of animal derivatives in cosmetic ingredients can be found in our Vegan Beauty Takeover Report.  

Assorted natural cosmetic products and toiletries

Understand product labelling: Vegan vs Cruelty-free  

Understanding the difference between ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’ labelling can help you to shop more consciously for cosmetic products. Vegan products are cruelty-free, meaning the brand does not test any ingredients or the final products on animals. Also, vegan products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Learn more by taking a look at our pocket guide to purchasing vegan beauty. 

Choose products with reliable certification  

Due to a lack of labelling regulations and requirements, companies are open to mislabeling their products. To avoid this issue and ensure the product you are interested in purchasing is both free of animal-derived ingredients and animal testing, it’s important that we opt for ethical brands and products with reliable certifications. A product registered with the Vegan Trademark does not contain any animal-derived ingredients and has not been tested on animals by the company or on its behalf.

Find vegan salons  

If you’re looking to treat yourself with a fresh haircut, set of nails, relaxing back massage or perhaps even have your make-up done for a special occasion, try spending your money at salons and businesses that use vegan products. If this information isn’t readily available on their website, you can call or email the salon you’re interested in attending and ask them if their products are free of animal use. You can even ask staff to tell you which products they will be using before you book your appointment - this way, you can know for certain that you won’t be paying for a service that involves the use of animals. Platforms such as Ethical Globe can also help you discover fully vegan or vegan-friendly businesses in your area.  

Close up of hair cut

If you found this guide helpful and informative, you can learn more about making compassionate choices that go beyond food by downloading our conscious shopper’s guide and keeping up to date with us by following our #ConsciousChoices campaign on socials! 

The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.

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