Are you surprised when you hear that not all cosmetics are vegan? Lipstick, nail polish, conditioner: there are more animal products in cosmetics than you think. Find out here how to check whether you choose vegan beauty products.
Vegan or cruelty-free?
There is a difference between vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics. Vegan beauty products contain no ingredients that have been produced by animals. However, this does not mean that they have not been tested on animals, which is what is meant by 'cruelty free'. Within the European Union, the testing of beauty products on animals has been banned since 2009 and the sale of such products within the EU has been banned since 2013.
However, there is such a thing as 'Cruelty Free International', an organisation that fights animal suffering caused by experiments or testing on animals. According to them, today more than 500,000 animals are still used in cosmetic tests every year. Striking: China still requires imported cosmetics, which are not only sold online, to be tested on animals. And if the brand itself does not do so, China assumes this responsibility.
How to choose cruelty-free or vegan cosmetics for sure?
Now that you know what the terms 'vegan' and 'cruelty free' mean in the beauty world, it is important to know that they are not legally defined. This means that any brand can claim to be vegan without having to comply with any legal requirements. However, there are two labels you can trust: the vegan label with a sunflower from the Vegan Society and the Cruelty-Free and Vegan label from PETA, which depicts a rabbit. So you can trust the brands that display these labels on their products, but of course it's not as simple as that, because not every vegan brand displays these labels. So what can you do? Take the time to look at the INCI list of ingredients that is mandatory on every product sold in the European Union.
Which ingredients on the INCI list are (not) vegan?
There are many ingredients that can be disputed. Keratin, for example, can be extracted from both animal and plant ingredients. So it often remains a choice of the brand in question to use an animal or plant-based variant. Fortunately, thanks to the website 'Vegan Ingredient Check', you can check all the ingredients. Below is a list of the ingredients (indicated by their INCI names) that you should definitely watch out for:
- Beeswax: Beeswax is a fatty substance produced by bees.
- Castoreum/castorem: vanilla flavouring extracted from the anal gland of a beaver (note: castor oil is plant-based)
- Cholesterol: Made from animal fat, such as wool fat
- CI 75470: Carmine is a dye found in the abdomen of aphids and can be substituted for beetroot
- Collagen: Glue-forming protein that usually comes from animal bodies
- Cystine/Cystinate: Present in hair and horny materials
- Elastin/Elastinate: Protein found in connective tissue of cows, etc.
- Glycerin: Glycerol is a sugar alcohol, sometimes derived from animal fat
- Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is often promoted by beauty brands, but is derived from skin and joints
- Keratin: Protein found in nails, hooves, horns, claws, beaks and feathers
- Lanolin: Wool grease
- Mel: Honey
- Plancetal: Placenta
- Propolis: is a secretion from bees
- Shellac: Shellac is a glazing agent derived from the female scale insect
- Silk: silk is secreted by insects such as the silkworm
- Sine adipe lac: (often animal) milk
- Stearic acid: stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid often derived from animal fat
- Tallow: Tallow is fat from sheep and cattle