Finding a right beauty product isn’t an easy task, especially when you are looking for vegan skincare and makeup products.

In the long list of ingredients of each product, animal ingredients can be hiding everywhere. It’s always very important to read the product label and to understand exactly what’s inside your product, how organic it its and is it harmful for environment. Being vegan is not just about what you put on your plate, its the whole lifestyle thing. After all,if you care what you put on you plate, think of what you put on your skin too!

Each one of us wear some sort of make up or use beauty products every day: skin care creams, shampoo, deodorants, shaving creams or toothpastes. If you want to make sure the products you using are free from cruelty, this vegan beauty guide will help you navigate your way to a  animal-free and cruelty-free beauty routine:

1. Check if its cruelty free

You will be surprised to know how many companies are still testing their products on animals nowadays.

So, the first thing to start from is making sure the product you want to buy has a Bunny Logo, which indicates certified cruelty-free, or the words “Cruelty-Free” on its label. However, don’t get confused between cruelty-free and vegan products.

“Cruelty-free” means that the products from this brand are not tested on animals, but they still might contain animal ingredients.

2. Go though the ingredients list

You can’t always rely on the cruelty-free logo on the products, so  it’s great to have a look at the ingredients list. We’ve picked out some of the more common ingredients found in popular makeup and skincare products today, that you should avoid.

Bee Products

What are beer products? Bees create a wide variety of different products that have been used in both skincare and makeup for centuries. Honey, beeswax, royal jelly, and propolis are all different derivatives from bees. It’s very commonly found in many cosmetics products.

Look out for cera alba, beeswax, honey, royal jelly, manuka honey, mel (honey), leptospermum scoparium honey, miel, propolis, propolis cera extract

Alternatives? You might think if there is no honey or beeswax in your vegetarian product, it would be vegan. But life is not that simple! Fortunately, we have fantastic vegan alternatives (to beeswax and honey) now available including plant-based waxes like carnauba wax and other botanical waxes.


Carmine is a very tricky animal ingredient. It’s found in everything from lipsticks, tinted lip balms to eyeliner, blush and even mascara.

What is carmine? It’s a red pigment obtained from cochineal, a red dyestuff extracted from the dried bodies of certain female scale insects native to tropical and subtropical America. It can be hidden under a variety of different names and numbers and can be found in a lot of products labeled 100% natural since it is from insects.

Look out for carmine, cochineal, carminic acid, crimson lake, natural red 4, E120, C.I. 75470.

Alternatives? A very difficult color to create using other sources, but there are vegan red alternatives available. Popular makeup brands like Axiology, Ere Perez and Inika are either 100 percent vegan or have various vegan options that are free from carmine.


Collagen is one of those terms that is perfectly marketed and sold to you by the skincare experts and brands as an essential ingredient that promises youth.

What is collagen? It is a protein present in our bodies that is known to give our skin plumpness.

Most of the times, collagen used in skincare products is derived from tissues of the animal like cows and fish. Not a lot of people now that trying to replenish your collagen using collagen containing products or supplements does not give you a youthful smooth skin or healthy hair. This is because the collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the outer layer of skin, so applying it topically does not help. So ditch collagen products.

Look out for collagen.

Alternatives? There are several foods like soy protein, almond oil, amla oil that are more effective than actual collagen in maintaining your skin’s firmness and elasticity. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: quit smoking, sleep well, exercise daily,  keep your stress level down,  stay out of the sun and use organic kin care products. That can help slow the rate that your body will naturally lose collagen.


What is glycerine? Glycerine and other glycerine-derived products are one of the most common ingredients in cosmetics and skincare. Glycerine is a byproduct of beauty and soap manufacturing and can be either synthetic or derived from plants or animals. So ensure the label specifies that the glycerine included in the product is from vegetable or botanical origin.

Look out for glycerin, glycol, glycerol, glycerides, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Myristic Acid, Oleic Acid and Palmitic Acid

Alternatives? You need to look out for botanical origin. Make sure the product in question has a vegan certification on the label.

Hyaluronic Acid

What is hyaluronic acid?  It’s a powerful tool to fight early signs of aging because of its ability to retain moisture out of just about anything. Hyaluronic acid can be derived from animal products or can be from a plant-based source.

Look out for Sodium hyaluronate and hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid.

Alternatives? In fact, our own skin cells actually produce Hyaluronic Acid naturally in a bid to maintain moisture levels. But if you still want to use  beauty products, containing this ingredient, you need to ensure that the hyaluronic acid in your product is botanical origin or that the product has a vegan certification on the label. Usually, vegan hyaluronic acid is created via bio-fermentation.


What is keratin? Did you know that keratin is a protein that is derived from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills and hair of various animals. If you research, keratin actually damages your hair and keratin treatments contain formaldehydes and other harmful ingredients.

Look out for keratin.

Alternatives? You can find vegan keratin derived from plant amino acids and there are several brands likeOXO Organics and L’abrea offering vegan keratin treatments. As for shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products, there are many great alternatives to keratin for body, shine and strand strength to hair like rosemary, amla, and nettle.


What is Lanolin? This oily substance, extracted from sheep’s wool (a product of oil glands of sheep). It is a common emollient used in many skincare products and makeup like moisturisers and even lipsticks for its moisturising properties.

Look out for lanolin, lanolin alcohols, aliphatic alcohols, laneth, lanogene, lanosterols, sterols, isopropyl lanolate, cholesterin, and triterpene alcohols.

Alternatives? There are many plant and vegetable oils that have the same moisturizing qualities sans cruelty.

Retinols, AHA’s, and BHA’s

What is retinol? Retinol and other exfoliating acids are some of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients on the market. They are very popular, especially in skincare products. The majority of these used in cosmetics is derived from animal sources such as milk or eggs.

Look out for retinol, vitamin A, retinoid, alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, lactic acid, salicylic acid

Alternatives? Retinols, AHAs and BHAs can also be found in plants. So, when you are shopping for your skincare or even makeup products, especially if it is anti-aging, you need to ensure that the label says the retinols and other ingredients are from botanical origin and the safest is when they have a vegan certification on label.


What is squalene? Squalene is naturally occurring both in animal and plant-based sources, however, it is highly unstable in this form so it is usually synthesized into Squalane. Traditionally derived from shark livers, it can now be extracted from botanical alternatives such as olives and amaranth seeds.

Look out for Squalane.

Alternatives? Look out for botanical origin or make sure the product has a vegan certification on the label.

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