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I’m not a vegan myself, but I have a lot of friends who are, and since I’m an ingredients geek I decided to make a list of ingredients that vegans should watch out for if you decide to branch away from certified vegan products. This list isn’t completely comprehensive, but I intend to keep adding to it!
|Ingredient||Related||Function||Found In||Comes From|
|Beeswax||Waxy hardening agent, |
|Lip products, mascara,|
moisturiser, eye shadow
|Beehives. Bees are
(theoretically) not killed
during the harvesting of
|Carmine||Cochineal, Carminic |
|Red dye||Red lipstick, pink and red |
|Crushed cochineal beetles,
which feed on red cactuses.
This is the most vivid
commonly available red
pigment, vegan alternatives
tend to be less intense.
|Collagen||Moisturising protein||Moisturisers, lip plumpers||Animal tissue|
|Gelatin||Thickener||Moisturisers, face masks||Animal skin and tendons|
|Glycerin||Glycerol, Glycerides||Humectant moisturiser||Everywhere - moisturiser,|
soap, shampoo, make-up
|Fats and oils from animals
or plants - a by-product of
soap making. Animal glycerin
tends to be cheaper, plant
glycerin is usually labelled
Contact the company if in
|Hyaluronic Acid||Sodium Hyaluronate||Humectant moisturiser, filler||Moisturisers, plumping |
|Can be plant or animal
derived (from animal tissue)
|Keratin||Strengthening protein for hair||Hair products, nail products||Ground hooves, horns,
feathers, hair of animals.
|Lactic Acid||Alpha hydroxy acid - chemical|
exfoliant and humectant
|Chemical exfoliants, |
|Can be derived from animal
blood and tissue, or milk, or
plants (e.g. beets).
|Lanolin||Wool Fat, Wool |
|Occlusive moisturiser||Moisturisers, make-up||Sheep oil glands|
|Pearl Essence||Pearlesence, |
|Shimmer||Shimmery cosmetics||Fish scales|
|Retinol||Retinyl Esters||Anti-ageing ingredient |
(derivative of Vitamin A)
|Anti-ageing moisturisers||Mostly animal-derived -
sources include liver, dairy
|Squalene||Squalane||Emollient||Moisturisers||Shark liver, or plant oils
|Snail Secretion||Emollient and humectant||Moisturisers||Collected from snails - snails
are usually not killed