Non-Vegan Beauty Ingredients

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How to cite: Wong M. Non-Vegan Beauty Ingredients. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. May 12, 2015. Accessed April 22, 2024.


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!

IngredientRelatedFunctionFound InComes From
BeeswaxWaxy hardening agent,
Lip products, mascara,
moisturiser, eye shadow
Beehives. Bees are
(theoretically) not killed
during the harvesting of
CarmineCochineal, Carminic
Red dyeRed lipstick, pink and red
beauty products
Crushed cochineal beetles,
which feed on red cactuses.
This is the most vivid
commonly available red
pigment, vegan alternatives
tend to be less intense.
CollagenMoisturising proteinMoisturisers, lip plumpersAnimal tissue
GelatinThickenerMoisturisers, face masksAnimal skin and tendons
GlycerinGlycerol, GlyceridesHumectant moisturiserEverywhere - 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
"Glycerin (Vegetable)".
Contact the company if in
Hyaluronic AcidSodium HyaluronateHumectant moisturiser, fillerMoisturisers, plumping
Can be plant or animal
derived (from animal tissue)
KeratinStrengthening protein for hairHair products, nail productsGround hooves, horns,
feathers, hair of animals.
Lactic AcidAlpha hydroxy acid - chemical
exfoliant and humectant
Chemical exfoliants,
Can be derived from animal
blood and tissue, or milk, or
plants (e.g. beets).
LanolinWool Fat, Wool
Occlusive moisturiserMoisturisers, make-upSheep oil glands
Pearl EssencePearlesence,
ShimmerShimmery cosmeticsFish scales
RetinolRetinyl EstersAnti-ageing ingredient
(derivative of Vitamin A)
Anti-ageing moisturisersMostly animal-derived -
sources include liver, dairy
and eggs
Squalene SqualaneEmollientMoisturisersShark liver, or plant oils
(olive, palm)
Snail SecretionEmollient and humectant MoisturisersCollected from snails - snails
are usually not killed


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