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The cosmetic industry is one that has often come under fire because of animal testing. Various skincare products are often at the center of the controversy, but items such as makeup, shampoo, and deodorant also extensively use animal products and animal testing. However, there has been a shift in thinking over the years, with vegan products becoming more prevalent in the cosmetics industry. What are vegan skincare products, and how is it possible to create them? Before we can answer how skincare products can be vegan, we need to look at exactly what makes a skincare item fit this definition in the first place.
Vegan skincare consists of items that have absolutely no animal products in the ingredients at all, including animal byproducts and animal extracts. There is also no animal testing involved in the process of creating the skincare item in question. There aren’t any legal regulations in place governing vegan labeling for products, but a good way to ensure that your chosen product is 100 percent vegan is to look out for the logo from the Vegan Society. This logo is a stamp of approval that certifies that the merchandise contains no animal products and no ingredients that were approved via animal testing.
As mentioned, skincare products can be vegan as long as they are made with no involvement from animals, whether it is in the testing process or in the ingredients of the various creams and lotions that are popular in the skincare market. Even products that are made ethically and don’t involve any animal cruelty or mistreatment cannot be considered vegan products if they still have animal involvement in their creation. Some examples of these cruelty-free animal byproducts include lanolin - a wax that is created from the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals like sheep but extracted from the wool itself rather than the animal - and beeswax, a natural wax from honey bees that is cut from the honeycomb cells of a beehive with no bees being harmed in the process. These are not acceptable in vegan products because even though they are ethically made, they still use animals in the process. Vegan products must be 100 percent free from animal involvement in any way, shape or form.
These two categories of products certainly sound very similar on the surface, but they are not always necessarily the same. As mentioned above, skincare products can only be considered vegan if there is no animal involvement in any of the creation process. However, those cruelty-free products that we mentioned - lanolin and beeswax - and many other skincare ingredients, such as carmine - also known as cochineal extract or carmine/crimson lake (an ingredient made from the shells of the female Coccus Cacti bug that has been used for generations) - cannot be vegan because there is still a significant reliance on animals in the ingredients. They may sound similar, but they are not necessarily the same thing. Always check the labels on your chosen skincare products to make sure that you are purchasing something that is both vegan and cruelty-free if these are major concerns for you because it can be very easy to confuse one for the other.
There are a few ways to make sure that your chosen products are entirely vegan. We mentioned the Vegan Society logo above, but you can also keep an eye out for certifications from Vegan Action, The Vegetarian Society and PETA. Always read the ingredients list thoroughly so you can make sure you avoid anything with animal products. If you are unsure about certain ingredients, research them to double check. Many times, clever naming conventions are used to obscure the presence of animal-related products, so it is important to educate yourself.
You can also head over to the information or FAQ page of the website or store that you are purchasing your product from to see if they have any more specific information on their ingredients and whether they are entirely vegan or not. If you are online, websites should list the ingredients alongside the product, such as the Scrub Facial Polish for all Skin Types from Jaieden Beauty with its entirely vegan ingredients listed as Tamanu oil, jasmine and volcanic ash. Make sure to read the list in detail (and research as you go!) if you are shopping via the web.