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March 19, 2020 4 min read

Vegan Skincare 101

Although Veganuary has come and gone, a plant-based lifestyle is here to stay, especially when it comes to skincare. Vegan skincare isn’t just a buzzword or a trend nowadays. It’s a lifestyle choice that impacts the health of your skin, the environment and animals, too. Let’s uncover vegan skincare. 

What constitutes ‘vegan’ skincare?

Vegan skincare products do not contain any ingredients that come from animals. It may come as a surprise, but many products from leading brands still contain animal-based ingredients. We’re not talking about chicken in your cleanser and beef in your brow powder. There could, however, be by-products from animals in your daily skincare and makeup products. 

What ingredients are not vegan?

You will likely have come across some of the below ingredients before, but perhaps never considered the source:

  • Beeswax - Often used to thicken skin creams and lip balms. Beeswax comes from bees and seems like an ingredient from nature (technically it is) but it’s classed as an animal by-product
  • Gelatin - Another thickener found in moisturisers and other creams that is derived from various animal parts. It’s produced by boiling skin, bones, tendons and ligaments, and is also used in food preparation to thicken gravy and desserts
  • Lanolin - An emollient you would usually find in moisturiser, that comes from sheep's wool. Like beeswax, this one doesn’t hurt the animal, but it’s not considered vegan as it is still an animal derivative
  • Collagen - Many beauty products include collagen as it is thought to help reduce the signs of ageing. Collagen is actually derived from cows and fish, thus, it is not vegan

There are many more seemingly innocent ingredients in skincare products that are in fact derived from animals. Recognising them is important if you want to choose 100% vegan products.   

What ingredients are in vegan skincare?

Vegan products tend to stick to any ingredients from nature. That means seed extracts, flowers and other botanicals, and natural waxes, oils, and butters from plants. Sometimes they have fancy names on the packaging: Persea Gratissima Fruit Oil simply means avocado oil, and Cucumis Sativus Seed Oil is just cucumber oil.

Don’t be fooled by fancy names, just look for the common name in brackets. Whenever in doubt, askAlexa,Siri, Google or your preferred choice of built-in PA tech. 

Why is vegan skincare good for the skin?

Though vegan formulations have long been thought to be less effective than theirsynthetic counterparts, in recent years the quality of most vegan products has increased drastically due to consumer demand. 

Vegan products may be even better for your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. Many animal ingredients can be harsh, while plant-based ingredients tend to be a potent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Just like when youfeed your body the best natural ingredients, your skin can reap the same benefits.  

Why is it good for the environment?

Choosing food or skincare products that do not contain animal by-products can help counteract the negative effects that irresponsible agriculture has had on theenvironment. Though the amounts in skincare are minuscule, sourcing the ingredients contributes to a feedback loop within the larger supply chain. 

Farming releases significant amounts ofmethane and nitrous oxide, two gases that are actively damaging our planet. While food is the major culprit, other products and sectors still contribute to climate change. Switching to vegan skincare products can help minimise your environmental impact.

Is vegan skincare the same as cruelty-free skincare?

No. Vegan and cruelty-free are sometimes used interchangeably, which is misleading. Cruelty-free means that no animals are hurt at any point throughout the supply chain. It is mostly referred to as a product that has not been tested on animals.

In theory, a vegan skincare product could have been tested on animals, therefore making itnot cruelty-free. Confusing, right?! 

But don’t worry. Just lookout for theLeaping Bunny logo, which appears on certified cruelty-free products. This ensures the products have not been tested on any animals. Regulatory bodies are starting to enforce this.

TheEuropean Commission banned animal testing for cosmetic products, and began phasing this out back in March 2009. A step in the right direction!

How can you tell if a product is vegan?

Just like the Leaping Bunny logo, you can identify a certified vegan product by theVegan Society logo on the packaging. Spotting the 'V logo' should eventually become as easy as spotting plant-based ingredients, too. PETA has a greatlist of things to watch out for.

Remember to also take note ofgreenwashing brands who may create an illusion of vegan and cruelty-free products without actually living this ethos.  

How can you get started with vegan skincare products?

If you want to expand your veganism to skincare, it’s time to become a conscious consumer. This is a lifestyle choice that reaps benefits, naturally. Enjoy the advantages of applying products that are rooted in nature and backed by science. You’ll love taking care of yourself, inside and out, while simultaneously caring for the planet. 

Curious to tryour natural, vegan formulations? They could be just what your skin has been waiting for… 

If you have questions about vegan skincare products, let us know over on Instagram at@ohanacbd.

Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash


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