Buyer’s Guide: Vegan Beauty

For vegans, finding skin care and beauty products that are in sync with our lifestyle choices can be tricky. The search for products that have not been tested on animals or do not contain animal products or byproducts (like honey, beeswax, egg and dairy products) is easier when we know what to look for or what to avoid on ingredient labels.

Another way to be sure our products are vegan is to look for the certified vegan label, awarded to products that adhere to strict criteria for ensuring products and manufacturing processes are vegan. Here’s what you need to know about choosing cruelty-free vegan products.

Common Animal Ingredient Vegan Alternative Where to find it
CARMINE

A red dye made from crushed female cochineal beetles that eat red berries. Often found in lipsticks, blushes and nail polish.

Minerals like manganese violet, a natural salt or iron oxides. Beet root, annatto or alkanet root produced from vegetables, fruits or herbs.
GUANINE

Crushed fish scales used for shimmer in makeup.

Mica, a natural mineral that provides light reflection or color.
BEESWAX

Used to seal in moisture and condition, often in lip balms and mascara. Bees make it to store their honey and although bees are not harmed, many vegans believe it’s exploitation of the bees’ natural process.

Waxes or butters from plants, like carnauba wax or kokum butter. Panthenol, a form of vitamin B5.
PROPOLIS

Another bee by-product used by bees to seal their hive. It’s used for its antibacterial properties, especially in toothpaste and deodorants.

Essential oils with antibacterial properties like coconut, peppermint and tea tree
LANOLIN

A grease or wax from the glands of sheep. It’s used to moisturize and soften skin and hair, especially in hand creams and hair conditioners.

Rich botanicals butters or fruit stem cell extracts
CERTAIN TYPES OF HYALURONIC ACID

A moisturizer fermented from rooster combs used to boost skin moisture.

Vegan hyaluronic acid fermented in plant-based mediums
CERTAIN TYPES OF SQUALENE/SQUALANE

An oil extracted from shark livers that’s used to lubricate and hydrate skin. Often found in face and eye creams.

Squalene from olive oil and botanical butters
SQUIRREL, SABLE, PONY or GOAT HAIR

Used in makeup brushes.

Synthetic fiber bristles EcoTools Bamboo Brushes