15 Animal derived ingredients to watch for in beauty products

Hi everyone

Since I have become vegan I spend a lot of time looking at labels of products, luckily there are considerably more products labelled vegan than there has been previously which does make life much easier but I still think it is important to know what to potentially look for animal derived products. Unsurprisingly they are often not called anything like what they actually are and are often hidden    amongst words that take a lot of googling, not to mention some of them have more than one name.

So I thought it might be useful to list out the ones I come across quite often, this is by no means an exhaustive list but a good place to start.

  1. Cochineal dye – often called Carmine is a dye that comes from crushing the cochineal beetle (think red Mac lipstick) and the red dye is produced.
  2. Squalene – this is an oil that comes from shark livers and is often found in eye make up and lipstick.
  3. Guanine – This is the pearly scales that are scraped off fish and crushed and it is often found in mascaras or nail polish.
  4. Lanolin – This is a greasy sebum that build up on sheep hair when not washed (we also get this if we do not wash our hair). This is found in lipsticks and make up removers.
  5. Steric acid – This is derived from the fat of animals (including those animals euthanized in animal shelters) and is used in just about everything beauty related (shampoos, face creams, deodorant, soaps, make up, lubricants). You will find this in vegan products as well as the plant version in shea or cocoa butter (yeaaaa)
  6. Collagen / Elastin – This is an animal derived version from the protein found in connective tissue and is often found in lip plumping glosses.
  7. Tallow – This is effectively rendered down animal fat made from boiling down the bodies of slaughtered animals until it becomes like a fatty substance, this is often found in eye makeup and lipstick.
  8. Placenta – There are hormones in the placenta which promote tissue growth and are often used in skin creams, and face masks
  9. Bone meal / abrasives – This is the ground up bones of slaughter house animals (disgusting on so many levels) and is used in vitamins and supplements as a source of calcium and also in things like toothpaste.
  10. Estrogen / Estradiol – This is urine from pregnant horses and is found in most perfumes.
  11. Gelatin – This is actually similar to Tallow. It is made form boiling down bones, marrow, tendons, ligaments and skin and is often found in creamy cosmetics or nail treatments.
  12. Cholesterol – This is derived from animal fat and can also be derived from Lanolin. This is found in eye creams and shampoos.
  13. Retinol – This is a source of vitamin A and is almost always from animals and is found in anti aging products.
  14. Amino acids – These are the building blocks of protein in animals and found in cosmetics, vitamins and supplements.
  15. Beeswax – This is wax from melting honeycomb and is used in face creams, lotions, mascaras and nails products.

So I hope that helps a little bit in working your way through animal derived ingredients.

Thanks for reading