3 Essential Tips for a Vegan Beauty Routine
For many people, veganism is not just a diet but a way of life, and that means bringing those values into every area of life and every product you use. Makeup and skincare is an area where many people don't realise they may need to change things up in order to keep it vegan. Many people don't realise that common ingredients are derived from animals, or that animal testing is still prolific. We've put together a simple 3 step plan you can follow to learn more about your beauty items and make your beauty routine vegan!
#1: Check the ingredient list
Take some time to learn about a few ingredients that come from animals that you can keep an eye out for in ingredients lists. If you take a look you may see some things you recognise but didn't realise were there, like beeswax, which is often used in lipsticks. However, there are also many ingredients that you might not realise are animal-derived just by the name; carmine is often used in red powders like blush or eyeshadow, and is made from bugs. Lanolin is a common skincare ingredient that comes from sheeps wool, while keratin is a protein that comes from sources like hooves or hair.
If you're ever in doubt about what has gone into a product, have a look at produts that have the Vegan Society certification. These products have been examined by the Vegan Society and signed off on, so you can trust that all the ingredients are vegan. Keep in mind though that, especially with smaller brands, just because they don't have this certification doesn't mean it's not vegan. It can be very expensive and time consuming to get this certification, and many smaller indie beauty brands aren't able to do this. If that's the case, always feel free to give them a call or an email to ask about their products - if they have nothing to hide they'll be happy to talk to you!
#2: Find out how it's tested
Don't just stop at the ingredients list, it's also important to look at how a product has been tested - of course, if it's been tested on animals then it's not cruelty-free or vegan. An easy indicator is if the product is sold in China, as China requires all beauty products to be tested on animals by law. Some brands will say that their products are not tested on animals except when required by law. Some brands specifically tell you which products are sold in China, so you can avoid those and buy other produts, or it might be that most of them are not cruelty-free and this is all just lip service. However, it is also up to your personal values whether you would use products from a brand who tests other products on animals, or if you would rather avoid them altogether.
You can look out for the Vegan Society certification (as this shows a brand has no animal-derived ingredients and does not test on animals) or the Leaping Bunny certification, which shows that the company as a whole, not just the individual product, does not test on animals. For a quick guide, you can check Cruelty Free Kitty to check if the brand you want to buy from tests on animals - they have a really convenient list so you can just search for the brand you want and see if they pass!
#3: Watch out for greenwashing
'Greenwashing' is a term used to describe brands or products that seem 'green' (eco-friendly, natural, ethical) because of their design and name, but aren't actually green at all. It is usually used as a marketing tactic, to sell to people who care about these things without having to actually create a green product. In the beauty industry, there is little regulation on branding. For example, a brand could be called 'natural organics' without being natural or organic.
And remember - not everything 'natural' is vegan! Brands can use imagery and buzzwords to give the impression that they are natural, sustainable, and kind to animals, without having to actually do any of this. Make sure to always look a step beyond the branding and see what they actually say. Just because they are not certified doesn't mean they aren't vegan, as this can be costly to small brands, but there will be other clues. Do they actually use the words 'vegan' or 'cruelty-free' anywhere, or do they just say things like 'kind to nature'?