10 Skincare Ingredients You Might Be Using That Aren’t Vegan

10 Skincare Ingredients You Might Be Using That Aren’t Vegan
by Truly Beauty

Unfortunately, many common skincare products aren’t vegan. They're made with animal ingredients and animal by-products. The good news is, vegan beauty is growing more popular - and becoming more widespread. In other words, vegan makeup and cruelty-free cleansers are going mainstream. Finally! 

So if you're trying to follow a cruelty-free lifestyle, it's worth knowing what's actually in your favorite beauty products. Because sometimes, not everything is what it seems. 

To help you navigate the world of vegan skincare and cruelty free products, here is a list of non-vegan ingredients to look out for.


1. Silk Powder

Silk powder is an ingredient you'll find often in mineral makeup and skincare products. It is used to provide color, lubricity, and oil absorbency to your cleansers, lotions, and serums. 

The process used to create silk powder is pretty gross. Basically, it's made from silkworms that are dissolved in boiling water to make silk fibres. Ouch! 


2. Carmine (Carminic Acid)

Carmine, also known as carminic acid, is a bright red coloring used as a pigment in personal care products. It is made through a process that involves crushing female cochineal insects. Yuk! 

You'll usually find it in makeup products such as lipsticks, eye shadows, and nail polishes. But it may appear in skincare products too. 

When buying clean beauty products, keep your eyes peeled for cochineal extract. 


3. Beeswax (Cera Alba)

Often labeled as cera alba, beeswax is used in products like moisturizers, mascara, lip balms, and sunscreens. Its role is to keep emulsions from separating into their liquid components.

Many beauty brands use beeswax in their formulas, so you should definitely look out for it on ingredients lists to ensure you're using a vegan and leaping bunny approved product.


4. Honey

Honey is known for its smoothing, soothing, hydrating effects, but sadly, it's also not vegan. It's bee-derived. You'll see it in body creams, hair masks, and face masks. Many people mistake it as being plant-based simply because it's a natural ingredient. So stay aware the next time you go shopping for cosmetics! Honey could be hiding!


5. Propolis

Propolis is another ingredient often found in personal care products that's bee-produced. It's most commonly used for its hydrating and antibacterial effects. You'll find it in lotions, shower gels, and hair care products. But if you're abiding by a vegan diet and skincare regimen, steer clear of it.


6. Lanolin

Ever heard of lanolin, or seen it listed on the back of your beauty products? Yep, well, it's not vegan. 

Lanolin is a wax-like substance that comes from sheep wool. It's used in cosmetics like moisturizers, hand creams, and serums for its softening and moisturizing properties. 

Look for lanolin, wool yolk, wool fat wool way, or wool grease when buying skincare products.


7. Keratin

Keratin is a type of protein found in many skin and hair care products, including shampoos and conditioners. It's used to add strength to weak strands, and replenish moisture. You may have heard of keratin treatments containing keratin? They're used to transform dry, brittle hair. 

It's definitely not a vegan product, as it's derived from the hair, hooves, and quills of animals.


8. Collagen

You've no doubt already heard about collagen. But did you know it's non-vegan? Collagen is actually a natural protein found in skin and connective tissues. In skincare products, it's usually obtained from animal bones, skin, and tissues - especially that of cows.

Collagen is most frequently used in anti-aging products and lip plumping balms and glosses. As great as it is for all skin types, collagen is not a vegan product and should be avoided if you're trying to follow a plant-based lifestyle.


9. Shellac

Obtained from lac bugs, shellac is often used in hairsprays and nail products. In order to produce this product (in very small amounts), thousands of these insects have to be killed. 


10. Squalene

Extracted from shark liver oil, this chemical is commonly used in deodorants, moisturizers, and lip products, to name a few. It is also deemed a powerful anti-aging ingredient. Unfortunately, it's not vegan. On the plus side, you can get vegan squalene which is obtained from olives and wheat germ. However, you probably won't be able to tell from the label whether or not it is plant-based, so conduct your own research to find out. 



In addition to the ten listed above, there are many more animal-derived ingredients commonly found in beauty products. Some to look out for include animal fats and certain fatty acids. 

And on the topic of ingredients to avoid, steer clear of products that contain harmful chemicals such as sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. 



Now that you've discovered just how many skincare ingredients aren't vegan, let us show you some handy vegan swaps that work even better.

  • Coconut oil

(Product pick: Truly's GLOAT Big Juicy Lip Oil)

  • Hyaluronic acid

(Product pick: Truly's Cream Skin Face Moisturizer)

  • Jojoba beads

(Product pick: Truly's Buns of Glowry Polish)

  • Shea butter 

(Product pick: Truly's Unicorn Fruit Body Butter)

  • Almond oil

(Product pick: Truly's Goodnight Moon Neck/Chest Mask)

  • Soy

(Product pick: Truly's Unicorn Hair Repair Mask)

  • Plant-based glycerin

(Product pick: Truly's Starkisser Lip Plumping Mask)

  • Plant-based collagen 

(Product pick: Truly's Vegan Collagen Facial Cleanser)


If you're against animal testing and animal-based skincare products, turn to Truly for all your beauty essentials. We provide products packed with plant oils and antioxidants to transform your complexion and hair without comprising your cruelty free values.

As a consumer, you can actively choose to purchase products that align with your ethics. If that's you, be sure to pay close attention to ingredients lists. Because those lists reveal a lot about the practices of a company and exactly what's inside a product.

If you have any questions about vegan skincare shopping, get in touch with us! We'll be more than happy to assist!






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