Vegan Skin Care 101: Everything You Should Know
You may eat muesli drowned in almond milk for breakfast and bean-filled salads for dinner, but here's the other element you may be missing in your quest to live a vegan lifestyle: skin care. We all cleanse our faces daily, most of us moisturize morning and night, and the particularly skin-conscious may indulge in weekly face masks. The question is, are the skin care products you're using actually vegan?
Vegan skin care isn't complicated. Okay, so you might compare it to a plant-based diet, forced to scan product labels to check for secret animal-derived ingredients before purchasing. But generally, following a plant-based skin care routine is quite straightforward. You just need to know what you're looking for and why you're looking for it.
While some beauty products may be listed as "vegan," it's still worth checking. Plus, some beauty brands that don't make a fuss about cruelty-free beauty may also offer vegan products. Remember: knowledge is power! (Mwahaha!)
WHAT IS VEGAN SKIN CARE?
Vegan beauty products are essentially products that aren't produced from an animal or byproducts of an animal. Following a plant-based skin care regimen means using products such as cleanser, toner and lotion that do not contain any animal products.
Believe it or not, most of the skincare products lined up on drugstore shelves are packed with animal-derived ingredients. Honey - a more obvious example - and then there's lanolin. We'll go into that in just a second.
Once you familiarize yourself with a few key ingredients that are produced from animals, you'll know which products to steer clear of and which you can welcome with open arms. Don't let the pretty packaging fool you. While those products may not contain blatant animal products such as minced meat or eggs (phew!), you should keep your eyes peeled for certain ingredients that definitely don't qualify as vegan.
INGREDIENTS THAT DEFINITELY AREN'T VEGAN
The next time you shop for moisturizer, you're going to be able to do it with a conscience. Here are some popular ingredients you may find in skin care products with animal products lurking.
You'll most commonly find this emollient in moisturizers and lotions. A fantastic moisturizer it may be, but it's anything but ethical. Lanolin comes from sheep's wool. While the sheep aren't slaughtered for their wool, they endure much discomfort and fear throughout the shearing process. That's why vegan skin care products eliminate it.
Beeswax is typically used as a thickener in eye cream, lip balm and other hydrating creams. A mixture of pollen and secretion from the gland of the bee, steer clear of it if you want to follow a vegan skin care routine.
You often see gelatin in food products, but it's also used in skin care products. It's actually the byproduct of animals used for food. In the beauty world, gelatin is yet another thickener, used in moisturizers and rich creams.
It pains us to say this because we know how much people love collagen. It is, after all, known to be a skin savior - especially in the anti-aging realm. But here's the deal breaker: it's derived from cows and fish. This moisturizing product is far from vegan.
It sounds gross, but it's true: carmine is basically just another word for crushed beetles. It's a colorant used in many beauty products, derived from beetles and avoided by vegan skincare brands.
As glamorous as silk protein may sound, it's masking its true, grotesque meaning: boiled silkworms. In order to produce this product most commonly added to hair care products, the silkworms need to be boiled to extract the milk. Ew! and Ouch!
ARE VEGAN AND CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY THE SAME?
A lot of people get confused over this. But the simple answer is: nope. Unlike vegan, which means the product contains no ingredients produced from animals, cruelty-free suggests the product or its ingredients have not been tested on animals. Thankfully, there are numerous skincare brands that are against animal testing, so you should easily be able to find a cleanser or a face oil that ticks all the animal-friendly boxes.
Just be careful not to assume a product is vegan just because it says cruelty-free or vice versa. If they state both, score!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
It makes shopping ten times easier when you know what you're looking for, so here goes. Start by searching for products that contain essential oils, because they're usually vegan. Think jojoba oil, coconut oil, almond oil. Keep your eyes peeled for natural ingredients too, such as aloe, green tea, shea butter and grapeseed extract.
One of the wonderful things about vegan products is that they tend to be suitable for all skin types. They're especially useful for those with sensitive skin, as they do not contain irritants such as parabens, fragrances, and preservatives. Try to also find products that are certified organic and contain vitamin c and vitamin e for extra skin glowing benefits.
TRY THESE VEGAN, CRUELTY-FREE PRODUCTS
Whether you're looking for something to treat your blemishes, diminish your dark circles, or hydrate your skin, the Truly Beauty vegan skincare line has something for every skin type.
1. CBD Jelly Anti-Acne Facial Cleanser: Formulated with CBD and salicylic acid, this facial cleanser targets and prevents breakouts. It is an excellent daily cleanser for acne prone skin. (Buy here, $25)
2. Matcha Scrub: Packed with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, this exfoliator helps smooth skin, calm redness, and brighten the complexion. (Buy here, $20)
3. Dew You Love Me Jelly Face Mask: A unique face mask made with biodegradable glitter for bright and dewy skin. With its retinol and vitamin c combo, it can help fade fine lines, soothe dry skin and brighten your complexion. (Buy here, $19)
4. Purple Rain Facial Oil: A great anti-aging serum, packed with rosehip oil and retinol. It's practically a superfood for your face. (Buy here, $35)
5. Eye Candy Anti-Puff Eye Cream: Get rid of those puffy eyes once and for all with this hyaluronic acid-infused eye cream. It can also minimize fine lines and dark circles. (Buy here, $28)
So there you go. That's how vegan skin care works. Complicated? Nope. Dull? Nope.
The main thing is familiarizing yourself with key vegan ingredients - and non-vegan ingredients. This way, you know what to look out for and what to avoid. It just makes everything so much easier when shopping for your facial oils, serums, and cleansers. And don't forget, the vegan skin care rule applies to body care too. That body wash or body lotion you use every day … could also be hiding some animal-unfriendly ingredients that you need to be aware of.