Please note – this post was published in September of 2010. The information listed below is no longer accurate for companies noted here. Please be sure to check reputable sites for further information regarding current status.
When I first became a vegan, I thought that the hardest thing would be to eat a vegan diet. HA! When in doubt, it is easy to eat fruits and vegetables, and then I know that I can’t go wrong. But, premade items, particularly face and body care and household cleaning solutions, can present a serious problem. Finding good vegan skincare and beauty products isn’t easy. Animal ingredients like carmine, beeswax, and lanolin are very common, and some brands use things that you would never think would be in your face cream. There is also confusion about what is meant by “cruelty free.” For the most part, “cruelty free” means only that the finished products are not tested on animals. It does not mean that the items do not contain any animal derived ingredients.
For example, Clinique is a cruelty free company, but they use many animal ingredients. Virtually every lip item or blush has either beeswax, carmine, or both. Even the eye products aren’t vegan save. In fact, most of their mascara contains animal ingredients. A request for information about the mascara was responded to as follows:
“Lash Doubling Mascara may contain carmine
High Impact Mascara contains melanin from a marine animal’s ink sac. (sepia officina)
Lash Power Mascara contains melanin (fish)
High Definition Mascara contains melanin (fish)
Long Pretty Lashes Mascara contains beeswax and carboxymethyl chitin (shellfish)
Lash Curling Mascara contains melanin (fish)
Naturally Glossy Mascara contains beeswax and carmine”
There are many cruelty free skincare and beauty companies. Searching the cruelty free list at http://www.caringconsumer.com is a great starting point. For vegan products, you have to get a little more investigative, because even though some companies say they are vegan, they define it differently and thus do use some animal ingredients.
Origins indicates that they use no animal ingredients, but they exclude honey and beeswax from that definition:
From the beginning of Origins, it has been our philosophy to formulate with non-animal ingredients. We do use beeswax and honey in some of our formulations. Beeswax is naturally produced by bees during the process of making honey. These ingredients come from nature-driven renewable sources. It remains our mission to continuously strive to make Origins products free of animal ingredients. Also, we do not use carmine in any of our product formulations.
Smashbox replied to my query with what I thought was a slightly confusing stance:
“Technically all smashbox products are considered vegan. “Animals” is a term widely recognized to mean mammals. Our cosmetics are free of animal ingredients. Some vegans may also consider “insects” to be animals. This is a gray area and is even debated by PETA followers. Some time ago, smashbox determined that our official interpretation of “No animal ingredients” really means “No animal ingredients…insects are not animals”. We have continued to use Carmine, Beeswax, and Honey in cosmetic formulations. Our brushes are not cosmetics so technically are not subject to this claim.
Clarins and Chantecaille similarly indicate that they use no animal products, but do have carmine and beeswax listed in their ingredients.
So, the bottom line is that, even if the site says their items have no animal ingredients, you need to check the ingredients list and/or email them regarding exactly what is in the products. However, there are a few companies and websites that have clearly marked vegan sections or items for beauty and skincare. Some that I use include:
Vegan Companies and Websites or Companies with Clearly Marked Vegan Sections
100% Pure (http://100percentpure.com) – not everything is vegan but it’s pretty easy to find what isn’t
Acne.org regimen by Daniel Kern (http://www.danielkern.com/)
Beauty Without Cruelty (http://www.beautywithoutcruelty.com/)
Cocoon Apothecary (http://www.cocoonapothecary.com/)
Ecco Bella Cosmetics (http://www.eccobella.com/) – there are a few items with carmine listed on their Q&A page and 1 concealer with beeswax
EverydayMinerals (http://www.everydayminerals.com) – not all items are vegan, check ingredients
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (http://www.fyrinnae.com)
Gabriel Cosmetics and Zuzu Luxe Cosmetics (http://www.gabrielcosmeticsinc.com)
GeoGrafx Handcrafted Cruelty Free Cosmetics (http://www.geografx-cosmetics.com)
Lollibomb Beauty (http://www.welovelollibomb.com/)
Monave Minerals (http://www.monave.com/) – potted and liquid lip balms are not vegan
Sobe Botanicals (http://sobebotanicals.com) – not everything is vegan, but most is – check item listings
Sevi Cosmetics (www.sevicosmetics.com)Urban Decay (http://www.urbandecay.com) – see Vegan section
Von Nature (http://www.vonnatur.com/)
White Rabbit Beauty (http://www.whiterabbitbeauty.com)
I’ll add to this post as I think of more. Happy shopping!