(Image courtesy of Pezibear)
With many products from environmentally-conscious brands, a product’s “vegan-ness” is proudly displayed on its packaging. Unfortunately, however, with many makeup and skincare brands, the consumer is left to scan a virtually never-ending list of ingredients for additives that catch their eye. Milk, honey, beeswax — those are self-explanatory ones to avoid, but what if your options aren’t quite as clear-cut?
Unless you carry around a comprehensive list with you and painstakingly scan the back of every item, you simply won’t know. And I would argue that nobody really has time for that. I can, however, provide a brief list of some of the most common animal ingredients found in makeup and skincare to give you a jumping point.
Carmine. Also known as cochineal dye, carminic acid, natural red 4, and many others, carmine is a coloring derived from cochineal insects. These insects are boiled alive, then ground and cooked to extract their red dye. Carmine is found in everything from food to makeup to skincare and beyond. Be extra careful when purchasing red lipsticks, blushes, and nail polishes — carmine is often lurking.
Guanine. If any of your products contain sparkles or shimmer, there’s a good chance they contain guanine. Guanine is derived from fish scales, and can also be found under the name pearl essence.
Hyaluronic acid. This ever-popular anti-aging remedy is often derived from umbilical cords, joint fluid, and rooster combs.
Lecithin. This waxy substance is derived from eggs, but can also be derived from soybeans and sunflowers.
Unfortunately, this list barely scratches the surface of all the animal ingredients potentially in your beauty routine. Still, coming armed with just a few common ingredients can help you be pickier with your products in the future. For an exhaustive list of animal ingredients, PETA has an awesome one here.