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The guide to vegan beauty

YHL takes a look at the growing demand for vegan beauty products

Interest in vegan living is at an all-time high, according to a recent report from the Vegan Society. And while more and more people are switching to a plant-based diet, many are also looking to buy vegan beauty products too.

Reports are backing up the trend

A 2021 report by the Vegan Society found that 56 per cent of shoppers want to see more vegan-verified cosmetics and toiletries. And a survey by the Fund for Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME), found that 84 per cent of Brits would not buy cosmetics if they have been tested on animals.

Ingredients to watch out for

If you want to switch to vegan cosmetics and toiletries you’ll need to start checking the labels of your beauty and bodycare products. Here are some examples of ingredients to watch out for.

Keratin is frequently found in hair products but it is derived from the feathers, horns, and wool of certain animals. Plant-based substitutes include almond oil, sea buckthorn oil and avocado oil.

Lanolin is an emollient that is derived from sheep’s wool and it can often be found in lip balms and hair products. Vegan alternatives include coconut oil and shea butter.

Glycerine comes from animal fats and is often found in products such as soaps and hair products. Look out for vegetable glycerine instead.

Casein is a protein found in milk, which is used as an emulsifier in hair products. The plant-based version is called legumin and is derived from legumes such as beans, peas, lentils and hemp.

Squalene is found in shark liver oil and is often used in moisturisers, cleansers and skincare products. Plant-derived versions are now available, so check for this on the ingredients label.

Stearic acid is a fatty acid that is found in animal and plant fats (typically coconut or palm oil). It is an emulsifier, emollient, and lubricant that is found in a whole host of beauty products, from moisturisers to make-up. Check labels to make sure that any products you use contain the vegan form.

Collagen is found in a number of anti-ageing products and is derived from the bones, skin and connective tissue of animals. Vegan alternatives include soya protein and almond oil.

N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) is derived from the shells of crustaceans, like crabs and lobsters, and is often used in exfoliators. Many vegan varieties are now available.

Beeswax is often found in lip balms, hand creams and moisturisers. It is sometimes labelled as cera alba, but vegan alternatives include candelilla wax and soya wax.

Look for the Vegan trademark

The above list is by no means exhaustive. So how can you ensure that the products you are buying are truly vegan? One way is to look for the Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark. This ensures that the product has not been tested on animals and guarantees that it does not contain any animal products or by-products. While checking for ingredients can be a minefield, this will give you peace of mind and ensure that your products are truly cruelty-free and kind to animals.

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