The Beauty Base Guide to Vegan Beauty

Vegan beauty may be a rising trend among influencers and beauty gurus, but for many of us, it is a total lifestyle change. Getting adjusted to the world of vegan beauty can seem complicated, but with the right mindset and information, it can unlock a world of fun by trying and testing new and exciting products.

At Beauty Base, we are proud to offer a diverse range of vegan beauty products and vegan skincare and to help you on your quest for a guilt-free cosmetics collection, we have put together an all-you-could-need guide to vegan beauty!

What is Vegan Beauty? 

As more and more people embrace a wellness-oriented lifestyle, the rise of veganism continues to flourish. You may have heard your friends talking about trends like Veganuary and wondered yourself how you may get involved, but veganism isn’t just confined to abstaining from eating and drinking animal products. 

You also need to cut out wearing anything that is not free from any animal derivatives, and this is where vegan beauty is necessary. 

To put it simply, vegan beauty products are cosmetics that are free from the following; 

  • Lanolin: Found in most cosmetics, lanolin is a  wax or ‘fat’ produced by woolly animals, such as sheep. These animals are bred to produce more wool and therefore produce more lanolin. 
  • Shellac: Worn on the nails, shellac is made from a resin excreted by the female lac beetle. 
  • Guanine: Often found in mascara, nail polish and lipstick, guanine is a crystalline material found in crushed fish scales.  
  • Tallow: A base to many cosmetics products, tallow is animal fat that comes from the boiling of an animal carcass. 
  • Non-Synthetic Hair: Most make-up brushes that are not vegan are made of natural animal hair. 
  • Carmine (Cochineal/Natural Red 4/E120/C/I/75470): Products that have a warm or red undertone, like blushes and lipsticks, commonly list carmine as an ingredient. Carmine is a red pigment collected from crushed insects. 
  • Collagen: Often used in skincare to create a ‘plumping’ effect, collagen is a protein from animal tissue. 
  • Elastin: Commonly found in mascara and some skincare products, elastin is derived from animal connective tissue, usually taken from cows. 
  • Allantoin: Found in oral hygiene products, shampoo, lipstick and skincare, allantoin comes from the uric acid of an animal. To put it simply, this is animal urine. 
  • Beeswax (Cera Alba): Beeswax can be found in foundation, but is most commonly found in products like lipsticks. 
  • Ambergris: Commonly found in perfumes, ambergris is produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. 

If you’re new to the world of veganism, some of these ingredients may come as a shock. But at least you can be comforted to know that there are vegan alternatives for all of your favourite beauty and skincare products, and you’re well on your way to discovering them! 

Vegan vs Cruelty-Free

When browsing vegan beauty products, you may have come across other such labels, like ‘cruelty-free’, but don’t let yourself be fooled by thinking these terms mean one and the same thing. 

Often, vegan and cruelty-free are terms that are used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing! 

As we’ve explained, vegan products mean they do not contain any animal products or any animal-derived ingredients. Most vegan beauty manufacturers will naturally be against testing products on animals, however, technically, some vegan products may still be animal tested. Vegan beauty describes the ingredients and not the production process. 

This means that cruelty-free makeup has not been tested on animals. Cruelty-free refers to the production process, so it is possible for a cruelty-free product to contain non-vegan ingredients. 

If you’re concerned for animal welfare, then look for products that have both vegan and cruelty-free descriptions. It may be harder to find, but not impossible, especially as the demand for the products continues to grow!

Certifications to Look Out For

You may be wondering how you can make sure that your products are cruelty-free or vegan, without having to trawl extensive ingredients lists. A simple way to find out if a product is truly vegan or animal-friendly is to have a quick glance at the brand’s website.

However, we understand this is not always possible! If you’re in a hurry, scan the products for any certification badges on the packaging. 

Look out for;

  • PETA Bunny: US-based, cruelty-free products certified by PETA.
  • Leaping Bunny: International cruelty-free symbol certified by the Cruelty-Free International organisation and  CCIC & BUAV.
  • Choose Cruelty-Free “Not Tested on Animals” Bunny: Used in Australia and certified by the Choose Cruelty-Free organisation. 
  • Certified Vegan Button: Verifies that a product has no animal-derived ingredients and has also not been tested on animals, from the organisation. 
  • Vegan Society Designation: Certified by The Vegan Society, to designate a product as being free from animal-derived ingredients or testing. 

What About Vegetarian Beauty?

Now we’ve discussed the differences between vegan and cruelty-free beauty, it may benefit you to know a little about vegetarian beauty! 

Just like with food and drink products, vegan and vegetarian labels are not the same. 

A vegetarian beauty product is similar to a vegan one in that it does not contain any parts of an animal, for example, fat or gelatin. However, a vegetarian beauty product may still contain animal by-products that are not a part of the animal’s body, like lanolin or honey! 

Again, like vegan beauty, vegetarian products are not necessarily cruelty-free, so make sure you fully understand what you’re buying before you add it to your routine.

Our Tips For a Vegan Lifestyle

Now that you understand exactly what makes a product vegan and how you can be sure to pick it out on the shelf, explore our helpful tips for living a vegan lifestyle below! 

Research, Research, Research! 

It can be quite daunting leaping into the world of vegan beauty, but as long as you do the research, it should make the transition that little bit easier. 

If you find one vegan product which you like, then explore the brands full range, as they will most likely have a lot more vegan products on offer! 

Take it Slowly 

Whatever it may be that brought you to the vegan lifestyle, it can make you feel like you want to start totally fresh. It can be tempting to throw away any beauty products that aren’t in line with your new lifestyle, but don’t try to start from scratch and expect to instantly have a new beauty routine. 

Building a beauty collection, whether it is vegan or not, can take a lot of time, work and money, as you may not be sure which products you like or that work for your skin. 

Don’t feel guilty for using the last of your products, as one runs out, simply replace it with a vegan alternative and in no time you will find your collection replenished with vegan goodness. 

This will also give you time to do the research on different brands, so you won’t find yourself panic buying a product and only discovering later that it is not as you thought. 

Ask Google! 

As you may have noticed from our earlier breakdown of ingredients, a lot of animal-derived products are given scientific and confusing names. This is often a clever technique by the manufacturer to disguise what an ingredient actually is, after all, who would buy a product with ‘sperm whale oil’ listed on the packaging? 

So, if you’re ever in doubt about what an ingredient entails, then don’t be afraid to have a quick google there and then on the shop floor!

Starting Your Vegan Journey 

We hope that our guide to vegan beauty has given you an insight into the wide and sometimes complicated world of vegan makeup and skin care! 

Now it’s time to have fun finding new products to add to your collection, so remember to research, test and invest in your new guilt-free beauty routine. 

For more inspiration, why not explore our full collection of vegan beauty and vegan skincare available at Beauty Base? Or, discover our top vegan beauty brands today!

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