Just The Vegan-ning: What You Need To Know About Vegan Beauty

As more beauty brands get into the vegan beauty game, it’s important to know which ones truly are as vegan as they claim to be. Image Credit: Unsplash

In a progressively conscientious society thanks to millennials demanding for products in line with their personal environmentally-friendly ethos, many beauty companies have begun jumping on the bandwagon to become vegan and cruelty-free. The list includes Estee Lauder, Revlon and extends on. It may come as a surprise to some but these beauty terms such as “vegan” and “cruelty-free” aren’t exactly interchangeable with each other. So, let’s break these terms down to set things straight.

What’s the difference between ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty-free’?

Essentially, vegan beauty products don’t contain any traces of animal ingredients, animal by-products and animal-derived products. If we’re talking specifics, then honey, beeswax, lanolin (sheep wool grease), carmine, gelatin, cow urine, placenta (sheep organs) and ambergris (whale vomit, eww) are some of the common animal-related specimens included in regular beauty products.

On the other hand, cruelty-free means the product hasn’t undergone animal testing. It is important to know the difference as it is very possible for a vegan item to have been tested on animals while a cruelty-free one can contain animal ingredients. Crazy, we know.

Testing on animals is an unnecessary and cruel act still commonly conducted in the beauty industry, hence it is vital to stop the consumption of products undergone such experiments. Image Credit: Unsplash

How do we know if products are legit vegan or cruelty-free?

Just to make the go-vegan process extra confusing for y’all, there is a lack of guidelines provided so you yourself need to do your research carefully because labels can be deceiving sometimes. Example: even if the company itself doesn’t harm animals, the ‘Required by Law’ policy enacted in certain countries (like China) would require a third-party to engage in this cruel process, if they’re to be sold there.

Luckily, the Leaping Bunny Program was introduced by Cruelty Free International to assure that zero animal testing has taken place. Also, PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program lists every registered company that’s either cruelty-free or both vegan and cruelty-free with matching logos, similar to the Vegan Society charity In Britain (supposedly the first there ever was).

Gallinee Cleansing Bar, RM65; Herbivore Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish, RM201; Wake Skincare Eye Gel, £16.95 (approx RM89.90)

So, what are the other perks that’ll benefit you as the consumer?

For starters, vegan beauty products are safer and gentler to the skin which is great for those with sensitive or condition-prone skin as opposed to animal ingredients combined with harmful chemicals, metals and other heavily processed substances contained in non-vegan beauty products that can be harsh and clog the pores. BTW, those with celiac disease will greatly reap the gluten-free benefit of these vegan goodies.

What’s more, vegan makeup can bestow upon you a much more natural, healthier visage due to the fewer, less chemically-processed ingredients used. According to board-certified New York City dermatologist Dr Debra Julian in Today, this is because the plant-extracted components in many vegan formulas possess tons more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to repair, hydrate and rejuvenate the skin. Just like eating organically fresh foods, the same rules apply to your skin — the natural-er, the better.

Are ‘Natural’ and ‘organic’ products vegan?

It is important to note that terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ do not guarantee that a product is vegan. Although vegan beauty products can be pricey, ones like Skin Fruit, essenHerb and Gallinée are actually pretty much scaled on the same price range as non-vegan products. If you’re worried about $$$, don’t fret as the growing popularity of veganism in the beauty world has led to the availability of more affordable options most can purchase like Velvet Vanity and e.l.f.

Regardless of your personal thoughts on vegan beauty, know that it is growing and it is here to stay so there’s certainly no better time than now to get with the programme.


*This article was originally published in CLEO Malaysia Mar/Apr 2020 print issue.