So you've switched your diet however are totally confused and don't know where to look to find more information about and source vegan skincare. Here is our guide which runs through the ingredients to avoid and why, plus we shine a spotlight on our favourite vegan skincare brands, handmade in the UK and owned/operated by Vegans.
Why natural and vegan skincare?
I switched to natural skincare a couple of years ago when I started looking at ingredients labels and having absolutely no idea what each ingredient was! Having switched to a vegan diet and often being shocked at the number of artificial and strange ingredients used in processed food, it wasn't long before I started looking at eco toiletries, skincare and make up. Not only artificial and toxic ingredients such as parabens (hormone disrupters) and SLS (skin irritant), I also avoid animal ingredients such as shellac (a resin from the lac bug), Squalene (shark liver oil) and animal hair (badger, mink, fox) used in make up brushes for example. Make up is not a necessity and some skincare items are not either. We choose to wear it so we should choose kindly. Why harm another living creature for a product that we may not even really need! I also think that if we all really knew the artificial ingredients used in toiletries and make up, everyone would choose natural as you wouldn't knowingly want to coat your face in known carcinogens. It's much gentler and softer on your skin, especially if you have sensitive or acne prone skin.
What is the difference between vegan and cruelty-free?
Vegan toiletries and skincare differ from cruelty free as it relates to the ingredients!
Cruelty free is when a product and it’s ingredients have not been tested on animals however 80% of the world still allows animals to be used in cosmetic testing. (The EU has banned this practice since 2013).
You can look out for the Leaping Bunny globally recognised programme on High St products. Smaller brands find it hard to join the Leaping Bunny programme as it is expensive to register however they can still be cruelty free, like those on my store.
Some brands do not test on animals directly however for example to sell in China, the authorities carry out multiple animal tests. True cruelty free companies refuse to sell in China due to this.
Ingredients to avoid
- Beeswax/Honey - Commonly used in the natural skincare world in body balms and lip balms.
- Shellac - Obtained from bugs and used in nail products.
- Glycerine - Commonly used in High St soaps, hair care, make up and moisturisers.
- Lanolin - An oily residue from wool which is used in a lot of High Street products.
- Retinol - Found in anti-wrinkle and eye creams. Our products use Vitamin A from plants.
- Lactic Acid - Lactic acic can be derived from animal tissue and milk instead of sugar beet.
- Other ingredients to avoid/be wary of as both animal and plant based versions exist. Casein, Squalene, Guanine, Oleic, Stearic Acid, Carmine, Collagen, Elastin & Keratin.
The difficulty of shopping on the High Street
Firstly you need to avoid non-vegan ingredients however I really believe in supporting brands that have the same ethical principles. To me, particularly in the beauty industry (as we don't necessarily need beauty items compared to food) choosing a vegan beauty product is more than just ensuring that the ingredients are free from any animal derived ingredients. Of course it needs to be cruelty-free too and this is where it can be difficult to know if brands exploit animals through allowing animal testing.
Why is it difficult: Unfortunately, the ASA considers cruelty-free to be evaluated at a product level, rather than at brand level. Many well known beauty brands are owned by a larger corporations such as Proctor & Gamble who still test on animals.
"Increasingly the lines are being blurred by NGOs (such as leaping bunny) stamping their approval on products owned by parent companies continuing cruel animal experiments by labeling them as ‘cruelty-free’, and even animal-tested products being labeled as ‘vegan’. Aussie Haircare is owned by P&G – a company that commissions animal experiments on a gross scale (we don’t like to use the word ‘testing’ as this downplays the enormity of suffering) when ‘required to’ by law. This isn’t good enough."
Claire Palmer, founder of Animal Justice Project, speaking with Planet Based News
For example, Procter & Gamble brands include:
- Always menstrual products
- Fairy washing up liquid
- Febreeze odour eliminator
- Gilette razors
- Head & Shoulders haircare
- Olay beauty products
- Oral B dental care
- Tampax tampons
Our favourite vegan skincare brand
I am super excited to stock the tropical scented skincare range, handmade by Viola, founder of Lani. I love supporting Viola and her brand, as like The Kind Store, they support support animal sanctuaries and are a true vegan brand for the animals. I definitely recommend following Lani on Instagram for a mix of skincare and vegan activism.
"My interest in setting up a vegan, cruelty free beauty brand started after I went vegan in 2013. I found that most of my products that I used daily, were neither vegan, cruelty-free or made with ingredients I couldn't even pronounce. I wanted simple, affordable, cruelty-free products that smell and feel amazing, and really work so I set out to make my own. I have always loved the simplicity and efficacy of natural cold-pressed oils, and spent a year researching, playing, testing and trialing before I was happy with my first product: The Tropical Hair Treatment. It’s the product I launched the brand with in 2014 and has become a global bestseller." Viola, founder of Lani.
A potent facial elixir, award-winning Super Serum stars a nutrient-rich blend of tropical oils and divinely scented dawn blooming jasmine to leave your skin incredibly healthy, smooth and luminous. Camellia seed oil helps to enhance skin’s elasticity and calm inflammations. Marula oil creates a protective barrier and locks in moisture keeping skin plump. Watermelon seed oil is highly detoxifying and helps to dissolve excess sebum. Rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin C, Passion fruit oil supports anti-ageing and boosts luminescence. Jojoba oil tackles dry skin and balances oily complexions and Jasmine flower is renowned for its regenerative capabilities while its delicate fragrance restores a sense of calm.Silky, and almost weightless, it absorbs quickly to reveal a hydrated, balanced and nourished complexion.
Facial Cleansing Powder - A water free cleanser which is definitely the best smelling product we stock!
The first of it's kind, Lani's Blue Mint Facial Cleansing Powder, smelling like a creamy, oaty, minty milkshake and turning a magical blue foam on contact with water this cleanser is unlike any other. This is literally the best smelling product we stock!
Benefits: Leaves skin super clean yet never stripped. Coconut derived foam gently lifts away impurities, toxins and light make-up. Balances troubled complexions with soothing oats. Anti-oxidant powerhouse blue spirulina feeds skin vital nutrients. Turns a magical blue upon activation with water. Smells like a creamy, minty milkshake.