Vegan beauty is a hot trend at the moment. Whether or not the buyers are actually living a Vegan lifestyle, the demand for vegan beauty is growing. I think one of the main reasons is that consumers want cruelty free beauty and this is immediately associated with vegan claims.
So what is vegan and what isn’t vegan in terms of beauty? You may be surprised by the answers. Many cosmetic brands are taking full advantage of the perception of vegan and what that means for the brand.
Firstly, Vegan does not mean natural!
Your product can be 100% synthetic and it can still qualify for vegan certification. This is why it is so easy for make up brands to be vegan. The main criteria for vegan beauty is that it must not contain any animal ingredients or have been tested on animals.
The animal testing is another topic all on its own. In short, the rules to qualify for not tested on animals is all about the date on which animal testing was last done. Also, this is not for finished cosmetics, these have not been tested on animals in decades. When we talk about animal testing and getting the necessary cruelty free logo, it mainly refers to the actual ingredients used to make up the cosmetic products. Yes, there is a box that needs to be ticked for the finished product, but that is the easy tick.
Animal testing used to be done as part of the stringent safety tests cosmetic ingredients have to undergo. Since most countries have banned animal testing other methods are used to complete the safety tests.
I am not going to get into debates about animal testing in this article. I personally am very against animal testing, but this article is about vegan cosmetics.
So, animal products and animal testing is not allowed. Every single cosmetic ingredient currently used was tested on animals at some point, especially older ingredients, even natural ingredients. Glycerine has been used in cosmetics for ever, so when it was first used it would’ve undergone animal testing to be qualified as safe. Glycerine is considered not tested on animals as it was tested so long ago.
The cut off date for animal testing claims is usually kept confidential by the certifying companies. In general, the ingredient must not have been tested on animals from around early 2000’s. Some use an earlier date, others a bit later.
Take coconut oil, decades ago this was tested on animals for safety. It was done so long ago that it qualifies as not tested on animals. It is also plant based, so 100% vegan certified.
Silicones like dimethicone, also tested on animals long ago. It is not natural, it is synthetic, but no animal derivatives or products, so also 100% vegan certified.
Brands know that consumers will automatically link vegan to natural or organic products but it’s not the truth. You can have a 100% synthetic cosmetic, with parabens, mineral oil, silicones etc and it can still be certified vegan.
If you are mainly concerned about whether animal products have been used in the cosmetics you buy, then you can trust the vegan label. If, however, you want it to be natural and vegan, make sure that you look for the natural label as well. Do not rely on the brands to fill in the blanks for you. They all want to sell their product and will market it in whichever way they feel it will get you to buy their product.
This all boils down to properly reading the claims and ingredients listed on the product. Don’t only read the claims that are written in large, bold font.
Just a reminder that even if the cosmetic product is vegan and 100% synthetic, does not mean it is not safe. Cosmetics are still safe products. Do not assume safety or unsafety based on claims.
Fully natural products may not be safe. Homemade, preservative free, 100% natural claims may not be as safe as you think. Click here for more about preservatives and how this ties in with product safety.
Remember to read the labels and if you aren’t sure, ask, don’t assume!