You Might Want to Switch to Vegan Beauty Products

Many beauty companies are promoting their products with a host of new labels from organic to vegan or cruelty-free, but what does it really mean?

Are the ingredients in your beauty products really vegan?

Basically, any beauty product that states it is vegan friendly can mean one of two things. One, the product has not been tested on animals, and two, the product contains no animal-derived ingredients.

With many beauty products containing at least 10 or more ingredients, it’s difficult for the average girl to know what you are actually using, especially when it comes to animal-derived ingredients, which are often among some of the the toughest to spot.

So, we did the hard part for you and investigated the most common animal-derived ingredients that could be hiding in your beauty products.

Here are 5 we bet you’ve never even heard of:


Also known as cochineal or natural red 4. This colorant is extracted from the body and eggs of the South American insect cochineal and used as the main colouring in lipsticks.

Alternative: If you love your red lipsticks, look for brands that are coloured with mineral or plant-based reds. Organic products use raspberries and beetroot to colour their lipsticks, like Burt’s Bees’ new natural lipstick range:


This is a protein extracted from ground horns, hooves, and animal hair – found in many anti-frizz hair products. It is used to smooth out damaged hair, by filling gaps in the hair follicle and sealing the cuticle.

Alternative: Companies such as Paul Mitchel and Schwarzkoff are now beginning to use synthetic keratin in their shampoos and conditioners, which is made from the lanolin in sheep wool. Look for the Replicine™ Functional Keratin® logo on the back of the product; if it’s displayed then you know it’s synthetic keratin.


Also known as stearic acid, tallow is a naturally occurring fatty acid usually derived from lard in pig, beef and mutton. It is used for thickening properties, giving many products like skin lotions, foundation creams and shaving creams a thick but soft, waxy feel.

Alternative: Natural and organic products are using a plant-based stearic acid, made from cocoa butter and soy beans, such as Sukin, Nude by Nature and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter.


Collagen is one of the most common ingredients used in anti-aging products. It is made from the proteins found in connective animal tissue.

Alternative: Many companies are now using a more synthetic collagen in their products. This includes Thalgo, NuFace, Mizon and The Face Shop.

Guanine/Pearl Essence

Guanine is obtained from fish scales and is used to add sparkle and shine to many shampoos, nail polish, eyeshadows and blush.

Alternative: Synthetic pearl or aluminum and bronze particles (also known as mica) are used in many organic, mineral and natural products such as OPI, Nude by Nature and Eco Minerals.

For more information, visit for a full listing of animal-derived ingredients used in beauty products.

Rebecca Wilkinson

Beauty Editor

Rebecca is a freelance content creator and beauty editor for Bondi Beauty. She is a pescatarian, who may yet become vegan. She loves all things beauty, health & travel, has a weakness for coffee and is obsessed with cats and yoga. If she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's trying out the latest beauty trend, like massaging crushed pearls into her skin for the ultimate collagen and vitamin boost to skin cells.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.