For many vegans, veganism is not just about avoiding animal-based products in a diet plan, it is a lifestyle choice, which actively promotes the use of non-animal ingredients.
This means ensuring that products, such as cosmetics, are created with vegan principles in mind.
In response to this growing demand, there are now many skincare companies marketing vegan and cruelty-free products.
And it is becoming easier to identify if something is vegan and cruelty-free, as the packaging is often identified with a ‘V’ sign and a leaping bunny icon.
If you are vegan or have simply started taking more of an interest in the ingredients in your skincare, then you may have found there are a number of products you simply cannot use anymore.
Sometimes it is possible to swap your traditional moisturisers and serums for specially designed vegan skincare, and on other occasions, it is important to look at your whole skincare routine completely.
Whether you’re already a vegan or are simply curious about vegan-friendly beauty, we’ll give you a quick lowdown on what these products can do for your skin and the world around you.
Vegan makeup products are those that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.1
Ingredients that are often derived from animals (or the habitat of animals) include:
There are many benefits of vegan beauty, whether you class yourself as a vegan or not.
If you are environmentally conscious and want to do more to help the ecosystem, then a good place to start is to check whether or not the ingredients in your makeup are vegan-friendly.
To ensure you are using a vegan product, whether makeup or skincare, it is vital to check the ingredient list.
Beeswax and honeycomb are often used to make non-vegan mascara. They keep the product smooth and prevent a sticky formula.
Collagen can also be used to make the lashes appear thicker.
A vegan mascara, on the other hand, can use substitutes such as vegetable oil or plant-based blends of waxes.
To find a natural mascara, you should check if it is free from synthetic ingredients.
Some mascaras are also infused with lash strengthening oils.
By contrast, vegan lipstick and vegan eyeshadow use iron oxides or fruit and vegetable dyes.
For extra moisturization in lipsticks, some vegan options contain shea butter, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and vitamin A and E to help reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Vegan makeup brushes do not use animal hair. They can be made from synthetic fibre instead since natural fibres are derived from living organisms.
Synthetic fibres have known to be more hygienic thanks to its smooth surface, which makes it easier to clean the brush and keep it free from dirt.
Vegan makeup brushes can give you a smoother finished look because they are designed to allow you to efficiently blend your makeup.
Great skincare is important. An effective beauty routine could help soothe blemish prone skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and help to keep your skin in overall good condition.
So what are the best ways of going about this, whilst adhering to vegan principles?
As cleansers are designed for daily usage, you should find one that has natural elements and is not too drying.4
This is because cleansing too frequently could lead to an unhealthy stripping of the skin’s protective barrier.
Lactic acid is a good source of moisturization in any vegan, cruelty free skincare product.
After cleansing any excess dirt and makeup from your face, you might like to exfoliate as they help to remove any dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores.
Using a natural exfoliator, which includes ingredients such as bamboo, salt or bentonite clay, can help to give the appearance of a smoother complexion.
Following exfoliation, the next step is to find a suitable toner. Excess oil can often clog pores which then leads to breakouts, and this is where a good toner can help.
Natural ingredients in a toner, such as rose water, can help to balance pH levels and soothe sensitive skin.
For blemish-prone skin, witch hazel is a good choice for a toner as it aids in balancing oily skin.
After toning the skin, a serum can be applied.
Natural elements such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin C can help to plump the skin after it has been exfoliated.
Once or twice a month, you could also treat yourself to a face mask.
Whether it is a clay, sheet or peel off mask, ensure that it is packed with vegan friendly ingredients and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
And if you are environmentally conscious, you might like to check that any sheet masks are also biodegradable.
There are a great number of vegan cleansers on the market, as well as microfibre cloths that can help to remove dirt and make-up using the best cruelty-free face cleanser: water.
This option is also zero waste, which means it is a good one for the conscious.
Many skincare products contain glycerine, which can come from animal fat, and is therefore avoided by those seeking a vegan lifestyle.
Collagen is another skin ingredient that stems from animals and fish, whilst squalene comes from shark liver oil.5
Whatever you choose to clean your skin, you should make sure that you replenish any lost moisture and soothe the skin with a vegan moisturiser.
This will help to keep it healthy and glowing both day and night.
Choosing a vegan skincare routine is easier now than it has ever been and is no longer something that only applies to those who choose not to eat meat.
If you are looking for vegan skincare products, it is always recommended to research which vegan ingredients and products are out there.
It is now something that is considered by those who want to cut down on the use of animal by-products, reduce their carbon footprint or decrease the waste that they produce.
Read more: Your ultimate guide to vegan beauty
Read on for our top benefits of vegan skincare...
Usually made from natural or organic ingredients, cruelty-free and vegan skincare products tend to be gentler on the skin.
Those with sensitive or allergy-prone skin may find these products especially beneficial as they also tend to contain fewer ingredients, less fragrances that aggravate any skin conditions or cause reactions.6
Along with a vegan diet, choosing plant-based skincare is kinder to animals as they do not use animal by-products, and are usually produced without animal testing.
However, keep in mind being vegan-friendly does not guarantee that all vegan products have not been tested on animals.
To be certain, go for products that are both vegan and cruelty-free.
If you’re trying to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, choosing vegan products may also have an impact on the environment.
According to a 2010 report by the United Nations Environment Programme, animal products are a key cause of environmental problems including climate change, water depletion and soil erosion.7
Fortunately, if you’re vegan, your skincare routine won’t look too different from non-vegan versions.
And as the lifestyle becomes more popular, more and more vegan organic skincare products will become available for you to try out yourself.
Our health hub features 7 of the top vegan beauty buys for those who want to incorporate more cruelty-free skincare into their lives.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 19 January 2022
Joined Holland & Barrett: Aug 2005
Michelle joined Holland and Barrett in 2005 as a Customer Services Advisor where she worked for a total of 6 years.
She left H&B to pursue a career within the public sector and later returned in 2013 where she continued to support the Customer Services department and further developed by qualifying as an advanced product advisor working alongside a team of nutritionists.
She then moved to buying as a FNSS Raw Materials Coordinator before joining the Regulatory Affairs Department in 2017 as a Regulatory Affairs Associate. After 3 years in this role, she then moved to the Beauty team where she expanded her knowledge to focus on the beauty industry.
Michelle is now working on both own-label and branded beauty lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU, UK and International Cosmetics Regulations.
Michelle has 3 children who take up a lot of her time, but when she has a few spare minutes she enjoys walking, fitness and cooking.