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THE TOP 11 NON-VEGAN INGREDIENTS FOUND IN CHEEK PRODUCTS

THE TOP 11 NON-VEGAN INGREDIENTS FOUND IN CHEEK PRODUCTS

May 28, 2020

Whether cream or powder, clean or conventional, most cheek products still contain animal-derived ingredients. And to make things even murkier, most non-vegan ingredients can be labeled in multiple different ways and are super hard to spot. So, we’ve put together a list of the most common ingredients to watch for on your blush and highlighter labels!

As a vegan brand, we ban all animal-derived ingredients from our products. We know from experience that you do not need animal byproducts to create high-performing, incredibly pigmented, luxuriously indulgent cosmetics. In fact, let's be real - there is nothing glam or luxurious about animal by-products. So, on that note, let’s get into it!

CARMINE

Scan the label of most blushes and highlighters and you’ll find Carmine, a vibrant red pigment obtained from crushing up female cochineal insects (beetles).

Also known as: Carminic Acid, Cochineal, Crimson Lake, CI 75470, E120.

What we use: safe synthetic colorants - this ensures the highest level of purity (no heavy metal contamination).

LANOLIN

Found in many cream blushes and highlighters, Lanolin is a waxy substance extracted from the wool of sheep. While some argue that sheep aren’t harmed for this ingredient, the truth is that Lanolin is mostly a by-product of the meat industry – either they’re bred for their wool supply and slaughtered for meat later, or they’re slaughtered first and then the wool (lanolin) is harvested.  

Its purpose in cosmetics: It’s used as a moisturizer and skin softener, and often as an emulsifier (helping ingredients blend smoothly together).

Also known as + derivatives: Acetylated Lanolin Oil or wax, Isopropyl Lanolate, Aliphatic Alcohols, Cholesterin, Lanolin Alcohols, Lanosterols, Sterols, Triterpene Alcohols.

What we use: Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Zinc Stearate (a mixture of plant-based acids), and Lauroyl Lysine (an amino acid derivative made from coconut oil).

SHEEP-LANOLIN

Image: @sarashakeel, Cover image: artxman

CHOLESTEROL/LANOSTEROL ESTERS

A fatty acid compound of cholesterol and lanosterol (lanolin) that’s derived from animals. It’s used as an emulsifier in cosmetics.

Also known as: C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters 

What we use: Magnesium Myristate, a plant-derived fatty acid.

GLYCERIN

Derived from animal fats, Glycerin is used as a skin softener/smoother in cosmetics and skincare. It’s one of the most commonly used ingredients in personal care products.

Also known as + derivatives: Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerides, Glyceryls, Glycreth-26, Polyglycerol.

On labels: Some plant-derived versions are also labeled simply ‘Glycerin’ so your best bet is to contact the company or look for a certified vegan label.

What we use: Organic Rosehip Seed Oil and Lauroyl Lysine (an amino acid derivative made from coconut oil).

HYALURONIC ACID

Derived either from plants, bacteria, or animals, hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain water for deeply hydrated skin. If a product doesn’t specify the origin of their hyaluronic acid, contact them to clarify.

Also known as + derivatives: Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycosaminoglycan, Hyaluran, Hyaluronan, Hyaluronate Sodium, Hylan.

What we use: Organic Rosehip Seed Oil and Organic Jojoba Seed Oil.

rosehip-seed-oil

Image: @sarashakeel

CAPRYLIC ACID

Caprylic acid is a fatty acid found in the milk of some animals. It serves as an antimicrobial and antifungal agent, essentially helping to preserve a product.  

Also known as/derivatives: Caprylyl Glycol.

On labels: Plant-derived forms of this ingredient may also be labeled ‘Caprylic Acid’ so check with the company to be sure.

What we use for preservation: Organic Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Organic Japanese Honeysuckle Flower Extract, and Caesalpinia Sappan Bark Extract. 

LECITHIN

A waxy substance derived either from animal or plant sources. If vegan, it will usually be labeled as ‘soy lecithin’.

Purpose in cosmetics: It functions as a skin softener and skin soother in cosmetics.

What we use: Organic Rosehip Seed Oil and Lauroyl Lysine (an amino acid derivative made from coconut oil).

RETINOL

A naturally-occurring form of vitamin A, Retinol can be derived from plants, animals, or created synthetically. It’s used in cosmetics to condition and soften the skin.

Also known as + derivatives: Retinol acetate, retinyl palmitate, vitamin A. 

What we use: Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Lauroyl Lysine, and/or Zinc Stearate

BEESWAX

Found in many cream formulas, beeswax is created by boiling the honeycombs of bees. It acts as an emulsifier, helps give structure to the formula, and allows for smooth application.  

Also known as: Cera Alba 

What we use: Synthetic Beeswax, created by mixing plant-based fatty acids and alcohol to achieve a similar consistency to natural beeswax, but vegan!

honeycomb

SQUALENE

Derived from shark liver oil, Squalene is used as a moisturizing agent. Both Squalene and Squalane can be plant or animal-derived but may not be specified, so watch out for a vegan certification or contact the brand.

Also known as + Derivatives: Shark Liver Oil, Squalane. 

What we use: Organic Rosehip Seed Oil and Organic Jojoba Seed Oil

STEARIC ACID 

If derived from animals, Stearic Acid is fat from cows, pigs, sheep, and dogs + cats in laboratory settings. It's mostly used as a thickener in cosmetics.

Also known as + derivatives: Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Stearamide, Stearamine, Stearates, Stearic Hydrazide, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearoyl Lactylic Acid, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazoline, Sorbitan Sesquioleate.

On labels: Plant-based versions may also be listed as ‘Stearic Acid’ but are sometimes identified as ‘plant-derived’ below the ingredient list. Reach out to make sure!

What we use: Silica (a naturally occurring mineral found in granite, clay, sandstone, and some plants), Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate (a naturally derived mixture of minerals), and Calcium Sodium Borosilicate (synthetically created from a naturally-derived mixture of minerals).

For more information on every ingredient we use at Āether Beauty, visit our Ingredients page!

CLEAN VS CONVENTIONAL: WHICH ONE’S MORE OFTEN VEGAN?

There are myths on both sides of this question. Most often, people assume that if it's natural or clean, it's automatically also vegan. What they may not know is that animal-derived ingredients are considered ‘natural’ as they occur in nature. 

Others assume that conventional brands are more often vegan since they use mostly synthetic ingredients. The truth is, many conventional brands include natural ingredients in their formulas, both plant-based and animal-derived.  

Your best bet: read ingredients labels before purchasing and look for certified vegan symbols to verify its truly vegan.

CRUELTY-FREE VS VEGAN

Another common myth: cruelty-free products are always vegan and vice versa. The truth: cruelty-free just means it’s not tested on animals, but a brand can still use animal ingredients in their formulas. And the reverse can also be true: a vegan brand could still test its product on animals (though this situation is much less common).

 A CLEAN & CRUELTY-FREE HIGHLIGHTER WITH ANIMAL INGREDIENTS ingredient-list-clean
A CONVENTIONAL CREAM BLUSH & HIGHLIGHTER WITH ANIMAL INGREDIENTS
ingredient-list

WHY ARE BRANDS STILL USING ANIMAL PRODUCTS?

The two main reasons: cost and time. Plant-based options usually cost more than more readily available animal by-products, so companies opt for the least-costly option. Also, reformulating a non-vegan product takes time, and ultimately, money.

The more that we as consumers demand vegan products, the more motivated these brands will be to reformulate. Vote with your dollars to see a world without animal exploitation.

_____________________

We hope this list was helpful in your quest to choose vegan beauty! For a full list of non-vegan ingredients to avoid in cosmetic, personal care, food, and pharmaceutical products, visit PETA’s directory.

- Āether Beauty xo



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