How To Identify Animal Free Cosmetics
Although generally when referring to animal free cosmetics we mean they haven't been tested on animals, it is the case that some cosmetic products do actually contain ingredients that have been derived from animals.
A list of animal based ingredients you might find in your make up, shampoo or other beauty products would include:
- Vitamin A, which can come from egg yolk or fish liver
- Animal Fat, which can be found in soap
- Bristle, which is animal hair used to make brushes - often for make up brushes
- Chitin, comes from the hard shells of insects or crustaceans (like crab or shrimp) and is used in moisturisers and shampoos
- Collagen is used in moisturisers and is derived from animal connective tissue
- Elastin is a protein found in the muscles of animals and is used in cosmetics
- Fish oils are sometimes used in cosmetics
- Glycerine (Glycerol) can come from sugar fermentation but is sometimes derived from animal fats. It's used in some toothpastes.
- Honey is sometimes used in cosmetics
- Keratin is often used in shampoos and conditioners. It's a protein found in fur, feathers, hair, hooves and horns.
- L'Cysteine Hydrochloride is derived from chicken feathers or hair. It's sometimes found in shampoo, but can be manufactured synthetically.
- Lactose is used in some cosmetics. It's milk sugar, usually from cows.
- Lanoline is the fat extracted from sheep wool, often used in cosmetics
- Musk, used in perfume. It comes from oil harvested from a gland taken from musk deer, civet cats and beaver.
- Oleic Acid is used in soap and other cosmetics. It's a fatty acid that can come from vegetable or animal fats.
- Oleostearin is a solid fat derived from tallow and is found in soaps
- Oestrogen is used in creams and other cosmetics. It is the female sex hormone and usually comes from horse urine or cow ovaries.
- Progesterone is another sex hormone found in creams and comes from animal tissue
- Propolis, comes from bee hives and sometimes found in toothpastes and other toiletries
- Royal Jelly, which comes from bees and is used in cosmetics
- Sable is the fur of the Sable Marten and used in make up brushes
- Shellac is used in hair spray and lip sealer for shine. It is an insect secretion.
- Sponge is often artificially produced but can come from the skeletons of sea animals
- Squalene comes from shark liver and is used in cosmetics and toiletries
- Stearic Acid, also used in cosmetics and toiletries is derived from the fat of sheep, cows or pigs, though a synthetic alternative is available
- Spermaceti Wax is found in toiletries and cosmetics and is a waxy oil that comes from the head of the sperm whale and also from dolphins
- Tallow is a hard fat taken from the kidneys of sheep and cattle. It's used in soap and other cosmetics.
- Urea is fairly common in creams and other cosmetics. It comes from the livers of various farmed animals.
- Wax is used in some cosmetics and can come from plants or animals
Animal TestingMany cosmetic and toiletry products undergo animal testing, or their ingredients have been tested on animals. European law states that animal testing data should be provided for new ingredients in a cosmetic, but there are more than 8,000 ingredients where the safety has already been demonstrated. Companies could use these ingredients for their products and avoid the need for further animal testing.
The BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) is one of a number of animal protection groups that have developed and operate a global Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) to help consumers choose animal testing free cosmetics. Because statements about animal testing made on the product labels can be misleading, for example stating "This product has not been tested on animals" when the ingredients within the product have been tested, the HCS alerts shoppers to cosmetics which are genuinely animal friendly.
The BUAV have a free book of cruelty free companies you can send for, and you can look for the 'leaping bunny' symbol on products that meet their standard. The list is actually very long and includes Co-op and Marks and Spencer own brand cosmetics. Also on the list are Beauty Without Cruelty, Bio-D, The Body Shop, Clearspring, Dermalogica, Earth Friendly, Faith In Nature, Kingfisher, Liz Earle, Meadowsweet, Moor Spa, Morrisons, Neal's Yard, Organic Make Up, Tom's of Maine, and many other companies both in the UK and from the US.
If you want to steer clear of toiletries and cosmetics you think may contain animal products or have been undergone animal testing, make sure to read the ingredients on the label and look for the HCS seal of approval for animal testing free cosmetics.