These 10 Non-Vegan Skincare Ingredients Come From Animals
Ok fam, this post might drop some truth bombs you weren’t expecting, but knowledge is power right?
You may be surprised to find out just how many products out there have ingredients that come from animals. It’s not very obvious because companies will often use terminology that masks what that ingredient truly is.
After all, it would probably turn customers off if the ingredients were listed as “bug juice,” “shark liver,” “crushed animal bones,” etc rather than the sneakily vague terms companies use to disguise them 🥸.
We don’t play that here at Hot Jupiter. If it isn’t good for our skin, planet or animals—we don’t want it.
Here are some common non-vegan ingredients you’ll often find in skincare, but NEVER ours:
- Carmine AKA Cochineal
Cochineal, also known as carmine, is red insect dye used to add bold red coloring to cosmetics. It is sourced from the female cochineal insect native to Mexico, Central and South America. The dye is produced by crushing and boiling a huge amount of insects simply to produce a tiny amount of dye. There’s something unsettling about crushing billions of insects each year and thinking nothing of it, all to make a product look a certain way.
Look out for words like carminic acid, carmine, natural red 4, crimson lake, red insect dye, C.I., E120, or cochineal extract. Believe it or not, you’ll find this in many processed food products, including candy, yogurt, jell-o, and sodas.
Lanolin is the oily secretion derived from wool. It’s a popular emollient in personal care products that’s typically used to soften and soothe skin while locking in moisture. While it sounds harmless to source an ingredient from the wool of sheep, it gets deeper than that.
Lanolin production is sustained through the existence of mass-produced wool, which is a slaughter industry that exploits, harms and kills sheep for profit. Sheep endure horrific living conditions in the mass-produced wool (and by association, the lanolin) industry. The lanolin industry doesn’t exist without the wool industry.
Squalane comes from shark liver oil, known as squalene, and is used for its moisturizing and restorative properties. In skincare, it is found most often in sunscreen, creams, lotions, lip balms, and face cleansers. For years millions of sharks were hunted and slaughtered yearly for their squalene-rich livers to enhance these products.
The good news is, this same molecule is also found in many plants such as olive oil and can be harvested from plants like sugarcane and soapbox trees. Many major players in the beauty industry are moving away from shark-derived squalene and opting for plant-based sources, so look for certified vegan labeling.
Gelatin is a gel-like substance that is obtained from animals. You can most often spot this lurking in non-vegan creamy skincare products. Gelatin is produced by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of various animals. Enough said.
Ah, the collagen hype. Collagen is a fibrous protein from the bones, cartilage, tendons, and other connective tissues of animals. Collagen products are often marketed as a beauty solution to help improve your skin elasticity, reduce visible wrinkles and increase blood flow to the skin. Keep in mind, these beneficial claims are not even proven.
Most collagen products are derived from either cows or fish. However, our bodies naturally produce collagen, and although this production naturally decreases with age, you can protect your natural collagen in ways that don’t harm animals—such as daily sunscreen use and eating antioxidant-rich foods.
Keratin is an animal protein that comes from ground-up horns, hooves, feathers and hairs of various animals. You may recognize this as a popular ingredient in hair and nail products used as a strengthener. In skincare, it is primarily used in scrubs, cleansers and lotions.
- Guanine AKA Pearl Essence
Guanine, AKA Pearl Essence, is another word for crushed up fish scales. It’s what gives a product its glimmering aesthetic. The scales are scraped off, soaked in alcohol and crushed to make a crystalline essence that diffuses light. Think glittery nail polishes, shimmery eyeshadows, shiny mascaras, etc.
Shellac comes from a resin secreted by female lac insects in India and Thailand. Similar to guanine, it can give a product its luster. It is used to add shine to nail polish and hair sprays, emulsify moisturizers, bind mascara and protect fragrances from oxidation.
- Stearic Acid
Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid used in a variety of cosmetics. This can be a tricky one, as it can be derived from plants, animals, or synthetically made. When animal-derived, it comes from the fat of cows, pigs, sheep, etc. It’s mainly used to improve the scent, texture, and spreadability of a formulation. You’ll catch this hiding in body and skincare products like soaps, creams, deodorants, baby lotions, sunscreens and moisturizers.
Lastly, there’s beeswax. At first glance, it seems somewhat innocent. You may wondering what’s the harm in taking beeswax. It’s not like actual bees are being put in products, just their beeswax, right? Well, think of it like this—everything bees work so hard to produce are for them, not for us, and all of it is specially created by them to help them survive and thrive.
Beeswax is made by bees for a very specific purpose—to protect the honeycomb walls that store their honey. The honey they produce is their only food source. At many commercial bee production companies, farmers steal the honey from bees and replace it with sugar water, which is not sufficient nutritionally for their needs.
Choose Vegan Skincare.
At Hot Jupiter, we don’t believe in taking what’s not ours. So, you can rest assured that when you buy our products, you are supporting an ethical approach to skincare. Compassion over cruelty is our jam 💋.