Vegan skin care is no longer a hard-to-find, niche market on the fringe of the beauty industry. These days vegan skin care is the new norm, thanks to the masses of research around the benefits of going vegan for your skin, your health, the planet, and animal welfare.
Innovation in plant-based healing combined with more access to organic and cruelty free ingredients means that there are more choices than ever. And with more choices comes higher quality and more potent results. It’s a threadbare myth that vegan products aren’t as potent as non-vegan formulas–in fact, vegan products are just as (and sometimes more) potent than their animal based counterparts.
With this in mind we’ve pulled together a Vegan Skin Care 101, to remind you why Vegan is more than a trend – it’s a beauty revolution!Far-Reaching Benefits of Vegan Skin Care
The benefits of opting for vegan skin care (and the causes behind the trending demand) can roughly be broken into two primary camps, which are absolutely entwined: environmental and ethical.
In terms of the environment:
Vegan skin care has a far more sustainable and far less taxing eco footprint than conventional skin care does. This is because vegan skin care avoids the huge environmental pitfalls of animal farming, which accounts for thousands of acres of bulldozed land, dangerous chemical and pesticide pollution, and waste runoff into ecosystems internationally. Industrial scale processes of deriving animal byproducts contributes to vast land and water degeneration, a loss of biodiversity, acid rain, deforestation, and more combined greenhouse gas emissions than ships, planes, cars, and all other transport combined.
The takeaway? Using conventional beauty products that rely on animal derivatives ultimately supports animal agriculture and the environmental degradation it represents. With the beauty industry becoming less opaque, people are beginning to realize that a key part of any green living commitment has to be a refusal of animal-based skin care and cosmetic products.
In terms of ethics:
Vegan skin care makes an ethical and moral commitment to anti-cruelty and non-suffering through eliminating all animal based ingredients. The animal agriculture industry in the US and internationally has deplorably low animal welfare standards, with cramped conditions, unnatural feeding practices, separation at birth, unsanitary conditions, and ultimately, horrific slaughtering practices.
Animal testing is the second prong of animal cruelty in the conventional cosmetic industry. Major brands test dangerously high doses of neurotoxic, carcinogenic and typically lethal chemicals on a variety of species, from mice, to rats, to rabbits, to cats.
In very simple terms, industrial farming and animal testing cause animal suffering, which we at Puristry as well as an increasing number of people joining the vegan beauty movement, do not stand for. More education around the horrors of animal farming and testing have contributed to a significant growth in the vegan beauty sector, moving it from a niche market to a mainstream consumer concern. This in part can be attributed to there being more information available around animal cruelty within farming, through blogs and advocacy from an increasingly rich ecosystem of independent vegan brands.Ensure You’re Buying Vegan – and Avoid These Ingredients
There are a few common, non-vegan ingredients to avoid, although every manufacturing process is different and it’s always best to check directly with a brand if you aren’t sure. Here we’ve rounded up a few major red flags:
Lanolin is a wax-like substance used as an emollient in a variety of creams and lotions. It works as a humectant, preventing the loss of H2O from your epidermal layer. It’s derived from sheep’s wool, meaning that its production links directly into animal farming and the associated inhumane conditions and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of lanolin, look for products that rely on plant based emollients, like Coconut triglycerides and olive oil, both of which provide essential fatty acids and humectant properties, sans animal cruelty.
Carmine is used to give cosmetics a bright red hue – it’s a pigment used in lip colors and cheek products, prized for its staining properties and rouging effects. It’s derived from a process of crushing and boiling female cochineal insects (beetles), which extracts carminic acid from their outer shells. The violent and wasteful process disrupts local ecosystems and normalizes animal cruelty. Instead opt for fruit based dyes derived from beets and berries, for rich color plus major antioxidant benefits.
Stearic Acid is used in a variety of conventional beauty formulas to add body and texture to the product. A fatty acid, it’s used as a fragrance, a lubricating agent, and an emulsifier. A great deal of the Stearic Acid you’ll find is derived from animal tallow, so look for palm derived version that are 100% vegan. And if a product contains Stearic Acid and doesn’t specify that it’s vegan, chances are it’s not. Fun fact: Glyceryl Stearate, found in our Seaberry Moisturizer and Vine Therapy Serum, is plant-based!
Keratin has made waves recently in the beauty industry, for it hair and nail strengthening properties and its role in smoothing frizz. It’s a protein that occurs naturally in our bodies, and when it’s in short supply, symptoms like brittle nails and breaking hair tend to occur. It’s also included in a variety of anti-aging skin care products for its collagen rebuilding properties. But before you make your purchase, know that it’s derived from the horns and hooves of animals. While there’s no direct plant-based replacement, sea buckthorn oil and avocado oil are both full of amino acids, which are the building blocks of keratin, and essential for the maintenance of strong hair strands and robust epidermal tissue.
Armed with this information, more and more people are opting for vegan skin care, beauty, and lifestyles each year. Inform your friends and family of the facts, and stick with plant-based for your health, the welfare of animals, and the planet.