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Why Go Vegan? How to Choose a Vegan Beauty Product

6 mins

Rahul Bhatia

Should You Go Vegan? Vegan beauty products do not contain any animal-related ingredients. In fact, they are better for your skin, hair, health, and the planet.

People spend a lot of time being careful about what goes into their bodies in terms of the food they eat without giving a second thought. 

However, whatever we put onto our skin actually gets absorbed into the body and enters the bloodstream. As a result, you may want to reconsider the products and ingredients you’re exposing yourself to through beauty products. 

When you choose vegan beauty products, you’re able to make a positive change for your skin, hair, health, and the entire planet. 

What Is Vegan Beauty?

Vegan beauty products by definition do not include any animal ingredients, animal by-products, or any other animal-derived ingredients. These types of components are more common than you’d think in beauty products. 

Take bee products, for instance. Beeswax and honey are popular ingredients in beauty products that are not exactly vegan-friendly. However, this is just an obvious example. 

There are less obvious animal ingredients and by-products present in beauty products, for instance, collagen, keratin, elastin, and biotin are commonly used in skincare products and most of the time they come from the “slaughterhouse waste” of cattle, while carmine is derived from bugs. 

After all, you don’t want to put components termed as “slaughterhouse waste” in or on your body. 

Vegan Beauty Compared to Vegetarian, Cruelty-Free, and Natural Beauty

There’s a lot of confusion out there when it comes to the difference between different terms like “vegan” beauty versus “vegetarian” beauty, “cruelty-free” beauty, and “natural” beauty. 

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between all of these terms: 

Vegetarian Beauty

Vegetarian beauty products do not contain components that were part of an animal. However, they still might contain ingredients made from animals, like makeup brushes with animal hair or lip balm with beeswax. 

The key difference between vegan brands and vegetarian brands in makeup is the same as it is with food -- vegetarianism doesn’t involve killing an animal, whereas vegan doesn’t involve anything produced by a living or killed animal. 

Cruelty-Free Beauty

Cruelty-free makeup is another term that gets thrown around within the world of vegan beauty. Cruelty-free beauty products are not tested on animals. 

Many vegan beauty products may be considered cruelty-free, but it often requires more research. This is because some brands may offer vegan products while conducting animal testing on other products. 

These are probably not the best brands to buy from based on ethics that are questionable at best. With a bit of searching, you can find a cruelty-free brand that also works with your vegan lifestyle. 

The Leaping Bunny certification will tell you if a brand is cruelty-free, while the Vegan Certified seal indicates that a brand is both vegan and cruelty-free. 

Of course, these seals aren't foolproof. 

For example, a cruelty-free company in the U.S. may test on animals to be sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required, or individual ingredients may have been tested on animals by the ingredient suppliers even if the finished products were not tested. 

It's always good to do independent research on a product before making a purchase, just to be sure. 

Natural/Organic/Non-Toxic Beauty

Things get a bit more confusing when it comes to natural, "pure," organic, and non-toxic beauty products. Natural beauty products only contain ingredients that are considered to be natural rather than synthetic. 

However, natural ingredients aren’t necessarily safe as tons of “natural” substances out there are harmful to the body. 

On the other hand, organic beauty products are made up of ingredients that are grown and produced without herbicides and pesticides. You can think of organic makeup as similar to the organic fruits and vegetables you see at the grocery store. 

Finally, non-toxic beauty products only utilize ingredients that have been tested and proven safe for human use. Gluten-free beauty also exists and can be very beneficial for people with gluten intolerance who feel uncomfortable applying lipsticks with gluten.

As you can see, all of these terms may sound the same, but they have different meanings regarding beauty products. 

Why Use Vegan Beauty Products?

There are countless benefits of using vegan beauty products -- some of which you may have never even considered! 

Lowers The Demand

Using vegan formulas helps to lower the demand for non-vegan and animal-tested beauty products. By taking this seemingly small step, you are able to personally save countless lives of innocent animals that would otherwise be used for testing or used to formulate products. 

Benefits The Planet 

Vegan beauty products are not just better for animals, they are also better for the planet. This is because vegan beauty brands and vegan skincare brands prioritize ethical business practices beyond animal products. 

These companies are more likely to utilize recycled products for packaging purposes to contribute to a sustainable and eco-friendly brand. 

Better For Your Body

Using vegan beauty products is better for your body and your skin. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin. Harmful chemicals and synthetic ingredients found in traditional beauty products like sulfates irritate and damage the skin. 

Making the switch to vegan products can help you look better and feel better about the impact of your product choices. 

Are Vegan Beauty Products Expensive?

Many people assume that vegan beauty products have to be more expensive than non-vegan beauty products since they’re better for you and better for the environment. The truth of the matter is that vegan beauty products are available at a wide range of prices. 

Although you may need to shell out a bit more compared to products offered by low-end and drugstore brands, it’s definitely possible to find quality, vegan beauty products on a budget for under $10 -- you just need to know where to look and what to look for. 

How to Tell If a Beauty Product Is Really Vegan

There’s a deep mistrust of the beauty industry -- and for a good reason! The FDA doesn’t necessarily regulate the ingredients in beauty products as carefully as they should. 

Additionally, they do not regulate many claims by beauty products to be “natural” or “clean” since there’s no real definition of these terms. 

The good news is that reputable organizations other than the FDA certify beauty products as vegan.

There are currently four different third-party certifications offered for vegan beauty products:

  • Vegan Action
  • Vegan Society
  • PETA
  • Vegetarian Society

Keep a lookout for their seals on your beauty products before you buy them to make sure that they’re actually vegan. Many of these companies also have a list of cruelty-free brands or vegan brands on their websites.

If you want to take your due diligence to the next level, you may also want to check out the ingredients included in the specific product. 

Be on the lookout for any (potentially) animal ingredients like beeswax, lanolin, keratin, biotin, elastin, and squalene, keeping in mind that some of these (such as keratin and biotin) can be plant-based. Additionally, you can check out the brand’s website to learn more about its policies and ethics.  

Where to Buy Vegan Beauty Products?

You might assume that vegan beauty products are hard to find -- but the odds are that you’ve just never noticed them before. 

From eyeshadow palettes to cream blushes to highlighters, a brow pencil, and perfumes, vegan beauty is all around us. There are even vegan nail polishes in all of the shades you could want.

Vegan beauty products can be bought anywhere from big box retail stores to luxury beauty stores. However, perhaps the best place to buy vegan beauty products is online. 

When you buy from vegan makeup brands online, you can see the ingredients, benefits, and reviews of the product before you purchase it. 

You can also conduct thorough research on the brand as well to ensure that they are truly vegan-friendly. Finally, buying vegan products online cuts out the middleman of retail and can help you get a better price for high-quality products. 

The Best Vegan Beauty Products in 2021

Starting your vegan beauty journey from scratch can be challenging; thankfully, we have compiled this list of some of the best vegan beauty products in 2021:

The Best Vegan Shampoo

WOW Skin Science’s Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo wins the award for the best vegan shampoo. This shampoo includes vegan-friendly ingredients like natural apple cider vinegar, argan oil, almond oil, saw palmetto extract, and nettle leaf extract. It effectively clarifies and detoxes the hair from excess oil and buildup. 

The Best Vegan Conditioner

WOW Skin Science’s Coconut Milk Conditioner wins the award for the best vegan conditioner. This conditioner includes nourishing vegan-friendly ingredients like coconut milk extract, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil. It nourishes and strengthens hair to combat dryness and frizz. 

Coconut Milk Conditioner

The Best Vegan Face Wash

WOW Skin Science’s Ubtan Face Wash wins the award for the best vegan face wash. This foaming face wash includes vegan-friendly ingredients like chickpea flour, turmeric extract, rose water, saffron extract, almond extract, and sandalwood oil. It thoroughly cleanses, exfoliates, and brightens the skin with a built-in silicone brush. 

WOW Skin Science’s Ubtan Face Wash

The Best Vegan Lotion

WOW Skin Science’s Coconut Milk and Argan Oil Lotion wins the award for the best vegan lotion. This lotion includes vegan-friendly ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera extract, coconut milk extract, argan oil, and sweet almond oil. It nourishes the skin without leaving behind a greasy residue. 

Coconut Milk and Argan Oil Lotion

The Best Vegan Face Mask

WOW Skin Science’s Activated Charcoal Face Mask wins the award for the best vegan face mask. This face mask includes vegan-friendly ingredients like activated charcoal powder, licorice extract, and alteromonas ferment extract from the French Polynesian Sea. It effectively removes toxins like pollutants and impurities from the skin to reveal a revitalized and healthy glow. 

Activated Charcoal Face Mask

The Rundown on Vegan Beauty Products

With the proper knowledge and research, you can switch to all vegan beauty products to benefit your health, skin, and the entire planet. 

Be sure to check out all of the different vegan-friendly, paraben-free, and cruelty-free products offered by WOW Skin Science


Keep Animal Testing Out of Your Shopping Cart | Humane Society

7 Fantastic Health Benefits of Eating Vegan | PETA 

These Common Animal Ingredients Used in Cosmetics Are Not Vegan | Ethical Elephant

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Rahul Bhatia

Rahul is the published author of "Heads Or Tails" and Quora writer with over 1.6 million views. He is a keen observer who enjoys the simple joys of life. He strongly believes true beauty is not how beautiful your face is but how beautiful your heart is.

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