As the hype for vegan skincare continues to grow, consumers are generally more aware and want products that are safe and gentle on the skin. Lately we’ve seen more and more brands coming out with various products boasting powerful ingredients as its main selling point, but the skincare industry is not always transparent. So how do we make sure we are buying products that do not contain animal products or byproducts and are not tested or tried on animals?
That’s where Gamanity comes in, because we champion for transparency as much as you do! We also believe that skincare shouldn’t be complicated. As an entirely natural, vegan, and cruelty-free skincare brand, we’ve come up with a list of non-vegan skincare ingredients you should look out for in your skincare regime.
Common Non-Vegan Skincare Ingredients
Derived from honeycombs that our favourite buzzing bees work hard for, beeswax usually acts as an emulsifier in heavy creams. This natural thickening agent forms a layer on the skin that is acclaimed to protect your skin barrier.
However, beeswax may be an ingredient to look out for, especially for those with acne-prone skin as it clogs pores and suffocates sensitive skin.
Also known as Vitamin D3, this ingredient is derived from sheep’s wool. It’s widely used for its moisturising properties but this oily substance is not exactly the best ingredient for those with sensitive skin.
Lanolin has been known to cause allergic reactions, skin irritations and rashes in certain people. It’s of extra concern especially for those sensitive to wool-derived products.
Now this one might surprise you, as it is such a coveted ingredient in the skincare community for its powerful anti-aging benefits. You’ll find retinol, a derivation of Vitamin A in various forms like serums and moisturisers. Most retinols found in your skincare products are synthesised, but it may also be animal-derived. It’s always worth checking with the brand you’re buying from!
Without proper knowledge on the usage of this active, retinol may cause skin sensitivity, redness, and peeling, particularly when first starting its use. It may not be suitable for sensitive or easily irritated skin types.
Although it's a gentle exfoliant and scar reducer for many, it can cause stinging or irritation for those with sensitive skin, especially when used in higher concentrations. Lactic acid may be produced from milk and is found in animal tissues as well (although most lactic acids used for cosmetic purposes are synthesised).
This ingredient is traditionally sourced from shark liver oil. Yes, you read that right. But the advancement of technology has made it possible to have squalene derived from plants like olive and amaranth.
Nonetheless, animal-derived squalene might pose ethical concerns, and in rare cases, allergic reactions may occur.
Did you know that this coveted humectant could actually be derived from animals? Glycerin is generally safe to use but because of its chemical components, it may draw moisture from your skin, especially when used in dryer climates. Be careful when incorporating this ingredient into your regime as it may cause dehydration.
Don’t worry, at Gamanity, we only use vegetable-sourced glycerin in our products!
We all know that collagen is widely used for its skin-plumping effects and to boost that youthful look, but they are typically derived from animal tissues like skin and bones. Products with collagen infused are generally on the higher price point but most collagen molecules are actually too large to effectively penetrate the skin. This means that you may think you are paying more for its collagen-boosting benefit when all it can do is add moisture to your skin.
This active ingredient can be found in animal fats and oils and may also be known as oleate. They are usually found in moisturisers as it acts as a thickening agent.
This is another ingredient those with acne-prone skin should pay particular attention to, as high concentrations of oleic acid can be comedogenic, potentially causing clogged pores and breakouts.
As the name suggests, silk peptides are derived from silk worms. These silkworms are killed in the process of obtaining the silk threads used in many highstreet skincare. The inhumane way it is produced coupled with the fact that silk peptides may cause skin irritation is an obvious reason why we should avoid them in our skincare products.
Also known as animal fat, stearic acid is actually taken from pigs, cows and sheep's stomachs. They are commonly found in moisturisers and deodorants. Similarly, a high concentration of this acid may clog pores leading to breakouts.
If you want an alternative to a safe, vegan and cruelty-free deodorant, check out this one produced by us (it’s backed by science!).
Similarly, elastin molecules sourced from animal tissues might be too large to penetrate deeply into the skin. Just like collagen, it offers temporary benefits but does not necessarily boost skin elasticity long-term.
A famous by-product of bees, honey is known for being a powerful humectant. However, it may cause irritation particularly in those with pollen allergies.
Ever looked at a product and admired its pearl-like appearance? That’s what guanine does! Although it boosts a product’s aesthetic appearance, guanine is actually obtained from fish scales and may cause irritation in some people.
Used in bath salts, sunscreen, face creams and many more, gelatin is derived from animal collagen and can potentially clog your pores. It’s so important for those with sensitive, acne-prone skin to avoid pore-clogging ingredients to prevent future breakouts.
Recognising these ingredients can be a challenging feat, especially for the average consumers. We must go through the ingredients list with special care, and buy from brands that are completely natural and vegan. After all, your skin is your largest organ and it deserves safe, effective ingredients. As many non-vegan skincare ingredients can be harmful for the skin, it's often better to stick with natural and vegan skincare products.
Lee B, Warshaw E. Lanolin allergy: history, epidemiology, responsible allergens, and management. Dermatitis. 2008;19(2):63-72.
K. MotoyoshiI, Enhanced Comedo Formation in Rabbit Ear Skin by Squalene and Oleic Acid Peroxides, British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 109, Issue 2, (1 August 1983), Pages 191–198