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The rise of vegan beauty and cruelty-free cosmetics

PUBLISHED: 11:07 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:02 31 July 2018

Vegan beauty products are on the rise with consumers PICTURE: Getty Images

Vegan beauty products are on the rise with consumers PICTURE: Getty Images

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If you’re already avoiding animal products in your diet and wardrobe, you wouldn’t tolerate a beauty regime that was cruel to animals either.

People are very conscious of the products they are using on their skin PICTURE: Getty ImagesPeople are very conscious of the products they are using on their skin PICTURE: Getty Images

According to The Vegan Society, in the last 10 years, the number of vegans in Britain has increased from 150,000 to more than 540,000. But what originally started as a lifestyle focusing on what people were putting into their bodies, has now grown focusing on what we’re putting onto our bodies – especially our hair, skin and face – too.

Driven by social media and campaigns like Veganuary, consumers are embracing a more wellness-oriented, eco-conscious lifestyle. Many brands are have adapted their ingredients to better reflect this consumer trend, and as a result, (according to a recent report by The NPD Group) the sales of vegan beauty products in the UK have increased by around 38 per cent in the past year. When it comes to beauty, what does vegan mean? Well, put simply, a vegan beauty product is one that a) isn’t tested on animals and b) contains no animal derivatives.

Dominika Piasecka, spokeswoman for The Vegan Society, said: “Choosing vegan and cruelty-free beauty products is part of the vegan lifestyle, but many non-vegans strive to avoid unethically produced cosmetics, too.

“A Vegan Society survey last year found that one in five Brits check if their toiletries are tested on animals, meaning an increasing number of shoppers seek to make ethical purchasing choices. And buying such products is important as it shows that there is demand for them.”

Some of your favourite beauty brands may not be as animal-friendly as you think PICTURE: Getty ImagesSome of your favourite beauty brands may not be as animal-friendly as you think PICTURE: Getty Images

Michelle Hartley, founder of Eco Beauty Crew, believes that this is just the beginning of the rise in popularity of vegan beauty products. She said: “The increase in vegan diets is a promising indication that people will also be looking to make sure their beauty products are as equally eco and animal-friendly. There is so much choice available now, with brands increasingly stocking vegan products.

“We expect this to continue to grow as more people understand and question exactly what they are putting in and on their bodies. This is a positive step in the right direction, as we all work towards leading lives that are better for ourselves and the environment.”

But why have vegan beauty products become so popular?

Vegan alternatives are available for all types of beauty and skincare products PICTURE: Getty ImagesVegan alternatives are available for all types of beauty and skincare products PICTURE: Getty Images

You’re not using animal by-products

It’s likely you’ve never thought about your makeup bag or bathroom cabinet being full of animal products. But think about it now – how did your favourite lipstick get so bright red and how does your go-to moisturiser really make your skin so soft? Carmine (regularly used to give cosmetics a red colour) is made from crushed beetles and Squalene (used to make products feel soft) is often made from shark’s livers.

On the high street you’ll also find animal fat in cream blushers and eye shadows and guanine (crushed fish scales) used to give some makeup, such as bronzers and eye shadows, a shimmery effect.

There are however some other animal-derived ingredients are not vegan but are seen as ethical to use by many brands. Lanolin is a wax that comes from the wool of a sheep’s fleece once it’s been sheared (which has to happen annually), while by-products such as honey and beeswax are often stated to be ‘responsibly sourced and sustainably made’. These ingredients divide opinion but those happy to use them should look for products that are registered vegetarian. Like vegan beauty products, these haven’t been tested on animals.

Animal testing is banned in the EU PICTURE: Getty ImagesAnimal testing is banned in the EU PICTURE: Getty Images

There’s no testing on animals either!

Since 2013, testing on animals has been banned throughout the EU. This means any beauty product bought in the UK is, by definition, cruelty free. However in China, animal-testing is required by law for all cosmetics sold on its soil. You might wonder how this affects you in the UK, but as many of the big brands you see in shops have made their products available in China, your favourite beauty brand might not be as animal-friendly as you think!

Choosing vegan cosmetics avoids supporting animal use and also shows that there is a market, and in turn a demand, hopefully encouraging the development of similar products from other brands.

How animal-friendly is your makeup bag? PICTURE: Getty ImagesHow animal-friendly is your makeup bag? PICTURE: Getty Images

They’re better for you

Vegan beauty products are usually made with a lot less ingredients and, combined with all-natural formulas, make products far easier for your skin to cope with. For those with sensitive skin, or conditions such as rosacea or acne, vegan beauty products are a lot less harsh, and a lot more soothing.

They’re better for the environment

Vegan beauty often thinks of its carbon footprint too, with most brands aiming to use less plastic or entirely recyclable packaging. This is obviously much better for the environment.

Veganism is moving into beauty products because of a high demand from shoppers PICTURE: Getty ImagesVeganism is moving into beauty products because of a high demand from shoppers PICTURE: Getty Images

Want to make sure the products you are choosing are completely vegan? Currently there is no standardised labelling system for vegan products, but many organisations have created their own - The Vegan Society’s sunflower, Vegan Action’s heart and PETA’s bunny are all trusted logos to look out for.

Vegans, as well as  many non-vegans strive to avoid unethically produced cosmetics PICTURE: Getty ImagesVegans, as well as many non-vegans strive to avoid unethically produced cosmetics PICTURE: Getty Images

Four great vegan products to try

White Glo Pure & Natural Toothpaste

This whitening toothpaste is made with organic ingredients and is free from harsh chemicals. The natural cleansers and whitening properties in White Glo Pure & Natural’s formula help to gently remove stains, yellowing and plaque from teeth enamel without damaging it, and each pack even comes with a free eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush! £6, Boots.

Fat & The Moon Mermaid Mask

Made with natural ingredients including Irish moss and aloe vera, the Fat & The Moon Mermaid Mask will hydrate and revive dull looking hair, while softening and adding body too. However, this multi-functioning product is not only for use on hair as it wonders on your face and body, making it a perfect mask for those with pimples and dry or combination skin. £16.50, www.liveinthelight.co.uk

Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure Castile Soap

This versatile liquid soap has 18 uses and comes in nine varieties, including Peppermint Green Tea, Eucalyptus and Almond. From one bottle you can clean your body, your mouth and teeth, your fruit and vegetables, your bathroom and kitchen, your clothes and even your pets! From £2.15 for 59ml, www.drbronner.co.uk

Noughty Colour Bomb Shampoo and Conditioner

Protecting and enhances your hair’s colour, Noughty’s Colour Bomb Shampoo and Conditioner are the perfect vegan-friendly duo. Each bottle is packed full of goodness, with ingredients such as antioxidant-rich sunflower oil and green rooibos extract boosting suppleness and helping to reduce fade. £6.99 each, Superdrug.


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