Guide de la cosmétique Vegan

Vegan cosmetics guide

You have surely noticed, more and more cosmetic products are pronounced with the mention "vegan". However, no law does this name and although there are certificating organizations, we sometimes find ourselves in front of Greenwashing's flagrants. Here are some items to help you choose your vegan cosmetics as well as possible.  

What is a vegan cosmetics? 

By definition, a vegan cosmetics is a product that contains no Ingredient of animal origin. So far, so good. By extension, a vegan product should not lead to animal suffering : animal tests are prohibited, both in terms of finished product, ingredients.

And that's where it gets complicated ... a shampoo can be vegan without being cruelty-free. Just like a face cream can be cruelty-free but contain ingredients of animal origin.

What are the ingredients of animal origin used in cosmetics?

1. Animal fats
Coming from pork or beef, they are much used in the manufacture of soaps, as they are cheaper than olive oil.
Inci: Tallow Acid, Oleic Acid, Oleyl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid

2. Gelatin
A substance from the skin and bones of animals (often pork), which is found, among other things, in toothpaste.
Inci: Gelatin, Gelatine, Gelatina

3. Collagen and elastin
Fibrous protein made from animal or fish skin carcasses, which has supposed properties against dehydration of the epidermis. He is especially present in anti-wrinkle creams.
Inci: Collagen, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sus (Skin) Extract / Elastin, Elastinate, Hydrolyzed Elastin

3. Fish oils
Rich in omega 3, their softening and anti-inflammatory active ingredients are found in certain facial treatments and hands.
Inci: Fish oil, fish glycerides, piscum lecur oil, pisces extract, piscum

4. Glycerin
When its origin is not specified, in most cases it is animal glycerin, cheaper to produce than vegetable glycerin. It is used for its moisturizing properties.
Inci: glycerin

5. Keratine
Protein mainly resulting from hydrolysis of poultry feathers, used in hair products.
Inci: Keratin, Hydrolyzed Keratin

6. Squalane
Hydrating agent from the shark liver, which contributes to overfishing. It can also come from olive, like the one found in natural and organic cosmetics.
Inci: Squalane, Squalene, Pentahydroxysqualene, Squali Lecur Oil

7. Carmine
Red coloring for lipsticks, made from crushed cochenillars.
Inci: Carmine, Carmine, CI 75470

8. Chitosan/Chitine/Chondroitine
Extract from the shell of crustaceans or cartilages/scales of fish, which serves as a capillary fixer.
Inci: chitosan, chondroitin

9. The ingredients naturally produced by animals
Such which eggs, milk and hive products can be incorporated into our cosmetic products. We like to make the difference between an ingredient of animal origin (having resulted in the death of the latter) and an ingredients from animal exploitation such as honey and milk, not necessarily led to suffering. 

How to be sure that a product is vegan?  

Keep in mind thatNo law officially enhances the vegan appellation. Also, in order to be sure that a product is vegan, two options are available to you:

1. Learn to decipher the list of ingredients (The famous Inci list with its Latin names) having in mind that the same ingredient can be of animal or vegetable origin without it being specified on the packaging (ex: squalène, glycerin, collagen ...) if the Origin of the ingredient is not clearly mentioned, it is often an ingredient of animal origin (the latter being much less expensive)

2. Search for an official vegan label on the packaging.

To allow consumers to find their way, there are labels delivered by independent organizations.
Beware of false labels that can be misleading!


Noticed : If no label appears on the product, that does not mean that the product is not vegan! Indeed, the label is a (paying) choice made by the company and not an obligation. In this specific case, you will have to learn to recognize Animal ingredients In the INCI list.   

Is a vegan product still cruelty-free?

Let us first remember that European regulations have prohibited animal tests since 2013 for finished products. The cruelty-free argument is often a false argument mobilized by brands to sell.

It may, however, be that certain ingredients have been tested on animals, upstream of the manufacturing process, by ingredient suppliers or that animal tests are practiced on foreign markets (until May 1, 2021, the China imposed animal tests)

Here is a small comparison of the different vegan & cruelty-free labels and the guarantees they provide.



The different vegan labels

Is a vegan cosmetics still natural?  

NO !! Watch out for vegan greenwashing: a vegan product is not necessarily natural and even less organic. This only means that the product does not contain ingredients of animal origin. Do not have the products stamped vegan which sometimes hide formulas stuffed with synthetic, or controversial ingredients. Petrochemical derivatives and other synthetic ingredients are not of animal origin and are therefore in accordance with the vegan appellation. On the other hand, they can be harmful to skin health and the environment. So beware of Greenwashing and make sure that the product is also natural;

Is an organic product still vegan? 

No. There are ingredients produced by the animal authorized in organic cosmetics. This is the case, for example, of the bee wax, recognized for its moisturizing properties, incorporated into many organic certified treatments.


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