Beauty: Animal By-Products To Watch Out For

Wouldn’t it be great if an ingredient was labelled as an animal by-product’? Sadly that’s not the case and some brands try really hard to be deceptive. Plus have you checked out beauty ingredients before? They all usually have really long confusing names like butylated hydroxyanisole.

It’s not always easy to spot whether your product is vegan or not. So, to make your life easier I’ve picked out some common ingredients to avoid when looking for vegan beauty products.  

Beeswax (cera alba, cera lava)

This is taken directly from a beehive and can be used in eyeshadow, foundation or lipstick. It is taken from worker bees and can take six or more pounds of honey to create just one pound of wax.

Tip: There are tons of vegan options, including paraffin, vegetable oils and fats, carnauba wax and candelilla wax.


This deep red colour is taken from crushed insects. It’s known by many different names such as cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470, E120 and carminic acid.

70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye.

Tip: Here’s a whole list of cruelty makeup brands to wear, none of which contain crushed beetles.


This is a fat that’s created from the grease in sheep’s hair (gross I know). It’s often used in lotions & lip balms.

Tip: Look for cosmetics that use plant and vegetable oils instead.


Collagen is naturally produced in animals and is taken from dead animal’s bones, tissue and skin. It’s often used in anti-ageing products due to its plumping effect.

Tip: There are products for your every need that don’t contain gelatin. Skip the ones that include it on their ingredient list to keep your face animal-friendly.


Used to give you luscious hair this is a protein that is naturally found in mammals, it’s generally taken from:

  • hair
  • wool
  • nails
  • hooves
  • claws
  • horns 

Tip: There are plenty of vegan options out there to keep your hair silky and smooth, such as hair products containing almond oils and soy proteins. Look out for products labelled “vegan keratin.”

Guanine (CI 75170)

Created by scraping the scales off dead fish and soaking them in alcohol to create a solution. This gives extra shine and sparkle to your blusher, eyeshadow and nail polish.


Not to be confused with squalane, the cruelty-free alternative made from olive or sugar cane. Commonly used in moisturisers and cosmetics this ingredient is made from the oils found in sharks livers.

Tip: Look for products containing only vegetable oils, or grab one of the lotions on this list.

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