By Rebecca Hitchon
Each November marks World Vegan Month, a time for the estimated 75 million vegans worldwide to celebrate and advocate their lifestyles. A vegan diet may seem like a challenging lifestyle change to make but veganism doesn’t just stop at food. A more conscious and natural take on your beauty routine, in the form of the increasingly popular vegan skincare, has a hoard of benefits for your skin and the planet.
Google searches for ‘vegan beauty’ in the UK have doubled every year since 2012.
What is vegan skincare exactly?
Vegan skincare products contain zero traces of animal by-products or ingredients. Some of the most common animal derived ingredients include milk, honey, beeswax, lanolin from sheep’s wool and collagen from animal bones, skin and tissue. They can be found in products such as moisturisers and cleansers.
There are 2 ways to tell if a product is vegan:
1. Familiarise yourself with key animal derived ingredients so that you can check product packaging. PETA have an extensive list of animal ingredients, spanning from those in food to those in skincare and cosmetics.
2. Certified vegan products feature The Vegan Society’s trademark (displayed below) on their packaging. This shows that they do not contain any animal derivatives and have not been tested on animals.
However, do not assume that a product being vegan means that it is cruelty free. It is still possible that this product may have been tested on animals. Luckily, animal testing is banned in Europe but until now, brands that sell in China have taken part in third party animal testing there, for example L’Oréal.
You can ensure that the products you buy are cruelty free by looking for the leaping bunny logo below on packaging or in online product information.
What are the benefits of vegan skincare?
The production of vegan skincare products is much friendlier towards the environment and of course animals than that of non-vegan skincare. In fact, animal products are a main cause of problems like extensive land use, pollution, water usage and soil erosion.
So what about our skin?
Well, because vegan skincare products tend to be made of natural, usually plant-based ingredients, the products themselves are chemical-free. They are not full of additives or the pesticides animals are exposed to from farming. These products are therefore gentler on the skin and less likely to clog pores. This is why so many people with sensitive skin have made vegan skincare a part of their beauty routine. Natural, plant-based skincare also contains a huge dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which hydrate and protect your skin.
Since 2007, Sukin has been a trailblazer for opposing synthetic ingredients that are unkind to skin, animals and the environment. The Australian brand is a strong believer that everything you need to nourish your skin can be found in nature.
Animal derivatives like beeswax are swapped for plant wax and natural plant oils take the place of non-renewably sourced oils, among other things. Sukin is transparent and has published a list of product ingredients so you know you’re definitely opting for vegan substances.
The brand is also standout in its emissions reduction efforts, with all products being 100% carbon neutral.
Sarah Brown founded Pai after her skin unexpectedly became sensitive and acne-prone. With so many beauty products claiming to be organic, she struggled to find skincare that was genuinely 100% plant-powered and not full of synthetic, irritating ingredients. She sought to change this with Pai, learning from her own experiences about which ingredients are harmful to sensitive skin.
These include alcohol, artificial fragrance and high levels of essential oils. Pai’s products have been certified as natural and organic. This is due to their sustainably sourced ingredients, plant and flower-derived colours and fragrances, recycling efforts and protection of wildlife and biodiversity.
By handmaking small batches of product in their Hertfordshire studio, Evolve Beauty ensures that the antioxidants in their organic skincare are fresh, along with the natural fragrances.
With over 30 years’ combined experience in creating natural products, the brand’s development team knows a thing or two about how to do vegan skincare right. Some of the plant-based ingredients that they use include natural retinol from the rosehip fruit and moisturising coconut peptides.
Evolve source ingredients from fair-trade, sustainable sources and reduce their carbon footprint by keeping these sources near to their studio.
PHB, which stands for pure, handmade, British, is a family business that is home to the world’s largest range of natural, vegan, cruelty free and alcohol free beauty products. All ingredients used in the brand’s products are 100% naturally derived and ethically sourced, such as the organic shea butter they source from a women’s cooperative in West Africa.
PHB’s support provides a direct income to these women and gives them opportunities. With such strong commitments to ethicality, PHB also donates 20% of profits to worldwide charities improving human and animal lives.
Using vegan skincare is an easy way to cultivate a more natural beauty routine and looking at our pick of brands, it is something that won’t cost you the earth either. Not only is it going to make a positive difference to your skin but it is better for animals, the environment and even people on the other side of the world.
Will you be making the switch to vegan skincare? Let us know in the comments below.