The Truth Behind Vegan Beauty and Why You Should Make the Switch
Carnivorous eaters will typically associate veganism with dietary restrictions and abrasive PETA campaigns. Yet, there is more to the lifestyle than plant-based meals and far less anti-leather picketing than most would imagine.
Whether transitioning into a fully-sustainable lifestyle or already what most consider a “flexitarian,” your choice of clothing, toiletries, and furniture bear more weight than you think. A once-barren community, 2019 emerged as the Year of the Vegan, with a 20% growth in the vegan food industry.
Now, the demand for all things vegan is penetrating international markets, with celebrities like Beyonce and Jay-Z doing without dairy, eggs, leather, and wool. If you’re new to the vegan beauty league, you’ll be surprised to learn how easily animal products can creep into your lifestyle!
What Defines Vegan Beauty?
The vegan beauty industry is rife with jargon, such as “cruelty-free” and “animal friendly.” Yet, because these terms aren’t regulated, many will assume they’re the same. The fact of the matter is, most vegan terms are hardly similar.
Simply put, vegan beauty refers to the absence of animal ingredients, whereas cruelty-free insinuates that the product was not tested on animals. Thus, a vegan product may undergo animal testing, while a cruelty-free product may not be entirely vegan.
Even then, cruelty-free doesn’t guarantee that there is no animal testing during every production cycle phase. The Leaping Bunny Program works to combat misleading labels by granting certification to personal care and household products that are 100% cruelty-free—even on the ingredient level.
Vegan shoppers can explore these labels through PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program or via the Vegan Society Charity in the U.K. Unlike with groceries, discerning between what is genuinely vegan or almost-vegan is more challenging to accomplish with beauty products.
Breaking Down Animal Vs. Vegan Ingredients
Discerning between animal and vegan ingredients is mostly intuitive—but it isn’t as simple as separating meat and plants. Most beauty enthusiasts fail to realize how frequently animal ingredients appear in their favourite lotions and serums—hint: snail cream should speak for itself.
Common animal-derived ingredients include:
- Honey and beeswax
- Lanolin, or wool grease
- Squalene, or shark liver oil
- Carmine, or pureed beetles
- Gelatin, or cow/pig bones, tendons, and ligaments
- Allantoin, or cow urine
- Ambergis, or whale vomit
- Placenta, or sheep organs
Yes, there is likely whale vomit and cow urine in your holy-grail moisturizer—but these ingredients are completely harmless. However, they aren’t healthier, either.
Similarly, just because a product is vegan and cruelty-free doesn’t make it better for your body. For instance, chips are vegan—we were surprised too—but not very healthy. Thus, your vegan shampoo or foundation might be rife with chemicals and fillers.
With that in mind and much to some disappointment, stripping a product entirely of preservatives isn’t a viable option either. Purely natural products will experience separation and bacteria growth, leading to contamination and loss of efficacy.
Thus, a balance of all-natural ingredients and select additives will keep a product from spoiling. Nonetheless, some brands will choose to forego preservatives entirely and instead perform a stability test. As a rule of thumb, always take note of labels that indicate shelf life.
Another term you’ll want to look out for when shopping for vegan products is “organic.” Organic manufacturers will grow products without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms.
And no—organic products won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Brands such as e.l.f. and Wet N’ Wild are just a few popular vegan beauty brands that sell cost-effective products.
Consumer Demand for Vegan Beauty Products
In history, two industry-wide events remain responsible for the shift towards vegan beauty. The first occurred in 1990 when luxury brands Estee Lauder and Revlon quit animal testing. Counterintuitively, both brands began selling products in China, where animal testing is required by law.
The backlash led to an increase in consumer demands for cruelty-free products, eventually opening the door to animal testing alternatives.
The second event is ongoing—Unilever’s initiative (the umbrella company that distributes Dove, Axe, and Dermalogica) to commit to a policy of purely cruelty-free products.
As consumers grow increasingly eco-conscious, leading brands are more meticulous about their ethical and environmental impact. In particular, younger generations are making more significant efforts to align their purchasing habits with personal values.
Yet, thousands of brands are struggling to make the switch due to the extortionate costs of clinical testing and the need to reformulate known and loved products. Coupled with consumers’ desire for instant gratification, the process is far more involved than most anticipate.
The Light at the End of the Vegan Beauty Tunnel
The vegan beauty movement continues to push consumers towards a more careful assessment of harmful ingredients, thus encouraging major industries to consider their carbon footprint. Enterprises aren’t only pursuing cleaner processes but also vegan and cruelty-free methods.
The beauty industry’s future is undoubtedly vegan, and to remain one step ahead of the competition is to stay on-trend. Notwithstanding this increasing demand for green initiatives, transitioning into a vegan or sustainable lifestyle is much like physical therapy or learning a language—it takes practice.
To kick-start your journey towards veganism, consider the benefits you’ll reap from making the shift.
1. Vegan Cosmetics are Ethical
Ask a vegan friend why they ditched the rib-eye, and they’ll most likely chalk it up to witnessing the slaughter itself. Yet, despite a general aversion towards animal cruelty, some find it hard to give up meat and animal products—why?
Most consumers are unaware of what takes place behind the scenes of animal testing. Lab animals exist in too-small enclosures and live in constant fear. After maximizing use, lab testers will typically abandon or euthanize these animals.
Making the switch means giving billions of animals a chance to thrive in their natural habitat and encourage the total elimination of a senseless and outdated process.
At Lowen’s, we commit to four primary principles: that what is safe for us is safe for you, that we source sensibly, that we keep it simple, and that we do no harm.
2. You Can Avoid Harmful Ingredients
Everyone knows where meat, dairy, and eggs hail from, but the layman will typically overlook more elusive ingredients such as ground hooves, insects, and even urine. Think of it this way—if you wouldn’t eat it, why consume it at all?
With Lowen’s, you won’t have to worry about consuming a product with questionable ingredients. We make a conscious effort to manufacture products that are both local and organic. Our best-selling Be Local Lip Balm isn’t just delectable—it’s safe!
3. Natural Ingredients are Better for Your Body
Long-debunked is the myth that plants lack protein. Plant-based diets are rich in protein-packed grains and legumes that provide the body with necessary amino acids.
When it comes to plant products, digestion time matters. The longer an ingredient remains in your digestive tract, the more sluggish you’ll feel throughout the day.
More often than not, meat products will contain at least twice as much fat as fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. Because fat molecules are more complex than carbs, they’ll take longer to digest.
On the other hand, most vegan ingredients are high in fibre, boasting quicker transfer times, especially on the skin.
Are you itching to give it a shot? Give our Butter Balm a try. Your hands, nails, and skin will thank you later!
4. Vegan Ingredients are Rich in Nutrients
Plants are a go-to source for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential components that the body loves. These nutrients enable the body to produce enough energy to facilitate crucial biochemical reactions throughout the day.
Fats, proteins, and minerals are also necessary for supporting body structures and tissues such as bones and teeth. The more nutrients your body receives, the better your body will support essential functions such as sweating, metabolism, temperature, blood pressure, and thyroid function.
With vegan beauty products, you can provide your skin with the fuel it needs to remain bright and youthful. Popular vegan ingredients include aloe vera, shea butter, and tea tree, demonstrating purification benefits that help remove pore-clogging impurities.
Products that contain vitamins B, C, and E will also boost cell regeneration, which keeps anti-inflammatory problems at bay and your skin looking vibrant.
Don’t counteract your skincare routine’s intention to reverse the effects of ageing by speeding up the process with harsh chemicals!
5. Vegan Packaging is Environmentally Friendly
Every day, roughly 8 million pieces of plastic find their way from landfills and into oceans. But shampoo and conditioner bottles are made with plastic anyway, right? Even so, most eco-friendly products, such as our Shampoo is Betta Vegan Hydrating Shampoo, are of biodegradable plastic and refillable anytime.
Most consumers are surprised to discover how much environmental harm a non-vegan beauty routine can achieve in just a year.
6. Sensitive Skin Issues Become the Least of Your Problems
Customizing a skincare routine to cater to skin conditions such as cystic acne, eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis involves a lot of trial and error. If you aren’t considering vegan products, most of your options will be too oily, too dry, or a downright nightmare.
If you’re longing to give your skin a break, going the vegan route is far more forgiving of picky complexions.
7. Your Body is Safer
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and what you eat, drink, and lather on can make or break your routine. However, unlike on the skin, chemicals and toxins inside the body can filter through the liver and kidneys before they do any real harm.
If you don’t already know, the skin absorbs at least 60% of whatever you apply to it. When you use a cream or serum on the skin, the product absorbs directly into the bloodstream and circulates freely throughout the body. Thus, the skin becomes the window into the body and is a reliable indicator of how your internal organs are looking.
Why only look good when you can feel excellent from the inside out?
8. All Ingredients are Sustainable
The ugly truth about consumerism is how much it exploits nature to keep up with demands. Even worse, the fact isn’t little known—people choose to ignore it as a means to displace responsibility.
Vegan Ingredients to Look Out For
Alongside your vegan pantry should be a vanity jam-packed with these meatless staples.
1. Coconut Oil
The most versatile skincare ingredient, coconut, reigns supreme over most natural components. Ingestible and applicable to the skin, coconut helps purge dead skin cells, fortify tissue, and protect from UV rays.
If you’ve been combatting bacteria, fungi, and even viruses on the skin, coconut possesses useful antibiotic properties that can fight off skin diseases such as dermatitis.
2. Tea Tree
Tea tree is a godsend for those suffering from breakouts, inflammation, and redness. A triple-threat in itself, tea tree is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal, causing little to no side effects on sensitive skin.
Are you longing to bid your fine lines and wrinkles goodbye? Argan oil is a vitamin-rich ingredient ideal for both young and mature skin. You’ll typically find it in facial moisturizers, cleansers, eye creams, and anti-ageing makeup.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
A potent acetic acid, apple cider vinegar, eliminates fungi and bacteria on the skin. Ingest it orally, and you can maintain a healthy level of bacteria in the digestive tract and optimize liver function.
Nowadays, you’ll find rose water in everything—from skincare products to toiletries and even beer! Its cooling and soothing properties do wonders for oily and itchy skin. This all-around ingredient can tone, rejuvenate, and soften all skin types.
Vegan isn’t just a buzzword anymore—it’s a lifestyle that lowers the risk of disease and negative impact on the environment. Overall, natural skincare is a win for the skin and all natural habitats that will remain home to thousands of thriving species.
Lowen’s is committed to providing the best possible evidence-based solutions for natural skincare products. When you shop with us, you can rest assured that you’re doing business with a brand that cares about where your favourite body butter and lip balms come from.