Many of us start our journey into veganism simply by making dietary changes. We begin to eliminate dairy, meat, and animal byproducts. This is easily done in the beginning -- we swap out cow’s milk for oat milk, pick tofu instead of steak, and glance at nutrition labels to make sure nothing suspicious sticks out.
The further we dig into our veganism, however, the more we realize that it’s not just about diet; it’s a lifestyle.
Total vegans avoid animal byproducts not only in their diets, but also in every product they consume.
While it’s obvious you won’t catch a vegan donning a fur coat, it might be less obvious to understand why they avoid certain lip balms. (Spoiler: it’s the lanolin)
Once you’ve ruled out animal products, you’re left to deal with animal testing.
For a product to be certified vegan, it must not harm an animal in any part of the creation, development, testing, manufacture, or production process.
Essentially, if a product is certified 100% vegan, no animal was ever involved.
Animals aren’t just used for food. Animal products are heavily prevalent in beauty and cosmetic products. From skin care to makeup products, the industry is filled with animal byproducts.
Surprised? Even if you knew that some companies test their products on animals, you may not have known that some of your favorite items may actually contain an animal ingredient.
If you’re committed to only using products that are certified vegan, the team at The Detox Market can help. One of the pillars of our company is providing products to consumers that are 100% cruelty-free; and we define “cruelty-free” with the strictest of terms.
Additionally, we’ve got a few foolproof ways you can check your products to make sure they’re vegan.
1. Look for “Cruelty-Free” on the packaging.
Cruelty-free is a term that is loosely defined. Here are some examples of what some companies may consider “cruelty-free.”
- Final product not tested on animals. Much of what constitutes animal product testing happens at the ingredient testing level. A company may advertise that their product is “cruelty-free,” but they may only be referring to their final product. In other words, the product’s ingredients may have been extensively tested on animals, but the final product was not.
- A company claim that they do not test on animals. Be aware that when you see verbiage like “we do not test on animals” on a package, it does not necessarily mean the product you are buying hasn’t been tested on animals. It could mean that they have hired another company to do their product testing, and that company may or may not test the products on animals.
- Cruelty may be subjective. What a company deems “cruelty-free” may not align with the definition of cruelty free as determined by PETA. For instance, mink eyelashes are sometimes labeled cruelty-free if they are made from fibers swept out of a mink’s cage or combed off of the animal, but PETA does not consider the caging of animals for use of their fur a safe and acceptable practice.
How can you know if your products are actually “cruelty-free?” You can look for the Leaping Bunny seal on products.
The Leaping Bunny seal ensures that no animal was involved with the product you are purchasing.
At The Detox Market, we uphold some of the strictest standards of cruelty-free guidelines in the industry. If a product is promising and effective but involves animal testing at any point in the process, we will not carry it. We want our consumers to be able to shop our marketplace with peace of mind and a clear conscience.
There is, however, a difference between products that are cruelty-free and those that are vegan.
2. Look for the Certified Vegan Seal and learn what it means.
Vegan products are typically products that do not contain any animal product or byproduct, no animal-derived GMOs, and also do not allow any animal testing at any point in the production process. These standards only apply to products that are certified vegan, so it’s important to look for the certification on the label of the product you are purchasing.
If a product is certified vegan, then, you can be certain it is also cruelty-free.
Some products that are labeled vegan, however, are not certified vegan, and this is where things get a little tricky. We’ll use the lip balm again as an example.
Say you want to purchase a lip balm that is vegan. You find one you like, but it does not have the certified vegan seal on the label. As such, you inspect the ingredients list, looking for the inclusion of something you know is derived from an animal, like beeswax.
When you don’t see anything that looks animal-derived, you decide it is probably safe. Later, you find out that the reason your lip balm isn’t vegan is because it contains the emollient ingredient lanolin, which is derived from sheeps’ wool.
Because there are so many ingredients in our products that come from animals, it’s important to be familiar with them so you can avoid them.
3. Avoid these animal-based ingredients.
Finding every animal-based ingredient in your products can be challenging, but if you take a chance on products that aren’t certified vegan, you’ll need to become pretty familiar with the ingredient label.
Here are ten ingredients lurking on the label that are animal-derived and non-vegan.
Lanolin. This emollient is added to lip balms, lotions, and creams to help them moisturize. Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, and is what keeps their coats shiny and healthy.
Squalene. This is another animal-derived ingredient that is added to products to help them produce moisture. This ingredient is derived from shark livers. (Not to be confused with squalane, which is plant-based and derived from olives.)
Shellac. Shellac is a substance secreted from female lac insects and added to products like mascaras and nail polishes to help them bind together.
Glycerine. Most glycerine is created from animal fat. Not all glycerine is animal-derived, but much of it is, so unless a product is certified vegan or specifically states that the glycerine contained in it is plant-based, it’s best to pass.
Casein. Casein is a milk protein that is sometimes added to hair and skin products. Casein can also be labeled as sodium caseinate or simply caseinate.
Guanine. If you love shimmer and/or cosmetic products that offer you an ethereal look, check your products’ labels for guanine. This ingredient is derived from shiny fish scales, and gives products a glittery, shimmery finish.
Carmine. This is an ingredient added to cosmetic products to produce color. Carmine, also labeled “natural red 4”, is harvested by crushing cochineals, insects that are indigenous to Latin America.
Collagen. One of the most popular ingredients in anti-aging products, collagen is derived from animal tissue like bones and ligaments. (Instead, try a supplement with plant-based ingredients that help support your body's natural collagen production. The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost is vegan and contains skin-renewing ingredients like maqui berry, açai, papaya, blueberry, etc.)
Keratin. The vast majority of keratin is harvested from the horns of certain animals and from animal hair. It is used in hair and nail products to give the products the ability to strengthen human hair and nails. Look for the amino acid form of keratin instead, like in Ilia’s Limitless Mascara.
- Castoreum. Rounding out our list of animal derived ingredients is castoreum, which is chemical compound excreted from the anal glands of beavers. Yes, we’re serious. This compound has a musky, oaky smell and is added to many cosmetic products to give it a particular scent, most often vanilla.
Avoiding these ingredients when you see them can help you avoid products that aren’t vegan and aren’t kind to animals.
4. Buy from reputable retailers.
Ultimately, you can make sure you are getting vegan products by buying from retailers who are transparent about their products’ ingredients and manufacturing practices.
The Detox Market is committed to transparency with our consumers. We want to make sure that the products we offer not only outperform products you’d find elsewhere, but also meet your own standards of quality and integrity.
If you’re interested in switching to vegan and cruelty-free products, a great way to dive in is with the monthly The Detox Box.
The Detox Box is a monthly subscription box curated by our beauty experts. Each month we will feature some of our favorite cruelty-free products from one of our awesome brands, giving you the opportunity to test drive cruelty-free and vegan products to find which ones you love.
If you’re searching for the biggest selection of cruelty-free, vegan, and green products available, The Detox Market is your one stop shop.
You can depend on us to do the research for you, and find the products that are not just cruelty-free and vegan, but also are most effective and perform as they should.