What is Vegan Makeup?
(Click the image above to view my spontaneous chatting about vegan and organic makeup at Vegan Vibes Mount Maunganui with Amy from Becoming Plant Based. NOTE: It will take you to facebook in a new window)
If you’re a vegan or want to avoid harming or involving animals in your makeup routine, here’s what to look for in your skincare and makeup purchases.
There are oodles of great vegan products out there. While this article’s not about how to determine if a product is effective, safe or will suit you (ask me about that in a makeup lesson), here’s how to determine if it’s vegan.
Vegan means two things:
1) It’s from a cruelty-free brand
2) It’s made without any animal-derived products.
Firstly: Cruelty-free. Looking for the leaping bunny or on PETA’s website isn’t always helpful as many brands choose not to pay the fee to use that or similar logos. But avoiding brands that export into China is an easy start. They cannot be considered totally cruelty-free as China legally requires and conducts animal testing on behalf of all foreign makeup companies exporting their products into China.
However – and this is what the authors of many online articles and blog don’t realise – since 2014 companies can get around this requirement by manufacturing their products in China – like best-selling US brand Mary Kay Cosmetics does – but the government can still pull products from their production lines for random, one-off animal testing at the government’s will. I guess that’s communism. So brands who manufacture inside China for the Chinese market are much better, but still can’t be considered 100% cruelty-free because of this chance.
I’m personally happy to support Mary Kay Cosmetics with my purchasing dollar because they: Do not test or request animal testing themselves, have made effort to get around the Chinese regulations by manufacturing within the country, provide a career opportunity for women where womens and workers rights have historically not been a priority and are putting pressure on and working within China to advance the use of non animal tests. This is seen through their involvement in IIVS – more info below.
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
The Maori whakatauki (proverb) that asks the question: ‘What is the most important thing in the world’ is answered with ‘it is people, it is people, it is people.’ Unlike the extremist actions of PETA, I put human welfare above animal welfare. While I would rather no animal testing at all, I value the ethical treatment of people above ethical treatment of animals, if the choice has to be made. To me, it’s more important women in China are able, with the unique opportunity through Mary Kay as a direct sales company, to get out of poverty, grow in confidence as entrepreneurs and provide for their families, than not operate in China at all because of the risk of a small amount of animal testing.
You might disagree – and that’s ok. This blog is my opinion.
Knowing more about Mary Kay and animal testing may give you an insight into what companies like Mary Kay are doing in China. From the MK website:
On December 28, 2011, Mary Kay became the first founding member of the International Outreach Consortium of the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS). (Lillybeth note: PETA is part of this also). This consortium was created with the primary goal of promoting the principles of non-animal safety testing. IIVS is an international organization based in the U.S. dedicated to developing alternative testing methods for product safety around the world. Mary Kay has been active with IIVS since the 1990s and its Science Advisory Panel since 2009.
In fact, Mary Kay’s commitment to the elimination of animal testing also has been demonstrated over the years by:
• Sponsoring the First International Forum on Cosmetic Technology and Applications – Alternatives to Animal Experimentation for Cosmetics in Beijing in April 2011 organized by the China Cosmetics Research Center in the Beijing Technology and Business University.
• Being one of the first companies to meet with Chinese safety authorities to discuss alternative testing methods.
• Serving as one of the first companies to work directly with dermatology experts used by the Chinese government in their review process of alternative testing in lieu of animal testing for cosmetic products. In fact, Mary Kay sponsored a symposium for dermatologists in China on the use of human clinical methods for product safety in 2007.
• Being one of only two cosmetic companies listed as scientific contributors to the first book in Chinese describing alternative principles and applications.
• Hiring one of the world’s leading scientists on animal alternatives who was one of the founders of IIVS and its former Chief Scientific Officer, as Mary Kay’s principal scientist for product safety.
• Donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University.
• Partnering with the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS) since the 1990s and its Science Advisory Panel in 2009.
As well as being from a cruelty-free brand, a vegan product does not contain any animal products.
There are hundreds of animal-derived ingredients in beauty products. The most common are lanolin (an oil secreted by sheep), beeswax, stearic acid (can be vegetable or cattle-derived) and carmine (a red colour made by crushing cochineal bugs).
To figure out if there’s no animals involved you can:
• Learn how to read ingredients lists
• Check individual ingredients you’re not sure about by consulting online cosmetic dictionaries
• Contact the company to ask them directly.
Whew! While I’m all for research, if you’re not as keen to do this when shopping, you’ll need to stick to brands known to be 100% vegan, which still requires a little research, but the attached image below should help!
RESOURCES USED: www.safe.org.nz, www.logicalharmony.net, www.crueltyfreemakeupartist.weebly.com, www.crueltyfreekitty.com, www.peta.org, www.ta2barbie.wordpress.com, www.marykay.com, https://www.peta.org/blog/china-approve-first-non-animal-cosmetics-test/
UPDATE: I’ve heard two products in the Youngblood brand are not vegan. They advertise being fully vegan but after creating the below above I’ve been told that is not accurate for at least 2 items.
DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the stance of Vegan Vibes or any of the brands or people mentioned here. No responsibility will be taken for any errors, omissions or actions taken as a result of this info. Please read and check all ingredients labels yourself to determine if a product fits your ethics, health and beauty needs.