Did you know that a large number of beauty products, probably many that you have in your bathroom cabinet, contain animal urine, pig fat, and crushed beetles? The crazy part is the ingredients are not listed like that. When you first go vegan, it can be hard to find products that work for you, but if you do your research and make smart choices, then you can have a vegan beauty routine that’s just as good, if not better, than the one you had before.

So let’s take a look at some common animal ingredients found in beauty products, as well as some recommendations for vegan brands to get you started on a vegan beauty routine.

Ingredients to look out for:

  • Beeswax – Beeswax starts as a clear liquid secreted from the lower abdomen of a bee. It only becomes a wax after being chewed up and spit out by the bee. It’s used in cosmetic products to maintain a thick and creamy consistency and to stop oils from separating. Often found in lipstick, mascara, eyeshadows, brushes, soaps, creams, and some hair removal waxes.
  • Lanolin –  Lanolin is made from pressed sheep wool and is used as a lubricant and adhesive. Found in makeup, soaps, lotions, and some hair removal products
  • Carmine – Carmine is a red powder used for pigmentation. It is made from beetles. The Beatles are boiled, steamed, or baked to extract intestines from the insects. Carmine is used as a dye so look out for it in any kind of brightly colored product.
  • Collagen – Collagen is an extract made from skin, bones, or muscles that is boiled down. It has a plumping and firming effect, so watch out for it in lotions or creams.
  • Shellac – Shellac is dried hard flakes made from packaged beetles, it takes an insane amount of bugs to make a small number of flakes so it’s production causes a huge problem in the ecosystem. It makes cosmetics have a gloss feel so look for it is anything shiny. 
  • Tallow – Similar to Lard, tallow is a fatty substance taken from animals and used to give products a creamy finish, watch out for it in skincare products
  • Squalene – Derived from shark liver oil, Squalene is used as a moisturizing agent. It’s often found in eye makeup
  • Guanine – Guanine (not to be confused with guano) is made from fish scales and is used to add a shimmer to products like mascara, and eyeshadow.
  • Caprylic acid – a fatty acid found in the milk of animals. Essentially used as a preservant 
  • Turtle oil –  collected from the skin and genitals of sea turtle
  • Hyaluronic acid – known for its power to hydrate and plump skin. Collected from roosters 

Although there’s a huge number of non-vegan beauty products on the market, there happen to be a growing list of vegan beauty products too. Here’s some brands and products I’d recommend you try:


If you’re looking for an eye pencil  I recommend the Urban Decay: glide on eye pencil, however, if you’re looking for a liquid liner try Epic Ink Liner by NYX. For a gel liner try Mechanical Gel Liner by Hourglass


The best classic mascara is Smashbox Superfan Fanned out Mascara. If you’re looking for a long-lasting mascara your best bet would be Doll Eye mascara by NYX. If you’re looking for a white mascara or primer try the Mascara Primer by E.L.F Cosmetics, and if you’re looking for a brown color, try the Large Lash Mascara by Pixie.


The best eyeshadow to go with when you want bright colors is the Ultimate Color Palette by NYX. However, if you’re looking for more specific shades then I’d recommend looking into the Shade Palettes by Colourpop. If you are looking for a neutrals palette try Ultimate neutrals palette by BH. If you’re looking for something with glitter try the Midnight City Palette by BH.


For highlight, Bronzer and blush try the NYX three steps to a sculpted face Palette. For contour try Mega Glow Dual-ended contour stick. The best concealer is ELF HD lifting concealer, and for foundation, I’d recommend Covergirl clean skin milk foundation.

Face Wash 

If you have typically oily skin try Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. If you looking for a new body wash try the brand Love, Beauty, and Planet all of there products are vegan and non-toxic, plus there packaging is made out of recycled bottles and is 100% recyclable.

When looking for serums, toners, and essence the best brand to go to is The Ordinary they make great skincare products at affordable prices, and of course, everything is 100% vegan and fragrance-free. If you are looking for an exfoliant I would highly recommend Paula’s Choice one of the best natural beauty brands out there. For moisturizers try goPure vitamin C moisturizer.

Hair Removal

The best shave cream is The Shave Cream by Billie. The best aftershave is Kings Aftershave.


Love Beauty and Planet, as mentioned earlier, has pretty good shampoo and conditioner as well. I’d also like to recommend Shea moisture hair care although they are known for their awesome sprays and leave-in treatments. Also, a food company is Wow skin science hair care

Dental Care 

For toothpaste try Native or Schmidt’s both companies have great natural ingredients, and I’d also recommend them for their natural deodorants. For floss try Hello, natural floss. Also to save waste try using mouthwash tablets that dissolve in your mouth. 

Sources Cited : Organic Authority, Vegan First, Vegan Catwalk, Paula’s Choice and Kings Grooming

About the Author


I became vegan in support of my grandmother who had to go vegan for dietary purposes. Since then I discovered the community around it and I fell in love. Being vegan has made my life better in so many ways and I could not be more thankful.

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