Vegan Skincare, What Does it Really Mean and Why it Matters?

by Claudia Christin on Aug 30, 2020

Vegan skincare is on the rise together with the increasing trend of vegan diet. How can a vegan skincare possibly be different, equivalent or even better from any other products with ingredients that are derived from animal? Let’s take a deeper look.

What is the difference between 'vegan' and 'cruelty-free' skincare?

 A lot of people assume that cruelty free products are also vegan. However, that’s not necessarily the case. To cut it simple, cruelty-free skincare doesn’t mean it’s vegan. While vegan skincare means that there are no ingredients in the product that are sourced from animal or their byproducts. Cruelty free = not tested on animal (may or may not contain animal-derived ingredients).Vegan skincare = no animal product / by-products (may or may not be tested on animals).Cruelty-free product means that the products are not tested on animal before it is commercialized. It doesn’t guarantee whether the product doesn’t contain any In most countries, the government has loosened up regulation for cosmetic distribution where an animal testing is not compulsory. However, in China, an animal testing is still a necessary step for a beauty company to be able to sell their products. Therefore, if you are looking for the safest bet on avoiding all sort of animal and animal-derived ingredients in your skincare, you can aim for a vegan skincare product instead of just a cruelty-free product.

What are not included in vegan skincare and their alternatives 

There are some commonly found animal-derived ingredients found in skincare such as honey, beeswax, lanolin (wool grease), squalene (shark liver oil), gelatin (cow or pig bones), or placenta. Vegan skincare either not use these ingredients or replace it to plant-derived alternatives.

Ethical choices for your skin and Mother Earth

Up to date, there has been no evidence showing that the plant-derived ingredients are actually any better in terms of their efficacy than conventional animal-sourced ingredients. However, the biggest difference is the impact of a vegan skincare for our Mother Earth and their ripple effect on the drive for change of the beauty industry. It helps promote kindness toward animals and our Earth. The beauty industry has always been driven by the demand, and our collective purchase decision will definitely shape the beauty industry to create a better ecosystem. In the end, it is more about an ethical purchase decision.On top of being a vegan skincare product, it is best to make sure that they are also not tested on animals. It’s like catching two birds with one stone, right?

How can you tell if it is vegan and how to shop for vegan skincare? 

 In general, there is no one specific guideline or certifying organization that can labelled and assure if a brand/product is vegan. One way, is to check the brand on the PETA “beauty without bunnies program”. It listed some vegan companies that are not only vegan but also do not test on animals. It comes with a logo that are not uncommon to be printed on the label.
 It listed over 1900 brands that are updated twice every year. However, there is no clear audits or re-accreditation required once the label has been approved. It doesn’t really guarantee if a brand doesn’t change their raw ingredients suppliers once the products are re-formulated. Another way to check is through the Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) which is an independent, non-profit organization that has listed over 250 brands with a stricter standard compared to PETA. Their downside is that has such a small database of brands that get accredited. You can also check with the 'Vegan Society' to evaluate and create a vegan skincare routine. Vegan Society is founded in 1944 which is a registered educational charity that provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism. And for the first time in Korea, lines of products from the brand Dear, Klairs (curated on Wishtrend) has been registered under the 'vegan society'. 
 Your safest bet is to actually look at the brand claim and ingredients list. If there are any questionable ingredients such as squalene, lanolin or others that you need to confirm on how it is sourced, feel free to contact the brand and reconfirm about their raw ingredients sourcing information and data. 

How to: 

  1. 1) Look for “vegan” label on the brand / product
  2. 2) Look at their ingredients list 
  3. 3) If there are any questionable ingredients, list them
  4. 4) Ask brands representative on where the specific ingredients were sourced from
  1. Endless choices of vegan skincare 

    Vegan skincare doesn’t mean it has to be much more expensive or less inclusive. There are more and more brands that add a vegan skincare product on their line at an affordable price point. Be sure to choose your skincare product wisely!

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