They Use WHAT in My Cosmetics?!

There are tons of common misconceptions revolving around vegan cosmetic brands. Some include that they are pricey, they are hard to find, they won’t get the job done as well as non-vegan cosmetic companies, and of course the fact that they aren’t as widely advertised causes apprehensions. How do I know this? Well, this narrow-minded thinking is how I used to think until I really decided that as a #girlmom, I was going to start understanding what I was putting onto my skin and teach my daughter that smarter choices are indeed…Smarter.

Products you directly apply to your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream within 21 seconds of application… Keep that in mind as I enlighten you on the ugly ingredients hiding, or not hiding, within the cosmetics majority use on a daily basis.


civetPIN ITGood ol’ musky smells in perfume…Well, that musk we all search for is actually a secretion from the anal glands of the Africa civet cat. These glands are scraped while they are alive and they can be held up to 15 years in cages to produce enough of that stuff to be valuable to perfumers. To add more fuel to the fire, their secretions are highly toxic. Absolutely disgusting. I am literally gagging right now.




ambergrisPIN ITOhhhh ambergis. Literally known as sperm whale vomit, or bowels, depending on the situation… So the binding agent in your perfume is just that… Whale vomit. This rare gem can also sell for as much as $70,000, just in case you were wondering.

So here’s the deal with this one. If the whale wasn’t slaughtered and this “waste” and it wasn’t taken directly from the whale’s intestine, then this whale had an upset tum tum, either vomited it out or passed it as a BM and then this waste floats in the ocean and it is QUITE odorous. With time it hardens into that of a rock and the scent changes to one that’s more sweet. So the appeal of this is that it allows the perfume to last longer on the skin and it helps the scent of a perfume be more intense. Chanel No. 5 is a big user of ambergris…. Sorry. Let’s pray that poor whale if still alive is feeling better and got some Pepto Bismal.


cochinealPIN IT(Also listed as “cochineal extract”, “natural red 4”, carminic acid, cochineal, crimson lake, and E 120.)

This ingredient is a good one too. Basically it’s beetle guts. The Cochineal beetle when crushed excrete a red chemical that is commonly used in not only cosmetics such as lipsticks and blushes but also food! This dye is all natural and safe for consumption so it’s not one to worry about in terms of toxicity, but… I mean beetle guts? That’s kinda nasty to be ingesting and slathering all over your lips. I mean… “Ew David!” (Name that show in the comments and first one gets a free Starbucks Gift Card!)


lanolinSo, you know how when you don’t wash your hair often you produce oil and your hair gets smelly and greasy and nasty and feels disgusting? Ok, so Lanolin is basically a mixture of oil secretion in wool-bearing animals and dead skin cells. This oil produced is then taken and used in hydrating marketed items like lotions, creams, etc. So… There’s that.

Collagen & Elastin

collagenCollagen is literally every where you look right now and it is such a trend in the beauty industry and for good reason. The marketing potential is literally every woman’s dream but the reality is sad. Collagen is quite literally produced by cow and pig skin. If you’re looking at collagen peptides, it is made from fish cells. When it’s marketed as vegan, it’s actually a genetically modified combination of yeast and bacteria. Here’s the thing, your body can produce its own collagen with a little help from plant-derived products for instance the Healthy Skin Within Skin Elixir is incredible for helping your body produce its down but combining ingredients such as gotu kola extract and sea buckthorn extract, combined with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to help build collagen and neutralize free radicals known to cause oxidative stress.

Elastin on the other hand is taken from the neck ligaments of cows and is used in products such as skin smoothers and skin conditioners.


tallowThis rendered animal fat is a common ingredient used in both primers, foundations, eye shadows, and more. The process of getting this substance is quite literally boiling dead carcasses of a slaughtered animal until this fatty ingredient is produced and then made available to be used in our every day cosmetics. Tallow is known to cause blackheads and eczema so it is so important if you already suffer from eczema to know if this ingredient is in your primers and foundations.


squalenePIN ITThis ingredient is quite literally oil squeezed out of a sharks liver…And this ingredient is mainly used in lip balms, body
butters, lotions, sunscreens, eye shadows, conditioners, anti-aging products, etc. What makes squalene a nice option for companies to use is because it is quickly absorbed and doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the skin. Yup. QUICKLY ABSORBED. Cute.



chondroitinAnother great one. This ingredient is used in hair and skin conditioners and it is actually made from the connective tissue of dead animals in addition to their cartilage, skin and bones. What’s great about this is that the Cosmetic Database has this ingredient as “low hazard” but then goes to say that there are developmental and reproductive toxicity hazards involved in this ingredient… But obviously that doesn’t change the fact that this ingredient is still used in MANY products by brands such as Tarte, First Aid Beauty, Revlon, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, and Peter Thomas Roth, to name a few.



Stearic Acid

stearic acidPIN ITDerived from pig and sheep stomachs, stearic acid is commonly used in soaps, deodorants, moisturizers and hair products such as hairsprays and shampoos. This ingredient can be vegan but it is not always due to the fact that its sources are both animal and plant. When not vegan, this product is harsh and can be irritating to many including side effects of blistering, itchiness, hives, redness, rashes, burning, sun sensitivity, and inflammation.



Animal Hair

PIN ITWhen you applied your makeup today with your super cute makeup brushes, it is likely that you rubbed squirrel, mink, horse, and goat hair all over your eyes and face. There is honestly no need to use animal fur in makeup brushes, so to make an easy vegan switchover, change your brushes to synthetic! There are so many amazing options on the makeup and honestly it’s a preference in my makeup application.





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