What is a vegan?
When people hear the word ‘Vegan”, they automatically think ‘Diet’, but veganism is so much more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle. When people say that they are vegan for health reasons and not ethical reasons, in reality, they follow a plant based lifestyle-the two are very different!
Often I find myself explaining my decisions as a vegan to not wear animal products, not wear makeup tested on animals, not choose to clean with products tested on animals, not to use toxic chemicals that harm aquatic life and avoid beeswax.
Animal testing is a dated and cruel practice, and results in millions of animals dying each year. No animal should suffer for our own vanity, the silver lining is many larger brands are moving away from animal testing and choosing more effective and less destructive options when it comes to testing their products.
Cruelty free doesn’t always mean vegan, and vegan doesn’t always mean cruelty free.
This is a really important point to remember, a company can not test on animals but still contain animal products in their ingredients. That being said, a company can be ‘vegan’ in terms of their ingredients, but still test on animals.
Many companies are using these statements because the rise in demand for cruelty free and vegan products has increased. More people are looking for more ethical products, and with that comes companies branding themselves as cruelty free and vegan, when in reality, they are neither.
Ingredients to look out for:
- Lanolin-This is a waxy substance found in sheep wool
- Glycerine-This can often come from animal fat, vegan ones are available, but just be sure to check its origination
- Shellac-Often found in nail varnish, this is derived from lac bugs!
- Squalene-This comes from shark liver oil, usually found in lip balms
- Animal hair-an obvious one, but be sure to check your brushes
- Carmine or cochineal-this is the insect dye everyone told you about in school, but weren’t sure whether to believe it!
- Collagen-Mainly used for anti-ageing products, this comes from multiple parts of the cow
- Elastin-Similar to collagen, it comes from multiple parts of the cow
- Beeswax-Another obvious one, but keep an eye out for beeswax when you’re next buying any cosmetics!
Bunny Free App:
One last note; There is now an app that tells you which companies are vegan and don’t test on animals, so it’s even easier to shop ethically! The app is called Bunny Free, and it’s a really great way to discover new vegan brands too.
You can filter by companies that don’t test and are vegan and you get a vast list, so I would recommend checking these out first! It also tells you when a brand does test and isn’t vegan, so if you’ve found something you really fancy, give it a search on the app and you’ll know straight away!