As consumers, we have the power to collectively influence entire industries by what we do or don’t buy. It’s an empowering feeling. And happily, more and more of us are using our consumer power to make choices that are equally beneficial to our own health, as well as the health of the planet.
As a result, the phrases ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty free’ have become important sign posts to look out for. Companies across a range of industries are increasingly considering these terms to be not merely badges of honour, but essential certifications in order to stay competitive.
So when it comes to cosmetics, what do they actually mean?
Check out this article for the low down on cruelty free beauty.
To understand vegan beauty, read on…
It’s all about animals...
‘Vegan cosmetics’ indicates that no part of the product or its ingredients have been derived from animals or animal by-products.
This is different to ‘cruelty free cosmetics’, which refers to the total absence of animal testing in any stage of the product manufacturing process, including the development of each ingredient.
Almost all vegan products are also cruelty free (though you should always double check this!), but not all cruelty free products are necessarily vegan.
What to look for
Knowing which beauty products are vegan is less intuitive than knowing which meals are. Animal products can sneak into cosmetics in convoluted and hard to recognise ways.
Some of the more obvious animal-based ingredients which often appear in cosmetics and skincare include gelatin, tallow, beeswax, cow or goat’s milk and so on. But there are many more processed ingredients which may not be easy to recognise as derived from animals, like squalene (from shark liver), guanine (from fish scales) or ambergris (from whale stomach).
Companies may sling about phrases like ‘vegan friendly’ or ‘vegan approved’ in their descriptions, but this leaves room for loopholes. So the easiest thing is to look for a vegan certification logo. There is no one global standard for this, but generally if you see one of the vegan logos, you know that the product has been thoroughly vetted across its entire manufacturing process.
doublecheckvegan.com gives a useful rundown of which logos to look out for and why.
Why it’s worth it
Jumping on the vegan makeup train is about more than just trend following – there are a stack of benefits involved. Here’s why switching to vegan beauty products is the way to go...
1. What goes on, goes in. The skin is the largest organ in our body, and readily absorbs everything we expose it to. If you care about what goes in your body through food and drink, it’s important to extend the same principles to the cosmetics you apply.
2. You’re saving animal lives. Some animal-derived ingredients are produced as organically and ethically as possible – many are not. By choosing vegan cosmetics you eliminate the need to keep animals in captivity, harm them, or kill them in the name of beauty.
3. Avoid unknown or harsh ingredients. Anyone with sensitive skin will know that beauty products can give nasty surprises, with harsh, heavily processed or downright mysterious ingredients causing unpleasant reactions. By contrast, all vegan ingredients are natural, known, and gentle on the skin.
4. Get more nutrients. Plants are the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. So vegan products are packing more of a punch when it comes to naturally nourishing your skin.
5. A more sustainable choice. Companies that choose to go vegan care about their impact. Though their efforts vary, most vegan brands have a much lower carbon footprint than non-vegan alternatives, choosing to use more sustainable ingredients and manufacturing practices, and more environmentally-friendly packaging.
6. Competitive in cost and efficacy. Like so many ‘green’ products, we’ve come a long way in the last ten years when it comes to vegan makeup and skincare. These days not only is the pricing comparable, but the efficacy. A well made vegan makeup product will last as long and look as good as the animal derived alternatives. Why else would Ere Perez be so well loved!?
Where we stand at Ere Perez
We care about this stuff – a lot! At Ere Perez we strive to deliver the most ethical, sustainable and natural beauty products possible.
We are certified cruelty free as a brand, which extends to all our products. Most Ere Perez beauty products are also certified as vegan, but not quite all – yet!
We are working towards becoming a fully vegan brand, but at present we do use beeswax in our Rich Olive Oil lipsticks and brown Sunflower Oil Mascara. Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honey bees and is a by-product of the honey industry. The wax is made by the worker bees and used to line the inside of the honeycomb and to cap it off. When beekeepers extract the honey, they cut off the wax caps from each honeycomb cell with an uncapping knife or machine. It’s then taken away to be rendered and clarified by heating in water before use in makeup.
So for now, we guess you could call us ‘beegan’, as we work to eliminate this final ingredient from our otherwise vegan range of beauty products.