Vegan skincare products are quickly becoming more and more popular.
And why wouldn’t they be?
Companies are using natural ingredients to create cruelty-free and often organic or environmentally friendly skincare products that work.
But is vegan skincare better than traditional skincare?
Is Vegan Skincare Better?
Vegan skincare products are not inherently better than those that contain non-vegan ingredients. In fact, there is no lack of cruelty-free and natural ingredients found in non-vegan products that can be just as effective as animal byproducts.
In some cases, non-vegan ingredients can be more effective than their vegan counterparts, particularly when it comes to hydrating the skin or fighting signs of aging.
However, if you want to ensure you’re using a cruelty-free product—and especially if you want your product to be eco-friendly—vegan skincare is a great choice.
Vegan skincare is generally easier on the environment and will often include biodegradable or recyclable packaging, which is good for all living beings.
Benefits of Using a Vegan Skincare Routine
Whether you’re a vegan or not, vegan skincare is worth trying.
Here are some of the benefits of using a vegan skincare routine:
- Vegan products contain no animal-based ingredients or animal byproducts. This means that your skin will get all of its care from plant-based extracts and edible ingredients like coconut oil and cocoa butter.
- Animal testing has been strictly prohibited in the industry for years, but many cruelty-free brands still have their products tested on animals. If you want to be sure that none of your products have been tested on animals, go with a brand that doesn’t use any animal byproducts at all (like us!)
- Vegan skincare is environmentally friendly! Because there are no animal by-products in our skincare products, they don’t harm the environment when they wash off and go down your drain like shampoos, conditioners, and soaps made with traditional ingredients do. Traditional product manufacturers can dump waste into waterways without any consequences. We never could!
- Unlike most plant-based products, our line uses natural ingredients to create high-performance results that you can feel good about putting on your skin every day!
Is It Harmful to Use Non-vegan Skincare Products?
In addition to being a moral issue, using non-vegan skincare can be harmful to the environment and humans.
For example, the natural growth of most algae has been disrupted by extensive human activity.
In turn, this has affected the ocean’s ecosystem and health as a whole.
Another example is beeswax which is used as a skin moisturizer in many products.
It is produced from bees who are killed during production or while they are kept in captivity.
This process not only harms them but also negatively impacts bee populations and their pollination services, which are essential for many plants and crops across the globe.
What if a Beauty Product Says It’s Cruelty-free but It’s Not 100% Vegan?
Well, that brings us to the first point of definition: A cruelty-free product is one that hasn’t been tested on animals at any stage in product development.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t an animal ingredient in the final formula.
“Cruelty-free” is also not regulated by law, so brands can put this claim on their products even if they’re lying.
Places like PETA and Leaping Bunny are doing what they can to make sure a brand is acting true to its label, but even these organizations sometimes get fooled by a brand claiming to be cruelty-free when they still use ingredients derived from animals (for example, carmine, beeswax, and lanolin).
So make sure you do your due diligence before shelling out cash for a company just because it claims to be “cruelty-free.”
Does Vegan Skincare Contain Chemicals?
A common misconception that some people have is that vegan skincare products contain only natural ingredients.
Most skincare products, vegan or not, contain chemicals. In fact, the term “chemical-free” is misleading and is simply an advertising gimmick!
The truth is all skincare products contain chemicals.
If a vegan skincare product claims to be free of chemicals, it is probably false advertising.
While many skincare products are made with lab-created ingredients like potassium sorbate (a preservative), other natural ingredients can also be harmful if used in high concentrations.
The important thing to remember when choosing a vegan skincare product is to take the time and research the ingredients listed on the label and avoid those that you know your skin doesn’t react well to.
Is Vegan Skincare Better for Acne-prone Skin?
Yes, it is. Those of us with oily and acne-prone skin often struggle to find products that won’t clog pores or irritate redness or sensitivity.
In my experience, vegan skincare options are a great way to avoid “comedogenic” ingredients that cause breakouts—namely mineral oil.
Many popular brands have been found to contain harmful levels of petroleum jelly (aka “mineral oil”), which clogs pores and contributes to bad breakouts.
Vegan products in general often contain fewer chemicals and other potentially irritating ingredients.
Is Vegan Skincare Better for Sensitive Skin?
The short answer is yes—it’s likely that vegan skincare is better for those with sensitive skin, especially if it’s plant-based skincare.
One of the major advantages of vegan skincare is that it doesn’t contain any animal byproducts; this means that it’s also more gentle and less likely to irritate your skin.
Plus, as far as marketing goes, “vegan” seems to be a buzzword for ingredients like coconut oil and almond oil, which are known to be soothing.
These ingredients can help reduce inflammation in the skin and provide a stable base for your makeup.
If you have sensitive skin you know how important this can be!
Can Vegan Skincare Clog Pores?
Vegan skincare products are formulated to be gentle and non-toxic, and they can certainly do a great job at healing your skin.
The problem arises when the chance of clogged pores is too high, leading to breakouts.
These breakouts last longer than normal and can leave your skin feeling irritated or even painful.
If you are noticing a lot of clogged pores after trying out vegan skincare products, it might be worthwhile to see whether or not these products could be the culprits.
First things first, you’ll want to know what types of ingredients may cause breakouts and clogging of pores. These include:
Glycerin is a humectant that helps keep the skin moisturized.
While it does have some benefits for oily skin types (reducing shine), glycerin also has been known to cause some problems with sensitive skin types (irritation).
Propylene glycol is a type of alcohol that can help moisturize the skin (it promotes epidermal hydration) but it can also thin the natural lipid barrier in the skin which leads to bacteria growing under the surface of our skins.
This bacteria can cause pimples while also potentially leading to acne scarring.
Sodium PCA is a formaldehyde derivative that’s used in cosmetics and other personal care items as an emollient (softens and smoothes).
While its safety has not been put under much scrutiny yet, some people may find this ingredient irritating or causing acne due to how easily it penetrates into your pores.
Are All Vegan Skincare Products Allergy-safe?
While the ingredients in vegan products are generally less harmful, it’s important to note that any product can cause irritation.
More common than allergies are reactions to fragrances and dyes.
These additives can be found in non-vegan skincare as well, but occur much less frequently in vegan products.
If you’re concerned about developing an allergy or reaction to your skincare, look for two words on the label: no fragrance and no dye.
If a product doesn’t list these terms next to fragrance and dye, carefully check the ingredients yourself—some companies will list individual components of their fragrance or dye, so you might see things like “azulene” instead of “fragrance”.
Can You Be Sure That Companies Are Transparent About Their Practices if They Claim Their Products Are Vegan?
As a consumer, you have to be wary of companies that claim their products are vegan and cruelty-free. Just because a product doesn’t contain animal ingredients doesn’t mean it’s cruelty-free.
Animal testing occurs in the manufacturing process of some plant-based products like coconut oil or shea butter.
It’s easy to check whether a company has vegan and cruelty-free certification.
If you’re looking for products with no animal ingredients, search online for “The Vegan Society” logo, which will assure you that the brand is officially recognized as 100 percent vegan.
It can also help if you ask the brand directly if they’re listed as vegan on The Vegan Society website. If not, then they are not really vegan!
To make sure that your skincare product is cruelty-free, simply look for a leaping bunny symbol on the label.
This logo means that the brand does not test its products on animals during production nor do they sell in countries where animal testing laws apply (like China).
Is Vegan Skincare Organic?
A lot of people seem to think that vegan products mean organic.
While these terms have some overlap, they certainly don’t mean the same thing.
Veganism means being free of animal products; therefore, vegan cosmetics do not contain ingredients derived from animals.
Organic cosmetics, on the other hand, are free of synthetic chemicals and are grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides.
It is possible to be an organic product that isn’t vegan and vice versa.
So if you’re looking for a product that doesn’t include any animal by-products as well as one that is organic and/or cruelty-free (no testing done on animals), then make sure you check your products’ ingredient lists before you buy!
Is Vegan Skincare Sustainable?
It’s important to note that the term “vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean “sustainable,” and vice versa. In fact, vegan skincare can be just as harmful to the environment as its non-vegan counterpart.
“Sustainability is about transparency,” Birch says. “I can see a company that sells vegan skincare but has no information on how their products are made, using what ingredients, and in what quantities.”
She explains that many companies will use terms like “natural” or “organic” to fool consumers into believing their products are sustainable when they’re not.
In the end, our recommendation would be to use products free from animal testing and free from any part of an animal.
That’s vegan skincare.
We don’t think that the benefits of these products are necessarily better, but we do believe that they’re justifiable.
Again, there’s no need to take a life if you can find another solution. And if you do decide to go with vegan skincare options, your body and your conscience will appreciate it.