The term vegan is not exclusive to the food we consume. In fact, the vegan trend has spread far beyond the dietary context. The recent spike in vegan trends, from the clothes we wear and the linens we sleep on, to the household products we use and the cars we drive, has proved that adopting a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to end (or begin) with the food we eat.
Swapping out your regular products for a vegan, cruelty-free beauty routine is another way to make the crossover, and according to Google Trends, more and more consumers are taking notice. Searches for the vegan skincare category have grown by 83% year over year since 2010, and for good reason.
We’ve seen the drastic benefits of a vegan diet, so why wouldn’t the same logic apply to skincare or any other vegan lifestyle change?
Fortunately for you, the environment, and animals around the world, it does. Trading your normal skincare, makeup, and beauty routine for one that is vegan and cruelty-free has an abundance of incredible benefits. Read on for everything you need to know about switching up your beauty routine, from how to identify certified labels to the multitude of benefits it provides.
What defines vegan skincare?
Firstly, let’s define what vegan skincare actually means. They are products that are created without any use of ingredients from animals or animal by-products. These by-products are the parts of the animal that are not directly consumed by humans. Beeswax, lanolin, collagen, carmine, cholesterol, and gelatin are some of the most commonly used animal by-products by the world’s leading beauty and cosmetic brands, and they are found in an extensive range of items produced by these brands.
Is there a difference between vegan and cruelty-free?
It’s also important to note that the terms vegan and cruelty-free are not synonymous, though the confusion is understandable. As stated above, ‘vegan’ refers to products without any animal-derived ingredients, but it does not specify on the production process. Technically, items tested on animals can claim to be vegan. On the same token, ‘cruelty-free’ means that the final product has not been tested on animals in the process, but can contain some of those pesky by-products mentioned above.
Both are champions for animal rights and will hopefully be interchangeable in the near future.
Is there a trick to reading the labels?
Yes. Different labels mean different things and hold varying levels of legitimacy. You’ve probably noticed more than a dozen different logos and seals on your products, all making similar claims about being suitable for a certain lifestyle. It is just as critical to familiarize yourself with labels as it is with ingredients. Here are the labels to look out for and what they mean:
The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) is an organization made up of eight national animal protection groups which banded together to make shopping for cruelty-free products easier and more trustworthy through their internationally recognized Leaping Bunny program. Their leaping bunny logo certifies the product is 100% cruelty-free after undergoing their uncompromising criteria.
The Vegan Society is a U.K. based organization dedicated to the worldwide recognition of veganism. Their seal certifies that the product is 100% free from animal products.
The Certified Vegan logo is a registered trademark (think the Kosher trademark) for products that do not contain animal products or by-products and have not been tested on animals. AKA Vegan and cruelty-free.
An extra benefit from going vegan and cruelty-free with your beauty routines is that you’re instantly avoiding any ‘no’ ingredients without having to read the label.
Now let’s get to the benefits:
It’s a big step for humanity.
Much like a vegan diet, opting for a plant-based, cruelty-free skincare routine is kinder to animals, as it rids the need to use animals or their body parts in any capacity. Fortunately, animal rights has been on the rise in recent years. This put major cosmetic brands under harsh scrutiny for their ingredients and testing processes, and in turn, resulted in a dramatic spike in vegan and cruelty-free options for consumers.
Today’s market makes it easier than ever for consumers to find their favorite, ‘holy grail’ cosmetic item among a vast array of vegan and cruelty-free beauty brands. By consciously buying these products, we are actively lowering the demand for products being produced by animal testing.
You’re helping the environment, too!
Using animal by-products for ingredients affects not only the animals but also our earth’s precious resources. Feeding the farmed animals substantial amounts of grain and water and subsequently killing them, processing, transporting and storing their bodies is harshly energy-intensive. It also releases a significantly higher amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, into the environment.
Plant-based products are a more efficient use of our resources, as they need less energy from fossil fuels, less land, and less water. By removing animal products from our skincare and beauty routines and products, we can play our part in dramatically reducing humanity’s detrimental impact on the environment.
Many vegan brands are also very conscious about packaging. Products that would typically clog our landfills are now being recycled to create packaging. Brands like Pacifica Beauty, commonly featured in VeganCuts boxes, even boast their own recycling program.
In a world where ecosystems we depend on are being challenged by pollution and waste, every bit of conscious action counts— for us and generations to come.
Nourishing, natural ingredients greatly improve skin quality.
The less products you put on your skin, the better. More dermatologists than ever are recommending we stay away from too many ingredients for a variety of reasons. Vegan products are known for having fewer ingredient lists than non-vegan products.
Not only is vegan skincare produced with fewer ingredients, but vegan brands tend to use high-quality herbs, roots, essential oils, and other high-quality natural ingredients with moisturizing and anti-aging qualities. In fact, plants have been used to treat many skin conditions for centuries. These tried and true ingredients have proven their efficacy in humans long before even our basic face wash. The benefits from mineral-rich clay, for example, range from smoothing to clarifying your skin. Chamomile soothes rashes and other irritations. Jojoba treats acne. The olive leaf is used for hydration, and rose hip for regeneration.
This means you’re packing in tons of extra benefits— without even trying! Depending on what your skin concern is, your vegan beauty products may be preventing and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, eradicating eye bags or dark eye circles or even reducing acne and the scarring that came with it.
Vegan skincare is suitable for all skin types— even the most sensitive.
The botanical ingredients used in vegan products are very well tolerated by all skin types, even the most sensitive. Many of the harsh chemicals found in non-vegan products, such as synthetic fragrance, parabens, petroleum, and synthetic colorants, cause minor and major skin irritations. Even worse, these chemicals are often used as fillers, meaning they have no substance or purpose, irritating your skin and harming the environment for no reason.
With so few ingredients from plants and the benefits of their natural sources, it’s difficult for your skin to become over-irritated using vegan products. They are much gentler on the skin, rather than the harsh, artificial chemicals typically found in non-vegan products. And because vegan products tend to be much gentler on the skin, they are often preferred choices for people suffering from chronic skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis. You can even personalize your skincare with additional vegan ingredients, such as essential oils, to achieve the results you desire.
Vegan skincare provides long-term support.
Though you may see quick, even instant, results from chemically-formulated skincare products, you could be causing irreversible damage down the road. The debate is out as to how much your skin actually absorbs into your system, but there’s no question as to if it does. This means that those toxins are, to some degree, being directly absorbed into your system, and we don’t know what those long-term effects are. Vegan skincare, on the other hand, is packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants which have proved for centuries to nourish your skin long-term.
If you haven’t already, swapping out your regular makeup and skincare routine for vegan, cruelty-free products may seem like a daunting task. However, it’s also incredibly exciting, as you’re about to embark on a wonderful journey for your skin and our planet.
All VeganCuts products are vegan and cruelty-free, taking the stress and time from the research phase out for the consumer. Get started with your VeganCuts subscription box today, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you have regarding vegan skincare products. We’re more than happy to help. Leave a note in the comments, or contact us via email.