These are Animal Ingredients in Cosmetics

These are animal ingredients in cosmetics

The concept of vegan and cruelty-free in beauty products

The terms vegan beauty can be quite confusing. For example, "cruelty-free" products (eng. cruelty-free), and "vegan" (vegan) products do not have the same meaning, and many assume that they are one and the same.

Vegan beauty means the absence of animal ingredients in the product, while the term "cruelty-free" refers to a product that has not been tested on animals. In other words, it is possible that a vegan product has been tested on animals. Likewise, it is possible for a cruelty-free product to contain animal ingredients. Therefore, it is important to understand both terms and to be well informed when choosing a product to buy.

Here is 6 simple steps How to start the transition to cruelty free cosmetics?

Beauty product ingredients of animal origin

When it comes to beauty products, it is much more difficult to understand whether the product contains animal ingredients or not. Reading the product ingredients on the packaging, we understand almost nothing. Why? Because they are written in a foreign language to us.

You might think that brands have to be clear about animal ingredients in their products, but unfortunately, that's not the case. If they really understood the ingredients in the products, few would want to put them on their skin. Without knowledge, it will be difficult to know whether a product is vegan or not, unless the product has a label from an organization such as PETA.

If you want to know which cosmetics are without animal ingredients, see the article: How to know if cosmetics are vegan? – Learn to recognize products

Ingredients of beauty products of animal origin 1

Possible animal ingredients in your cosmetics:


What is that: Uric acids of cows and many other mammals. It can be synthetic.

It can be found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, moisturizers, hand lotions, hair lotions, aftershaves and other skin soothing cosmetics 

Derivatives: Alcloxa, Aldioxa

Vegan options: Synthetic or plant-based, eg comfrey root


What is that: An oily substance, or bile secretion from the digestive system, which came out as feces or vomit.

Can be found in: Perfumes as a fixative

Vegan options: Synthetic or herbal fixatives


What is that: Amino acid from hair, which can be from animals, e.g. from horses.

It can be found in: Deodorants, shampoos and hair conditioners, moisturizing creams

Vegan option: Plant sources


What is that: Secretion from a gland in the immediate vicinity of the genital organs of civet cats.

It can be found in: Perfume – serves as a fixative

Derivatives: Zibeth, Zibet, Zibetum

Vegan options: Plants with the scent of musk, labdanum oil - resin from the bush plant (Cistus ladanifer)


What is that: Proteins found in the connective tissue of oxen neck ligaments and other animal products, including pork and cow ligaments and fish.

It can be found in: Moisturizers, deodorants, hair shampoos and conditioners

Vegan options: Synthetics, proteins from plant tissues


What is that: Female hormones from the urine of pregnant mares. It is thought to disrupt hormones and consumption may increase the risk of breast cancer. Other chemicals that have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer are parabens and phthalates.

It can be found in: Creams, lotions, moisturizers, deodorants, perfumes, birth control pills, and menopause medications

Vegan options: Vegetable emollients. Oral contraceptives and menopausal medications based on synthetic steroids or plant-based ingredients


What is that: A by-product of soap production that uses animal or vegetable fat. It can be produced synthetically. Learn more about glycerin in the article: What is Glycerin and Why is it an Ingredient in Every Cosmetic Product?

It can be found in: Cream blushes, powders, moisturizers, facial cleansers and toners, face masks, hand creams, hair shampoos and conditioners, hair sprays and styling products, bath soaps and bath products, shaving creams, toothpaste and mouthwash

Derivatives: Glikol, glicerol, gliceridi, glicerini, glicret-26, poliglicerol Glycol, Glycerol, Glycerides, Glyceryls, Glycreth-26, Polyglycerol

Vegan options: vegetable glycerin (a byproduct of vegetable oil soap), seaweed derivatives

ingredients in your cosmetics


What is that: a glittering material found in crushed fish scales. The flakes are scraped, soaked in alcohol and then crushed to create a shimmering essence.

It can be found in: Glittering products, eg lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, powder, nail polishes, hair shampoos

Derivatives: Pearl essence

Vegan options: Synthetic imitations of pearls, legumes (plants belonging to the leguminous group

vegetables), aluminum and bronze particles

hyaluronic acid

What is that: Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is an integral part of the skin, it is produced by the skin itself, it plays an important role in the hydration and regeneration of the skin and keeps it youthful. It is responsible for the action of collagen, it is lost with aging and therefore it can be replaced with creams.
In cosmetics, hyaluronic acid from animals comes from cock's beak.

It can be found in: 'Plumping' lipsticks, mascaras, moisturizers and anti-aging products

Derivatives: Hyaluronan, HA

Vegan options: Synthetic hyaluronic acid, vegetable oils


What is that: A red pigment that comes from female cochineal beetles that eat cacti in South and Central American countries. When crushed, these insects secrete a red chemical called carminic acid. Carminic acid is then mixed with a calcium salt to create a natural red color called carmine. Learn more about lipstick in the article: What is Carmine in Cosmetics and Where Does it Come From?

It can be found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, rouge, hair shampoos, red and orange cosmetics, nail polishes

May cause an allergic reaction.

Derivatives: Cochineal, carminic acid. It is often listed as a 'natural' ingredient. 

Vegan options: Root of the plant alkanet, beetroot juice


What is that: A creamy substance with a strong smell, originally from the genitalia of muskrats and beavers. Glands and secretions are taken from the area between the vulva and anus in the female beaver and the scrotum and anus in the male beaver. It is more often synthetic.

It can be found in: Perfumes as a fixative, incense, hair styling products and bath oils 

Derivatives: Castor

Vegan option: Synthetic


What is that: Proteins obtained from ground horns, hooves, feathers, fins and hair of various animals.

Can be found in: Hair conditioner, shampoos, conditioners, permanent wave solutions and nail products

Vegan options: Keratin does not exist in plants, but the protein can be synthesized in the laboratory - almond oil, soy protein, amla oil, and nettle and rosemary that give hair strength


What is that: A proteinaceous substance in connective tissue, usually obtained from animal tissue. Extracted from the cells of cows, today it often comes from fish, because it is easily absorbed into our cells. Fish collagen has a lower level for allergic reactions and leads to more efficient collagen synthesis.

It can be found in: Lipstick, mascara, moisturizers 

Vegan options: Soy proteins, almond oil, amla oil

collagen in cosmetics


What is that: Oil glands of sheep. Sheep excrete this fatty substance from their skin to hydrate themselves, the substance is then collected from the wool.

It can be found in: Lipsticks, mascaras, eye shadows and pencils, powders, blushes, facial cleansers and toners, moisturizers, eye creams, sunscreens, shampoos and conditioners, hair styling products, soaps and bath products , baby oils, shaving creams and products, nail polish removers

Derivatives: Aliphatic alcohols, Amerchol L101, Cholesterin, Isopropyl lanolate, Laneth, Lanogen, Lanolin acids, Lanolin alcohols, Lanosterols, Sterols, Triterpene alcohols, Wool grease, Wool wax

Vegan options: Plants and vegetable oils


What is that: A waxy substance of animal origin from nerve tissue, blood or milk. It is more often obtained from eggs and soy or prepared synthetically.

It can be found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, mascara, powder, moisturizers, eye creams, hand creams, lotions, soaps, hair shampoos and conditioners

Derivatives: Kolinski bitartrate

Vegan options: Soy lecithin, synthetic


What is that: Fat obtained by cooking animal tissues. It is generally taken from cows and sheep.

It can be found in: Lipsticks, mascaras, powders, facial cleansers and toners, moisturizers and lotions, shampoos and hair conditioners, nail polishes and products, shaving creams, soaps, candles

Derivatives: Alcohol in tallow, sodium tallow, acid in tallow, amide in tallow, tallow-6, glycerides of tallow, imidazoline in tallow

Vegan options: vegetable tallow, Japanese tallow, paraffin, ceresin


What is that: Oil secretion of male deer. It can also be from beaver, muskrat, civet cat and otter.

It can be found in: Perfumes as a fixative, moisturizing lotions/creams, deodorants, hair conditioners

Derivatives: Ambrettolide, Civetone, Muscone, Exaltolide

Vegan option: Labdanum oil and extracts from other plants with a musky smell, synthetic

oleic acid

What is that: Monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, obtained from various animal and vegetable fats and oils. It is usually obtained from inedible tallow fat.

It can be found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, mascaras, foundations, moisturizers, hair shampoos and wave products, soaps, hand washes, nail polishes, shaving creams and lotions

Derivatives: Oleil Oleate, Oleil Stearate

Vegan options: Vegetable oil, coconut oil


What is that: It consists of waste matter eliminated with the fetus.

It can be found in: Moisturizing creams and lotions, face masks, anti-wrinkle products, hair shampoos

Derivatives: Placenta polypeptide protein, placenta

Vegan option: ALGAE


What is that: Vitamin A of animal origin. It can come from fish liver oil (eg shark liver oil), egg yolk or butter, but it can also be plant-based or synthetic.

Can be found in: Moisturizing creams, perfumes, hair dyes, vitamins and supplements

Derivatives: Retinol, carotene, beta-carotene

Vegan options: Lemon grass, wheat germ oil, carotene in carrots, synthetics


What is that: Shark liver oil.

It can be found in: Moisturizing creams, creams and lotions, hair dyes, in perfumes as a fixative, lipsticks and balms, sun creams

Derivatives: Shark liver oil, Squali Lecur

Vegan options: Vegetable oils (olive oil, wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, etc.)

animal ingredients in cosmetics

stearic acid

What is that: When it is of animal origin, it comes from the fat of cows and pigs, fatty acids. It can also come from Loj, and it can also be of plant origin.

Can be found in: powders, moisturizers, deodorants, hand creams and lotions, hairsprays, shampoos and hair conditioners, soaps, shaving creams and candles

Derivatives: Stearamide, Stearamine, Stearati, Stearic Hydrazide, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearoyl Lactylic Acid, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazoline

Vegan options: Vegetable fats, e.g. coconut, shea butter


What is that: The resinous secretion of the female lac insect.

It can be found in: Hairspray and other hair styling products, nail polishes. It is also used as a glaze on some jewelry and accessories

Derivatives: Resin glaze, shellac wax (bleached and purified shellac)

Vegan options: Vegetable waxes, Zein (from corn)


What is that: Protein obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments and/or bones of cows and pigs in water.

It can be found in: Moisturizers, face masks, deodorants, perfumes, hair shampoos and conditioners, sunscreens, nail strengtheners

Derivatives: Gel, Monijev klorid Gel, Monium Chloride

Vegan options: Protein from plants, silica gel

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