Not all vegan beauty products are alike. Just because a product doesn’t contain animal ingredients, or hasn’t been tested on animals, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you to use on your body.
If you’ve made the decision to only buy vegan and cruelty-free products, we applaud you and thank you for your choice. We also hope that you’re showing the same compassion toward yourself and looking for products with all-natural ingredients that will be safe to put on your skin, hair, or wherever else they need to go.
Why Choose Natural and Organic Vegan Beauty and Skincare Products?
Natural and organic vegan beauty and skincare products are the way to go because they’re made without toxic chemicals that can put your skin, and your health, at risk. The David Suzuki Foundation, an organization with a mission to protect human and animal life (as well as the environment) made a list of the top common chemicals in cosmetics and skincare products that consumers should avoid.
In addition, an article published by the Foundation states that “U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.”
The following are some of the ingredients to avoid and some ingredients you’ll want to look for instead.
Ingredients to Avoid
We’re going to assume that you’re choosing beauty and skin care products that are vegan and cruelty-free, and that you’re already comfortable picking out which animal ingredients are no-nos. If you do need help finding these products and ingredients, we suggest you look for products that have the Leaping Bunny stamp of approval or come up on PETA’s approved list.
But, aside from keeping animal ingredients out of your vegan and cruelty-free products, it’s best for your health (and the health of the planet) if you avoid the following too:
Parabens are suspected to be endocrine disrupters, which means they can effect hormone production and hormone balance.
If you apply products with synthetic fragrances on your body, you may be putting chemicals (or a combination of chemicals) like phthalates (another suspected hormone disruptor) directly where they can absorb deeply into your skin. Synthetic fragrances can cause itchiness, headaches, and dizziness.
Petroleum, or petrolatum, is a by-product from the production of petrol (oil) that’s found in many lip products. It acts as a moisture barrier, but it’s been proven do the exact opposite and dry out the skin.
Ingredients to Look For
Wondering what ingredients to look for? First of all, we like products that have a USDA Certified Organic, Oregon Tilth, or other organic-certified stamp. Try to buy these products or, at least, all-natural beauty and skincare products. But, remember that there’s no regulation for the word “natural” so you’ll always need to check the ingredients label. Try to find products with ingredients you can pronounce and familiarize yourself with the following good-for-you ingredients:
Many natural, and cruelty-free, beauty and skincare products contain nourishing plant oils like almond oil, rosehip oil, coconut oil, and Argan oil. These oils, and others like them, are used to cleanse, hydrate, tighten, and brighten the skin.
Cocoa butter, shea butter, and other plant-based butters are moisturizing and they help keep the skin soft and supple. You’ll find nurturing butters in skin creams, face soaps, lip balms, and other vegan products.
In addition to these natural ingredients, many great vegan beauty and skincare products contain extracts from fruits and vegetables that are known to be rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help fight skin aging and skin cancer, so they’re definitely worth consideration. Look for extracts from sea buckthorn berry, pomegranates, cherries, oranges, and carrot.