I had no idea until a few months ago that some of the products I use – creams and serums contain animals. I always thought that as long as it was not tested on animals, I was safe!   What I found about is not too pleasant unless you are into putting ground up hooves and chicken feet on your face! So here is what I have discovered:
  1. Collagen – The loss of collagen is one of the main signs of facial ageing but in truth collagen in skincare products won’t actually do all that much to stop it as it cannot be absorbed deeply enough into the skin. Most collagen in skincare creams comes from chicken feet and ground-up animal horns and I even read something about it coming from horses hooves too!
  2. Hyaluronic Acid  – Used in anti-ageing skincare products as it is an antioxidant.  Found in human umbilical cords and rooster combs. If you buy a product that contains this anti-ageing ingredient, check that it was made by producing enzymes from a bacteria-based biofermentation process.
  3. Carmine –  red dye often used in lipsticks, blusher, eye shadow and other cosmetics. It is made of red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. PETA reports that 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this dye.
  4. Elastin – the loss of elastin is one of the main reasons for facial ageing but like collagen it probably will not be able to penetrate the skin enough. According to PETA, this protein is extracted from the neck ligaments and aortas of cows.
  5. Glucosamine – this skincare ingredient is thought to be barrier enhancing, moisturising and help with evening out skin tone. It’s found in many animals’ exoskeletons but mainly chicken bone marrow.
  6. Keratin – Many shampoos and hair products have added keratin which promises to strengthen your hair. It is extracted from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals
  7. Gelatin – Protein obtained by boiling cow and pig skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones in water. Used in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics
  8. Placental protein – Animal placenta is extracted from the uterus of animals in abattoirs and seems to be used quite widely in skincare products as a humectant supposedly drawing moisture up into the top layers of the skin.
  9. Stearic acid – many natural skincare products will use this from a plant-derived source but others use a animal-derived stearic acid. The fat from waste animal tissue is separated to create stearic acid.
  10. Panthenol – Used in shampoos and conditioners to moisturise and lubricate your hair and in mascara. I The majority of panthenol used in the cosmetics industry comes from meat or honey.
  11. Crystalline guanine – This creates pearly iridescent effect in eye shadow and nail polish extracted from fish scales.

For more information have a look at www.peta.org/living/beauty/animal-ingredients-list/ but also have a google and do some further research as this is limited information. I realise it seems a little exhausting to have to go through cosmetics, skin products, hair products in addition to food but once it is done you know what brand to stick with and can ensure you avoid any of these horrible animal ingredients.

By the way, Weleda have a really good website that gives all the information really clearly on what is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and their products are excellent – apparently good enough for Victoria Beckham!