All this while the term vegan has mostly been attached to the dietary context, and of course, memes. . Don't believe us? Well, according to a 2017 research report by Google, searches for vegan skincare have increased by 83% in the US and the trend is catching on globally as we enter The Year of Vegan Skincare.
BUT FIRST. What does it mean to follow vegan skincare?
Fundamentally, for a product to qualify as vegan, it needs to be fully, absolutely and thoroughly animal-extract free. This means none of the animal-derived ingredients such as beeswax, honey, lanolin, collagen, albumin, carmine, cholesterol, milk proteins and gelatin.
So, what exactly are these skincare products made of?
Obviously, most vegan products are plant-based. But you'll even find clay-based ingredients in some vegan products. Essential oils are the superstars and miracle workers when it comes to animal-free products.
But do they work?
Vegan skincare products are minimal and natural. They nourish the skin and don't cause irritation. It's perfect for those with sensitive skin or skin that's prone to irritation.
“I've been using natural skincare products ever since I was a kid. As I grew older, I read tons of articles on animal testing, SLS and parabens, which only drove my belief deeper into vegan and cruelty-free products,” says Trupti Karjinni, 26-year old Marketing Associate, Artist, and a lifelong vegan skincare user.
Our skin absorbs most of the ingredients we apply on it. And all processed products come loaded with preservatives, chemicals and toxins. Think of what a lifetime of applying these products on your skin could be doing to it. Vegan products, on the other hand, come with natural ingredients are are filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish your skin and without accumulating toxins.
“I tried different scrubs by renowned skincare companies that weren't vegan, but none of them worked. Then I switched to sandalwood scrub, and the difference was immediately visible. My skin is definitely softer ever since I switched to vegan skincare fully. I went vegan for my hair as well. My hairfall has reduced, and my scalp doesn't itch anymore either,” Trupti explains.
Vegan products are designed with an intense level of consciousness of the environment, and this consciousness reflects in the packaging of most vegan products too. This is what makes vegan products easier on the environment too. So, if you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, this is a good place to start.
Great! But how do I identify a vegan product?
First and foremost, you need to remember at all times that vegan and animal cruelty-free are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably. Some vegan products may still be tested on animals. The best way to avoid animal-tested products is to look for the "Leaping Bunny" logo. And the ideal conscious choice would be to go for products that are both, vegan as well as cruelty-free.
As the most famous vegan punchline goes, "you don't have to worry about identifying a vegan, they'll tell you upfront".
Of course, how can we miss out our favourite step: check the ingredients! Like we mentioned right at the beginning, some common ingredients to watch out for are - beeswax, honey, castor oil, lanolin, keratin, musk, pearls, albumen, Alanine, animal fats, bee pollen among others are all animal-based ingredients. Many ingredients that earlier had animal sources are now derived from plants e.g Coconut. Check out this extremely useful and handy list by PETA to help you navigate wisely.
Veganism in skincare helps not only you, but even the planet you call home and the animals you share it with.