With vegan beauty products a must-try trend (with over 600,000 hashtags and counting) and no standardised, legal requirement for a vegan product, it can be a “minefield out there,” says Abigail Steven from The Vegan Society.
And with little recourse if a product isn’t vegan, some brands do jump on the bandwagon, she warns. You’ll need to be on your game to spy the pretenders. Here’s our 5-step guide to checking if a product really makes the grade.
1. Know The Difference
If a product is labelled cruelty-free, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be vegan-friendly. While it should mean no testing on animals, the product may still include animal-derived ingredients.
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2. Check For Ingredients
Check for common cosmetic ingredients including glycerin, collagen, gelatin, lanolin that are derived from animal sources or by-products. “Silk is one example, with extracts often included in haircare products,” says Abigail. “There are few synthetic sources so it’s one to watch out for.” Other ingredients to look out for include pearl, snail gel, milk protein, cochineal (E120) and tallow.
3. Can You Shop It In China?
If a product is available in China, it’s not vegan. Animal testing is a legal requirement there. A pre-purchase Google can be very telling.
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4. Read The Small Print
“Look for hidden ingredients, like beeswax, that is called by it’s Latin name, Cera Alba,” says Abigail. “Or Guanine, which can come from fish scales and is often found in sparkly products such as lipsticks and nail polishes.”
5. Look For A Certification Trademark
The quickest way to ensure products are vegan is to look for the Vegan Society trademark. Established in 1990, it puts brands through a strict identification process before granting approval. It certifies that products do not contain any animal extracts or animal by-products in the ingredients or the manufacturing process; also, that the products and ingredients have never been tested on animals. Another logo to look out for is the Peta Cruelty-free and the Vegan logo as seen here.
And as the saying goes – forewarned is forearmed!