Vegan skin care - why and how?

Vegan cosmetics are more than a trend. There are good reasons to avoid products with animal ingredients. Is your lipstick literally blood red or is your favorite scent a real hangover? Animal products often hide gruesome stories but also ecological aspects. And giving up isn't as complicated as you might think. We clarify which ingredients are often or always of animal origin, how you deal with them and what vegan has to do with cruelty-free.

Vegane Hautpflege – warum und wie? | Five Skincare

That speaks for vegan cosmetics

There are several things that inspire us to switch to purely plant-based products. With their rejection of animal products, many are setting an example for animal welfare. They do not want to further support the often catastrophic conditions under which farm animals are kept by their consumption. Environmental protection also plays a role. Because factory farming drives the pollution with greenhouse gases and thus climate change.

In any case, you are making an environmentally conscious decision with vegan products. Taking this step with cosmetics makes sense even if you still prefer to drink your cappuccino with milk. After all, we have to start somewhere.

Many cosmetics contain animal ingredients

When it comes to a vegan lifestyle, many people naturally think of food first. But it also applies to cosmetics. Animal ingredients are found in many products. Bar soaps from conventional production often contain tallowates, i.e. animal fats. The red dye in lipstick, nail polish, blush, and the like often comes from lice. And a popular ingredient in lip balm is beeswax. But ingredients of animal origin are also hidden in other products.

💡 At the end of this article you will find a list of ingredients of animal origin that you often encounter in cosmetics.

How to find vegan cosmetics

The list below will help you with your shopping. But there's an easier way than searching the ingredients list for animal products on each product. Namely the vegan flower of the Vegan Society. If a product has this symbol, you can be 100% sure that it is vegan.

Vegan Blume Vegan Society Five Skincare

🌟 FIVE makes vegan natural cosmetics: Our products are listed by the Vegan Society and bear the vegan flower.

There are also helpful apps. This includes, for example, the vegan shopping guide from PETA ZWEI or the CODECHECK app. You can even activate a vegan filter in it. Both are available in iTunes and Google Play Store.

🌱  Good to know: Vegan cosmetics say nothing about the naturalness of a product. Conventional cosmetics can also carry a vegan label.

Does vegan also mean cruelty-free?

The topic of animal testing is at least as important as the keeping conditions of animals. There are a number of myths about this.What is the current situation and what can we - you and I - do to reduce animal suffering?

The current status of animal testing

Since 2013 animal testing for cosmetic products has been banned in the EU This is not binding for Swiss manufacturers. However, they usually stick to it because they also sell their products in neighboring EU countries. However, you have to assume that probably all cosmetic raw materials without exception have been tested on animals at some point in their history. This has only ended since the ban in 2009. This prohibits animal testing for raw materials that are exclusively used for cosmetic products.

The crux of the matter is that most of the substances found in cosmetics are also used in the chemical industry. For these other applications, they must comply with the safety standards required by the chemicals legislation REACH. This often even prescribes animal testing! So animal tests are still carried out on newly developed raw materials if they are used in addition to cosmetics, for example for paints, varnishes and cleaning agents or nanomaterials.

Cruelty-free manufacturing - what we do as a company

Animal welfare is very important to us at FIVE. This determines our entire product development, the production and the purchase of raw materials.

  • As required by law, we neither conduct nor commission animal testing.
  • We do not source any raw materials from companies that perform or have performed animal testing.
  • We do not export our products to countries that require animal testing for cosmetics.
  • We register our care products with the Vegan Society. The vegan flower not only stands for 100% vegan products. At the same time, the conditions of the label exclude animal testing.

Cruelty-free shopping - what we as consumers can do

  • Buy vegan products. Animal suffering not only affects experiments on animals, but also their husbandry. That's why you want to be sure that there are no animal ingredients in your cosmetics.
  • Take natural cosmetics with biological ingredients. Pesticides are used in conventional cultivation of the raw materials. Which, in turn, were almost certainly tested on animals. In addition, their use destroys various microorganisms in the laboratory and in nature.
    ☝️ This idea goes beyond "pure" cruelty-free awards like Leaping Bunny. Animal suffering is not only relevant to the development and safety of raw materials. It starts with their cultivation.
  • If you buy conventional cosmetics, make sure they have labels like Leaping Bunny, PETA, PETA Cruelty-Free or of course the vegan flower.

Let's go vegan

There are many good reasons not to use animal products in your cosmetics. Thanks to modern processes, there are now plenty of opportunities to produce active ingredients cruelty-free. Other ingredients can be easily replaced with vegetable oils or extracts. So you don't have to do without anything. And there is also a good conscience.

Come on, we'll take vegan care!
Your Anna

Pure natural cosmetics by FIVE Maximum 5 ingredients, vegan. Experience natural cosmetics without additives.

List of animal cosmetic ingredients

This overview helps when shopping if you want to switch to purely herbal cosmetics. It contains the most common ingredients of animal origin with INCI name, description, use and vegan alternatives. The ingredients are listed in alphabetical order. And beware, some of them are also available from plant sources!

Beeswax | Cera Alba

Bees excrete the wax to build their honeycomb. It forms a protective film on the skin that prevents it from drying out. Here's how you find it...

🧴 Common in lip care, rich creams; less often in foundation
🌱 Vegan alternatives: carnauba wax (Copernicia Cerifera Cera) or candelilla wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Cera)

Chitin | Chitin/Chitosan

These thickeners have a film-forming effect and work in a similar way to gelatin (see below). They are obtained from the shells of crustaceans and insects.

🧴 Often in hair setting lotions
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Agar-Agar (Agar) made from algae, Locust Bean Gum (Ceratonia Siliqua Gum) or Xanthan Gum (Xanthan Gum)

cholesterol | cholesterol

This lipid derived from animal fats is naturally present in the skin. As a component of the cell membrane, it plays an important role in the regeneration and protection of the skin. At the same time, it acts as an emulsifier in creams.

🧴 Often found in rich creams of all kinds
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Plant-based phytosterols such as those found in unrefined shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter) and avocado oil (Persea gratissima oil).

cysteine ​​| cystine/cysteine/L-cysteine

The amino acid is often obtained from animal keratin (see below).

🧴 Often in wound ointments, hair care products and creams
🌱 Vegan alternative: L-cysteine ​​on a plant basis is now also available, which is produced in two different processes. However, it is unclear to us whether animal testing was used for the development of these raw materials. So better to avoid it altogether.

Elastin | elastin

Elastin keeps things elastic, as the name suggests. The protein is obtained from the neck tendons of cattle.

🧴 Often found in skin care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Proteins from soy (Glycine Soy Protein) or Wheat (Hydrolized Wheat Protein)

Fibrostimulin K | Fibrostimulin K

The protein smooths the skin and is popular as an anti-wrinkle ingredient. However, it is obtained from calf blood.

🧴 Often found in anti-aging products
🌱 Vegan alternative: Fibrostimulin P from potatoes – Little mnemonic: «K» for veal and «P» for vegetable

fish scales | Guanine/Gua

This effect pigment is found in many decorative cosmetics, especially those that shimmer beautifully. Guanine is obtained from ground fish scales.

🧴 Often found in nail polish, shiny eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick and mascara
🌱 Vegan alternative: Mica (Mica ).

Gelatine | Gelatin

When we think of this gelling agent, we first think of gummy bears. Obtaining it from the bones, skin and sinews of animals, i.e. slaughterhouse waste, is less appetizing.

🧴 Often found in creamy products such as face masks or shampoos
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Agar-Agar (Agar) from algae or locust bean gum (Ceratonia Siliqua Gum)

Royal Jelly | Royal Jelly

Bees feed their queens with this nutrient-rich secretion. It has a smoothing effect on the skin, which is used in anti-aging products.

🧴 Often found in face and eye creams, hair conditioners or body lotions
🌱 Vegan alternatives: extracts from aloe vera (Aloe Barbadensis) or Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale Root Extract)

ghee | ghee

Ghee is made from cow's milk. It is clarified butterfat that is used in Ayurvedic cuisine. But we also encounter it in cosmetics.

🧴 Often in creams and balms
🌱 Vegan alternatives: rich vegetable oils such as jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil) or shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter)

Glycerin | glycerol or glycerol

Glycerin has a moisturizing effect. Animal glycerin is a by-product of the saponification of beef tallow (see also Tallowate below).

🧴 Often found in lotions, creams, make-up (foundations), after-sun preparations and other skin care products as well as shampoo and conditioner
🌱 Vegan alternative: vegetable glycerin. This is obtained from the saponification of vegetable oils.
☝️ At FIVE, for example, we use organic glycerin from coconut oil in our FIVE face serum.

Hyaluronic acid | Sodium Hyaluronate or Hyaluronic Acid

This ingredient binds moisture in the skin. It was originally always made from animal components, mostly from cockscombs. However, the production is quite complex, which is why hyaluronic acid is mostly synthetically produced today.

🧴 Often found in skin creams, serums and moisturizing masks
🌱 Vegan alternatives: plant-based hyaluronic acid
☝️ In FIVE facial serum naturally contains pure vegetable hyaluronic acid from grain, namely from such that not genetically modified, i.e. NO-GMO.

Carmine | Cochineal, Cl 75470, E 120 or Natural Red 4

The pigment gives make-up and nail polish their strong red, more precisely blood red. Because when it is extracted, you lose your desire for color: For every gram of carmine red, around 150 cochineal lice are dried to death and the color pigments are then boiled out of them.

🧴 Commonly found in nail polish, lipstick, rouge and actually everything that is red in color
🌱 Vegan alternatives: plant pigments from beetroot (Beta Vulgaris), Raspberries (Rubus Idaeus Fruit) and the like, and Iron Oxide ( CI 77489). There is also a synthetic carmine E124, which is not suitable for natural cosmetics.

keratins | keratin

This protein is part of the hair structure. So keratin provides fullness and healthy shine. Less beautiful: It is made from ground hooves, horns and feathers.

🧴 Often found in shampoo, conditioner and other hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Hydrolized Wheat Protein Wheat or Hydrolized Soy Protein from soy

Collagen | Collages

This protein ensures firm tissue and a firm complexion. But it is derived from the fat or bones of cattle and pigs.

🧴 Often found in skin creams and serums
🌱 Vegan alternatives: There is no such thing as a plant-based ingredient that replaces collagen. However, similar effects are achieved with active ingredient combinations of amino acids, antioxidants and plant extracts. Face massages also stimulate the skin's own collagen synthesis.

lanolin, also wool wax | lanolin

This is the fat that sheep secrete to protect their fur from getting wet. So it seals well. Lanolin is obtained from the shorn wool. So, unlike civet (see below), for example, it is not taken directly from the sheep.

🧴 Often found in rich skin creams
🌱 Vegan alternatives: vegetable oils with an occlusive effect such as jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil ) or shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter)

Lecithins | Hydroxylated lecithin

Lecithins are compounds made from fats and glycerin that are found in our cell membranes. They regulate the pH value, smooth the skin and have an antistatic and emulsifying effect. They are obtained from animal nerve tissue or eggs.

🧴 Often found in skin creams, eyebrow pencils, eyeliner, anti-cellulite products and hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: plant-based lecithins from soy (soy Lecithin) or sunflower seeds (Sunflower Lecithin)

lactic acid | Lactic Acid

Lactic acid regulates the pH value of the skin and is a metabolite in the blood and muscle tissue. However, it can also be produced synthetically or replaced with citric acid.

🧴 Often found in facial cleanser and tonic
🌱 Vegan alternative: Vegan lactic acid (E270) is used by Produces lactic acid bacteria from sugar solutions and has absolutely nothing to do with milk.

Propolis | Propolis Cera

Like beeswax and royal jelly, this resinous secretion comes from bees. It is popular in cosmetics because of its antibacterial effect.

🧴 Often found in toothpaste and anti-aging products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Licorice root extracts (Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract ) or Hamamelis (Hamamelis Virginiana)

Beef tallow | (Sodium) Tallowate

Soap is traditionally made from animal fats, mostly beef tallow from slaughterhouse waste.

🧴 Often in soaps
🌱 Vegan alternatives: soaps made from coconut oil (Sodium Cocoate), olive oil (Sodium Olivate), palm oil (Sodium Palmate) or other vegetable oils
☝️ You make an environmentally conscious decision with soaps from organic production, which does not encourage overexploitation of nature.

Shellac | Shellac

Lacquer scale insect droppings have a resinous quality that imparts shine.

🧴 Often found in hairspray and nail polish
🌱 Vegan alternatives: mica (mica) or vegetable waxes such as jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil)

Silk | Hydrolized Silk

The silkworm spins the fine threads that also make skin and hair silky. In cosmetics, silk is found not only in threads but also in powdered form and as silk protein.

🧴 Often in make-up, creams and hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Depending on the application, mica (mica ), aloe vera (Aloe Barbadensis) and vegetable hyaluronic acid (see above)

Stearic acid | Stearic Acid

Stearic acid acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer in cosmetic products. Animal stearic acid is taken from pig stomachs. But there are also vegetable sources.

🧴 Often found in creams and ointments
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Vegan stearic acid from vegetable oils

Squalene | Squalane

Squalanes smooth skin and hair. They were originally obtained from shark liver. However, vegetable sources are now represented more often.

🧴 Often found in skin and hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternative: squalane from the pressing residue of olives or sugar cane
☝️ Use with FIVE we squalane from olives.

Vitamin A | Retinol

Vitamin A stimulates regeneration and has an antioxidant effect. For cost reasons, it is usually obtained from animal sources such as butter, eggs or fish liver.

🧴Common in anti-aging creams and serums
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Vitamin A made from carrots, apricots or lemongrass

Cibet | Civet

The secretion of the civet cat is popular for its musky scent. It also serves as a fixative in makeup. To obtain the cats, the anal glands are scraped out in an extremely cruel and painful way.

🧴 Often in perfumes
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Labdanum oil (Cistus Ladaniferus Oil) from the Lack -Rockrose

Myths: These ingredients are now vegan

As the list above suggests, there are many ingredients that can have both animal and plant sources. In the meantime, the vegan solutions often predominate in practice, for example if they are more stable or more easily available. There are also some ingredients that are no longer derived from animals on the European market.

Ambra: quite fragrant

This includes, for example, ambergris or ambergris. The fragrance is popular for musky perfumes. In the past, it was obtained from a digestive product of the sperm whale. The whales excreted it, after which it was washed up on the beaches in the form of greyish lumps. Whale products have not been allowed to be traded in Switzerland under the species protection agreement for a long time, so for a very long time. Nowadays, the fragrance therefore comes from synthetic sources.

You can take urea without hesitation

It is similar with urea. Urea is part of the skin's natural moisturizing factor (NMF). It is often found in intensive care for dry skin. Urea has only been produced artificially since 1828. This is also no longer an animal ingredient.

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"No cream should have more ingredients than you can count on one hand."

Anna Pfeiffer