The vegan beauty argument. What's the point?
as published in Vogue
The argument for going vegan with your skincare.
Our skin absorbs up to 60% of the products we apply to it – it’s a scary thought if those products are synthetic, processed and full of preservatives, chemicals and toxins. If you’re going to clean up your diet for the same reasons, why not make your beauty cabinet healthier too?
Vegan beauty products are produced without harm to animals (i.e. cruelty-free) and they also don’t contain any animal ingredients, animal by-products or animal-derived products. Common animal ingredients used in skincare include beeswax, lanolin (which is the grease from sheep’s wool – it’s hard to un-think that thought!), carmine (a red colour from crushed cochineal insects) and uric acid from cows.
Vegan formulas are sometimes given a hard time – are they as effective as non-vegan products? Are they more expensive? Do they have as long a shelf life?
The truth is, without animal ingredients, vegan products are actually better for your skin, especially if you’re someone with sensitive or condition-prone skin. Animal ingredients can be harsh and clog pores, so vegan products are a soothing alternative.
What’s more, the plant-derived ingredients in many vegan formulas contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to repair and hydrate the skin. You feel far healthier if you eat foods in their natural state – and the same logic applies to skincare. Your skin will thrive off being fed natural, vegan ingredients.
These ingredients include vitamins A, C and E, natural oils, such as coconut, argan and rosehip, algae, soybean extracts, hemp seed extracts, Camu Camu berry and so on. These ingredients are as, if not more effective, than their synthetic counterparts, since they are closer to their natural state. (Though beware, as the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ do not mean the product is vegan.)
Additionally, when products are absorbed by the skin, they go straight into the blood stream. (When you ingest something, it goes through the kidneys and liver before the blood stream – a natural filtration and detoxification process). Over time, the absorption of non-vegan ingredients can potentially cause negative side effects, and not just to your skin.