The Rise Of Vegan Cosmetic Industry

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Why Should You Care About Vegan Cosmetics

In the age of consumerism, Where we are exploiting natural resources to attain the look we desire, Having vegan cosmetics can be the answer.

The global cosmetic industry is valued at $380.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $463.5 billion by 2027. The problem with the modern cosmetic industry is the chemicals in the products that harm your overall health. Like many lipsticks contain a tiny amount of lead and many other cosmetics contain products that when heated up can form formaldehyde, a class 1 carcinogen.

There is also a question of transparency and sustainability. Transparency about, What chemicals are used in the product? Where did these chemicals come from? Many customers are demanding to have clarity and transparency about their daily products like Moisturizers and sunscreen contain. There are many valid points of sustainability as well. Like the packaging that can take hundreds of years to break down in the landfill to the toxic chemicals that are washed away and end up in the oceans causing damage to the ecosystem and death of aquatic species. As consumers, it’s our job to ask these questions and support the right brands that push towards a more sustainable vegan future.

Just making something sustainable doesn’t make it ethical. Like the sustainable problem, there are many ethical issues in the cosmetic industry as well that need to be looked upon. Like underpaid employees to unknown products that can be harmful to the skin in the long run. There are also gruesome practices that involve animals to make these products.

Let’s look at some of the ingredients that come from animals.

What Animal Products Do Traditional Cosmetics Have?

Hyaluronic acid can come from three types of sources in skincare products. Animal, Synthetic, and Plants. The most prominent animal source comes from rooster combs, which are saved after the animal has been slaughtered for consumption.

Most of the collagen in skincare products tends to be derived from chicken feet and ground-up animal horns. Even though most studies show that collagen molecule is ineffective when it comes to penetrating all the skin layers to have any benefit the industry still uses many of these ingredients. A better and more effective way to get collagen is to eat collagen-stimulating foods such as green tea and beta-carotene, like carrots.

Retinol is a skin product usually derived from animal sources such as liver, meats, egg yolk, and fatty acids. It’s a potent source of vitamin A and is known for its anti-aging, anti-breakout, and exfoliating properties. The plant alternative for retinol are carotenoids and other groups of retinoids that can be found in green leafy vegetables and vibrant fruits.

Keratin is an animal-derived protein used as a soothing ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, and hair straightening treatments. Keratin has been extracted from ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, and various kinds of animal hair. Although there are no direct Plant-based alternatives for keratin we can use almond oil, amla oil, rosemary, and soy protein for achieving the same result.

Mink eyelashes are the latest trend when it comes to false eyelash extensions for their naturally shiny, fluffy look. Many brands market these mink eyelashes as cruelty-free but most of these farms kill minks for their pelts. Making eyelashes is yet another profitable product that is acquired from minks.

The β€˜natural’ in natural makeup brushes comes from real animal hair. These makeup brushes are commonly made from horse, goat, sable, mink, fox, or squirrel hair. The fashion and cosmetic industry doesn’t give enough transparency on how these products are obtained. Even if they mark these as cruelty-free, most of these animals are killed during hair collection or come from fur industries.

Glycerin is one of the most widely used ingredients in the skincare and cosmetics world. Glycerin can be found in many products such as moisturizers, toothpaste, balms, hair care, and soaps to provide smoothness and lubrication. Many companies have already started using plant alternative as vegetable glycerin but, it’s still one of the things you should check before purchasing the products.

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a natural hair and skin conditioner found in plant and animal sources. It is acquired from kidney, liver, and egg yolks. Biotin is used in shampoos and conditioners to add body and shine to the hair, and it is also added to creams for a smoother texture. In most products, biotin is manufactured synthetically from petroleum and cysteine.

Elastin is a major component in anti-aging products because of its ability to restore bounciness in the skin. Elastin can be derived from animal tissue, such as neck ligaments and aortas of cows. Even though it’s added to the products studies show there did not affect elastin as it cannot penetrate and be absorbed in the skin.

Steric acid is a natural fatty acid derived from the fat of pigs, cows, and sheep. Steric acid is used in a variety of products such as bars of soap, it’s used as a hardener, and as a binder to mix ingredients that wouldn’t mix well like oil and water. The plant-based alternative to stearic acid can be sources such as vegetable oil and cocoa butter but the majority of skincare products use the animal-derived source.

Throughout history, we have used animal products in perfumes for their powerful base notes. In their pure form these are often pungent but once diluted can reveal a beautifully sensual scent.

An expensive and exotic item in the perfume industry. Musk is a brownish substance secreted by the male musk deer. Musk is collected from the sex glands of the deer once the deer has been killed.

As only a few grams of musk can be collected from each gland, over 150 deer are killed for each kilogram of musk.

The process to get ambergris is a complicated one. Ambergris is a rare secretion produced by sick sperm whales who can’t properly digest the squid they eat. The result of improper digestion is a waxy, grey substance expelled at sea that floats overcurrents for years before washing up ashore. When this soft and dense ambergris dries and hardens into a rock-like material, it starts releasing its particular scent.

Civet is a buttery paste secreted from the anal glands of a civet cat. To make this sweet scent, wild civet cats native to the tropical forests of Asia and Africa are captured and caged without release for up to 15 years. For the extraction process, every 10 days the paste is extracted from the glands of completely conscious civets. This enduringly painful process often causes them to lose their appetite. As civets secrete more musk when stressed, many breeders keep them in a consistently high-stress state to produce more paste.

Castoreum is extracted from the castor sacs of beavers. Castor sacs are located just under their tails, these castor sacs are filled with a thick goo that beavers use to grease their and also to construct scent mounds to mark their territory.

Traditionally, beavers were killed to extract castoreum, but today they’re anesthetized while their castor sacs are milked. This process is still ethically questionable.

How Are Vegan Cosmetics Changing The Industry

In recent years, there’s been a rise in vegan cosmetics. We can see the industry grow up to $21.4 billion by the year 2027. Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable, natural, and ethically derived ingredients. These demands are drastically shifting the industry towards a better future so much so that even bigger brands are hoping in on it.

Like Unilever, Who are committed to ceasing all animal testing across their product lines. These include Dove, Dermalogica, and Axe. Many companies big and small are working towards creating better standards with full transparency.

How Are Vegan Cosmetics Better Than Traditional Makeup

A few ways vegan products are better than traditional makeup/cosmetics.

They use more natural ingredients. - Compared to traditional cosmetics, vegan cosmetics contain mostly natural or close to natural ingredients.

They avoid using harmful chemicals. - Most vegan cosmetics avoid any kind of chemicals, even if they do contain some these are mostly to preserve the ingredients.

Vegan cosmetics use synthetic animal products. - If a cosmetic requires some kind of animal product, like perfume that needs musk. The vegan substitute will have a synthetic version of the things making it cost-effective and ethical.

Other wonderful aspects of vegan cosmetics include -

Natural Extracts - Many of these vegan cosmetics are made with only natural extracts like aloe vera gel, rosemary, turmeric, tea tree, salicylic acid(white willow), green tea, etc. Natural extracts do not have any side effects or negative impacts on our body, whereas chemicals may cause harm.

Rich With Antioxidants - Most vegan ingredients are full of antioxidants. We all know how important antioxidants are for helping the skin to stay healthy and feeling young. These are one reason why vegan cosmetics excel compared to traditional cosmetics.

The Future Of Vegan Cosmetics

The future looks bright for the vegan cosmetic industry, People are finally realizing this is not a trend or hype. There is real demand and real results. More people are adopting vegan cosmetics for their natural and cruelty-free aspects. We all know we are not animal abusers and if we are given the option to choose a product that aligns with our beliefs we would hands-on choose the cruelty-free option.

Here are some of the biggest reasons that are responsible for the future of vegan cosmetics.

Increasing Demand

In the past few years, the demand for vegan cosmetics has skyrocketed. With new brands popping up every day, and the demand is just going up. With an average of 5.4% increase every year, the industry sure has a huge potential for growth.

A Responsible Way Of Living

The push towards improved ethics and accountability in the industry has become a huge movement. A movement that’s here to stay. Sustainable and ethically created products align with everyone’s beliefs. We as an individual can make a shift towards a better living not just for us but for the animals as well.

Align your ethics with your actions and we can achieve a lot not only in this industry but others as well. It seems the numbers are showing exactly that as we see the rise of the vegan cosmetic industry.

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