This Is What Vegan Beauty *Really* Means


This Is What Vegan Beauty *Really* Means

By Khanak Mehta 
  1. So, you’ve bid a permanent adieu to cheese and are actually reading food labels at the supermarket instead of just throwing things in your cart. Your friends now know to expect a vegan meal every time they drop by your home, and you’ve marked a list of your favourite vegan-friendly restaurants in your area for your next dinner date. 
  2. This lifestyle switch doesn’t have to merely stop at your diet – in fact, your beauty shelf can benefit from a vegan-friendly update, too. If you’ve previously searched for ‘vegan beauty’ and had a mere one or two search results, worry not. In the past few years, there have been a lot of vegan brands that have come up thanks to the rise in people switching to a vegan lifestyle.
  3. But, while you may know your food labels quite well, you can still get confused with all the beauty certifications and terms out there. For example, is vegan beauty also cruelty-free and organic? Does natural beauty also come under this label? 
  4. We know that there’s a lot to dissect here, so here’s a lowdown of all you need to know about vegan beauty.  


100% Vegan: A label to love 

First, let’s begin with what ‘vegan beauty’ exactly means. In a nutshell, vegan beauty products have zero animal-derived ingredients or by-products – and that’s it. Some common ingredients to avoid are honey, beeswax, lanolin, squalane, carmine, and gelatin. This may seem (deceptively) simple, but to get a clear idea of what’s really in your beauty products, it’s important to know other key terms that are often confused with this as well.


Cruelty-free beauty refers to products that have not been tested on animals at any point in their creation. However, this does not mean that they still don’t include animal-derived ingredients.


Organic beauty refers to a product that has a minimum of 95% organic ingredients in it and no harmful chemicals. However, there are no solid definitions in place for this term, and so a large part of the authenticity of this certification depends on the brand and what it means to them. 


Vegetarian beauty products don’t contain any ingredients that were a part of an animal. But they may contain ethically sourced animal by-products like honey and beeswax.


Natural beauty relates to products that are made up of natural ingredients that are either plant-derived or non-synthetic. Much like ‘organic’ beauty, the definition of this term can vary for each brand due to the lack of an official definition in place. 

It ‘vegans’ with a (small) change 

While there are quite a few regulatory bodies out there that certify vegan beauty brands, we suggest that you always look for a label that says ‘vegan’ or features the ‘PETA Cruelty-Free and Vegan’ logo, in particular. Some brands may also be dipping their toes into vegan beauty and only have certain products that are vegan, so it’s important to do your research. 

However, if you’re still unsure of where to begin, don’t worry. We have curated some top beauty brands that are committed to being vegan with stellar product formulations that are just as efficient as your current favourites.