Veganism is everywhere at the moment. It seems like a lot of people are switching to plant-based lifestyles, and why wouldn’t they when we’ve got The Happy Pear and Roz Purcell?! Plant-based lifestyles often mean that you’re taking in plenty of skin-healthy nutrients but it also means that you probably have to make some changes to your skincare routine as many of the common ingredients in products are derivative of animal products. But for the non-vegan folk, is making the big plant switch worth it for your skin?
What are the benefits of vegan skincare?
Vegan skincare is ideal for people with skin prone to sensitivity and irritation because it usually contains fewer irritating ingredients. This also makes a lot of vegan skincare pregnancy safe! The other major benefit of vegan skincare is that, most of the time, vegan skincare is environmentally friendly and cruelty free – not a skin benefit but definitely one for those of us who are conscious about their impact on Mother Earth.
Vegan diet staples such as avocados and cabbage are full of vitamin E, which, as you surely know by now as a member of the Nerd Herd, aids in the body’s natural production of collagen. Beans are a natural source of hyaluronic acid, which keeps the skin plump and hydrated.
This is controversial but vegan skincare doesn’t pip the alternative to the post in terms of direct skin advantages, outside of those that I’ve already stated. There is nothing groundbreaking or life-changing in vegan skincare – I mean moreso for those non-vegans looking to invest for possible advantages. If reducing your environmental impact is all you’re looking to do, then there is no harm in veganising your skincare toolbox.
Which common ingredients aren’t vegan?
If you’re trying to be a little bit greener (hopefully not in complexion), it’s possible that some of your current skincare products could be accidentally vegan. As I’ve been told by any and all of my vegan friends, there is no greater joy than finding out that one of your favourite things is accidentally vegan, whether it be Tesco Bacon Rashers crisps (this is true!!) or your serum. The issue is that some of the most commonly found skincare ingredients are derived from animal products and animal by-products. These include:
- Amino acids – Not all of them are, but some amino acids are taken from animal products and by-products. Make sure to only use products that use plant-based amino acids.
- Collagen – The peptides found in collagen supplement are often from fish or cows (AKA marine collagen or bovine collagen). At the moment, there are vegetarian supplements but nothing vegan. Get your collagen by boosting food rich in vitamin E, as I mentioned above.
- Hyaluronic acid – Hyaluronic acid often comes from animal products and by-products. The alternative is looking for products that use synthetic hyaluronic acid.
- Glycerin – Glycerin is a by-product of soap making, in which animal fats are used. This is another easy alternative, as its replaceable by vegetable or plant-based glycerin.
This is a short sample list of major skincare ingredients that you need to watch out for if you’re looking for truly vegan skincare products.
It can be hard to come by vegan products that are easily available in Ireland. Sometimes it feels like it takes so long for things to make it to our Emerald Isle (ie. kombucha)!! Australian skincare brand MooGoo have a whole array of vegan-friendly products. MooGoo is actually a misleading name, as the brand do not incorporate milk into their products (sorry to the Cleopatra wannabes).
MooGoo’s Irritable Skin Balm (€15.95) has been specifically developed for hoomans who suffer from eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis and is vegan, as per their website! Their 3 Vitamin Serum (€21.75) with vitamin E, vitamin B5 and vitamin C is also vegan-friendly.
Environ (one of my all-time favourite brands) have around 4o vegan-friendly products for a vast variety of skin problems and skin types. Environ’s B-Active Sebuwash (€20.00) contains salicylic acid to battle breakouts and excess oils. For on top, the vast majority of Jane Iredale cosmetics are vegan, including Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream (€54.00).
Products can be vegan without being certified vegan but the two most common certified vegan logos would be The Vegan Society and Vegan Action (Only for US, CAN, AUS, NZ products) logos. In the end, it’s up to you whether the products you use are certified or not but both certifiers essentially rely on honesty from the brand, as it appears that any information in regard to ingredients and processing is provided by the company applying for certification.
Reading ingredients can help you to figure out if a product has been manufactured without animal products and animal by-products, but bear in mind that it won’t help when it comes to processing.
For a quick nerdy recap, vegan skincare can be effective and there are plenty of all vegan brands and vegan products available but if you are not a plant-based hooman or green hooman then there are no additional advantages to vegan skincare over other skincare.
I will always encourage everyone to live their best life and to make lifestyle choices with only themselves in mind – don’t just buy things because their on trend. If you are a vegan, then vegan skincare has obvious value to you. The more people using vegan skincare, the more that the market will grow thus encouraging more brands to introduce vegan lines, ranges or even completely veganise themselves!!!