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8 Animal-Derived Ingredients to Avoid in Your Vegan Skincare Routine

Naman Bajaj
October 28, 2023

Many beauty and personal care product manufacturers label their products as 'natural' and 'organic'. However, it is important to note that these products may not be exclusively derived from plant-based ingredients.

Products labeled as vegan may still contain animal-derived ingredients. When shopping for vegan skincare brands, always look for certificates like The Vegan Society, Vegan Action, the Vegetarian Society, PETA Vegan, or BeVeg Certified.

If you find any of these 8 ingredients in the ingredient list, it is safe to conclude that the product is not vegan:


Guanine is a pearly substance that is used for its shiny, shimmery qualities. It is a crystalline compound that is made from crushed fish scales.

Found in: Nail varnishes, lipsticks, eyeshadows, highlighters, bronzers and mascaras

Also known as Dew Pearl, Guanin, Mearlmaid, Pearl Essence, Pearl Extract, Pearl Powder


Carmine is a red colorant that is used in the beauty industry. It is derived from cochineal insects that are crushed to extract their crimson color to make this colorant.

Found in: Blush, nail varnish, lipsticks

Also known as Carmine Red, CI 75470, E120, Natural Red 4


Collagen comes from the tissues and bones of animals and sometimes from animal skins, ligaments, and tendons. It is known for its anti-aging properties and is used in products that improve the skin’s elasticity or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Found in: Anti-aging cream, around-eye cream, facial moisturizer, foundation, serums

Also known as Collagen Fiber, Collagen Sheet, Ossein, Osseine


Also known as milk protein, Casein usually comes from cows' milk and is used as a binding agent in skincare products. It is found in skin and hair care products.

Found in: Shampoo, serums, eyelash glue

Also known as Caseinate, Milk Protein, Sodium Caseinate


Beeswax is an animal-derived ingredient. It is a purified wax that comes from the honeycomb of the bees. It is used as an emulsifier in the beauty industry.

Found in: Deodorant, sunscreen, hair styling wax, moisturizer, lip balm, baby lotion

Also known as Beeswax, Cera Alba, Cera Flava


Shellac is an amber-colored resin made from the resinous secretion of an insect called the lac. Around 300,000 insects are killed for the production of 1 kg of shellac. It is primarily used to shine hair, nails, or lips due to its glossy appearance.

Found in: Mascara, glitter, lip balm

Also known as Gum Lac, Lac Resin

Silk Protein

Silk protein is an animal-derived ingredient that comes from silkworm cocoons. It is widely used in skincare and haircare products. Silk is sometimes used as a colorant in makeup products as well.

Found in: Shampoo, conditioner, facial moisturizer

Also known as Silk, Silk Extract


Propolis is a resinous mixture produced by bees. They use it in the construction and repair of their hives. Humans have historically used it for wound healing and pain relief. Propolis has detoxifying, antifungal, antiallergic, analgesic, and antibacterial effects which makes it suitable for a variety of skincare products

Found in: Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant

Also known as Propolis Extract

A few other ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Lanolin, Lecithin, Oleic acid, Panthenol, Perfume, Squalene/Squalane, and Retinol could be derived from plants or animals. In the absence of explicit statements confirming their vegan status, it is safe to assume that ingredients are derived from animals.

Naman Bajaj
October 28, 2023


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