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When it comes to beauty, it is hard to guess how much cruelty can be behind it. Besides the fact that cosmetics can be tested on animals, in our favorite jars and tubes there can be not just ingredients of animal origin, but also obtained from living creatures themselves. I must warn you that the issue of the ethics of cosmetics, which sounds as “cosmetics not tested on animals,” or “cosmetics without cruelty,” does not take into account the presence of ingredients that are so cruel in the composition of the products that, in fact, call them ethical will simply be incorrect.

Cosmetics, which is included in the lists of international organizations under the phrase “cosmetics without cruelty”, may contain any ingredients. They are not a selection criterion for getting into the lists based on ethics. However, if you are ready to go beyond the question of testability, here are some of the important factors you must consider if you want to buy cruelty-free makeup.

Ethical cosmetics – not tested on animals.

The term “ethical cosmetics” does not take into account this aspect: whether the cosmetics contain ingredients of animal origin or not, regardless of whether they were obtained peacefully or by causing harm to the life or health of animals.

Vegan cosmetics

These cosmetics do not contain any ingredients of animal origin. Some brands have special vegan lines or individual products; there are not many completely vegan brands.

Is the presence of animal ingredients in cosmetics justified? Such ingredients are used not because they are better than herbal or synthetic, but because they are cheaper. Modern slaughterhouses offer a huge number of by-products that can be advantageously used, including in the cosmetics industry.

Why buy cruelty-free makeup?

Cruelty-free makeup is now gaining more popularity as several groups and people started raising their voices against the inhuman practices of the industry and cosmetic manufacturers. Goes without saying, any practice that unnecessarily leads to harm towards animals and innocent lives is considered unethical and cruel.

It is our moral and ethical responsibility to choose the brands that offer products made from clean and cruelty-free practices. It is not just good for our bodies, but also great for keeping our conscience clean.

By far, the most ethical decision will be to choose vegan brands that do not use any ingredients of animal origin. However, in many regions around the world, there are very few such brands, so we can independently choose vegan positions from ethical brands. There are brands that have few ingredients of animal origin or even have separate vegan lines.

The difficulty of self-study of the ingredients is that:

  • Some ingredients under the same name can be of animal, plant or even synthetic origin.
  • There are thousands of patented variations of the names of the ingredients, which can also be of animal origin.

That is why it will be most reliable to turn directly to brands with a request for clarification of certain ingredients that are not fully understood or to request a list of vegan positions. In addition, we can do the first check ourselves.

Here are some ingredients that come from harming your health or killing animals:


Protein obtained by digesting the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of cattle. It can be found in creams, masks, shampoos.


A red dye derived from carmine acid produced by female cochineal insects. Get it by grinding insects.

It is found in decorative cosmetics (lipsticks and blushes), nail polishes, and shampoos.


Animal wax obtained by washing or digesting sheep wool with organic solvents. It can be found in creams, lotions, and lipsticks.


The organ necessary for the full intrauterine development of the embryo and leaving the uterus during childbirth. Take the placenta from pigs, sheep, and cows.

The following ingredients can be either animal, plant or synthetic:

  • Allantoin is a product of uric acid oxidation that can also be obtained from plant roots. It is found in creams and lotions.
  • Albumin (Albumen) – a protein obtained from eggs, blood serum of animals or seeds of plants. It is found in creams and serums.
  • Ambergris – a wax-like substance formed in the digestive tract of sperm whales. It is also found floating in seawater or washed ashore. It is highly regarded in perfumery and is used as an odor control agent. There are analogs of synthetic origin.
  • Wax – may be a bee or cover some plants. It is found in lipsticks, lip balms, hair and hair removal products.
  • Hyaluronic Acid – is part of animal tissue. It is used in cosmetics as an integral part of skincare products: creams, lipsticks, lotions, etc. There are analogs of synthetic origin.
  • Keratin – protein from the hooves, feathers, and hair of various animals. It is found in hair products. It can be of plant and synthetic origin.
  • Oleic acid / Stearic acid is found in animals and plants. It is used in creams, gels, lotions, conditioners, hair sprays, deodorants, decorative cosmetics, solid perfumes, lip balms, soaps.
  • Palmitic Acid is a fatty acid, usually derived from palm oil, but can also be obtained from animals. It is found in shampoos, soaps, creams.
  • Squalene is a substance obtained from shark liver, other animal tissues, microorganisms or from vegetable oils. May be present in decorative cosmetics, creams, lotions, hair dye.
  • Shellac – resinous secretion of insects or can be obtained synthetically. It is found in nail varnishes and hair.

These are the most common ingredients of animal origin, which can be obtained by causing harm to health or associated with the loss of life of living things. I hope now you can independently find the main brutal components in cosmetics!


Now that you know about the cruelty and brutality that goes into the production and manufacturing of these products, you know what to do. In my opinion, it is our responsibility to do everything in our capacity to prevent animal abuse and other cruel practices involved in the making of these products. It is best to choose the brands that symbolize cruelty-free practices. The brands that manufacture cruelty-free makeup often have a symbol of rabbit on their products. Look for a rabbit symbol whenever you are buying makeup and cosmetics. By opting for vegan makeup products, you would not only be contributing to environmental factors but also be benefitting yourself in the end. Many brands are already taking steps to avoid adding such environmental toxic ingredients and are contributing to society and the environment one way or another. Considering, the current global and environmental factors, as a customer and consumer one should support such initiatives and be a part of such movement while feeling proud of yourself and not feel guilty whenever you put makeup on.