By Pam Ryan
The next time you’re getting ready for a night out on the town, take a look at the ingredients list on each of the cosmetic products you plan to use, and compare them to the list below. You may be surprised at how few of them you want to apply to your face all of a sudden.
It can be quite astonishing to find out how many animal by-products are squeezed into cosmetics these days and given misleading names for the sake of sales. This is especially surprising when you consider how many vegan and cruelty-free brands there are out there that you could be using instead.
As Green Monsters, we’re always looking for ways to reduce our personal impact on the creatures we share this planet with and being mindful of the ingredients in our cosmetics is a great way to start. After all, beauty should never hurt – you or anyone else.
1. Cochineal Dye
Also listed as Carmine, this odd sounding substance is far from synthetic. It’s actually a dye collected from crushed Dactylopius Coccus … or cochineal beetles to be precise. The insects feed on cactus plants in Central and South America and the females eat the red cactus berries; when they’re crushed an intense red dye is produced. It’s found in most lipsticks and a lot of blush products.
This one is often confused with bat guano, or bat poop. In fact, it’s a crystalline material that’s shimmering or light-diffusing and found in crushed fish scales. It’s in most mascaras, nail polishes and lipsticks. Bat poop or fish scales, does it really matter which it is now?
Tallow is a common ingredient in many cosmetics including eye makeup, lipstick, makeup bases and foundations. To the everyday consumer, it’s more common name would be rendered animal fat. The process involves boiling the carcasses of slaughtered animals until a fatty substance is produced, ready to add to cosmetics and apply to one’s face.
Similar to tallow, gelatin is the boiled skin, tendons, ligaments and bones of animals. It’s aliases include gel, hide glue, gelatine, isinglass, kosher and halal gelatin. It can be spotted hiding in creamy cosmetics and nail treatments.
Imagine not showering for days. You know that greasy build-up in your hair? Now imagine never, ever showering and living in a steam room. Pretty gross thought, isn’t it? Well, imagine putting that greasy build-up on your face. Lanolin is the excretion from wool-bearing mammals and is found in most lipsticks and makeup removers.
Sounds gross, doesn’t it? Well, if it doesn’t make you squeal yet, keep reading. This substance is extracted from the livers of sharks and then added to your eye makeup and lipsticks.
It may seem unbelievable, but this ingredient is derived from the waxy oil that lines whale’s stomachs. Surprisingly enough, this oil substance is used to make the scent “set” in perfumes.
Found in cosmetic lip-plumping glosses, this is a fibrous protein from animal tissue that has no proven effect on your own collagen reproduction.
Also listed as Estradiol this hormone-based can be found in most perfumes, restorative creams or lotions. Estrogen is obtained by extracting urine from pregnant horses. (Yuck? We agree.)
This pesky animal-based ingredient can often be found in products that boast an “anti-aging” quality. Retinol is a potent source of vitamin A, but it is almost always derived from an animal.