Originating in the UK, the “Veganuary” challenge invites men and women to ban all animal products from their diet during the month of January.

But the point, more generally, is to adopt (temporarily or definitively) a vegan lifestyle, which concerns your bathroom as much as it does your plate. This annual challenge can therefore be a good opportunity to discover and adopt vegan cosmetics once and for all. Here’s what you need to know.

What are vegan cosmetics?
Natural, vegan, organic, cruelty-free… It’s easy to get lost with all these various cosmetics labels? And that’s even before looking at all the terms and labels created to help us find the right products according to our personal ethos. First of all, you should know that vegan cosmetics are beauty products that are free of any ingredient derived from animals, the main goal being to end animal suffering. Therefore, vegan cosmetics have not been tested on animals either.

The differences between vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics can be confusing, but these are two different types of products. A cruelty-free moisturising cream is a product that was not tested on any animal, but it does not necessarily mean that it doesn’t contain ingredients derived from animals. On the other hand, vegan cosmetics guarantee both. This is an important factor to take into account before making your choice among the many beauty products currently on the market.

Image credit: Kat Von D

Avoid many ingredients
As with what we eat, opting for a 100 percent vegan beauty routine means giving up a long list of ingredients, some of which you may not have thought of. Predictably, animal fats, which can be found in certain nourishing creams, are anything but vegan. They are probably the easiest ingredient to identify on the labels of our favourite cosmetics.

But they are not the only ones. You’ve most likely already read the word “glycerin” on the packaging of your face and body creams, soaps, and even some of your hair products; this term generally guarantees elasticity, suppleness, and hydration. If you want to opt for a vegan lifestyle, you’ll need to turn to plant-based glycerin, and avoid all products where its origin is not specified. The same goes for collagen, pervasive in the cosmetics’ industry.

Fish oils are also a cosmetics staple, but they are easily identifiable, as is carmine, a pigment made from an extract of cochineal insects often used in red lipsticks. And don’t forget your animal hair makeup brushes!

Then there are the products derived from the hive, which have long been the subject of debate. While some say that bees do not suffer physically when they produce their honey, others point out that it is still detrimental to bees to harvest their production. In the end, honey is not considered vegan. Even though it is a natural ingredient with multiple virtues, it cannot be used in the formula of animal-friendly cosmetics.

Which labels should you look out for?
It is not necessarily easy to know and identify all the ingredients present in our cosmetics, and to deduce if they are vegan or not. Fortunately, there are many labels around the world to guide us on the subject.

To make sure you choose products that do not contain any ingredients of animal origin, you can trust the following labels: Vegan Society, V-Label, Eve Vegan, Vegecert, VeganOK and Certified Vegan, among others.

This article was published via AFP Relaxnews. (Header and banner image credit: Brooke Lark via Unsplashed)