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Animal products in cruelty free and vegan products is a thing: 10 ingredients to watch out for


Do you know what may be lurking in your cruelty free & vegan makeup products? You won't believe your eyes! As many health, and planet conscious people, you may have chosen a vegan lifestyle, and pride yourself in buying only cruelty free and vegan products. But did you know that some companies may be deceiving you by secretly hiding ingredients they know you would disprove of? In this article, we're spilling the tea on these insidious practices to educate and empower you as a consumer, so that you don't fall in their trap. 

Let's first start by distinguishing the difference between the term "cruelty free" and the term "vegan". Did you know that they are not one and the same? This very linguistic confusion is one many cosmetic companies know about and use to purposely deceive you and drive sales. According to PETA, Cruelty-free means that the product was developed without animal testing, whereas the term vegan means that the product does not contain any animal products. Therefore cosmetic products labelled as vegan may very well have been tested on animals! And products labelled as cruelty-free may not actually be vegan! Are you as shocked as we are? Some companies even go as far as lying to their consumers. For instance, while Avon says that they do not conduct tests on animals, some of the ingredients they source from outside facilities are tested on animals ! 

While we'll never know the extent of these practices, we can do our best to learn about ingredients to watch out for. Here's a list below:


Lanolin is a common ingredient in makeup products, and creams.  At first glance, it just sounds like the million other chemical gibberish terms found in all cosmetics...right? Well, you'd be surprised to know that Lanolin is wool wax. It is the secretion of the sebaceous glands of sheep. It Is washed out of the wool of shorn or slaughtered sheep and purified.You can find it in hair, skin and makeup products. 


Ever wondered how that Taylor Swift Ruby Woo gorgeous red lip is achieved? With bugs powder! Carmine is a common ingredient in red or pink makeup products. It is made from female cochineal scale insects. More than 150,000 insects may be required for 1kg of the dye. It's even a food colorant!




Keratin is also another hair care product that is quite popular these days. Anyone who wants sleek, luscious straight hair can opt for a Keratin treatment at the hair salon. There are even Keratin infused shampoos claiming to add vitality to your hair.  Keratin is a protein derived from ground horns, hooves, claws, nails, hair, scales and feathers of diverse vertebrates.





If you're worried about wrinkles, anti-aging and the like, and walk into a makeup store, you'd probably be recommended a product with Collagen in it. Beauty companies claim that collagen helps firm the skin and improve skin elasticity. But there is no scientific evidence that Collagen outside of your body actually makes any difference. And seeing that it is a fibrous protein in the connective tissue of vertebrates, it means that there is no proven benefit to this animal product. This slaughterhouse waste is practically useless in doing what it claims to do. 



We bet you don't think twice about taking your vitamins from vitamin tablets, or reading them in ingredients list. They are just vitamins....right? Wrong! Biotin is a Water-soluble vitamin that plays an important part in cell growth and metabolism. It occurs naturally in differing amounts in many foods, notably in yeast, liver, kidney, egg yolk, soybeans, nuts, and cereals. It's sometimes labelled as Vitamin H or Vitamin B7. We can't be the only ones to have witnessed the 2017 wave of Biotin products endorsed by youtube influencers! Remember how everyone and their mom were popping Biotin pills for long nails and healthy hair? Vegans beware!

Urea...also known as animal urine!


Urea is a product found in  lotion & moisturizer, facial cleansers, foundation, hair care products, lipstick & lip balm, mascara, antiperspirant & deodorant,  and nail products.l That is absolutely disgusting! We don't know about you, but there are a million things we'd rather put on our faces than animal urine! Need we say more?




Tallow is a common ingredient in many cosmetics including eye makeup, lipstick, makeup bases and foundations. The process involves boiling the bones of slaughtered animals. BARF.




This substance is extracted from the livers of sharks and then added to your eye makeup and lipsticks.




Ambergis is derived from the waxy oil that lines whale’s stomachs. This oily substance is used to make the scent “set” in perfumes.



Did you know estrogen can be found in your cosmetics? Estrogen should never be taken unless you absolutely need it because of hormonal imbalances, or other medical reasons. But in makeup? Not only is this animal hormone potentially harmful for your body, but it can sometimes be hidden in cruelty free products under the name of Estradiol. It's obtained through the urine of pregnant horses. It is found in most perfumes, creams and lotions. Ew.


If you're not grossed out by this whole article, koodos to you because we totally were!

To learn more about vegan and cruelty free makeup, make sure you frequent the PETA animal derived ingredients list here: https://www.peta.org/living/food/animal-ingredients-list/

And as always, we support you in your conscious living journey. Feel free to share your thoughts with us on our social media.

With love and compassion,

Team Karunaki

First photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 

Second photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash

Third photo by Jakub Gorajek on Unsplash

Fourth photo by Element5 on Unsplash

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Seventh photo by Im Bennett on Unsplash

Eighth photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

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Tenth photo by Andrew Bain on Unsplash

Eleventh photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash