How to establish a vegan skincare routine

Taryn Davies
Published: January 22, 2018

Shopping for skincare products can be difficult enough without adding the extra pressure of finding something that’s vegan. While testing products on animals or selling products that contain ingredients that have been tested on animals have been banned in the EU for almost 15 years, many of the world’s most ethical consumers continue to argue that some reputable beauty brands cannot claim to be cruelty-free if their products are sold in China. This is because, in China, all imported products must be tested on animals before they enter the market.

To ensure that the products you’re choosing are cruelty-free and vegan, we’ve come up with this guide so that you know exactly what to look for as well as what to avoid.

What does the label say?

The rise of veganism in recent years means that more and more products are being labelled as vegan. Look for products that say “Suitable for Vegans” or products that contain the “Certified Vegan” logo. If you can’t see either of these things, scanning the product’s label or packaging will be a good indicator of whether or not the product you’re holding is vegan or not.

Allergen information

Allergen information is usually found at the very end of the ingredients list. If the product contains milk, eggs, or shellfish this should be plainly stated. Products containing meat are not as easy to recognize which is why it’s worth reading the whole list of ingredients.

How to make your skincare routine vegan?


Many by-products can be derived from adults which can be confusing, especially for those that have recently become vegan. Such examples include whey powder, casein, and modified milk. These are all dairy products and therefore not vegan. The PETA website is a good resource for finding vegan products.

Animal testing

Items that include PETA’s cruelty-free bunny logo or the label for the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) won’t have been tested on animals. The terms “Cruelty-Free” and “Not Tested on Animals” are not regulated and therefore should not be completely trusted.

What to watch out for

It’s important to be aware that products labelled as cruelty-free and products labelled vegan are not mutually exclusive. For example, some cruelty-free products may still contain ingredients that are derived from animals.

Informing yourself of common animal-derived ingredients will help you make a better decision about your vegan skincare.  In cosmetics, common ingredients to avoid include beeswax, lanolin, keratin, musk, pearls, and tallow.

More confusion comes with the fact that there are many ingredients that can be plant or animal based. Unfortunately, it’s a little harder to find information about where these ingredients are actually sourced from, and it often involves contacting the manufacturer directly. However, a lot of online resources can usually help you to find the answer. That is if you know where to look.