I am against using skincare and haircare products tested on animals and always look for Cruelty-Free International’s logo before buying. I buy conventional skincare and makeup, but I prefer buying 100% natural shampoo from small cosmetic businesses. Then the further I delved into conventional beauty products, I discovered what ingredients are: animal-derived ingredients and by-products.
There is a non-profit organisation that is the largest animal rights organisation worldwide. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) educates the public on the cruelty of animals. This is for both living and deceased animals.
PETA’s mission focuses on four main areas where animals are harmed and used in extreme measures for human benefit and strongly believes in animal rights – that animals are not objects but have the right to live a natural, free and happy life.
The 4 main areas of speciesism are:
- Food industry
- Clothing trade
- The entertainment business
The six ingredients have details of animal-derived ingredients used in your cosmetics. Often, an ingredient name will be patented by a company and another name used in the ingredient list, and most certainly, a brand will not use the word ‘animal’ for fear of putting off a consumer. Slaughtered animals are sent to rendering plants, and the inedible parts of the animal, the by-product, are bought cheaply by, for example, manufacturers and used in conventional beauty, personal care products and food that we love to buy. Animal ingredients may only be used in the manufacturing process. Still, for companies, it is a cheap solution and a profit for both the manufacturer and the rendering plant. Companion animals euthanised in shelters are sent to rendering plants, and the inedible parts of their bodies are used. PETA reports that ten tons of unwanted euthanised cats and dogs are rendered weekly in Quebec. I cannot confirm if this is a practice in the UK, but deceased animals were despatched to rendering plants during the British pet cull in 1939. You can read more about the World War 2 cull here.
Learning this makes me think vegan beauty, personal care, dog personal care and household products handmade by small businesses are better options. A large percentage of consumers are becoming more self-aware of animal cruelty. Hopefully, a deeper knowledge of rendered inedible ingredients manufactured in conventional products will make consumers decide to turn to small businesses that do not make products with deceased animal parts.
The six most popular ingredients we hear of often for shampoo, conditioners, makeup and anti-ageing:
- Keratin is promoted to strengthen hair and is found in many hair rinse products and shampoos. The ingredients come from ground hooves and horns, feathers, hair from an assortment of animals and quills
- Panthenol is used to lubricate hair in shampoos and conditioners, beauty products such as mascaras, and lotions that moisturise and absorb into the skin. Panthenol is extracted from meat and honey.
Skin & Makeup
- Collagen loss is one sign of facial ageing so creams are available with the promise to restore collagen and lost youth. The ingredients come from ground horns, chicken feet and usually animal tissue
- Hyaluronic acid can be used in cosmetics and anti-ageing products. The ingredient is found in the protein umbilical cords, joint fluid and rooster combs
- Carmine is a red dye. Thousands and thousands and thousands of female beetles are crushed to death for their red pigment. The red pigment is used in lipsticks, blusher, eyeshadows, juice, red lollipops, food colouring and curries.
- Lard is fat from a hog’s abdomen and can be used in shaving creams, cosmetics and soaps
What can you use instead of Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Carmine, Panthenol and Keratin?
I have put together a list of alternative ingredients that you can look out for when buying your hair and skin products. Keep reading for 100% natural beauty care that does not use animal-derived ingredients.
The following ingredients are alternatives to animal-derived ingredients.
Alternative to keratin
- Soy protein
- Almond oil
- Human hair from a hairdresser
- Amla oil found in fruit from an Indian tree
- Rosemary and nettle provide hair strand strength and lift
Alternative to panthenol
Alternative to collagen
- Almond oil
- Soy protein
Alternative to hyaluronic acid
- Plant oil
- Synthetically-derived hyaluronic acid
Alternative to carmine
- Alkanet root
- Beet juice
Alternative to lard
- Pure vegetable oils or fats
- During WW2, deceased animals were sent to rendering plants
- Best animal-free cosmetic and personal care?
- Poppy’s Pets YouTube channel
- Designer houses and beds for dogs
Where can you buy beauty products containing animal-free ingredients?
There are two online marketplaces featuring small businesses. Both sell handmade natural products for skin, body and hair. They also have a range of weddings, homecare, pet stuff and outdoor decoration.
Etsy is American-based but has a UK marketplace with British artisans selling the most amazing handmade, custom-made, vintage and lots more uniquely crafted goods. Below are 100% natural beauty products i’ve indulged in. The more I read about conventional beauty products and their formula, my decision to buy 100% natural is correct.
Smaller businesses may not have funds to register with Cruelty-Free International and PETA Vegan Approved if there are fees. Still, a listing and packaging will state the product is cruelty-free and does not contain animal ingredients or by-products.
Folksy is a British marketplace that operates like Etsy and is TV advertised and featured in big-name magazines and newspapers.
Here is a selection:
- Country Living
- The Guardian
- The Independent
Handmade personal care products are available for dogs too
Shampoos, conditioners and paw balm are a small selection of natural and safe pet products.
Natural pet care products are created with a similar blend of natural ingredients.
- Vegan Mucky Pup Soap (solid) Bar by The Clovelly Soap Co
- Naturally Calm Dog (liquid) Shampoo by Ollie & Co
- Anxiety Calming Spray & Balm by Nervous Puppy
- Itchy Sore Paw Balm by Paws Right There
I recommend paw pad balm for the summer as dry paws can become cracked and sore. Have you heard of the 7-Second Rule? It brings awareness about burnt paws and veterinary bills.
Watch the Video: What is the 7-second rule?
The handmade solid shampoo does not strip the natural oils from your hair
Conventional shampoos can strip the hair of moisture and remove natural oils from your scalp. On the plus side, mass-produced shampoo can eliminate grime from your hair. Sulfate is an example of an ingredient in conventional shampoos that will strip natural oils and moisture from your hair. And it may result in brittle hair too. So before you buy, read the ingredient list of your shop-bought shampoo.
Another ingredient to look out for is salt. Salt can remove moisture and leave you with an itchy scalp and hair loss.
When converting to a natural shampoo, your hair may need time to adjust. My hair loved it immediately. I had limp hair when I used conventional shampoo for a one-off occasion. It was awful.
You may find the following results if you tried the Nettle & Marshmallow shampoo:
- Herbal tea and infusions that help hair and scalp
- The nettle leaf, marshmallow root and rosemary will soothe your scalp, reduce hair loss, stop dandruff and an itchy scalp
- The ingredients will help your hair become healthy, shiny and nourished
Similar to conventional shampoos, the promised outcomes may not happen. But are natural ingredients more beneficial for your hair than conventional types? And your handmade cosmetic and personal care product will not contain animal-derived ingredients or animal by-products. It will be cruelty-free too. So you are helping living creatures too and not supporting these rendering plants and their customers to make a profit. And you are supporting a small business.
I wash my hair every two days. A solid bar of foaming shampoo lasts around eleven months. You will pay more, but I saved money by calculating expenditures over twelve months. However, I recommend checking out Black Friday deals, Boxing Day sales and Summer sales.
The top 5 ingredients in this bar of shampoo I purchased are:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Castor oil
- Certified sustainable palm oil
After washing and drying, my hair has life, and the overall appearance is healthier hair. Although it may need a good brush! Watch my video showing you the solid shampoo I purchased.
Many small businesses rely on the public supporting them; as a consumer, you know you are buying quality handmade products. Here is a page on Etsy that handmakes quality haircare good-for-your-hair shampoos. It is worth a browse.
I discovered a handmade gentle 3-1 silky cleanser, toner and makeup remover for my face
Our mission is simple: To use the power and simplicity of nature to cleanse, soothe, heal and protect your skinFunky Soap London
I bought PETA Cruelty-Free Simple Cleansing Micellar Water to remove makeup and cleanse my skin. It removes make-up and grime from my face but feels rough on my skin. Like you, after paying money for a product, I can’t bin it – this bottle cost me £6 from Tesco. But having read about animal-derived ingredients on PETA’s website, I decided to treat myself to a 3-in-1 cleanser, toner and make-up remover with aloe vera.
Honestly, it is up to you what you choose but I am gradually changing over to 100% natural products because I know they are cruelty-free beauty and do not contain animal-derived ingredients. And the other positive point is that this milky liquid is so gentle on the skin and delicate eye area.
Funky Soap London promises the combination will help your skin.
- Aloe vera will add extra moisture to your skin
- Removes surface impurities
- Fresh and rejuvenated complexion
- Witchhazel will help your skin extract oil
- It will remove makeup, bacteria, and other impurities and shrink pores
Personally, this works on my skin. Mascara and eyeshadow are removed without effort. It doesn’t have to be continuously reapplied to my eyelashes or lids to remove debris. My skin does feel silky and refreshed following an application. Admittedly I have not used it long enough for the rejuvenated complexion, but there is hope at 54!
Visit Peta for more information about how animal-derived ingredients are used. Peta also reports that no one can avoid every single animal ingredient.
Is homemade shampoo good for your hair?
Off-the-shelf shampoo can strip your hair and scalp of important natural oils. Two particular ingredients in your conventional hair product are used in cleaning products. Products made by small businesses will not contain harsh ingredients and ultimately benefit your hair. One point to note is swapping from conventional shampoo to natural that your hair may need to adjust to suddenly being treated with a better product. My hair immediately loved a natural shampoo and had more life.
What ingredients are bad for your hair?
You may avoid these two products because they may damage your hair.
- Ingredients with Sulfate is a strong detergents. Not only will it create that bubbly white foam but it can remove oils and moisture from your hair and lead to weakened hair
- Sodium Chloride is salt and is included in products to thicken. Salt will remove moisture in your hair. It is advisable to be wary if you already have a sensitive scalp. Salt can make it worse
There are other ingredients to be concerned about. Buying natural, eco-friendly skin and hair care can help nourish your skin and hair for a healthier appearance, and it has to be worth spending a few more pennies on an eco-friendly product that does not damage your skin or hair.