Foolproof Ways to Check Vegan Products

Foolproof Ways to Check Vegan Products

Although veganism has been around for thousands of years, it seems that the movement has risen to popularity within the past few decades. With climate change and environmental concerns growing, it’s no surprise that people all over the world are going vegan. 


Veganism is the practice of eliminating animal-derived foods from one’s diet and avoiding any animal products in cosmetics, fashion, and anywhere else. People decide to practice veganism for any number of reasons, including environmental and animal rights concerns. 


For any non-vegans out there, food is probably the first consideration that comes to mind. But notably, vegans exclude animal products from every sector of their lives, too. This includes skincare.


With all the complex, technical-sounding ingredients found in so many skincare products, it’s difficult to be certain that a product is 100% vegan. These days, it seems that companies use the vegan label as a marketing tool more than ever before. With so many brands claiming to be 100% vegan, how can you really be sure?


Of course, this is stressful and frustrating for dedicated vegans. No one wants to accidentally purchase a product that contradicts their beliefs. That’s why we’ve put together a short and simple guide to checking vegan products.


Now, let’s get into it.

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Vegetarian, Vegan, and Cruelty-Free: What’s the Difference?


As we delve into the foolproof ways to evaluate vegan products, we should make a few distinctions between the most common labels you’ll see on vegan-friendly products. In fact, learning about these labels will make it easier to find the exact type of product you want.


Here are all the terms you need to know:



  • Vegan: If a product is labeled vegan, it does not contain any ingredients made from animals or by animals. In skincare products, honey and beeswax are common animal by-products.

    The labels “vegan-friendly” and “100% vegan” mean the same thing—absolutely no animal-based ingredients.

  • Vegetarian: Vegetarianism is like veganism to a lesser extent. If a product is vegetarian, that means that it contains no ingredients that were made from an animal itself. However, it may contain something that came from an animal (like honey).

  • Cruelty-free: This is another label that frequently appears on skincare items. If something is cruelty-free, it was not tested on animals.

    Though the labels of cruelty-free and vegan often go hand in hand, they don’t always. A skincare product could be labeled as cruelty-free (not tested on animals) while still containing animal products.


    On the other hand, plenty of brands uphold both labels. Gleamin is one of those brands: we are both vegan and cruelty-free.


    Understanding the difference between these terms is one of the keys to selecting vegan products. In this regard, you should also note the difference between a vegan product and a vegan brand:


  • Vegan brand: If a brand calls itself vegan, they do not use animal products in any of their products. If a brand is certified vegan, you can trust that everything they have to offer is 100% vegan.

  • Vegan product: On the other hand, a vegan product is simply one that does not contain animal ingredients. One vegan product doesn’t necessarily mean the whole brand is also vegan.

    Finally, you’ll note we mentioned the word “certified” earlier. But how do you check if a product is certified?


    Right now, there are four outlets that certify cosmetics and skincare as vegan—Vegan Action, Vegan Society, PETA, and The Vegetarian Society. If you see the logo of one of these organizations, you can be certain that a product really is vegan.


    Getting to Know Your Ingredients 


    OK, so now you’re all set on terminology. If you’re just starting out in the vegan world, it can be a lot to remember, but you’ve got this. 


    You’re probably wondering about alternative ways to check vegan products. Maybe you don’t trust labels, or maybe you just want to be absolutely certain that your skincare items are animal-product-free. 


    If this is the case, what can you do besides look for a label? Well, another foolproof method for checking if a product is vegan is to simply read the ingredients for yourself. 


    Brands usually provide a complete list of their products’ ingredients, either on the packaging or online. These lists should be easy to access. Then, all you need to do is read through the recipe and keep an eye out for any red flags.


    This method is slightly more time-consuming, but it will leave you with complete peace of mind. But, in order to effectively evaluate a list of ingredients, you have to get familiar with the most common vegan and non-vegan products used in cosmetics and skincare.


    Without further ado, let’s explore some of these prevalent ingredients, starting with the non-vegan variety: 


  • Beeswax and Honey: These are two hugely popular ingredients found in skincare products. Of course, these products are derived from bees, so they aren’t vegan. Keep in mind that beeswax is sometimes called Cera Alba

  • Lanolin: Lanolin comes from sheep wool, so it’s non-vegan. It's commonly found in lip balms, glosses, and lipsticks. 

  • Shellac: You may have heard of shellac before, especially if you enjoy getting professional manicures. Shellac, found in nail products as well as hair lacquers, comes from lac bugs.  

  • Glycerin: Many brands use glycerin in their soaps, hair-care products, moisturizers, and more. This ingredient usually comes from animal fat. However, there are definitely some natural sources of glycerin, so it’s worth looking into your product further to see what the source of the ingredient is. 

  • Collagen: Collagen is a fibrous protein found in animal bones, skin, and connective tissues. It tends to come from cattle, fish, horses, rabbits, or pigs. Collagen is widely used these days, so look out for it in anti-aging products and lip plumpers.

  • Keratin: Like collagen, keratin is a protein that is derived from animals. Specifically, it comes from the hair and horns of animals. Humans use it in products that strengthen hair and nails.

  • Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid seems to be the latest big thing in skincare. It’s naturally found in the human body, but we extract it from rooster combs to add to skincare products. But, like many of the other ingredients on this list, there are natural sources of hyaluronic acid, so as long as you know where the ingredient is sourced from, it’s not a problem. 

  • Casein: This ingredient tends to come from cow’s milk, and it’s often present in hair and face products. 

  • Stearic Acid: Stearic acid shows up in any number of products: deodorant, hair-care products, moisturizers, and soaps, to name a few. It usually comes from pig, cow, or sheep stomachs. However, keep in mind that the vegan alternative (derived from plant fats) is also called stearic acid—confusing!

    Veganism isn’t always easy, especially for someone who just decided to go vegan. Don’t worry if you can’t remember every single one of these ingredients—it’s quite a list, after all. When in doubt, Google is your best friend. 


    Whether you’re new to the world of veganism or you’re a lifelong, dedicated vegan, we hope this list will help you along your journey. 


    If you’re looking for safe, effective vegan products, consider seeking out these ingredients:


  • Clay: All-natural clay comes straight from the earth, and it’s used in so many wonderful skincare products. It contains naturally healing and strengthening properties, making it perfect for a face mask.

  • Turmeric: Not just for cooking, turmeric is another vegan ingredient we love to see in skincare products. It evens the skin tone, prevents inflammation, boosts collagen production, and more. 

  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera comes from the aloe vera plant. It has natural moisturizing and cooling properties, making it the perfect addition to many skincare products. 

    Of course, these are just a few examples of many effective, all-natural ingredients you may find in vegan products. Our Vitamin C Clay Mask uses these ingredients to bring out your natural glow in a way that is totally vegan and cruelty-free.

    How to Use Technology to Check Vegan Products

    Is veganism easier now than it was a couple of centuries ago? 


    In some ways, the answer is no. Now, our skincare, hair-care, and makeup products are packed full of complex ingredients that no average consumer encountered before. It often feels impossible to discern the good stuff from the bad stuff. 


    On the other hand, however, we could argue that veganism is actually much more accessible now than it ever has been. Technological developments in the past half-century—the Internet, in particular—have rendered veganism an achievable lifestyle.


    The Internet gives us virtually infinite access to knowledge and resources about every topic, veganism included.


    Several animal-rights organizations provide resources to help consumers to search for vegan, vegetarian, and cruelty-free brands. If you’re uncertain about a particular product or brand, try turning to one of these sites. 


    Likewise, if you are just beginning to dabble in veganism or vegetarianism, these resources are a perfect tool for seeking out your new favorite products.\


    Wrapping It Up 


    If you’ve made it to the end of this article, we presume you are pretty dedicated to the vegan lifestyle. Or, perhaps you are hoping to start making more vegan-friendly choices. Either way, whether it’s for environmental, health, or animal-rights reasons, veganism is a big commitment.


    Just remember that going vegan is entirely possible with the proper knowledge and resources. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you feel empowered to follow whatever path you choose.



    History of Veganism | Vegan Society 


    Vegan Beauty Basics - Easy Guide to Understand What Vegan Beauty Is | Ethical Elephant


    14 Non-Vegan Ingredients To Look Out For In Make-Up And Beauty Products | Plant Based News


    Hyaluronic Acid | WebMD


    Search for Cruelty-Free Companies, Products, and More | PETA

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