As we become more aware of our environment and the creatures that inhabit it our buying behaviour is changing, especially within the beauty industry. Thanks to the internet and social media we can easily find out contents of any product. It may not be seismic but it’s now much more (and growing) than a ‘friends of the earth’ underground movement.
To be completely honest I choose not to look at the ingredients of skincare or makeup as I do food labels though I feel it’s increasingly harder to look the other way now. My vegan friends have confessed that upon their conversion they overhauled their complete lifestyle but the non-vegan makeup and skincare — which was virtually everything — was the last thing to go. They would continue using their favourites while mourning the inevitable till the very last drop. Even though I’m neither vegan or joining instinct rebellion protests I still want to contribute to a fairer industry one step; one product at a time.
So let me start with mascara. I actually don’t wear mascara often – I’m more of a lipstick girl — so haven’t experienced any difference in the performance of vegan mascaras, it’s such a small area of the body but maybe if I wore mascara daily I might.
On my search of vegan mascara, I found quite a few young/smaller brands (however established companies such as Kat Von D, Hourglass and Smashbox have committed to and are working towards their whole range becoming not only cruelty-free but vegan too. Favoured ingredients are being replaced for proven alternatives: Pearl Essence (fish scales) adds sheen and shine Vs a synthetic pearl. Beeswax prevents emulsions from separating Vs paraffin vegetable oils ( hopefully not non-sustainable palm oil) and fats, carnauba wax and candelilla wax, earth wax made from the mineral ozokerite.
Panthenol (meat and honey) emollient, lubricants and moisturisers and aids binding to the hair Vs a synthetic or plant version. Shellac (lac insect) lashes appear glossy Vs plant waxes like Zein (from corn). Collagen (connective tissue of animals) lashes appear thicker Vs soy protein, almond oil, amla oil (from the fruit of an Indian tree), almond oil; human hair from salons. Lanolin (waxy substance secreted from sheep’s sebaceous glands) has moisturising properties Vs plant and vegetable oils. With science pushing forward the alternative list is growing.
With new smaller brands investing in ‘conscientious’ beauty big multi-million pound corporations will follow because the ‘woke’ youth are growing up and one day they’ll have the spending power to demand it.
Beauty Editor Julie Jacobs
Photographer Jason Yates