Nowadays there is a greater awareness around the products that we use on our skin and we are scrutinising ingredient lists more than ever. The vegan movement in particular has sparked debate on how animal products are used and it goes far beyond our diets and clothing.

Whether you are a vegan or not, you might want to avoid animal ingredients all together because who really wants to smear the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals on our lips or ground up insects onto our face for a bit of colour? It’s also worth noting at this point that some of these products may not even be linked to the death of animals but are instead avoided by vegans due to the exploitation of the animal, with honey being a prime example.

Not all make-up brands are 100% vegan like us so what exactly is it you should look out for? Well unfortunately the list is pretty extensive but here are six of the main ingredients to avoid if you’re looking to be kinder to animals.

Carmine (carminic acid)

A pigment of a bright red colour that is often used in lipsticks and food dyes, carmine is one of the more well-known animal products. Made by crushing cochineal, a scale insect native to Peru, carmine has been used for years and as a result, millions of the tiny insects are harvested each year to produce the vibrant colouring.

Somehow red lipsticks just don’t seem so great when you think of touching up your lips with dried, dead insects. The problem with carmine is that it’s also known by multiple names and may actually appear as E120, crimson lake or natural red four.

Regardless, there are plenty of other red colouring alternatives out there, such as the ingredients we use in our Be Happy True Red Lipstick, that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. No need to ditch the Marilyn Monroe look yet!


Honey isn’t the only product that bees make. Often used for wound cleansing and as an emulsifier for its anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, propolis is produced from bees to seal beehives and it’s another thing you should look out for if you’re switching to vegan products.

The ingredient has been used for years in medicines for its disinfecting properties and in cosmetic products specifically it can be found in the likes of deodorants, aftershave lotions and toothpaste.

Although this ingredient doesn’t technically fall into the category of causing animal harm in the same way that carmine does, it is something created by honey bees to block unwanted open spaces in the hive which may leave some people feeling uncomfortable. We’re big believers of protecting the bees so it’s a no from us!


Coming from the uric acid of an animal, that’s animal urine to you and I, allantoin can be found in lipstick, skin care products and shampoo. Typically taken from cows in mass production, allantoin can also be known as alcloxa or aldioxa and is used for its tissue growth stimulant properties.

Definitely not the sexiest or most appealing ingredient out there, there’s something about using a product containing animal wee that just doesn’t sit right with us.

It is worth noting however that allantoin can be derived from plants and also be created synthetically so it’s often worth asking the brand directly to ensure it’s not animal derived.


Found in crushed fish scales, guanine is a crystalline material that creates a shimmery effect you might find in mascaras, nail polish, sparkly eyeshadows and highlighters to name just a few makeup bag favourites.

Created by scraping the dead scales off fish, guanine should definitely be avoided if you’re a vegan and/or live a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Stearic Acid

Although this product can be created in a vegan form, stearic acid is a fatty-acid that’s made from animal fats or vegetable oils. Often derived from the stomachs of pigs, cows and sheep, you’ll likely find this ingredient deodorants, soaps, hair products and moisturisers.

We feel sick to the stomach just thinking about it.

The vegan alternative is also called stearic acid so this is another one that you’ll need to contact the brand directly to check which version it is. Good news is that the vegan and cruelty-free version is kinder to your skin.


Commonly found in body creams, lotions and lip care products, lanolin is an emollient derived from sheep wool and is typically taken from sheep that are raised specifically for their wool. There are plenty of arguments out there to ensure that lanolin is taken safely and without harming animals but if you’re set on vegan products, it’s an ingredient to be avoided.

Plant oils and butters are a great vegan alternative to lanolin which is why we’ve opted for argan oil, aloe vera and avocado oil in our Be Fabulous Lipglosses

Don’t forget, if you’re looking to move to a completely 100% vegan and certified vegan range, you can switch to Be At One and rest assured that you’re being kind to the animals. Our full collection can be purchased online.

Read more

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What exactly is vegan make-up?

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