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Shocking ingredients in cosmetics & animal friendly alternatives

Animal testing is not the only thing to look out for when buying vegan-friendly cosmetics and skincare products. You may think brands have to be clear about whether their products include parts of animals or their secretions, but sadly, you’d be wrong. It’s a bit of a minefield, and without some prior knowledge, it can be difficult to know what is and isn’t vegan-friendly.

Just to add to the confusion, some ingredients which can be derived from plants or animals have the same name - without the source identified (i.e. squalane). The only option here is to look up the manufacturer and see if it has gone into more detail on its website. Below is a list of some of the most common animal ingredients, and their vegan counterparts.
This emollient is derived from sheep wool, and is a common ingredient in lip products (balms, sticks, glosses), as well as hair products. It’s used to soften and moisturize. Synthetic (and plant-based) lanolin exists, but be wary of so-called ‘cruelty-free’ lanolin, which may be still be derived from wool.

Our alternative is Shea butter which features in our gorgeous Lip Love balm. This nourishing butter intensely moisturises lips and promotes a softer, smoother surface. Our Lip Fudge features Omega 6 & 9 which help to plump and increase the volume of your lips, and smooth fine lines. These are rich, thick and creamy balms which lock in moisture which smell gorgeous. There are a range of Lip Fudge shades for those who want to add a hint of colour to their lips!

Although Tropic do not currently have nail varnishes in their collection, it is important to highlight the ingredient in Shellac. A resinous product, obtained from lac bugs, shellac is used in nail products, as well as some hair lacquers. Hundreds of thousands of these insects are killed to create small amounts of this product.

This generally comes from animal fats, in particular, one type of fat molecule commonly found in animal blood and the major component of an animal's fatty tissue, according to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. It is commonly used to soften the skin and decrease flaking in a range of products including soaps, hair care, make-up, and moisturisers.We use plant glycerine instead. Glycerine is highly “hygroscopic” which means that it absorbs water from the air. Plant Glycerine features in many of our hydrating products. Our Skin Feast is a nutrient-rich daily moisturiser which helps to protect and nourish for an incredibly soft, bright and healthy complexion. Brimming with 20 different fruit and flower extracts, this is the perfect match for dry, ageing, dull and sensitive skin aka sodium caseinate or caseinate.

Used as a binding agent in cosmetics, it is generally derived from cow’s milk, and can be used in conditioning hair products and face treatments. *Information gathered from goodguide.com*

Our vegan alternative can be derived from plant-based milks and proteins.

Murumuru butter is rich in fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that provide intense nourishment for scalp and hair. Plant proteins penetrate deep into the hair to repair and strengthen. Try our gorgeous Hair Feast Conditioner which is a silky, rich hair cream leaving your hair looking healthy, nourished and shiny.
 
This chemical, extracted from shark liver oil, is commonly used in lip balm, deodorants, and moisturizers, among other products. It is considered a powerful ingredient with anti-ageing properties.
Vegan squalene exists and is derived from olives and wheat germ. It is not always labelled as such, so when a product lists this ingredient, you may have to do further research to establish whether it is plant-based.

You’ll be pleased to know that all our products are shark friendly!
We use ingredients like the resurrection flower which deeply hydrates and restores your skin’s vitality. We also use the antioxidant-rich wild Australian superberries riberry, muntries berry and pepperberry which work to brighten skin and reduce free radical damage. You can find these in our hydrating products such as the Deep Hydration face mask.

Ever wondered what creates your pearly iridescent effect in your shampoo, eye shadow, highlighters, bronzers, blushes and nail polish? The shiny effect is caused by crystalline guanine, extracted from fish scales. The ingredients used in our make up range are 100% natural or nature identical, the latter meaning that some ingredients have been created by your formulations team to be identical to their natural counterparts. We use this method of development when it is more environmentally friendly and sustainable to create nature identical ingredients rather than extract them from nature. These ingredients are just as efficacious and are developed in line with our Infinite Purpose to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world.

This animal fat is used as a softening and conditioning emollient in nail polish, soap, moisturizers and make-up.
Oleic acid can be plant-derived from a number of sources, including coconut, olives, and nuts. These forms may be labelled as vegan.
Look at our great range for your vegan make up alternatives.

This can be found in brushes - even ones labelled ‘cruelty-free’, and is often sourced from fox, sable, horse, goat, mink and squirrel. Animal hair - particularly mink - is also sometimes used in false eyelashes. Synthetic options are available.

We have used FSC certified, sustainable wood to create your beauty brushes. As always, each brush boasts super-soft, 100% vegan fibres, for a flawless application. Look out for our Lash Extension Kit - A dynamic duo of Fixing Gel Mascara and Extension Fibres, to add show-stopping volume to your lashes.
Contact me for before and after photos! 
Generally derived from pigs’ stomachs (also cows and sheep), this ingredient is commonly used as a thickening agent found in deodorant, soaps, hair products and moisturizers.

We use vegetable fats and butters. As well as being cruelty-free, the vegan version is also less likely to irritate the skin. Try our Feel Fresh anti perspirant cream. With antibacterial gingergrass, tea tree and pink grapefruit essential oils. With its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties, gingergrass essential oil helps to relieve skin irritation and control body odours to ensure freshness all day.

This red colourant, which is often used in lipsticks, blushes and nail polish, is derived from insects. The cochineals are crushed and the color is extracted, with tens of thousands of the creatures killed to produce mere grams of dye.

All Tropic lipsticks have been made from 100% naturally derived ingredients such as beetroots and colourants from manganese violet, mineral colourants and safe synthetic pigments.

Kiss Me Quick Flower Extract plumps your lips over time by stimulating collagen and hyaluronic acid production. 97% of volunteers who tested this extract showed fuller, softer lips after 1 month of continued use!

Used in lots of anti-ageing products, as well as lip plumping items, this fibrous protein is derived from animal tissue, bone, skin, or ligaments - often from cows or chicken feet, but the efficacy of collagen, in terms of whether it can even penetrate the skin as deeply as its needed, is questionable.

Often used in the same kind of products as collagen, elastin is also a protein extracted from the muscles, ligaments and aortas of animals according to PETA. It’s a highly elastic protein in connective tissue and allows many tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. Vegan alternatives include hyaluronic acid which is also found in our Skin Dream night cream. We also use a high concentration of clinically proven, intelligent plant ceramide complexes which rejuvenate and restore skin elasticity, providing a more youthful-looking complexion come morning. We also use bio-retinol derived from the blackjack flower. It helps stimulate the production of collagen, with incredibly rejuvenating results. Bio-retinol is a safe, stable and effective plant-based alternative to common retinoids. It gets to work within the deeper layers of the skin within hours, combatting hyperpigmentation and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. Look out for our anti-ageing Skin Dream night cream.

Keratin comes from the hair and horns of animals, and is often found in strengthening nail and hair products.
Our alternative comes from Soya protein and almond oil are used in a whole host of our products. 


Sometimes labelled as cera alba, this wax is often used in cosmetics to keep emulsions from separating into its oil and liquid components. It is commonly used in mascara too.
We use a range of alternatives in the form of plant and soya waxes.
Tropic Skincare are proud to be able to display the badges of honour!