The Truth Behind your Makeup


Insect debris, ground-up hooves, fish scales, whale vomit, fatty acids, neck ligaments, bone marrow and chicken feet. Not a particularly nice looking list, is it? In fact, this is a condensed list of animal bi-products that most of us use on a daily basis. Gross right? Our cosmetics and skin care products are the final resting place for a number of these animal products so, be prepared to throw out half of your make-up bag after reading this.




Animal testing has been, for a long time, a taboo subject that most normal (and nice) people are completely against, so you’d think that this type of testing and use of animal bi-products would not be as widely used as they still are. Big brand cosmetic companies such as ‘Estee Lauder’ and ‘Avon’ were strong leaders against animal testing in the late 80s and 90s but last year they resumed this practice, claiming that using animal bi-products and various forms of animal testing were the cheaper option. Even though synthetic and artificial fibre sources don’t feel pain – the whole situation is ridiculous and needs to be dealt with.


According to ‘PETA’, the leading organisation against the wrongful treatment of animals in every sense of the word, cosmetics companies have even gone as far to remove the word ‘animal’ from all packaging to encourage the purchase from customers who are only looking for cruelty-free products. Not only is this misleading advertising, when the consumer discovers that the brand hasn’t disclosed the ingredients in a transparent way, they’re very unlikely to buy anything from that brand again.



Now, back to that horrible list we started with, we’re guessing most of you are curious to know exactly how some of these ingredients end up in our make up, well, we’re about to tell you. WARNING: if you are even slightly squeamish we suggest you either skip this section or grow a bigger backbone.


‘Herb and Hedgerow’, a popular blog for lovers of all things botanical and cruelty-free, have explained these ingredients and how to successfully avoid them when you’re next after that new lipstick. Let’s start with whale vomit – ambergris, (the thought of this being anywhere near our face could induce said vomiting) this ‘interesting’ product is used in perfumes as a ‘fixer’ to make sure the fragrance sticks around long enough. Thankfully synthetic alternatives have been developed but luxury brands such as ‘Dior’ and ‘Kenneth Cole’ are still using the puke, lovely!


Another product that can very easily be exchanged for a non-animal ingredient is something called ‘carmine’. Basically crushed up beetles. Apparently there is no better way to get the ruby red colouring lipstick needs? This red dye needs upwards of 70,000 beetles for just one pound of it to be made. ‘Herb and Hedgerow’ suggest beetroot as an alternative and we here at SANT agree.




Fish scales (guanine), known for their shiny qualities are used in eye shadows, nail varnishes and other cosmetics to get that iridescent effect we all look for and chicken feet are what we are know as a collagen. The anti-aging ingredient that claims to knock years off actually doesn’t do all that much as, research shows, it will never absorb enough into the skin to have any long-lasting effect.




So, there you have it, now you know. There are so many amazing vegan cosmetic brands that truly are cruelty free. There is absolutely no need for animals to suffer so that we can have a smoky eye and a red lip. Have a look at the list below and think about making the switch – we will be.





Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics



Make Up


Beauty without Cruelty

Urban Decay




Booda Buttah





Words: Meg Plenderleith

#crueltyfree #vegan #cosmetics #animaltesting


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