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Vegan Skin Care: What It Is and What It Isn’t

If anyone ever thought veganism was a fad, they would have been wrong. The number of vegans in the world is rapidly rising (and animals are rejoicing). Plant-based diets, though not always 100% meat-free, have only helped the movement grow in recent years. And with a changing climate, there are more reasons than ever to ditch animal products and embrace plants.

Our diet is the first place we look to replace animals. But have you thought about what animal ingredients might be in your skin care? If your products aren’t labeled “vegan,” they most likely have animal or animal-derived components. If protecting animals is a concern of yours, it only makes sense to look here too.  

Switching to a vegan skincare routine might better align with your values, but it also might have other benefits you haven’t thought of yet. Below, you’ll find out what vegan skin care is, what are the benefits of vegan skin care, and what ingredients to avoid if you want to go vegan.

What is vegan skin care?

For a product to be called vegan, it can’t contain any ingredients sourced directly from or derived from animals. That includes honey and beeswax. Though vegan might imply that a product is all-natural, this isn’t always the case. Synthetic ingredients could also be added since they don’t come from animals, and that means there could be harmful chemicals inside. To make sure, always read the label and ingredients list.

Our own line of vegan products at Nurture My Body is also all-natural because we choose to use only natural ingredients in everything we make. We use the purest herbs grown in our organic permaculture garden in California.

Is vegan skin care cruelty-free?

Vegan skin care is not automatically cruelty-free. Cruelty-free refers specifically to the testing of products on animals. Some companies still opt to test their vegan products on animals. Look for the designation of cruelty-free to be sure.

We are 100% cruelty-free and don’t do any animal testing on any of our products, including our vegan items.

On the other hand, it’s also worth noting that cruelty-free doesn’t mean a product is free of animal or animal-derived ingredients. You'll want products that are designated both vegan and cruelty-free for maximum good.

What are the benefits of vegan skin care?

  1. Packed with nutrients

Since vegan ingredients come from plants, they contain higher amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are great for your skin. Plant extracts and oils are jam-packed with active botanicals that nourish, repair and hydrate, and they’ll improve your skin quality. They’re also gentler on your skin than non-vegan products and can be used on all skin types.

  1. Good for your health

Vegan products that don’t contain synthetic ingredients are better for your health. Since skin absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it, being free of chemicals means less risk for health problems associated with toxic ingredients. Most vegan products also use a minimal number of ingredients, which makes them even safer.

  1. Better for the planet

Since what we use in the shower and at the sink washes down the drain and ends up in our waterways, plant-based products that don’t contain toxic chemicals make them safer for the environment. The ingredients came from the natural world and won’t cause harm when they return to it.

What are common non-vegan ingredients?

Ingredient lists are typically challenging to read. You might not even realize that animal and animal-derived ingredients are lurking in your beauty and skincare products. Sometimes the name of an ingredient doesn’t provide clues to its source. Knowing what to look out for can help you choose vegan products. A few of the most common ingredients that are often sourced from animals are listed below.


Ingredient Description Vegan Alternative
Lanolin  An oil extracted from sheep's wool Vegan lanolin; plant oils
Squalane Often sourced from shark liver Olive or rice bran squalane
Glycerine Liquid often derived from animal fat Vegetable glycerine
Casein Protein in milk used as binding agent Legumin (from legumes)
Oleic Acid A fatty acid from animal fat Olive oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, safflower oil
Stearic Acid Often comes from pork fat, used for consistency Vegan stearic acid from coconut oil, cocoa butter and palm kernel oil
Carmine Made from crushed cochineal insects, gives red color Bug-free dyes like beets and carrots
Collagen Connective tissue protein from cows, fish, horses, pigs and rabbits No vegan form, but plant nutrients can boost collagen production
Elastin Protein from animals No vegan form, but plant nutrients can boost collagen production
Beeswax Secreted by worker bees, seals in moisture Candelilla wax
Hyaluronic Acid Comes from combs of roosters Can come from microbial fermentation (won't be labeled as such)
Lecithin Often from eggs or fish Sunflower or soy lecithin
Retinol Derivative of vitamin A harvested from animal byproducts Carotenoid, or carrot


Whether you’re vegan or not, using vegan skin care is an excellent choice. Vegan skin care uses minimal ingredients produced by nature, and this means it’s safer for everyone. From benefits for your skin, your health, the animal kingdom, and the environment, you can’t go wrong by making the switch.

Browse our extensive vegan skin care options if you’re ready to try it out!

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