The ten most common animal derived ingredients in cosmetics


Cosmetics are the most used beauty products bywomen in daily routine. This category includes not only makeup, but also creams, lotions and masks used for cleansing, moisturizing and skin and hair care.

Having made this small introduction, I ask you: do you know that cosmetic products presents on the list of ingredients compounds of animal origin? At first the question may seem absurd, but think about it for a second … How many times have you read on the label of your favorite “keratin-based” product or “with hyaluronic acid”? Have you ever wondered where these compounds came from? In this article we will inform you about the ten most common ingredients of animal derivation in cosmetics.

List of the 10 most common animal derived ingredients

Keratin is one of the most used elements in shampoo, conditioner, mask and hair-specific formulations. It is found in maners, feathers and horns of different animals. Fortunately, there is a vegetable alternative that can replace this ingredient without affecting his benefits, such as amla oil and soy protein.

Squalene is an ingredient used in cosmetics to give the product emollient or lubricating function. It is obtained from the shark liver and can be replaced with vegetable ingredients such as wheat germ oil or rice bran oil.

Carmine, also called cochineal, is a dye that gives the product a color that goes from red to light pink. It is used not only in cosmetics but also in foods (juices) for humans. It is obtained from insects of South American origin. Suffice it to say that in order to produce a kilo of dye, there are needed about seventy thousand insects. It can be replaced with beet juice or with the alkene root.

Lanolin is quite used in cosmetics. It is used to give the product moisturizing properties, especially for products intended for the treatment of nails and hair. It is obtained from sheep skin and in nature it is used to protect the animal. Again, this can easily be replaced with vegetable oils.

White moss is the typical ingredient used for perfumes since antiquity. Unfortunately, this scent is not obtained from a substance of plant origin, but from the genitalia of some animals such as the beaver, the octopus or the musk deer. To get this fragrance, animals are kept in cages and suffer torture every day. The alternative is the use of extracts from other plants.

Collagen is an animal derived protein (connective tissue) used to create facial creams. To avoid the killing of animals from which the protein is extracted, synthetic collagen or soy protein or almond oil may be used.

Gray amber is one of the ingredients that causes the death of fantastic animals unfortunately becoming fewer and fewer in our seas. It is extracted from the intestine of the cachalot, and it is naturally produced to defend the mucous membranes of the animal’s intestines from the indigestive remains of what it eats. This element can easily be replaced with synthetic or fixed vegetable substances.

Stearic acid is an animal aggregate used to produce soap. It is extracted from pork or mutton fat but can be replaced with coconut oil.

The hyaluronic acid used to prepare anti-wrinkle creams in addition to being of bacterial origin is extracted from the crotch ridges.

Allantoin is derived from the uric acid of mammals. It is used in cosmetics for the production of creams and lotions. It can be replaced with synthetic products or with the consolidated root.

If you want to deepen the topic of vegan cosmetics, I’ve talked about it here.