Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years (and who could blame you if you have) then you’ll likely have noticed the trend towards veganism. Or else heard the slightly more confusing term ‘plant-based’ which translates as ‘eats only/mainly plants’.
Like so many things these days it appeared to start on Netflix, with documentaries like Cowspiracy and The Game Changers. Once, veganism had been considered a niche more extreme version of vegetarianism that was generally received with mass eye-rolling, with even the vegetarians wondering what exactly these people ate. Yet, as concern for the future of the planet spread, veganism didn’t seem such a silly idea after all. Especially since industrial meat and animal product farming is responsible for so much of the damage we have done. Soon there were meat-free Mondays and Veganuary. With the help of various TV chefs, YouTubers and Instagram influencers, many people (particularly the younger generations) discovered a whole new way of cooking and eating without consuming animal products - and it was surprisingly yummy.
The rise in veganism may also be contributed to younger generations adopting a healthier lifestyle. However, veganism goes beyond what food we eat. It is a lifestyle and that means that most vegans, and many who are plant-based too, will avoid using any products that compromise animal welfare.
Marketing Week claims 20% of the UK’s Gen Z were reporting to be vegan in 2021 and, according to Sainsbury’s Future Of Food Report, a quarter of the population will be vegan or vegetarian by 2025. This predicts huge growth for brands specialising in vegan skincare and vegan cosmetics.
Is The Vegan Skincare And Vegan Cosmetics Market Growing?
Between 2014 and 2019, there was a 175% increase in vegan beauty products brought to the market and sales of vegan cosmetics in the UK rose in 2018 by 38%. It’s safe to say that the move towards a plant-based or more sustainable lifestyle is having a huge impact on the beauty industry and it’s not just a change we’re seeing with big brands either.
It appears that beauty industry giants launching vegan skincare and cosmetics ranges are not cutting it. Conscious consumers are opting instead for entirely vegan beauty brands. But what exactly does that mean?
Vegan skincare and vegan cosmetics must not contain any products or ingredients derived from animals. However, they must also not impact animal welfare meaning any product tested on animals would not make the cut either. You may think this straightforward as animal testing on cosmetics is banned in the UK and the EU. However, animal testing is mandatory for selling beauty products in China which means that any brand operating in China is testing at least some of their products on animals. Hence why so many large beauty brands are not vegan-friendly.
The good news is that this has given a unique opportunity for smaller ethically-rooted brands that were created and built around being vegan.
What Don’t Vegan Cosmetics And Vegan Skincare Have?
There are many ingredients present in mainstream skincare products that are not vegan. Many of these are also not cruelty-free and are synthetically made. However, this is not guaranteed. One potential issue with veganism reaching the mainstream is that it is perceived as a healthier lifestyle. For many, this is true, especially for those who follow a plant-based diet built around whole foods and adopting a less processed lifestyle.
However, being vegan does not always mean products are cruelty-free, chemical-free or good for the environment. This is why it’s important to check that your beauty products are also all-natural, palm-oil free and cruelty-free, as Olive & Joyce’s vegan skincare ranges are. We ensure that your skincare is not costing the earth by sourcing all our vegan ingredients ethically and in consideration of protecting natural resources.
So, what are some of the ingredients that can quickly tell you a product is not vegan?
Bee Products - including honey, beeswax, royal jelly, pollen, and propolis. These are not vegan as producing these disrupts the natural behaviour of the bee populations and ultimately harms them.
Carmine - is a dye derived from crushed insects. It is used as a colourant and may appear as ‘carminic acid’ or ‘cochineal’. Shellac is also another resin extracted from insects and is commonly used in nail polish.
Collagen - in beauty products hopes to do what the collagen our bodies produce does. However, this is animal collagen and is most often extracted from meat and fish industry waste obtained from abattoirs and such.
Keratin - the claims-to-be ‘miracle’ hair strengthener is essentially bone marrow, again, taken from animal waste. Elastin is another similar protein found in connective animal tissue and now, sometimes, in your skincare (not mine though!)
Lanolin - is a wax produced by the glands of wool-bearing animals. It performs as a lubricant and is therefore often used in hair and skin products as a conditioner.
Silks - silk amino acids, silk powder, sericin, hydrolyzed silk and sodium lauroyl hydrolyzed silk are made from silkworms or else from what they produce. It is neither vegan nor cruelty-free. Ramie, though, is your vegan-friendly version of the fibre.
Pearl - since they are taken from oysters and cannot be produced without harm to the animals or ecosystems, pearls are not vegan or cruelty-free. Pearls are used commercially in mineral powders and are utilised for their natural glow.
Snails - yep that’s the slime from snails but the name of the ingredient listed on the product will likely be ‘Helix aspersu Muller’. This is what manufacturers claim to boost skin elasticity in their cosmetic products.
Squalene, Guanine, Chondroitin and Glucosamine - are all ingredients derived from fish and marine animal parts used in a variety of haircare and skincare products.
Glycerine - is either extracted from animal fats or palm oil so whilst it can be vegan it is not cruelty-free. However, vegetable glycerine is available and is what we at Olive & Joyce use.
Hyaluronic Acid - is sometimes used directly on the face, as well as being an ingredient. It can reduce wrinkles and help skin heal. However, it is also derived from the skin tissues of mammals or else from bacteria.
The Key Reasons For The Rise In Vegan Cosmetics And Vegan Skincare
So why the rise in vegan cosmetics and vegan skincare?
There are a number of reasons consumers are more inclined to buy vegan cosmetics. Though cost has traditionally been a barrier, with many modern shoppers looking to reduce waste we are buying less and therefore can sometimes spend a little more on what we do purchase.
A major shift towards plant-based and vegan lifestyles is certainly a leading factor and one that looks to continue, especially amongst gen Z. Yet, much of the motivation for this is as much about sustainability as animal welfare. Understanding the impact that industrial farming and disturbing ecosystems is having on the planet is a key issue across the world and access to information that social media and the internet has massively increased awareness. This is making consumers far more conscious and informed about what is in their products and what may have gone into creating them.
Of course, much of this wouldn’t be possible without the increased technological advances allowing for manufactured vegan alternatives. However, this often means synthetic ingredients are being used to replace animal products. Many consumers, therefore, are opting for all-natural as well as vegan cosmetics.
Not only is information accessible online but the products themselves are available online too. Where you might have had to visit a specialist store or health shop to purchase natural or vegan skincare or haircare products a few years ago, most brands are now selling online. Especially since the pandemic. This means that buying products once seen as ‘alternative’ is as simple as ordering anything else. Many are even available on a subscription basis. In fact, Olive & Joyce’s subscription boxes mean you will get your next set of all-natural vegan moisturisers and face oils just as you’re beginning to run out.
Vegan products are also widely believed to be safer as they’re assumed to be more natural. This isn’t always the case. As mentioned earlier, vegan does not mean ‘chemical-free’ and so if it’s natural you’re looking for then you’ll want to seek out that all-important ‘all-natural’ label.
What Is The Future Of Vegan Skincare?
The future IS vegan skincare. The rise in consumers seeking out vegan cosmetics has only been matched by the increase in brands making vegan products. The market is emerging and the people are supporting it.
Cost is still a barrier as smaller brands can be more expensive, but it’s not just about size. Creating a more ethical supply chain means ensuring everyone involved in the process of making the product is paid fairly and that the ingredients are sourced sustainably too.
We are still seeing a rise in veganism generally and reports widely indicate that this lifestyle will continue to flow even more into the mainstream over the next few years.
At Olive & Joyce, we’re certainly pleased to find so many consumers asking us about our eco credentials and what’s in our products. I wanted to create an all-natural skincare range that was not only ethically responsible but also really worked. Not only has Olive & Joyce achieved that but I’ve been amazed at how relieved our customers are to find that they can have beauty products that are both good for their skin and good for the planet.
We firmly believe that no person, no animal and no ecosystem should be harmed in the name of beauty. After all, the earth provides all we need. Not sure? Try our all-natural vegan skincare for yourself - shop now.