Many cosmetic and toiletry products undergo animal testing, or their ingredients have been tested on animals. European law states that animal testing data should be provided for new ingredients in a cosmetic, but there are more than 8,000 ingredients where the safety has already been demonstrated. Companies could use these ingredients for their products and avoid the need for further animal testing.
The BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) is one of a number of animal protection groups that have developed and operate a global Humane Cosmetics Standard (HCS) to help consumers choose animal testing free cosmetics. (click to see those companies)
Because statements about animal testing made on the product labels can be misleading, for example stating “This product has not been tested on animals” when the ingredients within the product have been tested, the HCS alerts shoppers to cosmetics which are genuinely animal friendly.
A dressing table or bathroom contains perfumes, moisturizers, rouge, lipstick, antiaging skin products, oils, nail polish, face powder, sunscreen, hair conditioning, coloring products and deodorants. A miniscule percentage read the ingredient list on any of these products, preferring to go by the glamour of their advertisements.
Lets take some of the ingredients. The main ingredient in all cosmetics is oil/grease. Unless it specifically says plant oils , where does it come from ?
A rendering plant is a collection centre for all kinds of dead animals. Carcasses of every decaying body come from everywhere, including factory farms where disease has decimated herds of swine, cattle and poultry. At the plant, the bodies are all dumped together into a huge cooking pot. After a period of cooking, the bodies are subjected to extreme pressure in order to extract the fat from bones, skins, etc. Old cooking grease thrown out by restaurants is added in the pot. Fat is the final product of the plant.
Although generally when referring to animal free cosmetics we mean they haven’t been tested on animals, it is the case that some cosmetic products do actually contain ingredients that have been derived from animals.
Vitamin A, which can come from egg yolk or fish liver
Allantoin, Uric acid from mammals
Animal Fat, which can be found in soap
Ambergris from whale intestines for making perfumes
Arachidonic Acid a liquid unsaturated fatty acid taken from the liver of animals
Bristle, which is animal hair used to make brushes – often for make up brushes
Carbamide Excreted from urine. In deodorants, hair colorings, hand creams, lotions, shampoos
Castoreum from muskrat and beaver genitals for making perfumes
Civet paste which is an oily secretion painfully scraped from a gland very near the genital organs of civet cats.
Chitin, comes from the hard shells of insects or crustaceans (like crab or shrimp) and is used in moisturisers and shampoos
Cochineal Red pigment from crushed female cochineal insect. 70,000 beetles re crushed to make one pound of red dye. Used in ALL red/pink colouring in cosmetics
Collagen is used in moisturisers and is derived from animal connective tissue
Elastin is a protein found in the muscles of animals and is used in cosmetics
Fish oils are sometimes used in cosmetics
Gelatin or Gel used in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics. This is made by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones with water.
Glycerine (Glycerol) can come from sugar fermentation but is sometimes derived from animal fats. It’s used in some toothpastes.
Honey is sometimes used in cosmetics
Hyaluronic Acid a protein found in umbilical cords and the fluids around the joints
Keratin is often used in shampoos and conditioners. It’s a protein found in fur, feathers, hair, hooves and horns.
L’Cysteine Hydrochloride is derived from chicken feathers or hair. It’s sometimes found in shampoo, but can be manufactured synthetically.
Lactose is used in some cosmetics. It’s milk sugar, usually from cows.
Lanoline is the fat extracted from sheep wool, often used in cosmetics
Linoleic Acid, Nucleic Acid Used in cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, etc.
Musk used in perfume. It comes from oil harvested from a gland taken from musk deer, civet cats and beaver.
Mink oil is made by killing minks and taking the fat layer they have just under their skins.
Myristic Acid (Isopropyl Myristate, Myristyls, Oleyl Myristate, Myristal Ether Sulfate) In most animal fats. Used in shampoos, creams, cosmetics.
Oleic Acid is used in soap and other cosmetics. It’s a fatty acid that can come from vegetable or animal fats.
Oleostearin is a solid fat derived from tallow and is found in soaps
Oestrogen is used in creams and other cosmetics. It is the female sex hormone and usually comes from horse urine or cow ovaries.
Palmitic Acid From fats, oils . Mixed with stearic acid. Found in shampoos, shaving soaps, creams.
Placenta animal placenta is widely used in skin creams, shampoos, masks
Progesterone is another sex hormone found in creams and comes from animal tissue
Propolis, comes from bee hives and sometimes found in toothpastes and other toiletries
Royal Jelly, which comes from bees and is used in cosmetics
Sable is the fur of the Sable Marten and used in make up brushes
Shellac is used in hair spray and lip sealer for shine. It is an insect secretion.
Sponge is often artificially produced but can come from the skeletons of sea animals
Squalene comes from shark liver and is used in cosmetics and toiletries
Stearic Acid, also used in cosmetics and toiletries is derived from the fat of sheep, cows or pigs, though a synthetic alternative is available
Spermaceti Wax is found in toiletries and cosmetics and is a waxy oil that comes from the head of the sperm whale and also from dolphins
Tallow is a hard fat taken from the kidneys of sheep and cattle. It’s used in soap and other cosmetics.
Tortoise oil and turtle oil extracted from internal organ fat of sea turtles
Urea is fairly common in creams and other cosmetics. It comes from the livers of various farmed animals.
Wax is used in some cosmetics and can come from plants or animals
Thanks to Catie for giving me the idea about this article.
Filed Under: Animal & Plant Life