List of animal cosmetic ingredients
This overview helps when shopping if you want to switch to purely herbal cosmetics. It contains the most common ingredients of animal origin with INCI designation, description, use and vegan alternatives. The ingredients are listed in alphabetical order. And beware, some of them are also available from plant sources!
Beeswax | Cera Alba
Bees excrete the wax to build their honeycomb. It forms a protective film on the skin that prevents it from drying out. Here's how you find it...
🧴 Common in lip care, rich creams; less often in foundation
🌱 Vegan alternatives: carnauba wax (Copernicia Cerifera Cera) or candelilla wax (Euphorbia Cerifera Cera)
Chitin | Chitin/Chitosan
These thickeners have a film-forming effect and work in a similar way to gelatin (see below). They are obtained from the shells of crustaceans and insects.
🧴 Often in hair setting lotions
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Agar-Agar (Agar) made from algae, Locust Bean Gum (Ceratonia Siliqua Gum) or Xanthan Gum (Xanthan Gum)
Cholesterol | cholesterol
This lipid derived from animal fats is naturally present in the skin. As a component of the cell membrane, it plays an important role in the regeneration and protection of the skin. At the same time, it acts as an emulsifier in creams.
🧴 Often found in rich creams of all kinds
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Plant-based phytosterols such as those found in unrefined shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter) and avocado oil (Persea gratissima oil).
cysteine | cystine/cysteine/L-cysteine
The amino acid is often obtained from animal keratin (see below).
🧴 Often found in wound ointments, hair care products and creams
🌱 Vegan alternative: L-cysteine on a plant basis is now also available, which is produced in two different processes. However, it is unclear to us whether animal testing was used for the development of these raw materials. So better to avoid it altogether.
Elastin | elastin
Elastin keeps things elastic, as the name suggests. The protein is obtained from the neck tendons of cattle.
🧴 Often found in skin care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Proteins from soy (Glycine Soy Protein) or Wheat (Hydrolized Wheat Protein)
Fibrostimulin K | Fibrostimulin K
The protein smoothes the skin and is popular as an anti-wrinkle ingredient. However, it is obtained from calf blood.
🧴 Often found in anti-aging products
🌱 Vegan alternative: Fibrostimulin P from potatoes – Little mnemonic: “K” for veal and “P” for vegetable
fish scales | Guanine/Gua
This effect pigment is found in many decorative cosmetics, especially those that shimmer beautifully. Guanine is obtained from ground fish scales.
🧴 Often found in nail polish, shiny eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick and mascara
🌱 Vegan alternative: Mica (Mica ).
Gelatine | Gelatin
When we think of this gelling agent, we first think of gummy bears. Obtaining it from the bones, skin and sinews of animals, i.e. slaughterhouse waste, is less appetizing.
🧴 Often found in creamy products such as face masks or shampoos
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Agar-Agar (Agar) from algae or locust bean gum (Ceratonia Siliqua Gum)
Royal jelly | Royal Jelly
Bees feed their queens with this nutrient-rich secretion. It has a smoothing effect on the skin, which is used in anti-aging products.
🧴 Often found in face and eye creams, hair conditioners or body lotions
🌱 Vegan alternatives: extracts from aloe vera (Aloe Barbadensis) or Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale Root Extract)
Ghee | ghee
Ghee is made from cow's milk. It is clarified butterfat that is used in Ayurvedic cuisine. But we also encounter it in cosmetics.
🧴 Often in creams and balms
🌱 Vegan alternatives: rich vegetable oils such as jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil) or shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter)
Glycerin | glycerol or glycerol
Glycerin has a moisturizing effect. Animal glycerin is a by-product of the saponification of beef tallow (see also Tallowate below).
🧴 Often found in lotions, creams, make-up (foundations), after-sun products and other skin care products, as well as shampoo and conditioner
🌱 Vegan alternative: vegetable glycerin. This is obtained from the saponification of vegetable oils.
☝️ At FIVE, for example, we use organic glycerin from coconut oil in our FIVE face serum.
Hyaluronic acid | Sodium Hyaluronate or Hyaluronic Acid
This ingredient binds moisture in the skin. It was originally always made from animal components, mostly from cockscombs. However, the production is quite complex, which is why hyaluronic acid is mostly synthetically produced today.
🧴 Often found in skin creams, serums and moisturizing masks
🌱 Vegan alternatives: plant-based hyaluronic acid
☝️ In FIVE facial serum naturally contains pure plant-based hyaluronic acid from grain, namely from such that not genetically modified, i.e. NO-GMO.
Carmine | Cochineal, Cl 75470, E 120 or Natural Red 4
The pigment gives make-up and nail polish their strong red, more precisely blood red. Because when it is extracted, you lose your desire for color: For every gram of carmine red, around 150 cochineal lice are dried to death and the color pigments are then boiled out of them.
🧴 Commonly found in nail polish, lipstick, rouge and actually everything that is red in color
🌱 Vegan alternatives: plant pigments from beetroot (Beta vulgaris), raspberries (Rubus Idaeus Fruit) and the like, and iron oxide ( CI 77489). There is also a synthetic carmine E124, which is not suitable for natural cosmetics.
keratins | keratin
This protein is part of the hair structure. So keratin provides fullness and healthy shine. Less beautiful: It is made from ground hooves, horns and feathers.
🧴 Often found in shampoo, conditioner and other hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Hydrolized Wheat Protein Wheat or Hydrolized Soy Protein from soy
collagen | Collages
This protein ensures firm tissue and a firm complexion. But it is derived from the fat or bones of cattle and pigs.
🧴 Often found in skin creams and serums
🌱 Vegan alternatives: There is no such thing as a plant-based ingredient that replaces collagen. However, similar effects are achieved with active ingredient combinations of amino acids, antioxidants and plant extracts. Face massages also stimulate the skin's own collagen synthesis.
lanolin, also wool wax | lanolin
This is the fat that sheep secrete to protect their fur from getting wet. So it seals well. Lanolin is obtained from the shorn wool. So, unlike civet (see below), for example, it is not taken directly from the sheep.
🧴 Often found in rich skin creams
🌱 Vegan alternatives: vegetable oils with an occlusive effect such as jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil ) or shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Butter)
Lecithins | Hydroxylated lecithin
Lecithins are compounds made from fats and glycerin that are found in our cell membranes. They regulate the pH value, smooth the skin and have an antistatic and emulsifying effect. They are obtained from animal nerve tissue or eggs.
🧴 Often found in skin creams, eyebrow pencils, eyeliner, anti-cellulite products and hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: plant-based lecithins from soy (soy Lecithin) or sunflower seeds (Sunflower Lecithin)
lactic acid | Lactic Acid
Lactic acid regulates the pH value of the skin and is a metabolite in the blood and muscle tissue. However, it can also be produced synthetically or replaced with citric acid.
🧴 Often found in facial cleanser and facial tonic
🌱 Vegan alternative: Vegan lactic acid (E270) is used by Produces lactic acid bacteria from sugar solutions and has absolutely nothing to do with milk.
Propolis | Propolis Cera
Like beeswax and royal jelly, this resinous secretion comes from bees. It is popular in cosmetics because of its antibacterial effect.
🧴 Commonly found in toothpaste and anti-aging products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Licorice root extracts (Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract ) or Hamamelis (Hamamelis Virginiana)
Beef tallow | (Sodium) Tallowate
Soap is traditionally made from animal fats, mostly beef tallow from slaughterhouse waste.
🧴 Often in soaps
🌱 Vegan alternatives: soaps made from coconut oil (Sodium Cocoate), olive oil (Sodium Olivate), palm oil (Sodium Palmate) or other vegetable oils
☝️ You make an environmentally conscious decision with soaps from organic production, which does not encourage overexploitation of nature.
Shellac | Shellac
Lacquer scale insect droppings have a resinous quality that imparts shine.
🧴 Often found in hairspray and nail polish
🌱 Vegan alternatives: mica (mica) or vegetable waxes such as jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil)
Silk | Hydrolized Silk
The silkworm spins the fine threads that also make skin and hair silky. In cosmetics, silk is found not only in threads but also in powdered form and as silk protein.
🧴 Often in make-up, creams and hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Depending on the application, mica (mica ), aloe vera (Aloe Barbadensis) and vegetable hyaluronic acid (see above)
Stearic acid | Stearic Acid
Stearic acid acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer in cosmetic products. Animal stearic acid is taken from pig stomachs. But there are also vegetable sources.
🧴 Often found in creams and ointments
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Vegan stearic acid from vegetable oils
Squalene | squalane
Squalanes smooth skin and hair. They were originally obtained from shark liver. However, vegetable sources are now represented more often.
🧴 Often found in skin and hair care products
🌱 Vegan alternative: squalane from the pressing residue of olives or sugar cane
☝️ Use with FIVE we squalane from olives.
Vitamin A | Retinol
Vitamin A stimulates regeneration and has an antioxidant effect. For cost reasons, it is usually obtained from animal sources such as butter, eggs or fish liver.
🧴Common in anti-aging creams and serums
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Vitamin A made from carrots, apricots or lemongrass
Cibet | Civet
The secretion of the civet cat is popular for its musky scent. It also serves as a fixative in makeup. To obtain the cats, the anal glands are scraped out in an extremely cruel and painful way.
🧴 Often in perfumes
🌱 Vegan alternatives: Labdanum oil (Cistus Ladaniferus Oil) from Lack -Rockrose
Myths: These ingredients are now vegan
As the list above suggests, there are many ingredients that can have both animal and plant sources. In the meantime, the vegan solutions often predominate in practice, for example if they are more stable or more easily available. There are also some ingredients that are no longer animal derived on the European market.
Ambra: quite fragrant
This includes, for example, ambergris or ambergris. The fragrance is popular for musky perfumes. In the past, it was obtained from a digestive product of the sperm whale. The whales excreted it, after which it washed up on the beaches in the form of greyish lumps. Whale products have not been allowed to be traded in Germany under the species protection agreement since the early 20th century, i.e. for a very long time. Nowadays, the fragrance therefore comes from synthetic sources.
You can take urea without hesitation
It is similar with urea. Urea is part of the skin's natural moisturizing factor (NMF). It is often found in intensive care for dry skin. Urea has only been produced artificially since 1828. This is also no longer an animal ingredient.