When it comes to taking care of your skin, nothing feels better than ingredients that come straight from mother earth. While the skincare sector has grown in a major way over the past decade (nearly doubling from a $99.6 billion global valuation in 2022 to $189.3 billion in 2021!), the beauty sector’s trendy rise has likewise seen an oversaturation of products on the market, with many made from harsh ingredients and animal products, and without meeting the quality standards deserved to treat the largest organ of the human body.
But natural cosmetics lovers, fear not -- a safe solution is out there for you! As a steadily increasing number of people convert to following a vegan diet, the demand for matching skin care has increased in tandem. Now, the vegan beauty space operates a $15.1 billion and growing market share worldwide, prompting the discovery of new, plant-based alternatives to traditionally animal-derived ingredients.
Products like squalane oil work as a great ingredient for deep penetrating moisture, but are sadly conventionally found in the liver’s of the seas’ greatest predators, sharks. As modern research has revealed the true docile nature of the kings of the ocean, new scientific achievements have allowed for its derivation from plants like olives and sugarcane, opening up the wonders of the product to animal cruelty naysayers across the world.
Yet another buzzy product hot on the market is hyaluronic acid, which many tout as the holy grail product of-the-moment for its mind blowing hydrating properties, and is woefully originally sourced from the comb’s of cockerels -- better known as the little red crown perched atop the heads of roosters and turkeys. Rather than depriving the vegan community’s skin of hyaluronic acid’s superpowers, recent technological advancements have seen the creation of a chemically made version of the product identical in molecular structure, resulting in no harm to no fowl!
Still, while these major forays have been made into plant-based skincare, vegans with a passion for self-pampering likely have a number of customary beauty products well-integrated into the lives that aren’t quite as innocent as they seem.
A longtime fan of getting shellac on your nails? Think twice next time you go to get a manicure -- shellac is derived from small Asian beetles. Use keratin to give your hair an extra boost? The mane-beloved product generally comes from crushed pig and cow bones. How about retinol, one of the most talked-about products of the day for its skin-regenerated properties? Check that label carefully; many retinol products also contain animal-derived ingredients like collagen and gelatine to give them extra powers, a total no-no for vegan skincare devotees.
As the vegan skin space continues to expand and is expected to reach a $20.8 billion valuation by 2025, the amount of viable non-animal sourced products options will likewise grow, offering some much-needed relief for plant-based beauties looking to expand their daily cosmetic routines with consciously sourced and cruelty-free care.
Mary Schreiber Swenson, PhD
Founder & CEO mymedchoices, Inc