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Vegan Beauty Decoded

Vegan Beauty Decoded

Vegan has ditched its hessian-clad image and emerged as one of the glossiest stars of the wellness industry. It’s so huge it’s trending, big time. With Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, Thandie Newton and Serena Williams devoted fans of plant power and Meghan Markle admitting to her love of vegan leather trousers, it’s clear its got its hip on. 

So, why go vegan?

A plant-based diet is rich in vitamins and minerals and packed full of fiber and antioxidants. In beauty terms that equates to clearer skin, a lit-from-within glow, and stronger hair and nails. We’re in. 

Health-wise it packs a potent punch too. Plants contain no cholesterol, so veganism is great for heart health, plus this lack of fat helps promote a leaner body. It’s proven to boost energy levels, reduce the impact of diabetes and heart disease and even protect against colorectal cancer and obesity. Bam. 

It also has a positive impact on the environment.

Livestock farming is less energy efficient than producing grain. 72 lbs of CO2 is generated when producing just 1 lbs of beef, compared to 0.9 lbs of CO2 per 1 lb of lentils. And a 2016 Oxford study found that globally adopting a vegan diet would cut food related emissions by 70%.

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So what constitutes a vegan diet and lifestyle? And how does vegan differ from vegetarian-friendly?

"Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose." According to research commissioned by GlobalData, 6% of Americans identify as vegan – 5 times as many as in 2014. 

To put it into our kind of lingo, it’s become part of our zeitgeist. Vegan living is about adopting a plant-based diet that cuts out meat, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs and honey. Translate that into fashion and beauty and you’re also looking at ditching leather clothes and accessories and opting for vegan-friendly skin and haircare. We like to think of vegetarian-friendly as vegan’s less out there little sister. Sure, it’s very committed to animal welfare, but the key detail is that vegetarians don’t eliminate dairy, eggs and honey from their diet. 

So, how can we tell if a shampoo, BB Cream or facial oil is ‘vegan’. (no we’re not suggesting they’re fans of courgetti, and rainbow acai bowls).

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In cosmetics, vegan means that in addition to not being tested on animals, products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Our friends at The Vegan Society helped us devise this animal-derived ingredient checklist. Use it to help you decode the labels on your favourite makeup, skin and haircare so you can become part of our #veganbeautysquad. And remember if a product is labelled ‘vegetarian-friendly’ it could still have traces of milk, eggs, or honey in it. (but that choice is entirely up to you). 

Here at Noughty, vegan living is our choice, so you won’t find these ingredients in any of our formulations. Eliminate them today and your skin, hair, health and global-conscience will thank you for it. (Why not mix yourself an oversized G&T to celebrate getting your green on). 

The Top Ten Vegan-enemies:

  • Allantoin – or uric acid is derived from cows and used in creams and lotions. Look for comfrey root instead. 
  • Bee Pollen – used in some shampoos, toothpastes and deodorants. Substitute with plant based amino acids.
  • Caprylic acid – this is a liquid fatty acid derived from cow’s or goat’s milk. Look for coconut oil as a natural alternative. 
  • Carmine and Carminic acid – 70,000 beetles are killed to produce one pound of this red dye which is used in makeup and shampoos. Look for beet juice (in powders and shampoos) and alkanet root (from a tree) used as a vegan friendly red dye in lip balms. 
  • Casein, Caseinate and Sodium Caseinate – this is a milk protein used in cosmetics, haircare and skincare masks. Switch to soy protein and soy milk instead. 
  • Collagen – usually derived from animal tissue. Look for soy protein, almond oil or amla oil (from the fruit of the Indian tree) as vegan alternatives. 
  • Hydrolyzed Animal Protein – Used extensively in shampoos and hair treatments. Opt for soy protein, vegetable proteins or amla oil instead. 
  • Keratin – used a lot in shampoos and permanent wave solutions. Keratin is derived from ground up horns, hooves, feathers and hair. Go for almond oil, soy protein, amla oil or rosemary and nettle for a similar hair strengthening action. 
  • Lanolin – this is derived from sheep’s oil glands and is extracted from their wool. Used as an emollient in skincare. Look for plant or vegetable oils as vegan alternatives. 
  • Shellac – is a resinous excretion from insects. Used in hairspray and nail care. Go for plant waxes or zein (derived from corn) instead.