If you’re overhauling your lifestyle beyond just a vegan or vegetarian diet, you might want to think about looking in your cosmetics case next. In case you didn’t know, many lip colors contain one or more ingredients derived from our skittering and flying friends.
Beeswax is the most common insect-derived ingredient in cosmetics, and while some vegans make an exception for it, there are those who prefer to steer clear. Beeswax (also listed on labels as cera alba), is often used by more natural beauty labels because its non-toxic emollient forms a protective layer on the skin, and is tolerated well by most people, as opposed to many petroleum based emollients commonly found in lipsticks.
While not insect derived, lanolin, which comes from sheep's wool, is another non-vegan ingredient commonly found in lip color. It’s used as a lubricant and boosts the staying power of lip color due to its natural adhesive properties. Another commonly used insect-based ingredient is carmine (also listed as Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 or E120). Carmine is a bright red pigment obtained from the cochineal beetle. To make the color, the beetles are collected from cacti, then boiled, steamed or baked. Because the abdomen and fertilized eggs provide the richest color source, they are separated from the rest of the insect, ground into a powder, cooked at high temperatures to obtain maximum color, then strained to separate the pigment from any residue. Yum. Apparently carmine is exceptionally high in antioxidants, so while it’s clearly not good for the beetles, from a human health & safety standpoint, it’s a low-tox option compared to artificial colors often used.
With that, vegan or not, you might be thinking you’d like to avoid bug bits in your lipstick; but, take heed. Just because a lipstick claims to be vegan doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Many brands can make this claim while being packed with petroleum-based ingredients, artificial colors, phthalates, parabens, and on. Not to fear. While many natural, more sustainable beauty brands make use of a few non-vegan ingredients, there are some good healthy, vegan lip colors to choose from as well.
Zosimos Botanicals has a large array of vegan lip colors (along with some non-vegan shades), including lip-glosses, lipsticks and lip liners. Using organic and wild crafted oils, waxes and butters sources from vegetables, seeds, nuts and flowers, combined with pure mineral pigments, the need for non-vegan ingredients is eliminated. The glosses glide on, not the least bit sticky; the lipsticks are creamy and long lasting; and the liners provide a clean line for a truly defined pout.
So, for all you vegans and aspiring vegans, read the label the next time you go shopping for a new color to paint your pucker. While it’s still often a challenge to find quality, non-toxic, vegan lip color, it can be done!
Interested in discovering and trying healthy beauty & wellness products with vegan options? Check out Goodebox, a monthly sample service delivering expertly vetted, trial size products to your door each month.