The Unexpected Ways Animal Products Might be in Your Grooming Routine

There's never been a better time to go vegan with your skincare and haircare products. The cosmetics industry is constantly innovating to create effective, plant based ingredients that eliminate the need for animal products. But, even if you consciously use topical products that specify they're vegan, you may unintentionally be using animal derived ingredients elsewhere in your grooming routine without even realizing it.

Don't Brush it Away

The first place to look is at the comb or brush you're using. Unfortunately, a lot of brushes still use boar bristles to get tangles out of your hair. However, completely vegan nylon bristles work just as well to get you snarl free locks. To avoid using animal bristles just make sure the brush doesn't say it's made with boar bristles.

Same with your comb. While less common, some combs are still make out of animal horns. We can understand the appeal- metal and wood combs can damage hair, while plastic isn't always sustainable. Your best bet for good for your hair and good for the earth comb material is recycled plastic. Alder New York's made in the USA pre-consumer recycled plastic comb is a great option.

Watch The Vitamins

Another tricky one is supplements. While we're all for ingestables, and there are some really good ones with premium, well-source vitamins and minerals on the market, a lot of them still use gelatin or animal derived ingredients for the capsules. Look for supplements that specifically say they're vegan- since it's a selling point, they usually include that fact when it is. 

Not so Vegan Ingredients

There are also some ingredients that, unlike beeswax or lanolin, you might not know are animal derived. Squalene (and squalane, its stabilized form) is a buzzy skincare ingredient right now, and for good reason- it's an antioxidant booster that provides hydration and helps protect skin from environmental stressors. But there's one big downside. The biggest source of squalene is from sharks' livers and over the past 40 years many species with high amounts of squalene have been hunted to endangerment.

The good news is that, thanks to countless environmental reports sounding the alarm, scientist have found new, plant based supplies of squalene from sugar cane and olives. To make sure you're using the vegan version, make sure the ingredients list specifies the squalene or squalene is plant derived.  

Watch Those Injectables 

Finally, if you're interested in vegan cosmetic fillers and injectables, you'll want to steer clear of botox. Botox comes from botulinum toxin, a chemical that, when injected, paralyzes specific muscles or sweat glands to positive effects. Botulinum toxin is not animal derived. But, botox is not vegan because it's prepared using an egg (aka albumin) base- in fact, people with egg allergies are explicitly warned not to use botox. 

There's also another big issue. Unfortunately, because botox is considered a drug, it has to go through extensive animal testing in its early stages before it can go to market, which makes it decidedly not cruelty free. The good news is that as more and more people go vegan or choose to avoid animal tested products, cosmetic and drug companies have taken note. Allergan, the brand that produces botox, has gained regulatory approval for innovative, non animal based testing. So stay tuned for cruelty free botox in the future.

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