This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Free Makeup Bag on 1st Order. Free Shipping $35+ Free Returns

4 Hidden Non-Vegan Ingredients in Vegan Makeup Brands

What makes us upset is the lack of ingredient transparency in the beauty industry. Even more so in vegan makeup brands that claim they are vegan, but still harbor ingredients derived from animal byproducts. For that, we actually side with Kourtney Kardashian version 2018. In 2018, she lobbied in DC to take out toxic ingredients in consumer personal and beauty products. Going as far as to lobby to rewrite laws on better ingredient labeling and transparency. Go Kourtney! We wonder what her sisters think about this, because they all have their own beauty brand lines.  Maybe that’s why she stopped lobbying haha! We haven’t heard anything in the recent news about said efforts anymore. 

Anyways, we digress. The Kardashians get enough keyword hits as it is. Onwards we go...

Vegan Makeup Brands

Here are 4 common ingredients that are actually derived from animal byproducts that are hidden in plain sight in vegan makeup brands. FDA states very clearly to list ingredients as they are.  The sad thing is that there are all plant based substitutes for these common ingredients. The brands are either lazy, cheap, or a combination of both. We’re not in the game of calling anyone out. We’re just stating facts. 


  1. Glycerin - this is a super duper common ingredient found in products up and down the aisle for skincare, toiletries, cosmetics, even food.  It helps the formula glide and helps hold in moisture. It’s typically derived from animal fats. There is vegetable glycerin as an alternative from common oils such as coconut. Before you say well. "...Maybe it is vegetable glycerin, because it's a vegan brand." Nope, per the FDA you must list the ingredients exactly as is. If it really was vegetable glycerin, brands would happily list it as "vegetable glycerin". It would even make it a point to highlight that it was derived from vegetables. So when you see just “glycerin”, it’s really just “glycerin”, and that means it’s derived from animals. Don’t be fooled by so many brands that claim they are vegan and have just “glycerin” and not “vegetable glycerin” on their ingredient list. 

  2. Squalane - you see this superstar ingredient in so many skincare products nowadays.  It's actually a form of sebum that helps lock in moisture, which is why it's such a good hydrator. (We actually don't recommend this ingredient for acne prone skin since acne breakouts are a result of excess sebum).  Squalane is found in shark liver and that's where it's been extracted from through the ages. However, there are plant alternatives now like olive oil. Again, it's up to the brand if they do their due diligence on their supply chain. We suggest checking the brand's website to see if they have any information on where their squalane is derived from. Brands that are truly clean will usually and proudly indicate that it's plant derived. Some sites list that squalene is actually the type of squalane that is derived from shark liver and squalane is most likely olive oil. However, depending on what sources you go to the definitions change. Sometimes it boils down to cost. Olive oil derived squalane costs 30% more than animal based. Again, if being vegan is of the upmost importance to you, your best bet is to email the company to ask where the squalane is sourced from.

  3. Beeswax - is sadly not vegan. The term vegan really means no animal byproducts.  That extends to bugs as well.  Why do you have to use beeswax, you ask?  Beeswax keeps moisture better than other waxes, so brands like to use this as it holds the formula better. As we go down this rabbit hole, there is a substitute for this and its synthetic beeswax. It’s man made and it performs the same way. Yay! But let’s go down this hole a bit more...some shady labs use a watered down beeswax and call that synthetic. Brands really have to know their stuff and investigate their entire supply chain to make sure things are ethically sourced. There are documentation and certifications for everything and having a true synthetic beeswax is no different. Show us the papers!  Luckily, we got shown our papers and our synthetic beeswax we use in Lip Rally really is just man made. You can reach out to us anytime and ask us to show you the papers :) 

  4. Carmine - we had a whole blog post on what carmine is HERE. This is the red pigment that a lot of lipstick brands use to color their lipsticks, blush, eyeshadows red. It’s made from thousands and thousands of crushed bug guts. Their blood is literally on your lips, in your eyes, soaking into your skin as we speak. This sound vegan to you?

Leave a comment