What’s In My Makeup?

What’s In My Makeup?

People often ask me what makeup products I use (as I am a self-confessed makeup junkie) and although I would firstly suggest going for those that are clearly marked as vegan just to make life easier, there are some obvious and commonly used non-vegan items in most of our makeup drawers in the modern day. The most commonly portrayed animal in cruelty free and vegan beauty is that of the wonderful bunny however people are oblivious to the fact they have a whole host of species in their everyday skincare and makeup products. From fish scales to beetles, ligament juice to crushed shells, these cosmetic companies use it all! I have put together a little list of the ones I find most commonly when looking to purchase which I hope everyone will look out for!


  • Amino Acids

Animal Protein

Commonly used in; cosmetics, vitamins, hair care and supplements.


  • Animal Hair

An obvious one but some don’t realize.

Commonly used in; Makeup brushes, toothbrushes, hair brushes and false eyelashes.


  • Beeswax

Similar to honey, this is a non-vegan product produced by bees

Commonly used in- lip balms, cosmetics and mascara.

(Also can be known as sera alba)


  • Carmine

Red colour pigment, made from crushing female beetles to release carminic acid from their shells. (Research shows that 70,000 beetles are killed for one pound of red dye!!)

Commonly used in; Lip colour and makeup.

(Carmine has many other names so make sure to watch out for Carminic acid, Cochineal, Crimson Lake or CI 75470 and E120)



  • Casein

Creamy Milk product often from cows milk.

Commonly used in; Conditioners and face treatments.


  • Collagen

Fibrous protein coming from animal tissue, bone and skin, mostly from cows.

Commonly found in- Anti-ageing products and lip fillers.


  • Elastin

Similar to collagen found in muscles as protein along with ligaments and aortas of animals.

Commonly found in- plumping treatments.



  • Glycerin

From animal fats

Commonly used in; Soaps, Moisturizers, hair care and make up. (There is a plant based glycerin also so always check).


  • Guanine

Fish scales

Commonly found in- Sparkly nail polish and eyeshadow, even highlighter too.


  • Keratin

Protein naturally occurring in hair and nails. Normally sourced from hair, nails, horns and hooves of animals.

Commonly used in; hair products


  • Lanolin

Similar to wax derived from wool

Commonly found in; moisturizers and lotions.


  • N-Acetyl Glucosamine

From shells of crabs/lobsters mostly

Commonly used in; Creams (known to help skin growth and imperfections in skin tone)


  • Shellac

Made from crushing lac bugs

Commonly found in; Nail products


  • Squalene

Shark liver oil

Commonly used in- Lip balm, deodorant and moisturizers



  • Stearic Acid

This can be animal or plant derived

Commonly found in; Soap



I hope that this starter list will help some of you guys spot and replace some of your non-vegan products with vegan alternatives in the future. Stay tuned for more vegan lists, reviews and cruelty free beauty posts!


Much Love




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