With more awareness on sustainability, as well as being eco-friendly and cruelty-free, more consumers now expect these same standards to be applied in beauty products from start to finish. This has given rise to a wider range of products with a myriad of labels: clean, natural, organic. And vegan is a term that has emerged at the forefront of conscious beauty in recent times. How, then, does it differ from the other labels?
Vegan products contain zero animal-based or -derived ingredients and are also often not tested on animals, but that doesn’t mean they are 100 per cent cruelty-free. There are currently no global standards to register or certify vegan beauty products, but you can check if they are certified by the following agencies: Leaping Bunny, which guarantees no animal testing was carried out, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which certifies non-animal testing and no cruelty to animals.
These are generally products that are free from petrochemicals, silicones, potential carcinogens, and ingredients with contaminants such as parabens, phthalates, and sulphates. They also do not contain artificial colouring or synthetic fragrances. These products can, however, include synthetic ingredients – lab-created ingredients that are re-engineered to mimic natural ones. More often than not, to have a “clean beauty” label, products must be formulated with ingredients that are ethically sourced, sustainable and non-toxic to both your health and the environment.
Products can be described as natural even if they only include a 1 per cent naturally sourced or plant-based ingredient. A pro-tip to deciphering this is to look at the ingredient list. Botanicals will be listed with their scientific (or Latin) names up front, before synthetic ingredients. A fully natural product will also have a much shorter shelf life, so be sure to check the expiry date.
Similar to the natural label, products need only contain a small percentage of an organic ingredient to be labelled organic. Organic products use ingredients that are organically grown and sourced, without the use of harsh chemicals. It can be hard to tell, though, so again, check your ingredient labels for any organic certifications.