Vegan Life – Beyond your Plate.

Most people associate veganism with food. Of course, that is the crux of veganism. We take a stand for animal welfare. We don’t eat anything associated with animals. But it goes deeper than that. Let’s explore.

Clothing and Footwear

The next consideration after food is clothing and footwear from leather and fur to the finer aspects of apparel production. But not to worry, with the explosion of veganism, more and more clothing and shoe companies are offering fully vegan and ethical products. There should be no reason not to find what you need in an upgraded vegan version.

Image credit: Josh Felise

Vegan Clothing

The leather industry is significant. It pumps out a billion dollars a year alongside the meat industry. While a lot of leather is a by-product of the meat industry, it isn’t the only source. Cows, alligators, kangaroos, ostriches, goats, sheep and even cats and dogs are all sources of leather. A popular leather type is a calfskin. Calves are slaughtered at six months or earlier, at the fetal stage for their skin.

Most animal skin products come from underdeveloped countries. Often animal welfare laws are non-existent in these countries. This usually leaves our animal friends in cages confined and suffering. Something we all to often overlook when buying something in the purchasing moment.

Aside from intensive resource use, one of the most significant environmental impacts of leather is the tanning process. Tanning leaks a toxic cocktail of chemicals into water systems, detrimental to the environment and people.

In recent years, the fur industry has been more publicly boycotted and for a good reason. It uses cruel and inhumane harvesting methods. The campaign for fur-free has been positively exciting. Big brands are going fur-free, setting the world fashion standard. Brands that are committing to fur-free are Stella McCartney, BB Dakota, Unreal Fur, Top Shop, Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs, Free People, Adolfo Dominguez and H&M.

Each year, more and more fantastic leather alternatives are coming onto the market. Pineapple, mushroom, and other sustainable products are breaking out into the market. All of these alternatives are proof that we have a definite choice when it comes to using animal-based products.

Vegan Footwear

There are a lot of faux leather shoes around. The faux leather industry is booming alongside the vegan movement, but there is a nasty little ingredient that escapes in the cracks—animal-based glues. Manufacturers boil down the connective tissues or bones to produce a glue ingredient used in shoes. So while you may pick up some sandals that are faux leather, they may still not be vegan.

Here are some fantastic brands selling vegan clothing and footwear. Choose from high-end footwear or everyday kicks.

Vegan Makeup and Skincare

Image Credit: Josh Tkcoz

The cosmetics industry is unfathomably big. In 2017 it was valued at 532 Billion USD and expected to grow to 863 Billion USD in 2024. Essentially, women are spending a lot of their disposable income on cosmetics and hair products. With the flourishing metro-sexual man, the industry is booming more than ever.

Why is this relevant to veganism? Because animal products are lurking in the most unknown of products. Not only animal products but sketchy chemicals that penetrate and absorb into the bloodstream.

Looking for vegan beauty products is about the animals, the environment as well as health. With your skin being your largest organ, you should care what’s on the ingredient list.

Animal-based ingredients in beauty products

  • Lanolin – a wax-like substance from sheep’s wool produced by sebaceous glands.
  • Shellac – derived from a specific insect and found in nail, hair and face products.
  • Casein – a milk-based protein.
  • *Animal-derived Squalene – an oil extracted from shark liver used in balms, deodorants and moisturizers
  • *Animal-derived Stearic Acid – Found in the lard of animals (mostly pigs) and used as an emulsifier.
  • *N-Acetyl Glucosamine – Derived from the shells of crustaceans. Mainly used in skin care creams.
  • Keratin – An industry favourite. A protein harvested from the hooves, hair and quills of animals used primarily in hair care products.
  • Guanine – From fish scales used mostly in make-up products
  • Carmine – Insects bred and used thousands at a time to create the red pigment in make-up.
  • Bee Products – Contrary to what most people think, bee products are not ethical.
  • Emu Oil – Extracted from the back fat of the Emu. This oil can only be extracted once the Emu is dead.
  • Mink Oil – Oil from abdominal fat of the mink. Minks are bred in captivity for their fur and oil.
  • Animal Hair – Commonly used in cosmetic brushes
  • *Animal-derived elastin –  muscles, ligaments and aortas of animals used in the same ways as collagen.
  • Collagen – Used as a protein in beauty products. Taken from the bones, tissues, muscles and ligaments from cows, chicken and fish.
  • Silk Powder – Commercial practices use boiling or freezing the pupae before it hatches.

*Plant-derived options are available – brands should specify what source the ingredients are from. Technology has come a long way. We are now able to replicate and source natural alternatives to animal ingredients. Many Brands are also moving over to natural vegan products. These brand are not only ethically better but are even better options for your skin. They are kinder to the earth, animals and your skin.

Here are my favourite beauty brands.

There are so many brands available out there. There is no excuse not to be using ethical vegan skincare and make-up. Choosing vegan make-up and skincare is a right step for animals, the planet and the health of your skin.