Celebrating Veganuary with Vegan skincare

It is an honour to represent our industry on –

BBC Radio Jersey 

Presented by Eliza Philippidis 

What is vegan skincare about and why is it good?

Largely, as beauty consumers, we are as aware of what we put on our skin as what we put in our bodies. With better understanding comes increasing attraction to products that are clean and completely free from animal derived ingredients. 

Historically beauty products contained many animal ingredients, particularly ones used in fragrance and scented pommades, some of which were cruelly harvested, such as musk and civet.

Following that, the same molecules were synthesised to be identical to the ones found in nature, but made in a laboratory. There was a kick back against that too. Natural was desired above all.

Now there is a drive for pure and plant based products. Tried and tested alternative ingredients – and also new plant based discoveries enabling technological advances in clean beauty – are ensuring the vegan skincare market is modern and consistently high quality.

Vegan products also have important association with being cruelty free, not tested on animals.

Which ingredients in vegan skincare products?

Any cosmetic ingredient that is plant derived, or from the earth, rather than from an animal, is vegan. 

For example, beeswax which comes from bee hives often as surplus to the honey making industry, is considered vegetarian but not vegan. Whereas a plant alternative such as candelilla wax, caranuba wax, or soy wax used in replacement, will render a product suitable for vegans. 

Other common – and wonderful – ingredients include sweet almond, shea, flax, moringa, jojoba, aloe, cocoa, rosehip, wheatgerm vitamin E, calendula, borage, arnica, corn, algae, essential oils and fruit extracts. It’s well worth diving into this world of luxurious botanical healthy skincare; there are some truly sublime ones out there. 

As with all ingredients, it is important that the provenance of the ingredient is good – it should be ethically sourced and environmentally conscious. For me, organic, cruelty free and fair trade covers the bases – good for the environment, good to people, to animals and good to customer’s skin. 

If you can, also take care not to buy products that are overly packaged. While they look pretty on the shelf and we all love buying them from time to time, they are a waste of the world’s resources and can indirectly affect animals by cutting trees and invading their habitat. In this instance, less is more. 

Where can you buy good vegan products?

There are three options here – luxury, high street and grocery store – at three different price points. 

Since this is written in a time when shops are closed, here are my favourite brands that you can buy online. 

For a great selection of higher end products – the Jersey founded beauty retailer Feelunique.com stocks Australian wonder brand Inika, plus Skyn Iceland, REN and UK’s Beauty Kitchen, which is a certified B concept brand – the ultimate in ethical trading. 

Not forgetting men, there is a full range of Bulldog skincare from shaving to moisturiser, which is all natural and vegan, at really great prices. 

For family soaps, shampoo and washes, Dr Bronner is a classic, with Castille soap being a best seller. 

Feelunique also sell a world favourite cult brand, Aesop. Choosing one product to celebrate Veganuary is nigh on impossible but for a Winter face saving moisturiser, Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream, £44.65 for 120ml, is excellent. 

Other luxury brands include Herbivore, Vintner’s Daughter and Pai. Independent brands Tata Harper and Sunday Riley also offer wonderful vegan facial oils. 

When it comes to anti ageing, or ageing well as it’s preferably known, there are breakthrough ingredients such as bakuchiol – which are used in replacement of retinol. Retinol causes some confusion because there are two sources, one is an animal derived – a group called retinoids – and one is synthetic. To be sure that you’re using the one that’s right for you, check the ingredients list, or use a certified vegan products such as the AgeWell Collection by Arbonne. Prices start at £34 and are available from Sarah Langan Jersey. 

When I asked some young glamorous vegan friends which products they used, they came up with a host of excellent mid priced high street products such as MiaFlora Organic Rosehip Oil £19.99 for 30 ml from Holland & Barrett online, Tropic skincare and Superdrug’s popular range called Naturally Radiant. 

If products say they are vegan but seem unusually cheap, keep an eye out for ingredients that are petroleum based such as petrolatum and paraffinum liquidum. It comes from crude oil drawn out of the ground, often polluting the surrounding area. These ingredients do not have any long term benefit on the skin either.

Is there anything else I should know? 

You can make your own balms and oils very simply, often with kitchen cupboard ingredients like sunflower oil, olive oil, and coconut butter combined with bathroom cabinet oils like lavender, tea tree and mandarin. Anything you would consider eating, you could consider putting on your skin.  You can even squash avocados for face masks, grate orange peel for skin renewal packs or exfoliate arms and legs with sugar and honey. There’s great exploration to be had in a home spa. Be sure to clean and sterilise everything before you blend so that bacteria is excluded from your final product. There are step by step guides and easy recipes available on Jersey’s www.manomara.com from this weekend. If you’re searching the web or have a book of traditional recipes, you can replace beeswax with candelilla or soy. Use a little less candelilla than beeswax as candelilla is hard, use a litte more soy than the recipe since soy is soft. Again make sure the provenance of the ingredients is sustainable and ethical. 

If you like the idea of handmade ethical products but would prefer an expert to do it for you, LUSH cosmetics offers a myriad of them with brilliantly soured ingredients and fun names. Ultraplant cleanser, £12.50 is a hero product here, containing seven ingredients. It’s certified vegan with sustainable packaging as an added bonus and is available from uk.lush.com.

There are new products heading to the UK from abroad too such as San Francisco based US Global beauty brand Volition. They make 100% Vegan skincare. To be ahead of the game you can even tell the company what you want them to make. Currently their product with an open waitlist is Sea Kelp Body Balm. To be the first to know, sign up at https://volitionbeauty.com/campaigns/sea-kelp-body-balm/ 

Lastly support your skin from the inside by living and eating well. Vegetables, water, exercise and sleep go a long way in a good skincare routine. That topped with the wonderful products being made will see you glow through January and beyond.

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