From the beginning, WEBA Natural Products has taken a firm stand with regard to the use of animal ingredients in our products. While many personal care, clothing and food manufacturers may think differently on this topic, it is an ethical and aesthetic choice that makes sense for us.
Many consumers have argued that some ingredients don’t involve hurting animals, but we feel that this is a slippery slope. After all, how do they know? Are they expecting the cow or goat or bumble bee to scream “Don’t take that!”? We’d be surprised if they did. Let’s explore this practice and we’ll tell you why we feel the way we do.
A History of Using Animal Ingredients
Animal products have a long history in the personal care industry. The first soaps were made as far back as 2800 B.C. almost by accident. The basic recipe called for using wood ash and tallow, which consists of rendered animal fat (usually beef or pork). Many commercial “beauty” bars still use tallow (often labeled sodium tallowate), as it is an inexpensive by-product of factory farming. The same goes for gelatin, which is rendered by boiling animal cartilage and bone.
At first, these ingredients would be used in order to avoid waste and to save money. Before factory farming, local farmers made use of whatever was on hand, and they no doubt sold these products for a profit. Back “in the day” there were very few options for cleaning and bathing. Once these ingredient properties were found to be beneficial, they became more popular in many products, from soaps and skincare to cosmetics.
Can We Avoid Using Animal Ingredients?
Absolutely! Today, technology has made it possible for us to utilize plant-based and synthetic alternatives for many of the animal products that have been used in the past. As more and more consumers embrace a cruelty-free lifestyle, they want to be sure that the businesses that they support don’t use animal ingredients to create their skincare and cosmetic products. Below is a list of common animal ingredients alternatives that you will find in the marketplace.
- Tallow – many plant-based oils, including palm oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter, can substitute for this ingredient. We’ll explain at a later time why we don’t use palm oil.
- Gelatin – Agar is a suitable plant-based alternative to this animal ingredient.
- Lanonin – Derived from the wool of sheep mostly. Again, cocoa butter would make a good substitute, and it smells great!< .li>
- Squalene – Extracted from shark livers – yuk! Luckily, olive squalene is perfectly fine.
- Collagen – Derived from animal tissue. While very popular as an anti-aging ingredient right now, its effectiveness in building up collagen is questioned; it is a large molecule. Oils like olive and amla are suitable.
- Allantoin – Found in uric acid secreted from animals (usually horses). Fortunately, there are plant-based sources of allantoin.
- Alpha-Hydroxy acids – There are both animal and plant sources. It’s important to read the label or contact the company to know what source they use.
- Royal Jelly – Derived from the throat glands of honeybees. Its value is questionable. A good alternative is aloe vera gel.
- Retinol and Retinoids – This only comes from animals. It’s used in many anti-aging creams, however, and it can cause irritation and sensitivity. As an alternative, try rosehip oil or Vitamin C, and eat more beta-carotene.
The list can go on, of course, so please check the References below. We hope that you’ll consider using products (like ours) that are free of animal ingredients and rich in plant-based oils and extracts.
One Green Planet post on common cosmetic ingredients
Crueltyfree.org post on animal ingredients
Article on Alternatives to Retinol