Humans are creatures of habit. We like routine and predictability, especially when it comes to our skincare routines. But maybe it’s time to take a page from philosopher Alan Watts’ book: “You're under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.”
Skincare is sacrosanct, or rather, skincare that works is. We’ve got to love the face in the mirror staring back at us day-in and day-out. And when we get that glow, there’s nothing else quite like it. We set up those auto-ships on Amazon, stock extras in the cupboard, and hope the company never changes its formulations.
Ingredients, and certainly standard practices, are more often than not hidden behind beautiful labels and in small print—often even in those lovely tongue-twisting Latin terms. It’s no wonder so many people gloss over the labels and don’t question what’s inside those little bottles. That’s exactly what the companies want you to do.
But skincare’s mystique may be a lot less magic than we think. Many products are filled with torture and cruelty, not to mention legit ick factors. If you’re using any of these animal-derived ingredients in your skincare routine, these next five minutes may be the perfect time to become that different person.
1. Building Your Own Collagen Is More Effective
It sounds harmless enough, right? Collagen is all the rage as a skincare must. But what even is collagen, though? In short: it’s a protein that’s helpful for skin and joint building and repair.
But much of the collagen on the market is sourced from animals, usually beef or fish. It’s in the parts you typically wouldn’t want to eat, like bones and cartilage. Not exactly the stuff you want to dab under your eyes, eh?
Here’s the good news, though: You don’t have to use animal slime to get glowing skin. In fact, simply ensuring you have collagen-boosting foods in your diet may be enough to get your body working to produce enough all on its own. And eating collagen-boosting foods is cheaper than expensive collagen skincare products, too.
2. Sheep need their wool
If you’re a big fan of hand and lip balms, you may be wearing wool oil on your body. Lanolin is the name for the oil derived from sheep’s wool, and it’s common in deep moisturizing products (including lots of diaper creams for babies).
Wool is just a sheep haircut, right?
Not exactly. These furry, friendly creatures can be tortured through a common practice called mulesing, where the skin on the hindquarters of the animals is cut off, often without anesthetic. This is to prevent flystrike, but often has the opposite effect as the wounds heal.
Even if the sheep are spared the mulesing practice, shearing can be just as painful, as animals are shorn as fast as possible, leaving lots of room for error and injury. And while a sheep may indeed need and enjoy the occasional haircut, they do need their wool. It protects them from the elements, and even from predators.
3. The oceans need sharks
One of the buzziest skincare ingredients of late is squalene. And while there are abundant plant sources of this moisturizing compound, it’s also found in shark liver oil.
Globally, shark populations are in jeopardy. More than 75 million of them are killed every year for their fins alone. As apex predators, though, this is a big, big problem that is already upsetting marine ecosystems. When sharks die off the animals they eat proliferate, which consumes other resources that are critical for balance in the oceans.
Just like shark fin soup is associated with power and wealth, a number of skincare brands that have used squalene from sharks as a luxury item.
But don’t be fooled.
Squalene is effective in keeping skin supple and healthy, but squalene sourced from vegetable oils has proven to be just as effective as the shark-based option. And a growing number of brands like LUSH and The Ordinary are eliminating the shark option completely and leaving it where it belongs: at the bottom of the ocean.
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Please note: A product appearing in our blog is not an official Kinder Beauty endorsement. While every product we feature in an article is cruelty-free and vegan, these products do not necessarily meet all of our strict brand standards for curation in a Kinder box.
Jill Ettinger is an LA-based writer and editor focused on vegan and cruelty-free living.