21 Animal Derived Ingredients In Cosmetics. Non-vegan ingredients to Look Out For in Cosmetics.

Common animal-derived ingredients are found in make-up, nail polish, shampoos, soaps, etc. These may include squalene (shark liver oil), carmine (crushed cochineal insect), gelatin (pig and cow bones, tendonds and ligaments), Keratin (Ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals)


Description: is a protein produced by the liver that circulates in plasma.

Source: Commonly found in blood plasma. Bovine serum albumin is usually used

Use: Albumin is used to replace blood volume loss resulting from trauma such as a severe burns or an injury that causes blood loss

Alternative: Genetically-modified rice are also used to reduce animal cruelty

Albumen (Egg Whites)

Description: In eggs, milk, muscles, blood, and many vegetable tissues and fluids. May cause allergic reaction. Derivative: Albumin.

Source: source

Use: In cosmetics, albumen is usually derived from egg whites and used as a coagulating agent. In cakes, cookies, candies, etc. Egg whites sometimes used in clearingโ€ wines.


Description: A coagulant and food thickener derived from animal bones, skin and other parts containing collagen

Source: source

Use: Gelatin is used to thicken and solidify a wide range of foods, including gummy bears, fruit-flavored jello, and marshmallows


Description: Is a chemical compound. Allantoin is a major metabolic intermediate in most organisms including animals, plants and bacteria.

Source: It is produced from uric acid, which itself is a degradation product of nucleic acids. Is present in the urine of most mammals

Use: It is frequently present in toothpaste, mouthwash, and other oral hygiene products, in shampoos, lipsticks, anti-acne products, sun care products, and clarifying lotions, various cosmetic lotions and creams, and other cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

Alternative: Is present in botanical extracts of the comfrey plant

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

Description: are a class of chemical compounds that consist of a carboxylic acid substituted with a hydroxyl group on the adjacent carbon.

Source: Lactic acid may be animal-derived (see Lactic Acid).

Use: Any one of several acids used as an exfoliant and in anti-wrinkle products

Alternative: Glycolic acid, citric acid, and salicylic acid are plant- or fruit-derived.


Description: Is a natural wax produced by honey bees

Source: The wax is formed into scales by eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments of bees

Use: Candle-making, food additive E901, Lubricate Wood, polish furniture, lip balm, water proofing agent

Bee Pollen

Description: Bee pollen is a ball or pellet of field-gathered flower pollen packed by honeybees and used as the primary food source for the hive.

Source: source

Use: health supplement, as food


Description: Biotin is a form of vitamin B

Source: Found in larger amounts in milk

Use: Used as a texturizer in cosmetics, shampoos, and creams.

Alternative: Yeast


Description: Is a pigment of a bright-red color scale insects such as the cochineal, Armenian cochineal, and Polish cochineal.

Source: Carmine is made by crushing the female cochineal insect. The insects are harvested, sun-dried and crushed. They are then put into an acidic solution that produces carminic acid.

Use: coloring agent, food dye, food colorant


Description: An animal-derived ingredient that comes from connective tissues.

Source: Protein found in the neck ligaments and aortas of cows.

Use: Often combined with collagen in beauty products.

Alternative: Synthetic alternatives may be available, protein from plant tissues.

Fish scales / Guanine

Description: A fish scale is a small rigid plate that grows out of the skin of a fish.

Source: Fish skin

Use: Used in cosmetics since they can give a shimmering effect to makeup and lipstick. Crystalline guanine is used as an additive to various products (e.g., shampoos). It is also used in metallic paints and simulated pearls and plastics.

Glycerin / Glycerol

Description: It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is sweet-tasting and non-toxic. (labeled E422 in food)

Source: A byproduct of soap manufacture (normally uses animal fat)

Use: Used in FDA approved wound and burn treatments, as a sweetener in the food industry and as a humectant pharmaceutical formulations.

Alternative: Vegetable glycerin (a byproduct of vegetable oil soap), derivatives of seaweed, petroleum.


Description: Protein extracted from various animal parts

Source: Ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals.

Use: In hair rinses, shampoos, permanent wave solutions.

Alternative: Almond oil, soy protein, amla oil (from the fruit of an Indian tree), human hair from salons. Rosemary and nettle give body and strand strength to hair.

Lanolin (Wool yolk)

Description: A product of the oil glands of sheep

Source: Sheep wool (See fur)

Use: Lanolin's role in nature is to protect wool and skin from climate and the environment. By humans is used as skin smoothing. It is frequently used in protective baby skin treatment and for sore nipples from breastfeeding. Lip balm, moustache wax, lubricant

Alternative: Plant and vegetable oils


Description: Snails

Source: Crushed snails

Use: In some cosmetics


Description: Is an organic compound. Generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen bonds

Source: Obtained from shark liver oil

Use: Use as an adjuvant in vaccines. Squalene is not itself an adjuvant, but it has been used in conjunction with surfactants in certain adjuvant formulations.

Alternative: Vegetable sources (primarily vegetable oils) include amaranth seed, rice bran, wheat germ, and olives.


Description: Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, usable materials.

Source: Rendered form of beef or mutton fat, primarily made up of triglycerides.

Use: In wax paper, crayons, margarines, paints, rubber, lubricants, etc. In candles, soaps, lipsticks, shaving creams, other cosmetics


Description: Glossy, hard substance that is soft when hot.

Source: From animals and plants

Use: In lipsticks, depilatories, hair straighteners.

Alternative: Vegetable waxes


Description: Is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix. Connective tissues and it is the most abundant protein in mammals

Source: Tendonds or ligaments from bovine, equine, porcine, or even human sources.

Use: Widely used in cosmetic surgery, as a healing aid for burn patients for reconstruction of bone and a wide variety of dental, orthopedic, and surgical purposes

Alternative: Soy protein, almond oil, amla oil (see alternatives to Keratin), etc.


Description: An amino acid that can come from animals.

Source: Chicken, Cheese, Duck, Eggs, Pork, Turkey, etc.

Use: Used in hair-care products and creams, in some bakery products, and in wound-healing formulations.

Alternative: Legumes, Sunflower Seeds, Brussel sprouts, onions, garlic, bell peppers, broccoli, buckwheat and quinoa


Description: An amino acid found in digestive enzymes in the cells of the immune system, in skeletal and connective tissues, skin, and hair.

Source: Found in urine and horsehair.

Use: Used as a nutritional supplement and in emollients.

Hyaluronic Acid

Description: Is an anionic, nonsulfated glycosaminoglycan distributed widely throughout connective, epithelial, and neural tissues.

Source: Extracted from the rooster comb, umbilical cords and the fluids around the joints.

Use: Used in cosmetics and some medical applications. For hydration and control inflammation

Alternative: Synthetic hyaluronic acid, plant oils.

Animal Derived Ingredients List

Animal Derived Ingredients Categories


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