What is cruelty-free & vegan eyeliner? Don’t be fooled!
Eyeliner is considered “vegan” if it does not contain any ingredients that come from animals or insects. However, the term “cruelty free” means that the eyeliner has been tested on animals, and that includes the ingredients.
The term ‘cruelty free’ refers only to the testing methods used, while the term ‘vegan eyeliner’ is a reference to the ingredients.
What insect and animal derived ingredients are used commonly in eye-pencils/eyeliner?
We have compiled a list:
This list is by no means exhaustive, of the most commonly used animal and insect-derived ingredients in non-vegan eyeliners.
Also included are the origins, aliases and purposes of the ingredients used in eyeliner. We also include some animal-friendly substitutes.
Amino Acids are the building blocks for protein in both animals and plants. They are often derived from animal products such as horsehair and urine. Eyeliners and other cosmetics contain skin conditioners.
Aliases: Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Tyrosene, Cystine, Potassium Aspartate, Sodium Aspartate.
Synthetics and plant-based amino acids are vegan alternatives.
Beeswax – Beeswax can be made by melting honeycomb in boiling water and straining the mixture. Then, it is cooled. Eyeliner is used to thicken and adhere to the skin. Many bees die or have their legs and wings torn because they are handled carelessly when they are raised.
Apic cerana is also known as Apis mellifera or Apis mellifica. Cera alba and Cera flava are other names for the same species.
Soy wax, Candelilla wax, sustainable carnauba wax and Cerecin are all vegan alternatives to beeswax.
Tallow: To make tallow, the carcasses of animals are boiled until they produce a fatty substance. These carcasses come from many sources including laboratories, slaughterhouses, and shelters. Eyeliners use tallow as an emollient to soften skin.
Aliases: Tallow Fatty Alcohol, Rendered Beef Fat ,Stearic Acid.
Alternatives to tallow that are vegan: Ceresin, Japan tallow and Vegetable Tallow.
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When a product states that an ingredient comes from “Natural Sources”, this can be either animal-based or plant-based. Unfortunately, in cosmetics this usually means animal-based sources.
Does “not tested on animal” mean “cruelty free”?
Many cosmetics companies are using a variety of terms to trick consumers into thinking that their eyeliner is cruelty-free. Since these terms are not regulated, cosmetics companies can use them however they want.
Here are some examples of common false statements that you may find on eyeliner packaging and what they really mean:
“Against animal testing”
Only words on a small box. This could indicate that the company opposes animal testing but still does it.
We do not test animals.
The eyeliner itself was not tested on animals, but the individual ingredients may have been.
They expect you to believe it blindly without third-party verification. It is often a complete lie.