As more and more people learn about animal welfare and turn to a vegan lifestyle, it can be overwhelming to known and understand the animal-based ingredients that are used in everyday products including cosmetics, skincare and hair products.

We have put together a list of commonly used ingredients that are often found in products to help you understand what to look out for. 


Produced by the honey bee and extremely common in cosmetics and skincare products. Can also be labelled as ‘cera alba’ or ‘cera flava' 

Alternatives exist in the form of plant and soya waxes.


Carminic is a purplish-red pigment found in cochineal insects. It is extracted from the crushed insect’s body and eggs. It takes 70,000 boiled, crushed beetles to produce 1 pound of red dye which is then used in products such as makeup, nail varnish, fruit juices, alcohols beverages, food and much more.

Also known by different names which include: Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Carmine, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 and E120.

A vegan alternative is available which often comes from Beetroot.


Found in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals, bone, ligaments and skin and used in a lot of anti-ageing skincare products.

A vegan alternative is available from Acacia leaves and fruits .


A common animal fat commonly used in a range of products including soaps, hair care, make-up, and moisturisers. 

Vegetable glycerin is a vegan alternative.


Common hair and nail products. Keratin is derived from the protein that comes from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals. A very popular ingredient however a vegan alternative is now available but you need to search for it.


A wax from the sebaceous glands of sheep and other animals bearing wool. Used as an emollient and derived from sheep wool. A common ingredient in lip balms, lip sticks and also hair products.

A vegan alternative is available derived from plant oils.


Derived from the tissues of marine fish including skin and bones. Used in skincare products such as eye gels.

A Vegan alternative is available derived from seaweed.


Also called 'Casein' and derived from the milk of cows. This is used in hair products and skincare. 

Vegan alternatives come from nut milks.


Shellac comes from the secretion of the female lac insect and mostly found in nail varnishes. It is also known to be a glazing agent on fruits in the supermarket.


Obtained from the secretion of the silk worm. The worms are boiled in their cocoons to obtain the silk. Used in skincare products, facial powders, soaps and more.  

A vegan alternative is from derived from Arrowroot Powder.


Squalene is extracted from shark liver oil. These animals are now at risk of extinction due to the hunting of this oil. Common in lip balms, moisturisers, deodorants and more.

A vegan alternative is available derived from Olives and known as ‘Olive Squalene’.


A fat derived from animals including cows, sheep and pigs. Used in skincare products, soaps, deodorants and more.

A vegan alternative is available which is plant derived i.e from Coconut.


A natural fatty alcohol often used as a thickener in skincare products. This ingredient can sometimes be animal based but can also be plant based.

A vegan alternative is available which is plant derived.


A white, waxy saturated animal fat derived from the tissue of sheep and cattle. Used to make soap, candles and as a base for chemicals and lubricants in skincare products.

Vegan alternatives available derived from vegetable oils.

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At White Moon Skincare our entire skincare range is Vegan and doesn't contain any animal-derived ingredients.