I started my research on this subject at the one and only PETA. Quite honestly, I was shocked at the amount of everyday beauty products that contain some form of an animal product. While I do not plan on clearing out my already purchased shampoos and perfumes, I do plan on using PETA’s list to make more informed choices when shopping for these products. The more you know!
- Perfume – contains castoreum. What’s that? Beaver anal secretions used with urine to mark their territories. When the secretion is diluted in alcohol it begins to smell musky and fruity. Fun fact: it is also used to waterproof their fur. Mental Floss had a great write up on the substance: “Beavers are generally no longer hunted for their pelts or castoreum, so to acquire the sticky stuff, beavers must be anesthetized and the castoreum gland milked by a human…Due to the inconvenience and expense of harvesting castoreum from live beavers, the substance is now seldom used…the annual industry consumption is very low—around 300 pounds—whereas the consumption of natural vanillin is over 2.6 million pounds annually. When castoreum is used, it’s far more likely to be in the profitable fragrance industry rather than in the foods we eat”.
- Nail Polish – contains guanine or “Pearl Essence” which is a material obtained from fish scales. When used in nail polish and cosmetics it gives a pearly iridescent effect to the product. Alternatives are leguminous plants, synthetic pearl, and aluminum & bronze particles.
- Lipstick – contains carmine which is a red pigment and dye derived from female cochineal insects. It is said that 70,000 beetles must be used to achieve 1 pound of this dye. Beet juice & alkanet root are good alternatives.
- Moisturizing Serums – potentially contains Hyaluronic Acid. This is a protein that is found in umbilical cords or around the animal’s joints. Alternatives for you include synthetic hyaluronic acid, plant oils.
- Shampoo – contains Keratin which is ground-up hooves, feathers, quills and various hair from animals. Alternatives could be almond oil and soy protein.