According to not-for-profit (NFP) organisation Vegan Australia, “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.” Vegan beauty products therefore not only avoid cosmetic testing on animals, but also avoid animal-derived ingredients, like beeswax and milk. Vegan Action, a US-based NFP, are now providing a vegan-certified trademark to products in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, giving peace of mind to anyone choosing a vegan lifestyle.
Cosmetic ingredient testing on animals is a barbaric and unnecessary practice that has not sat well with animal rights groups for a very long time. So, another huge win was seen recently in Australia, with the Federal government pledging to ban cosmetic cruelty by July 2017, following a four-year campaign waged by Humane research Australia, Humane Society International (Global), and #BeCrueltyFreeAustralia. Vegan beauty products use natural ingredients that have a history of use as a whole herbal or food-based counterpart, and so do not require the testing that newly created synthetic ingredients do. Megan Douglas, naturopath and founder of World Organics, explains: “Some herbal reference books date back centuries, and it becomes easier to predict a herb's or food's effects with this data. When that herb or food is broken down for its parts to create a synthetic pharmaceutical, we can no longer guarantee the reaction it will have in the body. The time has finally come when we are no longer willing to compromise the treatment of animals for beauty. This is not just a win for vegans, but a win for humanity.”
There is still little regulation around cosmetics manufacturing, so it is up to the brands that are leading the way to set standards, like pioneering Australian brand Inika, which is certified vegan, halal, cruelty-free, and organic. Inika's philosophy of not compromising on purity and peace of mind has resulted in a brand that has the environment, health, and animal welfare at its heart. Respected make-up artist Emmily Banks of Depths of Beauty chooses brands like Inika and World Organics, adding that “there is more and more demand for natural, kind, and vegan beauty brands.” Unfortunately, just because a brand is vegan does not necessarily mean it is also chemical-free, natural, and organic. Certification can help you make the right choice; or, go to a Depths of Beauty masterclass, and learn about ingredients.
With a background in science and conservation, Lulu Starman created Australian brand Ecominerals in 2007. Her aim was to create products she would want to use herself and that matched her own standards; she was so confident that she could stand behind her brand that she added a money-back guarantee – and hasn't looked back since. Starman's love for animals and our planet is evident with thoughtful additions like refill options and vegan brushes. She says, “Only around one percent of Australians are thought to be vegans – but the number of people who care about animal rights and environmental conservation is significantly higher. This really speaks to the saying that 'every little bit helps' – choose to buy a vegan foundation today, and who knows what that will lead to tomorrow?” Cancer survivor and mum Sylvie founded Scout Cosmetics based on her passion for natural therapies and first-hand experience of how better ingredients are a safer choice. Then there is UK brand Lily Lilo; both brands base their ranges around safe effective ingredients like mineral powders, the technology for which has advanced greatly in recent years – the days of uneven colour pigments or clumping are long gone!
Beauty editor's picks
Lily Lolo Eye Palette in Filthy Rich (www.beautifulbecause.com.au; $44.00)
Scout Mineral Brow Defining Dust (www.scoutcosmetics.com; $29.95)
ECO Exotic Bronzer (www.nourishedlife.com.au; $33.00 for 4g jar, $29.00 for 4g refill)
Inika Certified Organic Vegan Lipstick (www.Inika.com.au; $39.00)
World Organics Eye Liner in Espresso or Black (www.worldorganics.com.au; $34.00)
Lisa Tristram is a natural skincare expert, aromatherapist, organic educator, and mind-body wellness teacher. www.lisatristram.com