A vegan lifestyle goes beyond eschewing meat, dairy and eggs. It's also about removing other animal-based products from your life, including your beauty products.

In a special edition of The Economist dubbed The World in 2019 and published in December 2018, the magazine’s correspondent, John Parker, declared 2019 as ‘The year of the vegan’. 

The concept wasn’t new or surprising: the business of veganism has bloomed, especially among millennials, following ethical and environmental concerns; celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay-Z praised “plant-based” diets from as far back as 2013 and dared their audience to go on a 22-day vegan challenge, which basically meant no gluten, no soy, no animal-derived anything for just over three weeks.

The food industry soon turned their menu green – McVegan burgers are indeed, a thing – and following trend, the beauty industry turned its production process on its head to address the glaring issue that is animal testing and the use of animal-derived ingredients in its products, from skincare to cosmetics.

Cosmetic brands around the world switched to vegan ingredients and according to a report published by Grand View Research:

“The global vegan cosmetics market size is projected to reach $20.8-billion by 2025, progressing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 6.3% during the forecast period. Spiralling demand for vegan cosmetics among millennials is one of the primary growth stimulants of the market.”

In South Africa, Woolworths has launched first, a niche and exclusive vegan makeup line in collaboration with US makeup artist (and the man behind Beyoncé’s smoky eye), Sir John, and more recently, the WBeauty ranges, which are 100% vegan. By 100% vegan, we mean not tested on animals and using zero  animal or animal-derived ingredients.

Woolworths’ beauty quality, innovation and sourcing manager, Deshi Moodley, explains that the retailer has had “a long-standing commitment to Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) for many years, and that this is a natural next step in their Good Beauty Journey.”

“Beauty Without Cruelty also promotes veganism as a more compassionate and conscious way of living,” she adds.

Vegan beauty means that animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients have not been used; cruelty-free refers to a product that doesn’t test on animals – but could include animal ingredients.

If you’re not sure what animal components make their way into your beauty products, here are some common examples: Lanolin is an emollient derived from sheep wool, and is a common ingredient in lip products (balms, sticks, glosses), as well as hair products; animal hair is often used to create hair brushes; and carmine is a red colourant, found in some lipsticks and nail polish, derived from crushed bugs.

“In keeping with our Good Beauty Journey commitments, we have been steadily switching to vegan ingredients across our Wbeauty bath and body and cosmetic ranges.  This switch was a long journey as replacing non-vegan ingredients with vegan ingredients needed a lot of investment in ingredient and product development to ensure that the products were of the highest quality and safe to use on skin. We are truly delighted that we have now reached our 100% vegan milestone and can offer our Woolies customers superb quality ranges that offer many additional benefits.”

This, in turn, means that ingredients used in the Wbeauty bath and body and cosmetic ranges are synthetic or plant-based.

“Vegan makeup, skin and body care products are less likely to cause acne, rashes or inflammation. And of course, the major benefit is better-looking skin because the ingredients are either plant-based or synthetic which hydrate the skin, help with uneven skin tones and encourage a more youthful appearance. The products are high-quality, last longer while being kinder to the environment.  So when it comes to 100% vegan WBeauty, you’ll buy better, and also look and feel better,” says Moodley.

And if you’re not yet ready to dare the 22-day vegan challenge, switching to vegan beauty might be a good first step into more conscious and ethical consumption.

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