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Animal By-Products In Your Lip Gloss and Lipstick

Have you ever looked at the ingredients that are in your favorite beauty products? Many seem like they’re harmless, but a lot of ingredients are actually names of animal by-products. In order to protect the environment, it’s important that makeup ingredients are vegan and sustainably sourced rather than being derived from animals. Read about the different ingredients that are in most lip gloss and lipstick, and switch to cruelty-free beauty products from Altforé instead.

WARNING: The ingredients listed below are described in detail. If you’re squeamish, skip the blog and go right to shopping for cruelty-free lip gloss and lipsticks.

Cochineal Dye

This dye is collected from crushed cochineal beetles. These beetles live in Central and South America and eat red cactus berries. These beetles are used to create the red color in lipsticks and blushes. If you see “Cochineal Dye” or “Carmine” on the ingredient label of your makeup, you’re putting crushed beetles on your face.


There’s something fishy about this crystalline material in many makeup products. It creates a shimmering and light-diffusing effect in a lot of mascaras, nail polishes, and lipsticks. That’s because the shine in this ingredient comes from crushed fish scales.


Don’t be fooled by this cleverly named ingredient — it’s animal fat, and it’s in a lot of beauty products. Tallow is a fatty substance that is created from boiling animal carcasses. It’s then added to a variety of cosmetics. From your eye makeup to your lipstick, and even your foundation, this ingredient is in almost every beauty product that isn’t vegan.


Can you imagine rubbing the greasy buildup in your hair all over your face? If you’re not using cruelty-free beauty products, you might be doing something very similar. Lanolin comes from wooly animals like sheep, and it’s a greasy substance that these animals secrete. It’s used in most lipsticks and makeup removers.


Are you squealing yet? You will be after this one. Squalene is a gooey, slimy oil extracted from the livers of sharks. It’s often added to eye makeup and lipsticks.


If your lip gloss claims to be lip-plumping, it probably lists collagen as an ingredient. Though this ingredient seems healthy — your own body produces it, after all — it’s extracted from animal tissue and doesn’t have any proven effect to increase your own collagen production.


This is a tough one, but beeswax is not vegan. More and more, we see it as a “natural” option in lip balms and lipsticks because it helps moisturize your lips without all of the chemicals. Unfortunately, and a lot of commercial brands that mass-produce cosmetics using beeswax keep bees in stressful and unhealthy environments.

If you’re making the switch to cruelty-free beauty products, add Altforé lip gloss and lipsticks to your list of cosmetics that are safe to use. Our products are gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and never tested on animals. Our lipsticks and lip glosses come in a variety of colors that moisturize and create shine that lasts all day. Shop for your perfect shade now.