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All you need to know about vegan cosmetics

All you need to know about vegan cosmetics

We’re sometimes asked what brands mean when they talk about being 'vegan-friendly' and whether our products can be considered as suitable for vegans.

Given this is one of those grey areas in cosmetics where there isn't actually a legal or regulatory definition that brands must comply with to make a specific claim, we thought we'd add a little more context to the topic.

A grey matter

Regrettably, greyness in the world of cosmetics can lead to over-exuberance on the part of branding and marketing folk. That's because there's no formal threshold or rule system around some of the things a brand may want to say about its product. And often with that comes abuse at the expense of science.

While the SPF of a sunscreen, for example, is highly regulated with mandatory testing and a strict framework in place if you want to put these three letters on your packaging, there are 'softer' claims that don't have such strict guidelines. Things like 'natural' and 'reef-friendly' spring to mind. And in the case of this post, 'vegan', 'vegan-friendly' and 'vegetarian' are very much in the same bucket.

What is the threshold for unregulated claims like vegan-friendly?

Vegan type claims are acceptable in the same way other cosmetic claims are allowed: they must comply with European Regulations (specifically: 655/2013 - the Common Criteria for Cosmetic Claims).

There are six 'common criteria' for cosmetic claims, and all of these must be taken into consideration. If a claim is in breach of one of these criteria, the claim shouldn't be made.

The six common criteria are as follows and probably don't need to be explained. Think of them like personal values more than laws or rules.

  • Legal compliance
  • Truthfulness
  • Evidential support
  • Honesty
  • Fairness
  • Informed decision-making

So, if a brand wants to say 'vegan-friendly' on it's packaging, it needs to cast an eye over the six common criteria. It would reasonably meet all of these values provided the product doesn't contain any animal-derived ingredients (which is logical enough!).

Not tested on animals

The topic of whether a product contains anything of animal origin shouldn't be confused with whether the product has been tested on animals.

Within the EU and UK, an animal testing ban on finished cosmetic products has been in place since 11 September 2004. So, no cosmetic products on your shelves will have been tested on animals.

In addition, the testing ban applies to the component parts of any cosmetic product (i.e. the ingredients). This has been in place since 11 March 2009.

You can read more about animal testing in our cruelty-free blog here.

The LifeJacket POV

Cutting to the chase, LifeJacket products are 100% suitable for vegans and are vegan-friendly. They do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

However, we take a few extra steps to go over and above just avoiding animal-derived ingredients.

Firstly, we approach all of our individual ingredient suppliers and ask them to provide a statement ensuring the ingredients being supplied don't contain any animal-derived material. This means that within our own manufacturing process, we never introduce any animal-derived ingredients and can be absolutely robust and safe in the knowledge our products are therefore vegan-friendly.

We've gone one step further still by ensuring that not only do we avoid any animal-derived ingredients but we even ensure the microbiological cultures we test our products in (important when it comes to knowing how resistant our products are to microbial growths such as yeast or mould ) are special vegan-friendly cultures. This is known as a British Pharmacopeia (BP) Preservative Efficacy Test (Vegan) and is fairly unique in the cosmetics world.

We appreciate this all sounds pretty techie but it's an example of the lengths we go to at LifeJacket to ensure we don't just conform to standards - we exceed them.

We’re 100% focused on ensuring that all of our products offer the highest performance possible and we always utilise in-depth technical and scientific expertise. All of our decisions are founded on fact and science so you know your skin is in safe hands.