Comes from:  Proteins usually from eggs (especially egg whites) but also milk, muscles, blood.

Found in: Cosmetics as an emulsifier to make skin look smoother e.g toners and moisturisers.

 Derivatives: Albumin

Vegan option: Vegetable tissues and fluids.


Comes from:  Uric acid from cows and most other mammals. Can be synthetic.

Found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, moisturising creams, hand lotions, hair lotions, after-shave lotions and other skin-soothing cosmetics.

Derivatives: Alcloxa, Aldioxa

Vegan Option: Synthetic or plant based e.g comfrey root.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

Comes from: Various acids. May contain Lactic acid which can be animal derived (see Lactic Acid). Originally derived from the chemical peel.

Found in: Exfoliants and anti-wrinkle products e.g. Face and body creams, lotions, exfoliators, shampoos and cuticle softners.

Vegan Option: Glycolic acid, citric acid, and salicylic acid are plant- or fruit-derived.

Ambergris Perfume

Comes from: Whale intestines, usually the sperm whale. 

Found in: Perfumes as a fixative.

Vegan Option: Synthetic or vegetable fixatives.

Amino Acids

Comes from: Animals or plants - The building blocks from which proteins are constructed.

Found in: Shampoos, moisturisers, deodorants, vitamins and supplements.

Vegan Option: Plants, synthetics.

Amniotic Fluid

Comes from: The fluid surrounding the cow embryo.

Found in: Moisturisers, hair shampoos, lotions and scalp treatments.

Animal tissue extract

Comes from: Mixed extract of skin, testes and ovaries of the pig, and the thymus, placenta and udder of the cow. 

Found in: Moisturisers and other creams.

Derivatives: epiderm oil R

Batyl Alcohol

Comes from: Glycerin. From shark oil, bone and bone marrow. 

Found in: Moisturisers and other skin creams.


Comes from: Melting the honeycomb that virgin bees have produced with boiling water to form a wax.  Very cheap and widely used. Produced by bees for bees!

Found in: Lipsticks, mascara, lip balms, lip glosses, eye shadows, foundation, cleansers and toners, moisturisers, lotions, eye creams, baby creams, nail whiteners, and many other cosmetics.

Derivatives: Cera Flava

Vegan Option: Paraffin, vegetable oils and fats, ceresin, carnauba wax, candelilla wax.


Comes from: Living cells, usually from milk and yeast. 

Found in: Moisturisers, deodorants, hair shampoos.

Derivatives: Vitamin H, Vitamin B Factor.

Vegan Option: Plant based.

Bone Meal

Comes from: Crushed or ground animal bones

Found in: Toothpastes, some vitamins and supplements.


Vegan Option: Plant mulch, vegetable compost, dolomite, clay, vegetarian vitamins.

Calf blood / Calf skin Extract

Comes from: Calves.

Found in: Anti-aging products  e.g. moisturisers. 

Caprylic Acid

Comes from: A liquid fatty acid from the milk of cows or goats.

Found in: Perfumes and soaps.

Derivatives: Derivatives: Caprylic Triglyceride, Caprylamine Oxide.

Vegan Option: Coconut and other plant oils.


 Comes from: Red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. Reportedly, 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye. They are killed by immersion in hot water (after which they are dried) or by exposure to sunlight, steam or the heat of an oven. Each method produces a different colour. 

Found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, blushers, hair shampoos and other cosmetics with red and orange colour.  The British & European parliament are seeking to ban this colouring because it reportedly affects hyperactivity in children. 

Derivatives: Cochineal, Carminic Acid, Cochineal. Often listed as a 'natural' ingredient.

Vegan Option: Beet juice, alkanet root.


Comes from: A yellow pigment found in many animal tissues and in all plants

Found in: Cosmetics as a colouring e.g. lipstick, mascaras, eyeshadow, face makeup. 

Derivatives: Provitamin A, Beta Carotene.

Vegan Option: Plant pigments e.g carrots.


Comes from: Milk protein, usually from cows.

Found in: Hair shampoos and conditioners, beauty masks and creams.

Derivatives: Caseinate, Sodium Caseinate.

Vegan Option: Soy protein, soy milk, and other vegetable milks.


Comes from: Muskrat and beaver genitals. Glands and secretions are taken from the area between the vulva and the anus in the female beaver and the scrotum and the anus in the male beaver. More commonly synthetic.

Found in: Perfumes as a fixative, incense, styling products and bath oils.

Derivatives: Castor.

Vegan Option: Synthetics. 


Comes from: Fatty acids and sugars found in the covering of nerves (eg brain tissue) in animals. Can also be synthetic.

Found in: Moisturisers.

Cetyl Alcohol

Comes from: A wax found in spermaceti which is derived from the head of sperm whales or dolphins, but now more commonly from petroleum.

Found in: Lipsticks, mascaras, foundations, cream blushers, moisturisers, deodorants, hand lotions, hair shampoo and conditioners, hairspray and hair styling products, nail varnish removers, shaving creams, baby lotions. 

Vegan Option: Vegetable cetyl alcohol (e.g. coconut), synthetic spermaceti.


Comes from: Crustacean shells (e.g. crabs and lobsters) and beetles.

Found in: Hair shampoo and conditioners, moisturisers, deodorants, wound healing products and tanning products. 

Derivatives: Chitin, Chitin-glucan.

Vegan Option: Raspberries, yams, legumes, dried apricots, many other fruits and vegetables, fungi, algae and yeasts. 


Comes from: A steroid alcohol in all animal fats and oils, nervous tissue, egg yolk, and blood. Can be derived from Lanolin (see Lanolin).

Found in: Moisturisers, eye creams, hair shampoos.

Vegan Option: Alcohols from plant sources.


Comes from: Oily secretion from a gland very near the genital organs of civet cats.

Found in: Perfumes as a fixative.

Derivatives: Zibeth, Zibet, Zibetum.

Vegan Option: Labdanum oil and extracts from other plants with a musky scent.


Comes from: Protein substance in connective tissue, usually derived from animal tissue (e.g. ground up chicken feet and animal skin).

Found in: Lipstick, mascara, moisturisers.

Vegan Option: Soy protein, almond oil, amla oil.


Comes from: The first milk secreted by cows at the end of pregnancy. High in protein and meant for the newborn calf!

Found in: Cleansers, toners and moisturisers. 

Conchiorin Powder

Comes from: Protein found in the pearl oyster. 

Found in: Cleansers and toners. 

Cysteine, L Form / Cystine

Comes from: An amino acid from hair that can come from animals e.g horses.

Found in: Deodorants, hair shampoo and conditioners, moisturisers. 

Vegan Option: Plant sources.

Cytochrome C

Comes from: A protein found in animal cells. 

Found in: Cleansers and toners.

Eggs /  Egg Powder

Comes from: Chicken eggs for protein.

Found in: Hair shampoo and conditioners, moisturisers and face masks, bath products.

Vegan Option: Plant proteins.


Comes from: Protein found in the connective tissue of oxen neck ligaments and other animal products including pig and cow ligaments and fish.

Found in: Moisturisers, deodorants, hair shampoo and conditioners.  

Vegan Option: Synthetics, protein from plant tissues.

Estrogen / Estradiol

Comes from: Female hormones from pregnant mares’ urine.

Found in: Moisturisers, deodorants, perfumes, birth control pills and menopausal drugs.


Vegan Option: Vegetable-source emollients. Oral contraceptives and menopausal drugs based on synthetic steroids or plants based ingredients.

Fatty acids

Comes from: One or a mixture of fatty acids which can come from or include animal derived elements. Mixed with glycerin to form fat.

Derivatives: See Caprylic, Myristic, Oleic, Palmitic & Stearic acids.

Found in: Lipsticks, mascaras, hair styling products, shaving products, bubble baths, soap and detergents.

Vegan option: Vegetable-derived acids, soy lecithin, safflower oil, bitter almond oil, sunflower oil, etc.

Fish Oil / Marine Oil

Comes from: Fatty oil derived from fish or marine animals. 

Found in: Soaps.

Vegan option: Vegetable oils.


Comes from: Protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows and pigs in water.

Found in: Moisturisers, face masks, deodorants, perfumes, hair shampoos and conditioners, suncreams, nail strengtheners.

Derivatives: Gel, Monium Chloride.

Vegan Option: Plant based, silica gel.


Comes from: A byproduct of soap manufacture which normally uses animal fat.

Found in: Cream blushers, foundation, moisturisers, cleansers and toners, face masks, hand creams, hair shampoo and conditioners, hairspray and hair styling products, bath soaps and bath products, shaving creams, toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Derivatives: Glycol, Glycerol, Glycerides, Glyceryls, Glycreth-26, Polyglycerol.

Vegan Option: Vegetable glycerin (a byproduct of vegetable oil soap), derivatives of seaweed, petroleum.


Comes from: Scales of certain fish by scraping. More commonly synthetic.

Found in:  Shimmery products e.g. lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow, foundation, nail varnishes, hair shampoos. 

Derivatives: Pearl Essence.

Vegan Option: Synthetic pearl, leguminous plants or aluminum / bronze particles.

Hyaluronic Acid

Comes from: When animal-derived, a protein found in connective tissue of umbilical cords and the fluids around the joints in animals and rooster combs. Can be synthetic. 

Found in: 'Plumping' lipsticks, mascaras, moisturisers and anti-aging products. 

Derivatives: Hyaluronan, HA.

Vegan Option: Synthetic hyaluronic acid, plant oils.


Comes from: Protein from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals.

Found in: Hair rinses, shampoos, conditioners, permanent wave solutions and nail products.

Vegan Option: Almond oil, soy protein, amla oil. Rosemary and nettle give body and strand strength to hair.

Lactic Acid

Comes from:  When animal-derived, found in blood and muscle tissue. More commonly from plants. 

Found in: Cleansers and toners.

Vegan Option: Plants such as beets, plant milk sugars, synthetics.


Comes from: Milk sugar from milk of mammals.

Found in: Eye lotions, moisturisers.

Vegan Option: Plant milk sugars.

Lanolin / Lanolin Oil

Comes from: Oil glands of sheep, extracted from their wool.

Found in: Lipsticks, mascaras, eyeshadows and eye liners, foundation and cake sticks, face powders, blushers, cleansers and toners, moisturisers, eye creams, suntan products, hair shampoo and conditioners, hair styling products, bath soaps and products, baby oils, shaving creams and products, nail varnish removers. 

Derivatives: Aliphatic Alcohols, Amerchol L101, Cholesterin, Isopropyl Lanolate, Laneth, Lanogene, Lanolin Acids, Lanolin Alcohols, Lanosterols, Sterols, Triterpene Alcohols, Wool Fat, Wool Wax.

Vegan Option: Plant and vegetable oils.


Comes from: Fat from hog abdomens.

Found in: Shaving creams, soaps.

Vegan Option: Pure vegetable fats or oils.


Comes from: A waxy substance, when animal derived it is from nerve tissue, blood or milk. More frequently obtained for commercial purposes from eggs and soybeans or prepared synthetically.

Found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, mascara, foundation, moisturisers, eye creams, hand creams, lotions, soaps, hair shampoo and conditioners.

Derivatives: Choline Bitartrate

Vegan Option: Soybean lecithin, synthetics.

Musk oil

Comes from: Oily secretion most commonly obtained from the glands of the musk deer, but can also come from beavers, muskrats, civet cats, and otters. Can be synthetic.

Found in: In perfumes as a fixative, moisturisers, deodorants, hair conditioners.

Derivatives: Ambrettolide, Civetone, Muscone, Exaltolide.

Vegan Option: Labdanum oil and extracts from other plants with a musky scent, synthetic. 

Myristic Acid

Comes from: Organic acid typically derived from nut oils but occasionally of animal origin.

Found in: Hair shampoos and conditioners, moisturisers, bath soaps and products, shaving creams.

Derivatives: Isopropyl Myristate, Myristal Ether Sulfate, Myristyls, Oleyl Myristate.

Vegan Option: Nut butters, oil of lovage, coconut oil, extract from seed kernels of nutmeg, etc.

Neatsfoot Oil

Comes from:  Fatty oil made by boiling the feet and shinbones of cattle.

Found in:  Face makeup e.g concealers and foundations, moisturisers, creams and lotions.

Derivatives: Bubulum.

Oleic Acid

Comes from: Obtained from various animal and vegetable fats and oils.

Found in: Lipsticks, lip glosses, mascaras, foundation, moisturisers, hair shampoos and hair wave products, soaps, hand wash, nail varnishes, shaving creams and lotions.

Derivatives: Oleyl Oleate, Oleyl Stearate.

Vegan Option: Vegetable oil, coconut oil.

Omental Lipids

Comes from: Fats obtained from the fold of tissue that connects a cow's stomach to the intestine. 

Found in: Cleansers and toners.

Palmitic Acid

Comes from:  Can be animal or plant derived, but often consists of a mixture of acids obtained from fats with varying amounts of Stearic Acid (See Stearic Acid). 

Found in: Hair shampoos, shaving creams and soaps.

Vegan Option: Plant based.


Comes from: Can be animal derived, but also plant based or synthetic. 

Found in: Hair shampoos and supplements.

Derivatives: Panthenyl, Dexpanthenol, Vitamin B-Complex Factor, Provitamin B-5.

Vegan Option: Plant based, synthetic.


Comes from: Can be bovine (from cattle).

Found in: Moisturisers and lotions, face masks, anti aging products, hair shampoos.

Derivatives: Placenta Polypeptides Protein, Afterbirth.

Vegan Option: Kelp.


Comes from:  Contains fatty acids. (See Fatty Acids). 


Comes from: The liver oil of sharks and whale ambergris. 

Found in: Used as a lubricant in creams, lotions, moisturisers e.g hand, eye, face, body. 

Vegan Option: Plant based, synthetic.


Comes from: Tree sap gathered by bees and used as a resin / sealant in beehives. 

Found in: Deodorants, hair shampoo, toothpastes, supplements.

Vegan Option: Tree sap, synthetics. 


Comes from: RNA is in all living cells.

Found in: Protein hair shampoos, cleansers and toners.  

Derivatives: Ribonucleic Acid

Vegan Option: Plant cells.

Royal Jelly

Comes from: Throat glands of worker honeybees. A nutritious secretion which is fed to the larvae in a colony.

Found in: Anti aging, anti wrinkle creams, lotions and products. 

Vegan Option: Aloe vera, comfrey, other plant derivatives.

Serum Albumen

Comes from:  Cows - it is the major protein component of their blood plasma.

Found in: Moisturisers.

Derivatives: Serum Proteins


Comes from: Resinous excretion of female lac bug, harvested in tens of thousands. 

Found in: Hair lacquer and other styling products, nail varnishes. Also used as a glaze on some jewellery and accessories.

Derivatives: Resinous Glaze, Shellac wax (bleached and refined Shellac).

Vegan Option: Plant waxes, Zein (from corn).

Silk Powder

Comes from: Silk is the shiny fiber made by silkworms to form their cocoons. Worms are boiled in their cocoons to get the silk.

Found in: Colouring agent in face powders, blushers, lipsticks, mascara, foundation, soaps,  hair powders.


Comes from: Waxy oil originally derived from the sperm whale’s head or from dolphins but now most often derived from petroleum.

Found in: Skin creams and moisturisers, cleansing creams, ointments, hair shampoos, candles.

Derivatives: Cetyl Palmitate, Sperm Oil.

Vegan Option: Synthetic spermaceti, jojoba oil, and other vegetable emollients.

Sponge (Luna and Sea)

Comes from: Dried skeleton of the freshwater sponge. A plantlike animal that lives in the sea and is becoming scarce.

Vegan Option: Synthetic sponges, loofahs.


Comes from: Shark liver oils. 

Found in: Moisturisers, creams and lotions, hair dyes, perfumes as a fixative. 

Derivatives: Shark Liver Oil, Squali Lecur.

Vegan Option: Vegetable oils (olive oil, wheat germ oil, rice bran oil etc). 

Stearic Acid / Stearate

Comes from: When animal-derived, a fat from cows and pigs, a fatty acid. Can also come from Tallow (see Tallow) and may also be of plant origin.

Found in: Foundations, moisturisers, deodorants, hand creams and lotions, hairsprays, hair shampoo and conditioners, soaps, shaving creams and candles.

Derivatives: Stearamide, Stearamine, Stearates, Stearic Hydrazide, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearoyl Lactylic Acid, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazoline.

Vegan Option: Vegetable fats e.g. coconut, shea butter.

Stearyl Alcohol

Comes from: A mixture of solid alcohols which can be prepared from sperm whale oil.

Found in: Moisturising creams, hair shampoos and rinses.

Derivatives: Stenol, Stearamine Oxide, Stearyl Acetate, Stearyl Caprylate, Stearyl Citrate, Stearyldimethyl Amine, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Stearyl Heptanoate, Stearyl Octanoate, Stearyl Stearate.

Vegan Option: Plant sources, vegetable stearic acid.


Comes from: Alcohols from animals or plants (e.g cholesterol).

Found in: Moisturising creams, lotions, hand creams, hair conditioners, baby products, fragrances. 

Derivatives: Steroids.

Vegan Option: Plant tissues, synthetics. 


Comes from: Fat from fatty tissue of cows and sheep.

Found in: Lipsticks, mascaras, foundations, cleansers and toners, moisturisers, hair shampoo and conditioners, nail varnishes and nail products, shaving creams, soaps, candles.

Derivatives: Tallow Alcohol, Sodium Tallowate, Tallow Acid, Tallow Amide, Tallow Amine, Talloweth-6, Tallow Glycerides, Tallow Imidazoline.

Vegan Option: Vegetable tallow, Japan tallow, paraffin, ceresin.


Comes from: Usually synthetic but when extracted from animals, it is excreted from urine and other bodily fluids.  

Found in: Deodorants, hair shampoo and conditioners, hair colors, hand creams and lotions, shaving creams, mouthwashes and toothpastes.

Derivatives: Uric Acid, Carbamide, Imidazolidinyl Urea.

Vegan Option: Synthetics.

Vitamin A

Comes from: Can come from fish liver oil (e.g. shark liver oil), egg yolk or butter but may also be plant based or synthetic. 

Found in: Moisturising creams, perfumes, hair dyes, vitamins and supplements.

Derivatives: Retinol, Carotene, Beta-Carotene,

Vegan Option: Lemongrass, wheat germ  oil, carotene in carrots, synthetics.

Vitamin D

Comes from: Vitamin D can come from fish liver oil, milk, egg yolks, and other animal fats but can also come from plant sources. Vitamin D3 may be from an animal source.

Found in: All the D vitamins can be in creams, lotions, other cosmetics, vitamin tablets, etc.

Derivatives:  Ergocalciferol, Vitamin D2, Ergosterol, Provitamin D2, Calciferol, Vitamin D3.

Vegan Option: Vitamin D2 is typically vegan. Plant and mineral sources, synthetics, completely vegetarian vitamins, exposure of skin to sunshine.