There can often be strange-sounding ingredients in cosmetic products that derive from animals to serve some form or functional purpose. From complex chemical structures to Latin scientific names for common ingredients, cosmetics labeling is nothing if not ambiguous. Because you don’t have to be a chemist to be curious about the ingredients that are written in the back of cosmetic packages, you certainly do need to have an idea of the components that you should avoid. 

Tallow 

Animal tallow is fat that is commonly derived from beef or mutton. It consists primarily of fattyacid glycerides used in the formulation of many products including eye makeup, lipsticks, fabric softeners, lip balms, shampoos, shaving soaps foundations, moisturizers and skin care products.  

Tallow contains fatty acids that can be also found in plant oils. 

Rendered beef fat may cause eczema and skin irritation. 

Fatty acids composition Tallow 
SATURATED FAT  
Palmitic acid 26% 
Stearic acid 14% 
Myristic acid 3% 
MONOINSATURATED FAT  
Oleic acid 47% 
Palmitic acid 3% 
POLYINSATURATED FAT  
Linoleic acid 3% 
Linolenic acid 1% 

Gelatin 

Gelatin is a translucent ingredient derived from collagen found in the skin, white connective tissue and bones of animals and it is used as gelling agent in cosmetics. 

Collagen 

Collagen is a fibrillar white protein found in connective tissues in animal bodies. It has viscoelastic properties characterized by a great tension strength and low extensibility. 

 GELATIN COLLAGEN 
Glycine 20% 33% 
Proline & Hydroxyproline 25% 22% 
Alanine 8% 11% 
Glutamic acid 11% 7% 
Arginine 8% 5% 
Other essential amino acids 16% 14% 
Other non-essential amino acids 12% 16% 

Estrogen  

Estrogens are a group of naturally occurring hormones present in both male testes and female ovaries. Cosmetics and personal care products include chemicals interacting directly or through receptors with estrogen. These chemicals are mainly known as parabens, triclosan, cyclosiloxanes, and phthalates which are absorbed by skin. 

Retinol and retinyl palmitate 

Retinol is a form of vitamin A which can be obtained from isopropène. It is a diterpenoid and an alcohol. High dose of retinol and retinyl palmitate is toxic and can cause side effects by excessive use on the skin such as redness and irritation. In cosmetics retinol can be derived from animal and is used industrially, all of which start with β-ionone. 

List of Non-vegan common animal ingredients used in cosmetics :

-tallow  

-Gelatin  

-Collagen  

-estrogen 

-Retinol and retinyl palmitate 

-triclosan 

cyclosiloxane 

-parabens 

phtalates 

β-ionone