Are lipsticks really non-vegetarian?

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It's time to face the music, Lipsticks really are non-vegetarian. Here’s a list of all the scary stuff that is usually present in your favourite lipstick. 

Warning: this might read like a fine dining restaurant’s menu because of all the once-alive-but-now-dead things on it but, really, these are just some of the grossest things you’ll find hidden in the ingredient lists of your beauty products. 

  • Carmine 

Take your favourite pigmented red lipstick, nice right? But hold on, it probably has carmine in it. 

What is Carmine you ask? Carmine is a pigment that is obtained by crushing the female cochineal insects (beetles), to isolate carminic acid that's found in their shells (aka CI 75470, E120, carminic acid, cochineal or crimson lake). 

So, If you’re eating your favourite snack while reading this article, sorry, but it’s time to put it down because things just got ugly.

  • Squalane

Squalane… sounds like an innocent scientific word but actually, this chemical comes from the deadliest fish of the ocean (or the friendliest one if you go by the basis of Nemo.) It is extracted from the shark’s liver and is commonly used in lip balms and moisturizers for that extra glow we all seek so desperately in life. 

Repeating this again for the benefit of those skimming through this article and only reading the last line of each passage- SHARK. LIVER. OIL.

Good news though! Plant-derived squalane is now available in the market and we solemnly swear that that is the only kind of squalane we will put into our products! 

  • Cow brain and spinal tissue

    Yes, you read that right. Certain cosmetics contain ingredients derived from the brain tissue and spinal cords of cows. So, the next time you apply lipstick or use hairspray watch out for the Mad Cow disease.

    Oh also, did we mention? In India, there are legal exceptions that allow solids weighing less than 30g and liquids under 60 ml to be sold without providing an ingredient list. 

    This means that, all our handy little lipsticks, lip glosses (oh *dreamy sign* the magic of lip gloss <3), lip balms, eye pencils etc. etc. DO NOT NEED to declare their entire list of ingredients. 

    We know this was stressful but you needed to know. 

    Information = Power and the collective ‘We’ live in the age of free information. And right now you’ve received all the information you didn’t know you needed.

    So ask yourself this- Why are Indian Makeup brands still hesitant to make public the ingredients of their products? 

    Next time you’re shopping for cosmetics, a good rule of thumb is to look for brands that have included transparency into their DNAs to better the standard of cosmetics in the country.

    Look to Free and Equal Beauty, and you’re good to go.


    Written by: Shalini & Mehak

    1 comment

    Okay, some of these I knew. But some are really shocking. Glad your brand is working towards a sustainable future of the beauty industry!

    Avani Muley March 26, 2020

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