Veganuary – How you can incorporate Veganuary into your skincare regime too!

Vegan Skincare Products

Where it all began…

Absolute Aromas was born nearly 30 years ago (it’s almost our anniversary!) and since then, our beliefs and mission statement have not changed one bit.  Our commitment to produce plant-based, clean and earth-friendly products has been kept for all this time, although the growing techniques, production methods and the business has grown and changed so much over the years.

These days the breadth of ingredients available to skincare manufacturers and aromatherapy companies is mind boggling – from animal ingredients, natural plant-based materials and synthetically produced components; the list can seem endless.

In 1994, Absolute Aromas began in a small flat in London, with a few Essential Oils which were hand bottled by husband-and-wife team David and Kay, and their family.  As the business began to grow, David and Kay’s top 36 Essential Oils began to make their way into shops in the UK and then across the globe to therapists, spas and more.  But what exactly are Essential Oils?

Put simply, they are plant extracts in their purest form, collected by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant, from the delicate petals to the bark, leaves and sometimes fruit.  As these oils are very concentrated and pure, it can take many kilos of a raw plant to produce a single bottle of Essential Oil.  As an example, we source our Rose Essential Oil from Bulgaria and for 1ml of the pure oil, it would have taken around 1200 roses to produce, which is why it’s one of the most expensive oils and is often found diluted with an unscented carrier oil to make it more accessible and pocket-friendly.

In the skincare industry, Essential and carrier oils are often used to fragrance and enhance products, and the dilution of Essential Oils is commonplace in some cheaper brands.  Additives such as preservatives, thickeners and emulsifiers are often included in some products, but we strive to avoid these additives, opting to stay pure where possible so the fragrance of the oil is as close to nature as possible and is always completely plant-based.

What are the main animal-derived ingredients we should look to avoid if we are contemplating a total Veganuary?

Many animal ingredients are commonplace in the skincare industry, unless the packaging states otherwise.  Recently, Retinol has seen a huge boom in popularity due to claims that it improves skin texture and elasticity, reduces inflammation and reduces clogged pores.  But Retinol is actually almost always derived from meat, fish, eggs or milk (although it can be sourced from fruit and vegetable matter too).  A key ingredient also prevalent in many modern skincare and beauty products is Collagen, which helps provide structure and support to skin – but it is sourced from animal and fish skin tissue and should therefore be steered away from if you’re looking to avoid such ingredients in your skincare.  Other animal-based elements that are frequently included in ingredient lists are Guanine which is a shimmery pigment found in nail varnishes and make up which comes from fish scales, Tallow which is rendered animal fat used in creams as a thickener and of course, the well-known Gelatine which we use in food production, but is commonly also found in cosmetics and skin treatments as a setting agent.

Cruelty-free alternatives; sorting the jargon from the facts

A great alternative to some animal waxes like beeswax and lanolin often found in lip salves and body products is Candelilla wax – this gentle wax is derived from a plant found in South America so is a great alternative to animal wax and can be used in many cosmetics.  Unprocessed Coconut oil at room temperature is solid, so is a great thickener or solidifier in skin products and is greatly moisturising. Plant-derived oils which have been produced sustainably are far better for the planet than animal oils.  However, it’s important to be aware that products like Lanolin and Beeswax are also often classed as a ‘cruelty-free’ ingredient, even though they come from animal sources:  Lanolin is extracted from sheep’s wool after shearing and is found in balms and salves, and beeswax is from honeycombs and neither cause harm or detriment to the animal if extracted carefully, so it’s worth baring this in mind when analysing those ingredients on labels as it can all get confusing!

Why Veganuary and beyond is great for the planet as well as your body…

It is widely accepted that by choosing vegan products you can have a huge impact on your personal carbon footprint as a vegan lifestyle can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  For a product to be classified as vegan, we also refer to the processing and testing of it and surprisingly, animal testing of cosmetic and body products is sadly still commonplace in some countries.  At Absolute Aromas the quality of our products is key for us, which is why we have our own laboratory, chemist and testers to ensure every product we source and create is the amazing quality you expect, without having to test on animals at any point.

The main positives to choosing plant-based products

  • Plant-powered ingredients are often rich in natural antioxidants.
  • Some Essential Oils have fantastic antibacterial properties.
  • Many plant oils such has Rosehip Oil and Argan Oil boast fatty acid richness which improve skin texture and radiance.
  • Many plant oils are hugely multi-use.  Tea Tree Essential Oil for example is naturally antibacterial, can soothe skin irritation, stings and bites so you don’t need to have multiple products.
  • Plant based skincare can be a very sustainable form of farming.  Water usage and carbon emissions are considerably lower than producing animal-based products.
  • You can feel guilt-free as your skincare hasn’t harmed animals.

If you are participating in Veganuary or a vegan diet, it’s good to know that your skincare regime can be included in this.  Don’t forget to keep an eye on our social media pages this month too for plenty of tips using our favourite vegan Absolute Aromas products to help with your Winter skincare.