By Maneka Gandhi
A dressing table or bathroom contains perfumes, moisturizers,
rouge, lipstick, anti aging skin products, face powder, oils, nail polish,
sunscreen, hair conditioning, coloring products and deodorants. A miniscule
percentage read the ingredient list on any of these products, preferring to go
by the glamour of their advertisements.
Lets take some of the ingredients. The main ingredient in all
cosmetics is oil/grease. Unless it specifically says plant oils , where does it
come from ?
A rendering plant is a collection centre for all kinds of
dead animals. Carcasses of every decaying body come from everywhere, including
factory farms where disease has decimated herds of swine, cattle and poultry. At
the plant, the bodies are all dumped together into a huge cooking pot. After a
period of cooking, the bodies are subjected to extreme pressure in order to
extract the fat from bones, skins, etc. Old cooking grease thrown out by
restaurants is added in the pot. Fat is the final product of the plant.
A majority of this fat is sold for cosmetics, especially to
manufacturers of lipstick and eye makeup. Some of the most prestigious cosmetic
companies in the country are the chief customers of rendering plants. Anyone
looking at the elegant ads portraying glamorous models wearing beautiful makeup
would never suspect that it is truly a makeup of the refined, colored and
perfumed oil derived from dead dogs, cows or pigs. How much of this abominable
blend is ingested into the body from the lips and the pores of the skin?
Keratin is a protein taken from the horns , hooves, feathers,
quills and hair of animals, the scales and claws of reptiles, the shells of
tortoise, turtle, terrapin, and the feathers, beaks and claws of birds, the armour
of crabs, the plates of baleen whales. It is used in shampoo, conditioner, body
wash, body lotion, toner, facial moisturizer, makeup foundation, mascara,
lipstick, color cosmetics in hair rinse, and permanent wave solutions (perms).
Then there is Gelatin or Gel used in shampoos, face masks,
and other cosmetics. This is made by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones
with water. Alternatives: carrageen , seaweeds , agar-agar, pectin from fruits,
dextrins, locust bean gum, cotton gum, silica gel.
The perfumers use Ambergris from whale intestines. Castoreum
from muskrat and beaver genitals and civet paste which is an oily secretion
painfully scraped from a gland very near the genital organs of civet cats.
Then come the fatty acids;
Stearic Acid: Fat from cows, sheep, dogs and cats,the
stomachs of pigs. Used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, hairsprays,
conditioners, deodorants, creams, Also known as: Stearic Hydrazide, Stearamide,
Stearamine,Stearates, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazoline, Stearoyl Lactylic
Acid, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane. Alternative vegetable fats, coconut
Hyaluronic Acid.: A protein found in umbilical cords and the fluids
around the joints. Used as a cosmetic oil. Alternative: Plant oils
Arachidonic Acid: A liquid unsaturated fatty acid taken from the liver of
animals . Used in skin creams and lotions to soothe rashes. Alternatives:
synthetics, aloe vera, tea tree oil, calendula ointment.
Linoleic Acid, Nucleic Acid : Used in cosmetics, shampoos,
conditioners, etc. .
Oleic Acid :Usually obtained commercially from inedible tallow. In
soft soap, bar soap, permanent wave solutions, creams, nail polish, lipsticks,
many other skin preparations.Also known as: Oleyl Oleate, Oleyl Stearate.
Alternatives: coconut oil.
Palmitic Acid :From fats, oils . Mixed with stearic acid. Found in
shampoos, shaving soaps, creams. Also known as: Palmitate, Palmitamine,
Palmitamide. Alternatives: palm oil, vegetable sources.
Myristic Acid: In most animal fats. Used in shampoos, creams, cosmetics.
Also known as : Isopropyl Myristate, Myristyls, Oleyl Myristate, Myristal Ether
Sulfate. Alternatives: nut butters, oil of lavage, coconut oil, extract from
seed kernels of nutmeg, etc.
Glycerin, Glycerol: A byproduct of soap manufacture (normally uses animal
fat). Alternatives: Vegetable glycerin – a byproduct of vegetable oil
soap.seaweed,. Unless it specifically states vegetable glycerin it is usually
the one derived from animal fat Mink oil :is made by killing minks
and taking the fat layer they have just under their skins. Some cosmetics
companies take amounts of mink oil from live minks. by inserting a needle into
the abdomen and extracting the fat. Used in moisturizers , anti aging creams and
softening leather. Alternatives nut or seabuckthorn oil
Tortoise oil and turtle oil: extracted from internal organ fat of sea
turtles. In soap, skin creams, nail creams, sun protection creams,
Alternatives: vegetable emollients
Cochineal : Red pigment from crushed female cochineal insect. 70,000
beetles re crushed to make one pound of red dye. Used in ALL red/pink colouring
Spermaceti: Waxy oil derived from the sperm whale’s head or from
dolphins. Used in skin creams and shampoos . When wax is used it is called Cetyl
Alcohol. Alternatives: vegetable cetyl alcohol (e.g., coconut), synthetic
Allantoin.: Uric acid from mammals. In cosmetics (especially creams and
lotions) Also known as: Alcloxa, Aldioxa. Alternatives: extract of comfrey root,
Carbamide.: Excreted from urine. In deodorants, hair colorings, hand
creams, lotions, shampoos, etc. Also known as: Imidazolidinyl Urea, Uric Acid.
Cholesterol.: A steroid alcohol in all animal fats and oils, nervous
tissue, egg yolk, and blood. Can be derived from lanolin. In cosmetics, eye
creams, shampoos, etc. Steroids or sterols from animal glands . Steroids
include sterols which are alcohol from animals or plants. Used in creams,
lotions, hair conditioners, fragrances. Alternatives: plant tissues, synthetics.
sterols from plant sources.
Collagen: Fibrous protein derived from animal tissue. Used in anti
ageing creams. Alternatives: soy protein, almond oil, amla oil .
Elastin.: Protein found in the neck ligaments and aortas of cows.
Similar to collagen. Alternatives: synthetics, protein from plant tissues.
Guanine. Pearl Essence: Fish scales. Used in shimmery makeup like
lipstick ,nail polish and eye shadow. Alternatives: mica, rayon, synthetic
Placenta. Afterbirth: Contains waste matter eliminated by the fetus.
Derived from the uterus of slaughtered animals. Animal placenta is widely used
in skin creams, shampoos, masks, etc. Alternatives: kelp
Shark Liver Oil.or Squalene :Used in lubricating creams and lotions.
Alternatives: vegetable oils.
Tallow, Tallow Fatty Alcohol : Rendered beef fat. Tallow Acid, Tallow
Amide, Tallow Amine, Tallow Glycerides, Tallow Imidazoline, Talloweth-6, Sodium
Tallowate. In soaps, lipsticks, shaving creams, other cosmetics. Alternatives:
vegetable tallow, paraffin and/or ceresin.
Quaternium 27: From tallow. Found in deodorants, skin care preparations.
Vitamin A.: Can come from fish liver oil. Used in creams, perfumes,
hair dyes, etc. Alternatives: vegetables, synthetics.
Biotin: Vitamin H. Vitamin B Factor. In every living cell and in larger
amounts in milk and
yeast. Used in cosmetics, shampoos, and creams. Alternatives: plant sources.
Panthenol: Dexpanthenol. Vitamin B-Complex Factor. Provitamin B-5.
Can come from animal or plant sources or synthetics. In shampoos, supplements,
emollients, etc. Derivative: Panthenyl.
Vitamin D. Ergocalciferol. Vitamin D-2. Ergosterol. Provitamin D-2.
Calciferol. Vitamin D-3 :Vitamin D can come from fish liver oil, milk, egg
yolk, etc. Vitamin D-2 can come from animal fats or plant sterols. Vitamins D-2
and D-3 may be from fish oil. All the D vitamins can be in creams, lotions,
other cosmetics, vitamin tablets, etc. Alternatives: plant and mineral sources,
Wax.: From animals and plants. In lipsticks, depilatories, hair
straighteners. Alternatives: vegetable waxes.
Lard: Fat from hog abdomens. In shaving creams, soaps, cosmetics.
Alternatives: pure vegetable fats or oils.
Polypeptides: Obtained from slaughterhouse wastes. Alternatives: plant
proteins and enzymes.
This is a very small list but enough to let you make an informed choice.
"Natural Sources." can mean animal or vegetable sources. Most often in the
health food industry, especially in the cosmetics area, it means animal sources.
Such is the hypocrisy of the companies that use these products that they boast
"NO ANIMAL TESTING" on their products
(Original article can be found at