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Vegan cosmetics gain popularity based on respect for animals and the environment

Despite representing a growing market niche, both products and formulations still lack regulation worldwide.

Vegan cosmetics have been winning over consumers who are committed to the cruelty-free cause and concerned about the environment, as they contain no ingredients derived from animal sources and are not tested on animals.

Although this industry is still relatively small, it is a growing niche,” says Amarjit Sahota, president of London-based sustainable research institute Organic Monitor. French cosmetics giant L’Oréal exemplifies this trend with products that claim to be 100% vegan in the EverStyle and EverCrème hair care lines. “Many natural and organic cosmetics brands have been registering with the Vegan Trademark – created by the British organization Vegan Society – as a way to showcase their products to customers who avoid animal ingredients for religious, ethical or health reasons.

L'Oréal's EverCrème nourishing shampoo and conditioner, which claim to be (...)

L’Oréal’s EverCrème nourishing shampoo and conditioner, which claim to be 100% vegan

Sahota says the Vegan Society is one of the few bodies to certify vegan products worldwide as this market still lacks regulation. For this reason, he does not rule out the possibility of customers finding fake vegan cosmetics on shelves. A reading of the labels and understanding of the terms is essential to confirm whether they are truly vegan.

The vegan classification should be unique and focus exclusively on the claim that the product does not use animal by-products at any stage of the production chain – and this goes right from the start of the development process until it reaches the market,” says Cândice Felippi, director of raw material manufacturer Inventiva.

The company is based in the city of Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, and specializes in the development of nanotechnology active ingredients. Inventiva chose not to work with raw materials of animal origin since its foundation, in 2008. “All tests we use to ensure product safety and efficiency are carried out in vitro or on human skin,” she says.

One of the key drivers of the company’s vegan ingredients is the LV line for skin and hair care. It includes Nutrinvent Balance (a mixture of pumpkin seed oil, melaleuca oil and rosemary oil), Nutrinvent Hair (hydrolysate ingredients made with soybean, wheat and oat proteins with lycopene), Nutrinvent Omega Oil (Omegas 3, 6 and 9 extracted from sacha inchi, pecan nut and linseed oils in microemulsion) and Nutrinvent Omega (Omegas 3, 6 and 9 extracted from sacha inchi, pecan nut and linseed oils in Inventsferas TM).

The nanoparticles of the LV line contain only organic or natural raw materials. The idea of having a green range is to mix organic, vegan and natural products.” Felippe believes the main challenges in producing green nanoparticles are choosing the right preservative and balancing costs. Green raw materials are often priced higher and this reflects in the cost of the nanoparticle. Furthermore, there are few green preservative options available in the market.

She says anyone looking for a cosmetic that associate the vegan component to a natural or organic claim should pay attention to both classifications on the packaging, as vegan products can still contain chemical preservatives, parabens and other ingredients regarded as allergens.

According to her, there are not many hurdles in developing vegan cosmetics from the manufacturing point of view, but the difference in price can be substantial. “As the price factor is a major influence for most companies, our researchers always aim to carry out in-depth studies to select raw materials with a good cost-benefit ratio, thus allowing us to use green ingredients in our formulations.

Amanda Veloso

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