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The title of this post is pretty gruesome- animal fat and tissue and blood and bones and hoofs and horns and feathers and organs all being an ingredient in your skincare, make up, shampoos and body care products. Your conditioner has cow hoof in it and your eye shadow has animal tissues & fat.

People are become aware of the cruelty involved with slaughterhouses. Meatfree is a common word, think of all the meat free Monday type campaigns. Avoiding meat is no longer unusual. The reality of eating meat- the routine slaughter of animals raised by the meat industry, the pollution to the environment, the unsuitability  the plight & stress of the abboitor workers. No one thinks about the parts of the animal that are left over, useless for human consumption. The skeleton and the hooves or the feathers and the organs. What happens to all that…stuff?

Left over pieces of wastage- the skeletons, the pieces of sinew and the layers of fat are all transported to the rendering plants. Also shipped off to these plants are restaurant grease, butchers scraps, expired meats from supermarkets and the carcasses of euthanized and dead animals from animal shelters, farms and veterinarians. The rendering process combines all of these and seperates the fats from the bone and the protein.

What is left is edible ingredients such as lard, tallow, gelatine. There is also the inedible materials such as meat and bone meal. The offal and fatty tissues are stewed and become part of your pet food. The tallow becomes an ingredient in steel, candles, fuel and soaps. The keretain protein, derived from hooves, hair or horns, become an ingredient in shampoos, moitsurisers, masques and conditioners.  Animal fats and tallow become ingredients like glycerine, stearic acids, lauric acids, hyaluaronic acids, Isopropyl Myristate and elastin. Have a look at the ingredients list on your lipstick, moisturisers and shampoo- they will all be there.

Why use these gruesome ingredients in cosmetics? No one wants animal tissue in their serums! Why not find a less cruel source such as chemicals or plants? One word: economics. The meat industry is a multi-billion dollar world-wise business with a high demand and high volume. And lots of dead animals with lots of wastage. Of course some of these are unavoidable. We drive cars, we use glue and ink and build things with steel and plastic We need to feed our pets and some of us like eating candy. But do we need to have it in our cosmetics?

Keratin is a protein taken from the horns , hooves, feathers and hair of animals, the scales and claws of reptiles, the shells of tortoise, and the feathers, beaks and claws of birds. Keratin is a naturally produced protein that is created by our skin, hair and nails that keep them strong. When added to shampoos, nail polish and face creams, it helps protect your hair, nails and skin.

Gelatin is a binding agent used in shampoos, moisturisers, hair style products and creamy or liquid make up formulations. Gelatin is made by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones with water. Alternatives include carrageen , seaweeds , pectin from fruits, silica gel.

Hyaluronic Acid is a natural protein found in the fluids around joints and umbilical cords. It is used as a cosmetic oil and it mimics the bodies natural ability to keep moisturised and is used as an anti-aging ingredient. Umbilical cords and no wrinkles.

Stearic Acid is the fat from cows, sheep, dogs and cats and the stomach linings of pigs. It is used as an emollient in moisturisers, conditioners, creams and cleansers as it allows the product to bind materials together such as oil and water so it stays creamy. Cruelty-free alternatives are soy and coconut oil.

Elastin is commonly derived from the neck ligaments and aorta’s of cows. It occurs naturally in the body and functions similarly to collegian to keep the skin plump and youthful. It is commonly used in anti-aging products such as creams, serums, lotions, moisturisers and makeup such as foundation or primer that may have anti-aging properties. Alternatives can be found from plant oils and it can also be synthetically manufactured.

Isopropyl Myristate can also be called Myristyls, Oleyl Myristate, Myristal Ether Sulfate and Myristic Acid. It is used as a binder, a skin & hair conditioning agent, an opacifying agent and a slip modifier. It is found in foundations, primers, eyeshadow, shampoos, hair styling products, serums and moisturisers. Cruelty-free alternatives include nutmeg and coconut oil.

Glycerine or Glycerin is derived from animal fats such as tallow and is used as a humectant in cosmetics as a conditioning and protectant agent. It is present in shampoos, moisturisers, body wash and lotion, foundation, eyeshadows, cream blush and lipsticks. Glycerin can be synthetically made and can also be derived from plants and vegetables. Sources of glycerine can be labelled on packaging but there are no laws requiring it so you may need to contact the brand to find out.

Cosmetics can be labelled cruelty-free and accredited with organisations such as PETA but still use animal derivatives in their ingredients. They can be both cruelty-free and also support an industry that handles the waste and recycling from slaughterhouses ie. Dead animal parts. Is that really cruelty-free?

I hope you find this post useful. PETA has a great list that outlines other common animal derivatives in food and cosmetics. Using animal derivatives to live our lives is not going to change any time soon, but why use them on your face and body when there are plenty of alternatives that aren’t a result of an innocent animals suffering and ultimate death?