by Tracy Rohland

As a conscious consumer, you may be interested in buying products that are free from animal by-products and not tested on animals. At Down to Earth, all of our health and beauty products are vegetarian and cruelty-free. But if you happen to be shopping elsewhere, it is important to be mindful of the ingredients in the health and beauty products you buy. Keep the following tips in mind:


  1. Look for words like “cruelty-free,” “not tested on animals,” “no animal testing,” and “vegan” or “vegetarian.”
  2. Look for the “leaping bunny” logo. This logo is recognized world wide as signifying that a product is not tested on animals during any stage of product development. The company's ingredient suppliers also make the same pledge.
  3. If you don’t see any of these things on the label, it is important to read the ingredients. Be aware of “hidden” animal ingredients such as those listed below.

The following list is a condensed version of the list found at http://www.happycow.net/health-animal-ingredients.html


Carmine, Cochineal, or Carminic Acid


  • Red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect
  • Reportedly 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye
  • Used in cosmetics, shampoos, red apple sauce, and other foods (including red lollipops and food coloring)
  • May cause allergic reactions

Chitosan


  • A fiber derived from crustacean shells
  • Used as a lipid binder in diet products; in hair, oral and skin care products, antiperspirants, and deodorants

Elastin


  • Protein found in the neck ligaments and aortas of cows
  • Similar to collagen

Gelatin or Gel


  • Protein obtained by boiling water with skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows or pigs
  • Used in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics
  • Used as a thickener for fruit gelatins and puddings (e.g., "Jello")

Keratin


  • Protein from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals.
  • In hair rinses, shampoos, permanent wave solutions

Shellac or Resinous Glaze


  • Resinous excretion of certain insects
  • Used as a candy glaze, in hair lacquer, and on jewelry
  • Alternatives = plant waxes

Tallow, Tallow Fatty Alcohol, or Stearic Acid


  • Rendered beef fat
  • May cause eczema and blackheads
  • Found in wax paper, crayons, margarines, paints, rubber, lubricants, candles, soaps, lipsticks, shaving creams, and other cosmetics

Urea or Carbamide


  • Excreted from urine and other bodily fluids
  • In deodorants, ammoniated dentifrices, mouthwashes, hair colorings, hand creams, lotions, shampoos, etc.
  • Used to "brown" baked goods, such as pretzels
Footnotes: 

Remember, it’s always safe to shop at Down to Earth where we make it easy for you to buy vegetarian and cruelty-free.