Use of Animal Fats in Cosmetics Industries

Maneka Gandhi

Maneka GandhiA dressing table or bathroom contains perfumes, moisturizers, rouge, lipstick, antiaging 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,bodywash, 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 in  cosmetics
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 spermaceti.
Allantoin.:Uric acid from  mammals. In cosmetics (especially creams and lotions) Also known as: Alcloxa, Aldioxa. Alternatives: extract of comfrey root, synthetics.
Carbamide.:Excreted from urine. In deodorants, hair colorings, hand creams, lotions, shampoos, etc. Also known as: Imidazolidinyl Urea, Uric Acid. Alternatives: synthetics.

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 ,nailpolish and eye shadow. Alternatives: mica, rayon, synthetic pearl.

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, synthetics.

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

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