A number of different animal ingredients could be used in your makeup. Vegetarians should watch out for stearic acid and glycerin, both of which could come from animal or vegetable sources, sorbitan or octyl stearate, cochineal/carmine (found in lipsticks and made from crushed beetles), and silk - found in some eyeshadows. Vegans should also look out for beeswax, honey and lanolin.
Unfortunately, most products don’t include ingredients listings.
Harmful cultural practice?
Susan Jeffries in her book “Beauty and Misogyny” suggests that the wearing of makeup not only consumes women’s time and money but also their emotional space.(1) Though makeup’s supporters argue that it offers an opportunity for women to exercise creativity, this is rather limited, she argues, because “women are required to conform to strict rules in order to function in workplaces and escape criticism and discrimination.”(1) She concludes that makeup fits the criterion of a harmful cultural practice as defined by the UN, because “the substances that women apply to their hair, face and body in pursuit of beauty are directly dangerous to our health”.(1)
In liberated 2012, women can do whatever they like. It’s all about choice – including the choice of whether to wear make-up or not. However, given the pressure of marketing and society’s expectations of women to look ‘good’, it’s interesting to examine women’s relationship with make-up. Does make-up feel like a necessity or a fun optional extra? We asked three young women about their relationship with make-up.