The Body Shop has officially become what’s thought to be the first global beauty brand to be completely vegan, with all products certified by the Vegan Society.
The beauty retailers has long advocated against animal testing for cosmetics, and already had many vegan products available. In 2021, when 60 percent of its range was vegan, it set the target to become 100 percent vegan by 2023.
While there are already many vegan beauty brands, The Body Shop is thought to be the first major international cosmetics company to transition to making only vegan products. The Body Shop is one of the world’s most well-known beauty brands, with around 3,000 stores in more than 65 countries.
“We did it!” Ian Bickley, CEO of The Body Shop, said in a statement. “We know that vegan beauty matters to millions of people around the world, and we’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this huge milestone.”
The Vegan Society assessed more than 4,000 ingredients to certify more than 1,000 Body Shop products as vegan.
“We’ve gone through an extensive process with The Vegan Society to ensure there are no animal products, by-products or derivatives in the manufacture and/or the development of our ranges,” Bruno de Oliveira, Global Head of Research and Innovation at The Body Shop, told Plant Based News.
Honey and beeswax were the most common animal-derived ingredients found in The Body Shop’s previously non-vegan products. A few products contained shellac, secreted by lac insects, or lanolin, an oil extracted from sheep’s wool.
Formulas that used animal-derived ingredients have been changed to use plant-derived ingredients instead.
“We see a future of a worldwide cruelty-free beauty industry, something we’ve been campaigning for since our founder, Dame Anita Roddick, started the business in 1976,” said de Oliveira. “We hope more beauty companies will follow suit in creating vegan formulas.”
What animal products are used in cosmetics?
Beeswax, honey, lanolin, and shellac are not the only animal-derived ingredients often found in cosmetics and toiletries. Others include glycerine, squalene, and stearic acid, all of which can be made from plants.
Glycerine made from animal fats can be found in soaps, hair care products, makeup, and moisturizers. It might sometimes be called glycerol in ingredient lists. Vegetable-based glycerine can be made from soy, coconut oil, or palm oil.
Squalene is an ingredient derived from shark liver oil, popular for its purported anti-ageing properties. To be used in cosmetics and skin care, it is hydrogenated into a more stable form called squalane. It is used in lip balms, moisturizers, and hair case products. Vegan squalene comes from olives and wheat germ, but the origin of squalene isn’t always clear on labels.
Stearic acid, often used in soaps, hair products, and moisturizers, is usually derived from the stomachs of pigs, cows, or sheep. There is a plant-based version but as it is also called stearic acid, determining its origins in products not certified vegan requires further investigation.
Are cosmetics tested on animals?
The Body Shop started campaigning against animal testing to make cosmetics in 1989. The UK banned the practice in 1998.
But in May 2023 it emerged that the UK government was allowing animal testing for some ingredients used in cosmetics. This was to bring it in line with European Union rules on chemical testing. The EU allows animal tests for ingredients to ensure they were safe for workers manufacturing the ingredients.