Common Beauty Products That You Didn’t Know Contain Animal Ingredients
Halal doesn’t necessarily mean vegan. Muslims are allowed to consume meat. However, there are some restrictions regarding which animals are allowed and which are forbidden, and also on how an animal should be slaughtered in order to be halal.
That being said, the vegan mark has nonetheless made life easier for conscious Muslims. When a product is manufactured by non-Muslims there is no surety whether the animal ingredients present in there are halal or not. It is a tedious task reaching out to the manufacturers and many a time the company representatives have no idea about the ingredients either. Several common additives and chemicals may be either plant or animal-derived. Their sources are not usually mentioned on the labels. Nonetheless, manufacturers typically use animal-derived ingredients, including pork, because they are cheap and easily available.
Therefore, it is safest to use products with the green dot or tick. This vegan mark assures us that the product doesn’t have any animal ingredients and is safe for us.
We generally do take a lot of care about edible items and make sure that they have a halal mark or vegan sign. However, there are many everyday products that we use, especially cosmetics and beauty products, that contain animal ingredients. These ingredients are so camouflaged due to their technical names that we don’t even realize what they are. We keep using such products without knowing that they may contain ingredients that are animal-derived and hence may be haram or impure.
Below is a list of the most common personal care products in your home that you didn’t know to contain animal ingredients:
Shampoos and Conditioners:
Yes! Shampoos and hair conditioners generally do contain animal ingredients. Not because they have any effective cleaning properties but because they come so cheap! There are around 20 chemicals that may be present in shampoos and conditioners that can be derived from either plants or animals. Mostly, it is the latter but as the label does not specify this, it is very difficult to conclude.
The most common animal-derived ingredient used in hair cleaning products is gelatin. Gelatin is a translucent material obtained by boiling animal skin and bones and is usually obtained from pigs. It is used as a thickening agent in these products.
Another ingredient trending in hair care products nowadays is keratin. It is a kind of protein obtained from horns, wool, hooves, and feathers of different animals, and is used for adding strength and shine to hair.
Lipsticks may also contain some ambiguous animal-derived ingredients. These include carmine (or cochineal), lard (pig fat) and tallow. Carmine is a red color pigment present in red lipsticks which is obtained by crushing cochineal beetles. Tallow is a fatty substance obtained by boiling animal carcasses. These animals can be both haram or halal depending on various factors.
Women should be extra careful about their lipsticks since they’re highly likely to ‘eat them away’. We definitely wouldn’t want to eat something coming from a haram animal!
There’s s something called stearic acid which is added to soaps to make them more firm. It is the wax-like fatty ingredient that prevents your soap from getting dissolved into the water quickly. This can either be derived from animal fat (usually from the pig’s stomach) or from a plant source.
Would you be comfortable using a soap that contains chunks of fat coming from a haram animal? Do check your soap label before you buy and make sure that it is halal or vegan!
Lotions, creams, and ointments may contain various animal-derived substances including collagen, elastin, lard, stearic acid, and tallow. Stearic acid is added as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help ingredients like oil and water (those that do not mix well) to stay together.
Collagen and elastin are proteins that are found in anti-aging and anti-wrinkle beauty creams. These are obtained from the connective tissues of various animals and help in keeping the skin hydrated. We should look for creams and lotions that use the vegan alternatives of these substances, or we should use products that are known to be from halal sources.
Lanolin and cochineal are two common animal-derived substances that need to be looked for in an eye shadow. Cochineal, as stated above, is obtained by crushing beetles and all insects other than locusts are considered haram by scholars. Lanolin is a yellowish wax obtained from the wool of sheep.
Lanolin is halal as it is taken from a halal animal, however, according to some scholars if the sheep were not slaughtered in the prescribed Islamic manner then it’s hair will not be considered as pure.
Beauty face masks contain two common animals obtained ingredients; gelatin and placenta. Gelatin is a kind of protein which is produced by boiling various animal parts like bones, ligaments, skin, and tendons. It is usually derived from cows and pigs and can be either haram or halal. But in case the manufacturers are not Muslim, it is highly likely that the gelatin will be from a haram source. Hence, it is better to choose vegan alternatives.
The placenta is acquired from the uterus of dead and slaughtered animals.
Exactly! Your toothpaste may also have a haram ingredient; gelatin. Always make sure that your toothpaste does not contain gelatin or that the gelatin in it has been obtained from a plant source.
Foundation and makeup bases contain certain animal acquired ingredients including animal fat (known as tallow), carmine (cochineal) and collagen. As explained above we should be careful about these substances because of their ambiguity.
So, what do we do now? How do we avoid getting something haram, unsafe and impure? The answer is simple; switch to safety – i.e. halal-certified products, and do not jeopardize your faith!