Do You Know What’s in Your Cosmetics?

L'Oreal cosmetic display Very few people read the list of ingredients on the back of a cosmetics box. If you’re animal-friendly, you may check to see if there is a line that reads “not tested on animals,” which is most of the time at the bottom of the box, but not too many people read through the list of ingredients printed on their beauty products. In the same respect, what do all those grossly large and confusing words mean anyway?

If the word squalene seems familiar to you, it probably is. Squalene is a very common emollient used in beauty products such as lotions, creams and glosses and is used by big name companies such as L’Oréal Paris. However, squalene is being phased out of cosmetic products as of late due to the vast decline in numbers of deep-sea sharks.

Squalene, which has been an in demand ingredient for beauty products is found in large quantities in the livers of deep-sea sharks and due to the sharks being caught and killed purely for this ingredient, cosmetic companies are seeking the aid of olive extracts to replace the deep-sea shark liver oil. However, if all companies switch to olive extracts, simple supply and demand may be in trouble, as there are only so many olives to go around to big companies.

In 2006, L’Oréal eliminated squalene from their skin care products replacing it with a plant-based substitute and plan to eliminate the ingredient from 12 other lipsticks that they produce. Asian-based cosmetic companies may not be going the same route, though, as shark squalene still remains in very high demand.

So the next time you’re picking up your favorite skin care item, lipstick or gloss and you see squalene listed in the ingredients you can now say you not only know what it means, but know that the company has decided to continue to use deep-sea shark oil in their product and have not opted for either olive extracts or plant-based substitutes. Help eliminate the cause for concern over the dwindling numbers of deep-sea sharks.

Photo by CrowChick

9 thoughts on “Do You Know What’s in Your Cosmetics?”

  1. Nice post. It is a good reminder to the consumers. Before buying lotion, lipstick or lip gloss examine the product ingredients. That way you can prevent yourself from violating the animal rights. Thanks for the post.

  2. Thanks for the post. The first thing that I generally look for first is (as you mentioned) the not tested on animals label. The other key is to ensure for vegans is making sure that none of the ingredients have animal-based extracts

  3. That’s a shame about squalene. Thing is like you said, olive oil is actually an “endangered” product as well, very much dependent on the weather conditions for harvest output. You may have noticed that the price of olive oil keeps increasing. Thankfully there are many types of oil cosmetic companies can use instead of olive oil.

  4. We are squalane suppliers. We shifted all our animal squalane customers to the plant squalane (from olives). It is a tendency around the world. So you can use it without guilt

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