top of page

The secrets of natural vegan skincare by Dr Irene Resa

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Hello everyone; I'm delighted to contribute a guest post for Live Well. In my day-to-day life, I am a chemist, and I work in a chemistry laboratory. My profession allows me to look at cosmetics from a different point of view and analyse the ingredients used in beauty products. I'm also a professional product tester and beauty blogger, and in today's post, I will reveal the differences between natural and vegan skincare.

Nowadays, cosmetics companies claim to be organic, natural or vegan. The increase in this type of product may result from the growing concern about how synthetic ingredients affect our skin and health and how packaging affects the environment.

Some may think these claims are only marketing tags to increase sales, and the truth is that people are unaware of natural vegan skincare benefits, and some need to learn what that means.

We are going to reveal all these secrets in this post.

Natural Vegan Skincare

What is Natural skincare?

Natural skincare cosmetics include ingredients from origins in the formulation. These naturally sourced ingredients can be plant-based, mineral or animal-derived. Examples of natural elements are aloe vera, green clay or honey.

Only some of the ingredients in a natural cosmetic must be naturally sourced. Only 1% of the ingredients in the formulation must be from biological origins, while the rest of the components can be synthetic. Some brands formulate their products only with natural ingredients, so I advise carefully reading the ingredient list before buying a product.

What is Vegan skincare?

Vegan cosmetics do not contain any ingredients of animal origin, such as milk, or honey, among others. As the manufacture of vegan cosmetics doesn't harm animals, they are cruelty-free (people who don't want to use ingredients of animal origin are not going to test on animals).

However, not all cruelty-free cosmetics are vegan.

What about natural vegan skincare?

Keeping in mind the natural and vegan skincare definitions, it is clear that natural and vegan skincare is not the same. Natural ingredients may have an animal origin, while vegan products can contain only synthetic ingredients.

What, then, are natural vegan cosmetics?

Natural vegan cosmetics are made using naturally sourced ingredients of a non-animal origin, formulated with plant-based and mineral ingredients. Natural vegan products are cruelty-free and are certified with the vegan and cruelty-free logo.

However, to my knowledge, no logo certifies a product is natural.

Which ingredients should you avoid in natural vegan skincare products?

The main question can be, how do I know a product is natural and vegan by reading the ingredient list? When you check the label, you should expect the absence of some ingredients.

The list of ingredients to avoid is long, and I can only discuss which components you should never find in a natural vegan skincare product and why. If you want to know more about ingredients to avoid, please let me know in the comments section below if you want to see a post covering that, or you can contact me directly.

In a nutshell, the essential ingredients that should not appear in natural and plant-based products are parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and colours, chemical UV filters, paraffin, PEGs and ethanolamines.

Regarding vegan products, they should not contain animal-sourced ingredients, like lanolin, carmine (also known as Cochineal Extract or Red 4), fish scales, guanine, honey, and milk.

Natural Vegan Skincare Benefits

Using natural vegan skincare products has lots of benefits at different levels. They positively impact the environment, don't harm animals and produce outstanding effects on the skin.

Let's look at the benefits of natural vegan skincare.

Benefits for the skin

Natural ingredients have been used from the beginning of humanity, from body decoration and protection to healing some diseases. Some cultures still use natural healing products, such as some Amazonian tribes and Ayurvedic medicine.

Natural ingredients are safer than synthetics.

Synthetic ingredients may cause swelling, redness, itchiness and other skin concerns.

Typically, natural ingredients are not going to produce this type of problem (except if you are allergic to them). Some natural ingredients have healing properties and, as I already mentioned, have been used for years by traditional healers. That is the case with tea tree oil and lavender.

Short-term, synthetic ingredients make your skin look glowy, healthy and lovely, but long-term use may cause damage, like irritation and clogged pores.

Soothes sensitive skin

Typically, natural vegan skincare products contain a reduced number of ingredients compared with traditional formulas. Also, most elements are naturally sourced; therefore, they are not harsh or aggressive with the skin. Natural vegan skincare is ideal for people with sensitive skin.

It helps to obtain younger-looking skin.

Natural vegan skincare products are free of ingredients which cause skin dryness, like sulfates and alcohol. These ingredients are present in most conventional skincare products, including moisturisers, and it is contradictory to add drying ingredients to moisturisers.

As natural vegan skincare products don't contain these ingredients, your skin will not appear dry, the active ingredient will increase its effectiveness, and your skin will look younger and healthier.

Obtain radiant and glowy skin.

When you eliminate harsh chemicals from your skincare routine, your skin will look glowy and healthy. Wholly-natural ingredients in these products' formula (rose water, turmeric, castor oil, aloe vera, etc.) help to achieve this glowy skin.

Benefits for health

Most of the products you apply to your skin will get absorbed and end up in your bloodstream. Some ingredients can accumulate in body organs such as kidneys and liver, producing diseases in the long term. That can go from immune and reproductive system damage to even cancer.

We are concerned about what we eat, avoiding products containing fertilisers and pesticides. We should be concerned as well about what we apply to the skin. The adverse effects of what we use can be as dangerous as the damages caused by what we eat.

Natural Vegan Skincare products contain a lot of beneficial molecules.

Among these beneficial molecules, we can mention vitamin C, D, hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes, but these are only examples. These ingredients have different effects and benefits on the skin. For example, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant; hydroxy acids smooth skin and eliminate skin textures, while fruit enzymes are ideal chemical exfoliators. The critical point is that they produce all these benefits without the adverse side effects produced by synthetic ingredients.

Benefits for the environment

Production of synthetic ingredients may cause air and water pollution, and animal-sourced ingredients lead to deforestation, as farmers need space to grow the animals. Extraction of mineral elements requires mining, which produces a negative carbon footprint.

Using natural ingredients doesn't cause harm to animals and plants and doesn't involve mining. Therefore, it positively impacts the environment, and because they come from nature, they are fully biodegradable.

Usually, natural vegan skincare product packaging is recyclable or biodegradable. Brands producing these beauty products tend to avoid or minimise the use of plastics for packaging or delivery.

Benefits for animals

All vegan skincare is 100% cruelty-free, so no animal has been abused in the production. Clinical testing on animals to produce cosmetic products is cruel and unnecessary.

As I said, cruelty-free brands use animal ingredients like lanolin, beeswax, or gelatine. When you use vegan skincare, you can be sure that no animal ingredients are included in the manufacturing process and no animals have been tested on, kept in cruel conditions or euthanased purely for the development of beauty and cosmetic production.

Some cruelty-free brands may have used animal testing in the past. For some people, that is enough, but if you want to go a step further, choosing natural vegan skincare ensures that all ingredients and elements used have never been used in animal testing.

Are natural vegan skincare products more expensive than conventional cosmetics?

There is a natural trend to think that vegan skincare products are expensive, but that is only sometimes true. They are cheaper than some drugstore cosmetics brands, but they are both relatively inexpensive. When you think about all the benefits these natural vegan skincare products have for your skin, animals, and the planet, will you not invest in your health?

Remember that some drug store brand products contain ingredients that will not benefit your skin, while natural ingredients are 100% effective. It is better to spend money on a product which works rather than buying something cheap which does not positively affect the skin.

Consider synthetic products' impact (think of redness, acne breakouts, etc.). Is it worth moving to natural vegan skincare? Why not give it a try? You can always go back.


Ingredients to avoid:

Thank you for checking in. To see my beauty product reviews and for more information about me, please visit

You can also see my posts on Instagram and Pinterest @irene_beautyandm

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page