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The challenges of sourcing vegetarian and vegan natural make up


mineral makeup

We thought we’d share with you some of the challenges we face when attempting to source makeup which not only contains natural ingredients but is also vegetarian and vegan friendly.  We’d like it to be organic too if possible, ultimately fairtrade as well (is there any out there??).  We have a lot of boxes to tick, we’re fussy devils.




Makeup, make up, cosmetics, whatever you want to call them, are designed (hopefully) to stay on your skin.  Preferably it won’t slide off, some will get absorbed into your skin and consumed if it’s on your lips.  When you think about all that, you want the ingredients to be as natural as possible – right?  Well, we do!


When we look at ingredients these are at the top of the avoid list (and just a few of the ones we say no to):

  • Bisumuth oxychloride
  • Talc
  • Parabens
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Nanoparticles
  • Silicones (e.g. dimethicone)
  • Mineral oils/Petroleum by-products




There are extra considerations to make a product vegetarian, this sometimes means there can be a compromise between a synthetic ingredient and a natural one.  Carmine is natural but there’s no way it’s vegetarian!


So, these are some of the natural animal based ingredients we’ll avoid:

  • Carmine
  • Silk/Silk Powder
  • Royal Jelly
  • Propolis
  • Bee Venom
  • Lanolin – we will only stock products containing lanolin if we are sufficiently satisfied as to the practices used to produce/gather this ingredient.   Currently only two brands on our site include lanolin, Madara and Weleda.  Weleda are clear on their sourcing policy for Lanolin and Madara are certified by Ecocert and are therefore bound by their policies regarding sourcing.

Ideally we would not stock products containing palm oil or palm derivatives sourced from Asia either though this is proving more difficult than hoped.  Derivatives, or what appear to be derivatives, are common place in all kinds of beauty products and it’s a challenge to avoid it.  See this website: Say No To Palm Oil for more information.




In terms of requirements vegan should be the easiest of all, no animal ingredients whatsoever!  Sadly though, a lot of vegan make up brands we’ve found also use synthetic ingredients which rules them out.  We’ve also come across a lot which are loose powder minerals and we’d like some variety!  We will hold our hands up and tell you that we currently have a small number of products containing a synthetic squalene.  Squalene has two natural sources, Shark and Olive Oil.  Surprisingly, the olive oil based version is more expensive than the shark one and we have read that unscrupulous middle men have been selling shark squalene as the olive oil version in order to obtain the higher prices.  More expensive raw ingredients increase the price of the finished products so, in order to offer a range of make up for different budgets, we made the decision to include these few products in our offering to you.



At I Choose What I Use we take our commitment to be natural and cruelty free whilst still following our vegetarian and vegan principles very seriously for example,  we won’t deal with companies that trade in countries which require animal testing no matter how vegan and cruelty free they are in the EU!   We’re open with ingredients and these are always available so that you can make informed decisions.  Sourcing and investigating brands and products takes us quite some time and many get rejected.  If you’d like to see what make up products passed the test, you can see what we currently have in stock via one of these links:


Update May 2015 – we now say no to all animal ingredients because we have made the conversion to being 100% vegan, hurrah!


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