Vegan, natural, organic, sustainable. These topics are more and more relevant to consumers, but sometimes the whole issue gets a bit confusing: we can connect and combine these concepts, but they’re not interchangeable (as we can see from the different certifications).
The word “vegan” is often used as a synonym for natural or eco-friendly, although it means “no ingredients of animal origin”, without further specifications. A vegan formula can be natural, organic or sustainable, but it’s not a given. Let’s see some examples to clarify the picture.
We often use synthetic vegan ingredients in make-up products. These raw materials usually ensure a very good performance of the pencils, when it comes to texture and long-lasting effect. Polyethylene, silicones and crystalline waxes are some examples of these materials of petrochemical origin. On the other hand, these synthetic ingredients are not completely biodegradable and have a significant environmental impact, coming from petrochemicals. A make-up pencils with these ingredients is vegan, but we can’t describe it as natural or assume it’s also a sustainable product.
Vegan and natural: pay attention to the source
Other raw materials are vegan and plant-based, but we have to source these ingredients very carefully, if we want our products to be sustainable and ethically responsible.
Palm oil is a good example: at Confalonieri we only use RSPO certified palm oil, grown responsibly and sustainably. Coconut oil is a good solution, but in many areas coconuts are picked exploiting monkeys. Candelilla wax (a very good plant wax) requires a CITES certifications, since it’s harvested in the wild.
Mica is another perfect example. It’s really versatile and extremely useful in many different textures, but its mining often involves child labour: that’s why we need to meticulously select our suppliers.
Natural and sustainable, but not vegan
Other raw materials are not vegan, but can guarantee sustainability and environmental and ethical responsibility, when sourced carefully. Moreover, it’s very difficult to obtain the same performances from synthetic or plant-based options.
A “case study” is beeswax: its plasticity and its performance are very hard to obtain with other ingredients. For our Bee Line we use organic beeswax from a supplier that has a strict protocol about environmental-, human rights-, employment- and social standards in the supply chain. Is the pencil vegan? No, it isn’t. Is it natural, organic, sustainable and ethically responsible? Yes!
Regulations and formulas
When choosing some ingredients we need to comply with regulations, as well. For example, the FDA allows only carmine as a red pigment for the eyes: this ancient ingredient of animal origin is the only solution when creating all-over make-up pencils. We can work out vegan formulas, of course, but the colours aren’t exactly the same.
Our R&D team is always designing new solutions to match the strategic positioning clients want for their products: write to firstname.lastname@example.org to start creating your perfect formula, tailor-made for your project.