Large mechanical brushes on a tunnel car was system wash the hood of a car from the automobile drivers perspective. Large mechanical brushes on a tunnel car was system wash the hood of a car from the automobile drivers perspective.

While veganism has its roots in the food industry, beauty leads the way for vegan product launches, signaling its ever-growing popularity among beauty shoppers.

Of the new vegan items entering the UK market in 2020, 82% were in the beauty category. In Germany, this figure was 62% and in the US, 40% of all emerging vegan items were in the beauty sphere. 

Over the last decade, Google Trends data reveals that enthusiasm for vegan beauty has been steadily increasing, with the UK, Ireland and Australia driving interest in the plant-based beauty movement. Vegan launches have permeated the beauty categories and their rising appeal shows no signs of waning, making vegan beauty an exciting, engaging and economically-sound space for brands and formulators to create new product launches in. The Vegan Society's Vegan Beauty Takeover 2021 report reveals that 97% of UK shoppers say they want more vegan cosmetics and toiletries. 

The vegan beauty market is only set to gather in pace and prevalence too as the global vegan cosmetics industry is expected to be worth $21.4 billion by 2027. Brands, formulators and chemists tapping into the rise of vegan beauty are hard pushed to find a more conscious and in-demand space to enter.

The view from inside a car looking through a water splashed windshield that is going through the spot free rinse section of a tunnel car wash. The view from inside a car looking through a water splashed windshield that is going through the spot free rinse section of a tunnel car wash.

What are vegan beauty products?

Vegan beauty products do not contain animal products or ingredients derived from animals in their formulations. Examples of non-vegan ingredients include honey, collagen and beeswax. In vegan beauty products, traditional non-vegan ingredients are replaced with vegan materials that come from plants or minerals.

Soapy water from a tunnel car was shystem drips down a blue car door and window.Soapy water from a tunnel car was shystem drips down a blue car door and window.

What makes a beauty brand vegan?

We see a broad scope of beauty brands embracing veganism and adopting vegan product portfolios. Beauty products are often seen with the label “vegan”, “100% vegan”, or “vegan-friendly”. While this can appear confusing, these all refer to a product’s formulation being vegan and therefore containing no animal products or derived ingredients. Vegan-friendly beauty brands are likely to have product collections with vegan and non-vegan beauty items. 

What’s the difference between cruelty-free and vegan beauty?

Cruelty-free beauty products mean the formulation has not been tested on animals. For a product to be cruelty-free, there should be no form of animal testing at any point during its creation.

A vegan beauty product refers to a formulation that does not contain any animal product or animal-derived ingredients. 

What certifications exist?

Certifications are an important way to communicate ingredient claims honestly and clearly. Certification providers often adopt independent testing measures to support and indicate quality and consistency. 

Several key vegan certifications help guide consumers to trusted product formulations, including:

  • Certified Vegan by Vegan Action
  •  Vegan by The Vegan Society
  • Vegan Approved by The Vegetarian Society
  • Global animal test–free and vegan by PETA. This certification is for brands whose entire product range is vegan and cruelty-free. 
The view from inside a car looking through a water splashed windshield that is going through the spot free rinse section of a tunnel car wash. The view from inside a car looking through a water splashed windshield that is going through the spot free rinse section of a tunnel car wash.
Soapy water from a tunnel car was shystem drips down a blue car door and window.Soapy water from a tunnel car was shystem drips down a blue car door and window.

Benefits of vegan beauty ingredients

Formulating beauty products with vegan ingredients offers various advantages.

Here, we look at three of the top benefits of using vegan beauty ingredients in your products:

Conscious of animal welfare

Using vegan beauty ingredients helps to reduce animal cruelty. By finding and selecting vegan products, consumers know their formulations do not contain animal-derived ingredients and that plant-based and lab-made products have been used instead. 

Vegan products are packed with nutrients

Vegan beauty ingredients contain plant-based ingredients, such as coconut, olives, soy and almonds. These ingredients benefit the skin, hair and nails as they possess minerals and nutrients that offer nourishing properties, including hydration, moisturization and strengthening benefits to promote overall health and wellness. 

Access formulations with sustainable ingredients

Plant-based chemistries are used to create vegan beauty formulations, contributing positively to protecting and preserving the environment. Ethical ingredient sourcing and sustainability throughout the supply chain are increasingly at the forefront of vegan beauty. Many vegan products use upcycled beauty ingredients and adopt conscious beauty approaches to reduce waste and promote circularity in beauty. 

7  Top Vegan Ingredients for Beauty Products

With eager beauty shoppers looking for vegan beauty products, formulators are exploring innovative and effective ingredients to use in their vegan formulations that balance consciousness with efficacy.

Let’s look at some of the best vegan ingredients in beauty formulations.

1. Squalane made from olives and wheat germ

Plant-based squalane derives from the similarly-named squalene, a lipid and natural moisturizer produced by human skin cells. Traditionally, squalane has referred to a non-vegan ingredient derived from shark liver oil. Today, we’re seeing vegan squalane, which is found in olives, wheat germ, rice bran and sugar cane, emerge as a sought-after ingredient. 

Due to its antioxidants and detoxifying benefits, the ingredient helps to combat skin damage and enhance collagen production. It’s particularly popular in formulations for acne or oily skin as research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties that can lower redness and swelling. Squalane gives the hair moisture, too, helping to boost its shine and protect it from damage. 

3. Soy protein 

Soy protein, derived from soybeans, is a natural antioxidant recognized for its soothing and regenerative skincare properties. 

As it’s a protein, the vegan soy ingredient provides moisturizing and conditioning benefits for the skin and hair. It also protects the hair from external aggressive factors, restoring its fiber and offering antistatic properties that help to create a healthy appearance.   

Soy protein is a vegan alternative for two common non-vegan ingredients, keratin and collagen. Keratin is known for its strengthening properties in hair and nail products, while collagen is prevalent in skin aging and plumping formulations due to its fibrous nature. 

5. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a long unbranched carbohydrate, or sugar called glycosaminoglycan, that occurs naturally in the body and is found throughout its connective tissue. HA gives our skin its structure, providing a hydrated and plump appearance. 

Increasingly, vegan HA has become the go-to option for topical formulations. Vegan HA is produced with identical chemistry and activity and is obtained from fermenting plant material. Behaving like a sponge, the humectant can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water. 

HA is commonly used in skincare products with significant hydration benefits, specifically leave-on products including toners, essences, serums and moisturizers. It also features in lip treatments, sheet masks and eye creams. The ingredient works well with vitamin C, vitamin B5 and glycolic acid. 

7. Shea Butter

Shea Butter is a seed fat extracted from the nuts of a shea tree. The hydrating vegan ingredient contains high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins, which provide a softening effect. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It’s also known to boost collagen production, promote cell regeneration, reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scarring, and provide suncare protection. 

In haircare, shea butter is often included in formulas to help prevent hair breakage and treat dandruff. Shea butter works well in formulations with other oils and cocoa butter.

Shea butter is well known in the beauty industry as it’s one of the most common vegetable oils in formulations. Brands can create skincare and haircare products with shea butter as an alternative to non-vegan ingredients, which include glycerin, allantoin and milk. 

2. Plant-based, soy or wild mango wax  

Vegan waxes derived from plants, soy or wild mango, are popular in cosmetics formulations as they thicken oil-based formulations and deliver stability in solid cosmetics products such as lipsticks. 

Formulating with vegan wax requires various production considerations. Plant waxes behave differently from beeswax. Substitutes need different melting points, provide varying degrees of hardness and offer a different texture on the skin. 

As well as their eco-friendly nature, vegan waxes are known for their ability to revitalize the skin, increase its flexibility, offer skin protection from environmental contaminants and provide a soft and gentle-on-the-skin application. 

4. Almond Oil

Almond oil refers to the emollient plant oil that derives from almonds. It contains fatty acids known to nourish the skin as well as vitamins D and E and minerals. 

The plant-based ingredient typically comes in sweet and bitter varieties. Its sweet form is known for its skin benefits, mainly because it contains vitamins A and E, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

The popular vegan ingredient is known for its anti-inflammatory and emollient properties and high nutrient content. It’s often used in formulations to soothe irritant skin, protect against UV damage, restore the skin’s moisture barrier and contribute to a healthy appearance. Almond oil features in makeup removal, cleansing and moisturizing formulations.

It is often used to treat consumers with dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and it can also improve acne due to the oil's fatty acid content, which works to dissolve excess oil on the skin.  

Almond oil is one of the most common vegetable oils used in beauty products. Brands can include the ingredient in their skincare formulations instead of using common non-vegan emollients, such as lanolin, animal fats and oils. 

6. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of a matured coconut harvested from the coconut palm. The oil is known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, which improve skin and oral health. Thanks to its hydrating, nourishing and moisturizing characteristics, it’s recognized for its versatility in skincare and haircare. 

The vegan ingredient gives the skin moisture, can support wound healing and has an anti-inflammatory effect. It's a popular ingredient in face and body creams, body washes, facial cleaners, shampoos and ointments. 

Coconut oil is also known for improving the hair’s overall condition and health. The ingredient moisturizes hair, reduces breakages, lowers protein loss and protects against environmental damage. 

A popular ingredient in finished beauty products, coconut oil can be used instead of traditional animal-derived emollients like animal fats, oils or lanolin in skincare products. It can also replace non-vegan hair conditioner ingredients such as silk proteins. 

Leading Vegan Beauty Brands

1. Milk Makeup

The New York city-based makeup and skincare brand is 100% vegan, stating it contains no animal-derived ingredients, including fats, oils and musks. Founded in 2016, Milk Makeup offers over 300 products, including its Vegan Milk collection, which features its selection of nourishing daily skincare essentials. 

Milk Makeup’s product philosophy revolves around starting with good ingredients that then turn into effective formulas. 

3. Biossance

Clean skincare name Biossance began life in 2003 after its scientists turned to the use of biotechnology in skincare and the ingredients contained within everyday consumer products.

The entirely vegan brand formulated a vegan alternative to traditional squalane, creating a renewable, sugarcane-derived version. Biossance confirms that its ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced. The brand adopts a skincare ingredients library, which offers informative ingredient insights, Environmental Working Group ratings and category filtering. 

5. Herbivore Botanicals

Created in 2011 from the founders’ Seattle-based kitchen, the natural and clean skincare name is a plant-powered vegan brand. 

Herbivore Botanicals has produced its formulations with natural ingredients, plant-based food-grade cold-pressed oils, steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils, genetically modified organism (GMO) free soy wax and certified organic ingredients. 

2. Barry M

The British cosmetics company is 100% vegan, with none of its makeup or nail paint ranges containing animal by-products. When it launched in 1982, Barry M brought out a range of 100 nail paints before expanding into Dazzle Dust eyeshadow, lip paints and crackle nail polish. 

Barry M follows a ‘beauty with compassion’ ethos. The brand supports two animal and wildlife charities: Humane Society International and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

4. Aesop

All of the Australian luxury skin, hair and body care brand’s products are vegan. Aesop states it adopts a responsible sourcing approach to ingredients, with none of these derived from animals. 

Aesop implements a comprehensive research and development framework to widely investigate the environment and source plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients with a proven record of safety and efficacy.

6. Lumene

The Finnish cosmetics producer states that 100% of its skincare and foundation formulas are vegan. All of its skincare products have been vegan since 2018. Lumene creates its vegan products on the foundation of hallmarks of the Nordic environment: berries, seeds, plants, tree saps and mushrooms. 

Lumene Group’s sustainability report 2021 confirms that it has formulated animal-derived ingredients out of “most of our makeup products”. Beeswax is still used in some of the skin and makeup brand’s mascaras. Cutrin, Lumene Group’s haircare brand’s wash and care formulations are entirely vegan. Its oxidative hair colors still contain beeswax and some styling products contain lanolin and lanolin derivatives.

Soapy water from a tunnel car was shystem drips down a blue car door and window.Soapy water from a tunnel car was shystem drips down a blue car door and window.

3 Vegan Beauty Trends for 2022 

Here, we delve into the ever-evolving movement to find the latest vegan beauty trends in 2022. 

1. Collaborating with Clean and Conscious Beauty

Consumers are looking for clean and conscious formulations, brands and philosophies. Veganism now forms a pillar of conscious beauty, which has evolved from the natural, green and clean trends, encompassing them all to create a comprehensive, transparent and conscious understanding of sustainability. 

2. Holistic Health and Wellness 

Simple yet effective routines contributing to our overall health and wellness drive vegan formulations. Cleansers, toners, moisturizers, sprays and balms are appealing formats for vegan producers to explore as the industry increasingly focuses on providing holistic health and wellness benefits. 

3. Solid Formulations 

Vegan brands and formulators are turning their attention to solid product formats that have traditionally used non-vegan ingredients to achieve their sought-after texture, usability and effect. Lipsticks, lip balms, soaps and deodorants are examples of solid formulations that brands are re-imagining to meet the rising demand for vegan beauty products. 

Tips For Formulating Beauty Products with Vegan Ingredients

  • Consider the aims and results of your vegan beauty product from the initial concept stage, as this will make selecting your ingredients easier. 
  • Focus on quality, understand the ingredients in your preferred vegan beauty formulations to ensure you can achieve the quality and consistency consumers expect. 
  • Research certification requirements and third-party involvement before you start formulating. 
  • Select vegan beauty ingredients with multiple benefits. 
  • Familiarise yourself with each vegan beauty ingredient’s different characteristics and formulation needs. 
  • Experiment and innovate— embrace the opportunity to be original. 
  • Communicate your conscious beauty choices transparently. 
  • Go beyond ingredients. Consider your formulation method, laboratory environment, cross-contamination prevention methods, certifications and packaging to appeal to environmentally aware and conscious consumers. 
The view from inside a car looking through a water splashed windshield that is going through the spot free rinse section of a tunnel car wash. The view from inside a car looking through a water splashed windshield that is going through the spot free rinse section of a tunnel car wash.

Contact Us for Formulation Support

Vegan beauty ingredients are a conscious, sought-after and effective area of beauty, with brands increasingly turning to the movement for product inspiration and reformulation considerations.  

2022 is seeing brands embrace leading vegan beauty trends, with conscious launches, holistic health and wellness benefits and pioneering new solid formulation developments. 

Contact Us for Formulation Support

Upcycled ingredients are a popular beauty area as the industry looks for ways to become more sustainable.  

Learn more about upcycled beauty formulations and order samples today to create your upcycled beauty products.

How do brands upcycle ingredients? 

Brands take upcycling inspiration from various sources, including food and drink processing, floristry and wood industries. Creativity, experimentation and innovation are at the core of upcycling development, spurring exciting ingredient options.  

Adapting the raw material stream is a crucial challenge when upcycling beauty products, as selected materials must be fresh and in good condition to apply the processes required for beauty formulations.  

An ingredient cannot be upcycled if it has been inherently altered by operations in the initial stages of production, such as high pressure, overheating or chemical degradation, as reported by one cosmetic chemist here. Ingredients must also be free from germs or possible contamination from other materials.  

Who are Some of the Leading Brands Upcycling in Beauty? 

1. BYBI 

Vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly skincare brand BYBI has formulated 50% of its skin, lip and suncare line with upcycled ingredients.  

BYBI's blueberry and strawberry serums are made from 100% upcycled ingredients, its night cream has over 70% upcycled ingredients and its day moisturizer contains over 50% upcycled ingredients. BYBI’s resurfacing face mask features upcycled pumpkin enzyme. 

Tapping into the food waste stream and sourcing nutrient-dense and effective plant-based ingredients, the brand strives to rescue greenhouse gas emissions, save on the amount of discarded food waste and reduce its overall carbon footprint. The brand has produced an auditing system to quantify its products based on factors including upcycling, renewability, how far it has traveled and ethical sourcing.  

2. Three Ships 

The Canada-based natural skincare company sources parts of produce that would often contribute to food waste and repurpose components. Three Ships sought to embrace the circular economy and proceeded to analyze its products’ life cycle to reduce waste and favor renewable resources.  

Three Ships formulates with an upcycled tree bark extract from leftover tree bark from the Canadian lumber industry, which goes through an extraction, filtration and purification process. The brand chose the particular extract, known to be high in polyphenols, as it can help with skin elasticity and hydration and calm irritation indicators such as redness.  

As they strive to reduce waste by finding methods to upcycle ingredients, the brand's upcycled ingredient collection also includes a grape cell extract, squalane, biolin and pentylene glycol. 

3. Cocokind 

Botanical-forward skincare name, Cocokind, seeks to develop formulas that deliver their intended functions and provide hydration and skin barrier support.  

Upcycling features in the brand's scrubbing clay, which is designed to smooth and brighten the skin while removing dead skin cells. Using repurposed coffee grounds sourced in California to exfoliate, the ingredient is paired with prebiotic chicory root to help feed the skin biome and red clay to cleanse the skin and prevent clogged pores. Cocokind sources and upcycles beans from a coffee shop that are destined for "waste" and uses them to formulate its scrubbing clay.  

4. Kadalys  

The French Caribbean cosmetics products manufacturer repurposes banana peels and pulp to produce extracts. Kadalys sources and extracts actives from bananas and uses their phytosterols, polyphenols, vitamin E, omega-6s and 9s in skincare ingredients to promote positive skin health.   

Using banana bioactive, Kadalys strives to solve the fruit's food waste problem. Every year, around 22 million tonnes of bananas are discarded by consumers and suppliers because they are "ugly" or misshapen, the brand shares. Losses amount to roughly 40% in developing countries.  

The agricultural-waste banana fruit is turned into certified organic and patented active beauty ingredients for products including facial creams, toners, cleansers, facial masks, hair oils and body oils. 

5. UpCircle 

The UK-based ethical skincare brand began by upcycling coffee grounds, promoting organic and zero waste.   

UpCircle has since expanded to upcycle blueberry extract, date seeds, fruit waters, maple bark extract, fruit stone, chai spices, chamomile stem, argan shell powder, olive stone powder and kiwi fruit water. To date, UpCircle has turned 450 tonnes of materials into sustainable skincare by upcycling ingredients.  

The brand created new product ranges in 2018, including soap bars from brewed chai tea spices and a face range made with upcycled powdered fruit stones. UpCircle uses 10-plus food and other botanical byproducts, upcycling these into a wide range of 40 product variations, comprising exfoliants, moisturizers, serums and masks. 

 6. Superzero  

 As part of its product collection, Superzero has repurposed 100% sustainably harvested upcycled charcoal using oak offcuts from the fencing industry and converted them into personal care end-products. 

The zero waste hair care line selects and sources oak and turns it into charcoal, with small charcoal pieces unsuitable for cooking broken up into its component particles. These particles are then sieved to offer skin-friendly benefits, namely skin exfoliation and detoxification.  

Superzero has also launched a solid product format, its hydration and blue light defense hand balm bar. Its vegetable-based formulation features upcycled ingredients like blueberry oil, offering moisturization to the skin and hands.  

1. Colonial Chemical

Manufacturer Colonial Chemical upcycles waste glycerine from biodiesel production to develop its complete Suga® product range. The waste glycerine used would usually go into animal feed or be discarded. 

Colonial Chemical also offers Cola®Lipid GS, a multifunctional, natural triglyceride organic phospholipid complex. It is produced using a by-product of winemaking: grapeseed oil. The oil is extracted from seeds left over from the wine and juice industries. The seeds, once separated from the skins and stems, are cold-pressed to provide the oil for the beauty sector. The remaining cake is then pressed into natural logs to be used as exfoliants in skin products or as animal feed for farmers in the local area.

2. EarthOil

EarthOil’s products also feature organic grapeseed oil that has been extracted from seeds left over from the wine and juice industries. EarthOil also represents Down Under Enterprises and their range of native Australian hydrosols: Lemon Myrtle, Sandalwood, Lavender, Tea Tree and Fragonia®. 

Hydrosols are naturally produced during the steam distillation of essential oils. They are considered a by-product of the process and would otherwise be waste material. As saturated solutions of the plant’s water-soluble components, they exhibit the same olfactory character as the oils, yet in a milder format, and deliver delicately fragranced ingredients.

3. Dow

Dow has launched two upcycled materials in 2022. EcoSmooth™ Rice Husk Cosmetic Powder, with a natural origin content of one according to ISO 16128, comes from rice husk, a natural source that does not compete with the food industry. It provides optical and sensorial benefits, water and sebum absorption and oil thickening. EcoSmooth™ Universal Fluid 1100, with a naturality index of about 0.7, is made with feedstocks left from fields of sugar cane or wheat harvests. Partly volatile, it imparts good spreadability and creates a soft skin feel.

4. Poth Hille

Poth Hille offers Natural Vegan Beeswax Substitute PHC 9677, a blend of natural wax components. Each wax adds value to existing supply chains by utilizing material that would otherwise go to waste. Rice is the world’s most common crop, but a large part of the plant is typically discarded. Rice bran wax is obtained from refining crude wax, which is produced from the upstream refining process applied to rice bran oil. Sunflower seed oil is one of the most important vegetable oils in the world in terms of volume. Unrefined oil contains approximately 0.3% of wax that would normally be disposed of, but here it gives rise to sunflower wax. Sumax wax is a by-product of lacquer. 

At Univar Solutions, we offer a wide variety of ingredients for the beauty and personal care market that are ideal for upcycling beauty concepts and developing conscious formulations.

Shop Upcycled Beauty Ingredients

3. Sulfates

Sulfates are the ingredients that create lather in everything from face wash to shampoo and are commonly listed as ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Many traditional formulas use sulfates to effectively remove dirt and excess sebum, but they’ve been known to strip the skin of moisture and cause irritation. If you are formulating for sensitive skin, steer clear of foaming formulas and instead opt for oil or cream cleansers, which are made with milder eco surfactants that don’t strip the skin of its natural oils.

4. Chemical Sunscreens

There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral (also known as
physical). Chemical sunscreens use ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone to reflect UV rays off of the skin. They’re effective at getting the job done but are known irritants to those with sensitive skin. Mineral sunscreens on the other hand use ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which sit on the skin’s surface and physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin. They are much gentler on the skin and are generally recommended for use on sensitive skin and children’s skin.

5. Retinol

Although retinol is a holy grail ingredient for anti-aging routines, it’s notoriously harsh on the skin. If you are working with sensitive skin, you’ll want to swap it out for bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is a natural alternative for retinol.


Specialty lab services

Innovating at the intersection of science, technology and consumer trends, Univar Solutions partners with customers and suppliers to create high-performing products and sustainable formulations.

Your Next Cleaning Innovation Starts Here

A global footprint and world-class supply chain enable us to respond quickly to your specialty and commodity ingredient needs. Connect with our technical teams and find your next solution.


Aquabio, Car Wash History: From Simple Beginnings to Modern Day Features:

Automatic Vehicle Wash, Tunnel Systems:, 5 long-lasting benefits of carwashing:, Going green: Save electricity, water and money:, Lessons in carwash tunnel layout:

Detail Pro POS, 20 Car Wash Statistics in 2021 That Will Surprise You:, Car Wash Industry Statistics:

How It Works, How does a car wash work?:

JBS Industries, 10 Trends You Should Know About the Car Wash Industry:

JBS Industries, Best Car Wash Add-Ons:

PSD Codax, Tunnel Car Wash Systems - A Beginner's Guide to Tunnel Car Wash Systems:

Sunset North Car Wash, Here's What (Tunnel) Car Washes Are Really Doing to Your Car:

Synchrony, 5 Reasons to Visit the Car Wash - and What to Watch Out For:

Thompson Sales Company, Wash Your Car Yourself or Take It Somewhere:

Tommy's Express, Do clean cars improve gas mileage?:, Tunnel Car Wash - All you need to know:, All you need to know about clean cars and fuel efficiency:

Western Carwash Association, Water Conservation: