Lip Gloss Q&A – Vegan Lip Gloss

If you see this on a product - it's vegan!

If you see this on a product – it’s vegan!

Hi Glossies! Today’s question is an interesting one, and let’s get right to it!

 How can I tell if a lip gloss is vegan or not? I’m not sure how to read labels.

 It can be daunting to read cosmetic labels. They can be tricky and full of weird, long words that aren’t intuitive.


Thankfully, all lip glosses have essentially the same ingredients: emollients (to make them soft and shiny), pigment (to give them color), waxes (to give them body and the ability to adhere to your lips) and a preservative.


Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten

Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten

Let’s take a look at the ingredients of my favorite Stila Lip Glaze colors – Kitten.  This is from the Stila site:

 Polybutene, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Octyldodecanol, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/ Candelilla Cera, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/ Cera Carnauba, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYL HYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE , Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Silica, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Lanolin Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Camellia Sinensis (Camellia) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Flavor (Aroma), Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Tin Oxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Benzyl Salicylate, 3-Methyl-4-(2, 6, 6- trimethyl-2-cyclohexen-1yl)-3-buten-2-one, Hexyl Cinnamaldehyde, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Geraniol, Citral, Linalool, Eugenol, May Contain (+/-) Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360), Red 7 lake (CI 15850), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Red 22 Lake (CI 45380), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Red 6 (CI 15850), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090). Contains carmine as a color additive.

It looks like quite alot of ingredients, actually, but it’s pretty typical of glosses in general. There are a couple of things that jump out at me.

 First – the waxes used here are Candelilla, Carnuba, and Beeswax. Candelilla is a plant that looks a bit like lavendar. Carnuba wax is what is commonly found in car wax, and is derived from a type of palm plant. And beeswax, well, that comes from the bee. So, we know on the wax portion, it is not vegan.

 Linalool sounds like it could come from lanolin (similar sounding), but it does not. It’s plant derived, and it is where this gloss gets some of its fragrance.


There it is - dried female carmine beetles.

There it is – dried female carmine beetles.

On the color and pigment front, most of the colors come from oxides, which are mineral based, but the carmine? Not so much. Carmine is made from ground bugs, the female of the Dactylopius coccus to be exact. It is also commonly called crimson lake, cochineal, CI 75470 or even red lake #4.  The other colorants are not animal derived.


The color sure is pretty!

After crushing – this is the color those ground beetles provide.

Other ingredients to look out for include lanolin (derived from sheep), squalene (unless it specifies it comes from plants, otherwise it comes from shark livers),  or the most gross of all – allantoin, which is derived from cow urine. Now that is gross!
I hope that helps, keep sending me your questions by clicking on the Contact page or emailing directly to

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