An unexpected ingredient in my eyeshadow recently came to my attention…BUGS!
Yes, ground up bugs are a common ingredient makeup such as eyeshadows and blushes. Often masquerading under the name Carmine, this red coloring is produced by the cochineal beetle. To produce the coloring, thousands of live insects are dried using boiling hot water or harsh sunlight. Then, they are ground and squeezed to extract the pigment. It takes 70,000 insects to produce a single pound of dye!
I had always thought carmine was only found in red colored foods, such as candies and sugary drinks. But it is also common in makeup, even makeup that is not bright red. Shockingly, the majority of Urban Decay’s eyeshadows contain or “may contain” carmine! Even my all time favorite shade Sin, a champagne color, may contain carmine.
When it comes to food, I don’t mind if it “may contain” animal products, as they are obligated to add that statement if it is processed on the same equipment as foods that contain animal ingredients as as an added precaution for those who have severe allergies.Carmine is also linked to severe allergic reactions, so I assume this is the case for cosmetics as well. Therefore, using makeup that “may contain” carmine does not contribute to the demand for it. However, Urban Decay does not denote the shades that “may contain” carmine as vegan. So whether you choose to use these products is up to your judgement.
To avoid rubbing ground up bugs on your face, I would suggest always checking the ingredients before purchasing any makeup or colored food items, even if it does not appear to be red. And to stay on the safe side, there are plenty of completely vegan cosmetic brands such as Pacifica, which is conveniently sold at Target. In addition, many brands such as Urban Decay allow you to browse only their vegan products online. Just select the vegan filter. Tarte cosmetics carries an entire vegan collection.
So though shopping vegan and cruelty-free may feel like a hassle, there are plenty of great vegan friendly brands that make it so much easier.