More and more people are embracing a vegan lifestyle, which can include only using vegan soap and other vegan skin care products.
That may sound simple on the surface — just avoid soaps that have any tallow in them — but you’ll actually need to watch out for a few other common ingredients if you want a strictly vegan soap.
Know Thy Ingredients
Many natural cold process soaps use vegetable oils as their bases but some are made in the traditional fashion using beef tallow or other animal fat.
Soap makers should list all ingredients in their soaps — such as in our Calendula soap shown to the right — in descending order of volume.
Cold process soaps that use lye may or may not list it as an ingredient since the saponification process leaves zero lye in the final bar of soap but any beef tallow or animal fats should be listed clearly on the soap.
Some people associate “vegan” with just the dietary side of the equation but living a vegan lifestyle means avoiding ALL products that include the exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
While beeswax and honey are naturally produced by bees, soaps that include either ingredient are not vegan soaps due to the fact that humans can be seen as exploiting bees when collecting their honey and beeswax.
The potential for animal cruelty also rules out many artificial soap scents and colorants, which usually come with an unknown provenance — often made in China — and may have been tested on animals or partially derived from animal products.
Vegan Soap Shopping
With all that in mind, you’ll know what to avoid when shopping for a vegan soap: beef tallow, animal fats, beeswax, honey, and artificial scents and colorants.
The good news is that plenty of soaps fit that bill, including many of our Shafer Springs handmade soaps.
We never use beef tallow and only use natural essential oils for scents so you never have to wonder about the origin of artificial scents or colorants.
We do use raw honey in some of our soaps — it’s an excellent natural humectant for skin — but we always clearly note that on the label and ingredient list.