When David Klasfeld-Whitten, CEO and creative director of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC), first created the vegan brand in 2004, it was because there was nothing else like it on the market. “While certain brands indicated what products were vegan and not, and very small and neutral collections could be found in health stores and Whole Foods, they simply didn’t meet the needs of either a professional makeup artist or a vegan consumer who wanted as many options as they would find with any other brand,” he says.
Shel Pink, founder of SpaRitual, shared a similar story. “When we first launched SpaRitual, the vegan lifestyle was very niche and lived specifically in the food category,” she says. “Now it is part of the beauty vernacular, and I see vegan beauty continuing to become more and more relevant and in demand, especially as more unique, effective, and plant-based ingredients become available for use.” According to her, veganism is on the rise as a result of more people becoming conscious of how their choices affect their health and the health of the planet. “This is the age of the rise of the enlightened consumer, and the hope is that this will eventually become the norm,” says Pink. “Being vegan is a form of activism, and more and more people are being intentional about their lifestyle choices.”
According to Klasfeld-Whitten, the future of vegan beauty is with brands that eschew potentially alarming ingredients, such as parabens, silicons, and even wheat germ, which is problematic for those looking for gluten-free products. With consumers craving authenticity, he notes that ingredient decks provide the information spa-goers need to know if a company is truly passionate about being vegan.
Also driving its popularity is the fact that consumers don’t need to sacrifice efficacy in order to be compassionate to animals and the planet. “I think people are realizing that they can garner the age-suspending results they are looking for to maintain healthy skin without using animal and animal byproduct-based ingredients,” says Jillian Wright, cofounder of the Indie Beauty Expo. “Like clean and green, there are different levels of veganism. For example, if you consider honey and royal jelly to be an animal byproduct, then you can’t use any products with honey.” According to her, it’s up to people to decide how far they want to go.
The Detox Market has been pushing for vegan beauty for a while, and it is growing along with the entire green beauty movement,” says founder and CEO Romain Gaillard. “People are becoming more conscious of the idea that being healthy isn’t just what you put in your body but also on your body.” According to Gaillard, he and his team are 100 percent committed to carrying only cruelty-free brands, those not tested on animals, at The Detox Market. “Some of our products do contain things like beeswax, honey, or silk, so not every- thing is totally vegan,” he says. “It is important to us to have an offering for those whose ethics include veganism. Vegan products have to meet the same standard as anything else we carry—outstanding ingredients with no toxic ones, beautiful packaging, passion- ate founders, and of course, they have to actually work.”
According to Gaillard, the vegan skincare options are growing everyday. “What was once super niche is now becoming a standard for a lot of brands,” says Gaillard. “My hope is that cruelty free becomes universally accepted. And I think vegans will see their choices continue to grow.”