An interesting article has recently appeared in "Cosmetic Design Europe" that cosmetic and personal care carrying vegan claims are definitely on trend these days, highlighted by a daily deluge of new product launches carrying animal-friendly labels, worldwide.
The vegan lifestyle is an advance on the vegetarian lifestyle and does not only include diet but may also clothing, furnishings, car seats - indeed anything relating to daily life. There are what may be perceived as downsides in that with a vegan diet, there is a need to ensure adequate intake of things such as Vitamin B12, some long-chain fatty acids (n-3 Polyunsaturated fat - essential for cardiovascular health and some eye and brain functions), Vitamin D, Iron and Zinc.
(Source: Health effects of vegan diets Winston J Craig The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 89, Issue 5, 1 May 2009, Pages 1627S–1633S )
A good way of explaining and learning about the vegan lifestyle may be found at vegan.com where the vegan style is summarised as follows:
"A vegan lifestyle prevents a tremendous amount of animal slaughter and suffering. It offers a potent way to shrink our environmental footprint, especially in regard to climate change. And a well-planned vegan diet can fuel the highest levels of fitness, while reducing our risk of various chronic diseases. Plus, the food is insanely delicious and it becomes more widely available every year."
With regard to many cosmetics, however, these are de facto vegan in that there are often no animal extracts used in their manufacture. That said, all use chemical compounds of one sort or another. The use of the phrase "chemical compounds" is not in itself an issue; after all, most of the constituent parts of plants, indeed of everything around us, are themselves, chemical compounds. Glycerol or Glycerine is a widely used product in food and cosmetics which has a chemical formula. Carbohydrates have a chemical formula as does magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron, and phyto-chemicals - all have chemical formulas.
The question does come in as to where the use of the "vegan" tag on cosmetics (or should one say: "vegan-friendly") is used as being a genuine indicator of no use of animal by-products and where is it used as yet another marketing trick to "enhance" the price of any given product?