We’ve been a certified vegan brand since our inception in 2017 and it’s always been a core pillar to BYBI. Why? Well firstly, Dominika and I believe that there’s really no place for animal by-products in skincare products. The same high performance efficacy can be achieved using vegan alternatives, it just takes a little research to find them. So why involve any animals if it’s not needed (especially as some of the animal products used in skincare are actually just a bit gross. Shark’s liver, anyone)? Secondly, our customers and community (i.e. YOU guys) made it clear from the off that vegan ingredients were really important to you. We get daily messages enquiring into our vegan and cruelty-free status and that’s clearly because we live in a world where these values are super important. So we made it our mission to always be a 100% vegan brand.
So how do we achieve this?
Vegan switches in skincare are actually pretty easy to make, you just have to look in the right places! Before launching BYBI, the two of us spent a huge amount of time researching ingredients to understand which ingredients were not vegan, why they were used and if we could source alternatives that performed the same function in product formulation. This is something that our NPD team continue to do as they formulate in our lab in central London and we stay close to suppliers to be the first to know about innovative vegan options.
What are some of the key switches we make?
A true vegan knows that ingredients produced by our furry little bumble bee friends, such as honey and beeswax, are not vegan. Beeswax is a commonly used ingredient in skincare, most widely used in balms due to its creamy consistency that can harden to form the thicker texture of a balm. We knew that in our products like our Babe Balm, a wax would be essential so set to work finding an alternative in fruit wax derived from berries that achieves the same great consistency.
Lanolin is a naturally occurring oil found and extracted from sheep’s wool. Kind of like a fat that the sheep secrete (bit weird I know). It’s widely used for its emollient properties, meaning it traps and locks in moisture so is great for the treatment of very dry, flakey, dehydrated or sensitive skin (it’s often used as a nipple cream for new mums for example). Emollient properties are super useful in skincare that’s designed for those drier skin conditions, but can be achieved by a number of other natural ingredients. We love butters such as mango and shea, used in products like Babe Balm, Night Nutrition and C-Caf, to help achieve that hydration lock.
Squalane is a silky smooth oil derived from olives, but more traditionally in beauty history was actually once derived from the liver of a shark. Less common now, you can still occasionally find it on the shelves but a key differentiator between the vegan and non-vegan form is the name - squalene = non-vegan, squalane = vegan.
Retinol aka vitamin A, the queen of the “anti-ageing” ingredients, has long been used in skincare for its amazing collagen boosting properties. However, it is very often animal-derived when used in your beauty products so it involves some digging around to find a vegan-sourced product. Our Bakuchiol Booster is a natural, vegan alternative to retinol that helps to achieve similar skin results but is totally vegan and also doesn’t come with some of the harsh side effects that retinol can carry.
Again, derived from bees means honey is a no-go for vegans! It’s often used in beauty as it’s a fabulous humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture to the skin so is perfect for dry or dehydrated complexions. There are plenty of other vegan humectants that we love to use at BYBI to achieve a similar effect; hyaluronic acid (found in Mega Mist, Eye Plump and Bright Eyed), aloe vera (found in many BYBI products including Milk Melt, Mega Mist, Eye Plump and Bright Eyed) and vegetable glycerin (found in many BYBI products including Clean Hands).
Oh, and another thing. Cruelty-free doesn’t always equate vegan either. Cruelty-free just means that the products haven’t been tested on animals, not that the product doesn’t contain animal derived ingredients. If you’re unsure whether your favourite skincare products are vegan, then always check the inci and ask the brand directly. Pressure from customers has more power than you know, trust us!
So, if you’re thinking about trying Veganuary, why not start with your skincare?
Written by Elsie, BYBI Co-Founder