We humans are obsessed with personal hygiene and a life without our favorite cleaning products is nothing less than a nightmare. Our fascination with cleanliness has been commodified by companies, which are leaving no stone unturned in luring us with unlimited attractive products. The market is brimming with various kinds of soaps, shower gels, shampoos, handwashes etc. With so much on offer, consumers are spoilt for choice!
However, when it comes to vegans, they often complain of having far fewer options in personal care due to their abstinence from animal-derived ingredients. They have to look for vegan-friendly and cruelty-free products in a sea of products, thus, limiting their options. Buying a product as common as soap becomes difficult in the absence of clear labelling and inadequate information mentioned on these products.
What makes soaps non-vegan?
Soaps are made using a process known as saponification. The addition of a chemical known as “lye”, which is a stronger base typically in the state of sodium hydroxide, is required. Without going into great detail, the chemical process involves the lye cleaving the ester bonds of the fats (animal or vegetable) employed, releasing the fatty acid salts or soap.
Therefore, depending on the ingredients used to manufacture them, soaps can be vegan friendly or not. Substances such as animal fats, derivatives of animal fats (like glycerine and stearic acid), and beeswax are used by most companies to create soaps.
Some soaps are non-vegan because of specific animal-derived ingredients, while others may not contain animal products but have palm oil or have been tested on animals – neither of which is acceptable to most vegans.
As previously stated, the fats employed in soap manufacturing can come from both plant and animal sources. The problem is that many soaps do not state whether they use animal or plant fats and oils in their ingredients or packaging.
The most ubiquitous cause for a soap product being undesirable for vegans is that it contains animal fats or other components (like honey for fragrance, etc). As a result, we try to take the cautious approach that if a soap isn’t specifically indicated to be vegan friendly, it’s best to avoid it.
It is not difficult for companies to manufacture vegan soap; all they have to do is replace animal fats with plant-based fats (such as olive oil or coconut oil). While animal fats are less expensive, soap makers are now slowly catching on the ethically conscious customers, who are inclined to purchase and be assured that no animals are hurt in the process of cleaning their hands.
Aside from animal fats and other animal-derived substances, some soaps are considered problematic for vegans because they have been tested on animals or are manufactured by companies that do so frequently. Obviously, such a company will not publicize this fact on its packaging, but companies that do not test on animals (and never have) are more likely to do so, making it simpler for vegans.
To narrow down your search, here is a list of 9 brands that manufacture vegan soaps and other bath products as well:
Earthy Sapo by Sheetal Kabra is an entirely handcrafted brand. Their soaps are made with natural Ingredients, are organic and not tested on animals. The products are chemical-free, palm oil-free and are amazing for your hands and body.
Iremia soaps are a great choice for vegans. They are a 100% percent pure and animal cruelty free. Most of their soaps are vegan, barring a few that contain honey. These soaps have no animal fats and are free from preservatives. They use all-natural ingredients and are great for your hands!
Rustic Art is an organic and natural personal and home care brand that believes in sustainable manufacturing and sustainable lifestyle. All the products are cruelty free and vegan.
Started in 2010 in a small warehouse, Rustic Art now has its own production unit powered by solar energy. It’s a zero liquid discharge unit, and all its effluents are treated and used for gardening in the company premises. There are so many good reasons to buy from them!
Soulflower claims to be the first Indian Farm to Face Beauty Brand, bringing you cruelty-free, preservative-free, high efficacy soaps and bath products. The brand utilizes organic ingredients to elevate your natural beauty! They work for the pursuit of environmental sustainability and their packaging is environmentally friendly. All their soaps are 100% vegan.
Omved Therapies choose natural, organic and cruelly free and sustainable manufacturing of their soaps and other products. Each and every ingredient used in their products is not only chemical-free, natural and hand-crafted but also fair-trade, made in India and biodegradable. They truly live by their motto NATURAL . VEGAN . CONSCIOUS.
Neev Herbal Handmade Soaps was started in 2007 as a rural women’s enterprise in Village Hurlung of Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. All Neev products are made from vegetable oils and purest essential oils. The ingredients are either grown in-house or sourced from farmers and institutions working with farmers. Many indigenous oils and ingredients such as Mahua oil are used in its products.
Medimix soaps are entirely vegan and cruelty free. They do not contain any ingredients from animal sources. They do not utilize any animal derived substances in its manufacturing of the products. The soaps are not tested on animals in India or abroad.
All Nykaa inhouse products such as Nykaa soaps are cruelty free and vegan. For finding vegan products on Nykaa, mark your preference under filters and find all vegan products and brands.
The brand Himalaya Herbals is against animal testing. Their soaps have no animal derived ingredients, except their almond & honey soap. Most products produced by Himalaya are vegan with a few exceptions.
Please note: Although the team has made sure that all information mentioned above is accurate but please use own discretion when buying from a brand that is not 100% vegan.