At a time when people are opting for metal straws and organically grown produce, the shift to using sustainable beauty products is also becoming more popular. We asked Darleen Sy, a vegan 22-year-old social media writer, about how she changed up her beauty routine, which products she uses, and the things to know about vegan-friendly products.
What made you decide to go vegan?
“I mainly did it for ethical reasons—documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives, research, and a visit to a slaughterhouse in Parañaque pushed me to make the lifestyle change. But now I also do it for my health and the environment.”
Can you tell us about how you transitioned to a vegan-friendly beauty routine?
“I didn’t become vegan overnight. I tried a pescatarian diet first, then a vegetarian diet, until I went full vegan and cut everything out. Everything else, including my beauty routine, only came after that. I still had a lot of non-vegan products lying around the house, so I made the choice of either using up what was left of them or giving them away instead of throwing them out.
“The hardest part about switching routines was having to let go of my go-to or ride or die products. It took time and a lot of trial and error to find a skincare regimen that worked for me, but I had to switch out some products for vegan alternatives. Another challenge I still face today is having to take the time to read each ingredient carefully and to double check if certain products are indeed vegan-friendly. I got the hang of it eventually, though, so now I know what ingredients to watch out for. Most beauty and cosmetic brands also have a page or portion under their FAQs dedicated to their vegan products, so it’s easier to identify which products I can use.”
What products can you use? Which ones do you generally avoid?
“When looking for beauty products to try, I make sure they’re both vegan-friendly (they don’t contain animal-derived ingredients) and cruelty-free (they’re not tested on animals). I also tend to choose beauty products with simple ingredients lists. Many vegans, myself included, have this rule: If you don’t know or can’t understand what an ingredient is in a product, don’t buy it. I definitely went back to the basics and found myself reaching for common products or home staples like coconut oil. I also avoid products with beeswax, carmine, glycerin (unless it’s derived from plants), lanolin, honey, keratin, and collagen.”
Can you share with us your beauty routine?
“I take my skincare seriously, so I make it a point to use products that sit well with each other. Luckily for me, I’m also into trying different skincare products to see which ones work for my skin. Here are my skincare essentials:
Makeup Remover: Coconut Oil
Intense Defense with Vitamin C Cleansing Gel, AVALON ORGANICS, Healthy Options
Vitamin E Gentle Facial Wash, P695, THE BODY SHOP, Trinoma
“I also use Alba Botanica Acnedote Deep Pore Wash and The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash when my skin isn’t at its best.
Ocean Salt, LUSH, Shangri-La Plaza Mall
Witch Hazel, DICKINSON’S, Healthy Options
Indian Healing Clay, P525, AZTEC SECRET, BeautyMNL
“Whenever my skin feels rough or I have spots, I take an aloe vera plant, cut it open, and slather the gel on affected areas. I prefer this over aloe vera-infused products because this one is 100% aloe.
Enchanted Eye Cream, LUSH, Shangri-La Plaza Mall
Argan Stem Cell Recovery Cream, ANDALOU NATURALS , Healthy Options
Sunscreen Spray, P1195, SUN BUM, Beauty Bar
Mint Julips, LUSH, Shangri-La Plaza Mall
“As for my makeup routine, a lot of the products I use are go-tos of my favorite beauty influencers. I also try makeup based on people’s collective reviews online and sites like Ethical Elephant and Logical Harmony:
Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer, NYX, SM Megamall
Born This Way Foundation, P2350, TOO FACED, Sephora.ph
Photo Focus Concealer, P399, WET N WILD, BeautyMNL
No Filter Concealer, P440, COLOURPOP, BeautyMNL
High Definition Undereye Setting Powder, E.L.F., Watsons
Stay Matte Poreless Powder (Refill Only), P399, ELLANA COSMETICS, Landmark Trinoma
MegaGlo Contouring Palette, WET N WILD, Watsons
Baked Blush in Luminoso, P499, MILANI, BeautyMNL
Pure Nude Highlighter, ESSENCE, BeautyMNL
Super Shock Shadows (note that not all shades are vegan), COLOURPOP, BeautyMNL
Color Icon Eyeshadow 10-Pan Palette in Comfort Zone, P499, WET N WILD, BeautyMNL
ProLine Felt Tip Eyeliner, P410, WET N WILD, BeautyMNL
Tattoo Liner, P1223, KAT VON D, Sephora.ph
MegaLength Mascara, WET N WILD, BeautyMNL
Better Than Sex Mascara, P1349, TOO FACED, Sephora.ph
Micro Brow Pencil, P650, NYX, SM Megamall
Clear Brow & Lash Mascara Gel, E.L.F., Watsons
Photo Focus Setting Spray, P490, WET N WILD, BeautyMNL
“I get my makeup brushes from Wet n Wild, Real Techniques, EcoTools, and Ellana Cosmetics.
“For my lips, I use items from Colourpop’s Ultra Glossy, Lippie Stix, Ultra Satin, and Ultra Matte collections. Most of the brand’s products are vegan, but some aren’t.
“I get most of my shower and grooming essentials from Healthy Options. Some brands I use are Zero Basics, Giovanni, Nature’s Gate, A LA MAISON, and Alba Botanica. I also do oil pulling with coconut oil and use toothpaste powder from Nullalava.”
Are there any myths about vegan-friendly products that you would like to debunk?
“People think that vegan-friendly products aren’t effective or don’t work as well, which isn’t true. There’s also this common misconception that 'vegan-friendly' is synonymous to 'cruelty-free.' While it’s great that many people are becoming more aware of how products are sourced and made, I personally think it’s also important for people to recognize that, yes, it might not be tested on animals, but it can contain animal ingredients and by-products.”
Would you say changing up your routine was easy?
“I’d say so. I didn’t really have a hard time because a lot of the products I use are accessible. I’m also blessed to have skin that doesn’t require too much maintenance, though there are moments when some products aren’t compatible with my sensitive skin. I found that making the switch to vegan products was less risky than trying new non-vegan products that might just end up giving me a break out.”