Is Beeswax Vegan?

The principles of vegetarianism are well understood, but the principles of veganism are sometimes cloudy. Beeswax is a classic example of this: is it vegetarian or is it vegan? We lift the lid on beeswax and ethics.

The ingredients lists on cosmetics can be confusing. Firstly, they're written in a different language, the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI). Once you've conquered the naming system, the lists are so teeny-tiny that you may find yourself in need of an optometrist.

After you've succeeded on both parts, there are the certification stamps:

There's almost too much information to process when screening cosmetics.


Is beeswax vegan?


If a lip balm contains beeswax, is the product vegan-friendly?

If you're using or interested in a product like Burt's Bees Ultra-Conditioning Lip Balm, you're probably well aware that beeswax is an ingredient. But you may be wondering if beeswax is okay for vegans to use.

Like vegetarians, vegans don't consume any animal flesh. However, vegans go one step further by not consuming or using animal-derived products, animal-made products, or animal by-products. So which category does beeswax fall under?

Animal-derived products and animal by-products

Sometimes, animals are specifically killed to obtain specific ingredients, as is the case with harvesting shark livers for squalene. Other times, animal by-products are obtained after an animal is slaughtered for food. The by-products are essentially the leftovers. Examples of animal by-products include:

  • Hyaluronic acid: derived from rooster combs
  • Collagen: taken from chicken feet
  • Elastin: sourced from cows
  • Keratin: extracted from ground-up animal hooves, quills, and hair

Some of these ingredients may be found in vegan-friendly products, as scientists have found other ways to derive them. Squalene, for example, can also be created from olives. Hyaluronic acid may also be created from biofermentation of a certain bacteria.

It's important to know whether such ingredients were sourced from animals or otherwise. If you don't know, then eliminating these ingredients altogether is the first step to choosing vegan-friendly cosmetics.

Is beeswax vegan?


Animal-made products

Some ingredients are made naturally by animals during their life cycle. The animal isn't killed to obtain the ingredients. Common animal products used in skincare include:

  • Honey
  • Beeswax
  • Lanolin: the natural wax found in sheep wool
  • Royal jelly: an excretion of worker bees used to feed future queen bees

Vegans believe that although animals aren't killed to harvest these ingredients, their habitat and resources are diminished. A thriving colony of bees may eventually die off if the harvesting process is not performed sustainably. You can see that beeswax isn't vegan.

When shopping for vegan lip balms, switching out beeswax for vegetable-based alternatives such as candelilla wax is easy to do. Simply switch from Burt's Bees to a brand like Hurraw!.

With 11 flavours to choose from, Hurraw! offers a lip balm for every occasion and every taste. Some of our favourites include:

For a complete list of animal derivatives and by-products found in many cosmetics, visit PETA's animal ingredients list. It's the perfect page to bookmark to ensure all your future purchases are vegan-friendly.


Is beeswax vegan?