A Whole Bunch of Things You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't

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It’s difficult to know what’s really in your shopping trolley. Sure you know what products are in the trolley but do you really know what’s in the products? Does anyone really know what’s in shampoo or razors or even glue? All things you probably use every day but have probably had never heard of the ingredients on the back. Do you know if it’s vegan? Companies try every possible way to cut costs and you’d be shocked to know how many things at home are made with animal products. I’m talking fish bladders, horse hooves, crushed insects and bones. If you’re like us, you won’t want to be supporting these products so we’ve put together a whole bunch of things at home you thought were vegan but aren’t.

Wait, wait, wait

We’re not just going to tell you a whole bunch of things at home that aren’t vegan without giving you some alternatives. In this article we’ll tell you all the things to avoid and tried and tested ethical alternatives and tips to make sure you’re shopping trolley is cruelty free.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren’t


This sticky stuff is in a whole bunch of things besides the Pritt Stick in your drawer. It’s holding your shoes together, it’s used in furniture and in LOTS of arts and crafts. For some reason many glues contain isinglass, a substance derived from fish bladders and animal remains (commonly cow, pig or horse). How do they even come up with these things?

Fear not, not all glues use animal products but just to be safe Elmer’s Glue is completely vegan and you can check them out here.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
A sticky situation…


What a way to spoil such a beautiful moment, ey? Unfortunately most condoms on the market are made using the milk protein casein. Casein is generally taken from cows milk but can also be taken from sheep or goats etc. We’re not saying don’t use condoms (we won’t be held accountable for any unplanned pregnancies) just make sure it’s vegan

Mycondom has a huge selection of vegan condoms so you can make sweet vegan love and have a clear conscience.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Don’t be silly, put a vegan condom on your willy!

Paint, Art Supplies & Crayons

Arts and crafts sessions might not be as friendly as you think they are. A huge number of art supplies contain animal products like gelatin, rabbit skin, bone char, beeswax, animal hair and cochineal (made from crushed insects). Thankfully a lot of arty types are also animal lovers and there’s a huge vegan range available. To check these vegan friendly art products take a look at this article from Vegan Womble.

(Note. Vegan Womble is the shizz nizz for all things vegan!)

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Loads of vegan art supplies are available!

Shampoo & Conditioner

It’s thick, shiny, smells of angels and makes your hair soft and silky but you could you name any of the ingredients in shampoo? One common ingredient is lecithin, this is used to used to repair damaged hair but is normally taken from animal or dairy products. Bet you don’t think of that when you see a head and shoulders advert?

Luckily, many cosmetics and toiletries are starting to use the vegan stamp so it’s easy to spot on your shop. If you want to find out about more vegan shampoos and see what’s on offer then take a look here.

READ MORE: Simple Swaps to a Zero Waste Bathroom

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Look at those long, luscious locks

Tattoo Ink

It was quite an awkward moment when I told the person with a vegan tattoo that most tattoo ink isn’t vegan. It’s not like it’s permanent or anything…

Tattoo ink can actually contain a huge variety of animal products like animal fat, bone char, gelatin and shellac (taken from the female lac bug). Unless specifically stated, most studios will use animal-based inks so make sure you ask. Nowadays there are lots of great companies making vegan inks and incredible vegan artists. You can check them all out in this article from the Vegan Society.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Let’s all get vegan tattoos!

Chewing Gum

When I was young I was told that chewing gum was made out of whale fat and I’ve only recently found out that this isn’t true. Although the whales are safe some gums can have a gelatin coating, use cochineal food colouring (these guys have a hard time) and also stearic acid which can be sourced from animals.

The guys at Urban Vegan have gone to town a reviewed a whole bunch of vegan gums so you can find the one for you.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
So it’s not made from whale fat?


Well, for most of you this probably isn’t an everyday item but it turns out paintballs aren’t vegan. All the pain you experience when you’re shot by a paintball is from a hard gelatin coating on the outside. Perhaps it’s karma for using these animal products? Despite our best effort at Veggie Vagabonds we’re not aware of any vegan paintball brands. You’re just going to have to stop shooting each other.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Can you feel the karma hitting you in the face?


If you’re buying the cheap disposable razors you might be safe but if you’re a high flyer then you better watch out! That soft waxy strip above the razor blades is commonly made from glycerin which can be taken from animal fat. It can be quite difficult to find ingredients on some cosmetic brands but Honesty Cosmetics has a MASSIVE cruelty free selection. They sell Preserve Razors which are not only vegan but also 100% recycled!

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Vegan and recycled, perfect!

Nail Polish

We’ve got bad news and good news. Bad news – there’s a whole list of crazy animal products that could be in your nail polish (Carmine, fish scales and oleic acid for starters). Good news – there are now loads of brands with cruelty-free nail polish. It can sometimes be hard to find ingredients on the bottles so best to check online. To get you going here is 101 cruelty free makeup brands, that’s a lot of makeup.

Also, PETA is the Holy Grail for all you’re vegan needs and have loads of useful vegan articles. Here’s their selection of vegan nail polish brands.

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Go for cruelty free cosmetics!

Vitamins & Tablets

When you’re popping pills it can be easy to forget what’s in them besides the main ingredients. Pharmaceutical companies are notoriously cruel to animals so it’s no surprise that a lot of vitamins and tablets have gelatin coatings along with other possible animal ingredients. Most health shops can advise which products are vegan and Ethical Superstore has a brilliant selection of supplements, vitamins and all other vegan goods. 

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren't
Pill poppin’

A Whole Bunch of Things at Home You Thought Were Vegan but Aren’t

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  1. Hey guys, great post! Noticed something I wanted to point out though. I’m a tattooer and can confirm that almost all tattoo ink used today IS vegan. I’ve known a few guys who tattoo with Talens Drawing Ink (not technically a tattoo ink but people have been using it forever) which isn’t vegan, but aside from that I think it’s near impossible to find non-vegan inks.

  2. Thanks for filling us in. Is this a more recent change? The article was written a few years ago and so it’s brilliant to see things progress. Will update!

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