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What is it?

“Animal fats and oils are lipid materials derived from animals. Physically, oils are liquid at room temperature, and fats are solid. Chemically, both fats and oils are composed of triglycerides. Although many animal parts and secretions may yield oil, in commercial practice, oil is extracted primarily from rendered tissue fats obtained from livestock animals like pigs, chickens and cows.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

Animal fat is not vegan; the fat used in cosmetics is often a by product obtained from animals slaughtered for their meat. Around 50% of a slaughtered animal usually becomes meat and the rest is commonly turned into animal by products, including cosmetic ingredients.

The animals that the fat is taken from include all of those that normally can be found in the supermarket meat counter; chicken, cattle (beef), hogs (pork), and sheep (mutton).The method of removing the fat from the various body parts is most commonly dry- or wet rendering.

These are some examples of rendered animal fat used in products:


Fat rendered from organs and internal fat of cattle or sheep, and sometimes also hogs. There are 2 versions; edible tallow or oleo-stock (also called premier jus).


The organisation Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describe lard as “Fat from hog abdomens”.

Chicken fat

Fat from processing and rendering chicken.

Caul fat

Also known as Lace fat, this fat surrounds the internal organs of some animals.

How is it used?

Animal fat functions primarily as conditioning and emulsifying agents in cosmetic products*. The fat can be found as a standalone ingredient, for example tallow, or in a derivative form, for example tallow glyceride. However, nowadays there are many other more stable vegetable raw materials that are more commonly used in cosmetics instead of animal fats. When using vegetable fats instead of animal fats (which can have an uncertain and uncontrollable composition) the batch will reportedly get more consistent in color, appearance and odor.

Animal fat can be found in cosmetic products such as shaving creams, shampoos, skin care products, foundations, lipsticks, eye makeup, soaps, etc.

Different types of animal fat are also common to find in all kinds of foods and baked goods. Other products where animal fat is found are plastic bags, crayons, candles, tires, and (somewhat controversial) in pound notes.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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