Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ask Kaylin: What is pregan makeup?

While some consider me a natural beauty "expert," there are still some strange and baffling terms. One of them is "pregan." Even I had to look this one up! Read on for my definition.

Kaylin, what does "pregan" mean? Is it vegan?

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical professional or licensed esthetician. Please consult your dermatologist or allergist before following any advice in this post.

"Pregan" typically refers to products that were acquired before you went vegan, and typically have non-vegan ingredients in them. I believe the word is a combination of "pre" and "vegan," so it is probably pronounced like "vegan" not like "pregnant."

What types of products are typically "pregan"? Many expensive makeup brushes are made with animal hair, pink and red-toned blushes and lip colors are often made with carmine, and many creamy products contain beeswax. If you're just starting on the cruelty-free bandwagon, you might have to reexamine almost everything. Check out my article on the 5 Most Common Non-Vegan Ingredients for ideas.

Most of us don't throw out our entire beauty bags the moment we become vegan, but what do you do if you have a stockpile of lips balms with beeswax that you bought on clearance? Should you refuse to use them altogether once you're "official," for fear of being a traitor to the cause? That's a moral issue, and once which you must decide for yourself. However, I do have some recommendations.

First, buy vegan from now on. Don't beat yourself up over the past. Just focus on making the best choices you can going forward.

Some ideas for your pregan products:
  • Use up any opened products. Unless your products are expired or you're experiencing an allergy, consider using up a product you are already using. It is expensive and often wasteful to throw out makeup that contains animal products, and it's my belief that it is better to honor the animal by using it up until it expires or is gone.
  • Give them away to friends and/or family. This typically works better with unopened products, but you can give them away one by one, assemble them into a beauty box or basket, or even use them as stocking stuffers. If you are close with your friends and family, you can ask them about using opened products, but I recommend reviewing my brush cleaning tips and my post on makeup sanitization first.
  • Return unopened products. If you bought a product recently, you can often return it with a receipt. Most stores will accept unopened merchandise within a certain window, and a few accept opened products as well.
  • Give unopened products away to charities. Homeless shelters, womens' shelters, and even some food shelfs are always looking for body care items, in particular, such as soap and shampoo. If you have a stockpile of animal-tested hotel shampoos that are unopened, this is the perfect outlet. 
  • Many expensive brushes are made with animal hair. Look for
    cruelty-free options. Check out my favorites here and here.
  • Dispose of them mindfully. If you can't bear to use it and can't find a good home, or if it's expired, it might be time to let it go. Clean out any unused product and look for recycling symbols. If none are available, take the packaging to an Origins store or counter for recycling.
You may also want to check out my related article, Building a Natural Makeup Collection on a Budget for more tips.

If it really bothers you to see animal ingredients in products, remember that you can also write to the company to ask for vegan products, or a ban on animal testing. Saying "I used your toothpaste for 10 years until I discovered your company has tested on animals" is a lot stronger than just boycotting the company one day. PETA has tips for writing letters, if you're interested.

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