10 Things You Didn’t Know Aren’t Usually Vegan

by Emilie B

When people think of making plant-based or vegan choices, their mind immediately jumps to food. While this is a good place to start, there are vegan choices to be made well beyond the plate. Find out some of the most surprising products that aren't usually vegan!

1. Beer & Wine

Don't panic! This is only the case for some beers and wines, usually the ones running on the cheaper side. You might know that alcoholic beverages are often filtered to make them clearer and more enjoyable to drink. One of the processes involved in clarifying some wines and beers uses an ingredient called isinglass, which is a fish derivative. The more expensive alternatives are often also more natural. For example, some wineries will use clay to refine wine at this stage. Unfiltered beers like Hazy IPAs are more likely to be vegan - just make sure to check for other additives like honey or milk!

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Isinglass
  • Casein
  • Albumin
  • Gelatin

2. Sugar

You've read that right! Refined sugars use animal bone char in the process to achieve the desired colour. This process does not impact the taste of the sugar and is mostly cosmetic. It's best to check directly on the company website to find out if it is safe for vegans or not. Many vegan sugars are available for purchase online and in your local stores.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Animal Bone Char

3. Gummies and Marshmallows

You might be familiar with gelatin, a common ingredient in jellos, marshmallows and gummy candies. Well, this ingredient is made up of animal derivatives. For this reason, it's best to avoid gummies altogether when they handed out for free at events. Keep a mental list of brands that use pectin or agar-agar instead of gelatin, as these ingredients are vegan-friendly.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Gelatin

4. Condoms and Dental Dams

Yes, we went there! Safe sex is super important and condoms/dental dams are a great way for all parties involved to prevent transmission of STIs. It's important to note that lambskin condoms and latex condoms/dental dams with casein are not vegan. There are many alternatives out there that are in fact vegan friendly! These brands usually make it very clear on their site that they are free of casein and animal testing.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Casein
  • Lambskin

5. Vitamins

Trying to up your vitamin game without harming animals? Keep an eye out for gelatin capsules when purchasing your supplements. A wonderful alternative is vegetable capsules, which many brands seem to be adopting and proudly displaying on their packaging.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Gelatin

6. Tattoos

Surprise, surprise... The ink used for permanent tattoos can include animal and insect products and byproducts that increase pigment, change texture or modify the colour of the ink. Of course, when choosing a tattoo artist, the first criteria is often style and skill. If your preferred tattoo artist doesn't explicitly state that they use vegan ink, you can always request it. Many are super accommodating and will try to source vegan ink for your tat.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Gelatin
  • Glycerin
  • Bone char
  • Insects like beetles

7. Car Tires

Stearic acid is an ingredient derived from animal fats that is found in most car tires. Do not despair, as there is a rumour going around claiming that Michelin, the French company, uses plant-derived stearic acid in its tires. Investigate this when you are due for a new set of tires for your car or bicycle.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Stearic acid

8. Haircuts

Truthfully, we may be exaggerating this claim. Technically, haircuts are in fact vegan. It's the shampoos and products used at your favourite salon that may not be. It is fairly well-known that beauty care products are often tested on animals and contain animal ingredients, but most people forget that this also applies to products used at salons during haircuts. Thankfully, so many hairdressers and salons are shifting to more natural products. A quick call ahead can confirm that their products are in fact suitable for vegans. And if they aren't, you can always wash your hair at home before your appointment! (This saves you money too)

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Biotin
  • Gelatin
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Keratin
  • Etc
There are so many, so it's best to look for the "Vegan" label, and also make sure that it is free of animal testing.

9. Gum

Stop your chewing! Did you know that most gum contains gelatin? As you have learned from reading above, it is another pesky animal derivative. Plus, most dentists would agree that chewing gum is bad for your jaw and teeth. So, why bother?

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Gelatin

10. Mattresses

That brings us to the end of our list folks, where we saved the best for last. So many people come to us exclaiming profound surprise when we tell them that Haven Sleep Co sells plant-based mattresses. Most people don't realize that the mattress they are sleeping on may not be vegan-approved. In fact, many mattresses use animal byproducts in the adhesives holding the foam layers together, and luxury mattresses often use ingredients such as wool, silk, feathers and horse hair.

Ingredients to watch out for: 
  • Animal byproduct-based adhesives
  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Feathers
  • Horse hair

Haven Sleep Co is proud to have designed mattresses that are luxurious, safe, and without harming animals in the process. Our mattresses are made with soy-based foams and water-based food grade adhesives. In fact, we donate mattresses to animal sanctuaries so that pigs like Esther the Wonder Pig can have a restful night's sleep. Funny enough, Esther likes to occasionally snack on her mattress. Good thing they are plant-based and natural!

Esther the Wonderpig