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The vegan skincare ingredients you need this summer

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With long, sunny days to enjoy the great outdoors, summer can be the best of times for radiant health. But for your skin? It can be the worst of times.

Basking in the hot sun or cooling off in air conditioning can leave your skin dry—even in humid weather—not to mention red and inflamed. And, as the mercury rises, the extra sweat you work up can mix with oil and bacteria, clogging pores and saddling you with breakouts.

For relief, stock up on the vegan, cruelty-free, natural skincare ingredients that’ll be sizzling hot this season.

Pineapple

This luscious tropical fruit is loaded with bromelain, an enzyme that can slough off dead skin cells, as well as vitamin C that fights free radicals and boosts collagen. Try pineapple face washes and masks for a healthy summer glow.

Cactus

Skin feeling as dry as the desert? Find a moisturizing oasis in scrubs, masks and balms infused with ingredients extracted from cacti, including hydrating cactus water and prickly pear seed oil, which is rich in fatty acids that help skin retain moisture.

Blue tansy

If your skin is red as a lobster, make it happy as a clam with blue tansy. The essential oil derived from this flower gets its azure hue from a compound called azulene, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties, making blue tansy a soothing addition to night oils and lip/face balms. Blue tansy essential oil has a few contraindications; speak with your health care practitioner to determine if it’s right for you.

Squalane

Squalane is a natural part of your skin’s sebum (oils) and helps prevent moisture loss, so it’s a super-natural way to maximize skin softness. Look for squalane derived from plant sources like olive oil and sugarcane (avoid the stuff from shark liver!) in eye creams, body washes and lotions.

Witch hazel

This centuries-old skin remedy has come back into vogue in toners, facial mists and men’s aftershave balms. Its astringent properties fight acne breakouts, and its anti-inflammatory properties cool overheated skin and may diminish sun damage.

Probiotics

Your summer skin could use some bugs—but not the creepy, crawly kind! We’re talking “good” bacteria, aka probiotics. Vegan-friendly cleansers, moisturizers and face washes containing beneficial bacteria help balance your skin’s ecosystem, preventing breakouts and inflammation and even treating damage from UV rays.

Next-gen natural sunscreens

Natural, mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are generally safer than chemical sunscreens (which contain ingredients like oxybenzone, known to disrupt hormone production and harm marine life)—and the good news is you no longer have to suffer mineral sunscreens’ white, chalky residue. Some of the latest versions contain refined zinc oxide particles that are small enough to appear clear when applied to skin, but not so small that they can penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream. Others add tints or neon colors that you’ll actually want to stay put. Either way, you’re covered!

Ingredients to watch for

If you’re new to vegan beauty, here are five ingredients you’ll want to avoid or source carefully to keep your make-me-pretty products plant based.

Allantoin

This skin-conditioning agent can be derived from either plants or animals, so make sure to ask or read labels.

Carmine

This pigment, derived from red beetles, is widely used in natural lip products. Alternatives include beet juice.

Emu oil

Alternatives to this non-vegan moisturizing ingredient include vegetable and plant oils.

Lanolin

This moisturizing agent is sourced from sheep’s wool—and again, plant-based oils can easily be used instead. You might also be interested to know that many natural vitamin D supplements are sourced from lanolin, though vegan alternatives are available.

Glycerin

This common ingredient can either be sourced from animal fat or vegetables. When in doubt, ask the company.

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