First of all, I don’t really think Kat Von D is a vegan sell-out. Vegans seem to love criticizing other vegans. Much of the time it’s pretty ridiculous. And there’s a lot of energy wasted on it!
This video is a little late, as the Jeffree Star/Kat Von D controversy was over a couple weeks ago. But I did think that some of Kat Von D’s comments deserved a response.
Unlike most vegans, Kat Von D is in a position where she can influence a lot of people. And she’s been fairly outspoken in her support of veganism (she made a fairly epic video about the death of Cecil the Lion that provoked outrage throughout the inter webs).
Kat Von D’s hypocrisy
For the people who don’t already know, Von D manufactures a widely acclaimed eponymous line of makeup. She’s in the process of “veganizing” her collection, but her contour and eyeshadow palettes still contain animal products (specifically carmine, which is derived from crushing insects).
In her now infamous call-out video directed at Star, Kat Von D criticized him for going after “vegan dollars” by making his products vegan, since he’s not vegan himself.
I have no doubt that Star chose to make his products vegan in order to make money from vegans. But it’s hypocritical for Kat Von D to call out a non-vegan for making vegan products when she still sells products containing animal ingredients.
I’m not a fan of Star (by a long shot – his video mocking african-americans was totally inappropriate, no matter how over the top his image is). So this is not about being a fan of either party (and after doing research for this video, I think I’ll actually be buying a lot of Von D’s makeup!).
Still, this shouldn’t prevent us from seeing a problem here.
Vegans don’t take vegan makeup very seriously
Kat Von D is not alone in taking the concept of vegan makeup rather lightly. Makeup is the last thing many vegans address, when I think it should actually be one of the first.
Prominent YouTuber Kalel has been vegan for years, and just announced she would be “trying” to use vegan makeup.
I find this a bit confusing. Thanks to websites like Logical Harmony and the Ethical Elephant, it’s pretty easy to find out which makeup is vegan.
It’s also pretty affordable. Thanks to brands like E.L.F., vegan makeup is really within everyone’s budget.
Yes, it takes some extra effort. But it’s way easier to use vegan makeup than it is to refuse to eat your grandmother’s thanksgiving turkey (at least it is for me).
I’m sure part of this is because many of the animal products contained in makeup are from insects, such as honey, beeswax, carmine and royal jelly.
But some of them are not just non-vegan, they’re not even vegetarian. Collagen is found in many skin creams, and it comes from slaughtered animals (like gelatin, it’s taken from cooked connective tissues). Likewise, oleic acid is found in a lot of makeup, and it’s an animal fat derived from tallow (eww). Guanine is in tons of sparkly eyeshadows, and it’s taken from fish scales. Stearic acid is usually derived from a fatty substance found in the stomachs of pigs.
So yeah, your makeup and body products can be pretty gross (and cruel!!) while still being officially considered cruelty-free.