Day 14: 7/9/2013: Sharks in Your Lipstick


Today I hopped around the internet trying to figure out what cosmetic companies still use shark-based squalene in their cosmetics. Squalene comes from the livers of deep water species like the strangely beautiful green-eyed gulper shark (above) and is used as an emollient in lipsticks and lotions.  Squalene also occurs naturally in olives. But since the shark-based version requires a shorter processing time and produces a higher yield than theplant-based version, many companies prefer shark liver ingredients to the less brutal alternative.

Back in 2008, L’Oreal and Unilever, and Estee Lauder vowed to ditch the shark liver oil and use plant-based substitutes. Forgive me for doubting the word of large corporations that also conduct animal testing, but I wonder if the squalene in Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm is shark or not. (Kiehl’s was bought by L’Oreal in 2000).

These morally murky corporate takeovers are a good reason to stick to cosmetic and personal care products made by companies like Lush who recently partnered with SharkSavers even selling a limited edition Shark Fin Soap.

Chantecaille will donate  5% of sales of their Save the Sharks Palette of Eye & Cheek shades to the BLOOM Association which fights the  unregulated shark fin trade.

Today’s action: I signed a petition to ban gill nets, arranged a guest lecture featuring legendary shark expert Ralph Collier at Glendale College, and designed an assignment that asks students to track down shark ingredients in cosmetics, and even (???) energy drinks.

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