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Products you didn’t know weren’t vegan

Animal products (or byproducts) are present in so many products and food that we’re not aware of, and we might even be consuming things without even realizing that we’re breaking our own morals. 

Tattoo ink

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks about what goes into the dye in people’s skin. The dyes used for tattoo making are made from burnt animal bones! Of course, there are vegan options, you just have to make sure to ask your tattoo artist for confirmation. 

Plastic bags

Apart from being terrible for the environment, plastic bags contain slipping agents made from animal fat to reduce static in the material. Tote bags are a lot more eco-friendly and definitely vegan! 


Most drugstore brands of toothpaste such as Colgate, Crest, and Oral-B contain glycerin, to help stop it from drying out. This glycerin is usually taken from animal fats! A great alternative is Davids, a high-quality organic and vegan toothpaste. 

vegan toothpaste

Sweets & Chewing Gum

Many sweets, candy, and chocolate often contain gelatine. Gelatine is produced from various animal parts, including the skin. Sometimes you can also find stearic acid, which is derived from animal fat! You should also know that all sweets (and all other food and drinks) that are bright red could contain carmine, which comes from crushed beetles. 

Shampoo and conditioner

Both of these might contain lecithin, which is taken from animal sources or dairy. There are plenty of vegan alternatives available if you are looking for some. Our favourites are from Revival, and you can get them here

  • Paintballs

Who would have thought that balls of paint wouldn’t be vegan? However, most paintballs contain gelatin! 

Wine and Beer 

Making wine and beer might seem pretty straightforward, but it’s actually a very elaborate process. Some wines and beers are clarified with fish bladders, bone marrow, casein, and gelatin. You can learn if your favorite alcohol is vegan over here.

vegan alcohol

“Sustainable” toothbrushes

Sustainability is a double-edged sword, since it sometimes allows manufacturers to use animal products to make them more easily biodegradable. This is why many “sustainable” toothbrushes use bristles made out of pig hair. If you’re looking for vegan-friendly options, we have our very own bamboo toothbrushes! 

Playing cards

This one might be surprising to many people! Cards are sometimes coated with stearic acid to make them smoother and reduce static, so they can ‘fan’ easier.


It won’t be surprising to many people that candles may contain beeswax. Once again, it’s seen as more eco-friendly than paraffin, but it’s also very harmful to bees! Soy wax candles are the best alternative for both the environment and the animals. You can check out our all-natural vegan candles over here.

vegan candle


Sugar might not come as a surprise to most weathered vegans, but starters might not be aware of how controversial sugar is. In some countries (including the US) white sugar is filtered using bone char, which comes from animal bones. 


  • Animal glue: Aside from the obvious leather and suede, a lot of shoes use animal-derived glue. This is a lot trickier to avoid, but there are some options out there if you do some research.
  • Wool: Many people might be confused about why it is an unethical product – don’t sheep need shearing? Since most sheep shearers are paid in correlation to how quickly they work, sheep are often brutally manhandled. 
  • Silk: This luxury fabric is made from a type of caterpillar of the moth Bombyx Mori, commonly known as a silkworm.
  • Leather patches on jeans: Denim should be fine, right? However, even jeans —which are made predominantly from cotton— can be ruined by an unnecessary leather patch on the waistband.
  • Buttons and decoration made from bone or horn: Many high end clothes (usually coats) have buttons made from horn or shell. They can easily be overlooked and are very unlikely to be mentioned on any label, so the only way to be safe is to ask the manufacturer!


The down, which is the layer of fine feathers under a bird’s outer feathers, is commonly used in both pillows and duvets. Synthetic products are many times just as luxurious —and are often cheaper— as well as being better for people with allergies. 


Most expensive razors have a ‘moisture strip’ to make shaving more comfortable, but these often use glycerin from animal fat! Our favorite option is Hanni’s weighted razor:

It’s also important to have retailers you trust and who can introduce you to new vegan products! At Not to Die For we want to help you find vegan and eco-friendly alternatives. Check out our shop to learn more about our products and bundles!

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