Unilever and Hourglass Cosmetics Collaborate for Developing a Vegan Red Lipstick


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The red lipstick that you don on Valentine’s Day gets that vibrant color from carmine, an ingredient not deemed as a vegan. Well, carmine is made by crushing small female beetles (Cruel, isn’t it?). Reportedly, one pound of carmine is made by crushing 70,000 insects. Approximately, 1,000 insects are what it takes to make one red lipstick. So to make this more eco-friendly, Hourglass Cosmetics has teamed up with Unilever to develop an alternative to carmine. Fortunately, the efforts fructified and made an insect-free patent-pending innovative product called the Red O.

According to Hourglass’s social media post, they are “Introducing Confession Red 0: a 100% vegan red lipstick formulated with our patent-pending replacement for carmine.​ Zero animal byproducts, zero insects harmed.​​” The brand is all set to launch a special red case with a beetle on the packaging. The beetle on the brand signifies the commitment of the brand to animal welfare.  The lipstick comes in the limited edition metallic crimson packaging which can be later refilled with any of the Confession lipsticks by the brand.

According to sources, lipstick was developed in three years. The brand took a detour from the usual traditional way of making the red pigment which was not an easy step. Hourglass accepts that recreating the natural “vibrancy and boldness” was difficult. However, Unilever and Hourglass Cosmetics were able to reproduce the same color intensity using animal-friendly pigments.

Founder and CEO, Hourglass, Carisa Janes, says, Creating a vegan alternative felt like an impossible feat at times, but it was such an important step.” She further added that “We need to move away from treating living beings as expendable. We’re excited to introduce the new ingredient in such an iconic shade of lipstick, a symbol of our commitment to animal welfare.”

Hourglass Cosmetics officially announced in 2017 that they intend to go 100 percent vegan by 2020. An impressive streak has been achieved by the company as all the products are now completely vegan and cruelty-free.

Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, says in a LinkedIn post, “It might have taken three years, but it’s totally worth the wait. Red 0 is sensational. Purpose and product beautifully woven together.”

Way to go, Hourglass Cosmetics and Unilever!


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