Unilever Launches Hourglass Vegan Red Lipstick

Hourglass Cosmetics recently launched Confession Refillable Lipstick Red 0, which is a red lipstick shade made with vegan carmine. The brand worked with Unilever for the last three years to develop a vegan alternative to carmine—an ingredient used in cosmetics and foods for its red coloring. 

Carmine is made from cochineal beetles. It requires crushing the upper bodies of 70,000 of these bugs to make one pound of carmine. Hourglass’s new bug-free shade retails at $40 and comes in a limited-edition case with ornaments as a cochineal beetle to tribute the unnecessary slaughtering of this beetle in the name of beauty. 

You need up to 1,000 crushed beetles to make one tube of lipstick, a fact that Hourglass founder and CEO Carisa Janes disliked very much.

“Learning about the carmine extraction process really struck a chord in me. These insects are bred, dried, crushed, and boiled—all to make the red pigment used in a typical tube of lipstick,”

“I knew there had to be a better way, one that doesn’t treat living beings as expendable. I knew it was going to be challenging given that carmine has been used for centuries in everything from beauty products to paint to food, but it was an important step for us in our journey to becoming fully vegan.”

Hourglass founder and CEO Carisa Janes

In 2017, Hourglass committed to becoming a fully vegan and cruelty-free brand. They called upon ingredient innovators to help it find suitable replacements for the beeswax, lanolin (a wax secreted from animals used for wool), and carmine.

In addition to Red 0, the brand currently offers a variety of vegan products, including lipsticks, eye shadows, cleansers, and makeup brushes. 

Hourglass Cosmetics works in partnership with the Nonhuman Rights Project to donate a portion of its profits to help the animal-rights organization fight for legal protections for nonhuman animals.


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