The role of sharks in your favorite lipstick
About 50 shark species are being killed for this one ingredient
Dec 4, 2017
Would you believe me if I say that a shark was killed for your favorite lipstick? Unless you’re committed to using cruelty-free products, you can see this ingredient on the tube’s packaging hiding behind a different name: squalene.
Squalene is a natural antioxidant derived from shark liver oil and has been a popular addition to many beauty products because of its moisturizing properties. It reduces wrinkles, eliminates scars, reverses sun damage, and erases hyperpigmentation.
These majestic sea creatures are being hunted and killed for their liver oil, along with many other things. Dr. AA Yaptinchay, director of the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (MWWP), said in an interview with Inquirer.net that aside from the meat and fins taken for consumption, parts like cartilage, gill rakers, teeth, and jaws are also being used to produce different products.
“Any use of products containing shark parts and by-products means a shark has died, and not just an individual but many individuals,” said Yaptinchay. “Considering that these fisheries are not managed and regulated means they are not sustainable.”
MWWP, Save Philippine Seas, PAWS, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines, Conservation International, and Oceana Philippines are all members of the Save Sharks Network Philippines, an “informal group of NGOs” that are working together for shark conservation and fisheries management through campaigns and government lobbying. They recently launched the “Pating, Saan ka Parating?”, the 2020 Conservation Roadmap for Sharks and Rays in the Philippines. You can sign the petition here.
The Philippines has the second greatest biodiversity of sharks in Southeast Asia, and fourth all over the world.
As for beauty junkies, don’t fret as there are animal-friendly alternatives. Non-shark squalene can be made synthetically or extracted from vegetable sources like amaranth seed, olives, palm oil, rice bran, and wheat germ. You can always go cruelty-free and check the labels for plant-derived or vegetable-based products.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash