what oil is not vegan

What Oil is Not Vegan? Discover Non-Vegan Oils Explained

As the vegan lifestyle grows in popularity, more people are becoming aware of the animal products hidden in everyday items. While we might think of animal products in terms of meat, dairy, and eggs, there are many other common items that can contain animal-derived ingredients. One such item is oil.

In this article, we will explore the topic of non-vegan oils and what makes them unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle. We will also delve into plant-based oils that are vegan-friendly and alternatives to animal-derived oils that can be used in cooking, skincare, and other applications. So, if you’re wondering what oil is not vegan, read on to find out.

What are Non-vegan Oils?

Non-vegan oils are typically derived from animal products, making them unsuitable for those following a vegan or cruelty-free lifestyle. These oils can be found in a variety of applications, from cooking to skincare, and it is essential to know which are vegan-friendly alternatives.

Common non-vegan oils include:

Fish oilExtracted from the tissue of fatty fish such as salmon or cod.
LardRendered from pig fat.
TallowRendered from beef or mutton fat.
Emu oilExtracted from the fat of the emu bird.
GlycerineOften sourced from animal fats, although it can also be derived from plants or made synthetically.

It’s important to note that not all animal-derived oils are non-vegan. For example, beeswax and honey are derived from bees, but some vegans still consider them to be acceptable for consumption or use in skincare products as they are produced by bees without harming them. However, many vegans avoid these products due to ethical concerns surrounding their production and harvesting.

Plant-based Oils as Vegan-friendly Alternatives

Vegan-friendly alternatives to non-vegan oils include plant-based oils. These oils are extracted from the seeds or fruits of plants and are cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Some examples of plant-based oils include:

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Avocado oil

These oils are widely available and can be used for a variety of applications, from cooking to skincare.

“Using plant-based oils is not only beneficial for your health, but it’s also better for the planet and supports cruelty-free practices.”

If you’re unsure whether an oil is vegan-friendly, it’s always best to research the product and its production methods to ensure its vegan status.

Oils Derived from Animals

While many oils are derived from plants and are suitable for vegan diets, there are several oils that come from animals and are therefore not vegan. These oils are commonly used in cooking and skincare products, making it important for those on a vegan diet to be aware of their origins.

Oils Derived from Fish

Fish oils, such as cod liver oil and shark liver oil, are common ingredients in supplements and skincare products due to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. However, as they are derived from fish, they are not suitable for vegans. Instead, plant-based alternatives such as flaxseed oil and chia seed oil can be used as a vegan-friendly source of omega-3s.

Bone and Marrow Oils

Bone and marrow oils, such as tallow and lard, are derived from the fat of animals and are commonly used in cooking, especially in traditional cuisines. These oils are not suitable for vegans, but there are plant-based alternatives, such as coconut oil and vegetable oil, that can be used as substitutes in cooking.

Emu Oil

Emu oil is derived from the fat of the emu bird and is commonly used in skincare products due to its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. As it is derived from an animal, it is not vegan. However, there are many plant-based alternatives, such as almond oil and jojoba oil, that offer similar benefits and are suitable for vegans.

It is important for those following a vegan lifestyle to be aware of the origin of the oils they use in cooking and skincare. By choosing vegan-friendly alternatives, individuals can support their beliefs while still enjoying the benefits of oils in their daily routine.

Why are Some Oils Non-Vegan?

Non-vegan oils are oils that are derived from animals, and therefore, are not suitable for vegans or those following a plant-based lifestyle. The production of non-vegan oils can often involve animal cruelty and exploitation, which is why they are deemed unsuitable for those who care about animal welfare.

Some oils like fish oil, cod liver oil, and emu oil are derived from animals, making them non-vegan. These oils are often used in supplements and skincare, regardless of the fact that they are not vegan.

Why are Some Oils Non-Vegan?

The primary reason behind some oils being non-vegan is the process involved in their production. Oils derived from animals require the killing or exploitation of animals such as fish, emus, and cows, which goes against the vegan philosophy of avoiding the use of animal-based products. Additionally, the production process of non-vegan oils involves environmental degradation and pollution.

For those who follow a vegan lifestyle, non-vegan oils are considered unethical and unsustainable, which is why they prefer to opt for plant-based and cruelty-free alternatives.

Plant-based Oils

Plant-based oils are a great alternative for vegans who want to avoid using oils derived from animals. These oils are extracted from various seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, making them vegan-friendly and suitable for use in cooking, skincare, and other applications.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the most popular plant-based oils used in cooking and skincare. Although it is derived from olives, which are a plant, there is some debate around whether or not it is truly vegan. Some argue that the harvesting process can involve harm to insects and small animals, while others contend that it is a vegan-friendly option.

Ultimately, the decision to use olive oil as a vegan is a personal one. If you are comfortable using it, look for high-quality, organic options that are produced in an ethical and sustainable way.

Other Plant-based Oils

Aside from olive oil, there are a variety of other plant-based oils that are commonly used in cooking and skincare. Some popular options include:

Coconut oilCoconutsCooking, skincare, haircare
Avocado oilAvocadosCooking, skincare, haircare
Almond oilAlmondsSkincare, haircare
Jojoba oilJojoba plantSkincare, haircare
Grapeseed oilGrapeseedsCooking, skincare, haircare

When using plant-based oils, it’s important to choose high-quality options that are produced in an ethical and sustainable way. Additionally, be mindful of any allergies or sensitivities you may have, and always follow proper storage and cooking guidelines to ensure safety and freshness.

Plant-based Oils

Plant-based oils are a great vegan-friendly alternative to animal-derived oils. These oils are extracted from various plants and seeds and can be used for cooking, skincare, and other applications. Here are some of the most popular plant-based oils:

Olive oilPressed from olives
Coconut oilExtracted from coconut flesh
Avocado oilPressed from the flesh of avocados
Sunflower oilExtracted from sunflower seeds

Plant-based oils are not only vegan-friendly but also offer a range of health benefits. For example, olive oil is a good source of healthy fats and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides and has been linked to weight loss and improved brain function.

When using plant-based oils, it’s important to choose high-quality, unrefined oils and avoid refined or highly processed options. Look for oils that are cold-pressed and organic to ensure they are free from harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Olive Oil and Veganism

Olive oil is a widely used ingredient in cooking and skincare, and its vegan status is a subject of debate among those following a vegan lifestyle. While most olive oil is vegan-friendly, some people argue that the refining process used to extract the oil may involve the use of animal products.

However, it is essential to note that this is not the case for all olive oil, and many brands explicitly state that their products are suitable for vegans. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil, which is widely considered the highest quality, is typically produced through a simple mechanical process that does not involve animal products.

Ultimately, the decision to use olive oil is a personal one, and those following a vegan lifestyle should do their research and choose a brand that aligns with their values.

Other Plant-based Oils

In addition to olive oil, there are many other plant-based oils that are vegan-friendly and commonly used in cooking and skincare.

Coconut oil is a popular choice for both cooking and skincare. It is high in healthy saturated fats and has a unique flavour that pairs well with sweet and savoury dishes.

Avocado oil is another healthy option that is rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and antioxidants. It has a mild flavour and can be used for high-heat cooking or as a nutritious salad dressing.

OilSmoke Point (°C)
Coconut oil177
Avocado oil271

Flaxseed oil, also known as linseed oil, is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and is often used in salad dressings or as a nutritional supplement. However, it has a low smoke point and should not be used for high-heat cooking.

Grapeseed oil is a light and neutral-tasting oil that is suitable for high-heat cooking due to its high smoke point. It is also commonly used in skincare products.

When choosing plant-based oils, it is important to consider their smoke point and suitability for different types of cooking or skincare applications. It is also important to choose oils that are minimally processed and free from additives or chemicals.

Animal-derived Oils in Skincare

Many skincare products contain oils that are derived from animals, such as lanolin (from sheep wool), beeswax, and tallow (from cows or sheep). These ingredients are often used for their moisturizing properties and can be found in products such as lip balms, moisturizers, and body lotions.

However, for those following a vegan lifestyle, using products with animal-derived oils can be a challenge. Not only are these ingredients not cruelty-free, but they can also be a source of ethical concern.

If you are looking to avoid animal-derived oils in your skincare routine, there are plenty of cruelty-free alternatives available. Many plant-based oils, such as almond, coconut, and jojoba oil, offer similar moisturizing benefits without the use of animal products.

It is important to note that not all natural oils are vegan-friendly, as some may be harvested in ways that are harmful to animals or the environment. When shopping for skincare products, look for ones that are certified vegan or cruelty-free to ensure that they meet your ethical standards.

Cooking with Non-Vegan Oils

For those who follow a vegan lifestyle, cooking with non-vegan oils can be a challenge. However, it is still possible to prepare delicious meals while sticking to your ethical principles. Here are some tips for cooking with non-vegan oils:

Know Your Oils

First and foremost, it’s important to know which oils are non-vegan and to avoid them. Some common non-vegan oils include fish oil, lard, and tallow. Plant-based oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are great vegan alternatives that can be used in most recipes.

Check Food Labels

When buying pre-made or packaged foods, it’s important to check the ingredients carefully to ensure they do not contain any non-vegan oils. Many processed foods contain hidden non-vegan ingredients, so always check the labels before purchasing.

Experiment with Different Flavours

Experimenting with different plant-based oils can add a new dimension of flavour to your cooking. For example, coconut oil adds a subtle sweetness while sesame oil adds a nutty flavour to stir-fries and other Asian-style dishes.

Use Non-Stick Cookware

Using non-stick cookware can help reduce the amount of oil needed in recipes. This is especially helpful when using oils that are higher in calories, such as olive oil.

Be Mindful of Smoke Points

When using high-heat cooking methods such as frying, it’s important to choose an oil with a high smoke point to avoid producing harmful smoke and losing the oil’s nutritional value. Oils with high smoke points include avocado oil and peanut oil.

With a bit of experimentation and mindfulness, cooking with non-vegan oils can be done while still adhering to a vegan lifestyle. Remember to always check labels, be mindful of smoke points, and experiment with different plant-based oil flavours to create delicious, vegan-friendly meals.

Switching to Vegan Oils

Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle can be challenging, especially when it comes to making changes in your diet and skincare routine. However, switching to vegan oils is a great way to start your journey towards a cruelty-free life. Here are some practical tips on how to make the switch:

  1. Research vegan-friendly oils: Before making any purchases, research vegan-friendly oils that can be used in place of non-vegan oils. Some great plant-based options include coconut oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil.
  2. Check labels: Always check the labels on oils before buying them to ensure they are vegan-friendly and free from animal products.
  3. Start small: Making a complete switch to vegan oils may seem daunting, so start small. Try using a vegan-friendly oil in one meal or in one aspect of your skincare routine.
  4. Explore new recipes: Experiment with new recipes that use vegan oils. You may discover new flavours that you love!
  5. Learn to substitute: If a recipe calls for a non-vegan oil, learn to substitute it with a vegan-friendly alternative. Olive oil, for example, can be substituted with avocado oil for cooking.
  6. Invest in quality: Investing in high-quality vegan oils can make a big difference in the taste of your food and the effectiveness of your skincare routine.

Making the switch to vegan oils may take time and effort, but it is a crucial step towards a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle. By following these tips, you can make the transition smoother and more manageable.


What are some common animal-derived oils used in cooking and skincare?

Some examples of non-vegan oils include tallow, lard, and fish oils, which are commonly used in cooking. In skincare, animal-derived oils such as lanolin and beeswax are often used.

Can I still use non-vegan oils if I am following a vegan lifestyle?

It is up to each individual to decide whether they want to use non-vegan oils or not. However, if you are following a vegan lifestyle, it is important to be aware of the origin of the oils you are using and to choose vegan-friendly alternatives whenever possible.

Is olive oil vegan?

The debate around whether or not olive oil is truly vegan is ongoing. While olive oil itself is derived solely from olives, it is often processed using animal products such as gelatin and bone char. Some vegans choose to avoid olive oil for this reason, while others believe that the processing does not detract from its vegan status.

What are some vegan-friendly alternatives to animal-derived oils?

There are many vegan-friendly alternatives to non-vegan oils, including plant-based oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil. For cooking, vegetable broth or water can be used as a substitute for animal-derived fats such as butter or lard.

What should I look for when choosing skincare products that do not contain animal-derived oils?

When choosing skincare products, look for those that are labelled as vegan or cruelty-free. Check the ingredients list carefully to ensure that there are no animal-derived oils or other animal products present. Some common vegan-friendly oils used in skincare include jojoba oil, rosehip oil, and argan oil.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top