According to the bible, “humans have been given dominion over fish of the sea and birds of the heavens”.

This sentiment may have been viable in early times, but a different scenario now exists.

However, the “plumage trade” has roots as far back as a thousand years when rich, fashionable ladies had an adoration of plumage for their hats and skirts, scouring the markets of London to come upon a much-valued ostrich or exotic owl feather. Death of creatures was of no consequence.

The cosmetic industry took quite a turn in 1933 when a purchaser of mascara went blind.

What followed was precautions and regulations set in place, but the sickening usage is alive and well today. Not only insects, but animal derivatives find their way into cosmetics.

Tallow is a form of fat that can be harvested from euthanized carcasses and from expired meat in slaughterhouses.

The perfume industry may be insufficiently controlled, as musk is a much-needed component from the Musk deer, carmine is milked from the glands of civet cats, and at one time much controversy exploded with the knowledge that a vital substance Ambergris was obtained from the vomit of whales.

Glucosamine can be extracted from the bone marrow of chickens and hyaluronic acid from the head combs of roosters.

The smaller creatures did not escape the harvesting either… Others such as bees supply honey and beeswax, cochineal a red colouring from crushed beetles, and snail slime an excellent exfoliator.

Guanine relates to fish scales for a shimmering effect, much used in nail enamels and eye shadows. Collagen, elastin and estrogen are vitally important to the industry & can be derived from


In conclusion, in South Africa, the department of health regulates food, cosmetics, and disinfectants.  It will be interesting to know about the ethics related to animal testing.

However, there are a number of brands that proudly manufacture with the slogan “minus animal inclusions and testing” and Matsimela is proudly one of these.