18 Cruelty-Free Skincare Brands
Over the last year I’ve almost fully transitioned into only using cruelty-free products. Every time I run out of one of my old non-cruelty-free staples, I replace it with a new cruelty-free product!
It is more difficult to transition than I expected because of 3 reasons:
Cruelty-free products are usually at least a few more dollars compared to products that test on animals.
There aren’t a ton of brands out there that are found at the usual stores I go to for beauty products (e.g. Target, CVS, etc.).
Products that say they are cruelty-free on the label often are not entirely cruelty-free… (more on that later!) and vegan doesn’t mean they don’t test on animals.
To make it easier for you to transition to a cruelty-free life, here are my favorite products and brands with some bonus tips to help you find more truly cruelty-free brands/products.
A bit about skincare:
According to Soko Glam, there is a 10-Step Korean Skincare Regime. If that sounds like too many, don’t worry, a couple of the steps are only meant to be done weekly, not daily. What are the 10-steps? 1. Oil-based cleanser 2. Water-based cleanser 3. Exfoliator 4. Toner 5. Essence 6. Serums/Treatments 7. Sheet mask 8. Eye cream 9. Moisturizer 10. Sunscreen. While you don’t have to do all 10-steps, I recommend trying it out – it’s a relaxing way to wind down before bed.
Below I list my favorite skincare brands in alphabetical order and some of the products I love!
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If you don’t know, I am allergic to sunscreen. I got a sample of COOLA in my Birch Box months ago and finally tested it out and to my surprise I am not allergic to it! It is on the pricier end for sunscreen, but is organic and PETA certified.
2. First Aid Beauty (FAB)
This is a brand I have gotten many samples from in my Ipsy Glam Bag. They have a great range of skincare and it is especially great if you have sensitive skin. They even have over 1,300 ingredients on their “no-no list”. FAB is PETA certified.
Favorite products: Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer + Ultra repair hydrating serum
Where to Buy: First Aid Beauty | Sephora | Ulta
Lumene is a Finnish brand made of Nordic ingredients like Arctic Cloudberry and Arctic Spring Water. I really love their products and Target carries them now which makes it convenient to buy. Their ingredients are sustainable sourced and vegan. Formulated without harmful chemicals.
6. The Ordinary
8. Pixi beauty
They have both makeup and skincare you can find in Target. Pixi is one of my favorite brands and I have a few different products I’ve bought from them. I actually first discovered this brand a couple years when I got a lipstick sample in my Ipsy Bag. Their skincare is really great!
Favorite products: Glow Mist + Vitamin WakeUp Mist
Where to buy: Pixi Beauty | Target
9. Sunday Riley
On the more expensive side is a great brand you skincare experts probably know – Sunday Riley. I was ecstatic the day I got samples from this brand in my Birch Box. This probably isn’t a brand I can afford to buy full-priced products from, but maybe you can! All my skincare would be Sunday Riley if it was feasible.
Another sun care brand with a wide variety of products for your skin. They even make eyeshadow with SPF in it! Supergoop is the most innovative sun care brand I’ve ever seen. They are PETA certified.
11. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s has a small selection, but the products they do have are all natural and cruelty-free. Some Trader Joe’s products are vegan, but not all of them are.
Favorite products: Rose Water Facial Toner + Lavender Salt Scrub
Where to buy: Trader Joe’s – obviously.
12. Yes To
In terms of skincare, this brand has mostly masks and cleansers. While I have never used their cleansers, I love their masks! Their products are 95% natural and they are Leaping Bunny Certified.
Other popular cruelty-free skincare brands I have not tried yet:
14. Drunk Elephant – lEAPING bUNNY cERTIFIED
Where to buy: Sephora
16. Herbivore Botanicals – Leaping Bunny and PETA certified
Where to buy: sephora
17. Nip + Fab
Where to buy: Nip + Fab
18. Ren Clean Skincare – PETA certified
Where to buy: Sephora
How to tell if a brand is cruelty-free:
This can be tricky and depends on how strict you want to be about it. There are brands that claim to be cruelty-free and put it on their packaging even though they aren’t completely – some are even PETA certified!
How can this be, you ask? For example, Aveda claims to be a cruelty-free brand and displays the PETA logo on their packaging. Aveda is actually owned by the parent company Estée Lauder which DOES test on animals. I choose not to buy from brands that I know are benefiting large parent companies that test on animals.
Another example are brands who say they do not test on animals, but sell their products in China where animal testing in mandatory. I choose not to buy from these brands because they are allowing their products to be tested on animals by selling in China.
Cruelty-Free Kitty has a long list of brands on her website where you can search to find new brands and check to see which brands test and don’t test.
Cruelty-Cutter is an app you can use to scan products and find out if they are cruelty-free. It also tells you if a brand is owned by a parent company that tests on animals. I use this all the time while shopping in stores! It doesn’t have every brand, but it has a lot!