You want to help make the world a better place, but you also want smooth, silky skin.
Cruelty-free moisturizer may seem like a no-brainer, but how do you know whether what you’re getting is truly cruelty-free?
Don’t worry! We’ve got a host of tips and tricks to help keep you and your animal friends safe.
What Does “Cruelty-Free” Mean?
When you see cruelty-free moisturizer or bath products, that ideally means the brand does not test its products or ingredients on animals.
You may be imagining a pig with lipstick on being observed by scientists who are trying to decide whether it looks good or not. This isn’t quite how it works.
During lab testing, bath and beauty products are often applied onto animals to determine how harsh and irritating they are to the skin.
In the case of moisturizer, harsh chemicals may be added for a variety of reasons, some of which are:
- To preserve the product and increase shelf-life
- To add fragrance or color to the product using synthetic fragrances and dyes
- To make your moisturizer feel light
- To help your product lather
Because many of these additives are purely aesthetic and do nothing to help your skin, your best bet is to look for cruelty-free moisturizer.
Why Should You Use Cruelty-Free Moisturizer?
Cruelty-free moisturizing products are not only better for our furry friends. In most cases, it’s safer for you, too. That’s because cruelty-free brands tend to use all-natural and non-toxic ingredients, such as natural preservatives and essential oils for fragrance.
Brands that go out of their way to avoid animal testing tend to use safer alternatives. Here are some of the best products and brands keeping the environment and your health in mind.
10 Great Cruelty-Free Moisturizer Brands
When shopping for the best moisturizer for your skin care regiment, it really comes down to your skin type. To help you navigate the wide array of products on the market, we’ve categorized some of the most popular animal-friendly and all-natural moisturizers on the market.
Good For All Skin Types
Public Goods’ no-nonsense face moisturizer is cruelty-free and vegan. Designed to go on light, this fast-absorbing moisturizer is effective for all skin types. Reviews praise this product for the fact that it’s non-greasy. Naturally fragranced and with a soft, cotton-powder feel, you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive this wonderful daily moisturizer is. It’s effective for all skin types, whether you have dry, oily or combination skin.
For the sustainable and health-conscious container, this face moisturizer ticks all of the boxes. It’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free, has no parabens or sulfates, and includes natural fragrance that evokes an aroma of fresh rain, citrus and floral. Compared to most other cruelty-free products in this range of quality, Public Goods Facial Moisturizer is also incredibly affordable.
With a perfect blend of antioxidants and peptides, Mad Hippie’s cruelty-free face cream is a nourishing concoction fit for all skin types. Aloe vera soothes and calms the skin while argan and coconut oil penetrates deeply to hydrate. Coenzyme Q10, niacinamide and Syn-Tacks work to fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
For Dry Skin
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Hydrating Moisturizer
Shea Moisture is another great company for those looking for sustainably produced moisturizers and other cosmetic products. All of their products are ethically sourced from Ghana through fair trade and women-run businesses.
This Shea Butter Hydrating Moisturizer is a face moisturizer that hydrates and reinvigorates dull or dry skin. It’s infused with frankincense and myrrh extracts that reduce inflammation and heal dry skin. Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamin A, which is helpful in the fight against fine lines and wrinkles. The formulation boosts collagen production and blood circulation, providing some anti-aging properties as well.
If you want a night cream that will help make your dry skin brighter overnight, look for a moisturizer like Avalon Organics Brilliant Balance Ultimate Night Cream. Containing lavender oil, cucumber and prebiotics, this product relieves lines and wrinkles while also providing a calming effect that will soothe you sleep.
It has no parabens, no phthalates, no GMOs and is completely vegan. According to Avalon Organics, after two weeks of daily use, 83% of users reported having brighter skin while 89% of users reported smoother skin.
FAB’s Skin Rescue Mattifying Gel Moisturizer is completely cruelty and animal-free. With ingredients like antioxidant-rich salicornia herbacea and protective ceramide 3, this vegan moisturizer is ideal for those dealing with sensitive skin. It’s oil-free and reduces breakouts. For those of us with oily skin, ingredients zinc and lecithin decrease sebum production for perfectly hydrated skin.
For those with oily or acne-prone skin, it’s important to find a product that is oil-free and gentle on your face. One of the best-sellers from Andalou. Its Clear Skin Acai + Kombucha Oil-Free Moisturizer contains nourishing ingredients like argan stem cells, acai berry and kombucha probiotics. Meanwhile aloe vera polysaccharides provide hydration to the skin, creating a clear and balanced complexion without any oil.
One of the most established moisturizer brands out there is Mario Badescu, a New York City-based company that specializes in skin care products of all types. One popular option for sensitive skin is their Aloe Moisturizer SPF 15, a formula that provides broad-spectrum sun protection and soothing hydration to the skin.
When it comes to sensitive skin, certain fragrances and essential oils can irritate your face and body. MuLondon’s Fragrance-Free Moisturiser is a rich balm made with shea and coconut butter, jojoba oil, and rosemary antioxidant. It can be used as a face cream or body moisturizer, day or night, making it one of the most versatile options on our list. Formulated with all organic ingredients, this product has no preservatives or animal by-products, nor is it animal tested.
If your goal is to rejuvenate your skin and fight the signs of aging, you’ll want a good night cream to freshen up your face while you sleep. Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream by Acure is a great cruelty-free option. The ingredients include multi-peptides, ferulic acid and vitamin C, all of which serve to soothe and hydrate the skin. Aside from this night cream, Acure also has other eco-friendly options like day creams, all-day moisturizers and face masks.
Infused with vitamin E and avocado oil, this age renewal moisturizing cream by JASON is another earth-friendly option that is both non-GMO and contains no animal by-products. Over time, this plant-based cream softens and smoothens the skin, giving the user more spry looking skin. The infusion of vitamin E, sunflower oil and avocado oil work to moisturize the skin and restore elasticity and resilience.
What to Look for When Shopping for Cruelty-Free Moisturizer?
Of course, there are many other brands making cruelty-free moisturizer products aside those we’ve listed. If you want to conduct your own search for the best choice regarding your skin and personal preference, here’s what you should look for on the product label:
Much like the term “organic,” there is no set standard of what “cruelty-free” really means. Fortunately, some brands go out of their way, submitting to testing and a whole lot of money, to let their customers know their ethical stance.
Here are some logos to look for on your cruelty-free moisturizer, or you can search these online databases.
Leaping Bunny is by far the gold standard in cruelty-free certifications — and at an international level. Brands that achieve the Leaping Bunny certification have made a pledge to not use any ingredient or formulation that is tested on animals. Furthermore, they must be approved by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) and implement a plan for supplier monitoring for their ingredients. In fact, there’s much more to it, which you can read here.
Bunnies Without Borders is PETA’s cruelty-free certification. Unlike the strict guidelines of Leaping Bunny, Bunnies Without Borders only requires a brand to make a pledge stating that they do not use products, formulations or ingredients tested on animals.
An independent organization based out of Australia, Choose Cruelty-Free offers a certification for companies who want to show that they don’t test on animals.
Often, you can find a “no-list” of ingredients on a brand’s website. Ingredients on “no-lists” are known to cause adverse reactions and be tough on skin, so cruelty-free moisturizer brands steer clear of them from the get-go.
Ingredients to Avoid
Below, you’ll find ingredients that are almost never used in cruelty-free moisturizer:
- Alcohols – Used to add that weightless feeling to bath and beauty products, alcohol is known to dry out your skin, taking your skin’s natural oils with it.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate – Used to help bath products lather, SLS/SLES is a harsh detergent that can be extra damaging to sensitive skin.
- Synthetic Fragrances – The Food & Drug Administration [FDA] does not currently require manufacturers to list all the chemicals that go into their fragrances. The number of these chemicals can be in the hundreds to create one fragrance.
- Phthalates – Often found in synthetic fragrances, phthalates are alternatively used to melt PVC pipe — certainly not something you want in your moisturizer!
- Synthetic Colors and Dyes – That brightly colored moisturizer you’re using might contain dyes that are coal tar or petroleum-based. These ingredients are known to be comedogenic (pore-clogging) and harsh on skin that is sensitive.
It’s important to mention that brands can achieve a cruelty-free certification even if they’re owned by a parent company that practices animal testing. If you want to support truly cruelty-free brands, go the extra mile by researching whether or not parent companies also meet your standards.
Lastly, China actually requires animal testing for its products. So, if you want a cruelty-free moisturizer, you should probably avoid products manufactured or distributed in China.
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