Want to put some extra “care” in your next self-care day? Here’s a list of skincare products you can use to care for yourself, your skin, and the ecosystem, too.
Before we get started, let’s quickly break down what it means to be “cruelty-free.” In order for a brand to be considered cruelty-free, it cannot test on animals, must ensure that its suppliers don’t test on animals, cannot commission any third parties to test on animals on their behalf, and cannot sell its products in any countries that require animal testing, such as mainland China.
If you want to be kind to your skin while supporting brands that choose to be kind to the planet, read on.
For the Face
- Make-Up Removing Cleansing Balms – Investing in a reliable cleansing balm will help remove any impurities your skin has collected since your last wash. It also reliably removes make-up – way more than traditional make-up wipes do. Versed’s Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm ($17.99) is a great vegan, non-toxic cleansing balm for all skin types. Another excellent option is the Farmacy Beauty Green Clean Make-Up Removing Cleansing Balm ($34) that’s free of parabens, formaldehydes, and synthetic fragrances as well.
- Facial Cleansers – Experts recommend following a cleansing balm with a cleanser to ensure your skin is thoroughly detoxified of environmental triggers. Dry skin types may enjoy the Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser ($15.99) as it’s pH balanced to protect your skins natural oils while hydrating with rich ingredients. Normal/Oily skin types will love the Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser by Drunk Elephant ($32), a brand that’s done wonders in popularizing ethical skincare but can be a bit pricey.
- Exfoliating Facial Scrubs – Non-abrasive, exfoliating facial scrubs are excellent for revealing a fresh surface layer of skin on your face. Derma-E’s Anti-Wrinkle Scrub ($13.75) is a gentle, creamy way to remove dead skin cells.
- Chemical Exfoliants – Alternatively, chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can naturally peel away at the skin’s surface revealing clear, smooth skin underneath layers of scarring and pigmentation. Two great options are Paula’s Choice AHA Gel Exfoliant for dry skin or 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant for normal/oily skin (both $25.07).
- Facial Serums – There is a range of facial serums that could be used to treat or prevent a myriad of skin concerns. The Ordinary has several very affordable, quality serums. Additionally, Drunk Elephant’s Time to Wake Up Duo is a fantastic combo pack with skin brightening ingredients. ($23)
- Face Masks – Face masks, like oils, can treat a variety of skin conditions. For a fun self-care mask, I’d recommend Acure’s Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Jelly Mask ($19.99) and Farmacy’s Beauty Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask ($38) are both very hydrating masks that are rich in antioxidants. Or, if you’d prefer a one-time use sheet mask, consider Acure’s Ultra Hydrating Cream Sheet Mask or No7’s Life & Luminate Triple Action Serum Boost Sheet Mask (both $5.99).
- Face Moisturizers – Of course, the most important part of any skincare routine (besides your cleanser, and if you’re leaving the house, your SPF) is your moisturizer. The Mad Hippie Face Cream ($25.99) is a fantastic everyday moisturizer, While the Farmacy Beauty Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer ($45), the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream, and Tatcha’s The Water Cream (both $68) are all richer and a bit more pricey.
- Eye Care – While from a formula standpoint, eye creams/serums aren’t that different than facial creams/serums, they’re still a fun addition for any self-care day. Acure’s Seriously Soothing Eye Serum Stick ($17.99) is the perfect self-care day staple for dry/sensitive skin because of its cool, gentle applicator. Another option is hydrogels which you can apply and leave under your eyes similar to a sheet mask. Acure’s Detox-Depuff Charcoal Lemonade Under Eye Hydrogels ($4.99) are great for combination to oily skin.
- Lip Care – Especially in the colder months, adding a lip scrub or balm to your routine may be needed to compensate for dry or cracked skin. Kopari’s Exfoliating Coconut Lip Scrub ($16) and Biossance’s Squalene + Rose Vegan Lip Balm ($18) are two excellent options for exfoliating and hydrating the lips.
For the Body
- Bath Bombs, Bubble Bars & Massages Bars – Lush was the first skincare product I ever knew of to put cruelty-free skincare at the forefront of their business. They’re also a self-care-givers dream because of how many enjoyable bath products they have, like their Intergalactic Bath Bomb ($7.95), “The Comforter” Bubble Bath Bar ($12.95) and “Hottie” Massage Bar ($12.95).
- Body Scrub – Just like exfoliating facial scrubs, body scrubs help to remove the day’s grime and impurities to reveal a fresh layer of skin. Consider Derma-E’s Purifying Daily Detox Scrub ($15.50) or Acure’s Energizing Coffee Body Scrub ($15.99) both of which are vegan, paraben-free, and sulfate-free.
- Body Oil – Body oils are great for hydrating the skin after a long bath or shower. Versed Keep It Supple Body Oil ($14.99) is a fast-absorbing option that spray right onto the skin. If you’re looking for a more luxurious option, Biossance’s Squalane + Calming Musk Body Oil ($48) offers a spa-like smell and feel in the comfort of your own home.
- Body Lotion – Of course, you can’t have a self-care day without layering up on body lotion. Drunk Elephant’s Sili Body Lotion ($20) and Dermalogica’s Body Hydrating Cream ($34) both help to relieve dryness and smooth/condition skin.