Cruelty Free and Vegan Skincare Favourites

Over the past year or so, my obsession with skincare has grown immensely, almost to the point where I love sitting at my vanity before bed, applying serums and oils, more than I love putting on my makeup in the morning. It just feels kind of luxurious, okay? When I started buying and testing new skincare products, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about ingredients or whether or not they were cruelty free, but I simply bought what had good reviews and sounded like it would give me magical glowy skin. But after trying and loving a couple newer indie brands that were marketing as being vegan, cruelty free, and using clean ingredients, I started realizing that there was no need to use products that were unethical, when there were amazing products on the market that cause no harm to innocent animals. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite cruelty free and vegan skincare products, and talk a bit about my current favourite brands that are doing great things in an industry that is full of unnecessary cruelty, and an abundance of waste. While some of the brands I talk about in this post are not fully vegan at this time, they are all brands that I believe are doing great things for the beauty industry. All of the brands mentioned below are cruelty free, and each specific product mentioned is vegan.

In order for a brand to be able to call themselves cruelty free, their products and ingredients must not be tested on animals during any stage in the product development process, they must not allow animal testing through third parties, and they must not sell their products in any countries where animal testing is required by law. This is mainly an issue for brands that sell products in Mainland China, where the law requires all international products to be tested on animals before they are allowed to be sold there. So even if a brand is completely vegan and does not test on animals in the production process, they cannot be certified as cruelty free if they choose to retail in China. This is the case for a fairly large number of popular brands, which is super unfortunate for those who do not want to support unethical brands. Many brands that are certified cruelty free will display one of these official logos on their packaging to make it clear and easy to know right away that the product was not tested on animals.crueltyfree-bunny-logos.gif

(source: Ethical Elephant )


Here are some of the brands and products I’ve been using! I’ve marked the ones I’m particularly passionate about with some (!!!) just so you can feel my excitement through the screen.

Youth To The People

  • Cruelty free
  • Vegan
  • Family owned, based in California
  • Products made in small batches with consciously sourced ingredients
  • Products I’ve loved:
    • Superfood Cleanser (Kale, Green Tea, Spinach, + Vitamins)
      • A gentle daily cleanser that is leaves my skin feeling truly clean. I use it after removing my makeup, as it is not intended to be a remover.
    • Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream
      • A creamy day/night moisturizer, great for dry and sensitive skin.
      • Adaptogens are a group of herbs and mushrooms that have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicine to support the body’s natural ability to deal with stressors, and they’re in this moisturizer!
    • Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask (!!!)
      • An overnight mask that contains a ton of superfoods and vitamins, such as vitamin C! It is sooo hydrating and makes the skin look bright and plump in the morning.
    • Superfood Firm + Brighten Serum
      • Brightens and plumps, with peptides, antioxidants, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. I used this serum in the morning primarily!
    • Superfood Peptide Eye Cream
      • Hydrates, and keeps under-eyes healthy with collagen boosting and anti-aging peptides


Farmacy Beauty

  • Cruelty free
  • Primarily vegan, with some products containing organic beeswax and honey
  • Ingredients are sustainably sourced from local organic farms – “Farm to face”
  • Environmentally friendly – packaging and labels are made using naturally renewable materials, and their jars are recyclable (remove the labels first!)
  • Products I’ve loved:
    • Green Clean Makeup Removing Balm (!!!)
      • This is one of my favourite products I own – the balm melts to an oil as it’s massaged it into the skin, melting away all my makeup so easily. It feels so gentle on my skin, and leaves feeling so clean, that I often don’t even feel like I need to use another cleanser after. It contains plant oils, turmeric, and papaya extract which acts as a very subtle exfoliator. And it also doesn’t make my skin feel dried out like some other makeup removers I’ve used in the past.


The Ordinary

  • Cruelty free
  • Vegetarian (do not use animal oils/”anything that involves killing animals”) and primarily vegan (product guide indicates whether each products is vegan or not).
  • Very affordable
  • This company is so cool because they take a very scientific approach in how they market their products. Their website is so informative and they have a goal of educating consumers about skincare and what each formula does for the skin, and which products work best together chemically. They tell you what step to use each product in your regimen, and which products to avoid using at the same time. Honestly, I feel like a scientist after reading their website in detail.
  • I love that The Ordinary is so clear about their ingredients, and that they encourage consumers to learn about the science behind common skincare product ingredients. I feel like I learned a lot from their website and it has helped me in choosing products from them and as well as from other brands, knowing when I am paying too much for what the product actually is.
  • Products I’ve tried:
    • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
      • Use after cleansing to help with texture, uneven tone, and dullness.
      • I personally cannot use this product during the winter, as my skin is naturally more on the dry side, and toners tend to be quite drying. So if you are more oily or have acne prone skin, this may be better for you! I still loved it in the summer when I initially purchased it!
    • Lactic Acid 10% + HA
      • Exfoliating peeling solution for evening use before oils/serums
      • For uneven tone, texture, and fine lines
      • Note: this increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so make sure you use a good SPF while you are using this product!
    • Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
      • Use after cleansing on blemish prone skin. I do not have issues with acne, so I do not use this all over my face – it dries me out sooo bad. BUT I use it as a spot treatment when I have blemishes, and it seems to dry them up pretty quickly! Salicylic Acid is found in almost all products marketed for acne-prone skin – and many of them cost at least triple the price of this little jar of pure solution.
    • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
      • A moisturizing and repairing serum for day and night use, before applying oils/creams. I use this product at least once a day!
    • “B” Oil
      • Daily support for dehydration, uneven tone, and irritation)
      • Micro algae, squalene, plant oils, antioxidants
    • 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil (!!!)
      • Fights dehydration, dullness, aging.
    • Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
      • Derivative of vitamin C, which is great for dullness, uneven tone, and aging, while also having brightening benefits.
      • I highly recommend reading the website’s vitamin C guide – it’s VERY informative!


Juice Beauty

  • Cruelty free
  • Primarily vegan – a few products contain sustainably sourced organic beeswax and honey, but the company is aiming to become fully vegan!
  • Environmentally conscious – they have taken huge steps to decrease their carbon footprint and I think it’s super cool!
    • They purchase only from local organic farms, many of which operate using solar and wind power
    • Packaging: 1/3 of their products come in recyclable glass rather than plastic, and for the rest, they use recycled plastic from the US rather than shipping from other countries. Their boxes are made from recycled materials, and they use soy ink on packaging.
    • Even their headquarters is sustainably run, using primarily solar power, utilizing secondhand and re-purposed furniture and appliances, and they have also shifted to new materials in their production warehouse that cut their carbon footprint drastically!
  • Honestly after researching this brand more, I want to try so many more of their products because I love what they stand for.
  • Products I’ve loved:
    • SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer
      • This daily moisturizer is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients, and it’s super hydrating. Also SPF is a musttttt for protecting your skin from the sun and to stay looking young!
      • When applying, it feels quite thick, and leaves a white cast for a few seconds because it is a mineral sunscreen. I find that the white cast goes away as it soaks in, and I put foundation over it anyway!
      • Reef safe – formulated without chemical SPF ingredients such as oxybenzone, which is banned in Hawaii and Florida because it is very damaging to coral reefs 😦
      • It smells like fruit loops and I just think that’s a bonus.
    • SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
      • Water resistant mineral sunscreen containing plant extracts and vitamins C and E
      • Reef safe – formulated without chemical SPF ingredients such as oxybenzone, which is banned in Hawaii and Florida because it is very damaging to coral reefs 😦


Saturday Skin

  • Cruelty free
  • Vegan
  • Made with natural ingredients that encourage skin’s natural renewal process
  • Products I’ve loved:
    • Waterfall Glacier Water Cream (!!!)
      • Alaska glacier water rich in minerals, amino acids, and plant extracts
      • I’ve never loved a moisturizer like I love this one. Just when I thought I knew what love felt like, Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream came into my life and swept me off my feet. I use it almost every night, and my skin feels as soft as a baby’s butt in the morning. Big fan.
    • Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream
      • date seed extract (antioxidant), avocado protein extract (hydration), and peptides (promotes skin renewal)
      • This eye cream is super lightweight, and is more of a water base than a cream, but it feels so hydrating! I use it as my morning eye cream because it is so light.


Isle of Paradise

  • Cruelty Free
  • Vegan
  • Clean, organic ingredients
  • This company is solely about self-tanning products, and I’m including this with skincare because self-tanning is the safe choice when it comes to getting some colour!
  • I love what this company stands for – they celebrate all shapes, sizes, colours, genders, and abilities, using the slogan “Own your glow”. They preach body acceptance, confidence, and celebrating our differences, and I just think it’s great.
  • Products I’ve loved:
    • Self Tanning Drops
      • These concentrated tanning drops can be added to any moisturizer, for face and body. I typically just use them on my face and blend down my neck!
      • The level of tan you achieve is customizable depending on the amount you mix in – I typically mix in 2-3 drops of the dark shade to cover my face, or about 5 drops of the medium shade. I usually use it at night mixed in with my moisturizer, and it develops overnight!


Bite Beauty

  • Cruelty free
  • Vegan
  • Clean, ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients
  • Products I’ve loved:
    • Agave+ Intensive Lip Mask
      • If I’m being fully honest, I only just started using this product. My absolute favourite lip product for almost a year has been the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, but while doing my research for this post, I discovered that while Laneige is fully vegan and does not test on animals during production, they do, in fact, sell their products in Mainland China. For this reason, they are not a cruelty free brand, as they value that extra monetary value over their ethical belief system, and that just won’t do. And what are the odds that I happened to get a mini size of this Bite Beauty lip mask in my Sephora order that came that same day?? That’s what I call fate. And so far I’m really liking it! It’s thicker than the one I’m used to using, but it’s so hydrating and I love putting it on before bed!



That’s all! I thought I’d summarize by sharing my current skincare routine, in the order that I use each product!


  • SerumThe Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution (vitamin C + brightening)
  • Eye Cream: Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream
  • Moisturizer: Primarily Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer, alternating with Youth To The People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream (for days that I’m not exposed to much sun) (*Note: do not mix oils or serums into your SPF, as it will cause it to be much less effective. Instead, apply the SPF, let it soak in for a couple minutes, THEN apply your makeup, or oil, if you’re like me.)
  • Oil: alternate between The Ordinary “B” Oil and 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil. (*Yes, I’m aware that it’s a bit crazy to put oil on my face before makeup, but trust me when I say that a bitch is DRY in the winter. Also I’m obsessed with dewy skin and I like when I look a little sweaty tbh. I don’t find that my makeup is affected by this step – it stays in place all day!)
  • Lip Care: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (I use that shizzzz 24/7, not just for sleeping) – BUT currently on the market for a new lightweight, cruelty free lip product for day time 😦
  • Makeup! (sometimes I mix a couple drops of oil in my foundation instead of applying it on its own.)



  • Makeup Remover: Farmacy Beauty Green Clean Makeup Removing Balm
  • Serum: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
  • Eye CreamYouth To The People Superfood Peptide Eye Cream
  • Moisturizer: Primarily Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream, alternating with Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask
  • Oil: Primarily The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, alternating with “B” Oil.
  • Lip Care: Bite Beauty Agave + Intensive Lip Mask


I hope this was informative, helpful, and at least somewhat interesting! And if not, I at least enjoyed researching these skincare brands more! Reading some of the mission statements of these brands makes me want to continue to support those that are making ethical and sustainable efforts. Beauty doesn’t have to come with cruelty!

A couple great sources for information on the cruelty-free and vegan status of hundreds of beauty companies are Ethical Elephant and Cruelty-Free Kitty!

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of the products I mentioned, or if you have any suggestions for me to try!


With love and lattes,





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