15 Cruelty-Free Skincare Brands to Boost Your Natural Radiance!
What does cruelty-free mean?
Cruelty-free means that a product has not been tested on animals. However, since there is no legal definition for this term, brands are able to affix the claim to finished products only, leaving a loophole in which the individual ingredients can still have been tested on animals at some point. Therefore, when shopping for cosmetics, you’ll need to check whether the brand specifies that neither ingredients nor finished product has been tested on animals. Most conscious brands already supply this information so if you don’t see it readily available, it could be a bad sign.
What is animal testing?
Animal testing is the usage of animals in medical experimentation or to determine product safety. From Ancient Greece through to modern day, animal testing has existed for as long as humans have been practicing medical experiments. In the cosmetic and skincare fields, animals are most commonly used to observe allergic reactions while ingredients are topically applied, force-fed, or injected.
Why should animal testing be banned?
Many propose to stop animal testing because it is archaic and cruel. Others consider it necessary for the advancement of medicine and the safety of product development. Regardless of whether experimenting with animals is useful in the medical field, skincare brands that test on animals are at best unnecessary and at worst deeply harmful to all involved, as effective alternatives to animal testing are readily accessible to companies. For example, reconstituted human skin cell models are proven to be more effective at predicting human reactions than animal tests.
What animals are used for testing?
Animals most commonly used for testing include guinea pigs, rabbits, non-human primates, mice, and dogs. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), signed in 1966, remains the only regulation for the treatment of animals in research. This act provides little in the way of assurance though, as it only requires minimum standards of care and treatment for the animals covered in it’s laws, of which includes only about 5% of animals used in experimentation. The other approximately 95% of animals are products of specific breeding and are, consequently, unregulated. Each year, a little under one million animals are put o use and killed to supplement animal testing. This number is only for animals covered under the AWA, as it is not a requirement for labs to count the rest.
Why is animal testing cruel?
Animal testing is cruel because it lacks the morality and ethics involved in voluntary human testing. Animals in experiments are treated uncompromisingly, with little to no thought given to their care and well-being.
Price: $4.99 (eye mask) - $65.99 (starter pack)
Values: Organic, Cruelty-Free, Non-Toxic, Vegan
Acure is one of our favorite cruelty-free skincare brands thanks to a simple ethos focused on clean, eco-friendly products with a positive aesthetic. All Acure offerings are cruelty-free as well as vegan, so you don’t have to worry about animal ingredients showing up in your skincare.
Acure also works with charities to make each of your purchases an investment in a better world. Currently, they support Unite For Her, a breast-cancer non-profit focused on bridging the gap between healthcare and wellness, and Turning Green, a student-led movement dedicated to education and advocacy for sustainable choices within communities.
Price: $10 (tote bag) - $52 (glow together set)
Values: Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Non-Toxic (varies by product)
Kinship offers a line of essential skincare products that originate from the belief that good skin shouldn’t be a luxury. Their accessible, cruelty-free products contain plant-based pre-probiotics to balance and support skin.
Kinship is Leaping Bunny-certified and all shipping materials are certified by the FSC for responsible sourcing. Meanwhile, product jars are created from ocean-waste plastic, and tubes are made of recycled materials.
Meow Meow Tweet
Price: $12 (soap) - $25 (face cream)
Values: Organic, Non-Toxic, Cruelty-Free, Recycled, Vegan (varies by product)
Meow Meow Tweet’s ethos of genderless, acessible personal care is showcased from the clean formulas to the charming aesthetic design. While they offer a line of cruelty-free and vegan body care products, Meow Meow Tweet’s skincare is well worth trying. Each formula features ethically sourced, organic ingredients, and is packaged thoughtfully for minimum waste.
This cruelty-free skincare brand is also Leaping Bunny certified and gives back to organizations within the social justice, animal justice, and environmental categories.
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Price: $12 (body oil) - $218 (anti-aging set)
Values: Ethically Sourced, Organic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free (varies by product)
Osea’s founder began mixing her own skincare formulas after she realized the products available at the time contained synthetic, artificial ingredients and chemicals and were created with little to no regard for the environment, planet, and ocean she cherished.
Osea originates from a reverence for the ocean and an acknowledgement of our relationships with it. They treat the philosophy of clean, organic skincare as the default with formulas containing seaweed, algae, and other nutrient-rich ingredients. Osea is a Carbon Neutral company, and all products are Leaping Bunny certified.
Price: $20 (skin tonic) - $320 (skin set)
Values: Gives Back, Non-Toxic, Recycled, Vegan (varies by product)
Ren, another one of our favorite amazing cruelty-free skincare brands, offers ph-balanced skincare created with clinically-proven natural ingredients and always with sensitive skin in mind. Formulas are cruelty-free, and packaging is based on circular recycling with bottles made from ocean-diverted plastic and tubes made from post-consumer materials.
They also support organizations that share their values of ocean conservation such as the Surfrider Foundation.
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Price: $70 (cleanser) - $350 (recovery cream)
Values: Ethically Sourced, Vegan, Organic (varies by product)
African Botanics merges the science of skincare with natural ingredients ethically sourced from South Africa. Botanicals native to South Africa are so unique that they cannot be grown in any other environment. African Botanics sources these ingredients from a small network of local growers and utilizes their power to create unique, high-performance products that celebrate the rich natural beauty of this location.
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Price: $5 (suncreen stick) - $57 (antioxidant serum)
Values: Non-Toxic, Vegan, Organic (varies by product)
Activist offers high-quality, low-waste products for sustainably-minded people. Each formula comes in a glass jar that can be refilled with one of Activist’s refill pouches. Their small line includes essentials like cruelty-free moisturizer, toner, sunscreen, and cruelty-free face wash.
Activist also donates 5% of revenue to a selection of environmental organizations, which customers can choose from at checkout.
Shop Activist Skincare
Price: $6 (sheet mask) - $57 (night-time treatment)
Values: Organic, Vegan, Non-Toxic, Cruelty-Free (varies by product)
100% Pure is one of the best skincare brands to discover nourishing, plant-powered products. Each product is formulated to be non-toxic and completely committed to cruelty-free standards. Their core mission is to improve the lives of people and animals throughout the world, which has truly shown through their sourcing and corporate conscience.
As a philanthropic bonus, at checkout customers can choose to have their purchase support either a vegan meal for a shelter dog, or the planting of a tree.
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Price: $15 (lip cream) - $300 (skincare kit)
Values: Ethically Sourced, Non-Toxic, Organic, Vegan (varies by product)
Aesop’s products are well-known for their meticulous attention to detail in both formulation and design. This Australian brand was founded in 1987 and has since grown worldwide, though their objective remains the same; to create high quality skincare with ingredients that have a proven record of effectiveness, safety, and sustainability.
This objective decides every aspect of Aesop, from formulation to packaging to brick-and-mortar shop design. They are Leaping Bunny approved and a Certified B Corporation.
Price: $42 (cream highlighter) - $375 (elixir set)
Values: Organic, Ethically-Sourced, Vegan, Cruelty-Free (varies by product)
Tata Harper’s idea for skincare differs from the conventional clean beauty brand. While many brands are interested in paring down formulas to get the most effective products with the shortest ingredients list, Tata Harper tries the opposite. They pack the most ingredients at the highest concentration levels into a single product, utilizing the power of many ingredients at once. Each formula contains raw, high-quality botanicals, and no toxins, artificial colors, fragrances, or synthetic chemicals.
Tata Harper is Peta-certified cruelty free as well as EcoCert certified; meaning all raw ingredients and packaging materials have been evaluated for sustainability and environmental friendliness.
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Price: $10 (lip moisturizer) - $395 (peptide skin set)
Values: Organic, Non-Toxic, Vegan (varies by product)
Juice Beauty was founded with the goal to create organic skincare that performs better than conventional products. Their luxurious formulations and clinically validated ingredients make one of the most well-known organic skincare brands.
Juice Beauty is Leaping Bunny certified, FSC-certified for paper packaging, and certified Vegan.
Shop Juice Beauty
Price: $5 (skincare spatula) - $365 (skincare set)
Values: Non-Toxic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free (varies by product)
Glow Recipe’s fun, optimistic aesthetic permeates every aspect of the brand, from their fruit-powered formulas to their modern glass packaging. All products are vegan, Leaping Bunny certified, and formulated without toxins, colorants, or environmental hazards.
They also have their own social impact program, Glow For Good, in which they distribute donations to causes based on diversity, equity, the environment, and female empowerment.
Shop Glow Recipe
The Organic Skin Co.
Price: $18 (lip tint) - $41 (hydration agent)
Values: Non-Toxic, Organic, Vegan (varies by product)
The Organic Skin Co. focuses on creating products that celebrate natural beauty in all its forms, including the Earth. Alongside their clean and natural makeup, they offer an amazing line of certified-organic skincare featuring many ingredients grown on community farms in India.
Products are Leaping Bunny certified and with each one purchased, The Organic Skin Co. plants a tree through their collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects.
Shop The Organic Skin Co.
Honey Girl Organics
Price: $5.95 (lip balm) - $69.49 (rose serum)
Values: Organic, Non-Toxic, Cruelty-free
If you’re looking for organic skincare, Honey Girl Organics provides some of the best options. Handcrafted in Hawaii with USDA organic certified ingredients, this brand has a large range of products to choose from, each with a thoughtful and natural formulation.
Note that most formulas are based on beeswax and honey, so while not vegan, all are cruelty-free.
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Price: $10 (lip balm) - $221 (skincare gift set)
Values: Non-Toxic, Organic, Vegan (varies by product)
Annemarie Gianni creates skincare that supports the beauty of people and planet. Their key ingredients are either certified organic or wildcrafted, meaning they’ve been picked in the mountains where they grow wild. This connection to the Earth, as well as their distinct reverence for nature, gives Annemarie Gianni a unique feel within the conscious skincare space.
The brand is Leaping Bunny certified, with most products Made Safe certified as well, reaching the highest standards for non-toxic formulation.
Shop Annemarie Gianni
Use our vetted and curated list of GoodStuff-approved stores to discover the best brands to support all aspects of your sustainable lifestyle.
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