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Vegan Beauty Products: The Difference Between Cruelty-Free and Vegan (Plus 21 Products to Try Right Now!)

Veganism doesn’t just apply to your diet—

It encompasses a lifestyle!

That means avoiding animal products everywhere possible, including: 

  • Meals
  • Clothing
  • Skincare 

Once you start the journey of learning what products are in your skincare routine, you may start to feel extremely overwhelmed.

Is this product vegan? 

What exactly does cruelty-free mean? 

Are vegan skincare products better for the environment and my skin? 

Does this sound like you? 

Then you’re in the right place. 

Today we’ll be answering ALL of your questions about vegan skincare so that you can transform your beauty routine easily. 

Here’s what’ we’ll be answering: 

And a bonus list of amazing vegan skincare products to try today! 

Are you ready? Then read on!

How are Vegan Products Different from Cruelty-Free Products?

The terms “vegan” and “cruelty-free” can oftentimes be confused for being interchangeable. 

However, there is a difference! 

When a product is labeled as “cruelty-free,” it means that it was not tested on animals. This is definitely a great practice, but it does not guarantee that no animal products were used. 

There are lots of products out there that are “cruelty-free”, (no animal-testing) but that contain animal derived products. 

As vegans, we know that if animal products and byproducts are being used, it is not necessarily “cruelty-free,” which is why the label can be especially confusing to the vegan community. 

Here are a few examples of brands that are technically “cruelty-free”, but that contain animal products: 

  • Milani Cosmetics: All of Milani Cosmetics is “cruelty-free” and they do have a specified vegan makeup collection. However, many of the products not in the specified collection contain animal derived ingredients. 
  • Honest beauty line: All products are “cruelty-free”, but some products do contain animal ingredients. 
  • Glossier: This brand is considered cruelty-free, but you’ll need to check if the products contain animal ingredients. 

Here are a few common animal-derived ingredients found in “cruelty-free” products to keep your eye out for:

When a product is vegan, it means that there are no animal derived ingredients in the product at all. 

However, there are some “accidentally vegan” products.

That means that they just happen to not have any animal derived ingredients… 


Some of these products may still be tested on animals. This means that they aren’t 100% cruelty-free, (and vegans typically do not want to partake in the practice.)

The types of products we will be sharing with you are cruelty-free and vegan! 

That means no animal testing and no animal derived ingredients. 

How Can You Check to See If Your Favorite Products are Vegan?

Searching the label for ingredients is one way to check if an item is vegan, just like you scan food at the grocery store. 

Be warned—

Ingredients in skincare products can often be long and look like a foreign language! When you see that there are no animal ingredients and you see a “cruelty-free” logo, you’re in the clear. 

Here are a few common animal ingredients to keep your eye out for: 

However, there are a few faster and simpler ways to see if your skincare products are animal friendly:

  • Check to see if the “leaping bunny” logo is on the package. This means it was not tested on animals and is cruelty-free. (Double check the ingredients on these packages!)
  • Check for the PETA bunny logo. They have two- one that means the product is animal testing free, and one that signifies that the product is animal testing free and vegan. 
  • Stick to PETA’s Global Beauties without Bunnies Shopping Guide. Sometimes it’s easier to search for products instead of cross-checking them. 
  • Search online! These days, a quick search is often faster than trying to read through all of the packaging. 

Remember when you first became  a vegan (or maybe you’re just now joining the vegan community) and you were trying to figure out just one or two simple recipes you could eat? 

It can feel overwhelming, but in no time you find out that thousands of vegan recipes are right around the corner, you just need to know where to look. 

That’s how it is with vegan skincare products. Once you start your search, you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of different brands and products that are perfect for your skin!

Are Vegan Products Really as Good as Other Beauty Products?

Now that you know how to identify vegan products, you may be wondering if these skincare products and cosmetics are actually comparable to other brands. 

Quality Comparison: 

The results are in—

They are incredible for you! (And oftentimes better than other non-vegan brands.) 

The primary way to make vegan beauty products is by using plants. As we know, plants are a great source for vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. 

Vegan products are a natural way to give your skin the cleansing, hydration, and balance that it deserves—

Rather than putting any harsh chemicals or animal derived products on yourself. 

Shelf-Life Comparison:

When it comes to shelf-life, vegan products stand up to the test. All products have an expiration date, which can be found on the label. 

Products that have preservatives oftentimes last much longer than those that do not. Since vegan products are predominantly  made with more natural ingredients, it isn’t uncommon to have a vegan product that expires a bit sooner than its counterpart. 


It’s a myth to assume that all vegan products may expire faster than non-vegan products. 

Vegan beauty products frequently use the preservative, “tocopherol,” which is derived from soybeans to extend the shelf-life of a product. 

The question is not really if vegan products last longer than non-vegan products, it’s whether or not the product contains preservatives. 

Cost Comparison: 

Veganism is on the rise, (there has been a 300% increase in the United States alone over the past 15 years!) 

That means that the market has caught up with consumer demands. 

No matter what your budget is, there are products out there that are within your range! Even at your local drugstore, you can find brands such as E.L.F., Pacifica, and Alba that all have vegan and cruelty-free products! 

Don’t worry, if you are used to investing in your beauty routine, there are high-end vegan brands that are carried at stores like Ulta and Sephora too! (The KVD Beauty Tattoo Eyeliner is a must-try.) 

Is it True That Vegan Beauty Products Better for the Environment? 

There is a ton of research to back the fact that vegan diets tend to have a much lighter environmental footprint.

But are vegan skincare products and cosmetics better for the environment? 

In the vegan community, there is a shared concern for doing what is best for this planet that we call home. 

Many vegan brands carry this message and ensure that their products are made from recycled material and are environmentally friendly. 

Here are just a few examples: 

Both the packaging and the ingredients are a great reason to switch your beauty routine over to the vegan side! 

Amazing Vegan Skincare Products to Try Today

Now that you know everything you need to know about vegan skincare products—

It’s time to get you hooked up with some amazing products to try!

This list is a curation of quite a few incredible products, but staying up to date with influencers like Logical Harmony is another great way to get up-to-date vegan beauty trends.  

Purifying Face Cleansers: 

In every good skincare routine, starting with a purifying and gentle face cleanser is a must. 

Using a face cleanser clears off dirt, sweat, make-up, and excess oil. Most people wash or cleanse their face 1-2 times per day. Speaking with a dermatologist and identifying your skin type will help you determine your routine. 

Here are a few of our favorites to try: 

  • This Active Face Wash by Eir NYC has ingredients such as African black soap and essential oils like ylang ylang, geranium, and rose to keep your skin feeling fresh. 
  • Kahina’s oil cleanser has turmeric and calendula, ingredients with anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties. 
  • The Province Apothecary cleanser is a two-in-one product, acting as a wash and as make-up remover. 
  • The Osea brand is known for being an incredible vegan skincare line, and this gentle Ocean Cleanser is a testament to that. 
  • For a boost to start your day, try this Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser by Juice Beauty. 

Soothing Toners: 

The next thing you can try incorporating into your skincare routine are toners. 

Toners are typically used after you wash/cleanse your face. They help clear out any clinging dirt or impurities in your pores. 

When used correctly, it can have a positive impact on the tightness of your pores! 

If you haven’t tried these yet, prepare to be amazed!

  • This toner by Akar Skin comes in the form of a gentle, balancing mist. 
  • Little Barn Apothecary has an excellent toner that includes rosewater and aloe for a soothing finish. 
  • Kani botanical includes rose and hibiscus ingredients in their toning mist
  • This toner by Pacifica is an excellent budget-friendly option! 

Energizing Exfoliants: 

Although you shouldn’t use an exfoliating cleanser every day, having an exfoliant on hand is great to use a few times a week. Here are a few energizing options to try: 

Moisturizers to Quench the Skin: 

Moisturizing two times daily is a great way to keep your skin feeling youthful and luminescent. These formulas are shown to help with dehydrated skins, ageing lines, and premature aging. 

  • If you’re going to try one moisturizer, make it this Osea Atmosphere Protection Cream. It makes a great make-up primer as well! 
  • This Camu Moisturizer by luxe botanics is filled with concentration of Amazonian superfruits to keep your skin glowing. 
  • This moisturizer by Leahlani boasts dewy softness and youthful elasticity that will keep you feeling refreshed all day long. 

Powerful Eye Cream: 

You’re never too young to start using eye cream! Reducing the appearance of lines and puffiness is going to make you look more alert day to day. 

  • 100 percent pure knocked it out of the park with this fruit oil nourishing eye cream. 
  • This cleverly named eye cream, eyes eyes baby, by Fleur & Bee is a powerful solution. 

Sophisticated Serums: 

Serums are some of the more pricey skincare items, but they are worth the investment. These formulas will nourish your skin throughout the day and night. 

Luxurious Face Oils: 

Face oils may not be a part of your daily routine, but if you are looking to add in a product that helps soften your skin and regulate oil production, these are going to be your new best friend. 

  • Shop 5th Dimension has a hemp and rose oil blended serum to balance your complexion. 
  • These maqui berry drops by Skin Owl are the perfect calming oils to drop onto your face before you head to sleep. 

Vegan Beauty Box Subscriptions: 

Since vegan skincare is better for the environment, cruelty-free, and ahh-mazing for your skin, several creators have started curating incredible items to be sent right to your door every month! 

Kinder Beauty Box: 

Kinder Beauty Box was founded by Daniella Monet and Evanna Lynch, (the actress that plays Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter!) and is filled with vegan skincare, makeup and other beauty products.  

The subscription starts at $25 a month and you will get to try vegan brands like INIKA Organics, 100% Pure, and Franklin & Whitman. Each box contains at least two-full size products in each shipment and the total value is over $165!

Each month when your beauty box arrives, you will receive a card with information about all of the products and their ingredients—

No more guessing what you’re putting on your skin. 


A portion of all their proceedings go towards animal rights and environmental causes. 

Beauty and kindness all wrapped up in a package. 

Petit Vour Beauty Subscription: 

Petit Vour is a company that is dedicated to curating vegan, cruelty-free, and natural products. 

For this site, you can either shop online for individual products, or have a bit of fun and try out their subscription box!

This affordable subscription starts with prices as low as $15 a month, and each box is valued at over $40. You can expect 4 nourishing and luxurious products in your box each month. 

Each month, you’ll also get $4 cashback to put towards full-size products on their site. It’s a great way to test new products before investing in your favorites! 

Vegan Skincare: Luxurious, Eco-Friendly, and Cruelty-Free

Extending veganism to your skincare routine is a great way to help fight against animal cruelty while keeping your skin bright, glowing, and beautiful. 

You now know how to verify that  a product is vegan, the beneficial effects for the environment compared to other skincare products, and recommendations for incredible products. 

Are you interested in learning more about ways to be healthier? Check out this article for 9 tips for reducing your sugar intake! 

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