As conscious consumers, it’s important to be aware of the impact our choices have on the environment and animals.
Of course, it’s a personal choice, but more and more people are taking an interest in what’s included in their skincare and how the ingredients are sourced and tested.
Moisturizers are a crucial part of any skincare routine, but not all product labels make it immediately obvious if they are cruelty-free or not.
I’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the best cruelty-free moisturizers for every skin type. Whether you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin, here you’ll be able to find a good option.
In the following sections you’ll read about:
- What exactly does “cruelty-free” mean in skincare
- The difference between cruelty-free and vegan
- What to keep in mind when choosing a cruelty-free moisturizer
- Some of the best cruelty-free face moisturizers for your skin type
What does cruelty-free mean in skincare?
You may be wondering, what’s so special about glow sunscreens and Let’s start by answering what moisturizers are cruelty-free.
When we talk about “cruelty-free” skincare products, it means that these products have not been tested on animals during their development process.
That’s right, no animals have been harmed in the making of these products.
In the past, many skincare companies used animals like rabbits, mice, and guinea pigs to test their products. Unfortunately, these tests were often painful and cruel, and animals would sometimes suffer or even die.
Thankfully, the cruelty-free movement in the skincare industry is here to help.
Companies are now using more humane methods to test their products, like in vitro tests or computer modeling. Additionally, many formulations are created with ingredients that have already been tested in the past, so there’s no need to repeat any testing on animals.
To make sure a product is truly cruelty-free, you can look for certifications or logos on the packaging, like the Leaping Bunny logo.
Just remember, being cruelty-free does not necessarily mean a product is vegan.
Some products may still have animal-derived ingredients, like snail mucin, honey, or beeswax.
At the same time, there is a diverse range of vegan cruelty-free moisturizers that you can try. We’ll discuss everything about vegan vs cruelty-free in a dedicated section.
Best cruelty-free moisturizers for each skin type
But I digress.
Let’s first see some of the best cruelty-free moisturizers currently on the market and then we’ll discuss the topic some more.
Best cruelty-free moisturizers for oily skin
Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream
Available in a tube of 2 oz or 60 ml and 4 oz or 120 ml, the Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream can be found for around $15 or $23, depending on the size you choose.
This is one of the best cruelty-free moisturizers for oily skin, in my opinion.
Its bouncy and lightweight gel-cream texture instantly hydrates your skin without leaving any greasy or shiny residue.
It’s super fast to apply, so it’ll shorten your skincare routine.
Infused with sodium hyaluronate, a cousin of hyaluronic acid, it helps draw in moisture and keep your skin hydrated.
Aloe leaf juice soothes and nourishes your skin, while green tea extract fights damaging free radicals and inflammation – perfect to soothe any breakouts.
Versed Dew Point is a non-comedogenic moisturizer, which means it won’t clog your pores and is suitable for all skin types, especially oily and acne-prone skin.
It’s alcohol-free, fragrance-free, and doesn’t contain any essential oils. It has no scent at all.
Naturium Niacinamide Gel Cream 5%
The Naturium Niacinamide Gel Cream 5% is another cruelty-free moisturizer I’d highly recommend for any skin type, but especially oily skin due to its potent niacinamide content.
It’s available in a size of 1.7 oz or 50 ml and is sold for around $20. This cream helps balance your skin’s hydration and reduce the appearance of pores.
This formula contains a high concentration of niacinamide (vitamin B3), along with coconut fruit juice and marine-derived polysaccharides, to maintain your skin’s natural moisturizing factor.
It will regulate sebum production and give a helping hand when dealing with breakouts, enlarged pores, and acne marks.
The product is 100% cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free, and dermatologist-tested.
If you’re looking for a stunning dewy glow, without looking greasy or heavy, this is the one that can help you achieve it without any cruelty-related concerns.
And yes, there is a difference between dewy and oily-looking skin.
Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Face Cream
Sold for around $16 for a tube of 0.5 oz or 15 ml and $74 for a jar of 2 oz or 59 ml, the Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Face Cream is one of the cruelty-free face creams I’m passionate about.
As you can see, it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, but I’d say it’s worth it, if you have the budget.
It’s a lightweight, air-whipped cruelty-free gel moisturizer that applies beautifully on the skin without leaving a trace behind.
Its formula contains a bunch of antioxidants to boost your skin’s protection – vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract, tocopherol, and more. It’s also very soothing due to the panthenol and aloe vera leaf extract – it’s the perfect morning moisturizer for those of you with oily and sensitive skin.
The gel cream absorbs quickly, making room for sunscreen or makeup application. In fact, it doubles as a fantastic makeup primer, helping your makeup stay put all day long.
There’s a reason why this product has such a cult following, even with the hefty price tag. If cost is not a concern to you, you’ll fall in love with this one.
Cruelty-free moisturizers for dry skin
e.l.f. SKIN Holy Hydration! Face Cream
Sold in a jar of 1.8 oz or 53 ml for around $15, the e.l.f. SKIN Holy Hydration! Face Cream is a must-try lotion if you’re looking for deep and long-lasting hydration and some additional skin benefits.
This is a best seller for folks who have parched, rough skin because the formula is potent enough to deal with that type of skin concern. We have glycerin, squalane, and sodium hyaluronate working in a team to effectively deal with dryness throughout the day.
It’s packed with skin-loving ingredients to even out skin tone and replenish lost moisture, resulting in a firmed-up, bouncy complexion.
We have niacinamide and several peptides, and panthenol that further soothe the skin – a common concern for dry folks.
It’s great for both daytime and nighttime use and has a non-greasy texture that quickly sinks into the skin for a smooth, super-soft feel.
It’s awesome for its price too!
Naturium Marine Hyaluronic Water Cream
The Naturium Marine Hyaluronic Water Cream is another great cruelty-free face cream for dry skin and it sells for $20 for a jar of 1.7 oz or 50 ml.
It has a rich, skin-friendly formula that calms irritation and works to bring more life to a dull complexion. It’s a true pleasure to apply and the hydration lasts throughout the day.
The combination of coconut fruit juice, sea water, glycerin, and antioxidants works especially well to support dry skin. The product is designed to penetrate deeply into the layers, leaving your skin feeling soft, supple, and glowing.
This cream is cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, gluten-free, and fragrance-free.
DERMA-E Ultra Hydrating Antioxidant Day Cream
Another animal-friendly face cream option for dry folks is the DERMA-E Ultra Hydrating Antioxidant Day Cream, which costs around $30 for a jar of 2 oz or 56 ml. You can also find it in a smaller size of 1.2 oz or 14 ml.
This is another calming and soothing moisturizer for those of you who suffer from extra dry skin.
The formula is on the thicker end and can take some time to soak in completely, but once it does, it doesn’t weigh down on your face. It’s great if your skin is dry to the point of flaking, or if you have eczema, as it has the capability to nourish the skin effectively while calming it down.
And no wonder, there are a bunch of soothing ingredients in the formula and even retinol to help speed up the process of dead skin shedding. There’s a bunch of antioxidants too, so it will protect the skin from external aggressors.
If, for some reason, you end up not liking this for the summer, it’s a great product come wintertime, because it will shield your skin from the cold.
Cruelty-free moisturizers for sensitive skin
PURITO Dermide Relief Barrier Moisturizer
If you’re a regular lurker of this blog, you probably have seen this moisturizer being mentioned a few times.
And for a good reason.
If you’re looking for a cruelty-free moisturizer for sensitive skin, I’d certainly recommend trying this Purito cream. It’s available in a bottle of 3.38 oz or 100 ml, giving you plenty of amazingness for long-term use.
This is one of my go-to’s when my skin barrier struggles and seems to get inflamed by everything else.
This face lotion is specially formulated to soothe and calm sensitive and sensitized skin.
It has a rich, thick formula that calms with the help of panthenol and allantoin. If you’ve dry skin, you’ll also end up loving this.
There’s a bunch of ceramides with a concentration of 5,000ppm, cholesterol, glycerin, and squalane that will help to restore your skin barrier back to its healthy state and will protect the skin against external stressors. I’d say this is the best cruelty-free ceramide moisturizer on the list.
One of my favorite things about this moisturizer – it lasts such a long time!
A small amount of product is all you need to get all the benefits of the cruelty-free formula.
ETUDE SoonJung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream
The ETUDE SoonJung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream is another barrier-supporting option with a cruelty-free formula. It comes in a tube of 2.02 oz or 60 ml for around $17.
Formulated with glycerin, shea butter, and panthenol, this cream gives you deep hydration and nourishes the skin throughout the day without the need to reapply.
The formula is soothing and rich in protective antioxidants. It doesn’t clog your pores and helps heal breakouts and irritated patches faster.
Otherwise, the ingredients list is not overly complicated and can fit the more minimalistic routines of folks with sensitive and sensitized skin while still giving your skin some love and care.
The application experience is a joy with this cruelty-free moisturizer. It doesn’t pill and it doesn’t leave a heavy layer on top of the skin. And the price is to die for – great for the quality and for a reasonable amount of product.
DearKlairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream
Another staple in my routine, when my skin is overly picky, is the DearKlairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream.
You can find it in a tube or a jar or tube of 2 oz or 60 ml for around $30.
I simply love this moisturizer, it’s the ultimate solution for sensitive and irritated skin when I do more invasive stuff like chemical peels or dermaplaning.
It’s formulated with gentle, non-comedogenic ingredients that instantly calm and soothe the skin, giving it some effective hydration too.
At the heart of our Blue Cream are two star ingredients: Guaiazulene, a natural component extracted from Chamomile Oil with powerful calming effects, and Centella Asiatica, a plant extract that hydrates and relieves redness – an ingredient you’ll see present in most Korean skincare.
With a pH of 7.0 ± 1.0, it is formulated to be gentle and non-irritating, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.
The moisturizer is a pleasure to use – it has a creamy, spreadable texture that feels like a cold shower on your face. It does calm irritation upon application with a soft cooling feel (there’s no menthol in the formula!).
The blue color makes it feel luxurious and expensive, and the consistency only contributes to the experience. All in all, a must-try for anyone, not just sensitive folks.
Best cruelty-free moisturizers for aging skin
The INKEY List Omega Water Cream
One of the products on my list of best cruelty-free moisturizers for aging skin is the INKEY List Omega Water Cream Moisturizer.
Available for $11 for a bottle of 1.7 oz or 50 ml, this is a lightweight, water-based gel moisturizer formulated with an omega fatty acid complex, glycerin, betaine, and niacinamide to provide long-lasting hydration and even out the skin tone – common concerns of people with more mature skin.
It’s marketed towards people with dry skin, but combo, oily, and acne-prone folks can also enjoy this during colder months.
The cruelty-free formula of this cream does leave a slight slippy residue on top of your skin, which is why I think it’ll be more liked by folks who have aging skin.
It’s completely unscented, clear, and one of the most affordable cruelty free-moisturizers on my list – a must try!
Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream
Another option you can try is the Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream, which comes in a jar of 1.7 oz or 50 ml at a price of around $20.
Jessica Alba is the owner of Honest Beauty and her entire brand is focused on non-problematic ingredients and animal-friendly products.
This is one of the bestsellers of the brand.
The moisturizer helps to soften and firm the skin while being very refreshing and cooling upon application. It’s both cruelty-free and vegan, containing a blend of hydrating ingredients, like squalane, glycerin, jojoba esters, and apple fruit extract.
The product feels amazing on the skin. It has a thicker gel-like formula that is easy to spread. It sinks in well and doesn’t leave the skin heavied with oils.
It’s amazing for aging skin and can be used both day and night.
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
The BIOSSANCE Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer is another must-try animal-friendly face cream for aging skin.
It comes in a jar of 1.6 oz or 50 ml and sells for around $55, making it one of the more expensive options on this list.
It’s an extra-gentle, weightless gel moisturizer designed to calm and soothe skin, visibly reducing redness and improving overall complexion. It does so with the help of bisabolol, allantoin, and ginger root extract, among others.
Infused with probiotics, it also helps reduce the effects of daytime stressors while restoring balance to the skin’s natural barrier. It has a well-rounded formula with multiple benefits for aging skin, so it can be used as your main moisturizer.
The cream gives deep and fast-absorbing moisture that calms stressed skin. It can be used alone or under oils for extra moisture, morning and evening after other treatments.
It doesn’t pill, and it plays well under makeup and sunscreen – all in all, a great product to try.
Best cruelty-free moisturizers with SPF
Naturium Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50
When it comes to cruelty-free SPF moisturizers, the first option I’d recommend is the Naturium Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50. It’s available in a size of 1.7 oz or 50 ml and has a price tag of $22.
This daily moisturizing sunscreen offers a broad spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ protection that applies invisibly on all skin tones and leaves a dewy, radiant finish that most skin types will love.
Only super oily folks can find it too much.
It’s formulated with organic/chemical sunscreen filters: homosalate, octisalate, and avobenzone.
Niacinamide and ethyl ascorbic acid are included to help visibly improve the complexion and give an antioxidant boost.
The tube features a 1/4 teaspoon dip cap which makes it easy to apply the perfect amount of product to get the needed SPF protection. I love this feature and would like to see more brands taking the guesswork out of the sunscreen application.
This sunscreen moisturizer is also cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, gluten-free, and fragrance-free, making it perfect for daily. It plays well under makeup and doesn’t pill, as far as I have noticed. No stinging either!
Pacifica Beauty Vegan Collagen SPF 30
Last but not least, if you’re looking for a cruelty-free moisturizer for aging skin with SPF, the Pacifica Beauty Vegan Collagen SPF 30 is another great option.
Sold in a bottle of 1.7 oz or 50 ml at a price of around $20, this product is an awesome moisturizer with effective sun protection that can fit most skin types.
It’s a lightweight daily facial lotion that not only has a broad spectrum SPF 30 sun protection but also boasts an extensive range of skin-loving ingredients.
We have a bunch of soothing ingredients that can calm any irritation, no matter if it’s temporary or a general skin condition.
There’s also an adequate amount of moisturizing compounds that will nourish your skin throughout the day and improve the penetration of the active ingredients.
The only thing to have in mind with this product is that it has some synthetic fragrance. It’s not too strong but you should know anyways.
What to look for when choosing a cruelty-free moisturizer
When choosing a cruelty-free face cream for your main or a second moisturizer, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you find the best product for your skin type. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
- Look for certification – Check the packaging for certification from trusted organizations like Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free. This ensures that the product has not been tested on animals. Make sure that the logo is one of the legit versions because there are many who just slap something animal-related on their packaging and aren’t really certified.
- Read the ingredients list – Be sure to read the ingredients list to make sure the product doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients like beeswax, lanolin, or collagen. If you’re looking for a vegan option, make sure the product doesn’t contain any animal products at all.
- Consider your skin type – When choosing a moisturizer for your skincare routine, it’s important to consider your skin type. Here are some tips for each skin type:
- Dry skin – Look for a moisturizer with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. A thicker cream or balm may work well for extremely dry skin.
- Oily skin – Choose a cruelty-free light moisturizer or gel cream that won’t clog your pores. Look for products with ingredients like niacinamide or tea tree oil, which can help regulate oil production.
- Combination skin – If you have combination skin, look for a moisturizer that balances the dry and oily areas of your face. A gel or lotion formula may work well for this skin type.
- Sensitive skin – For sensitive skin, look for a moisturizer with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile, allantoin, or bisabolol to name a few. Fragrance-free formulas can also be helpful.
- Consider your lifestyle – Think about your lifestyle and how the moisturizer fits in with your routine. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want a moisturizer with SPF. If you wear makeup, you may want a moisturizer that works well as a primer. In any case, you want your moisturizer to fit within your budget because you want to use it long-term.
What to avoid when looking for a cruelty-free moisturizer?
When searching for a cruelty-free moisturizer, it’s important to know what to avoid to ensure you’re choosing a product that aligns with your values. Here are some common animal-derived ingredients to look out for:
- Beeswax – a common ingredient in moisturizers as it helps to lock in moisture. However, it’s derived from bees and isn’t considered cruelty-free;
- Lanolin – a byproduct of sheep’s wool that’s used as a moisturizer. The process of obtaining it can be harmful to the sheep;
- Collagen – often used in anti-aging products to help firm and plump the skin;
- Carmine – a red pigment made from crushed beetles used in some moisturizers and other cosmetic products;
- Squalene, derived from animals – a moisturizing ingredient that’s often derived from shark liver oil, but not always. Look for a plant-based squalene alternative instead;
- Allantoin – a moisturizing ingredient that’s often derived from animal urine or comfrey plants. Look for a synthetic or plant-based alternative instead;
- Keratin – a protein found in animal hair, feathers, and hooves. It’s often used in hair care products but can also be found in some moisturizers;
- Elastin – a protein found in the connective tissue of animals, including cows and pigs. It’s often used in anti-aging products to help improve skin elasticity;
- Gelatin – derived from animal collagen and is commonly used as a thickening agent in moisturizers and other cosmetic products;
- Glucosamine – a naturally occurring compound found in animal tissues, including shells of shellfish like shrimp and crabs. It’s often used in moisturizers to help soothe and repair the skin;
- Honey – a natural ingredient that’s often used in moisturizers for its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties;
- Lactose – a sugar found in milk and is sometimes used as a moisturizing agent in skincare products;
- Oleic acid – a fatty acid that’s found in animal and plant sources. It’s often used in moisturizers for its hydrating properties but can be derived from animal sources;
- Retinol – a form of vitamin A that’s often used in anti-aging products. However, it’s derived from animal sources, so look for plant-based alternatives or bakuchiol;
This isn’t an extensive list by any means, so make sure to do your research if you’ll be buying products that aren’t on my list of recommendations.
By avoiding these animal-derived ingredients, you can ensure that the products you’re using are truly cruelty-free.
Remember to read the ingredients list carefully and look for certification from trusted organizations like Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free.
With a little bit of research, you can find a moisturizer that’s not only good for your skin but also good for the planet and its inhabitants.
What is the difference between cruelty-free and vegan?
“Cruelty-free” means that the product has not been tested on animals during its development. This means no bunnies, mice, or any other animal has been harmed in the process of making the product.
On the other hand, “vegan” means that the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients, regardless of the method of extraction.
This includes things like beeswax, honey, and lanolin, which can all come from animals. Vegan products are great for those who want to avoid using any animal products in their skincare routine, for one reason or another.
It’s important to note that just because a product is cruelty-free, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s vegan. Some cruelty-free products may still contain animal-derived ingredients. And, a vegan product might still be tested on animals during its development process, which isn’t ideal.
With so many options available for every skin type, you can comfortably make the transition to a cruelty-free moisturizing routine. From lightweight gels to rich creams, there is a cruelty-free lotion out there for everyone.
Let me know in the comments if this article has helped you find your perfect match! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the products.
And if you have any suggested products, I’d love to hear from you as well.
If you’re into makeup, you might want to read more about the best primers that can substitute your moisturizer, or learn more about moisturizers without silicones, and why you should avoid those types of ingredients.
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