Vegan Skincare 101: Tips, Tricks, and Products For A Cruelty-Free Skincare Regime

Veganism is more than just a diet; it’s a lifestyle, which means you need to use vegan skincare. Otherwise, you’re just plant-based. Vegan cosmetics are growing in popularity recently, which makes it much easier to shop around and have options. Even better again, as the envrionemnt is one of the main reasons for people going vegan, many vegan-friendly skincare products also double as eco-friendly cosmetics! Here are some tips, tricks, and products for your vegan skincare regime.

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green skincare regime - vegan skincare producs aloe vera cucumber and syrup

Is Vegan Skincare Better?

I’m not an esthetician but I do get asked is vegan skincare better, and I always stumped by it. As I’m just someone who uses vegan cosmetics, I’m not qualified to say which is better or if vegan skincare products are even safer than regular products. What I can say is that in order for a cosmetic to be vegan, it needs to be free from animal products and by-products, and cannot have been tested on animals. This means that, in order to avoid animal testing, vegan products tend to stick to ingredients that are known to be hypoallergenic or non-toxic. Of course, there are lots of natural non-vegan products that contain ingredients such as milk, yogurt, and honey, so it really is a case by case thing.

Whether vegan skincare is better, is really more of a question on what brands you use. There are great vegan brands, mediocre vegan brands, and terrible vegan brands; just like there are with non-vegan products.

Non-Vegan Skincare Ingredients to Avoid:

It’s not always clear whether a cosmetic is actually vegan or not. Many brands use confusing words and language, or don’t clearly state if they’re vegan. A product being cruelty free also doesn’t mean it’s vegan by default. There are some no-nos in vegan skincare, aside from obvious ones like beeswax, honey, and milk:

  • Shellac
  • Musk
  • Casein
  • Glycerine (unless derived from soya or coconut)
  • Squalene
  • Carmine
  • Stearic Acid
  • Collagen
  • Elastin
  • Keratin
  • Oleyl Stearate
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Cystine

This list is not comprehensive, otherwise I would need a while separate blog post! There are many plant based derivatives of some of these ingredients but the bottle will usually state if that’s the case.

Six Vegan Skincare Products You Must Try

Moisturising Skin Balm

vegan skincare - cruelty-free moisturiser

Using a good moisturizer is one of the most important facets of any skincare regime, whether you’re vegan or not. I make sure to moisturize twice a day, and my skin is actually softer as an adult than when I was a teenager! I was a bit critical as a teenager and thought beauty products were scams, so only used a cheap moisturize once a day which burned because my skin was so dry (and the harsh acne treatments and pills had made that worse, so why I didn’t moisturize enough is ridiculous!)

Skin balms are handy ways to keep your skin happy and moisturised.

Hydrating Face Oil

serum - vegan-friendly skincare cosmetics

As I said earlier, I used to think it was just enough to moisturise; so I thought serums and oils were a waste of money! It turns out they’re not. My skin has been glowing since I started using oils. I put on oil, and then moisturizer in the morning, and repeat at night. At night I put serum onto a rose quartz derma roller for some extra TLC.

This hydrating face oil from Boostology is vegan friendly!

Powder Face Scrub

face scrub

I love exfoliating, my face feels so smoothe and refreshed afterward, which is why a face scrub had to be on this vegan skincare list. It’s not uncommon for these kind of products to be tested on animals, so it’s not always easy to find a vegan exfoliator. They also often contain preservaties which aren’t great for the environment. To keep things as natural and plant-based, this powdered face scrub is additive-free. Unlike conventional exfoliators which are premixed, you need to add water before using this one.

Detox Face Mask

green skincare - face mask

Face masks are another part of a vegan skincare regime that doubles as an act of self-care. That said, they often contain animal products such as milk, honey, or yogurt, so it’s not always easy to find cruelty-free cosmetics.

This detox face mask comes in powder form just like the powder face scrub mentioned above does.

Rose Mist

rose water

Another essential vegan skincare product for me is rose mist. I remove my make-up with a reusable microfiber cloth, and then give it another wipe with a clean side of the cloth that has been sprayed with rose water. As important as vegan skincare products are to me, it’s also important to remain low-waste and eco-friendly, hence the lack of single-use cotton wool.

Rose water is a must-have product. Even if you’re not using it to cleanse your face, it’s very refreshing on a hot day to give yourself a spritz.

This vegan-friendly rose mist comes in a recyclable glass bottle, and is made from natural plant-based ingredients such as aloe vera!

Activated Charcoal Face Soap


Face washes are another product which are often tested on animals, so what vegan skincare products can you use for a daily clean?

This facial soap is vegan-friendly and green as it’s zero-waste. Activated charcoal is becoming a popular skincare ingredient, as it’s capable of drawing toxins out of your skin, which helps prevent breakouts!

Reusable Face Cloth and Cleanser

reusable face cloth

As veganism and environmentalism often go hand in hand, it’s important to many vegans to be as low-waste as possible when it comes to cruelty-free skincare products. A reusable face cloth and cleanser combo is perfect for those who live a low-waste life, and vegans. You can say goodbye to single-use cotton pads, and don’t have to worry about animal testing or ingredients either!

You Are What You Eat

The biggest component of a vegan lifestyle is a diet. Although there are many vegan junk foods, we’re very lucky that most superfoods and foods rich in antioxidants are plant-based.

No matter how many vegan skincare products you use, nothing can override a poor diet. The best thing is to nourish yourself from the inside and out (but don’t forget to treat yourself either – life’s too short not to!)

Plant-based foods that contain antioxidants are the best for healthy skin. This is because antioxidants are natural compounds in food that disarm free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that move around the body looking for something to bond with, but as they do so, they damage the DNA, and by extension the skin which accelerates aging. There’s no stopping the aging process entirely, but anti-aging foods can help. Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), and matcha green tea are great sources of antioxidants.

I’m a big fan of The Natural Health Market green tea, and they also sell other superfoods like acai berry powder or hibiscus tea.

Create Your Own Vegan Skincare Products

coffee grounds

When in doubt about whether a product is vegan, the safest bet if to make your own! A lot of brands lie about being cruelty free or vegan. For example, the product may be made with plant-based ingredients, but the parent company isn’t vegan, or not all the range is vegan, which might put you off purchasing. There’s also a lot of green washing which makes ethical shopping very confusing.

So, you can make your own vegan cosmetics with left over foods, or foods that are about to expire. For example, using overly ripe bananas as a hair or face mask, or coffee grounds as an exfoliator.

Do you use any vegan skincare products or cruelty-free cosmetics? What’s your skincare regime like?

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