The use of vegan skincare is no longer limited to hardcore vegans only. With the realization that our beauty and skincare products do not necessarily have to come at the cost of our furry friends and the environment, an increasing number of people are switching to vegan products.
As a result, we now also have multiple brands offering guilt-free skincare items. But when it comes to skincare brands that are 100% vegan, there’s still a gap in the market. This post is an attempt to resolve the problem that emanates from it.
This best vegan skincare brands list only includes 100% vegan and cruelty-free companies, so you don’t have to read labels to find the skincare products you can use from a host of non-vegan items.
What is the Difference Between Vegan, Cruelty-Free, and Clean Beauty?
Before we get down to discussing the best vegan skincare companies, it’s important to discuss some widely used terms in the beauty industry in relation to this because they are often used interchangeably, whereas they are not all the same in reality.
Read on to learn the difference between them and make informed choices.
Clean beauty or skincare products are those that do not contain any ingredients that could be harmful or harsh on the skin. For this reason, it’s also sometimes referred to as ‘non-toxic beauty.’
Some of the ingredients that clean beauty companies refrain from using include parabens, sulfates, phthalates, silicones, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, and petroleum derivatives.
An important point to note here is that the ingredients used in clean beauty items are non-toxic, safe, and gentle on the skin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are plant-based.
The term vegan can mean different things to different people, ranging from avoiding animal foods to eliminating animal ingredients from all areas of life to everything in between.
But in the beauty industry, the term vegan typically refers to products that do not contain animal ingredients or animal-derived substances, such as non-vegan dyes, beeswax, glycerin, and lanolin.
Technically, every vegan product should be cruelty-free. But sadly, this isn’t always the case in the beauty industry. Here, cruelty-free refers to a product not being tested on animals. A skincare product may be vegan but not cruelty-free, and vice versa. It shouldn’t be the case, but it is, at least for now.
Which Label Should You Look for When Buying Vegan Skincare?
Essentially, it depends on what veganism means to you. But ideally, people living a vegan lifestyle should consider skincare products that are both vegan and cruelty-free.
Vegan products, as we all know, carry the vegan symbol, i.e., V. For a cruelty-free item, look for the Leaping Bunny logo. Leaping Bunny certification proves that a brand is actually cruelty-free and not making any false claims.
Redefine Skincare with These 4 Best Vegan Skincare Brands (2023)
Now that we know what some of the most widely used terms about guilt-free skincare mean, let’s talk about what the title of the article promises – Best Vegan Skincare Companies.
Some of my top choices of brands for vegan skin care products include:
1. Biossance (link)
When it comes to skincare, it’s not easy to trust a brand that has only been around for a couple of years, especially when there are so many other established and reputable companies out there. However, you must let go of all your preconceived notions and concerns when there’s as good a brand as Biossance.
It may be the new kid on the block, but Biossance combines all the good things into its practices and products. It is vegan, cruelty-free, and also a clean skincare brand.
Biossance manufacturing processes and products are also sustainable. It’s My Green Lab certified for sustainability practices and PETA, Leaping Bunny, and EWG certified for being a vegan, cruelty-free, and environment-friendly brand.
Biossance has banned over 2,000 ingredients in its products because of their toxicity and harmful effects on the skin and/or the environment. The products come in recyclable packaging, and the company is committed to becoming a zero-waste brand by 2025.
Biossance also works with several non-profit organizations to increase awareness and bring change to society. These include Direct Relief, Oceana, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), and Black Lives Matter.
As for the ingredients in its products, Biossance is known for its use of squalane – a vegan alternative to the commonly used squalene, which is extracted from shark livers.
Biossance squalane comes from sugarcane. It’s vegan, ethical, and no less effective than the highly-praised non-vegan squalene. It’s lightweight, insanely hydrating and moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, non-comedogenic, and safe to use for everyone, even pregnant women and ladies.
What’s not to love about this skincare brand? It’s all things positive.
Biossance is one of the best vegan cruelty-free skincare brands. Give it a try to see how it works for you.
2. Youth to the People (link)
Founded in 2015, Youth to the People has gained a cult following among vegans, cruelty-free enthusiasts, and clean beauty fans in a very short span of time. Thanks to its ethical practices, superfood ingredients, and unisex products.
Youth to the People is a family-owned brand based in California that uses scientifically-proven natural plant extracts to manufacture skincare products.
Not only is it cruelty-free and one of the best vegan clean skincare brands, but Youth to the People is also committed to saving the environment. As they say, “we only have one world to protect.”
Some of the sustainability practices the brand has adopted to protect the environment include the use of glass bottles and jars instead of plastic ones, FSC-certified packaging, and constant efforts to reduce energy use in its operations.
The vegan skincare brand is committed to becoming a zero-carbon emission company in the future. For that, its immediate goal is to reduce its energy consumption by 25% by 2025.
Youth to the People also works with several non-profit organizations in the climate space. A major part of their efforts is centered on people of color affected by climate-related catastrophes.
As for the ingredients, Youth to the People relies on antioxidants and phytonutrients extracted from plants that we commonly refer to as superfoods, such as kale, spinach, and green tea.
3. Pai Skincare (link)
Pai Skincare is a brand that stands out in the overly-crowded and competitive skincare (or beauty) industry for several reasons. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, clean, and also organic. Moreover, the brand is dedicated to people with sensitive skin, who often struggle the most to find appropriate skincare products.
For those who may find it difficult to trust new brands, it may be comforting to know that Pai has been around for 14 years and has stayed true to its commitments throughout.
The brand launched clean, vegan, cruelty-free, organic beauty products when these concepts and categories were in their infancy, so you can trust it to know what it does.
In addition to vegan and cruelty-free certifications, Pai Skincare also carries ISO certification, which reflects the brand’s Good Manufacturing Practices, and COSMOS Natural Certification, which ensures compliance with at least six key practices.
Pai Skincare products are also independently patch tested for safety of use on sensitive and eczema-prone skin. It also provides a complete list of ingredients for each of its products. What more reasons do you need to trust a skincare brand?
If you’re struggling to choose the right products for yourself from their extensive range, you’d be glad to know that the vegan beauty company also offers free skincare consultations online.
4. Acure (link)
If there’s one place where the quality comes at a price adage fits the most, it’s the skincare industry. It’s a well-known fact that quality skincare products are expensive. Throw in a couple of fancy terms, like Organic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Natural, or Clean, and you have skincare items sold at premium prices.
It’s all good for people who can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on skincare. But what about those who can’t?
Acure is a brand that caters to these people. The company manufactures clean, cruelty-free, vegan skincare products using high-quality, natural, and certified organic ingredients and offers them at affordable prices, making quality skincare affordable for the masses.
It can easily be termed one of the best natural vegan skincare brands within the affordable price range category. Not that price is the only characteristic feature of Acure, but it is undoubtedly one of the most prized aspects of it.
The company also offers body and hair care products with the same defining characteristics as its skincare items.
All of the Acure products are also biodegradable, which shows the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
What Can Make Skincare Products Non-Vegan? 16 Animal-Derived Ingredients to Look Out for In Your Beauty Products
Even though I have found you some of the best vegan beauty brands that offer 100% animal-free, non-toxic, and cruelty-free skincare products, it’s good to know the ingredients that can make your skincare items non-vegan.
This is not only essential to increase your knowledge, but also to be able to shop from other brands if there’s a need.
While there can be plenty of non-vegan ingredients found in beauty items, some of the most commonly used ones in the skincare industry include:
- Animal-Derived Collagen
- Oleic Acid
- Stearic Acid
- Lactic Acid
- Pearl or Pearl Powder
- Silk Powder or Silk Protein
It’s important to note that some of these ingredients can be made the vegan way, i.e., from plants. However, animal-based versions are more commonly used. Therefore, they are considered non-vegan unless otherwise specified.
Popular Skincare Brands That Are Cruelty-Free but Not 100% Vegan
Many leading skincare and beauty brands are now going cruelty-free. But they may not necessarily be 100% vegan.
Here are some of the brands that do not test on animals, but they are not completely vegan. In other words, their product range includes both vegan and non-vegan items.
- Paula’s Choice
- Drunk Elephant
- Fenty Skin
- The Body Shop – Mostly vegan, but not entirely.
- Lush Cosmetics – 80% of their products are vegan, but not all are. It is 100% vegetarian, though.
Vegan Skincare Brands FAQs
- Is The Ordinary vegan?
Yes. The Ordinary is a 100% vegan brand. It’s also cruelty-free and certified by PETA and Leaping Bunny.
- Is Glossier vegan?
Glossier isn’t 100% vegan. Some of its products may be animal-free, but many contain animal-derived ingredients.
The brand does not test its products on animals, though. It’s Leaping Bunny certified.
- Is Dermalogica vegan?
Dermalogica does offer several vegan products, but it’s not a fully vegan brand. However, it is cruelty-free.
- Can retinol be vegan?
Retinol is essentially an animal-derived ingredient. However, the kind most commonly used in the modern-day skincare and beauty industry is made from synthetic sources, which means it can be vegan-friendly.
Conclusion – What are the Best Vegan Skincare Brands?
The vegan skincare market is continuously expanding, which means there are plenty of choices available to consumers. Not all brands work on the same ethos, though.
Some only avoid animal ingredients, while others also refrain from animal testing. There are also vegan skincare brands that avoid using harsh, toxic chemicals in their products.
Which of these brands you choose to buy from depends on your commitments. Having said that, if you’re a dedicated vegan, you should ideally be buying from brands that avoid both animal ingredients and testing.
If you’re new to vegan skincare and don’t really know which ingredients are best suited for your needs, check out the following video to make informed decisions.
The video talks about the concept of vegan skincare, along with highlighting some of the best vegan skincare ingredients and their benefits. You’ll surely find it helpful.
Did you find this article helpful? Interested to learn more about the vegan beauty industry? Check out my article Best Vegan Face Moisturizers to know your top options for rehydrating your skin without compromising your vegan commitment.