The 11 Best Cruelty-Free Skincare Buys—That Get The Job Done

The 11 Best Cruelty-Free Skincare Buys—That Get The Job Done

It seems like we finally live in a world where more and more companies (big and small) are waking and pledging to do right by not testing beauty products on animals. Which means there are more cruelty-free skincare brands than ever before, for conscientious beauty lovers to choose from.

The practice of animal testing is still prevalent in many places, but in recent years, it’s been dying off or has been outright banned in many countries. For instance, a 2013 law passed in the European Union banned the practice and made it illegal for products sold there to be tested on animals. Brands outside of the EU must pass the cruelty-free test to be sold there as well.

Conversely, in China, products imported and sold there must be tested on animals, according to data from The Humane Society. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require products to be tested on animals—but it also hasn’t provided legal definitions for the terms “cruelty-free,” making it more difficult to substantiate any brand’s claims.

Plus, beyond being cruelty-free, there are a few ways beauty brands talk about and approach how they are doing “good” and doing “right”. Many tout ingredients lists that are organic, locally-sourced or vegan. Others have amplified their brand’s message by creating inclusive beauty campaigns. Others, still, donate a portion of profits to respected charities.

So, when it comes to cruelty-free skincare, it can seem like just another marketing tactic. But, at its heart, being a cruelty-free beauty brand means that a brand cares about animals and protecting them from unnecessary harm during the development of its products. More and more brands are adopting cruelty-free practices, meaning there are plenty of great options to choose from. The following skincare brands have won us over because they not only have good ethical policies in place, they’re also just solid beauty buys.

Our favorite cruelty-free skincare brands along with some standout products

(You’ll thank us later)

Drunk Elephant

Aside from being cruelty-free, the company avoids using any of the “suspicious 6“: essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and sodium lauryl sulfate ((SLS).

Indie Lee

Indie Lee is part of The Leaping Bunny Program, which is comprised of eight different animal protection groups. They set the standard for companies to be “cruelty-free.” Consumers can also get a breakdown of ingredients the company avoids using.

Paula’s Choice

The company is part of the Leaping Bunny Program, which means it never tests on animals and doesn’t contract with third-party suppliers who do.


The company says it’s “committed to conducting business in a legal, ethical and responsible manner.” To do so, the company shares its Supplier’s Code of Conduct. It prohibits the “use of involuntary or forced labor, human trafficking, child labor, and harassment and abuse.”

Lime Crime

Lime Crime is certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program. In addition to beingcruelty-free, products are also vegan. They don’t use animal ingredients or byproducts in product formulas.


Tarte’s products are never tested on animals and a good number of its products are vegan. Each product has a detailed ingredient lists on its website and many are often free of parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, synthetic fragrances and gluten.


The company is part of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. It does not test on animals and though its products are sold in Hong Kong, the city does not have the same animal-testing requirements as mainland China.

Lush Freh Handmade Cosmetics

The company adheres to a strict anti-animal testing policy. Aside from not testing its products on animals, it doesn’t partner with suppliers who do. “In this way, we’re using our buying power to support like-minded suppliers which results in fabulous cruelty-free cosmetics,” the company states on its website.

Pacifica Beauty

Aside from being cruelty-free, the company’s products are 100 percent vegan and gluten-free. As part of its commitment to sustainable practices, Pacifica Beauty also uses recyclable packaging.


The company is dedicated to being cruelty-free and stipulates as such in its contracts with third-party suppliers. It also avoids using oxybenzone, an ingredient commonly found in other sunscreens and which has “been linked to hormone disruption and cell damage that can cause skin cancer.”

Agent Nateur

Agent Nateur sources non-gmo, non-toxic ingredients from small suppliers in the United States and Europe. It’s known for its all-natural deodorants that don’t contain aluminum.