The Cruelty-Free Beauty Round-Up You’ve Been Waiting For

A long, long time ago, I made a vow to stop using products tested on animals (you can read more on that bumpy transition in this story). It wasn’t always easy, but now, over four years later, I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed the ultimate cruelty-free routine. Committing to any major change can be a daunting prospect, so today I’m sharing a list of my favorite products in the hopes of encouraging others who are looking to make a similar leap but don’t know where to begin.

If the ethical leanings of your beauty cabinet don’t play on your conscience just yet (hey, no judgments here), I implore you to carry on reading anyway. Every product in this lineup yields impressive results and is deserving of a place in your toolkit. Full disclaimer: I don’t like putting oils that belong in the kitchen on my face, so what you’ll encounter below are high-end, luxurious formulations that look chic in your bathroom.

  • Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Pure + E.O. Free Oil Cleanser

    For ages, the only cleanser I would let touch my face was Drunk Elephant’s Pekee Bar, but now I switch between that and the oil cleanser from Kristina Holey’s collaboration with Marie Veronique. The latter is perfect for when I want to go all-out and do a really deep clean.

  • 1

    Orveda Ironing Effect Masque

    This tiny bottle is break-the-bank expensive, but the results are well worth it—it’s like a real-life Instagram filter for your face! I also love that the brand is 100% vegan and each of its product comes with a dedicated application tool, so you don’t dip your fingers in the pot and ruin the formula with outside bacteria.

  • 2

    Root Science Polish

    I really enjoy the sensation of a good scrub every now and then, so I keep this scrub in the shower for whenever the desire hits. The exfoliant is a dry mix—meaning that you have to add a little water each time you use it in order to get the right consistency.

  • 3

    Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

    Given the choice, I will always opt for oils over lotion. I love the way they soak into the skin and, more often than not, lotions are loaded with tons of pointless fillers. This rosehip one from Pai is a much-trusted standby—just be careful not to get it on any white towels or clothing.

  • 4

    Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

    Unwavering allegiance to “cult” products isn’t really my thing, but this serum deserves all the hype it gets. It comes with its own application method which I’ve since appropriated for everything else I use too: You warm around six to eight drops of oil between between the palms of your hand and then press it firmly into your face for approximately 30 seconds to a minute.

  • 5

    VegaLASH Mascara

    Prior to my 100% cruelty-free days, I love, love, loved YSL’s Faux Cils mascara, so transitioning to a different product was one of the hardest switches to make when I made my ethical vow initially. This vegan formulation doesn’t quite match YSL’s glamorous effect, but it’s the best alternative I’ve found so far.

  • 6

    Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

    Another trusty backup, I find myself coming back to this Hourglass stick again and again. I tend to use it as a concealer rather than foundation as I don’t like having makeup all over my face, but it’s good for whatever kind of coverage you need. Hourglass has always been cruelty-free, but this year the brand is rejigging all of its formulations to make everything vegan.

  • 7

    Real Purity Roll-On Natural Deodorant

    I had a hard time locating the perfect clean deodorant—but this is it! A lot of the other ones I tried use a ton of essential oils, which I found really irritated my skin. I even attempted making my own, which I won’t be doing again any time soon. If I can’t find this one for whatever reason, the roll-on by Kiss My Face is pretty good, too.

  • 8

    Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste

    Switching toothpastes is one of the easiest cruelty-free swaps to make, so I’d encourage anyone feeling overwhelmed to start there. I’m not into hippie-tasting or overly sweet formulas, so this tube by Jason is the one for me. It’s minty without blowing your socks off and whitening to boot.

  • 9

    Words, Elsa de Berker.