Facial cleanser is like the holy grail in any skincare routine. Or, even if you’re not into skincare routines, using a good cleanser is the key to making or breaking your skin—quite literally!
But, most face washes on the market are full of toxins and animal byproducts. Which is not only harmful to your skin but also pretty unethical.
And for those of us folks who care about the sustainability and ethics of our consumption, investing in clean beauty and skincare is a MUST.
That’s why, we’re here with a feature that gets into the core of veganism in skincare and why it matters, and some of the most amazing vegan face wash recs for clean, supple, and ethical skin.
Stay tuned, here we go!
What Does Vegan Mean in Skincare?
The term ‘veganism’ first came into existence back in 1944, when animal activist and pacifist Donald Watson met with 5 other non-dairy vegetarians to discuss veganism and the lifestyle surrounding it.
Since then, we’ve come a long way. Today, there are 79 million vegans in the world. Even though that makes up only 1% of the population on earth, veganism is growing fast. By 2030, 1 in 10 people is predicted to be vegan.
These numbers prove that people are increasingly becoming aware of animal mistreatment and cruelty, and the environmental impact of consuming animal products and animals themselves.
And there are many parts to this movement. While the most popular, and most discussed aspect of veganism is the diet, the beauty industry is not lacking!
In recent years, ever since we learned about and protest against animal cruelty in the beauty industry, the concept of clean beauty has emerged as a solution. We’ve written all about it here, check it out!
And ‘vegan beauty’ is part of the clean beauty movement.
Simply put, vegan beauty means skincare and cosmetics that contain NO animal ingredients and anything derived from them.
It avoids all animal byproducts used in cosmetics, like beeswax, lanolin, honey, collagen, keratin, carmine, etc. Aka, no animals are touched while making these products. Period.
Yes, even ethically derived animal byproducts like lanolin (produced by washing sheep wool, which is essentially sheared away to keep the animal in good health) are not included in vegan skincare.
So, if you see a vegan cosmetic, know that it:
- Does not involve using animals in the entire manufacturing process
- Involves no animal byproducts either
- Not even ethically derived ones
FAQs About Vegan Beauty
What Certifications Should You Look Out for in Vegan Beauty Products?
There are 4 official certifications that can certify a product/brand as 100% vegan. They are (1) PETA, (2) Vegan Society, (3) Vegan Action, (4) The Vegetarian Society.
Do know that Cruelty-Free International, Leaping Bunny, and Choose Cruelty-Free, are certifications that recognize brands that don’t practice animal testing. They do not show that a product is vegan.
What Is the Difference Between a Vegan Brand vs. a Vegan Product?
Vegan products and a vegan brand are not the same things.
At times a product from a cosmetic line might be 100% vegan, but the brand itself might not be vegan.
Brands that are fully vegan, do not use animal byproducts in any and all of their products.
If you want to ensure that a product is from a vegan brand, try Googling it and taking a look at its official website. There, you’ll find information about the brand’s practices.
How To Test Whether a Brand/Product Is Genuinely Vegan?
Words like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are more often than not used without legitimate claims to greenwash consumers. Who is to say ‘vegan’ isn’t used the same way?
If you want to test whether a beauty product is 100% vegan, here are some measures you can take:
- Visit doublecheckvegan.com and paste an ingredient list to sort out the non-vegan ingredients.
- Visit the brand’s website and read its FAQs. Or ask the brand directly through any of the mentioned communication channels.
- Read through this comprehensive list of animal byproducts used in cosmetics and skincare, and avoid products with any of the listed ingredients.
- Look for any of the vegan certifications mentioned in the first FAQ on the product and brand website.
Is Vegan Beauty Also Organic?
No, organic beauty does not necessarily have to be vegan.
The term ‘organic’ means any product that’s been manufactured using ingredients that are close to their natural forms without having undergone any processing. No synthetics or harsh chemicals are used in the creation.
However, this does not mean there will not be animal byproducts. Some of the commonly used ingredients in organic products include animal byproducts like honey, milk compounds, beeswax, etc.
So, while vegan beauty can be organic, organic products aren’t necessarily vegan.
Are Vegan Cosmetics and Skincare Expensive?
Not always. It’s a myth that vegan products are more expensive than conventional non-vegan skincare.
In fact, just like conventional beauty products, vegan skincare and cosmetics are available in all price ranges that suit a variety of needs. From $10 to $500, you’ll find affordable and expensive vegan alternatives for just about anything, today!
Where To Find Vegan Skincare Recs That Are 100% Legit?
While there are many websites and directories that offer 100% vegan beauty recs, may we introduce you to our handy Chrome extension, Be Zen?
It’s super easy to use—you just add it to your browser and while you’re surfing e-commerce sites for skincare, it’ll automatically pop up with alternative vegan recommendations for those products.
This way you don’t have to look through lengthy articles and directories for vegan beauty brands. Instead, you just surf the internet and get 100% genuine recommendations in a few clicks!
Vegan Vs. Cruelty-Free Beauty
If you’re a vegan or a cruelty-free enthusiast, you might already know this term. However, people often confuse the two and even use them interchangeably. Let us set things right for you, once and for all.
With respect to beauty, vegan means: any product that has no animal ingredients, or byproducts, even ethically derived ones.
And, cruelty-free means: any product that’s not been tested on animals by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third-party entity.
Animal testing is the cruel and inhumane practice of caging animals in unsanitary and deathly conditions to torture and kill them in the process of testing cosmetic products on them.
Now, keep in mind that while a brand of beauty product might be cruelty-free, it might not be vegan. It might use animal byproducts like wax, keratin, etc.
And while it is most commonly assumed that vegan products are also cruelty-free, it might not always be the case.
A relevant example is Loreal. It has a line of ‘100%’ vegan shampoo. But the brand itself pays for and allows its products to be tested on animals. So, while the shampoo might technically be vegan, it’s most definitely not cruelty-free.
Don’t worry, we got you covered here fam. 😉 The amazing face washes recommended in this article are all absolutely vegan and cruelty-free. And we have tons of other clean beauty recs on our blog just for you! Take a look.
Why Is Vegan Skincare Important?
Now you know what role veganism plays in skincare and the difference between cruelty-free and vegan beauty. But why is vegan skincare so important?
Is it merely to save animals? Is there more to choosing vegan skincare over traditional skincare? That’s exactly what we’re telling you here.
Vegan skincare is so relevant, because:
The products you apply to your skin are absorbed into your body through cellular transmissions. So, whatever you put on your face has an impact on your body as well.
Conventional beauty products have harsh chemicals that can cause skin-related health issues like skin cancer. By using vegan skincare instead—it’s made of the most natural and gentle ingredients that cause no harm to your skin and body—you protect yourself from these risks.
Conventional beauty products might also contain pesticides.
For example, if lanolin is used in skincare, there’s a high chance you’re applying pesticides to your skin with your moisturizer. This is because sheep wool is often covered in pesticides to prevent vermin. They can leach into lanolin when it is extracted from the wool. To think that it is applied to your skin… gross.
By using vegan beauty products you can free yourself of all these issues.
It Soothes Sensitive Skin
If you have extremely sensitive skin and often experience breakouts, rashes, and blemishes, you know how difficult it can get to find the right products. Don’t worry fam, we’ve been there too! :’)
Switching to vegan skincare could make all the difference in treating your sensitive skin without making it dry, itchy, or red.
Most beauty products containing animal byproducts like uric acid from cows and fat from pig’s skin are not only gross and unethical but also extremely bad for your skin.
And it’s super time and effort-consuming to search for the right clean products.
If you use vegan skincare, you can avoid all these problems. Even the simplest vegan products contain 90% less of the not-so-good stuff that toxic beauty products do.
It’s Good for the Environment
The impact of the animal-based beauty industry goes beyond animal cruelty and death. It adversely affects the environment in a negative way.
Did you know that almost 7 football fields worth of land are bulldozed every minute to make space for animal rearing and feeding? Not to mention, the air and water pollution caused by the process of extracting animal products.
With vegan beauty and skincare, not only is there no need to raze forests, but more trees are welcome! And there is no question of polluting the oceans and the air when no animal byproducts are used at all.
Even the packaging for most vegan products is biodegradable or recyclable, ensuring no toxic waste is stored in landfills or dumped in oceans.
There’s no doubt; vegan skincare is comparatively much more sustainable!
It’s Kind to Animals
nd, of course. The most direct benefit of consuming vegan beauty—ensuring no animals are harmed or killed in the process.
You might be surprised and horrified to know just how cruel animal testing and extracting byproducts can get.
Thousands of animals are abused and murdered every year for their skin, teeth, and other products, or in the lab while being subject to deadly experiments.
If this is something you are concerned about, and if animal lives and rights matter to you, switching to vegan skincare is an amazing choice.
By doing this, we can reduce the demand for conventional beauty products, and hopefully, eventually have them all banned.
Vegan Face Wash Vs. Non-Vegan Face Wash—What’s the Difference?
Cleansing your face is not only an important part of any skincare routine but also an essential practice in itself.
Don’t practice any skincare? Not a fan of applying products to your skin? Well, you still gotta wash your face, don’t you?
Not to mention, cleansing well can make ALL the difference in maintaining your skin.
So, even if you don’t do anything else, washing your face is super essential. It will maintain the health and elasticity of your skin as years pass by.
So, what’s the difference between using a vegan face wash and a non-vegan face wash?
Well, first of all, know that face washes are one of the most chemically treated skincare products. Conventional cleansers contain all sorts of parabens and sulfates and synthetic colors and fragrances that can do a number on your skin and health.
So, choosing a suitable face cleanser that treats your skin right is very helpful.
Choosing vegan face wash over non-vegan ones can mean:
- No exposure to harmful toxins
- No exposure to fragrances or synthetics
- No exposure to animal byproducts
- Super soft skin from healthy plant-based nutrients
- Gentle cleansing for sensitive skin
- Feeling good about consuming eco-friendly and animal-friendly products
So, essentially, there are almost no cons to using a vegan face cleanser!
Is Vegan Face Wash Non-Toxic?
There are some vegan products that have a bad rep for being toxic. For example, faux fur.
While faux fur is a cruelty-free and vegan alternative to real fur, the high amount of toxins used in the manufacturing process and the non-biodegradability of the material makes it a no-no amongst sustainability practitioners.
But, worry not, vegan face washes are most often non-toxic. Since most materials used are plant-based, there aren’t harsh chemicals in the contents.
But, it doesn’t hurt to be careful. Here’s a list of toxic chemicals to look out for in face washes:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- Propylene Glycol
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Triethanolamine (TEA)
- Monoethanolamine (MEA)
- Synthetic dyes
Best Vegan Face Wash For Naturally Fresh and Supple Skin
This list contains a variety of non-toxic, 100% vegan face cleansers that suit multiple skin types and needs. We’re sure you’ll find something for yourself here!
100% PURE Tea Tree & Willow Clarifying Cleanser
Best For: Acne Prone and Sensitive Skin
Quantity and Price: 100ml for $34.
What’s in it: Parsley, Neem, Willow Bark, Tea Tree, Algae, Turmeric, Japanese Honeysuckle, etc.
What it does:
Thoroughly cleanses the skin from bacteria and impurities that clog pores and cause acne breakouts, while the algae in it help seal in moisture.
Why we like it:
The product is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and made in the USA.
The consistency of the face wash is smooth and not super concentrated. Half a dollar-sized amount is enough to cleanse the face and neck fully.
We found a subtle but noticeable positive change when used on breakout-prone skin for about a month. The fragrance is not too strong, and it cleanses pretty well without irritating the skin.
If you need a high-quality everyday vegan face cleanser to incorporate into your acne skincare routine, this one is a must-consider. You can get it from the link below.
Murad Essential-C Cleanser
Best For: Dull and Dehydrated Skin
Quantity and Price: 200ml for $42
What’s in it: Vitamin A, C, and E, for preventing skin damage and nourishing the skin. Allantoin and Panthenol moisturize and soften.
What it does:
This is an antioxidant-rich, vitamin-powered cleansing gel, that helps recondition and rehydrate dry and environmentally damaged skin. It’s the best start to any brightening routine.
Why we like it:
This vegan and cruelty-free face wash by Murad is one of the best damage-reversing face washes we’ve tried.
If you’re someone who spends a fair amount of time outdoors and in front of screens (which, we’re sure most of us do), this face wash can be a lifesaver.
It protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays and other pollutants that your face is exposed to everyday by cleansing the pores from within.
The cleanser is super efficient, so a small amount is enough to wash off all the impurities, and one tube will last you for a few months. The fragrance is mild, and one use leaves you feeling refreshed.
If you’re looking for a vegan face wash to heal your environmentally damaged skin or incorporate it into a brightening routine, give this one a try. It won’t disappoint!
No B.S. Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Best For: Oily & Combination Skin
Quantity and Price: 160ml for $25
What’s in it: Aloe Vera, Cucumber, Green tea, Glycerine, and Lavender oil.
What it does:
This clean face wash makes quick work of grime, makeup, and stubborn debris in the pores, and provides antioxidant protection against the pollutants your skin gets exposed to every day.
Why we like it:
No B.S. is a clean beauty brand that makes vegan, cruelty-free, toxin-free skincare products. We like its no BS approach to skincare and the way it’s fully transparent about its ingredients.
The face wash works wonders on the combination and oily skin types—cleansing thoroughly yet leaving the skin supple to the touch.
There is an extremely mild fragrance of lavender that’s refreshing and you can literally feel your skin becoming squeaky-clean after one wash.
One bottle lasts for up to 2 months if used daily. Use this face wash to prep for the day along with a mild moisturizer, or in your night routine before heading to bed to make the best of it. Get it below.
Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser
Best For: Dry/Normal Skin
Quantity and Price: 118ml for $30
What’s in it: Desert Milk, Fig Milk, Shea Butter, Oat Milk, Argan Milk, Grapeseed Oil, and Squalane.
What it does:
The hydrating vegan milks cleanse the skin gently and leave it feeling ultra-soft and healthy. The lack of irritants and harsh ingredients makes it safe and nourishing.
Why we like it:
This vegan face cleanser from Milk Makeup is one of the most soothing face washes we’ve used. We also like that the product is 100% vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free, and toxin-free.
The formulation creates a mild lather that gets into the pores and gently cleanses. The consistency, like the name suggests, is like milk and super soft.
If you have dry to normal and sensitive skin, this is hands down one of the best cleansers to use as part of your morning skincare routine.
It’s not meant for washing off grime and makeup but works most effectively as a gentle prep for the day. Get it below.
Fleur & Bee So Clean! Facial Cleanser
Best For: All skin types
Quantity and Price: 110 ml for $18
What’s in it: Coconut oil, Sunflower oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Pink Grapefruit Peel Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, etc.
What it does:
This lightly foaming gel face wash cleanses and purifies your skin, while the coconut oil and Aloe Vera in it leave it feeling supple and soft. It works on all skin types!
Why we like it:
This is one of the best vegan gel cleansers we’ve tried. We also like Fleur & Bee’s vegan, toxin-free, and sustainable approach to beauty and skincare.
The cleanser itself has a gentle scent and lathers quickly but isn’t too soapy. It’s the right consistency to clean your face without leaving it feeling dry. One bottle lasts up to 1.5 months.
It’s one of the best overall cleansers, suits all skin types, and can be used in both morning and night routines.
If you’re looking for something like that, definitely give this a try.
Juno Clean 10 Cleansing Balm
Best For: Sensitive/Dry to Normal Skin
Quantity and Price: 85g for $16
What’s in it: Japanese Pearl Barley, Tangerine Peel Oil, Oil based wax, Vitamin E, Water.
What it does:
This unique oil-based cleanser is made to dissolve makeup and grime without stripping the skin of its natural oils. The Japanese Barley helps in brightening the skin and reducing dark spots.
Why we like it:
This vegan cleansing balm is one of the best minimalistic cleansers we’ve used. It contains only 10 ingredients, the Japanese Barley and Tangerine Peel oil being the star ones.
It’s simple to use—you just scoop out some of the balm and rub it between clean and dry fingertips until it smoothes into an oil. Then rub it gently into circles on your face and neck.
This balm is super-effective in dissolving makeup, even waterproof makeup! We were pleasantly surprised to note how completely it cleansed without leaving the skin feeling the least bit irritated and dry.
If you’re looking for a gentle cleanser to get makeup and grime off your face at the end of the day, look no further—this is the most effective on the list!
Yes To Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser
Best For: Oily & Acne Prone Skin
Quantity and Price: 100 ml for $10
What’s in it: Tomatoes, watermelon extract, Aloe Vera, Citric Acid, Glycerine, etc.
What it does:
This clarifying cleanser maintains the pH balance of your skin while removing excess oils and impurities from within your pores.
Why we like it:
This cleanser is a good example of clean beauty on a budget. It’s extremely refreshing and makes your skin feel so clear that you won’t be able to stop staring at your reflection.
We tried it on breakout-prone skin and noticed that it does a pretty good job cleansing without irritating the skin. It worked wonderfully with our morning skincare routine.
If you’re looking for a decent vegan and cruelty-free cleanser on a budget, for acne-prone skin, this is one of your best bets.
It leaves you with bright, clear skin ready for toner and moisturizer and even a simple makeup routine if that’s your cup of tea.
Vegan beauty is an important aspect of the vegan movement as well as clean and non-toxic skincare. Not only is it good for the animals and environment, but it’s also important for your health.
If you’re someone who’s into beauty and skincare, it’s essential you choose only the finest, safest products for yourself.
We hope this feature sheds some light on the ethics of skincare and that you find something for yourself from one of the face washes listed!
To get genuine vegan beauty recs at a click, download our Chrome extension. We make online shopping sustainable and ethical, the easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy way. Watch this video to learn more.