The Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizers

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With the demand for conscious beauty products being higher than ever, there are tons of great options out there for quality, cruelty-free products. In this article, the focus is face creams: ahead, you'll find a curated selection of the best cruelty-free moisturizers on the market, from night creams to cooling lotions to formulas with SPF.

Chances are, if you're interested in a cruelty-free moisturizer, you care about the environment, too: that's why every product on this list is also vegan (yes, there is a difference between being cruelty-free and vegan) and made with clean ingredients. Products that leave out common chemical irritants, like fragrance, alcohol, parabens, and glycols, are typically gentler, so if you have sensitive skin, you should be able to use any of the moisturizers listed ahead without worry.

After you've picked out your new animal-friendly moisturizer, overhaul the rest of your routine with these cruelty-free sunscreens, deodorants, and shampoos. You can also check out this list of cruelty-free beauty brands so you're better informed for the future.


Best Cruelty-Free Daily Moisturizer For Dry Skin

Quench your dry skin's thirst with Pacifica's Beauty Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream. Enriched with a blend of soothing and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe, coconut water, and allantoin, plus vegan probiotics, this face cream works to deeply hydrate dry, stressed-out skin. Water is literally the first ingredient in the formula, which is always a good sign, and in addition to being cruelty-free and vegan, it's free of parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol. Since it's oil-free, it won't clog your pores or leave your face feeling greasy, which makes it safe for use on all skin types.

According to one fan: “This cream is one of the best I've ever used. It gives amazing hydration and refreshment without being greasy or heavy at all. It absorbs fairly quickly and you're left with softer, clearer skin somehow. Perfect for under makeup or sunscreen during the day.”


Best Cruelty-Free Daily Moisturizer For Oily Skin

Andalou Naturals’ Clear Skin line was designed with oily, acne-prone skin in mind — so if your skin falls within that category, this is a great daily moisturizer for you. It helps keep skin balanced and clear of blackheads and breakout-causing bacteria using a mix of willow bark extract, kombucha-derived probiotics, and the brand’s signature fruit stem cell complex, while lightweight hydrators like aloe vera provide still-essential moisture. It’s a great daily cream that won’t clog up your skin or make it feel suffocated, and of course, it’s both cruelty-free and vegan.

According to one fan: “My favorite day cream. It's literally my go-to. This is all I could ever ask for in a moisturizer for my oily, breakout prone skin. Absorbs fast. No stickiness, no problems.”


Best Cruelty-Free Daily Moisturizer With SPF

THRIVE's new Natural Face Moisturizer & Mineral Facial Sunscreen SPF 30 is like the unicorn of the beauty world. It's hard enough to find any sort of sunscreen product that's vegan and cruelty-free, but this isn't just a sunscreen; it's a moisturizer, too. It uses non-nano zinc oxide as a natural form of sun protection, so it's reef-safe, and the formula leaves behind a clear, matte (never greasy, never white) finish.

Loaded with antioxidant-rich botanical sourced from Costa Rica, Thrive's moisturizer with SPF 30 helps keep skin protected not only from the sun, but also from environmental aggressors (like pollution). Arabica coffee oil is used to restore hydration and strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier, while glycerin, a humectant that attracts moisture, balances out the multi-tasking formula.

In addition to being kind to animals and marine life, this sunscreen is also free of parabens, gluten, synthetic dyes, and other common irritants.

According to one fan: “I use Thrive's Daily Defense Sunscreen Balm every day on my face, and I love how lightweight it feels and how quickly it absorbs into my skin. It has a faint lemon-y scent that is so subtle and nice, and the pump bottle makes it easy to get the right amount of sunscreen I need."


Best Cruelty-Free Night Cream For Dry Skin

This rich moisturizer from First Aid Beauty is ideal for dry, sensitive skin types. It’s absolutely loaded with nourishing, strengthening, and soothing ingredients, like ceramides, shea butter, allantoin, and colloidal oatmeal; at the same time, a blend of antioxidants help keep your skin protected from environmental damage in the long term. It also happens to be an amazing value — you get 6 ounces of product in this tub, which can be used on your face and body, all for a pretty reasonable price. And while it makes a great night cream since it’s so intensely hydrating, you could also use this during the day. The formula is vegan and cruelty-free, and free of most common allergens (like gluten and anything derived from nuts or soy) as well.

According to one fan: “This face cream has saved my life. My fave was so dry and I had tried everything. After using it for 2 nights my face was completely rehydrated & it soothed any irritation that was there. I have very sensitive skin and am reluctant to use any products usually but, I was desperate. I’m so happy that I’ve found something that works for me.”


Best Cruelty-Free Night Cream For Oily Skin

If you have oily and/or acne-prone skin, tea tree is an ingredient to look out for. This Tea Tree Night Lotion (lotions are less heavy than creams, which is another reason this product is so great for oily skin) from The Body Shop hydrates your skin while you sleep, but it also helps regulate oil production and keep breakouts at bay. It's also gluten- and paraben-free, and the tea tree in the formula is hand-harvested by local farmers in Kenya.

Though not all of The Body Shop's products are vegan, this one is; but all of their products are cruelty-free. While you can use this moisturizer during the day, it's worth checking out the brand's Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion, which works overtime at preventing mid-day shine.

According to one fan: “I have the mostly oily, unruly, sensitive, acne-prone skin ever. This product is moisturizing, mattifying, without drying or making me oily or causing breakouts. Win. Win. Win.”


Best Cruelty-Free Korean Moisturizer

For all the K-beauty lovers out there, this one's for you. Klairs is a cruelty-free brand, and this moisturizer is vegan. Packed with soothing and hydrating ingredients, any skin type can benefit from using this cream — especially those with highly sensitive faces. Not only does it work to restore your skin's natural barrier (which tends to be compromised in sensitive skin types), but it also helps soothe irritation and calm redness and inflammation; that's why it's such a go-to choice for people with acne and rosacea. If you're looking for a moisturizer that you can use day and night, all year round, this is an excellent choice.

According to one fan: “I have extremely dry and very sensitive skin. I have bought this several times and won't be buying another moisturizer. No matter how irritated my skin is it never burns or breaks me out into a rash. The first one to do that, ever. Even put it on sunburn and bad eczema breakouts on my hands. It feels great on and works well under makeup. If they discontinue this I seriously will cry.”


Best Cruelty Free Gel Cream

Gel creams are known for having refreshing, lightweight textures, so they’re a great choice for people with oily skin or who just don’t love the feeling of heavy, oily creams. This one, from Honest Beauty, is super hydrating, as it’s made with moisturizing squalane, jojoba, and two different types of hyaluronic acid. Formulated to deliver a slight cooling sensation and a dewy finish to your skin, this fragrance-free moisturizer is both cruelty-free and vegan.

According to one fan: “Great for summer when you need a less thick moisturizer. Perfectly hydrates my skin without the greasy feeling. Unscented and great for sensitive skin.”


Best Cruelty-Free Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant’s popular A-Passioni Retinol Cream harnesses the powers of retinol to transform your skin, while other superstar ingredients like peptides and vitamin F bolster its effects. At the same time, botanicals like marula and jojoba oils nourish and moisturize your skin, while winter cherry and kale offer protection from environmental aggressors. Since this contains retinol, which can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, it’s best reserved for nighttime use only. In the same vein, be sure to be diligent about daily SPF protection to prevent sun damage.

While not all Drunk Elephant products are vegan, this one is — and like all of the brand’s products, it’s cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and silicone-free.


Best Cruelty Free Ceramide Cream

As far as topical products go, ceramide creams are one of the most effective products you can use if your goal is stronger, more consistently hydrated skin (that’s because they help support a healthy skin barrier, which, to put it simply, helps keep good things in — like moisture — and bad things out). Ceramides are the star ingredient in this moisturizer from Naturium, which has a rich, creamy texture and plumping/smoothing/softening effects. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and suitable for use on all skin types, though remember: this is a rich, nourishing cream, not a lightweight lotion.

According to one fan: “Loved this cream. It's very thick, luxurious-feeling, goes on like butter and leaves skin super moisturized. I prefer to use it when my skin is exorbitantly dry or at night because it's so thick that it takes a while to absorb into my skin after application. Once absorbed, leaves skin glowing and moisturized for hours.”


Best Organic & Cruelty-Free Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin

If you’re all about effective, no-fuss products that are good for your skin and the planet, Mustela’s new certified-organic line is worthy of your attention. Like all the products in the line, this moisturizer is COSMOS-certified to the highest standard, vegan, cruelty-free, and made with over 99% naturally derived ingredients. It’s also fragrance-free and safe for use on babies, but there’s no reason your adult skin won’t love this gentle, hydrating cream as well. You get a generous 5 ounces of product in the bottle, and it can be used all over your face and body, so it’s a truly amazing value.

According to one fan: “Cleared up baby eczema! Slightly thick, moisturizing, not greasy, no smell. Would recommend. Will keep using.”


Editor’s Pick

Every time I go to Germany, I stock up Weleda products — though luckily, you can get your hands on Weleda Stateside through Amazon, as well. One of my newest (and favorite) discoveries is their Sheer Hydration Daily Cream, which — in my opinion — has the perfect weight for a cream: not too light, and not too heavy. I’ve also long been a fan of the hero ingredient in the formula, prickly pear cactus extract, which has all sorts of benefits for your skin. This cream, though not overly rich, provides up to 24 hours of hydration, and is part of a line that also includes a lovely vegan eye gel.

All Weleda products are cruelty-free and certified by NATRUE, though not all of them are vegan — though this specific moisturizer is.