Which Skincare Brands are Cruelty Free? - A Definitive Breakdown

You'd be easily forgiven for assuming most popular skincare brands are cruelty-free these days.

After all:

  • Humanity is waking up rapidly to the damage we are doing to the Earth
  • The vegan movement is growing in popularity every day
  • Animal testing is almost universally abhorred by the general population

Unfortunately, this is nowhere near the truth - and in fact, the household names found in the most popular chain drugstores are almost entirely tested on animals.

To find skincare products that are genuinely cruelty-free, we need to take our shopping online and search high and low for the standout brands that are truly working towards making a difference.

In an ideal future, these brands will rise to the top and ones that do test on animals will start to suffer, causing the industry as a whole to learn that cruelty for skincare simply isn't something we will stand for.

Of course, researching which brands deserve your hard-earned money can take time, and as a result, we have put together this handy resource for you.

We will list some of the best cruelty-free skincare brands, as well as the ones you absolutely want to avoid, the difference between vegan and cruelty-free, and more.

Let's dive right in:

Vegan vs Cruelty-Free

It's important to clarify this difference first, because to a lot of people these terms are considered interchangeable.

This is a long way from the truth and they both paint a completely different picture.

Vegan makeup and skincare brands sell products that contain absolutely no animal products such as gelatin or meat, or even animal byproducts such as dairy.

Cruelty-Free makeup and skincare brands sell products that have not been tested on animals in any way.

vegan vs cruelty free

There are plenty of products that can be considered vegan but not cruelty-free, and vice versa.

In fact, a perfect example can be found right here on Luminositie.

All of our products are cruelty-free, and all but one are vegan.

Can you guess which one that is?

snail extract


It may be strange to think of a skin cream containing snail extract to be cruelty-free, but it is.

Way back when the benefits of snail essence cream were first discovered, snail mucin was extracted in all sorts of horrifying ways involving acid and salts that absolutely were not cruelty-free.

Luckily, soon after, snail farmers realised that the quantity and quality of the mucus they could extract depended heavily on the health and happiness of the snails.

As a result, snail farms turned into something closer to snail spas.

The way it works now (in ethical snail farms anyway) is that the snails are kept together in a simulated natural habitat with lots of greenery most of the time, and are occasionally whisked away for a warm bath that encourages them to produce lots of mucus.

Once that is extracted, they are returned to their simulated habitat, healthy and unharmed, and are given a few months rest to regrow their mucus supplies before being bathed again.

While it's a shame that this change was spurred on by a desire for increased profits as opposed to a desire for more compassionate products, it does mean snail extract from ethical sources can be considered cruelty-free, and gives us a perfect example of how some products can be cruelty-free but not vegan (or vice versa).

Before we go on to list the best cruelty-free skincare brands, we are going to take the time to list some of the ones that absolutely aren't.

Some of these are still considered vegan skincare brands, which gains no points from us if they're still being tested on animals.

If you're against animal testing (and if you aren't, why are you still here?!), all of these brands need to be avoided at all costs

It is likely disheartening to see that so many of these are huge, high street household names, but this is why it's so important to be aware where your money is going:

Skincare Brands That Test on Animals

skincare brands that test on animals

Which skincare brands test on animals?

We have assembled a list and bolded some of the biggest and most famous brands so that you can scan for the ones you may have previously used as opposed to reading the whole thing if you prefer:

  • Aveeno
  • Avon
  • Benefit
  • Bioderma
  • Biotherm
  • Chanel
  • Clarins
  • Clearasil
  • Clinique
  • Coppertone
  • Dermablend
  • Dior
  • Dr. Jart
  • EOS
  • Estee Lauder
  • Eucerin
  • Fresh
  • Garnier
  • Gatineau
  • Glamglow
  • Good Skin Labs
  • Jurlique
  • Kiehl's
  • L'Occitane
  • La Mer
  • Lab Series for Men
  • Lubriderm
  • Maybelline
  • Neutrogena
  • Nivea
  • Nuxe
  • Ojon
  • Olay
  • Oriflame
  • Ponds
  • ROC
  • St. Ives
  • Vaseline
  • Yves Rocher

Yep....truly horrifying to realise that so many big name brands still test on animals in 2019.

One major reason for this is that to sell cosmetics in China, testing on animals is a legal requirement.

With China being the most populated country in the world and one of the biggest skincare markets, many large global corporations are willing to pay for animal tests in order to tap that market, even if it impacts their sales elsewhere.

testing on animals

Luckily, tons of smaller makeup and skincare brands are popping up that won't ever test on animals, and there are even some bigger ones who have made the same promise.

The technology and processes have been in place for a long time to create high-quality skincare products without any need for animal testing, so these products are not of lesser quality whatsoever.

As a cruelty-free skincare brand ourselves, we could simply recommend sticking to our own products at this stage, but making a lasting change in the world is more important than the bottom line, it's that simple.

With that in mind, let's take a look at who else is leading the charge:

Cruelty-Free Skincare Brands

skincare brands that don't test on animals

 Brand  Notes

Alba Botanica


Both cruelty-free & 100% vegan

Desert Essence

Yes To

Avalon Organics

100% Vegan, Leaping Bunny Certified

Acure Organics

Andalou Naturals

Leaping Bunny Certified
Nip & Fab
Nourish Organic
First Aid Beauty

Paula's Choice


Mad Hippie

Juice Beauty

Available at Sephora


Completely pulled out of China due to animal testing laws

Dr Hauschka

One of the very few brands that have a similar dedication to all-natural ingredients to us


100% vegan and Leaping Bunny certified

One Love Organics


While Murad doesn't test on animals, they have recently been acquired by Unilever, who do. We recommend avoiding them for that reason

Sunday Riley

Eve Lom


Radical Skincare



Beauty Without Cruelty

BWC has been around since the 60s and claims to have never tested on animals. They are pioneers of cruelty-free skincare if this is true.


All products are cruelty-free, around 80% are vegan

Tata Harper


Drunk Elephant

Lime Crime

Certified by PETA, 100% vegan
Luminositie All-natural ingredients, cruelty-free, ethically produced, and all vegan except for one product

 We would like to maintain this list as a definitive resource, so if you are aware of any skincare products not tested on animals that we've missed, please let us know and we'll be happy to add them to the list.

Cruelty-free skincare is the future, it's just a matter of time.

With that in mind, we highly recommend doing your research and choosing a brand that offers all-natural, cruelty-free products that work.

We dedicate all of our time to achieving this and have been rewarded with some of the most effective cruelty-free skincare products and some of the most loyal followers in the industry as a result, but the true reward is the pain that is saved along the way.

The more skincare brands dip their toe into cruelty-free products, and the more success they see from this - the more likely a 100% cruelty-free future is.

Now isn't that a goal worth changing a few habits for?