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28th October 2020

Cruelty-free skincare: Nourish your skin without compromising on ethics

Do you know if your favourite skincare products are animal-tested or not? Give you skincare routine a changeover with these cruelty-free brands.
Cruelty-free skincare: Nourish your skin without compromising on ethics
Photo:Toa Heftiba @Unsplash

With the rise of ethical consumerism and a flourishing demand for brand transparency,  brands are increasingly putting a “cruelty-free” label on their product packaging. With all these different labels available in the market, it can get difficult to decipher the real ethical brands from the pack.

While there are reliable labels that require third-party verification such as the leaping bunny logo and the cruelty-free bunny logo by PETA, virtually any brand can label their products as cruelty-free since there is no audit system in place.

But what does cruelty-free actually mean?

A cruelty-free brand should develop and manufacture their products using methods that do not harm animals. In other words, the brand should not test their products or product-ingredients on animals whatsoever.

Instead, they should use alternative testing methods or ingredients that were determined to be safe. Due to unclear labellings, you might need to conduct thorough research on the brands themselves to know their stance on animal testing.

Why it has become so complicated?

Although animal testing for cosmetics is banned in the UK and EU, ironically not all products that you can buy in the UK are necessarily cruelty-free as many major brands are still practicing animal testing in countries where it is required by law. For example, animal testing is still mandatory for all imported cosmetic products in China until 2021. This means that any multinational brands that have physical stores in China, like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder, can’t avoid testing their products on animals.

While it may seem like a problem out of our reach, by being conscious consumers, we are raising awareness and holding brands accountable. This has driven new product development and brought an increasing number of cruelty-free and vegan options to the UK market. We now have plenty of cruelty-free options to choose from, and they are just as good for your skin as they are for your ethical conscience. If you are looking to transition towards a cruelty free skincare routine, here are 5 brands that are clear with their “no animal testing” policy and that deserve your support:

The Ordinary

Renowned for its high-performance formula and affordable prices, The Ordinary has become a favourite amongst beauty bloggers, YouTubers and influencers. The Ordinary Skincare includes a wide range of products that offer targeted care for different skin concerns while being cruelty-free. The Ordinary does not practice animal testing for their products and only works with suppliers that do not perform any animal testing. With their extensive product lines, you can easily create your own unique regimen. Their best selling products include the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and the Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. 

The ordinary products
Photo: Eunice Wong

Glow Recipe

As an advocate of natural and gentle skincare, Glow Recipe’s products are infused with fruit extracts and clean ingredients. The brand is also certified cruelty-free by leaping bunny. One of their company goals is to make South Korea’s latest skincare trend accessible to global consumers. If you are keen to try out the latest trends while being cruelty-free, this indie brand is a perfect choice for you. Glow Recipe offers different fruit-powered skincare products that can tackle a range of skin concerns. They are now available on Cult Beauty in the UK and they also offer international shipping on their website.

Glow recipe products
Photo: Alexandra Tran @Unsplash


Glossier is all about the “no makeup” makeup look. The brand celebrates its customers’ natural beauty and has built a cult following, particularly among millennials. If you are a fan of natural looks and dewy skin, this is brand is a must. It offers a great range of makeup and skincare products, with some vegan options available as well. Their skincare products are intuitive, easy-to-use, and of course cruelty-free. Glossier is certified cruelty-free by leaping bunny and do not sell their products where animal testing is required by law. Learn more about their products and best-sellers like Milky Jelly Cleanser and Balm Dotcom on their website.

Glossier products
Photo: Charisse Kenion @Unsplash


Lush is a highly popular brand that has captured its consumers’ hearts with their natural, fresh, and handmade skincare products. Lush is completely transparent about the ingredients they use and are 100% cruelty-free. They do not test their products on animals and only purchase their ingredients suppliers that do not test on animals either. Additionally, Lush is committed to being more sustainable in terms of packaging. Some of their products like bath bombs are sold completely unpackaged. Have a look at their store in Manchester Arndale or shop online for their unique handmade products. They offer a diverse collection of bath bombs, as well as face creams, toners, face masks and more. 

Lush products
Photo: Karen Chan

Milk Makeup

This NYC-based brand has attracted a massive following base thanks to their cool-kids image and formula that are multi-functioning and easy-to-use. All of their products are cruelty-free, 100% vegan and paraben-free. Milk Makeup’s products do not contain any animal ingredients, nor animal-derived ingredients like honey, collagen and gelatin. If you want to give your skincare routine a vegan makeover, this brand is a good choice to start with. They are available on Cult Beauty In the UK, where you can shop all the best-sellers like Cooling Water and Watermelon Brightening Serum.


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