Cruelty-Free Ways to Care For Your Skin That Will Make You Feel Like a Goddess

Clean it up with kindness.

When you’re slathering, rubbing, or scrubbing something onto your skin, you want to know what it’s made of and where it comes from. Many supposedly “all-natural” and “organic” options have a long list of questionable ingredients or can’t prove anything about their suppliers and their testing process. The following five brands stand ahead of the competition in their quality, their transparency, and their committment to cruelty-free, truly natural ways to care for your skin. Find your favorite (or a mix of them all) to feel refreshed, relaxed, and kind to the earth.

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

You know that gogreous store in the mall with the heaps of colorful bath bombs and the cute hand-written signs? That’s Lush, a natural beauty industry leader famous for their fresh, totally handmade, cruelty-free products. And when Lush says that they use fresh ingredients, they’re not kidding. Local suppliers deliver fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers straight to their doors and they quickly slice, squeeze, and mix them to form their famous products. They’re so committed to testing their products on human volunteers only that they’ve created the annual £250,000 Lush Prize, which focuses on safety testing for consumer products and complements projects which already address alternatives to testing medicines on animals. You’ll also be impressed by the way that they eliminate almost all of their packaging. What they can’t sell “naked” (like shower gels) they only package using solutions like post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, biodegradable bags, and reusable fabric “Knot-Wraps” in place of traditional gift wrapping. Lush is all about the handcrafting with their 100% vegetarian items - every product you see has been mixed up by devoted “compounders” who make fresh items every day. It’s hard not to want to try everything, but you might start with their bath bomb titled “The Comforter” (it’ll fill your tub with blackcurrant bubbles). If you’re not already a devoted fan of Lush, it’s probably time to begin. 

SheaMoisture

If you’re looking for an affordable and complete line of products you can use without guilt, SheaMoisture is your new go-to. Their story is inspiring; the founder's grandmother, a widowed mother of 4, began selling Shea Nuts at a village market in Sierra Leone in 1912 (and she was only 19!). Perhaps SheaMoisture’s roots have helped them to stay focused on making their products accessible to everyone, not just an elite few. Their website boasts a complete list of their truly natural ingredients from around the world including comfrey root, dead sea salt, black pearl protein, apricot oil, chamomile, ginger, and cocoa butter (and you can click on each one to learn more about how they work). A huge range of products is available including special items for men, expecting mothers, babies, and children as well as hair and cosmetics collections. All products are cruelty-free, never tested on animals, and use certified organic ingredients. They try to exclude sulfates, parabens, and other bad stuff whenever possible. Pictured above you'll see their Coconut & Hibiscus scent, which looks positively tantalizing. If you want to get a free sample of one of their shampoos mailed straight to your door, click here and they’ll help you find the product that’s right for you.

Nourish Organic

Nourish Organic was founded more than a decade ago and can proudly call themselves “organic beauty pioneers” in their line of chemical-free, environmentally friendly skincare products. They were the first beauty company to ever work with the USDA to become certified organic under the same standards used to certify food, and in 2003, they launched with a complete line of incredible products all with the USDA Organic certification. Not only do they offer delicious smelling Body Wash, Lotion, and Body Butter, but they also offer organic deodorant and makeup brushes. Everything is cruelty-free, gluten-free, and mostly vegan. Nourish Organic also gives back to a number of organizations and charities including Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Salvation Army. Try their Moisturizing Organic Face Cleanser with Cucumber and Watercress or their Moisturizing Cream Organic Body Wash in scents like Tropical Coconut, Lemon Thyme, Almond Vanilla, Fresh Fig, and Lavender Mint.

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn

Did you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Did you subsequently get rid of an embarrassing amount of things you never wanted or needed in the first place? Yeah, me too. So S.W. Basics of Brooklyn is Marie Kondo for your skin. They’re dedicated to including no more than five ingredients in each of their amazing products. Listen to their straightforward philosophy about skin care: “For us, less isn’t just more; less is everything. We’ve found that if we stick with only absolutely essential ingredients and don’t add a bunch of extra stuff, we don’t need to put a hundred things into our products. Using fewer ingredients means more potent skincare.” While many of the so-called “all-natural” companies claim to be honest, you can just look at their ingredient lists and know that there’s something fishy going on. S.W. Basics of Brooklyn uses only truly natural ingredients that are certified organic, fair trade, or sourced from family farms. They’ve just announced that four of their products – their Cream, Body Scrub, Exfoliant, and Organic Lip Balms – are now officially certified USDA Organic, and the rest of their product line will soon be, too. Try their Exfoliant (no micro beads here - just organic oat flour, organic almond flour, and sea salt) or their Body Oil (just three ingredients - avocado oil, sesame oil, and macadamia oil). If you love their philosophy (and their refreshingly simple products) you might enjoy reading more in founder Adina Grigore’s new book Skin Cleanse

BIG SURf California

If you’ve ever been to Big Sur, you probably fantasize often about returning - the mist gathering along the cliffs, the azure expanse of the Pacific Ocean stretching out into the distance, and the peaceful forests are truly a haven. Until you get to go back, you can satisfy a little bit of that dream with BIG SURf California soaps in three soothing scents. Their founder, experienced in both the fashion and beauty industries, used his fond childhood memories of driving the California Coast Highway from San Francisco as an inspiration for these soaps. Each one is 100% natural, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, free of phthalates, petrochemicals, dyes, and parabens, and they’re hand-crafted in California. The round bars are infused with sand to naturally soften and exfoliate your skin. Whether you choose Coastal Cliff (lavender and sage), Ocean Breeze (seaweed and citrus), or Silent Forest (cedar and mint), you’ll be momentarily transported to a renewing, relaxing place, if only in your mind. 

Sarah Quinn
Sarah Quinn

I'm a writer in love with India, Stars Wars, fantasy, travel, and Thai curries. My childhood heroes were Luke Skywalker and Joan of Arc. I muse on superheroes, sci-fi, feminism, and more.

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Cruelty-Free Ways to Care For Your Skin That Will Make You Feel Like a Goddess