Cruelty Free Skincare That’s Divine!
Did winter leave your skin feeling dry, rough, blotchy? All of those unflattering adjectives should only be used to describe rhinoceros skin. Well, I’m sharing a list of my Top 12 Cruelty Free Skincare Products to help you look good and feel good about using it that are kind to your skin, your wallet and the planet! Because beauty shouldn’t hurt!
As a former owner-operator of a luxury, destination spa resort, I have tried and tested hundreds of products. All were beautifully packaged, smelled and felt fabulous. Many were cruelty free, included some powerful ingredients and of course, each made bold claims and charged a pretty penny for their “magic in a bottle.” Ironically, none of the skincare lines I now use, everyday, can be found at a spa. But they are equally, if not more potent. They are inexpensive, cruelty free, and free of some commonly used ingredients that are hazardous to your health and the planet.
In case you are wondering, I am not employed by, have an affiliation with, receive compensation for nor have I been asked to review the skincare products or manufacturers I suggest below. But I’ve tried a number of lines, over a great deal of time (each at least one year) and I have lot to say about those that have proven to be Divine. And, even if you don’t care to try or use the products I recommend, there are safe, effective, cruelty free products out there for just about anything you need and want. However, when searching for cruelty free skincare products, be careful not to get confused by the following jargon and circumstances:
♥ Organic does not mean cruelty free and cruelty free does not mean organic. Products can be one, without being the other.
♥ Products that are not tested on animals do not necessarily mean that the ingredients have not been tested on animals.
♥ Companies that state, “We do not conduct or commission product testing on animals unless required by law” typically sell products in countries that mandate animal testing and therefore, the company most certainly does test their products on animals. See this recent, related article from the Huffington Post Green.
♥ Companies that once were considered cruelty free may have been purchased by companies that do test on animals and so, the status of a product or company may change. Check products and companies from time to time to be sure or their current status.
A simple, accurate way to determine if a product is cruelty free is by downloading and using an app like Cruelty Cutter by Beagle Freedom Project. Use Cruelty-Cutter to scan the bar code of any item, from toilet paper to perfume, and you will instantly be notified as to the cruelty free status of the product. If the item has not been evaluated by Cruelty Cutter, you can submit it for review. Not only can you make informed decisions and chose not to purchase products tested on animals, the data from scans will help BFP demonstrate that the public is not interested in supporting companies that continue to test on animals when it is not necessary. You may be shocked to learn about what companies and products are testing on animals.
Now go get yourself some cruelty free skincare and be the natural, caring beauty that help makes you a Domestic Diva!
Top 12 Cruelty Free Skincare Products
1. Reviva Labs (out of New Jersey) offers a wide range of cruelty free skincare products. Don’t be mislead by their less than sophisticated packaging. While what’s on the outside may look dated, it’s what’s inside that counts. Reviva formulations are behind many of the top brands you pay big bucks for. But, because proprietary Reviva products are made and sold in the USA (unlike the big brands they manufacture for that sell globally) this line is not tested on animals and features limited, quality ingredients, no parabens and most contain no sulfites. I Like their Organic Cleansing Milk for a lighter cleansing in the morning. It’s packed with organic (and fragrant) herbs, floral water and aloe vera. A great little drink for your skin that gently washes away residue and any excess oil that accumulates after bedtime. A seemingly small, 4 ounce bottle, comes with a small price. At under $7 the high quality, concentrated formula means you use less.
2. For a slightly deeper clean I love the ACURE Facial Cleansing Gel. I skip make-up removers and head straight to this tube. It’s still gentle, and filled with an organic superfruit blend including blackberry and pomegranate, as well as other good for skin, collagen stimulating ingredients such as Chlorella and Echinacea stem cells. You can pronounce (and probably eat most) all of the ingredients. The cleanser is recommended for combo to oily skin and though mine tends to be a bit dry, I find this is a great fit and leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean without over drying. ACURE offers a wide range of products all of which are cruelty free.
3. I like to exfoliate often (more than some estheticians and dermatologists might recommend.) So, I go back to Reviva for their truly awesome scrubs. What you see is what you get with their Honey & Almond Scrub. Lots of almond meal, honey and oats. It’s got a great texture that definitely gets in there and does the job of sloughing off dull, dry skin, but I find it does not abrade my skin like some similar products. In fact, it leaves my skin very soft. Likely because of all that soothing, nourishing honey Reviva packs into the jar.
4. Another absolute favorite is the RevivaPomegranate/Lactid Acid, Peptide & Botanical Exfoliant. This gem can be massaged on to clean skin and allowed to set like a mask and I find it is equally as effective when I have not time to spare and use it just like a scrub. It truly leaves my skin feeling as if I just had an expensive, hour long facial, and my makeup goes on beautifully after I use it. With pomegranate, lactic acid, even pepper, this is my facial in a jar go to!
5. After my face is fresh and clean, I like applying Reviva’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Yes, it’s acid. But don’t be deceived by that clinical term. Hyaluronic acid is well known for its hydrating properties and the Reviva product isn’t watered down like most others. It moisturizes without oil and stimulates skin renewal. It’s great as a foundation before applying your moisturizing sunscreen during the day, or in the evening, also under your moisturizer or after other “treatments” you may apply.
6. If your skin is more mature, and can take it, try Reviva’s Glycolic Acid Cream. Start with the 5% and work your way up to their powerful 10% formula. I even use it during the day under makeup. It is super moisturizing without being greasy. You do want to take care using this product and avoid your lids, immediate under eye area, the creases around your nose and your neck. This stuff is potent and those areas tend to become red, itchy and under the chin/neck (another, less famous area where the sun doesn’t shine) can become particularly sensitive.
7. The other dream item I use is Marula oil by John Paul Selects. Yes, another 100% oil product. This product will keep your skin dewy most of the day, again, without being greasy. More “mature” (read, my 47 year old canvas) skin needs moisture. Our makeup will cake and deepen the appearance of fine lines as the day wears on if we are not moisturized. The best foundation is moisturizer. It helps your makeup go on smoother, stay put longer and I find I can use less and blend better when my skin is well prepped. A 1 ounce jar of this particular Marula oil can be found at Sephora for $58. Even when I use the oil day and night, it lasts for a couple of months.
8. The perfect, anytime moisturizer is also by Reviva. Their Hyaluronic Acid Day Cream is a daily cure all for me. While I’m a self proclaimed minimalist, I do like to have just a few options for my skin care, given how my skin condition changes from day to day (a fact my Dermatologist confirms.) This product is more of a one size fits all, because whether you have sensitive skin, dry skin, oily or combination skin, this cream is your bestie. It contains my old reliable, hyaluronic acid, and if I had to pick a multi purpose day cream, this would be it.
9. One last option for moisturizing. First, let me say that you really can use any cream day or night. However, some are heavier than others and some are more prone to photosynthesize and will require you use extra sunscreen, so take care. I really don’t discriminate, day-night, night-day. But, I typically only use Reviva’s Elastin & DMAE Night Cream at night because it is quite thick yet doesn’t provide me with the all day moisture my skin needs. This cream is a good all over face product. Be sure to use it on your neck as the primary ingredients are intended to help with firmness and elasticity. And if you’re like me, you tend to neglect this area which is regrettably prone to sag and waddle.
10. We all have our challenges and mine is sun spots and hyper pigmentation. So for me, a skin brightener is a must. There are some very powerful and effective products out there. I’ve spent thousands and tried them all (well, enough anyway), from high powered lasers to chemical peels and over the counter “bleaching” agents. But I insist that no matter how tough it is to combat the darker side of my skin, the product may not be tested on animals and must not contain harmful ingredients. Most skin lighteners and brighteners contain Hydroquinone an ingredient that has earned quite a controversial reputation. In 2006, the FDA reported “…evidence indicating that hydroquinone may act as a cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) in rodents (rats and mice) after oral administration.” And that, “Hydroquinone also has been linked with a medical condition in humans known as ochronosis (skin darkening and disfiguration) when it is applied topically.” Ironic given this is essentially the very condition (hyperpigmentation) that hydroquinone is prescribed for. Other reports suggest that hydroquinone is potentially harmful to your liver. Products containing more than 1% Hydroquinone have been banned in Europe, Australia and parts of Asia and Africa. So beware. This ingredient is found in many well-known cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical and other “top” brand products. That said, the glo-theraputics Brightening Serum is brilliant, contains no Hydroquinone, and is under $50. Love it!
11. I’ve given a lot of time and attention to our facial skin. So you may ask, “How bout the rest of the region, South of the neck border?” Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Pure-Castile Bar and Liquid Soap are perfection! They come in a variety of fragrances like Almond, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint, Rose, they even have a Fragrance Free Baby formula. All of their products are certified cruelty free, vegan, non GMO and fair trade. A bar of soap can be purchased for less than $5 and a 32 ounce bottle of liquid soap runs about $17. And both last a long, long time. I switched from liquid to bar soap last year and am amazed at how much I enjoy the (surfactant free) lather and longevity of the bar. I love packing up a few ounces of the liquid for travelling though. Either way, you need no other body wash for any member of your family. This is it
12. I’ve battled with skin allergies most of my life. I used to swear by one brand in particular for curing my very dry, insanely itchy skin. Then I discovered I was allergic to wool and that meant anything with lanolin in it too. Do you know how many products contain lanolin? It seemed to me there wasn’t a one that didn’t. And so, my search began. I am happy to say I have a phenomenal solution in Alba Botanical’s
One final note. The Reviva products range from just under $10 for cleansers and even some of the serums and scrubs, to $30 for their more potent creams. I am fortunate in that one of my favorite, local, discount beauty supply stores carries dozens and dozens of Reviva products. Fortunately, they’re also easily found online at Reviva Labs or at Swanson Health Products where you can purchase Reviva or thousands of other great brands and products, usually at a great discount.
So there you have em. Better for you ingredients that are not tested on animals, easy on the planet and your wallet. Enjoy!