Find The Best Cruelty-Free Cleansers That Are Committed To Never Testing On Animals

Cruelty-free skincare is the new standard. Swap the fundamental step of your beauty ritual — cleanser — for an ethical alternative.
Brand courtesy / Then I Met You
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We updated this roundup of the best cruelty-free cleansers on 28 December 2022 to reflect more accurately the latest products released until 2023.

Cleansing is the most vital (and unskippable) step of the skincare routine, whether you’re the wash-and-moisturize type or indulge in a 10-step ritual. So swapping one of the most used products for an alternative that doesn’t harm our furry friends is the way to make your beauty routine more ethical. We know that finding a cleanser that effectively washes away makeup, grime, and pollutants without stripping the skin can be challenging enough, and ensuring it’s also cruelty-free is even more daunting. So, we’ve done the research to find the best cruelty-free cleansers that leave skin refreshingly clean and never over-stripped.


1

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

  • Leaping Bunny Certified
  • K-Beauty
  • Vegan
  • Winner of seven awards, K-beauty

You can’t go wrong with Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm, a cult classic with a sorbet-like texture rich in nutrients and effective at leaving skin fresh. The formula removes impurities, including stubborn makeup, oil, and grime, without stripping or leaving an oily residue — the perfect first step of the double cleanse. For those who wonder, the vibrant yellow color comes from seaberries, a carotenoid antioxidant-rich fruit credited for leaving skin soft thanks to omega 6, 7, and 8 fatty acids.

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm

2

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser

  • PETA-certified
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Parabens- and alcohol-free

Once you rub this gel cleanser into wet hands, it becomes a delicate foam that washes away pollution and impurities and leaves skin clear, bright, and moist. Vitamin E, rice amino acids, allantoin, and panthenol are responsible for the moisturizing feeling, while vitamins A and C deliver a burst of antioxidants with each use. It’s the ultimate prep to jumpstart the skincare routine, regardless of your skin type, and the over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon attest to it.

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser

3

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk

  • PETA-approved
  • Made with recycled plastic
  • Clean formula

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk is a real treat for dehydrated, tight skin. Most cleansers contain surfactants to trap dirt and remove it, which can be too harsh for some, but this face wash skips these skin enemies. Instead, the milk texture feels nourishing and hydrating and it effectively dissolves makeup and debris to leave a fresh canvas for what you layer on afterward. But the best part? This cruelty-free cleanser is loaded with a handful of mild natural ingredients, including softening shea butter, omega-rich black currant seed oil, and calming chamomile oil.

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk

4

Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

  • Certified by Leaping Bunny & Peta
  • 100% Recyclable
  • Paraben & Fragrance-free

This creamy wash lathers into a satisfying foam to clear pores and remove excess oil and makeup while preserving the skin’s moisture barrier. The formula’s star ingredients, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and cholesterol, ensure skin is left soft and never parched. Better still, Paula’s Choice Perfectly Balanced Cleanser is proudly made without harsh soap, fragrance, or drying alcohol, being a great choice for people with sensitive, oily, or acne-prone skin.

Paula's Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

5

E.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

  • Certified by Leaping Bunny & Peta
  • 100% Recyclable
  • Paraben & Fragrance-free

You don’t need to spend a fortune on the best cruelty-free face wash. E.l.f created a gentle cleansing balm that melts into an oil texture to instantly dissolve waterproof makeup, sunscreen, and dust, and it sells for no more than 11 bucks. The sulfate-free formula boasts skin-loving ingredients, like peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, so you never have to worry about leaving the complexion overly dry.

E.l.f. Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

6

Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil

  • PETA-certified
  • Clean formula
  • Alcohol- and fragrance-free

From the K-beauty aisle, there’s this mild cleansing oil that targets pimples, blackheads, and clogged pores. Thanks to gluconolactone (a gentle polyhydroxy acid), this oil cleanser lightly exfoliates dead cells and helps unclog pores, and is delicate enough even for sensitive skin. At the same time, a mix of naturally-derived oils wraps the complexion in a splash of moisture. Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil never leaves skin dehydrated as it skips potentially drying agents and detergents and washes away without leaving a trace.

Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil

7

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

  • PETA-certified
  • Fully recyclable
  • Free of fragrance and drying alcohol

This is a great cruelty-free cleanser for those with sensitive skin since it has a pH-balancing, skin-calming, and non-foaming formula. Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser vows to lift away makeup and residues while soothing with glycerin and oat and cucumber extracts. Its whipped creamy gel texture is as fluffy as the clouds, turning the prosaic action of washing your face into a daily joy. A glance at the reviews, and you’ll know it lives up to the hype.

Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

8

Biossance Squalane + Elderberry Jelly Cleanser

  • Certified by Leaping Bunny & PETA
  • Fully recyclable
  • Natural, organic, vegan

Biossance Squalane + Elderberry Jelly Cleanser is the best option for those looking for an organic cleanser that’s also cruelty-free certified. It’s a jelly cleanser that loads tons of moisturizing and restorative botanical extracts to nourish and soften the skin. At the same time, the addition of squalane and prebiotics makes your complexion look juicier than ever. Plus, bonus points for the gel-like texture that doesn’t feel greasy at all nor strips the skin out of moisture. This delicate formula leaves skin clean and soft, and the result is a fresh, supple, and glowy complexion that turns an everyday chore into a twice-daily treat.

Biossance Squalane + Elderberry Nourishing Jelly Cleanser

9

Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

  • Certified by Leaping Bunny
  • Free of artificial fragrances
  • 100% vegan

If your skin is congested (aka your pores are clogged), it means it craves a detoxifying product to purify the pores and soak up excess sebum, which is exactly what this cleanser does. As it’s formulated with black charcoal, it acts like a magnet to dislodge dirt and oil from pores, while glycolic acid exfoliates and eliminates the buildup of dead cells from the skin’s surface.

Boscia Cleanser

How to find genuine cruelty-free cleansers?

Some brands can state they are cruelty-free, but it is only their final product that wasn’t tested on animals, meaning the ingredients could have been tested on animals through a third party. As such, to be sure you’re using skincare that hasn’t been tested on animals at all, you should look for certifications like Leaping BunnyPETA, or CCF. Rest assured, all cleansers featured above are genuine cruelty-free products that have been certified by specialized organizations and are committed to never testing on animals.

Who wrote this?
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder and editor-in-chief of Women's Concepts. She has over 5 years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and dermatological research and was an acne sufferer for over a decade. Ana is now an IAO and CPD-accredited skincare consultant keen to teach others about the importance of a consistent routine. She covers a wide range of topics in skincare—from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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