Veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet.
It’s about shunning animal products in all areas of life, not just your fridge – and that includes skincare.
However, it can be difficult knowing what to look for when buying beauty products, as animal derivatives are disguised at every which turn.
We’ve included a fact box at the end of the article letting you know which ingredients to look out for, but it’s good to be able to instantly recognise brands that have the same ethics as you.
We tried out a wide range of vegan cleansers, covering all budgets.
All brands featured are cruelty-free and don’t trade in places like China, which require animal testing, as we don’t believe a company putting profit over ethics makes them animal lovers.
Some of the brands are fully vegan, while some have a few non-vegan products. These are clearly stated.
Here’s how we got on.
1. Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity cleansing balm, REN, £25 for 100ml
‘I’ve been a fan of REN products before I knew they were vegan – I’ve been using their Clarimatte mask for years now.
‘For cleansing I usually use Glossier’s milky jelly plus some micellar water to get rid of my eyeliner, then something more intense for proper cleansing purposes, so I’m impressed that REN’s cleanser gets rid of every scrap of makeup without needing to scrub.
‘I use it with a hot cloth so it feels all luxurious, and I love that it feels really gentle and nourishing. Big fan.’
Is REN 100% vegan? Not all of them, find out which ones here.
2. Rejuvenating frankincense refining cleanser, Neal’s Yard, £20 for 100g
‘This smells dreamy and is really gentle, so not great if you’re wearing heavier makeup, but fine for taking off BB creams and the like.
‘It doesn’t leave your skin feeling stripped and the muslin cloth (included) is a nice one, which helps exfoliate the face.’
Is Neal’s Yard 100% vegan? No, beeswax is in some products. Find out more here.
3. Abyssinian oil natural cream cleanser, Beauty Kitchen, £12.99 for 50ml
‘Because this is an oil-based cleanser, it doesn’t feel the way you expect it to as you think of cleansers as being more squeaky clean, but this feels a lot richer.
‘It smells amazing, the sort of thing that Cleopatra probably bathed in, and the scent is very luxurious and essential oils-y. The rich texture and smell go together to give you a pretty unique cleansing experience.
‘It leaves your face feeling really soft and not at all tight, but it does still feel clean.’
Is Beauty Kitchen 100% vegan? No, some products contain beeswax. Find a list here.
4. Sukin foaming facial cleanser, Boots, £7.95 for 125ml
‘This is okay. It’s a nice basic cleanser to use with a facial spritz and Sukin moisturiser, but it’s not the best cleanser I’ve ever used.
‘Sukin is a great value vegan brand though, in general.’
Is Sukin 100% vegan? Yes.
5. Pure hydration hot cloth cleanser, Waitrose, £7 for 150ml
‘The cleanser comes with a muslin for application, and feels grainy and frothy against my skin.
‘It’s definitely one for exfoliating rather than soothing and not suitable for very sensitive skin. I found it took my makeup off very efficiently but I’d need something smoother for my skin type.’
Is Waitrose 100% vegan? No, other products contain animal derivatives.
6. Sukin micellar cleanser, Holland & Barrett, £8.12 for 250ml
‘I am used to using face wipes but decided I should be kinder to my skin and opted to try this one.
‘I found it did take a fair bit to get it all off (I don’t wear that much make up) and was tricky to get off mascara – but it left my skin really soft afterwards and the cleanser smells really nice and would definitely buy again.’
Is Sukin 100% vegan? Yes.
7. Gentle exfoliating cleanser, Bea, £32 for 50ml
‘It’s got green tea, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and a whole host of other promising natural ingredients going for it so I was really excited by what it could do. It’s easy to use – the slightly viscous liquid comes out of a pump and foams up a little when it comes into contact with skin and water. And although it says it doesn’t take off make up, I find it does a pretty good job actually. Plus, it smells pretty lovely too.
‘But honestly, after a month, I’m not that convinced by the results. My skin isn’t noticeably smoother or clearer compared to normal, and if anything, it’s more flaky than usual, while still being greasy. I have a feeling that my sensitive, and annoyingly greasy, skin was a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience.
‘I don’t think I will be switching from my usual cleanser.’
Is Bea 100% vegan? No, some products contain animal derivatives.
8. Gentle cleansing foam, Weleda, £15.95 for 150ml
‘This Weleda gentle cleansing foam is very gentle but it’s powerful enough to take off makeup.
‘It smells a bit herbally which makes you think it’s doing good things. It’s a nice smell.’
Is Weleda 100% vegan? No. Some products do contain things like beeswax, lanolin and goat’s milk. Find out more here.
9. Nourishing cleansing balm, Lucky Cloud, £21 for 60ml
‘This smells absolutely delicious! It has neroli (my fave), geranium and sandalwood (another fave) essential oils which are really uplifting.
‘I love using this to take my makeup off as it feels like a mini spa experience massaging it in. It’s got jojoba oil to balance out skin’s natural sebum levels, which is great for my combination skin.
‘Lucky Cloud is handmade up in Scotland so it feels nice to support a small business. Plus, the packaging is 100% recyclable, which is important to me.’
Is Lucky Cloud 100% vegan? Yes.
10. B Pure Micellar Oil, Superdrug, £6.99 for 100ml
‘This is a faff to use. The bottle means you either get one drop or one pint of oil onto your cotton pad, which is annoying. Also, you have to wet your face before you use it, which kinda defeats the object of a micellar oil/water.