Beige-Collage-Morning-Coffee-Instagram-Post-4

8 Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizers Free of Harmful Chemicals (2024)


In the world of personal care products, we expose ourselves unknowingly to numerous chemicals daily. From skincare to makeup, the average American woman uses around 12 products each day, that’s about 168 different chemicals apply to our skin daily. While many are harmless, some, such as parabens and phthalates, have been linked to serious health concerns such as cancer and reproductive issues.

Additionally, many conventional skincare products, including lotions and moisturizers, still perform animal testing. Animals like rabbits and mice endure inhumane tests to assess product safety.

In recent years, a positive trend is emerging as more beauty brands and customers reject harmful chemicals and animal testing. These brands now prioritize clean, non-toxic, and cruelty-free formulations.

Here are our selection of the best non-toxic and cruelty-free moisturizers in the market right now.

The Conscious Insider is reader supported. When you buy something we recommend, we might earn an affiliate commission at no extra charge for you.

Our Pick for The Best Non-Toxic & Cruelty-Free Moisturizer

L’OCCITANE – ULTRA THIRST-QUENCHING CREAM

L’Occitane En Provence is an award winning and best-selling skincare brand with timeless fragrances, hand creams, and shea butters made in France.

WHY WE LOVE IT

– Ideal for Sensitive Skin
– Leaping Bunny Certified
– Provides 24 hours of hydration for all skin types

SHOP HERE

To know more about ethical and clean beauty, check our articles about cruelty-free deodorants, cruelty-free face washes, and vegan & cruelty-free makeup brands.

2 Trusted Certifications For Cruelty-Free Products You Should Know About

Leaping Bunny 

The Leaping Bunny certification is perhaps the most well-known certification for cruelty-free products. The symbol of a bunny in mid-leap is widely recognized as meaning that a product has not been tested on animals. 

Leaping Bunny certified brands must pledge not to test their products or ingredients on animals at any stage of development, and they must also agree to regular independent audits to ensure compliance. The Leaping Bunny certification is recognized by many consumers as the gold standard for animal welfare.

Peta – Global Beauty Without Bunnies 

Peta also grants a cruelty-free certification. In order to be certified cruelty-free by PETA, a company signs a legally binding statement that states “that it and its ingredient suppliers don’t conduct, commission, pay for, or allow any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products anywhere in the world and won’t do so in the future.” You can find the list of all the cruelty-free companies registered with PETA here. 

Those certifications make it easy for consumers to ensure they are buying cruelty-free products.

What Makes A Moisturizer Non-Toxic And Safe?

Commonly Found Chemicals To Avoid In Moisturizers

The following chemicals can be found in most body and face lotions and moisturizers. Studies have shown they can be harmful to human health. Be sure to avoid them!

NameFonctionFound inRisks
BHA or Butylated HydroxyanisoleAntioxidantBody & face lotions and moisturizers, hair careClassified potentially carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, reproductive toxicity, an endocrine disruptor.
Parabens (butylparaben, propylparaben, sodium butylparaben, etc)Preservatives Body & face lotions and moisturizers, sunscreen, foundations, deodorants, shower gel, shampoo, toothpasteEndocrine disruptor 
Ethylhexyl MethoxycinnamateUV filterFace cream, sunscreen, foundation, lip products, aftershave, perfumes, nail polish, shampooEndocrine disruptor 
OctocryleneUV filter Face cream with SPF, sunscreens, foundations, Endocrine disruptor. When degrading over time, octocrylene creates benzophenone, a toxic component for human health according to a study from the Chemical Research in Toxicology.
Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclotetrasiloxane, or CyclomethiconeEmollients (make the skin softer)Body & face lotions and moisturizers, sunscreens, foundations, spray deodorantEndocrine disruptor and reproductive toxicity
Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCIT)Preservatives Body & face lotions and moisturizers, baby wipes, kids makeup, shampoollergen, called “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society 
Commonly Found Chemicals To Avoid In Moisturizers

Other Ingredients To Avoid

Allergens

Allergens are a common ingredient in many lotions and moisturizers. While they are not dangerous per se, they can cause issues for people with sensitive skin, eczema, or psoriasis conditions. Allergens can cause redness, itching, and swelling and sometimes severe allergies and burns. However, most people do no react to allergens. 

If you have sensitive skin or skin conditions, it is advised to avoid the following allergens commonly found in lotions & moisturizers.

Alpha-Isomethyl ionone, Amyl cinnamal, Amylcinnamyl alcohol, Anise alcohol, Benzyl alcohol, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl cinnamate, Benzyl salicylate, Cinnamal, Cinnamyl alcohol, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Evernia furfuracea extract, Evernia prunastri extract, Farnesol, Geraniol, Hexyl cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Majantol, Methyl 2-Octynoate

Other chemicals

The four following chemicals raised concerns over the years. However, today there are no official guidelines advising their ban in cosmetic uses. If you suffer from skin conditions you might want to avoid these substances when picking your lotion: Salicylic Acid, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, BHT, and Phenoxyethanol.

Certifications & Labels To Find Non-Toxic and Clean Beauty Products

Made Safe

Toxins out, healthy ingredients in – that’s the core value of MADE SAFE. The MADE SAFE certification is about giving consumers peace of mind that the products they purchase are safe for human health and the environment. The certification process involves an independent assessment of a product’s ingredients to make sure they are not harmful to humans or animals.

The Made Safe List banned over 6500 hazardous substances and can be found here. Note that Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, and Octocrylene mentioned above are not on the MADE SAFE list.

The Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization created in 1993 that strives to protect human health and the environment. 

Products that meet the EWG’s criteria are awarded a certification seal, which provides assurance to consumers that the product is safe to use. The certification process includes an extensive review of the product’s ingredients, manufacturing processes, and potential health risks. 

Certified products are also listed on the EWG’s website so that consumers can easily find them when they’re shopping.

8 Non-Toxic Moisturizers That Don’t Test on Animals

1. OSEA- Undaria Collagen Body Lotion

Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizer for Anti-Aging

Clean & Eco-friendly | Leaping Bunny Certified, Cruelty-Free, 100% Vegan, Climate Neutral & Ocean Positive Certification, Made in the USA

Price | $48

Shipping | U.S

Reviews | 4.9/5 stars over 143 reviews


OSEA Undaria Body Lotion is a light body lotion infused with Undaria Algae, offering both nourishment and skin-tightening properties. Ideal for anyone, whether men or women, looking for a versatile dry body lotion for a range of needs like hydration and skin improvement.

Produced in America, this body lotion is cruelty-free and environmentally friendly, using only natural, plant-based ingredients without synthetics

2. Milk Makeup – Vegan Milk Moisturizer

Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizer with a Vegan Formula

Clean & Eco-friendly | Leaping Bunny Certified, Cruelty-Free, 100% Vegan, Ban 2,500 controversial and potentially harmful ingredients, ethically and responsibly sourced ingredients

Price | $19

Shipping | U.S

Reviews | 4.4/5 stars over 68 reviews

Praised for its inclusive approach to beauty and its high-quality products, Milk Makeup is one of our favorite cruelty-free and vegan makeup brands. The conscious brand offers a full line of cosmetics and skincare products with fun packaging. Their vegan innovative cosmetics are formulated with clean ingredients and you will never find harmful chemicals in their beauty products such as parabens, formaldehyde, talc, carmine, or BHA. No wonder they have thousands of raving reviews for their top-selling products.

3. L’Occitane – Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream

Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

Clean & Eco-friendly | Leaping Bunny certified, Cruelty-Free, Oil-free

Price | $40

Shipping | Worldwide

Reviews | 4.7/5 stars over 886 reviews

This French brand is known for its high-quality and science-based skincare products. Initially focused on skincare, they now offer a limited but growing makeup and perfume line. The Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream provides 24 hours of hydration for all skin types, and helps soften skin.

L’Occitane is committed to accessibility and transparency in its products and practices. The eco-friendly company is part of various environmentally-conscious programs and is Leaping Bunny certified.

4. Pacifica Beauty – Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream

Best Cruelty-Free Face Moisturizer

Clean & Eco-friendly | Cruelty-free certified by PETA & 100% Vegan

Price | $18

Shipping | U.S and Canada

Reviews | 4.6/5 stars over 2,212 reviews

Pacifica Beauty is a clean beauty brand that has been around since 1996. It is one of the leading clean beauty brands on the market, and its products are beloved by green beauty enthusiasts and makeup artists alike. 

The brand is known for its innovative formulas and affordable products. Pacifica offers a variety of skincare, haircare, fragrance, makeup, and body care items. Their products are vegan, cruelty-free, and made with natural ingredients. It is one of the best vegan and cruelty-free brand at the moment.

5. 100% Pure – Vanilla Bean Nourishing Body Cream

Best Cruelty-Free Body Moisturizer

Clean & Eco-friendly | Cruelty-Free, Vegan, and natural ingredients

Price | $26

Shipping | Worldwide

Reviews | 4.7/5 stars over 477 reviews

100% Pure mission is to bring the healthiest products to the beauty industry. This cruelty-free brand offers a line of make-up, skincare, and personal care made from safe and clean ingredients. 100% Pure’s products are made in North America. 

They partner with various local and international organizations to support health globally.

6. Elf Cosmetics – Holy Hydratation! Eye Cream

Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizer for Eye

Clean & Eco-friendly | Cruelty-Free certified by Peta, Leaping Bunny certified, Vegan, Paraben-free.

Price | $10

Shipping | Worldwide

Reviews | 4.4/5 stars over 242 reviews

Elf Cosmetics is a clean and cruelty-free beauty company. The company’s mission is to create easy-to-use products made with safe all-natural ingredients. Elf cosmetics banned parabens, and other toxic substances from the composition of their products to keep your skin healthy. The company does not test its products on animals.

In addition, Elf cosmetics support organizations that protect animals.

7. 100% Pure – Green Tea EGCG Concentrate Cream

Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizer with Natural Ingredients

Clean & Eco-friendly | Cruelty-Free, vegan, gluten-free, natural ingredients, made in the US

Price | $56

Shipping | Worldwide

Reviews | 4.4/5 stars over 35 reviews

100% Pure mission is to bring the healthiest products to the beauty industry. This cruelty-free brand offers a line of make-up, skincare, and personal care made from safe and clean ingredients. 100% Pure’s products are made in North America. 

They partner with various local and international organizations to support health globally.

8. Tata Harper – Repairative Moisturizer

Best Cruelty-Free Moisturizer for Mature skin

Clean & Eco-friendly | Cruelty-Free certified by PETA, natural ingredients, free from hazardous and harsh chemicals

Price | $130

Shipping | Worldwide

Reviews | 4.2/5 stars over 82 reviews

For high-end skincare, Tata Harper is what you need. The brand is beloved by beauty enthusiasts for its luxurious products and cutting-edge formulations. Their line includes skincare products and beauty accessories. All of their products have clean formulations and are never tested on animals. 

FAQ

Does Natural Mean Non-Toxic / Clean?

When products are natural, it doesn’t mean that their composition is completely safe and non-toxic for human health.

When formulating a beauty product composition, a brand can mix organic/natural ingredients with some preservatives or antioxidants that are hazardous to human health.

Unfortunately, today there is no regulation to address the issue.

What Does Cruelty-Free Mean for a Product?

When a product is labeled “cruelty-free,” it means that the product has not been tested on animals. This includes all stages of product development, from initial research to final testing. 

In order to be cruelty-free, a company must also not use any animal-derived ingredients in its products. 

The term “cruelty-free” is not regulated by the FDA, so companies can use it without meeting any specific criteria. 

However, there are third-party organizations that companies can choose to work with, such as Leaping Bunny and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. These organizations issue certifications with strict standards for what qualifies as cruelty-free, and they also provide independent verification.

Does Vegan Mean Cruelty-Free?

Vegan means that a product is made without animal-derived ingredients.
Cruelty-free means that a product was not tested on animals.

One can go without the other. It’s important to know the difference. A lotion can be vegan but tested on animals and a lotion can be not tested on animals but made from animal-derived ingredients.

Image Credit: All photos belong to Pexels, Unsplash and to respective brands. These are the product prices at the time of the article’s publication.

Share this post