Which cruelty-free moisturizer is best? 

Using cruelty-free beauty products is crucial to living ethically. For the most part, companies that strive to be cruelty-free also use more natural, eco-friendly products and packaging. Many beauty brands are adapting to this standard of compassion, and they are shedding light on CDC-approved ingredients that harm animals and the human skin.

When purchasing a cruelty-free moisturizer, consider your skin type, how high the SPF is in the product and the tint. A top choice, the Mad Hippie Triple C Night Cream is a favorite among many because it supports skin health, prevents premature aging from pollution and leaves the skin looking hydrated immediately after use.

What to know before you buy cruelty-free moisturizer


When choosing a good facial moisturizer, consider the sun protection factor. A moisturizer with SPF protects skin from the sun’s rays, which in turn keeps skin from drying out; reduces the creation of new wrinkles and fine lines; and reduces the possibility of skin discoloration and melanoma. Dermatologists recommend using products with 30 SPF or higher.

Skin Type

The moisturizer you choose should be for your specific skin type. If you have oily skin and buy a heavy cream moisturizer, no matter the ingredients, this will not benefit your skin as well as it will someone with dry skin. Users with oily skin should use a lightweight hydrating gel.

Dry skin: A heavy hydrating moisturizer works best for those with dry skin. An oil- or water-based hydrating formula makes skin soft and supple. Make sure the moisturizer you purchase does not contain alcohol. This ingredient not only excessively dries out skin, it makes fine lines and wrinkles more apparent.

Oily skin: An oil-free, lightweight cruelty-free moisturizer is best for those with oily skin. This type lessens facial shine and product buildup. Oily does not mean hydrated. When it is very dry, skin can produce extra oil. Look for water-based products if you have oily skin.

Sensitive skin: Those with sensitive skin should avoid any moisturizer with questionable chemicals and dyes. Look for items that use only natural ingredients and avoid products with added fragrance and essential oils.


A good cruelty-free moisturizer will not contain parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, chemical sunscreens, triclosan, triclocarban, propylene glycol, mineral oil and more. Do not purchase products with these ingredients as they are not safe for use on sensitive skin and do not promote long-term skin health.

What to look for in a quality, cruelty-free moisturizer


When purchasing a cruelty-free moisturizer, look for ingredients such as retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. These smooth fine lines, even out tone and texture, and help prevent premature signs of aging. These ingredients are increasingly more common in plant-based forms. There are many cost-effective and cruelty-free anti-aging products on the market.


All-natural cruelty-free moisturizers do not use toxic chemicals to add scent to a product. If you have sensitive skin, consider a fragrance-free product. Even if a product’s scent derives from all-natural essential oils, this could cause irritation to those with sensitive skin.


A tinted moisturizer doubles as a cosmetic. It is a combination of a creamy moisturizer and a foundation. Many tinted moisturizers have an extensive shade range. These products can contain more chemicals than typical moisturizers, so buyers should check the ingredient list before purchasing to make sure that what they are going to put on their face provides hydration and long-term skin health. Tints provide sheer to medium coverage depending on how much the user puts on.

How much you can expect to pay for a cruelty-free moisturizer 

Cheaply formulated cruelty-free moisturizers cost $6-$13. Midrange moisturizers usually cost $15-$25. Premium moisturizers that include all the best features and naturally sourced ingredients cost $30-$70.

Cruelty-free moisturizer FAQ

If a product is cruelty-free, does that mean it is naturally vegan?

A. If a moisturizer is cruelty-free, that does not mean it is vegan, but if something is vegan, it is cruelty-free by default. In general, brands that do not test on animals tend to use more natural ingredients but that is not a guarantee.

How do I know if a product is cruelty-free?

A. Cruelty-free moisturizers feature a leaping bunny on the packaging. Some packaging does not include the symbol but does specifically state it is cruelty-free. If you are unsure if your favorite foundations are cruelty-free, visit crueltyfreekitty.com for a verified list of items that are not tested on animals.

What is the best cruelty-free moisturizer to buy?

Top cruelty-free moisturizer  

Mad Hippie Triple C Night Cream

Mad Hippie Triple C Night Cream

What you need to know: This is a deeply hydrating treatment that utilizes three forms of vitamin C, potent antioxidants and adaptogens. It lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves hydration.

What you’ll love: The turmeric present in this product lightens the appearance of skin discoloration while the chaga works to rejuvenate and protect the skin from daily stressors and exposure to pollutants.

What you should consider: Some users disliked the smell of this product, and it does not benefit those with oily skin as much as it does users with dry skin. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Top cruelty-free moisturizer for the money

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream with SPF 30

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream with SPF 30 

What you need to know: The skin stays hydrated and the tint provides sheer to medium coverage while leaving a healthy glow.

What you’ll love: This product hydrates the skin, restoring lipid barriers with its water-infused, oil-free formula. It is lightweight and has the needed amount of SPF. 

What you should consider: The fragrance of this product is strong. Some users have reported this product is too lightweight to make a noticeable difference.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta, Sephora and Amazon

Worth checking out

Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer With Hyaluronic Acid

Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer With Hyaluronic Acid

What you need to know: This product is a lightweight, air-whipped cream that works to restore and balance all skin types.

What you’ll love: The vegan formula uses plant power to deliver needed antioxidants and nutrients to the skin. The packaging is recyclable.

What you should consider: Depending on your skin type, it could take a while for this product to absorb. 

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora and Youth to the People

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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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