Cruelty-Free, Eco-Friendly Skincare Brands for Sensitive Skin

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Aug. 11 2021, Published 3:36 p.m. ET

Cruelty-Free, Eco-Friendly Skincare
Source: Getty Images

If you have sensitive skin, you probably prefer to use fragrance-free, dermatologist-approved skincare products. However, if you’re trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, you probably also only want to buy skincare products that are cruelty-free, vegan, sustainably-packaged, and made by companies that share your values.

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While that may sound like a tall order, there are actually plenty of companies out there offering sensitive, fragrance-free, eco-friendly skincare products that are not tested on animals. So, today we’re spotlighting just a handful of our favorite skincare brands that stand out for meeting the aforementioned criteria.


Source: Cocokind

Cocokind is a woman-owned, Asian-owned, cruelty-free, and fairly-priced skincare company. The brand has a number of sustainability initiatives, such as packaging its products in glass jars and sugarcane tubes, as well as measuring, auditing, and offsetting its emissions (including printing sustainability facts on its packaging).

Some of cocokind’s most popular skincare products include the ceramide barrier serum, oil to milk cleanser, and revitalizing eye cream. All products are vegan, except for a few that contain beeswax.

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Mad Hippie

Mad Hippie is a fully vegan and cruelty-free “advanced skincare” brand. The company makes skincare products for every skin type and stage of life, always opting for natural ingredients instead of parabens, synthetic fragrance, dyes, PFAS, and other synthetics. Popular items include the Face Cream, Vitamin C Serum, and Triple C Night Cream.

Mad Hippie has a partnership with TerraCycle, so you can mail any plastic Mad Hippie packaging in to be recycled; the company also donates $1 for every online order to a conservation charity.

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Pacifica’s Vegan Ceramide Skincare Collection

Pacifica is a fully vegan and cruelty-free company making skincare, beauty products, and more. The brand is actually known for making its products smell incredible — but the team just came out with its first fragrance-free, dermatologist-approved skincare line, which was awarded a National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

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Designed for those with sensitive skin, Pacifica’s Vegan Ceramide Skincare Collection includes an Extra Gentle Face Wash, a Barrier Face Cream, and a Barrier Eye Cream, all of which are made with ceramides, marshmallow root extract, and calendula. Most Pacifica products are packaged in plastic, but you can recycle empty containers through Pacifica’s recycling program.

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Selfless by Hyram

Typically, influencer beauty brands are not the first ones that come to mind when thinking about sustainability. However, you may be surprised by 25-year-old skincare Hyram Yarbro’s brand, Selfless by Hyram, which was founded in the summer of 2021 and is powered by The Inkey List. Selfless by Hyram’s goal is “sparking social change,” and the company works with two established charities — Rainforest Trust and Thirst Project.

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The fully vegan and fragrance-free brand makes products for all different skin types, including the Retinol & Rainbow Algae Repair Serum and the Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran Gentle Exfoliating Serum. The Selfless website actually has a decent amount of transparency regarding the sustainable sourcing behind its products, as well as a number of sustainability initiatives, including optimizing the (plastic) packaging to be more easily recyclable. One of our favorite YouTubers, Shelbi Orme aka Shelbizleee, made a great video breaking down the sustainability behind Selfless by Hyram.

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REN Clean Skincare

REN Clean Skincare is cruelty-free, and offers a host of vegan skincare products, including the V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream and the Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream (you can find the full vegan list on REN’s FAQ page). The company formulates its products for all skin types (including sensitive skin), uses sustainably-sourced ingredients, and has a goal of being “clean” for both your skin and the planet.

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REN has a zero-waste pledge, which the company says it has made 68 percent progress on, as of August 2021. To get there, REN is designing all packaging to be recyclable, reusable, or made with recycled materials by the end of 2021; additionally, the company has partnered with several other eco-minded skincare brands — Biossance, Caudalie, Herbivore and Youth to the People — on a shared pledge to only use eco-friendly packaging by 2025.

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Ceramedx is essentially a vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free dupe for CeraVe or Cetaphil. Ceramedx’s skincare products, which include a Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser and a Soothing Facial Lotion, rely on ceramides to gently moisturize sensitive, dry, or irritated skin. While the brand doesn’t appear to have any specific sustainability initiatives, it’s the one on this list most likely to satisfy your dermatologist.

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