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  1. Good Science Digest

  2. Nov 29, 2018

13 Cruelty-Free Personal Care Products to Make You Feel Your Best

by Kristie Sullivan, MPH

Buying personal care products that have not been tested on animals is easier than ever before!

Especially in California where, due to the efforts of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Social Compassion in Legislation, Senator Cathleen Galgiani, and many other groups and individuals, all cosmetic products sold in California will soon be cruelty-free. Senate Bill 1249, signed in September by California Governor Jerry Brown, will make it unlawful for cosmetic manufacturers to sell any cosmetic in California if the final product or any component of the product was tested on animals after January 1, 2020, with some exceptions for regulatory requirements. 

During the year that we worked on SB 1249, we spent many days at the California State Capitol, testifying in support of the bill, attending rallies, and speaking with the press. We needed to look and feel our best and, using personal care products tested via human-relevant methods, we were able to! 

While we expect the law to have a nationwide impact, it doesn’t take effect until 2020. However, huge personal care brands CoverGirl and Dove have both recently announced their new cruelty-free status. The combination of consumer demand for cruelty-free products and impactful laws like SB 1249 are sure to make even more brands change their product testing ways soon. Until then, for those who want to support products that were developed using nonanimal testing methods, some homework is still required. To make things easier, we made a list of some of our favorite products that are not tested on animals (nor do they contain animal ingredients). 

The Essentials


Facial Cleanser

Youth to the People is a stellar clean beauty brand. Their vegan Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser has garnered hundreds of positive reviews, with many noting  that it works well for all skin types. 

For a less expensive option, Acure makes a great range of facial cleansers, including this Brightening Cleansing Gel, which is sulfate-free and paraben-free. 

Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap is a great option for those with sensitive skin who are looking for a bar soap. It’s also certified fair trade! 

Face Wash

LUSH’s Cup O’Coffee face mask is a delicious treat that both cleanses skin and exfoliates by buffing away dry skin with coffee grounds.

Body Wash

Nourish Organic is a cruelty-free brand that can be found in most drugstores, as well as online. Their Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Body Wash is excellent for sensitive skin and even won an Allure Beauty Award in 2014. 


Hempz Original Herbal Body Moisturizer is a soothing vegan body lotion that has a nice fresh scent. 

Shampoo and Conditioner

Giovanni is a beloved cruelty-free brand. Their Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner have made many “Best” lists. These are great for dry or frizzy hair.

For a shampoo for all hair types, try John Masters Organics' Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner.  

The Makeup



Pacifica’s Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara is unique, as the mascara wand is adjustable, allowing you to choose more volume or length (or both!) depending on your preference for the day. All of Pacifica’s products are cruelty-free and vegan. 


Cover FX is a fully vegan makeup brand, with products that utilize good-for-you ingredients. Try their oil-free Natural Finish Foundation. It comes in a huge range of shades!


100% Pure is a unique brand in that their pigments are derived from fruits! The Fruit Pigmented® Pretty Naked II Palette contains a beautiful range of eyeshadow colors. 


Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner is a favorite for a jet-black liquid liner look. It’s made in the United States, from natural ingredients.


At a mere $4, price is just one reason this shimmering e.l.f. Baked Highlighter is a drugstore favorite. Its opulent color creates a radiant glow!


Vegan icon Kat Von D’s beauty products always hit the mark—especially this Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick


Milani’s Baked Blush is a cult-beauty favorite, and all 11 shades are gorgeous! 

Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., is vice president of research policy for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and Elizabeth Baker, Esq., is regulatory policy director at the Physicians Committee.

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