Today we’re talking about cruelty-free, vegan skin care! Settle in, grab a snack and a glass of water, because I love skin care and this post got real long, real quick.
My skin usually needs a lot of outside help. For a long time I had my routine setup for acne-prone, oily but dehydrated skin. Recently my skin type has changed to very dry and dehydrated. Today I’ll be telling you about my new routine for dry, dehydrated skin with pigmentation.
PS: This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links. I just really like these products!
My Skin Type
Dry + dehydrated with sun damage (hyperpigmentation)
What I Want From My Skin Care Routine
- Cruelty-free and vegan
- Hydration and moisture
- No acne causing ingredients (I use CosDNA to check out the safety of skin care products)
- Lightening of hyperpigmentation from sun damage
First up, cleansers. For everyday cleansing I use this
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin ($15.71 CAD/237ml). I was looking for a vegan alternative to my old non-vegan favourites like Cerave, Cetaphil, and SpectroJel and Vanicream fits the bill! It’s gentle and cleanses thoroughly (even removing makeup swiftly.) Looking up the product on CosDNA, it’s ingredients totally check out. It won’t cause acne or irritate your skin. UPDATE: Vanicream is not tested on animals and does not contain animal-derived ingredients, however its ingredients may have been tested on animals where required by law.
For makeup removal I use the Kirkland brand makeup wipes from Costco ($19.00 CAD/150 wipes). It’s more affordable than using extra Vanicream cleanser to remove makeup + cleanse on full face makeup days. UPDATE: I no longer use makeup wipes regularly.
Moisturizing + Hydration:
Next, moisturizers. My skin is super dry so hydration is huge. I use The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA ($7.70 CAD/100ml) in the morning and under makeup. On days when I want more moisture I add a drop of The Ordinary’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane ($7.90 CAD/100ml). In the evening I use a blend of The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80 CAD/30ml) and their 100% Plant Derived Squalane.
Sun care! Currently I’m using Alba Botanica’s Facial Sunscreen (Fragrance Free with SPF 30). It’s not greasy and wears well under makeup. I apply sunscreen after moisturizer in the morning. I need to work on my commitment to sun care. Last winter I was using a Retin-A product without sunscreen and end up with some obvious sun damage to my under eye and upper lip areas. I wasn’t even outside much, this was just from general winter driving (no sunglasses) and because I was using a chemical exfoliant. Please use sunscreen! Especially if you’re using a skin care regime that includes topical chemical exfoliants (or oral isotretinoin aka Accutane.) I’ve tried Sun Bum’s facial SPF cream and their spray sunscreen but I found them both oily feeling and quite pricey. The Ordinary has a line of sun care on its way so I’ll be trying that ASAP!
A few times a week I use The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% peeling solution ($6.70 CAD/30ml) in the evening, after cleansing. I let that dry before applying Natural Moisturizing factors + HA or Hyaluronic Acid + B5 and 100% Plant Derived Squalane. This is one of those product you want to use alongside diligent sun care.
I use a mixture of sugar + coconut oil to exfoliate my lips as needed.
I’ve used a lot of inexpensive primers from Wet n’ Wild and ELF, as well as the super popular Smashbox primer (I used this one before going vegan) but I’m currently a big fan of The Ordinary’s 2 primers: High-Adherence Silicone Primer ($4.90 CAD/30ml - helps makeup last longer and helps to blur imperfections) and the High-Spreadability Fluid Primer ($7.90 CAD/30ml - helps even spreading of makeup pigments around dry areas and under eyes.) I’m not sure which I prefer, I like them both!
I’m a makeup junkie so when The Ordinary came out with foundations (their whole line is vegan by the way!) I knew I needed to try them ASAP. I tried both their Serum Foundation ($6.70 CAD/30ml) and the Coverage Foundation ($6.90 CAD/30ml). I didn’t really expect to like the Serum Foundation. I figured it would be like a BB cream with sheer coverage. I was so wrong! It looks so good on skin and it has really great coverage. It actually makes my skin look better without looking like I’m wearing a lot of makeup. I typically prefer foundations that offer full coverage and The Ordinary’s Serum foundation is somewhere between medium and full coverage. The coverage foundation is nice too but it looks much more like makeup on the skin. I prefer to wear it as concealer over the Serum foundation.
I use the shade 1.1P for both foundations which is a good match but possibly a touch pale for me so I’d purchase 1.2P in the future. My one gripe is with The Ordinary’s shade range (which I believe they plan on expanding in the future), out of 21 shades, 12 shades are suited for light-medium skin tones, 4 for medium-dark skin tones, 3 for deep-very deep skin tones. You can view their shade range here.
Other Products I Use:
- The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG ($6.70 CAD/30ml)
When mornings are feeling extra hard or I just haven’t gotten enough sleep I use this around my eye area. I can’t say this stuff is life changing but it feels soo nice on bad mornings. I’ve use chilled caffeinated tea bags for the same purpose but The Ordinary’s product is less messy and easy to use quickly (which is so necessary on sleepless mornings) and it just makes your eyes feel sooo goood.
- The Honest Company’s Shampoo + Body Wash
I sometimes use this as face wash if I’m wearing makeup (it removes makeup quickly) or I’m out of Vanicream. I purchase this from Costco in a 2 pack.
- The Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion
I use this to moisturize my body and occasionally for moisturizing my face if I’m out of The Ordinary’s Moisturizing factors + HA. It's best by itself, I find it can react with other ingredients in my usual skin care routine and cause a little burning/itching, but it's totally fine by itself. I buy this from Costco in a 2 pack.
My Daily Routine
AM - Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, dry, and apply The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing factors + HA. On makeup days I’d add one of The Ordinary’s primers + foundations + whatever makeup I'm wearing that day. If I'm leaving the house I'll add in Alba Botanica’s Facial Sunscreen after TO's Natural Moisturizing factors + HA or in place of it.
PM - Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, dry, and apply and mixture of The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid + B5 and their 100% Plant Derived Squalane.
2-3x Per Week Routine
AM - Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, dry, and apply The Ordinary’s Caffeine + ECGC massaging my eyelids and under eyes gently. Then I moisturize with Natural Moisturizing factors + HA. On makeup days I’d add one of The Ordinary’s primers + foundations + whatever makeup I'm wearing that day. If I'm leaving the house I'll add in Alba Botanica’s Facial Sunscreen after TO's Natural Moisturizing factors + HA or in place of it.
PM - Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, dry, and apply The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid + 2% HA peeling solution, let dry. Apply a mixture of The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid + B5 and their 100% Plant Derived Squalane.
What’s missing from my routine?
- Lip balm - I’m on the lookout for an affordable (like, cheap because I always lose them!!) moisturizing vegan lip balm. My lips get extremely dry and chapped during the winter so I’m looking for something heavy-duty that isn’t crazy expensive!
- Water! - I haven’t been drinking enough water and my skin and lips are feeling it. Stay hydrated (especially if you find that your skin is dry or oily but dehydrated.
Where do I buy skin care?
- Theordinary.com: The Ordinary
- Well.ca: The Ordinary, Alba Botanica
- Iherb.com: Alba Botanica
- Amazon.ca: Vanicream and Alba Botanica
- Costco: The Honest Company, Kirkland facial wipes
I’m a little confused. You don’t use Vanicream cleanser, so what do you use now? Thanks!
Vanicream is not cruelty free.
Thanks Sasha! I'll update the post 🙂
I was wondering if you've found a new facial cleanser? I've been wanting to explore something out of CeraVe, and got excited at your post (but then I saw the update/correction!). Thanks!
Thanks so much for your great website! This is my favorite lip balm. And the container is oval so it fits well in my wallet. 🙂 Hurraw! Coconut Lip Balm
Thank you for stopping by Sue! Hurraw lip balms are great, I haven't tried the coconut one yet!
Best ever post for enhancing our beauty and i became regular reader of your blog. Keep useful posting like this. Also try these products
Yes, definitely! I'd love that! P.S, When you finish your face powder, let me know, I will send you link to the one Im using! 😉
Oh that would be great! Can you send it now? Thank you so much Anna!
Wow, I am so impressed with this post! I am vegan and my skin care routine is very important for me. Serum fundation looks like something would like to try 🙂 Also, in my routine, there is always Face Powder. Great thing for oily skin, don't you think? I found one made by Virginic brand and it works great for me. Do you have your favourite one?
Thanks so much Anna! I'm usually trying a different face powder every time I run out because I haven't really found one that I like yet! Right now I'm using E.L.F.'s translucent setting powder. I'm thinking of doing a vegan makeup bag post in the future, would that be of interest to you?
I see The Ordinary has a product with Lactic Acid. I've only been vegan for six months now but I sure think this can't be vegan.
There is vegan lactic acid! And yes, this product from The Ordinary is vegan!
Beth @ Everyday Young
Thanks for sharing! Great vegan products and tips! I love the water tip - I definitely find that my skin looks so much younger and fresher when I am making an effort to simply drink more water!
Oh my goodness, I know! Adequate hydration is SO important for healthy, younger looking skin. You've just reminded me to drink more water, because I've been feeling a little dry lately, haha. Thanks for commenting Beth!
Also I just got off he phone with GALDERMA specialists and they are required by law to answer if any of their products are vegan and it is and it makes me very happy because it has done wonders for me.
Would you say that this routine is okay for someone who has oily but dehydrated skin? I am recently finding out that my skin may be dehydrated and perhaps the routine specifically for oily skin has been doing more damaged to my skin than helping it. If not, then perhaps you could give me advice on what step by step product routine I should be following because when it comes to skincare I am at a loss.
Yes yes! This would be a great routine for you. I went through the same thing when I realized I had such oily skin BECAUSE it was so dehyrdated and my "oily skin care routine" was doing more harm than good. I think you'd notice your skin feels much more hydrated with a routine like this!
How do you know the "Vanicream Gentle Cleanser" is vegan? It doesn't say anything about it being vegan or cruelty-free on Amazon and it lists glycerin as an ingredient. I am looking for an acne wash similar to Cetaphil or Cerave and can't find anything.
There is a vegan brand called Ceramedx , better than Cetaphil and Cerave
Thank you so much fro this skin care products.
I am a vegan so this will be useful for me.
here we will their to check your amazing posts!!
If you are looking for a good moisturizer, try plan old shea butter. I have super dry skin and it is the only thing that I can use.
I love Hurraw! lip balm. Its costly but after trying several others i find this is the best. I only have to apply once a day and that is truly remarkable since I always had dry chapped lips. I use the tangerine chamomile one that tastes like orange creamsicle ice cream. It leaves a white cast that fades in a minute, due to its sunscreen properties.
Ugh, yes, I was eyeing the Hurraw! lip balms, they have SO many amazing scents it's hard to pick just a few to try! Thanks for your recommendation, I'm going to give them a try 😀
Thank you for showing a multitude of cruelty free quality skin care products, and where to find them. This is a super informative article and will help me think more about the products I buy. 💚
Any suggestions for toothpastes and antiperspirants out there ??
Thanks Cheryl! My favourite antiperspirant is Earth Science's unscented deodorant. It's kinda expensive at $7.20 CAD per stick but it works really well. As for toothpaste, Tom's of Maine and JĀSÖN are both pretty popular and widely available, I also like Dessert Essence's toothpastes. I don't really have a favourite toothpaste!
Thanks for those suggestions☺
you might love the lip balms by 'soothing touch.' my favorite flavors are grapefruit, coconut lime, and lemon cardomom. vegan, cheap, and (for me) the best lip balm i've ever tried. also, the tube has a very appealing fat shape, and i find i lose them less often than the skinnier cylinders.
Oh thanks So much for your suggestion Sky! All of those scents sound soo nice, I want to try the vanilla rose and the lavender coconut too. I went to place and order but the shipping to Canada is $125 🙁 Hopefully that's just a mistake!