5 Best Vegan-Friendly Moisturizers (All Skin Types) in 2020
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5 Best Vegan-Friendly Moisturizers (All Skin Types)

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best vegan moisturizer

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR ALL SKIN TYPES ZELEN Life Moisturizer

 

Moisturizing is the most important step in any skincare routine. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends using a moisturizer to trap the existing moisture in your skin.[1]

In this list, we discuss the best vegan moisturizers suitable for all skin types. Vegan moisturizers contain plant-based oils instead of synthetic chemical oils.

In our list below we will talk about the pros and cons of the best vegan moisturizers available in 2020.

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageZELEN Life Moisturizer
  • Vegan friendly and cruelty-free
  • Light, non-greasy texture, absorbs fast
  • Boosts hydration, while soothing and calming inflammaton
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bb2-table__imageJuice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer
  • Lightweight formula
  • Skin-tightening and anti-aging
  • Leaves a nice matte finish
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bb2-table__imageBoscia Cactus Water Moisturizer
  • Gel-based hydration
  • Contains "Queen of the Night Cactus"
  • Clean, chemical-free skincare
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bb2-table__imageAHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer
  • Creamy texture provides long-lasting moisture
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals
  • Hypoallergenic formula
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bb2-table__imageBoscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer
  • Mattifying and smoothing effect
  • Green tea helps with breakouts
  • Lightweight consistency, reduces inflammation
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Before you buy: 8 Questions to consider when purchasing a vegan moisturizer

It’s not just that you can go online and buy a cream or lotion with a thousand reviews. Before you buy, there’s some research and homework that goes into pick the right product.

Few formulas are suitable for all. The majority of formulations are ideal for a particular skin type. Here are a few key things you should know before you decide to buy your moisturizer.

1. Do I need to moisturize?

Moisturizers are necessary to maintain skin health and also as an adjuvant therapy against different types of dermatitis.[2] While the human body has its own natural mechanism of moisturizing and lubricating the skin via sweat and sebaceous glands, the skin loses moisture throughout the day.

If you spend your day outdoors under the sun or work in an air-conditioned office all day, your skin will likely lose moisture without you noticing it.

Additionally, other chemicals and cosmetic products can dry your skin. Medications like isotretinoin and statins also dry the skin, stripping it of its moisture.

So, yes, you do need to moisturize your skin. How much depends on your day and your skin. No salesperson can tell you what’s best since you know how you spend the day and the conditions of your skin.

2. Which type of moisturizer?

There are many types of moisturizers. There are humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Or in simpler terms, creams, lotions, or ointments. Depending on your skin type, you must choose an appropriate moisturizer.

Humectants contain glycerol, hyaluronate, propylene glycol, urea, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid. They soften and exfoliate your skin. Emollients contain lanolin, mineral oil, ceramides, dimethicone, jojoba oil, and other plant-based oils.

Occlusives contain shea butter, petrolatum, beeswax, and paraffin. Have you tried any of these before? Does one make your skin oily or flaky compared to another?

3. What’s your skin type?

Dry skin types do well with ointments and occlusives. They lock in the moisture and prevent any itchiness. Thinner creams are suitable for normal skin and tend to hydrate the skin making it look dewy. The lotions are the lightest in terms of weight and are great for oily skin.

The weather matters:

In the summer months, you may want to choose a hydrating formula since you lose more moisture. In the winter, you may want a formula that is not exfoliating and drying.

Also, the time of day matters. During the day you may want a formula that is lightweight and mattifies. In the night, you may want to look for a deep acting formula that has other actions.

For acne-prone skin, you may want to use a light gel or serum formulation instead. Therefore, it is important to understand your skin type before you decide what product to use.

4. Does it have sun protection?

Dermatologists recommend using moisturizers that contain SPF (sun protecting factors) equivalent to traditional sunscreens.[3] A good one should have at least 30 SPF to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. UV rays cause melanoma of the skin. If you’re out in the sun, make sure you’re applying an SPF to every exposed part of your face, neck, and décolletage.

5. Does it have antioxidants?

Our skin is exposed to free radicals from within and without due to our food, age, chemicals, and pollutants. A good moisturizer will neutralize these free radicals that damage the skin, causing it to age and develop fine lines.

Vegan moisturizers tend to contain antioxidants from pomegranate, grape, licorice, green tea, chamomile, and the list goes on.

Which to pick:

If you need to pick a moisturizer, pick one with antioxidants that serve a dual role. These dual-acting moisturizers will revitalize your skin and add radiance, or reduce lines, or spot treat your scars depending on your skincare needs.

6. Does it work with other skin conditions?

If you have other skin conditions, you may want to look at the ingredient list carefully. For people with allergies, you might want a moisturizer that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. The formula must also have less than ten active ingredients.

If you have eczema, then a moisturizer that has emollients and occlusives like petroleum jelly is better. If you’re experiencing pruritic dermatitis, you may choose a formula containing a steroid-like a 1% hydrocortisone.

Acne-prone skin types may do well with formulas that have alpha-hydroxy acids as they will exfoliate and renew the skin.

7. Body moisturizer Vs. Face moisturizer?

To streamline your skincare budget, it is tempting to simply buy a body moisturizer and use it in your face. No. While it can suit some, remember that the skin on your face is different from the skin of the rest of your body. Facial skin is delicate.[4]

The thick outer stratum corneum layer in body skin is thinner on the face, especially around the eyelids, the cheek, around the mouth, and vermillion. As such, the corneocytes are smaller and have different percentages of sebaceous glands.

These smaller corneocytes can get clogged with a thick body moisturizer increasing the chances of acne and bacterial infection. Therefore, body moisturizer should not be used for the face.

8. What’s your budget?

A moisturizer is an essential step in any skincare routine. You will use it at least twice a day. Keep in mind that your moisturizer goes on your face and neck.

How much are you willing to spend on a product that you will need all season long? Your budget will affect your choice as there are luxury, premium vegan moisturizers on our list, and affordable choices as well.

Point to note:

Vegan moisturizers tend to be slightly pricy as they source, natural ingredients. Moisturizers with synthetic chemicals are comparatively cheaper as they are filled with additives and artificial ingredients.

Using a vegan moisturizer means your infusing hydration with products from the earth rather than from animals. It is a small price to pay, but if it makes life for the animals easier, then why not.

The 5 best vegan-friendly moisturizers in 2020

Here’s our list of the 5 best vegan moisturizers for 2020. These have been handpicked based on our research for you.

1. ZELEN Life Moisturizer

moisturizer zelen life

Best features:

  • Light, non-greasy formula
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-comedogenic

The best moisturizer for:

Those on a budget (all skin types).

Overview:

The ZELEN Life Moisturizer will do precisely what it says, infuse life in your skin. This moisturizer is handmade with organic plant-based oils like jojoba, calendula, and clary sage.

Jojoba is the carrier oil, and all its ingredients are packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, and other rich antioxidants. The light, non-greasy formula effortlessly glides on the skin without leaving behind a residue.

It is quickly absorbed into the skin, providing hydration and leaving your skin soft, smooth, and protected all day and during the winter.

This non-comedogenic occlusive moisturizer is suitable for men and women of all ages and skin types. Whether you have dry, oily, combination, sensitive, or acne-prone skin, anyone can use it. It is alcohol-free, silicone-free, and fragrance-free. It’s also cruelty-free.

Like all of ZELEN’s life products, this moisturizing cream features a natural formula that’s chemical-free and doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, or synthetic colors and fragrances. This makes it hypoallergenic and protects the skin.

Jojoba is a carrier oil and is one of the only plant species that produces liquid wax.[5] It has anti-aging properties that fight wrinkles and fine lines, speeds up the skin’s healing process, and balances hormones on the skin.

It regulates the production of sebum by the sebaceous gland. There are so many advantages to the transdermal application of jojoba oil.

Calendula is a natural oil derived from the marigold flower moisturizes and nourishes the skin. It’s a natural antiseptic and heals the skin while reducing redness and irritation.

Clary sage, a flowering herb native to the Mediterranean region, tightens skin while giving it a youthful, radiant glow. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent skin irritation. It’s antibacterial properties curb the growth of bacteria.

The good:

  • Smoothing, calming, and soothing effect due to the calendula oil
  • Natural antiseptic and curbs the growth of bacteria
  • Provides aromatherapy through the sage herb

Things to think about:

  • Doesn’t have an SPF of 30

Bottom line:

This is a wonderful vegan moisturizer that works for all skin types and is pocket friendly.

2. Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Mattifying formula
  • Anti-wrinkle
  • Non-comedogenic

The best moisturizer for:

Aging and mature skin.

Overview:

Juice’s Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer comes with a proprietary blend of fruit stem cells infused into a Vitamin C, resveratrol rich grapeseed formula.

This reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is certified organic, and the antioxidant-rich ingredients hydrate and improve skin elasticity. This is important for skin damaged by the sun and skin with fine lines.

The organic antioxidant-rich jojoba oil and shea moisturize and hydrate the skin, making it luminous. It also fights free radical damage and firms up the skin.

Who should use it:

It is suitable for all skin types, especially if they’re showing the signs of aging.

Studies have shown that resveratrol can help fight free radicals.[6] They neutralize any oxidative stress and are radioprotective.

Vitamin C infused into organic resveratrol-rich grape can improve the appearance of skin tone and luminosity. Additionally, it provides essential fatty acid emollients with ingredients like evening primrose, linseed & borage seed.

You must be wondering:

What are fruit stem cells?

These are cells that are extracted from plants and fight free radicals. Since they are undifferentiated cells that repair and regenerative in plants, they have the same function in skin repair. Juice’s fruit stem cells blend is derived from organic apple buds, grape buds & lemon bark.

The resveratrol or organic grape juice is rich in vitamins and potent tartaric alpha-hydroxy acid, which promote beautiful skin.

The good:

  • Tightens the skin
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Lightweight coverage
  • Improves skin elasticity

Things to think about:

  • Expensive and considered a luxury moisturizer
  • Strongly scented with a citric scent.

Bottom line:

This moisturizer works wonders for fine lines and visibly tightens the skin.

3. Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Gel formula to nourish and hydrate dry skin
  • Gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free
  • Cactus and aloe vera to soothe and repair damaged skin

The best moisturizer for:

Dry, inflamed, and flaky skin.

Overview:

Boscia’s Cactus Water Moisturizer is aimed at combination and oily skin. However, this ultra-lightweight moisturizer gives dry, thirsty skin a sip of hydration, leaving it soft, smooth, and supple. This makes it ideal for people with dry skin or those with eczema or peeling.

Its key ingredient is ‘Queen of the Night Cactus’ which rejuvenates, nourishes, and rebounds dry skin, and imparts intense moisturizing.

The Boscia Cactus Water Moisturizer is a fast-absorbing moisturizer that can be used in the morning and at night. It delivers instant hydration without the weight of heavy cream. This gel-like moisturizer is perfect for priming the skin and perfecting skin tone.

It is preservative-free and clean. Some of its ingredients include queen of the night cactus, peptide complex, aloe vera flower extract, South African resurrection plant infusion.

What’s so special about the “Queen of the Night” Cactus Succulent?

This is a succulent plant found in Mexico that adapts to extreme climate conditions and rebounds from dramatic dehydration that helps rejuvenate, nourish, and rebound desert-dry skin.

It conditions the skin and moisturizes while evening out the complexion. Studies have shown that aloe vera helps retain moisture in the skin.[7]

The good:

  • Fantastic for dry skin
  • A pea-sized amount goes a long way
  • Gel substance great for day and night skin routine
  • Smoothens the skin

Things to think about:

  • Can feel very sticky
  • Some complaints about peeling off and not as absorbable into the skin

Bottom line:

While it is marketed as a moisturizer for combination skin, it is more suitable for dry skin types.

4. AHAVA Essential Day Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Light creamy formula
  • Soothes and hydrates the skin
  • Mineral-rich

The best moisturizer for:

Combination skin.

Overview:

The Ahava Essential Day Moisturizer balances out combination skin with a cream formulated to keep skin hydrated but not greasy all day. It contains 21 essential minerals, in their signature mineral catalyst, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Its ultra-light creamy texture absorbs easily, giving you dewy skin that’s perfect with or without makeup. This moisturizer provides deep, lasting hydration all day long without needing more touch-ups.

It’s light, absorbent formula moisturizes the skin without feeling greasy. And the Provitamin B5 and vitamin E lock in moisture to prevent dehydration.

Other ingredients in this formulation to lock in hydration for a healthy, balanced-looking complexion include aloe vera, bisabolol, and allantoin to soothe and prevent irritation. Studies show that α Bisabolol can ameliorate inflammation derived from cytokines.[8]

This hydrating and soothing moisturizer is hypoallergenic, vegan, and paraben-free.

The good:

  • The mineral-rich formula balances skin tone
  • Hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin
  • Gives you dewy skin with its Vitamin E and Provitamin B5 formula

Things to think about:

  • Packaging complaints are rife
  • Small tube and not as cost-effective as other brands
  • Can cause allergic reactions, so do a skin patch test first

Bottom line:

This is a good moisturizer for combination skin and those looking for that dewy finish.

5. Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer

Best features:

  • Lightweight moisturizer
  • Reduces redness
  • Diminishes breakouts and acne
  • Provides UV protection

The best moisturizer for:

Those with oily skin as it has a mattifying effect.

Overview:

The Boscia Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer with Green Tea Oil is a natural antioxidant-rich Japanese Green Tea formulated moisturizer. It provides your skin with nourishing plant extracts, leaving it soothed and hydrated.

This anti-aging moisturizer has a lightweight consistency that reduces inflammation from acne-causing bacteria. And so it significantly diminishes breakouts while controlling oil and sebum production.

A complex of algae extracts in the moisturizer also prevents premature aging by repairing existing damage and protecting skin from new damage caused by environmental stress and UV rays.

As it is formulated for oily skin, this oil control moisturizer can be used morning and night, alone or under makeup. It hydrates the skin but is oil-free and oil-controlling. Don’t be fooled since its lightweight.

It maintains skin elasticity and tone. It also is rich in antioxidants and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Since it absorbs excess oil and provides a mattified, smooth surface, it can be used as a base for those following up with makeup.

Other ingredients in this formula are Japanese green tea, burdock root, marine complex, rosemary leaf extract, and jojoba seed extract.

The good:

  • Hydrates the skin with jojoba seed extract
  • Soothes irritation with Japanese green tea
  • Controls oil and gives a matt finish to the skin

Things to think about:

  • Is scented
  • No SPF

Bottom line:

This is an excellent moisturizer for those with oily skin and acne breakouts. It mattifies and controls oils.


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How we chose these products

As you can see, there’s plenty of variety when it comes to moisturizers. Additionally, there are much more available in the market. Many of them are not vegan or contain oils from animals.

Our choices were shaped by the fact that these moisturizers are suitable for a wide variety of skin types. We have a product to suit practically every skin type on our list. And for good reason.

We also tried to cover every type of moisturizer. Humectants, emollients, and occlusives, they’re all here. Individuals have different hydration levels, and so you will see gels, creams, and lotions, all represented on this list.

The best vegan moisturizer is also not the most expensive. We considered the budget. Some of the ingredients that go into making these vegan moisturizers are imported and, therefore, costly. Yet, we tried to find something for every price range.

We also considered associated conditions. For those who have acne, eczema, fine lines, and dermatitis, we have carefully reviewed the ingredients to make sure your moisturizer addresses these complaints.

This gives you a dual-acting formula that not just hydrates but also soothes, heals, repairs, brightens, firms, and nourishes your skin.

Lastly, we considered additional benefits. Sun protection, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties in each moisturizer on our list so that you can see multiple effects from a single application. There’s more to moisturizer than just hydration, and we aimed to show you that.

Frequently asked questions

At what age should I start using a moisturizer?

While skin types vary, there’s no hard and fast rule that moisturizers must begin at a particular age. If you live in an area where sun exposure and the subsequent damage are imminent, you must start using a moisturizer early. Signs of skin damage start to appear by the age of twenty, and you can begin a skincare routine then.

When should I use moisturizer?

Moisturizer is the third step in a skincare routine usually. After cleansing and toning your skin, apply a moisturizer while the skin is slightly damp. Apply the moisturizer in a single layer to face, neck, and décolletage in the morning and before sleeping at night.

How will a moisturizer fit into my skincare routine?

We understand you have other skincare staples for your skin. Maybe it’s a serum or a favorite sunscreen that you apply religiously. It could be doubled as a moisturizer and vice versa. Many moisturizers today contain ingredients that are dual-acting.

Go through your skincare routine and read the first ten ingredients on all the product labels. See how different or similar they are. You might already be using a few products that are doubling over.

Maybe you can cut out a few and choose a moisturizer that does some heavy lifting in other areas of skincare too.

What else do I need to use with my moisturizer?

A moisturizer is part of a skincare routine—a complete regimen. Use a suitable cleanser that locks in the moisture. Tone your skin. A toner prepares your skin so that it can soak up any moisturize or any other skin treatment that follows. And then apply your face cream.

If it does not have SPF, use a sunscreen. If you need to spot correct or have blemishes, then use your spot reduction gel or serum.

How should moisturizer be applied to achieve the best results?

The best time to apply a moisturizer is when the skin is still damp. After your skin is cleansed with a gentle cleanser, pat your face and then apply a layer of moisturizer to lock in the moisture. Don’t rub or massage into the skin.

Stay hydrated, avoid air conditioning, and eat a diet rich in essential nutrients like vitamins and essential fatty acids that are necessary for healthy skin. Avoiding smoking and the sun. Wear protective clothing and sunscreen when you’re outside.

When should I moisturize?

After you have found the right moisturizer, your dream formula, do a patch skin test. Moisturize every day to prevent dry skin and even delay wrinkles. Your skin will lap up the moisturizer and appear plumper. Irrespective of the weather, you will need to add moisture to your skin.

During summer, you lose a lot of fluids and get dehydrated. During the winter, the dryness may exacerbate your skin conditions. So, pick a different one for each season but apply it at least twice a day to see any difference.

Conclusion

The best vegan moisturizer makes your skin supple and radiant without any chemicals or synthetics.

Using nature’s best ingredients will give you healthy skin. You don’t need to follow a complicated, product-packed routine to look your best.

Do you have a favorite vegan moisturizer? Let us know in the comments below, and we might just add it to our list.

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References

  1. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/dermatologists-tips-relieve-dry-skin
  2. Purnamawati S, Indrastuti N, Danarti R, Saefudin T. The Role of Moisturizers in Addressing Various Kinds of Dermatitis: A Review. Clin Med Res. 2017;15(3-4):75-87. doi:10.3121/cmr.2017.1363
  3. Lourenco EAJ, Shaw L, Pratt H, et al. Application of SPF moisturizers is inferior to sunscreens in coverage of facial and eyelid regions. PLoS One. 2019;14(4):e0212548. Published 2019 Apr 3. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0212548
  4. Tagami H. Location-related differences in structure and function of the stratum corneum with special emphasis on those of the facial skin. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008;30(6):413-434. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2008.00459.x
  5. Matsumoto Y, Ma S, Tominaga T, et al. Acute Effects of Transdermal Administration of Jojoba Oil on Lipid Metabolism in Mice. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(9):594. Published 2019 Sep 15. doi:10.3390/medicina55090594
  6. Fabre KM, Saito K, DeGraff W, et al. The effects of resveratrol and selected metabolites on the radiation and antioxidant response. Cancer Biol Ther. 2011;12(10):915-923. doi:10.4161/cbt.12.10.17714
  7. Hekmatpou D, Mehrabi F, Rahzani K, Aminiyan A. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review. Iran J Med Sci. 2019;44(1):1-9.
  8. Maurya AK, Singh M, Dubey V, Srivastava S, Luqman S, Bawankule DU. α-(-)-bisabolol reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production and ameliorates skin inflammation. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2014;15(2):173-181. doi:10.2174/1389201015666140528152946

About The Author

Dr. Pamela Q. Fernandes
Dr. Pamela Q. Fernandes

Pamela Q. Fernandes is a doctor and medical writer. Born and raised in Kuwait, she graduated from Angeles University College of Medicine, Philippines in 2007. Soon after that, she started her career as a medical writer and physician. Pamela is an advocate of preventive health, rural medicine, women’s health and tele-medicine having been active in these roles for the majority of her decade long career in medicine. As a seasoned medical writer, she has worked with many medical publishing houses and doctors, as well as pharmaceuticals, hospitals and practices. She specializes in training material for doctors and patient education material. As an academic writer, she is a qualified writer of articles for medical journals, case reports and medical presentations.

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