Many, many months ago I promised a blog post all about vegan skincare for sensitive skin. I had originally wanted someone who was actually vegan (i.e. not me!) to write the post as that would make the most sense: someone who knows the best brands, who has more information about parent companies, and could answer questions. But my plan fell through. So I decided to go about it in a different way…
I decided to write a post about all of the products that I have personally used and loved that also happen to be vegan. This is not going an exhaustive post about the BEST EVER vegan skincare for sensitive skin. I wanted to personally vouch for every product I mentioned so that I can say they really work from the point of view of someone with very sensitive skin. I’ve tried to do as much research as I can but please do let me know if there are any errors. Also, I’ve included some vegan products that do not come from fully vegan brands, and also some vegan brands who are owned by non-cruelty-free parent companies. This is something that I know is a dividing issue amongst vegans (should you avoid giving money to those companies entirely? Or should you make their vegan brands so profitable that they realise that this is a viable business plan across their business? TRICKY) so I’m not wading into that debate! I just wanted to provide a list that can serve as a jumping off point for more investigation if you’re interested in finding vegan skincare for sensitive skin, as so many people have asked me to do so. I really hope you find this helpful!
MAKE UP REMOVER
I use micellar water a lot: sometimes my skin can’t tolerate a proper cleansing step with a flannel so I rely on a cotton pad soaked in micellar water. If you’re someone who sometimes forgets to remove their make up, or thinks it’s too much faff, keeping a bottle of this magical stuff by your bed is a wonderfully easy step. The B. Micellar Water* is great, doesn’t leave any residue on the skin, and is less than £2! The whole B. range is flipping wonderful and very affordable, so if you’re looking for vegan skincare for sensitive skin, it’s a great place to start.
Cleansing is such an important step (probably the most important in my opinion) – not only for removing make up, but for getting rid of oil, dirt, sweat, and pollution. I have quite a few favourites to recommend to you, all of which I love because they’re gentle but leave my skin feeling comfortable and happy.
- Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser*
- The Body Shop Aloe Calming Cream Cleanser
- Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser
- Kalme Cream Cleanser*
- Sukin Sensitive Cleansing Gel*
People with sensitive skin tend to be scared of exfoliating and I can totally understand why – when I was first diagnosed I used a certain gritty peach exfoliating cream and destroyed my skin. But finding a great exfoliating product can really help your skin to look and feel healthier: it removes dead skin which can make your skin look dull, it helps with congestion, helps skincare work more efficiently, and make up apply better. I prefer chemical exfoliators as they are less damaging to the skin (and are not as scary as they sound, I promise!) Both of the below left my skin feeling soft and smooth, with no flare ups. FYI I wouldn’t use either of them more than twice a week, just to avoid potential irritation.
- The B. Revealed Glycolic Cleansing Peel* is a thick cream that you apply like a face mask and leave for three minutes (I started with one minute and worked my way up to three over time, just in case).
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution* uses the same form of acid as the above but is a liquid that you apply to a cotton pad and sweep over the face, after cleansing and before serum/moisturiser.
As someone with combination skin, I love serums. I find they help keep my skin hydrated, plumped up, and healthy looking. I’ve included three here to cover all budgets and formula preferences.
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – a great serum with a wonderful price point. It’s a basic hydrating serum that is a good place to start if you’re curious but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
- B. Essence Lotion – An essence is technically not a serum but I’ve included it in this section for ease of understanding. It’s a water-like liquid that’s a staple step in the Asian skincare market. It helps prep your skin to help it best absorb the following skincare and can be something to look into if you feel like your skin needs some oomph!
- Green People Hydrating Calming Serum* – it’s lightweight, calming on the skin, and layers well under other products. A simple serum that ticks all the boxes.
Moisturisers are the one skincare step that people tend to be most on-board with as it makes sense to people: you have dry skin, whack on some moisturiser. But all moisturisers are not created equal. It’s worth shopping around and finding one that works best for you: a great moisturiser should feel light on the skin, shouldn’t be greasy, and shouldn’t leave your skin feeling tight or irritated. It’s also worth keeping an eye on how your skin changes throughout the seasons – the perfect summer moisturiser may not be suitable in the colder winter months.
- The Sukin Sensitive Facial Moisturiser* is lovely – a light fluid that sinks in very quickly (making it great under make up). It contains shea butter, aloe vera, rosehip, sesame and jojoba oil so is designed to be soothing and kind to the skin.
- The Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Cream* is a great moisturiser for those with drier skin types, or for use in autumn/winter. If you have oily skin, I would recommend looking at the lotion version).
Oils are another product that people often shy away from, especially if they have oily skin: the thought of adding oil to oil is enough to send them running for the hills. But oils can be transformative, as long as you pick the right one.
- Rosehip oil is often recommended for those with rosacea, as it’s believed to help strengthen weakened capillaries and soothe irritation. I’ve listed three different ones here, so you can choose based on price/availability/brand preference. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil* (£9); Trilogy Rosehip Oil (£19.50); Pai Rosehip Oil* (£24).
- The Body Shop Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil also includes rosehip oil (as well as black cumin seed oil and camellia seed oil). It’s one of the nicest oils I’ve tried in a really long time.
- If you’re looking for a wonderful brand who has a brilliant ethos with regards to organic produce, recycling (and even precycling – yep that’s a thing!), and sustainable business practices, Beauty Kitchen are the ones to watch. They aren’t an entirely vegan brand (some of their products contain beeswax) but the Beauty Kitchen Seahorse Plankton High Definition Facial Oil* is dreamy. You can read my full review of it HERE.
Here are a few products that I use to target certain issues, outside of my ‘typical’ skincare routine.
- If you’re looking for a vegan product to target the first signs of ageing then the REN Instant Beauty Firming Shot* is a great one to look into. It has an instant tightening and lifting effect and also leaves the skin looking plump and feeling smooth.
- I’ve raved about The Ordinary Azelaic Acid a few times on the blog. Azelaic Acid (also known as finacea) is famous in rosacea communities as it’s often prescribed to help with many rosacea symptoms – but I love it for the effect is has on my seborrheic dermatitis. It’s miraculous stuff and you can read my full review HERE.
- The Kalme Night Repair Cream* is a gel-cream formula that has a lovely calming effect on my skin. If I’ve had a rosacea flare up or my skin is feeling tight and aggravated, I apply this product and my skin feels instantly better.
- I also use the Green People 24 Hour Cream* in a similar way: a mask-treatment when my skin is unhappy to bring down any heat and discomfort.
I couldn’t do vegan skincare for sensitive skin round up without including a mask section, as they are one of my purest joys in life!
- If you have oily/combination skin and want a mask to help with congestion, The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask is a great addition to your routine. It’s a clay mask that (warning!) has tea tree in it, which means that I am very careful with where I apply it: nose and chin only, to avoid any aggravation of my rosacea patches. In contrast, I apply The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask alllllll over my face as my skin LOVES this stuff. It contains aloe vera and rosehip oil so feels very cooling and soothing on the skin.
- The Beauty Kitchen 5 Minute Miracle Mask* saved me during the colder months: it’s a solid balm that turns into an oil on contact with the skin and has a really calming scent, which makes it the perfect bedtime/wind-down skin treat. I used this a couple of nights a week, depending on how dry and grotty my skin was feeling.
If you’re serious about your looking after your skin, SPF is an absolute must. Every time that you leave the house during the day you should be wearing sunscreen (yes, even when it’s overcast or raining!) and I know that it’s hard to find SPFs that suit sensitive skin to start with, let alone finding one that’s vegan. BUT the Frezyderm SPF50 Velvet Face Sunscreen* is lovely: it doesn’t feel greasy or sticky on the skin, it’s clear so doesn’t leave a white cast, it has a matte finish, and it’s broad spectrum (which means it protects from UVA and UVB rays – the former is what leads to premature ageing and the latter plays a key role in the development of cancer).
And that’s your lot! As I mentioned in the intro to this post, this is my take on vegan skincare for sensitive skin – it’s not meant to be an all-encompassing list of all the vegan products out there. But if you have sensitive skin and you have some amazing vegan skincare to recommend, please do add them into the comments so others can utilise your knowledge!
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