Updated on May 22, 2021

Ultimate Guide to Vegan & Cruelty-Free Makeup Remover

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Ultimate Guide to Vegan & Cruelty-Free Makeup Remover

Looking for a vegan and cruelty-free makeup remover? I’ve rounded up some of the best vegan makeup removers from cruelty-free micellar water, cleansing oils and balms, and makeup remover wipes!

This ultimate guide to vegan and cruelty-free makeup removers for all skin types and budgets is exactly what you need to get started on replacing your beloved Bioderma, Clinique, Neutrogena animal-tested makeup removers.

Most of the popular makeup removers that we’ve grown to love and use for years are unfortunately from brands that continue to test on animals.

Makeup Removers to Avoid from Animal-Tested Brands:

  • Almay
  • Aveeno
  • Avène
  • Bioderma
  • Clinique
  • Dior
  • Estee Lauder
  • Eve Lom
  • Kiehl’s
  • La Roche-Posay
  • Lancome
  • Mary Kay
  • Neutrogena
  • Olay
  • Vichy

When finding a cruelty-free and vegan makeup remover, you’ll want to buy from a brand that doesn’t conduct, commission, or condone any form of animal testing on any of their products, ingredients, or formulations. We check with each brand’s animal testing policy using our Cruelty-Free Checklist to ensure they’re truly cruelty-free.

In addition to animal testing, we look for vegan makeup removers and cleansers that also do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products including beeswax, animal-based glycerin, or squalane from shark liver oil.

To help you find the best cruelty-free and vegan makeup remover or cleanser for your skin type and skincare routine, we have divided our product recommendations into the following categories:

Which makeup remover should you use? It depends on your preference and skin type. Some people enjoy the ease and convenience of using micellar water instead of cleansing oils and balms whereas some prefer oils over balms. No matter if you have oily, dry, or sensitive skin.. there’s a cruelty-free and vegan makeup remover cleanser for you in this guide!

Best Vegan & Cruelty-Free Eye Makeup Remover

You can finally switch from your Neutrogena, Lancome or Clinique eye makeup removers to a cruelty-free alternative thanks to these amazing and effective eye makeup removers. These makeup removers are designed to dissolve makeup with ease, just dispense some of the solution into a cotton round (preferably reusable because they’re better for the planet!) and gently wipe to remove makeup. Careful not to rub or tug too hard as this can lead to irritation or long-term damage to the skin. Make sure to always use a second cleanser after using an eye makeup remover.

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Eye Makeup Remover!

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Eye Makeup Remover! NYX* Eye and Lip Makeup Remover ($8) – An oil-based makeup remover that works on waterproof and stubborn makeup including liquid lipstick! Make sure to shake the bottle to mix the oil and water bi-phase solution.

*Note: NYX is cruelty-free but owned by L’Oreal, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best for Removing Waterproof Mascara!

Best for Removing Waterproof Mascara!Urban Decay* Meltdown Makeup Remover Dissolving Spray ($26) – Waterproof makeup doesn’t stand a chance against this powerful yet gentle makeup remover by Urban Decay. Formulated with only three ingredients including conditioning Vitamin E and doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind.

*Note: Urban Decay is cruelty-free but owned by L’Oreal, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best Oil-free Cruelty-free Eye Makeup Remover!

Best Oil-free Cruelty-free Eye Makeup Remover!Bliss Makeup Never-greasy Eye Makeup Remover Gel ($8) – A refreshing, oil-free eye makeup remover gel that erases all traces of eye makeup and mascara instantly with no oily residue. Cooling, gentle gel formula soothes as it removes makeup without rubbing or tugging.

Best Natural & Vegan Makeup Remover for Eyes!

Best Natural & Vegan Makeup Remover for Eyes!Andalou Naturals Lash + Lid Makeup Remover ($13.99) – If you’re looking for a natural yet effective eye makeup remover then you’ll love this one from Andalou Naturals! It’s a creamy emollient that gently wipes away makeup without over-drying, irritation or leaving an oily residue.

Best Vegan & Cruelty-Free Micellar Water

If you’ve been struggling to find a vegan and cruelty-free replacement for your cherished micellar cleansing water by Bioderma, Lancome, or Simple then you’ll be happy to hear that there is a growing selection of cruelty-free micellar water from brands that don’t test on animals!

Micellar waters are ideal for people with dry or sensitive skin as they’re made up of micelles that attract dirt and oil, drawing out impurities and removing makeup without drying out the skin.

Here are some of the most-recommended and top-rated vegan and cruelty-free micellar water.

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Micellar Water!

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Micellar Water!Botanics* All Bright Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution ($7) – “If you’re looking for a dose of radiance then this gentle cleanser is for you. This mild, alcohol-free formula doesn’t just remove traces of make-up and impurities; we infused it with Hibiscus extract, to help in brightening skin and leaving it looking pepped up.”

*Note: Botanics is cruelty-free but owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best Fragrance-Free Micellar Water!

Best Fragrance-Free Micellar Water!Drunk Elephant* E-Rase™ Milki Micellar Water ($28) – “Ceramide-rich E-Rase™ Milki Micellar Water is formulated to thoroughly and gently remove makeup, dirt, pollution, and bacteria from the face and eye area without sensitization, irritation, or stripping skin’s acid mantle. The unique combination of moisturizing ceramides, plant oils, and vitamin E gives the formula its milkiness.”

*Note: Drunk Elephant is cruelty-free but owned by Shiseido, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best Luxury & Oil-Free Micellar Water!

Best Luxury & Oil-Free Micellar Water! Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Makeup Remover ($66) – A mineral makeup remover made with botanical extracts. Oil-Free & Alcohol-Free formula that doesn’t leave any kind of residue. “As gentle as removing makeup with pure water, Spa Cleansing Water relies on our signature blend of soothing mineral-rich thermal water and conditioning botanical extracts to effectively dissolve even stubborn waterproof makeup with ease.”

Best Micellar Water + Oil Cleanser!

Best Micellar Water + Oil Cleanser! Glossier Waterproof Makeup Remover ($15) – Not quite a micellar cleansing water but Glossier’s Milky Oil is a unique blend of micellar water and weightless oil that easily dissolves waterproof makeup effortlessly. “A gentle makeup remover that melts off and lifts away long-wearing and waterproof formulas, without rubbing or tugging the skin”

Best Vegan & Cruelty-Free Oil Cleanser

I personally prefer using an oil cleanser to remove all of my makeup from my face, and even on days when I don’t wear makeup, oil cleansers are still great for removing sunscreen. Cleansing oils are typically used as a first cleanse in a double cleansing skincare routine. Oil cleansers help to break down makeup, sunscreen, and oil on the surface of your skin where you’ll then follow up with a second cleanser to remove impurities and dirt. The second cleanse is so important as it will help your serums, moisturizers, or treatments to efficiently penetrate your skin and allow them to work their magic on a well-cleansed face.

Best Cruelty-Free Cleansing Oil for Oily Skin!

Best for Oily Skin!Dermalogica* Precleanse Cleansing Oil ($45) – As the first step of your double cleanse, this is a good vegan cleansing oil. It effortlessly melts and removes layers of makeup and excess oil without clogging pores. It also turns into a milky emulsion once you add water and massage it into your skin. Make sure to follow up with a second cleanser.

*Note: Dermalogica is cruelty-free but owned by Unilever, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best Vegan Cleansing Oil for Dry or Sensitive Skin!

Best for Dry or Sensitive Skin!Skinfix Barrier+ Foaming Oil Cleanser ($38) – If you want an oil cleanser but not a fan of oils then you’ll love this foaming oil cleanser! It’s a light-foaming, creamy cleanser that washes and removes dirt and makeup without stripping the skin. It’s also fragrance-free so this is a great gentle makeup remover for sensitive skin.

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Cleansing Oil!

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Cleansing Oil!The Ordinary* Squalane Cleanser ($7.90) – For under $10, this is a fantastic cleansing oil. It starts off like a balm-like consistency and once worked into the skin, it turns into an oil-like consistency. A gentle cleanser that works great at removing makeup, formulated with Squalane so it’ll leave your skin feeling moisturized and smooth. And make sure to follow up with a second cleanser!

*Note: The Ordinary is cruelty-free but owned by Estee Lauder, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best Luxury & Organic Oil Cleanser!

Best Luxury & Organic Oil Cleanser!Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser ($82) – This is a multi-vitamin cleansing oil best for removing makeup without stripping the skin. Formulated with 9 sources of vitamins and minerals, 6 sources of antioxidants, and 11 sources to smooth and soften skin texture. All ingredients are from natural origin and 62% are from Organic Farming. Make sure to follow up with a second cleanser.

Best Drugstore Cruelty-Free Cleansing Oil!

Best Drugstore Cruelty-Free Cleansing Oil!cocokind Facial Cleansing Oil ($14) – You can find this all-naturel and vegan cleansing oil at Target and some drugstores. I like it because it’s made with certified organic, fair trade and vegan ingredients and is under $15. Does the job of removing makeup and excess oil without stripping the skin or disturbing its pH.

Best Vegan & Cruelty-Free Cleansing Balm

Cleansing balms are similar to cleansing oils but come in a jar packaging instead of a pump and start off as a balmy consistency and typically turns into a milky oil-like consistency. Just as you would with a cleansing oil, make sure to follow up with a second cleanser when using a cleansing balm.

And if you’re looking to replace your beloved Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm with a vegan and cruelty-free cleansing balm, try one of these options instead.

Best Cruelty-Free Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm!

Best Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm!Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm ($34) – This is one of the most popular and recommended cleansing balms and it also happens to be cruelty-free and vegan! It transforms from a sorbet-like balm to silky oil to milky lather to remove makeup effortlessly with zero residue. “A makeup remover and face cleanser that virtually melts away all makeup, leaving skin hydrated and silky smooth.” Make sure to follow up with a second cleanser.

Best Fragrance-Free Vegan Cleansing Balm!

Best Fragrance-Free Cleansing Balm! Drunk Elephant* Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser ($34) – A great cleansing balm for sensitive skin, transforms from oil to milk to cleanse and moisturize leaving behind a dewy glow. “An innovative cleansing balm that melts all traces of dirt, makeup, sunscreen, and even water-resistant formulations from skin.” Make sure to follow up with a second cleanser.

*Note: Drunk Elephant is cruelty-free but owned by Shiseido, a parent corporation that is not cruelty-free and tests on animals

Best Smelling Cruelty-Free Cleansing Balm!

Best Smelling Cleansing Balm!Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Smoothing Enzyme Cleansing Balm ($32) – If you love scented cleansers, then you’ll definitely love Glow Recipe’s Papaya Cleansing Balm that smells like a tropical vacation! “This balm-to-milky oil harnesses naturally-enzymatic, actively smoothing papaya to satisfy and gently resurface skin, creating the ultimate baby-soft canvas for skincare and makeup.” Make sure to follow up with a second cleanser.

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Cleansing Balm!

Best Budget Cruelty-Free Cleansing Balm!Derma E Universal Cleansing Balm ($15) – Available at some drugstores. “This luxurious cleansing balm melts on contact and transforms into lightweight cleansing milk that instantly dissolves all makeup, dirt and excess oil buildup without overly drying the skin, leaving the skin supple, smooth and ultra-hydrated. Enriched with soothing extracts and nourishing vitamins for a deep, yet gentle cleanse.” Make sure to follow up with a second cleanser.

Best Vegan & Cruelty-Free Makeup Remover Wipes

Swap your Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes with vegan, cruelty-free, biodegradable makeup remover wipes instead! Also, try to avoid makeup remover wipes that are wrapped individually, the excess packaging is wasteful and unnecessary and most of the time, made of non-recyclable materials, even if the wipes themselves are biodegradable.

If you choose to use makeup remover wipes, I encourage you to always do a second cleanse after using the wipes.

Biodegradable Vegan Makeup Remover Wipes

Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes ($6) – “Whether you’re out and about, going for a run, or having a late night, these wipes make it a snap to refresh on-the-go. Packed with green superfoods these all-natural, biodegradable wipes naturally refresh and rejuvenate all-in-one. Stay gorgeous, and go from zero to clean in seconds!”

Biodegradable Cruelty-Free Makeup Remover Wipes

Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes ($12) – “Remove makeup and cleanse skin gently and naturally with Josie’s ready-to-go, pre-moistened portable Bear Naked Wipes. Infused with argan oil, aloe vera, chamomile, and cucumber, these biodegradable wipes are luxuriously soft and kind to tender eyes and skin.”

I’ve ditched single-use and disposable makeup remover wipes and have opted for reusable ones that are better for the planet and I encourage you to try it yourself! Here are a couple of options to get you started:

Reusable Makeup Remover Wipes

Makeup Eraser ($18) – “The Original MakeUp Eraser is a premium, patented, polyester cloth made up of millions of tiny fibers to work as a “suction” for all dirt, makeup and oil in your pores. Double-sided to erase makeup (short fibers) and exfoliate the skin (long fibers, side with tag). Reusable, machine washable, and lasts 3 to 5 years. Ultra-soft and great for sensitive skin. 1 MakeUp Eraser is equal to 3600 makeup wipes! No added chemicals, less waste.”

Reusable Cotton Pads to Remove Makeup

Face Halo Makeup Remover ($22) – “Face Halo quickly and easily removes makeup, using our amazing HaloTech fibers with water only. Non-toxic and reusable, Face Halo replaces up to 500 single-use makeup wipes. No need to rub or scrub, Face Halo gently removes makeup and impurities, perfect for any skin type or sensitivity”

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What do you think

1 thought on “Ultimate Guide to Vegan & Cruelty-Free Makeup Remover”

  1. Hi,
    I was searching up a
    micellar water and came across the cleansing balms that say “be sure to follow up with a second cleanser”. Can you give some recommendations for a second cleanser to use?
    Lisa Shaw
    52 yrs young

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