Not everyone wants to wear foundation. It’s heavy, makes your skin break out, and can be nearly impossible to find the right shade.
BB cream is the perfect solution - but what happens when your dream BB cream doesn’t align with your ethical standards?
It’s not easy to find a cruelty-free BB cream that matches your shade, is lightweight, and doesn’t make your skin scream.
Especially if you are vegan, it’s a pain having to look through the ingredients list every single time.
Fortunately for you, I am a self-proclaimed "expert" in the world of cruelty-free makeup! (And by that I basically mean I'm a makeup addict with ethics)
I won’t ever compromise my ethical expectations of makeup for the sake of “looking good”.
I’ve done my research to help you find the best cruelty-free BB cream that will benefit your skin and look amazing, all whilst not contributing to the animal testing trade.
The Top 3 Cruelty-Free BB Creams Summarised
OUR TOP PICK
It’s no secret that Asian makeup brands have perfected gentle makeup for every skin type.
This purlisse BB cream is no exception.
Suitable for all skin types, this product is lightweight, long-lasting, and provides a natural-looking coverage that isn’t too sheer or too cakey.
This BB cream is as gentle as it gets. It can be used as a moisturizer for dry skin types, underneath foundation for those who prefer full coverage, and is designed to not aggravate sensitive or acne-prone skin.
The formula is hypoallergenic and is an SPF30 sunscreen that allows for full-day use.
The best part about this product is that it is made of natural products and is vegan and cruelty-free.
The formula contains soothing antioxidants that are designed to prevent aging such as chamomile.
It also includes a gentle Jasmine to balance out skin complexion, leaving a velvety texture.
The shade range is good, especially if you have an Asian complexion.
The one downside is that the darker shade range is limited.
This is an ideal BB cream for those who prefer the natural “no makeup” makeup!
Ideal for fooling your friends that you have naturally perfect skin.
- Natural, vegan, and cruelty-free - Don’t compromise your ethical standards for good makeup
- Long-lasting and medium coverage - Gentle formula is surprisingly good for whole day use and covers everything from rosacea to acne
- SPF30 and hypoallergenic - Designed to help all skin types rather than aggravate
- Limited shade range - Dark shade range is limited compared to lighter tones
BEST FOR OILY SKIN
I know the struggle of oily skin. Oily skin makes makeup slide off, can turn a foundation into a cakey mess, and needs constant blotting with powder to look less shiny.
If you can relate, you’re in luck!
The Covergirl Clean Matte BB Cream is designed specifically for oily skin types.
Whilst not everyone likes a matte finish, this can be heavenly for oily skin types.
It means you can control the glow with a highlight, rather than wait for your naturally shiny skin to peep through.
Though some matte formulas can clog up pores, this product is water-based rather than oil-based, so it allows the skin to breathe.
In fact, it’s 100% oil-free!
BB creams aren’t designed to be full coverage.
This BB cream has a light to medium coverage, but is buildable and can be used with a concealer or a foundation to cover extremely dark circles and blemishes.
It probably isn’t the best for those with a dry skin type who may benefit from an oil-based BB cream to hydrate their skin.
Not only is this product oil-free, but COVERGIRL products are cruelty-free, too.
As this is a BB cream rather than a tinted moisturizer, the best results come from application from a damp beauty blender or sponge rather than fingers.
- Matte finish for oily skin - Matte finish allows shine control whilst providing medium coverage
- Cruelty-free - COVERGIRL is a certified cruelty-free brand
- Water-based - Allows oily skin to breathe whilst providing moisture
- Limited shade range - Very limited shade range for dark skin tones
BEST SHEER BB CREAM
bareMinerals is one of the most trusted and reputable brands in the beauty industry, partly because of the quality of their makeup and their stance on animal testing.
This BB cream is most ideal for those who prefer lightweight, sheer coverage for a natural look.
Smelling of coconut, this is probably the most comfortable and pleasant BB cream that I recommend.
As the coverage is sheer and provides a healthy glow, it may not be suitable for oily skin types - unless you enjoy the extra shine!
It can also be used with other products or another layer of the BB cream to add better coverage.
This BB cream is all about providing hydration.
Made from water-based and natural ingredients, this SPF30 product is designed to protect sensitive skin from harsh weather conditions.
If you enjoy the dewy and healthy look, this is the ideal BB cream for you. And it’s cruelty-free!
- Sheer coverage - Light coverage offers a healthy glow, and is buildable for those who prefer more coverage
- SPF30 and water-based - Formula includes 98% natural ingredients to soothe and hydrate sensitive skin
- Shade range - bareMinerals offers a good shade range
- Oxidizes - I recommend going for a lighter shade as this BB cream oxidizes
- Parent company - Owned by Shiseido which does test on animals
BEST DRUGSTORE BB CREAM
e.l.f is one of the most popular drugstore brands due to the quality of makeup - which is vegan and cruelty-free.
This BB cream is most ideal for those looking to start their BB cream journey, as it ticks all of the boxes.
With a medium and color-correcting coverage, this is a hydrating alternative to foundation that allows the skin to breathe whilst covering blemishes and uneven skin tones.
This formula includes aloe vera to soothe sensitive skin, SPF20 to protect the skin from the sun, and cucumber extract to prevent puffiness.
Due to all of the natural products and e.l.f’s stance on animal testing, you can feel guilt-free wearing this BB cream - and look beautiful at the same time!
It is recommended to use this product with an e.l.f primer if you have very dry or oily skin to help with the longevity.
- Soothing ingredients - Filled with natural ingredients such as cucumber extracts, Vitamin E, and aloe vera, this is a soothing BB cream for all skin types
- Medium coverage - Not sheer and not heavy, an ideal replacement for foundation
- Cruelty-free and vegan - Certified by PETA for peace of mind
- Shade range - Very limited for dark skin tones
THE MOST LIGHTWEIGHT
Gone are the days of heavy foundation, enter Tarte Cosmetics’ Amazonian Clay BB Cream!
This oil-free BB cream is designed to blur the skin and give that flawless natural look that models sport on Instagram.
To achieve this lightweight formula, the ingredients have to be as gentle as possible.
Filled with SPF20, antioxidant vitamins, and chamomile extract, this is an anti-inflammatory BB that is ideal for damaged and sensitive skin.
The pigments for the shade range come from dyed natural minerals, so it’s as natural as it gets.
This BB cream works to blend out wrinkles, spots, discoloration, and dryness by providing a light-to-medium coverage cream that heals the skin.
It can be used on all skin types and can last all day.
- Lightweight formula - A thin layer offers light-medium coverage that is comfortable and buildable
- Natural ingredients - Filled with antioxidant vitamins and natural ingredients to provide a gentle and healing moisture
- All skin types - Healing properties and long-lasting finish is ideal for all skin types
- Parent company - Tarte is cruelty-free but is owned by Kose who isn’t cruelty-free
Best Cruelty-Free BB Cream Buying Guide
The importance of sticking to ethical opinions, standards, and expectations is really important for animal rights activists like me.
I love makeup, from the application process to feeling confident by covering my imperfections, but I couldn’t sacrifice my opinions on animal testing for the sake of “good makeup”.
Cosmetic brands and products have consistently proved over the years that they don’t have to test on animals to make good makeup.
Whilst a simple google will tell you whether a product or brand is cruelty-free, there’s a lot more to it than that.
I have compiled a handy buyer’s guide to help you understand the popularity of BB creams and the importance of cruelty-free products.
BB Cream vs Foundation
The main reason why people often choose BB cream over foundation is because of the lightweight feel.
BB cream is designed to hydrate and soothe different skin types, and the water-based formula allows the skin to breathe.
Foundation can often feel heavy, and therefore may look chunky and thick.
A BB cream is, therefore, a more natural-looking option.
Lightweight BB creams lack what foundation is designed for - coverage.
Foundation is thicker and offers more coverage than BB cream, which can be favored or disliked by some.
Foundations also offer a wider shade range than BB creams.
This is because BB creams are an all-in-one product, so there isn’t much pigment they can put in the cream without the dyes being too unnatural.
BB creams are highly beneficial for the skin.
They have different levels of SPF to protect the skin from harsh sun rays, they are filled with vitamins and minerals to prevent aging, and they can work as a primer.
Foundation is just one product, which means others will need to be purchased and put on your face, which can often appear cakey.
BB Cream vs CC Cream
Where BB creams offer a lightweight layer of pigment that primarily is there to benefit and protect the skin, CC creams are designed for color correction.
CC creams are often lighter for this reason, as they work to counteract uneven skin tones.
These are often used underneath the foundation.
However, this is the only difference between both!
Cruelty-Free & Vegan Products
The importance of buying cruelty-free products cannot be understated.
By purchasing cruelty-free products, you are promoting these brands that stand against animal testing and thus contributing towards prolonging the lives of animals.
Whilst some may argue that buying the occasional makeup product that does test on animals won’t make a difference, we know that we cannot be held accountable for animal testing as we don’t contribute to it.
As popular as cruelty-free makeup brands have become, there is still a long way to go.
Brands are still owned by parent companies that do test on animals, and some still sell products to countries that require animal testing on imported goods such as China and Brazil.
However, not all cruelty-free products are vegan.
Honey is often used in cosmetics as it is soothing for the skin and smells nice.
Truth is, nobody will judge you if you buy a cruelty-free product that isn’t vegan.
You can’t be a perfect animal rights activist all the time, because there are so many things to consider.
Palm oil is another factor.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
Whilst cruelty-free brands don’t test on animals themselves, people often forget about the companies that own them.
Take CeraVe for example - whilst some of their products are vegan, their parent company is L’Oreal which is not vegan.
Nestlé owns a portion of L’Oreal, and they certainly aren’t vegan either.
If you are a devout animal rights activist and vegan, firstly, good for you!
Secondly, it’s worth considering and researching parent companies who may test their products on animals.
Your activism is highly appreciated by buying from cruelty-free brands anyway, but your activism can’t always be perfect!
Here is a useful list of cruelty-free brands that are owned by parent companies that test on animals.
Which Brands Aren’t Cruelty-Free
For animal rights enthusiasts and makeup lovers like myself, it’s handy to know which cosmetic brands are not cruelty-free.
Here is a list of some brands that test on animals:
- Bobbi Brown
- Sephora Brand
- Estée Lauder
- Max Factor
Some brands such as Laura Mercier have an unclear animal testing policy.
Technically speaking, any brand can claim that they don’t test on animals.
It is best to look for brands that have been certified by PETA or Leaping Bunny as cruelty-free and/or vegan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is BB cream cruelty-free?
It depends on the brand.
Some brands are 100% cruelty-free, some test on animals, and some are cruelty-free but are owned by parent companies who do test on animals.
Unfortunately, there is still a wide range of BB creams on the market that are not cruelty-free.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to find good-quality, cruelty-free BB creams!
I found the best cruelty-free BB creams on the market, and there are quite a few options available.
Which is better for acne, BB or CC cream?
It depends on the type of acne you have.
BB creams are best for healing and soothing acne, whilst CC creams offer more coverage as they work as color correctors.
If you’re looking to cover the redness from your acne, CC cream will be more beneficial.
If you want to help, soothe, and provide a lightweight cover for your acne, BB cream is recommended.
Is Tarte cruelty-free?
Tarte is a cruelty-free cosmetics brand, approved by Logical Harmony.
However, Tarte’s parent company is Kose who test on animals.
Whether you decide to purchase Tarte products on the basis that they are cruelty-free is up to you, just keep in mind that they technically aren’t 100% cruelty-free.
Can BB cream hide pimples?
Unfortunately, no cream or foundation can hide the texture of pimples completely.
BB cream will offer some coverage to pimples, but a foundation or concealer is more likely to hide them.
However, BB cream is highly beneficial for soothing and healing pimples due to the ingredients that they include.
If you’re looking to heal and prevent pimples, a BB cream is highly beneficial.
If you want something to hide your pimples, a foundation or concealer would be better.
Can we use BB cream daily?
As BB creams are an all-in-one product, they can definitely be used daily!
Of course, allowing your skin to breathe with no products is great, but for those who want a layer of coverage and a healthy glow, BB creams are perfect.
BB creams can be used by themselves or as part of a beauty routine underneath a foundation or concealer.
They work as a moisturizer, SPF, toner, and lightweight foundation all in one product.
As they are designed to soothe skin over covering imperfections, BB cream can absolutely be used on a daily basis.
Can BB cream replace foundation?
It all depends on personal preference.
BB creams are an excellent alternative or replacement to foundations due to their gentle and healing properties.
They also work as a sunscreen and moisturizer, as well as providing a layer of coverage.
Whilst they may not be as full-coverage as foundations, BB creams can be buildable.
Last update on 2023-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API