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The Ultimate Guide to Cruelty-Free Hair Removal

by Suzana Rose

May 22, 2018

cruelty-free shaving

The following guide tackles all the main methods of hair removal, and provides cruelty-free options for each of them. There's also a men's shaving section at the end.

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Option 1) Shaving

If you prefer to shave, these are the best options for cruelty-free razors and shaving creams.

Which razors to avoid?

Even though razors themselves aren't tested on animals, a huge percentage of brands that sell razors are notorious for animal testing. Your best bet is therefore buying a razor from a company that only makes and sells razors and other related goods, and not cosmetics.

Most big brands of razors found in drugstore do test on animals. Shick, Gilette, Venus, and others should be avoided.

Cruelty-free razors.

Personna (listed on PETA as "American Safety Razor") is a brand of razors which belongs to Energizer Holdings. They only make razors and they're cruelty-free, but Energizer also owns brands such as Schick, which aren't cruelty-free.

The most animal-friendly razor I've found is by Preserve. Not only does this company exclusively make goods as opposed to cosmetics products, but they also work with recycled materials.

I use their "Triple Razor". They also sell cartridges in bulk at a very decent price (around 1$ per cartridge).

Since using disposable razors can be wasteful, using a safety razor in order to cut down this waste is a good option, especially for men. Unfortunately when it comes to shaving delicate areas such as armpits, I believe disposable razors and blades work best.

Cruelty-free shaving cream.

Leaping Bunny-certified companies Kiss My Face, Alba Botanica, and Avalon Organics each make their version of a shave cream that comes in a tube. For ladies with sensitive skin, Kiss My Face and Avalon make unscented versions here and here.

As an option, Alba Botanica also offer a packaging with a (non-aerosol) pump; I recommend Mango Vanilla because of the fantastic scent  (and it's under 5$ on amazon).

A final tip when choosing a shaving cream: don't feel like you're limited to products labeled as "shaving creams". Their purpose is to be highly moisturizing and provide a surface on which the razor can glide easily. While this doesn't mean that you should use soap alone, something like hair conditioner can do the job, and it can be easier to find than a cruelty-free shaving cream.

Personally, when I'm feeling indulgent, I use Lush's Turkish Delight shower smoothie for shaving. It's a super rich and moisturizing body wash, which is why it doubles so well as a shaving cream. Not the cheapest alternative, but highly recommended for smooth, smooth, smooth skin. women's cruelty-free shaving cream

Option 2) Hair Removal Creams

I avoid popular brands like Nair and Veet like the plague, as they are severe animal-rights offenders. There is however a 100% cruelty-free company called Nad's that I found. They have a wide array of hair-removal products, including their Sensitive Hair Removal Cream for legs. What's neat is that it comes with an exfoliating sponge that you can velcro to the bottle. For facial hair, they also have a Facial Hair Removal Cream.

Option 3) Waxing and Sugaring

Waxing is a painful process that most of the time involves harsh chemicals and animal ingredients (beeswax). Frankly, waxing sucks. Luckily there's a cruelty-free alternative, and it's better than waxing for several reasons: sugaring. Sugaring involves making a paste from heated sugar, lemon, and water that is then applied to the skin at room temperature. Because this paste sticks only to the hair follicles and not to the skin, this process is much less painful than waxing. It also doesn't burn the skin like waxing does. Here's a quick 3-minute video that teaches how to make and use sugaring paste:

Option 4) Epilating

Epilating is my preferred method of removing hair when it comes to legs; everything else I shave, but I epilate my legs once or twice a week.

Epilating has its advantages: it doesn't require any cosmetics and is therefore cruelty-free (take this with a grain of salt, I'll talk more about it in a bit), it pulls the hairs from the root and you can therefore remain hairless longer, and it doesn't require as much time and effort as shaving or other methods. Also, the more you epilate, the less your hair will grow back.

An epilator is essentially 50-ish powered tweezers, all into one tool. The little tweezers open and close at a high-speed, plucking your hairs out as you glide the tool down your leg. I'm not going to lie: it hurts like a mofo the first couple of times, but it gets better fast and it's well worth it!

Here's the tricky cruelty-free twist: Braun, the most popular brand of epilators, is owned by no other than Procter & Gamble, a corporation that tests on animals. They own brands like Gillette, Venus, and CoverGirl, only to name a few. For this reason, picking an electronics brand like Panasonic or Philips is, in my opinion, ideal. I've never had a problem with my Panasonic one and I highly recommend it.

cruelty-free hair removal tools

Option 5) Laser Hair Removal

I'll be brief about this one: it's a big investment and the results will only be visible after several sessions and weeks, but I believe it's well worth it in the end. There's also the option of doing this at home using a technology called IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). IPL devices such as the Tria are increasingly common, and effective.

Option 6) Tweezing and Threading

Maybe model Staz Lindes can rock the bushy brow trend, but most of us need a tiny bit of tweezing. While tweezerman does sell in China, the only products it manufactures are beauty tools such as tweezers, scissors, and mirrors, and not cosmetics. Those tools aren't tested on animals.

If you're picky about your tweezers, I highly recommend this brand, especially their pointed tweezers for maximum precision. If you're not into tweezers, there's always threading: threading is the removal of facial hair by pulling and twisting a thread in magical and confusing ways. Not really, but it does take a lot of practice.

Men's Shaving

Razors and shaving creams for men!

Cruelty-free razors.

If you're a guy, you've probably made the switch to a safety razor by now. Or not. If not, let me tell you why it's worth it. For one, it would probably mean giving up on throwing money away on Gillette razors or cartridges every month in favor of cruelty-free, less wasteful, more environmentally-friendly options.

Secondly, safety razors provide a closer shave with less irritation -- my boyfriend confirms this. Thirdly, they just look and feel really, really cool (and don't pretend like this doesn't matter): a sturdy piece of stainless steel just feels so much nicer than a flimsy plastic throw-away Gillette piece of crap. This is the razor I got my boyfriend for Christmas, and he loves it. men's cruelty-free shaving cream

Shaving creams.

On the cheaper side, The Body Shop make a Maca Root Shave Cream (they often have 50% off sales) that smells amazing. Also certified by the Leaping Bunny is the Badger company; they make a Shave Soap, but you absolutely have to use it with a brush if you want a good lather. Most shaving brushes are made from badger hair, but there are synthetic vegan alternatives out there.

If you're looking for a more luxurious shaving cream, Caswell-Massey make a few shave creams, including Almond and Eucalyptus, and they're Leaping Bunny-certified. Available at Sephora, Jack Black is on PETA's list and makes a pretty sweet one they call the Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather.

I hope this cruelty-free guide was helpful! If you have any more suggestions, feel free to leave a comment. I want to make this guide as accurate and informative as possible.

(Photo credit: Ricard Aparicio)

Which Brands Are Cruelty-Free?

Download our list of 600+ verified cruelty-free brands straight to your device. Bring it with you everywhere you go, and never worry about supporting animal testing again. Click here to download

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+ Show Comments (57) - Hide Comments (57)
  • Dani says:

    Hi! Has CFK had a chance to review Billie razors? I adore mine and love the company’s stated philosophies, but I’d love to see them with a stamp of approval from your site as well!

  • Addy D. says:

    So I’m an esthetician and this list was super disappointing because I use wax on a regular basis. While there aren’t a lot of professional choices, it is still super important to be able to have that knowledge to share with clients, friends, and to use for yourself at home if you desire.
    For anyone else still looking, I tried to find a few, and some really good CF waxes to recommend to your clients include Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit, VidaSleek Spa Wax Kit, and Nads Ultra Smoothing Exfoliating Wax Strips.

  • Lup says:

    I bought the flamingo razor (owned by Harry’s) and bought Harry’s blade refills for it (the flamingo ones are awful) but now I’ve just found out they were bought by Edgewell (Schick, Always, etc) so no more Harry’s for me, I guess.

  • Miranda says:

    Does this sugaring thing work in the intimate areas?

  • Ingrid says:

    I prefer my epilator Karmin…

  • Joana says:

    But Nad’s have honey in their ingredients.

  • emily says:

    Harry’s and their new women’s brand, Flamingo, say they are cruelty free!

  • I’ve usually tried tweezing and threading but my hairs still come back rough after it grows back. It’s interesting to know that razors aren’t tested on animals so I might use that as my new hair removal treatment option. I think I might try out sugaring since it’s less painful as well.

  • Silvia Borba says:

    I was shocked when i saw that Philips is a cruelty free brand, i thought they sold in china, but i guess cosmetic devices unlike makeup don’t need to be tested on animals in china

  • Amanda says:

    If you have a superdrug wherever you like it’s well worth a visit. All of their own brand products (they have a few) are cruelty free and amazing. I get shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpastes, razors, waxes, deodorants (you get the picture) etc there and they’re reasonably priced, have free shipping and even make cruelty free cosmetics ? I advise you to check them out.

  • Ciera Hernandez says:

    As far as I have heard and read the European Wax Center uses cruelty free products. They are even in the process of changing their packaging to have the bunny on it. I believe this is including the wax beads as well. Their wax is hard wax that doesn’t use cotton strips and is by far the most comfortable I’ve been getting my eyebrows wax so a good alternative to shaving and later etc. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Helen says:

    One of the ways to clean hair on body that I always use is Flawless Hair Remover Razor product. It’s really good. I have just bought at:
    I find a lot of items and check prices, and at here it’s cheapest. Hope can help and share the value to everybody.

  • Kate says:

    Do you know of a safety razor (other than Jack Black) that does not make shaving brushes out of badger hair? I’m looking for something a little more cost effective than Jack Black.

  • Kanaka says:

    Awesome information, thank you! I’ve been looking for a decent cruelty free razor for a while and am looking forward to trying the Preserve!

  • Veganda_ says:

    Nads has honey in it. Honey isn’t vegan. Do you have any other suggestions for a hair removal cream that is vegan and cruelty free?

  • Susan says:

    was the sugar you used vegan? it didn’t look like it was

  • Katie Jones says:

    I am an esthetician and I have a client who is allergic to anything bee-related. As a vegetarian, I often rely on this website for cruelty free cosmetic options. I love it! But I wanted to correct you on your waxing info. Wax should feel warm, but never be hot enough to burn. A decent esthetician will always test the wax temp on the inside of the wrist before applying it on a client. Also, not all waxing removes the top layer of skin. The reason we use hard wax on sensitive areas is that it does not adhere to skin. This allows re-application on the same area, if needed. Whether you epilate, wax, sugar, or tweeze, even laser for that matter, you are essentially doing the same thing – removing hair from the follicle and damaging the follicle’s ability to regrow hair. This causes the hair to come back finer over time, hopefully to the point where it never grows back.

  • Jen says:

    Hi, I have my eye on the bluezoo wax beads and wondering if they are vegan and/or cruelty free? Love your site…thanks for everything you do!

  • Cat says:

    According to their website the Dollar Shave Club is cruelty free and they also have mostly vegan products with a note in the faqs listing which ones are not vegan.

  • Kara says:

    Yes To has a men’s shaving cream that is really nice. The smell isn’t too overpowering, and it makes my legs feel super soft.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi I was wondering if anyone knew if dollar shave club is cruelty free or not? I checked their site and it says that they are 100% cruelty free and they are only tested on their beards but I read on another cruelty free blog that they aren’t as of last June.

  • Amine says:

    I’m sorry but when I came here, I was really expecting to see a cruelty-free alternative to wax, as it is much more convenient than sugaring (at least for me), much easier, and I do not experience any of the negatives you listed, it was a decision I made and wanted to make it a vegan one. Luckily, I have found some brands on my own and would like to share: Moom, and Candellila

  • Alyssa says:

    Did this for a while and it does make you legs super smooth, but it’s horrible for your pipes. If they drop under 76 degrees at any time it’ll solidify again and clog them. Learned this the hard way when I had to pay a plumber $300 when sewage was coming back up into my basement.

  • Stephanie Krise says:

    It is my understanding that lasers used for permenant hair removal were tested on animals. I know because I researched it. If you know of one that doesn’t please provide us with a link.

  • Nad isnt fucking vegan! says:

    Nad isnt vegan! And it isnt cruelty free! This is misinformation! Sorry to burst your bubble! It has honey and bits of mashed up bee in it for a start!

  • CarolCats says:

    Thank goodness my husband purchased a Panasonic Electric Shaver for me several years ago. Not that I use it all that much. I have purchased and now use two of Alba Botanical Cream Shave products – Mango Vanilla and Coconut Lime. These products smell great and are inexpensive.

  • tammy d says:

    So, Braun is bad because it is owned by P&G, but The Body Shop is fine, even though it is owned by L’Oreal? Not to nitpick, but does seem worth mentioning (L’Oreal, however, is nowhere near as terrible as P&G). Aside from that, nice list. As a helpful tip for razor use, I recommend using whatever you use to clean that area and simply shave it at the same time. I use soap on my pits, shave and wash. Legs I don’t actually wash with soap, so I’ll throw on a small bit of conditioner or shampoo. Also, doesn’t anyone use electric shavers anymore? If you don’t care about a super close, super smooth shave, electric razors are the absolutely painless, fast, product-free way to go.

  • Tunu Wadutumi says:

    I’ve never tried any of these products but I’m always on the lookout for organic, cruelty free skincare products

  • Alison says:

    Trader Joe’s Honey Mango shave cream is actually vegan, it doesn’t contain honey. The name is misleading.

  • Bookster says:

    For hair removal creams and waxes, isn’t Sally Hansen a company that doesn’t test on animals? I checked their FAQ at their website and they say they don’t test their finished products or ingredients on animals. Has anyone heard differently? Let me know, thanks 🙂

  • whacasian says:

    Try Nufree it’s the best wax I’ve used.

  • mettabee says:

    I’m in Canada and on amazon.ca the Preserve 4 pack replacement cartridges sell for $65.10 plus shipping!! How disappointing since cruelty free razors are impossible to find, what are they thinking!

  • Chelsie says:

    Coconut oil works flawlessly as a shaving cream, also! It’s super soft, super slippery, and it makes every part of your body silky. Do give it a try 🙂

  • Shane Andrews says:

    the nads sensitive hair removal cream contains honey so it is not cruelty free

  • Danna Quintana says:

    So the IPL home-use systems aren’t tested on animals prior to or for FDA approval?

  • claire bogner says:

    Hi, thank you so much for this information. I had been looking to try a hair removal cream and noted that Nair said their “finished” product wasnt tested on animals. Big red flag. I will give Nads a go!

  • sharon says:

    when i was in china a couple months ago i found tweezermans full line for sale in sephora. to be on the safe side i bought a pair of tweezers from anastasia beverly hills.

    • Suzi says:

      Like I wrote in this article: “While tweezerman does sell in China, the only products it manufactures are beauty tools such as tweezers, scissors, and mirrors, and not cosmetics.”

  • Nicole says:

    Do you know anything about dollar shave club? My husband wanted to sign up, their website states 100% cruelty free, but I can’t find much else out there.

  • alex says:

    Hi 🙂 Preserve is owned by Clorox who openly admit to animal testing 🙁
    I also run an online cruelty-free blog and have found it extremely hard to find razors. I can’t use Preserve as I know it’s feeding Clorox.

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