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The Best Cruelty-Free Face Masks for Soft, Nourished Skin

by Charlotte Pointing

May 27, 2023

Relaxing with a face mask is one of the best ways to nourish your skin. They can give a burst of hydration, reduce redness, and offer a boost of moisture, leaving you looking more radiant than ever. Not sure which one to choose? We’ve got you. Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite face mask picks. And of course, they are all totally cruelty-free.

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How do face masks work?

Face masks are a concentrated skincare product that can help to moisturize, hydrate, soften, smooth, and nourish skin. They work well because they get up close and personal with your skin, driving ingredients (like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide, for example) deep into your pores.

“Whether it’s salicylic acid for acne, vitamin C for fine lines, or retinoid for brightening dark spots, a face mask can offer a more concentrated dose and more intense version of its ingredients compared to other forms of applications,” notes Penn Medicine.

Face mask formulas can vary, but in general, you shouldn’t use them every day. Instead, aim for around once or twice a week, and take care to cleanse and dry your skin carefully before application.

The best cruelty-free face masks

Face masks are a popular product in the skincare industry, but they’re not all created equally. Unfortunately, many in-demand face mask brands, like Elemis and Dr. Jart, for example, are not certified cruelty-free.

But don’t worry, you can still take excellent care of your skin without hurting any animals at the same time. All of the brands below offer nourishing face mask options, and they’re all certified cruelty-free. 

This is a sponsored listing.

Key ingredientsRed seaweed, fruit enzymes, white willow bark, rice extract, aloe leaf juice
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

If you want to reduce redness, while also cooling and soothing your skin at the same time, Glow Juice is well worth a try.

Ingredients like red seaweed, white willow bark, fruit enzymes, and aloe leaf juice combine to calm your skin, improve texture, tackle spots, and leave you looking glowing (hence the name!) after just one application. 

Expect to feel a little bit of a tingle after you’ve smothered this vegan formula over your face, that’s normal! Added bonus: it smells deliciously fruity, too.

Key ingredientsHyaluronic acid, niacinamide, glycerin, antioxidants
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

You know those days when your skin just feels dry and tired? We have all been there. Whether you’ve spent a day traveling or you just feel like your face could do with some TLC, this Jet Lag Mask is here for you.

The vegan formula contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, calming niacinamide, and nourishing antioxidants, all of which work together to leave your skin feeling soothed and softened.

Best overnight option:

Key ingredientsFloral stem cells, quinoa, mushroom extract
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?No

If you want your skincare to be doing the work even when you’re asleep, consider trying an overnight face mask. These are applied in the evening before you go to bed, and that’s it! You don’t need to rinse in the morning, just enjoy looking at your nourished, glowing skin. 

This option by Pacifica is designed specifically to hydrate and revive skin, particularly if it has been damaged by the sun.

The formula is creamy, but not too greasy, and is enriched with ingredients like antioxidant-packed flora stem cells and mushroom extract, as well as brightening quinoa.

Key ingredientsCaffeine, aloe juice, plant cellulose
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

It’s not just your brain that can benefit from a little boost of caffeine, your skin can, too. In fact, applying caffeine to your skin through a mask, like this one from 100% Pure, can help to reduce redness and inflammation.

This mask also contains aloe juice and plant cellulose, both of which will help to soothe and nourish your face.

Best budget option:

Key ingredientsRose stem cells, rosehip oil, rose flower water
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

Applying a sheet mask infused is one of the most soothing and relaxing ways to deliver nourishing ingredients to your skin. 

As the name suggests, this one by Andalou Naturals is all about roses: rose stem cells, rose water, and rosehip oil, too. So if you’re a lover of this hydrating, firming, and moisturizing floral ingredient, this is absolutely the face mask for you. 

Key ingredientscamu camu, vitamin c, aloe vera
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No - Natura

Another sheet mask option, this Vitamin C glow mask does just what it says on the packet: leaves you glowing.

Your skin will also feel moisturized, soft, and hydrated after use, thanks to the combination of vitamin C, luminizing camu camu, and super-soothing aloe vera.

So put on some calming music, sit back and relax for 15 minutes, and allow this vegan formula to work its magic.

Key ingredientsNiacinamide, sodium PCA, squalane, ceramides, omega fatty acids, antioxidants
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Shiseido

Electrolytes might sound a little bit intimidating, but they’re actually just minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, for example.

These minerals create an electrical charge when they’re mixed with fluids, and this helps other skin care ingredients perform the work they need to do to nourish and improve our skin.

If you want to deliver your skin a burst of electrolytes, alongside skin-loving ingredients like plant squalane, omega fatty acids, and vitamin K, then give this Electrolyte Waterfacial a try.

While it can be used as an everyday skincare product, it also works as an overnight mask, too.

Key ingredientsAlgin, hyaluronic acid
Vegan product?Not specified
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No

This highly effective mask from Dr. Dennis Gross comes in two parts. The first is gel, while the second is powder. The magic happens when you mix them together to create a cocktail of skin-boosting ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and algin.

The mask will start to set into a solid on your face, and leave it for up to 15 minutes to really get the most out of this innovative treatment. After that, peel it off and marvel at the radiant results.

Best moisturizing sheet mask:

Key ingredientsCoconut water, cucumber extract, hyaluronic acid, purple broccoli, collagen
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Procter & Gamble

When your skin just needs a really intense injection of moisture, Farmacy’s Coconut Gel Sheet Mask is ready and waiting to quench and hydrate.

It’s also brightening, smoothing, and soothing, thanks to the mix of cucumber extract, hyaluronic acid, purple broccoli extract, and vegan collagen in the formula.

Key ingredientsCharcoal, clay, salicylic acid
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - Estée Lauder

Infused with charcoal and clay, as well as salicylic acid, of course, expect this masque by The Ordinary to effectively even out skin tone and texture.

This deeply cleansing formula is particularly suited to blemish-prone skin types and will help to remove stubborn dead skin cells, leaving you with smoother, brighter skin.

Key ingredientsSuperberries, vitamin C, squalane
Vegan product?Yes
Vegan brand?Yes
Parent company tests on animals?Yes - L'Oréal

This is another great product for those who prefer to apply their masks overnight.

When you wake up, you’ll notice that your skin is not just hydrated, but also plumper, firmer, and brighter. This is all thanks to the effective combination of ingredients like berries (which are rich in antioxidants!), vitamin C, and plant-derived squalane.

Best for cleaning out your pores:

Key ingredientsCharcoal, plum
Vegan product?Not specified
Vegan brand?No
Parent company tests on animals?No - Aspire Brands

For a super satisfying experience that will clean out your pores and detoxify your face, check out this peel mask from Formula 10.0.6.

Thanks to the combination of charcoal and plum, this mask is really, really good at drawing out dirt. In fact, the brand even describes it as a “dirt magnet.” This is one to stock up on, ready for when you come back from your next camping trip.

The verdict

Face masks are a great way of delivering high concentrations of nourishing ingredients onto your skin, but unfortunately, some of the most popular options on the market are tested on animals. But there are plenty of options that are cruelty-free. To recap, here are some of our favorites:

Best overnight option: Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Sleepover Mask
Budget: Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Instant Soothe & Smooth Sheet Mask
Best moisturizing sheet mask: Farmacy Beauty Brightening Coconut Gel Sheet Mask
Best for cleaning out your pores: Formula 10.0.6 Draw It All Out Skin-Detoxing Peel Mask

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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