Your Ultimate Guide to Vegan Cleansers

natural vegan cleansers

Is there anything more nerve-racking than experimenting with your skin care regime? Many factors go into having glowing skin and balancing all of them can be a delicate business.

Finding the right natural vegan cleanser, one that treats both your skin and the planet kindly, makes the effort worth it. Since everyone’s skin is unique and comes with its own set of requirements, we put together some recommendations for all the different preferences.

Whether you’re unhappy with your current cleanser or just interested in learning about the various types of natural face vegan cleansers out there, we’ve got you covered.

How Natural Cleansers Beat Conventional Ones

Before we dig into the different options for vegan cleansers, let’s look at a little of the science behind skin care.

Your skin has something called an “acid mantle.” While that name sounds vaguely unpleasant, the acid mantle is actually a useful protector. Without it, your skin would be vulnerable to dehydration, bacteria, and environmental pollutants. This barrier is made of sweat, skin oils, and dead skin cells. Charming, we know.

Potential symptoms of a compromised acid mantle include:

skin acid mantle
  • Acne
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation and/or itchiness
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Sensitive skin
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis

According to a study posted by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, it’s preferable for the acid mantle to have a pH balance under 5.0. Skin in a more acidic (4-4.5) range holds valuable bacterial flora better than at a more alkaline (8-9) level.  

Vegan cleansers are less likely to include some of the harsh ingredients known to risk your skin. If your skin feels tight and stiff, especially after washing, that’s a sign you may have damaged your acid mantle.

Toners are commonly used to balance pH levels after cleansing. However, if you opt for a low pH facial cleanser, you may not need a toner at all.

Foaming vs Non-Foaming Natural Vegan Face Cleansers

Your average natural cleanser comes in either a foaming or a non-foaming option. Many of the conventional cleansers use agitating ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, to get that foamy quality. Many vegan face cleansers take advantage of a lovely alternative called coco-glucoside, which provides foam without the “ick” factor.

Alternatively, you can opt for a product that doesn’t foam. It’s a misconception that soap needs to lather in order to do an efficient job. In truth, foaming agents are often added for a psychological effect.

Whichever route you want to go, we’ve selected our absolute favorite options for natural, cruelty-free cleansers. It may take some trial-and-error to find your personal preference, as everyone’s skin responds differently.

Foaming Cleansers

No B.S. Gentle Foaming Cleanser

We’re a little obsessed with this truly “No B.S.” Cleanser. With just one dollop of foam, you can quickly wipe off any makeup and debris. Since it includes aloe vera, cucumber, and green tea, you can see how this vegan cleanser has a soothing effect.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser

This Vitamin C Cleanser has natural antioxidants that defend and hydrate the skin. Ideal for all skin types, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines, and other signs of aging. What’s not to like about that?

Tree to Tub Soapberry Facial Cleanser

Soapberry is a type of berry that creates lather naturally, has a PH of 5.5, and it naturally antibacterial. Cool right?

Just by rubbing it a little, the soapberry creates a gentle and creamy lather. While chemical lather strips your skin’s natural oil, Soapberry’s lather protects and strengthens your skin’s ability to lock in moisture.
Also called soap nut, it is an ancient fruit of sub-tropical Asia. For thousands of years, the soapberry has been used to cleanse and nourish skin and hair.

This brand was started on Kickstarter. Foaming cleansers don’t come much gentler than this Soapberry Facial Cleanser. It’s hypoallergenic and comes in both an unscented and essential oil scented option. Regardless of your skin type, it’s worth giving this naturally antibacterial and antifungal cleanser a try.  

Alaffia Coconut Face Cleanser

A little goes a long way with this Coconut Face Cleanser. Just one pump foams up quickly for an easy application. With ethically traded virgin coconut oil, you get a gentle and moisturizing vegan cleanser.

Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser

Yes, you read that right. This Superfood Cleanser uses the healing power of greens you would normally add to a nutritious smoothie. With kale, spinach, and green tea, it packs a powerful antioxidant punch.

Non-Foaming Cleansers

Farmacy Beauty Green Clean Balm

While a Cleansing Balm may sound unusual, the Farmacy Beauty Green vegan balm is a cleansing powerhouse. It’s a gentle exfoliant that will leave your skin feeling smooth. We love the scent, which is a blend of lime, bergamot, and orange essential oils. If you’re a traveler, you’ll enjoy the compact, TSA-approved jar.

Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser & Cloth

There’s a reason the Pai Hydrating Vegan Cleanser has been popular for almost a decade. Alcohol and detergent-free, this product is extra kind to delicate skin. It also comes with a convenient cloth specifically designed for sensitive skin.


A guide to natural vegan face cleansers would not be complete without addressing oil cleansing. If you’re prone to oily skin, you might recoil at the thought of adding oil to your complexion. In reality, many people with oily or combination skin have found great success with the oil cleansing method.

Oil cleansing is based on the premise that “like-dissolves-like.” When you wash off a cleansing oil, it removes makeup and debris along with it. Most importantly, it does this without stripping your face of its much-needed natural oils.

With all that in mind, here are our top picks for oil-based vegan facial cleansers:

Badger’s Damascus Rose Face Cleansing Oil

If you’re new to cleansing with oil, this soothing Rose Face Cleansing Oil is a great place to start. It’s a clinically tested non-comedogenic product ideal for dry to delicate skin.

Era Organics Cleansing Oil

If you’re looking to hydrate your skin, consider Era Organics Cleansing Oil . It’s strong enough to wipe off even stubborn waterproof mascara, while still only using ingredients that are soft on your skin.

Qēt Botanicals Balancing Cleansing Oil with Thyme

Have unpredictable skin that’s prone to acne or redness? Try this Cleansing Oil with Thyme. Using a therapeutic blend of lavender, thyme, and geranium, this oil balances skin while maintaining moisture.

Which kind of vegan cleanser works best for your skin? Check out one of these products and let us know what you think!

Patricia Maroday

Hi I'm Patricia. Certified vegan lifestyle Coach. I’m here to help you eat more plants, discover ethical products, help the planet and feel amazing!

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Patricia Maroday

Hi I'm Patricia. Certified vegan lifestyle Coach. I’m here to help you eat more plants, discover ethical products, help the planet and feel amazing!

Check out our complete program to succeed at living a healthy plant-based lifestyle

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