Books for Better Living is shutting down. Learn more.

Your Guide to Cruelty-Free Summer Beauty

Look and feel your best with these summer beauty staples.

Summer is in full-swing, and if you’ve already embarked on your cruelty-free journey, you may be looking for ethical replacements for some of your summer beauty favorites. Whether it’s sunscreen, a great nail polish for your vacation-inspired mani-pedi, or safe, effective insect repellant, there is a cruelty-free option to fit your needs and your budget.

New to cruelty-free beauty? Check out my guide for tips on getting started.

Sign up to receive inspiring, expert advice on living your best life from Books for Better Living and Penguin Random House.

Protect Your Skin

As more people demand effective, natural sunscreen options, more Leaping Bunny-certified brands are showing up in popular stores like Target and Walgreens. Easy-to-find brands like Alba Botanica, Goddess Garden, and Kiss My Face all offer ranges of SPF protection, as well as formulas for sports, sensitive skin, and babies.

Need a non-greasy option for daily use under your makeup? Try Kiss My Face’s Face Factor Sunscreen, which soaks in quickly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling tacky.

Even better, the Environmental Working Group rates products from these three brands as “low hazard,” meaning they’re much healthier for you and your skin than many of the chemical-laden, non-cruelty-free brands on the market.


Soothe a Sunburn

Though we may know better, we don’t always remember to put on sunscreen or to reapply when we’re out having fun. If you’ve been out in the sun too long, cool the burn with soothing Aloe Vera gel from companies like JĀSÖN or Alba Botanica.


Combat Chlorine 

Relaxing or exercising at the pool? Protect your hair from the harsh effects of chlorine with Swimmer’s Shampoo and Conditioner from Aubrey Organics. Not only is the almond apricot scent delicious, but it’s also effective at keeping hair soft and prevents blond or gray hair from turning that icky shade of green.


Vacation-Ready Fingers & Toes 

Though nail care needs are present year-round, summer calls for sandals, beaches, and warm, dry weather that can wreak havoc on our hands and feet. Try EcoTools, found at most major drugstores, for cruelty-free at-home mani-pedi tools. For cruelty-free nail color and polish remover, check out Mineral Fusion, ella+milla, Pacifica, or Gabriel Cosmetics—just to name a few. These nail color brands range from Five- to 10-Free, meaning they don’t use toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and camphor in their formulas. They’re also 100% vegan!

ProTip: Follow the Leaping Bunny on Instagram for their Manicure Monday feature, which showcases cruelty-free nail polish companies weekly.


Fake a Glow

While we can’t all be blessed with naturally glowing skin, we know that sunbathing is dangerous. If you’re looking to fake that sun-kissed look without harming animals or yourself, try self-tanner options from Alba Botanica, Beauty By Earth or Tarte Cosmetics Brazilliance™ PLUS+. For a more subtle, gradual glow, try Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Bronzing Body Butter.


Summer-Proof Mascara

Between the beach, the pool, and the summer heat, you want a mascara that will stand up to the test of your wettest, sweatiest days. For budget-minded folks, find multiple options from wet n wild, which run between $2.49 and $4.99 at most local drugstores. For a splurge, check out Pacifica Aquarian Gaze ($14) or Urban Decay Cannonball ($20), both of which should be well worth your investment.


Bye-Bye, Bugs!

Believe it or not, Leaping Bunny boasts nearly 70 certified companies that make insect repellent—among them popular brands like Badger (no DEET, petroleum, and 100% biodegradable!) and Burt’s Bees (all-natural and DEET-free). However, my personal favorite is the All Terrain Company’s Herbal Armor, which is an all-natural, DEET-free formula backed by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program, and was awarded Best Gear by National Geographic Adventure in 2006. I can also personally attest to its greatness, as it’s offered me solid protection in the jungles of Costa Rica, the beaches of the Dominican Republic—and even a particularly buggy backyard in New Jersey.


For complete lists of cruelty-free companies, look to the Leaping Bunny, search PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program page, or for mindful beauty shopping on the go, download the Leaping Bunny app for your Apple or Android device.



Photo Credit: Mirela BK/Shutterstock

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *