2020 was a tough year for many people, and my year was certainly no exception. Today however, I want to focus on a positive, and share with your my 2020 cruelty free beauty favourites. I won’t be going through every skincare and makeup category, I’m just going to share the products that I cannot find a replacement for in my routine as they just work so well for me. Everyone’s skin type, colour and makeup and skincare preferences are different. These are the products I love, as they work for my very fair pink toned skin that is dry and very sensitive. All products I will mention are cruelty free and the majority are vegan, I will leave a note next to any of the products that I know are not vegan. In this post you will see affiliate links for Adore Beauty, Biome, Flora and Fauna, Nourished Life and Yes Style. Using these affiliate links costs you nothing, but it helps me out, so I would really appreciate it if you use them if you ever purchase from those websites.
I am very diligent with my skincare routine as I have seen what a difference it can make for me. My skin is dry and dehydrated, but I can make it normal with a consistent hydrating skincare routine. I have eyelid eczema and rosacea on my cheeks, so a lot of my skincare is aimed at soothing those skin conditions. I completely avoid SLS and SLES as they are the main trigger for peri-oral dermatitis for me. I also have melasma, so I use actives to try and reduce the appearance of that, but I only use actives on my t-zone, never on my cheeks (and obviously not on my eyes). Many of these products I have featured in my previous years’ favourites, but there are some new products added too. There are a couple of new products that I’m using that I like but I only started using them at the start of December, so I won’t be including those in this post.
My cruelty free beauty favourites couldn’t start without mentioning the La Mav Hydra-Calm Cleansing Creme. This is the most gentle cleanser I have ever used, it is the only cleanser I can rely on to not further irritate my skin when it is flaring. I buy my La Mav products from Flora and Fauna or Nourished Life (affiliate links). My favourite serum is the Trilogy Very Gentle Calming Serum. I tend to use this morning and night as my skin really likes it.
By far my most used morning moisturiser is the La Mav Hyaluronan Daily Moisture Creme as it dries down to a semi-matte finish whilst also hydrating my skin. It is perfect for wearing on hot days, especially with a mask for me. I made an IGTV showing you how I use all my La Mav products in a morning skincare routine if you want to check that out. I use a couple of different moisturising creams to help soothe my eczema and rosacea. I have the Purito Centella Unscented Recovery Cream which I buy from Yes Style (affiliate link). It contains 50% cica extract, ceramide NP, glycerine, niacinamide and squalene. I have been trying to find more cruelty free and vegan skincare products with ceramides to try, so I might but the Purtio Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack and Centella Unscented Serum to add some more ceramides in, but I would also love to hear your suggestions of products you like. I have just purchased the Natio Ceramide cream so I will let you know how that goes in an Instagram story.
I have been using the MooGoo SM Soothing Cream and Eczema & Psoriasis Cream with Marshmallow, Elderberry & more for many years now. The eczema cream is vegan, but the soothing cream isn’t as it contains honey. I was looking on their website hoping for a sale so I could re-buy my eczema cream, and saw that MooGoo has also released a Double Cream with Ceramides, but that contains beeswax, so it isn’t vegan either. My all time favourite night moisturiser is the Trilogy Replenishing Night Cream. I haven’t found anything that compares to this product. It moisturises and calms my skin so well, but it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a thick product, so it still works well all year round for me (I just wish the Australian Trilogy website would do more sales to reward loyal customers, like Priceline does with their 40% off sales).
As for actives, my favourite exfoliant is still the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. It is expensive but it I haven’t found another chemical exfoliant that is as gentle as this and that actually works. My other favourite active is also expensive, but it is well worth the money. It is the Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10 which I buy from Adore Beauty (affiliate link). This formula has a crystal encapsulation system that slowly releases retinaldehyde into the skin, so that it doesn’t cause the same level of irritation as a standard retinoid. I still had to work up the the 10 from a lower dose, but I can use this product every second day without any irritation, which is amazing.
I am giving sunscreen its own category this year, as it is just so important. If there is only one beauty product that you will use, make sure it’s sunscreen. All the sunscreens I am mentioning are SPF 50 and broad spectrum, as per Australian standards. I used to use some SPF 30 sunscreens, but I really need to protection of 50+ with how fair my skin is. My favourite physical sunscreen is the Ethical Zinc SPF50+ Daily Wear Light Sunscreen. This sunscreen is made using 100% solar power, is fragrance free and 80 minutes water resistant. It rubs into my skin clear, and it a lot lighter than the typical zinc sunscreens that I have tried. Ethical Zinc also make a Natural Clear Zinc sunscreen that is 4 hours water resistant, which makes it better for swimming and exercise, but it contains beeswax so it’s not vegan. It is also a lot thicker, so it doesn’t work as well as an everyday sunscreen. Always remember to reapply your sunscreen, especially after sweating or going in the water.
Some good cruelty free facial chemical sunscreens that I have used are the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen which I buy from Adore Beauty (affiliate link) and the Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen Oxybenzone Free Formula. Both of these will work better on dry skin as they are moisturising, but oily skinned people can use them without a moisturiser underneath. I find that the Mecca one can be slightly more pore clogging that the Ultra Violette one, but I like both of them. The Ultra Violette Extreme Screen Hand & Body Sunscreen SPF50+ is a great everyday body sunscreen, but it contains beeswax so it isn’t vegan. It feels like I’m wearing a moisturiser rather than a thick body sunscreen, so it’s much nicer to wear on an everyday basis compared to many other body sunscreens.
The Purito Centella Unscented Sun sunscreen would have been included in this post as I used it for a lot of the year, but it came to light recently that the actual SPF value of the sunscreen is nowhere near the labelled SPF 50 value, so I won’t be using it anymore. I hope they reformulate to actually make it SPF50+, as it had a great formula.
As always, my most used primer in 2020 was the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15. It smooths the skin slightly and makes foundation last longer, so I always go back to it. One of my favourite beauty finds in 2020 was the Mecca Max Off Duty BB Cream in Vanilla. I have to add a lot of my White Colourpop Cosmetics No Filter Matte Concealer into this to make it light enough to use, and the dark shades are non existent, but I finally have a vegan replacement for my Chi Chi Cosmetics Super CC Cream in Fair. I have contacted Mecca multiple times about the shade range of their house brands, they continue to say that they are going to expand and improve them, but I haven’t seen that happen yet. I’m hoping they will make a very fair pink shade in the Off Duty BB Cream so that I finally have an everyday product that I don’t have to mix to use, but I’m not holding my breath.
Another product that I loved finding in 2020 was the ELF Hydrating Camo Concealer. It isn’t as full coverage as the ELF 16hr Camo Concealer, but it is so much nicer to wear on dry skin. I use the shades Fair Rose and Fair Beige, depending on what I’m doing, and they both work well for me. I plan on swatching all the shades I have for you, so I will try to do that blog post for you soon. If my dark circles are even more noticeable than usual, then I will use the Becca Cosmetics Under Eye Brightening Corrector in Light to Medium under my concealer, which works really well to dull the discolouration.
I always set my base with the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder as it dulls the shine just slightly to make the skin look more satin and make my makeup last longer. I haven’t come across another setting powder like it. If I am wanting to do a very quick makeup base, then I will use my Eco Minerals Perfection Mineral Foundation in Vanilla. It’s very easy and quick to put on with a dense brush, and it doesn’t make my skin look dry like every other powder foundation does. You can buy Eco Minerals powder foundations and the refill packets from Biome, Flora and Fauna and Nourished Life (affiliate links).
If you’ve read my previous years’ cruelty free beauty favourites, then you will already know that blush is my favourite makeup product. I still enjoyed using my Milani Baked blushes this year, but the real standout for me was the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Sublime Flush. I have been hoping for years that they would release a blush in this shade as I really wanted a bright pink in their formula, but the original shades didn’t work for me, so I am so happy to have Sublime Flush now. My favourite cream blush for the year was Elation from Elate Cosmetics. It’s such a pretty shade for my skin tone and so quick and easy to apply with a small stippling brush. There are multiple colours available of the Elate Universal Creme Cheek and Lip Colours on the Flora and Fauna website (affiliate), so there should be a shade that will suit most skin tones.
My favourite powder highlighter will be absolutely no surprise to those of you who follow me, it is still the Elate Cosmetics Pressed Cheek Illuminator in the discontinued shade Opal. Elate still make Dew in this product, which has the same awesome formula, I just prefer the pink shade of Opal. Dew will probably suit more skin tones than Opal, so that is a good shade to try, but I will continue hoping for Opal to return. I also liked using the Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette, which made a return in 2020. I mix the pink and yellow shades, but I would love to get the pink one individually as that is my favourite shade in the palette. This palette gives a more metallic finish than the Elate highlighter, so I used it more for heavier makeup, rather than everyday makeup.
I continued to use my Eye Of Horus Brow Define in Husk throughout the year. I buy my Brow Define pencils from Flora and Fauna (affiliate link). I pair this with the Colourpop Cosmetics Clear Brow Boss Gel to keep my unruly eyebrow hairs in place. The eye product I liked the most in 2020 was the Elate Cosmetics Eye Colour Pencils, they’re very easy to use and work well with natural makeup looks. I also love the Elate Lip Colour Pencils, especially Ardent. I will do a full review on these soon, but in the meantime you can pick them up from Flora and Fauna (affiliate) if you want them. Eye Of Horus Bio Lipsticks are still my favourite lipstick formula and I’m still hoping they will release a shade like Flower Beauty Petal Pout Lip Color in Spiced Petal (probably not vegan), as it is the perfect lipstick colour for me. They have just released more reds, so I’m hoping the Bio Lipstick colour range will continue to expand in future.
There were some items I wanted to try in 2020 that I didn’t get around to getting, like the Hourglass Cosmetics and Eye Of Horus Cosmetics vegan makeup brushes. I also would have liked to have tried the Eye Of Horus and Aether Beauty eyeshadow palettes, but I prioritized keeping my eyelid eczema under control over trying new eye products. There’s quite a few small eco-friendly brands that I would like to try and review this year, and I would like to try more cruelty free and vegan makeup brands that do good ceramide, lactic acid or retinaldehyde products. I would love to hear your recommendations for products that I should try, or which products topped your cruelty free beauty favourites list for 2020? I have quite a few reviews to write up, so hopefully I will have the energy to do them all for you. In the mean time, you can sign up to email updates to get my new blog posts sent to your inbox. You can also find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.