Here’s what you need to know about cruelty-free skincare plus a cheat sheet of our favorite cruelty-free eye creams.
|Product Name||Ranking||Key Ingredient||Fragrance & Essential Oils/ Alcohol-free||Skin Type||Cruelty-free Status||Price|
|Dr. Dennis Gross | C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream||
|Vitamin C & GABA; Vitamin E; Niacinamides; Ceramides||Y/Y||All||PETA & Leaping Bunny Certified||Check Here|
|BIOSSANCE | Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream||
|Squalane; peptides; Paracress extract||Y/Y||Dry/ Mature||PETA & Leaping Bunny certified||Check Here|
|E.L.F | Illuminating Eye Cream||
|Vitamin E; Green tea leaf extract; Jojoba seed oil||Y/Y||All||PETA & Leaping Bunny certified||Check Here|
|Drunk Elephant | C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream||
|Vitamin C; Peptides; Ceramides||Y/Y||Sensitive||Leaping Bunny Certified||Check Here|
|Farmacy | Cheer Up Brightening Vitamin C Eye Cream||
Dark Eye Circles
|Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Hyaluronic acid; Caffeine||Y/Y||All (except for citric acid sensitive skin)||Company Issued statement||Check Here|
|Bliss | Ex-glow-sion Radiance-Boosting Eye Cream||
|Titanium Dioxide; Niacinamide; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Squalane||Y/Y||Dry||PETA certified||Check Here|
How to Pick the Best Cruelty-Free Eye Cream?
Choosing the right eye cream can be daunting at first. Aside from the thousands of choices that flood the market, there are so many factors to take into account. You’d have to consider your skin type, budget, product availability, and many more.
It gets even trickier if you’re looking for a specific type of eye cream. For example, if you’re looking for a cruelty-free eye cream, you’d have to understand what ‘cruelty-free’ truly means. You’d also need to know how to clearly distinguish them from the rest.
According to research, the global cruelty-free cosmetics market size will reach USD 10 billion by the year 2024.
Whether you’re a veteran skincare enthusiast looking to explore new options or a wandering newbie in the skincare arena, this guide can help you make more informed choices. Below are the most essential considerations in choosing the best cruelty-free eye cream:
A ‘cruelty-free’ product is one that’s been developed and manufactured without any animal testing involved. In a perfect world, all companies claiming to adopt this process are indeed cruelty-free.
However, the label ‘cruelty-free’ doesn’t have a legal definition. Because of this, companies can loosely use the term without the threat of incurring any legal sanction. That’s why the term is often misleadingly used.
Luckily, there are several ways to identify a true cruelty-free product. You can check for either PETA’s ‘Global Beauty Without Bunnies’ Program logo or CFI’s Leaping Bunny Programme logo on the product itself. Alternatively, you can also refer to PETA’s or CFI’s cruelty-free lists.
Make sure to also check if the eye cream brand is selling their products in China. In China, animal testing isn’t only legal, it’s also mandatory.
Take note that the above-mentioned lists aren’t exhaustive. You may need to consult other sources for further verification. If you’re looking at Korean skincare products specifically, do check out our list of cruelty-free Korean companies.
Superstar eye cream ingredients
When choosing the best cruelty-free eye cream, your top consideration must be its formula. Ultimately, the active ingredients will influence the eye cream’s overall efficacy. The following ingredients are what you should look for in cruelty-free eye creams:
Don’t confuse cruelty-free with vegan. ‘Cruelty-free’ means free from animal testing. ‘Vegan’ means free from animal ingredients. If you’re opting for a vegan eye cream, read the ingredients list thoroughly. Watch out for popular animal by-product ingredients like snail mucin and beeswax.
Vitamins C & E
Vitamins C & E both go hand in hand in reducing oxidative stress and preventing photoaging. Oxidative stress is one of the primary driving forces of skin aging. Photoaging, on the other hand, is the premature aging of the skin caused by UV ray exposure. These powerful antioxidants prevent skin aging by stimulating skin renewal and quenching free radicals.
Peptides are short strings of amino acids that act as building blocks of collagen, keratin, and elastin. They help stimulate collagen production and activate dermal repair. Through this, they help the skin to retain its elasticity. This also alleviates the symptoms of photoaging.
Research suggests that peptide is an effective anti-wrinkle cosmetic ingredient.
Niacinamides are soluble Vitamin B3 derivatives. They work by speeding up epidermal turnover and protecting the skin from UV damage. The topical application of niacinamide also improves the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
Squalane is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon that is derived from squalene found in plants, animals, and humans. Its topical application is effective in reducing oxidative damage to the skin. It also helps retain skin hydration by strengthening the skin barrier. This reduces water loss and keeps your under-eye area more youthful-looking.
Ceramides are lipids that are present in the epidermis. Like squalane, ceramides also help in managing dry skin by strengthening the skin barrier to prevent water loss. Its topical application is effective in moisturizing the skin and preventing atopic dermatitis. Its hydrating properties are especially beneficial in maintaining the suppleness of the under-eye area.
Green tea leaf extract
Green tea leaf extracts have long been used in cosmetic formulations. Its extract contains polyphenol which is a powerful antioxidant. Aside from its free-radical fighting ingredients, this extract also has anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that caffeine in tea can help reduce puffy eyes by constricting constrict dilated capillaries.
Green tea contains the highest concentration of tea polyphenols. This is due to its unique withering and steaming process.
Skin type suitability
You can buy the most expensive cruelty-free eye cream in the market but if it doesn’t suit your skin type, it’s essentially useless.
Different formulations will have varied effects on different skin types. That’s why it’s essential to consider your skin type before choosing one. Below are some tips on how to choose the right eye cream for your specific skin type:
- Dry skin: Look for eye creams with thick consistencies. These creamy formulations are effective in forming a lipid moisture barrier in the skin. The thick protective seal they create protects the skin from water loss.
- Oily skin: Look for lightweight and water-based eye creams are recommended. People with oily skin have hyperactive sebaceous glands. Because of this, they’re more prone to acne and clogged pores. To minimize the possibility of acne, look for thin, non-comedogenic eye creams. Avoid thick eye creams at all costs; lest you risk breaking out.
- Sensitive skin: Look for alcohol-free and fragrance-free eye creams. Research suggests that fragrances are the number one irritant in moisturizers. In the same vein, certain alcohols can also cause skin irritation.
If you want to know if the ingredients in an eye cream product are suitable for your skin type, you can use SkinCarisma.org’s search tool. Input the product name and the website will give you a full overview of its ingredients. This also includes skin sensitivity ratings.
A product’s packaging can influence its contamination tendencies, shelf life, and effectiveness. The following are what you should avoid and look for in a cruelty-free eye cream’s packaging:
What to avoid: Eye creams in jars are extremely prone to bacterial contamination. When you dip your fingers into the jar, some bacteria gets left behind. This is true even if you wash your hands with soap. Bacterial contamination may lead to serious eye infections like bacterial conjunctivitis.
Eye creams use fewer preservatives to prevent eye irritation. This makes them relatively more prone to bacterial growth than other facial creams. In fact, the US-FDA says that eye-area cosmetics tend to have short shelf lives.
Bacterial accumulation may also change the pH levels of your eye cream. This pH level change can disintegrate certain active ingredients, causing the formulation to be less effective.
Additionally, eye creams in transparent containers aren’t advisable. Both heat and light can easily pass through transparent containers. In the process, this can decompose certain volatile ingredients like Vitamin C.
What to look for: Thanks to its structure, tube dispensers protect eye creams from bacterial contaminants. Tubes also minimize air exposure. Additionally, they’re very economical. It allows the user to squeeze the product down to its last drop.
Airless pumps help in promoting a longer product shelf life by preventing oxidation. Because of this, they’re especially great for eye creams that have vulnerable ingredients like peptides.
Additionally, airless pumps are also hygienic. Compared to traditional pumps, airless pumps can dispense every last bit of the product. This eliminates the need to physically open the pump to get the remainder of the product.
Pro Tip: If your favorite cruelty-free eye cream product only comes in jars or transparent packaging, there’s no need to ditch it just yet. A great way to bypass this packaging dilemma is to purchase a refillable airless pump. Just transfer the eye cream into the pump and use your eye cream as usual.
Eye creams with very thick consistencies may clog airless pumps. If your eye cream is thick opt for a refillable tube instead. These containers can better dispense thicker eye cream consistencies.
6 Best Cruelty-Free Eye Cream
Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream
- 3-O-C (Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) for minimizing wrinkles and fine lines
- Niacinamide for skin brightening
- Vitamin E, ceramides, and collagen for firming under eye skin
- Safe for all skin types
- PETA & Leaping Bunny Certified
The Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream is our Best Overall pick as it contains a potent mix of ingredients that are proven to be effective in anti-aging, skin hydration, and skin brightening. Another reason why we love it is that it comes with pump-type packaging. This makes it not only hygienic but also easy to bring on the go.
It also contains 3-O-C which is a more stable form of Vitamin C. Together with GABA, 3-O-C will give its users a more youthful-looking skin. The antioxidant properties of GABA and Vit. C. have been proven to be very effective in reducing the effects of photoaging and the appearance of wrinkles in the eye area.
This eye cream also contains Niacinamide. This ingredient helps alleviate hyperpigmentation around the eye area. Additionally, the combined benefits of Vitamin E, Ceramides, and Collagen will surely promote firmer, more elastic skin.
The Dr. Dennis Gross skincare line is an award-winning brand founded by board-certified dermatologists. They’re certified cruelty-free by both PETA and Cruelty Free International. Additionally, they’re also a vegan-certified brand.
BIOSSANCE Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
- Pink Marine Algae for reducing wrinkles and fine lines
- Paracress extract for firming under-eye skin
- Squalane and Panthenol for skin hydration
- Fragrance-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and mineral oil-free
- Best for dry or mature skin
- PETA & Leaping Bunny Certified
The BIOSSANCE Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream is packed with active ingredients that are known for their anti-aging and skin moisturizing properties. It was hailed as one of the winners of Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards 2020. If not for its jar-type packaging, this eye cream would be our top pick. However, the potential problems with jar packaging means that we can only rank this as our Strong Runner-Up despite all its potency.
This cruelty-free eye cream has a potent amount of Pink Marine Algae. Research has shown that bioactive compounds derived from algae possess effective antioxidant, anti-pigmentation, and anti-aging properties. It also contains Paracress extract (aka S. Acmella extract), an effective anti-wrinkle ingredient.
The combined powers of Squalane and Panthenol also aid in under-eye skin hydration. Like Squalane, Panthenol contributes to maintaining skin integrity by preventing transepidermal water loss. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of Squalane work great for taming puffy under-eyes.
The BIOSSANCE skincare line isn’t only cruelty-free but also vegan. Instead of using shark-derived squalene, they developed a vegan, plant-based squalane. Additionally, their sustainable facility practices are My Green Lab Platinum-certified.
E.L.F. Illuminating Eye Cream
- Vitamin E and Jojoba Seed Oil for anti-aging effects and skin hydration
- Green Tea Leaf Extract for reducing eye puffiness
- Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and essential oils-free
- Safe for all skin types
- PETA & Leaping Bunny Certified
The E.L.F Illuminating Eye Cream is our Best Budget cruelty-free eye cream. This highly-rated Amazon product delivers excellent results without creating a hole in your pocket. You can enjoy its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties even at an affordable price point.
It has a potent mix of Vitamin E and Jojoba Seed Oil that are both rich in antioxidants. These two ingredients work together in fighting free-radicals and preventing skin aging. It also contains Green Tea Leaf Extract that alleviates eye puffiness and prevents photoaging.
The product is also fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and essential oils-free. This makes it safe to use even for those who have sensitive skin.
The E.L.F. skincare line is both cruelty-free and vegan. Its commitment to being cruelty-free has been certified by PETA and Cruelty Free International. It’s also an advocate of the LGBTQ+ community and Black Lives Matter.
Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
- 5C Vitamin Complex for under-eye skin brightening
- 8-Peptide Blend for stimulating collagen production
- Ceramides for under-eye skin hydration
- Best for sensitive skin
- Leaping Bunny Certified
The Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream contains a potent mix of premium anti-aging ingredients that focus on skin hydration and skin elasticity. Its company philosophy is to formulate products using only the best ingredients. The brand’s uncompromising attitude towards quality makes this product our pick for Best Premium cruelty-free eye cream.
Its 8-Peptide Blend makes the skin barrier stronger and more supple. These peptides are essential in the process of collagen synthesis. Through this, they aid in skin renewal and reveal firmer and younger-looking skin.
It also contains 5C Vitamin Complex. The combination of these five forms of Vitamin C help brighten the under-eye area. Additionally, it has ceramides that aid in keeping the under-eye skin hydrated.
Drunk Elephant’s products are also free from known skin irritants like essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, fragrances/dyes, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Their products are very gentle and safe even for those with sensitive skin.
The Drunk Elephant skincare line is Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free. However, its parent company, Shisheido, does conduct animal testing.
Farmacy Cheer Up Brightening Vitamin C Eye Cream
- Vitamin C for skin brightening
- Sacha Inchi Peptides for skin moisturization
- Caffeine for fighting photoaging
- Safe for all skin types except those who are sensitive to Citric Acid
- Company-issued statement of being 100% cruelty-free
The Farmacy Cheer Up Brightening Vitamin C Eye Cream is our pick for Best for Dark Eye Circles as it has skin brightening ingredients that’s been clinically-proven to improve skin appearance around the eye area. It also contains 4% Vitamin C which brightens the under-eyes and reduces fine lines.
It has Sacha Inchi Peptides which is effective in retaining skin moisture and reducing wrinkles. It also contains a potent amount of Caffeine. Caffeine has anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate eye puffiness and treat dark under-eye circles.
While it’s safe to use regardless of skin type, it has a potent amount of Citric Acid which can potentially irritate skins that are sensitive to it. To be sure, always read product labels carefully. Also make it a habit to do a skin patch test before using any skincare product.
The Farmacy Beauty skincare line is neither Leaping Bunny certified nor PETA certified. However, its company-issued statements claim that their products are 100% cruelty-free and that they don’t sell their products in China. Additionally, it has passed Ethical Elephant’s cruelty-free standards.
Bliss Ex-glow-sion Radiance-Boosting Eye Cream
- Niacinamide for skin brightening
- Vitamin C and Vitamin E for skin renewal
- Squalane for skin hydration
- Titanium Dioxide for sun protection
- Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and mineral oils-free
- Best for Dry Skin
- PETA Certified
The Bliss Ex-glow-sion Radiance-Boosting Eye Cream contains many active anti-aging ingredients that promote under-eye skin integrity. It’s an excellent morning eye cream that contains both Titanium Dioxide and Vitamin E. Titanium Dioxide is known for its ability to absorb UV light to provide sun protection. While vitamin E also has some great photoprotective properties. These factors altogether convince us to rank this product as our Best for Daytime Use cruelty-free eye cream.
This product has Squalane which aids in skin hydration. This ingredient can effectively hydrate the under-eye area, preventing dryness and fine lines from forming. It also has Niacinamide which is an effective skin brightening ingredient. It helps in making the under-eyes look brighter and more radiant. We also love that it comes in a hygienic pump-type packaging that’s easy to bring on-the-go.
As part of Bliss’ ‘clean’ promise, their products are free from parabens, phthalates, talc, plastic microbeads, and 1300+ other questionable ingredients. They also follow European Union standards—the highest skincare safety standard in the world.
The Bliss skincare line is PETA certified cruelty-free. Although not yet completely vegan, 90% of their products already are. Additionally, they use locally recyclable packaging materials in an effort to promote zero waste.