Vegan And Organic Skincare: What Is The Difference?

By Anett Rannamets. Updated: May 2023.
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Vegan and organic skincare – people often think these two are one and the same. Yet, they are not. In fact, vegan skincare is not necessarily organic and organic skincare is not necessarily vegan.

To distinguish them, we have to look at the ingredients and the cultivation method. So, in this article, we will determine how vegan and organic skincare differ. As well as how to determine them both.

What Is Organic Skincare?

Certified organic skincare contains the maximum amount of natural ingredients. The rest of them are also strictly controlled and must not be synthetic.

Organic skincare must consist of 70-95% organic ingredients. Also, at least 10% of the total ingredients must come from organically certified cultivation. If the product is 100% organic, it does not contain any synthetic ingredients, preservatives, fragrances, or dyes.

The raw materials of organic skincare are grown without toxins and fertilizers. They only come from verified organic farms and growing areas or certified harvesting areas. Also, organic certificate issuers have usually written down a list of ingredients they do not allow to use. These often include:

  • aluminum salts
  • parabens
  • silicones
  • phthalates
  • mineral oils and paraffin
  • petroleum-based surfactants
  • chemical UV filters
  • PEGs
  • synthetic fragrances
  • microplastics
  • chemical dyes

Yet again, since the term ‘organic’ is not entirely protected, manufacturers can label their products how they want. Even if the product only contains a single organically grown ingredient. The remaining ingredients could still be harmful to the environment or health. Therefore, it is important to know certified organic labels with written rules.

Organic VS Vegan Skincare

Organic and vegan skincare often overlap. But they do not mean the same. Vegan skincare might not be organic skincare or vice versa.

But how to recognize vegan skincare products? It is fairly easy. They must not contain any animal ingredients or animal by-products. Additionally, vegan skincare is not tested on animals. The most important thing about vegan skincare is that it does not include components of animal origin. This means that chemical and synthetic ingredients can still be found in vegan skincare.

When it comes to organic products, organic ingredients come from wildlife and contain organic compounds. Usually, only decaying organic compounds are counted among them. So yet again, this is why organic skincare is not always vegan as animal by-products may also be organic.

Conscious vegan brands often use natural and organic plant-based ingredients. Vegan products are often also certified organic but this is certainly not a rule.

Also it is good to know that natural and organic skincare are not the same although they are often equated with each other. Although all organic skincare products are natural, not all natural skincare is also organic. The difference between natural and organic skincare is that the latter has a significantly higher proportion of ingredients from organically certified manufacturers.

FAQ About Vegan And Organic Skincare

Does vegan also mean organic?

No. Vegan does not mean organic. The most important thing for vegan brands is that no product contains animal ingredients or ingredients tested on animals. This means that a vegan product may contain ingredients that are not organically sourced.

What is the difference between organic and vegan skincare?

Organic skincare means that the products are organically sourced, natural, and chemical-free. Vegan skincare is free from animal-derived ingredients and ingredients tested on animals. So, vegan skincare may still contain synthetics or chemicals.

Why many organic skincare brands are not vegan?

Many organic skincare brands are not vegan because animal-based ingredients are natural and can be organically sourced. Therefore, organic skincare brands sometimes use animal by-products such as beeswax, lanolin, honey, and milk.


The difference between organic and vegan skincare is that vegan skincare is always animal free. Organic skincare often uses animal ingredients in addition to plant-based substances.

Moreover, it is not always certain whether vegan skincare is organic. That is because synthetic and chemical compounds are allowed in vegan products. However, nowadays many vegan brands are transparent and conscious about their ingredients. Therefore, vegan and organic products often overlap.

However, when shopping for vegan or organic skincare, be aware of greenwashing. Many manufacturers can mislead consumers by using unofficial labels. Do your research and find trustful certified labels to stick to. If you are curious to try them, go with vegan organic brands.

See also: Best Vegan Skincare Brands

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.