Black skin is not exactly a skin type but there are some unique characteristics of melanin-rich skin to pay attention to when choosing vegan skincare.
If you are looking for vegan skincare for black skin, you have come to the right place. Here are the best vegan skincare products to take good care of dark skin tones.
All products below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals. We also feature several black-owned vegan beauty brands.
10 Best Vegan Skincare Products For Black Skin
Here are the best vegan skincare products for black skin and dark skin tones in 2023.
- Buttah Skin Gentle Facial Cleanser
- Klairs Rich Soothing Cream
- Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore Refining Toner
- Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum
- Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C + Niacinamide Serum
- Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster
- Youth To The People Mandelic Acid Exfoliant
- Bliss Mighty Marshmellow Face Mask
- Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
- True Moringa Oil For Face, Body & Hair
Our favorite vegan cleanser for black skin comes from Buttah Skin. The gentle face wash gets rid of makeup, SPF, and dirt without stripping the skin of moisture. The cleanser also nourishes the skin with natural coconut oil and lavender extract.
Buttah Skin is a 100% vegan black-owned skincare brand by actor Dorion Renaud. We also love their Vitamin C Serum, Oil-Free Hyaluronic Gel Cream, and their Skin Transforming Kit which also makes for a beautiful gift. Everything from Buttah Skin is made with melanin-rich skin in mind.
Black skin needs ceramides for a healthy skin barrier and a more radiant skin tone. Klairs Rich Soothing Cream is a vegan moisturizer that has plenty of skin-replenishment ceramides along with soothing Centella Asiatica extract. The cream is lightweight but gives great moisture.
Klairs is a vegan skincare brand from Korea. With their gentle formulas and science-backed ingredients, many of their products work well for black skin. For dark skin tones, we also recommend their Rich Moist Foam Cleanser and Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum.
Fat Water is the best vegan toner for black skin. Made with niacinamide, this rich toner hydrates the skin, controls oil production, and fights discoloration. It also uses vitamin-rich Acerola cherry and other antioxidants to fight dark spots. It has a lovely cherry scent.
Fenty Skin is a black-owned skincare brand by singer-songwriter Rihanna. While not all celebrity brands are worth the money, Rihanna has really invested in this company to create products that work. While Fenty Beauty makeup uses some animal ingredients, Fenty Skin is fully vegan.
Our favorite vegan serum for black skin is the Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum from Glow Recipe. The star of this serum is – you guessed it – ceramides. This serum beautifully hydrates and soothes skin and nourishes it with avocado butter. It also reduces the ashiness of dry skin.
While this serum is often marketed to lighter skin tones with the premise of reducing redness, it works as well for black skin. With dark skin, redness is often disguised by melanin and can look like brown spots. This serum can calm the skin and fix inflammation-related discoloration.
CC Me is another wonderful vegan serum for black skin. The combination of niacinamide and vitamin C works well for darker skin tones. It brightens black skin, improves hydration, and reduces dark spots and fine lines. It’s not the cheapest serum but a little goes a long way.
If you struggle with dark spots or dark circles we recommend this vegan azelaic acid serum. Azelaic acid is gentle on black skin and it lightens hyperpigmentation gradually without creating additional skin tone problems. This serum also includes skin-lightening licorice root extract.
Exfoliation can be scary for black skin. That’s why we love this gentle mandelic acid exfoliator from Youth To The People. Mandelic acid penetrates the skin slowly and therefore does not disrupt the skin tone anyhow. It is also fully non-abrasive and safe for sensitive skin.
This vegan exfoliator helps get rid of dead skin, excess oil, and congestion without irritating your skin. Over time, it reveals a much brighter and healthier complexion for dark skin tones. It also improves hydration and enables other skincare products to work better.
Our favorite vegan face mask for black skin is Bliss Mighty Marshmellow Face Mask. Made with marshmallow root and vitamin C, it brightens the skin in a gentle and non-abrasive way. It also replenishes moisture, giving dark skin a healthy and glowing complexion.
At last – a vegan sunscreen for black skin that leaves no white cast whatsoever. Black Screen Sunscreen is a wonderful vegan SPF that gives effective broad-spectrum sun defense while also moisturizing the skin. It absorbs fast and goes well under makeup.
Black Screen Sunscreen is a black-owned skincare brand specializing in vegan sun care for people of color. While it’s a chemical sunscreen (minerals always leave some white residue), it uses lots of healthy natural ingredients such as avocado, jojoba, cacao, and carrot juice.
True Moringa is another vegan black-owned skincare brand we love. They offer the best vegan face oils for black skin from ethically sourced ingredients such as nutritious Moringa seeds. Their skincare supports the local moringa farmers in Ghana.
Their moringa oil is really multifunctional. You can use it to nourish your face, body, cuticles, and hair. It’s a clean and natural way to boost your skin and hair health. We love the unscented Simplicity version as well as the Passion Oil with moringa and neroli.
What To Look For In Vegan Skincare For Black Skin
When choosing vegan skincare for black skin, opt for gentle formulas above all else.
Since black skin is more likely to develop post-inflammatory scarring, it is important to attend to acne right away. For that, you can include some gentle clarifying products into your routine.
Some of the best vegan ingredients for black skin and dark skin tones include:
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a vegan ingredient that brightens skin tone and protects the skin from free radical damage. It also boosts collagen production and keeps the skin youthful and radiant. See more vegan vitamin C skincare here.
- Retinol – Retinol is a great anti-aging ingredient for all skin tones and it can help target more stubborn hyperpigmentation for darker skin tones. In skincare products, retinol is usually vegan. See more vegan retinol skincare here.
- Niacinamide – Niacinamide is a vegan-friendly skincare ingredient that brightens dark skin by inhibiting melanosome transfer. It also helps hydrate the skin and regulate sebum production. See more vegan niacinamide skincare here.
- Azelaic acid – Azelaic acid brightens the skin, fades post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and evens skin tone. It’s quite gentle on the skin and safe for darker skin tones. Azelaic acid is vegan. See more vegan azelaic acid skincare here.
- Mandelic acid – Mandelic acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates and brightens black skin without harming skin tone. It also reduces sun spots and acne scars. Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid is always vegan.
- Kojic acid – Kojic acid is a skin-lightening agent that won’t damage the tone of darker skin types but helps target dark spots, age spots, and acne scars. Kojic acid is vegan-friendly and plant-derived.
- Ceramides – As black skin tones have fewer ceramides present in the skin, ceramide skincare is a great way to moisturize the skin and improve the skin barrier function. Ceramides used in skincare are vegan. See more vegan ceramide skincare here.
- Hyaluronic acid – Hyaluronic acid is another good ingredient to hydrate and plump black skin which can also reduce ashiness related to dehydration. In skincare, hyaluronic acid is usually vegan. See more vegan hyaluronic acid skincare here.
While the melanin content in your skin is important in choosing the right skincare, it is equally important to know your skin type. Do you have oily, dry, or combination skin? Is your skin acne-prone or sensitive?
If you have dry or sensitive black skin, choose vegan skincare that is free of drying alcohols, fragrances, and essential oils. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, avoid rich oils and other pore-clogging ingredients.
FAQ About Vegan Skincare For Black Skin
Vegan skincare can be good for black skin as the best ingredients for dark skin tones are already vegan-friendly (e.g. vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide).
The best skincare for black skin includes Buttah Skin Gentle Facial Cleanser, Klairs Rich Soothing Cream, and Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore Refining Toner Serum.
Yes. The sunscreen is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Yes, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Darker Skin Tones Face Cream is vegan. The only non-vegan product in the Darker Skin Tones range is the Foam Cleanser.
We hope you found our selection of vegan skincare for black skin useful. While you need to still tailor skincare to your skin type, taking into account the special traits of melanin-rich skin can be still useful. Especially if your concerns are hyperpigmentation and ashy skin tone.
Our current favorite vegan skincare products for dark skin come from Buttah Skin, Fenty Skin, and Black Girl Sunscreen. These cruelty-free companies are also black-owned and give us a chance to support black entrepreneurs.
As we come across new products for black and darker skin tones, we will add the best ones to this list. Stay tuned!
Article update on May 02 (2023): Fact checked and medically reviewed by MD Shimona Garg
Article update on February 17 (2023): Added more references