Is Simple Skincare Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

December 29, 2021

Simple Skincare has been around for over 60 years. But has it managed to keep up with the times by creating cruelty-free and vegan products? Here's what you need to know before you go shopping. 

Simple is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. Simple Skincare is also 100% vegan – it doesn't use any animal-derived ingredients.

Simple Skincare (otherwise known as Simple) was founded in 1960 by the Albion Group. The objective was to create products free of unnecessary, nasty, or toxic ingredients at a reasonable price. In 2010, it was sold to Unilever for £240 million.

Before deciding on what to buy, here's what you need to know about Simple's current animal testing policies, vegan ranges, formulation, and sustainability.

Is Simple Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Simple is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

The brand is cruelty-free certified by PETA. While this is a great start, it may not be the most reliable accreditation, and we explain why under certification.

Simple is also owned by Unilever, which is not a cruelty-free organization. 

But there is good news.

Simple is 100% Vegan

Yup – this very affordable and accessible skincare brand is completely vegan. It does not use any animal-derived ingredients in any of its products. 

However, it's worth knowing that most affordable, mainstream skincare brands are not 100% vegan. 

These are certain animal-derived ingredients to look out for in general: 

  • Honey & beeswax – both these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn't vegan, it doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Lanolin – this ingredient, like honey and beeswax, is used in skincare and cosmetics because it is incredibly hydrating. It is basically the waxy oil that comes from sheep wool. Lanolin can be cruelty-free – follow this link for more details.
  • Collagen – this essential protein plays an integral role in strengthening your skin and potentially help slow down the effects of aging when taken as a supplement. It does this by minimizing wrinkles and dryness. 

If you're interested in Simple's most popular vegan products and brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Simple Skincare vegan products

Animal Testing Policy and History

Simple Skincare has been going strong for over 60 years. While it's difficult to know what the brand's animal testing policy was in the 60s.

We can assure you that the brand ethos to create "simple stuff" has stayed strong and improved with modern research. 

Cruelty-Free Status in 2021

Here is a screenshot of Simple's official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

Simple Beauty Cruelty Free PETA website Claim


It would be nice to see more certification from Simple since it’s a proudly cruelty-free brand.

Currently, it's PETA-approved which is not a bad start. You are likely to find the little cruelty-free PETA bunny next to each one of its products.

But if you don't see a stamp – please don't panic. It doesn't mean that the product is not cruelty-free. The brand is merely in the process of updating its packaging.  

It will put your mind at ease knowing that the brand is also covered by the UK legislature. It states that it is illegal to test any cosmetics on animals in the country.

However, certain loopholes in the law make it far more reliable if a third party were to get involved. 

The Leaping Bunny association is very strict and reliable, which ensures that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas. 
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, are considered and evaluated. 

Simple also explains that its parent company, Unilever, is calling for a ban on all animal testing. This would be similar to what the EU has put in place. But until something materializes – it's not a substantiated claim. 

Is Simple Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Simple does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on any cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most amount of animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes to be aware of. Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

The Best Vegan Simple Products

Simple has a great range of vegan products that continues to expand. It prides itself in doing as kind as possible to the environment and our skin.

To save you some time, here are some of its most popular skincare products:

  • Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser
  • Kind to Skin Eye Make-up Remover
  • Hydrating Cleansing Oil
  • Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes
  • Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash

For a full list of Simple's vegan products, you can visit its website: Simple Skincare 

Vegan Alternatives to Simple

Simple has a good track record and noteworthy transparency with its consumers. For a multi-million dollar brand – it's commendable.

While we love that it is cruelty-free and 100% vegan – it would be great to see some more certification behind the claims. 

If you will not support a brand owned by a non-vegan parent company – Simple might not be your first choice.

Here are some 100% vegan brands with cruelty-free parents companies in the same price range:

Is Simple Natural and Organic? 

Simple does claim to use safe, simple, and clean ingredients. However, it is not considered natural or organic.

Its whole ethos is to be kind to your skin by creating 100% clean formulas and products.

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients of immediate plant origin. 

Here's the thing – "natural" is not necessarily a good thing. Just because an ingredient is natural (take chili peppers, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin. 

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas, and Simple is no exception – but it can choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it means it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

A few naturally-derived Simple uses to enhance its cosmetics include: 

  • Hyaluronic acid is a substance found naturally in our skin that helps maintain moisture, boost tissue regeneration and wound healing.

    As we get older, we produce less hyaluronic acid – making it an essential ingredient in our beauty products. 
  • Triple purified water has all harsh minerals and impurities filtered out so that it can be gentler on the most sensitive skin without leaving heavy metals or residues behind.  
  • Seaweed extract has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. It also protects and supports your skin's repair process while feeding it many valuable vitamins and minerals. 

Does Simple Use Safe Ingredients?

Simple has a decent spread of ingredients that can benefit your skin, and they also avoid using anything that could be harmful – even to sensitive skin.

According to Skin Safe, Simple usually has an 82% - 91% allergen-free ranking for each product, but many score as high as 100%.

All Simple's products are free of harsh chemicals, artificial color, fragrance, parabens, drying alcohol, animal-derived ingredients, and MIT. 

It also avoids common preservatives, irritants, gluten, nickel, fragrance, soy, and propylene glycol.

Another huge benefit is that all Simple products are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, non-comedogenic, ophthalmologist-tested, and pH-balanced to your skin. 

The UK Has Stricter Ingredient Regulations

As a conscientious shopper, you must read up on any brand's ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States.

This is because the FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, has banned 1,328!

Given Simple is a UK-based brand with strict ingredient policies – you don't need to worry too much. 

For good measure, here are some of the ingredients you really want to avoid with skincare:

  • Butylated compounds,
  • Benzophenone compounds, 
  • Triclosan,
  • Phenoxyethanol,
  • Formaldehyde, and 
  • Lead or other heavy metals. 

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you're worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics that are not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn't be just as safe, if not safer, than anything tested on an animal.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there is no need.

If you're interested, here's more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Simple Sustainable and Ethical? 

Something commendable about Simple is that it wants to be transparent with its customers.

It spends a lot of time improving its carbon footprint and ensuring its consumers are contentious of this.

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem, and cosmetic brands are only making it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

As it stands, the brand:

  • Launched biodegradable wipes and decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 19.8% per wipe. They are now made from sustainably-sourced wood pulp and plant fiber.
  • Has a high percentage of biodegradable products, given how clean its formulations are.
  • Only uses 100% sustainably sourced paper and board made from recycled fiber or sourced from sustainably managed forests. 
  • Has made many of its packaging and cartons from recyclable materials. 
  • Avoids toxic ingredients or anything that could be an endocrine disruptor (this affects our skin a lot).
  • Passively takes on many social, ethical, and environmental initiatives through Unilever, which is improving its supply chains, regenerating farming practices, and restoring natural ecosystems.

We love to see where Simple is right now – and we're looking forward to seeing their sustainability plans for the future.

Final Thoughts

Simple is a well-developed skincare brand that considers various ethical factors. The fact that it is cruelty-free and vegan is a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics. 

We appreciate the fact that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies. 

Even though it is completely vegan, Simple is still owned by Unilever – which isn't cruelty-free. It is up to you to decide whether this crosses an ethical boundary or not. 

It might not be the best choice for activists who go the extra mile. Especially since the brand also uses palm oil as an ingredient (although they claim they source sustainably where possible). 

Finally, it would also be nice to see further cruelty-free accreditation from another reputable organization like Leaping Bunny. So let's push to make that happen! 

Is Makeup Revolution Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
Is Too Faced Cosmetics Cruelty-Free and Vegan?
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}