Self Care: Cruelty Free Quarantine Skincare Ideas!


Post by My Beauty Bunny writer, Claudia Materdomini

I feel like half of the time I’m going stir crazy from being cooped up inside more than usual and at the same time relieved that I get to stay home with my introvert self. Maybe I’m not the only one. It’s crazy how many months we’ve had to adapt to this new normal, and I know it has changed the way that I go through my beauty routine in a few ways. I still put on makeup, but not for as long, and I have way more time to focus on skincare. Here are some things you may not have considered when it comes to self-care for your skin during the quarantine (and cruelty free product recommendations from me and Jen!).

Protect your eyes from all that extra screen time

For those of you who have transitioned from working in an office to a home situation, you may find yourself in front of a laptop more often doing Zoom calls instead of staff meetings and possibly crunching away at work “stuff” long after your usual hours. (P.S. Stop doing that!) This also means longer exposure to blue light emitted from electronics which can cause premature aging of the skin and create problems for your eyes. Big YIKES right there!

Jen trying on her blue light blocking glasses!

Your eyes are just as prone to damage from long term screen usage, so investing in some blue light glasses that filter out some of that blue light emitted from digital screens. By doing so, you are protecting your eyes from retinal damage and reducing eye strain so you can remain productive. Blue light glasses can potentially help your body produce the melatonin it should be making naturally by keeping out the blue light late in the evening. Wearing blue light blocking glasses all day though would be counterproductive because your body needs light during the day to keep your circadian rhythm on track.

Blue light protection for your skin

Even just one hour of blue light exposure can cause damage in terms of how your skin holds moisture, it’s self-repair abilities, increase in inflammation and hyperpigmentation.

Aside from trying to reduce screen time as much as you possibly can, there are a few things you can do to protect and treat your skin while you tap away on those screens.

Aside from simply reducing the amount of time you stare at your phone, laptop, or iPad, skincare companies are taking notice that a need for blue light protection is on the rise. Lately, I been reaching for the affordable, vegan skincare brand Derma E Blue Light Shield Concentrated Serum. Blue-green algae extract, lutein (powerful antioxidant from plants), activated charcoal, and ginseng are the powerhouses in this lightweight moisturizing serum. It hydrates, purifies, and protects against free radical damage, all in one step!

If there is one step in your skincare that shouldn’t have changed at all, its using sunscreen EVERY DAY! Skin Authority’s SkinSuit is Jen’s favorite tinted SPF (she loves it because it’s perfect for all skin types and doesn’t cause breakouts). It’s an awesome choice for a daily sunscreen that protects against UVA/UVB, blue (HEV) light, infrared radiation, and pollution while providing SPF 50 protection. Its mineral-based formula doesn’t clog pores, has a bit of tint to it for sheer illumination, and best of all is reef-safe!

Hydrate that skin!

Being indoors all day with the air-conditioning blasting is nice and all, but it can also be very drying to your skin because it removes the moisture from the air. Keeping skin hydrated is key to optimal skin function so a good hydrating serum or moisturizer is a must.

I love using Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum because it is lightweight and absorbs into the skin well even on hot, sticky days and leaves my skin feeling like a million bucks. B-Hydra’s unique blend of pro-vitamin B5, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and their watermelon rind/apple/lentil complex work together to hydrate, plump, improve tone and texture and in one formula, making it easy peasy to stick to. You can find it at Sephora or get B-Hydra on Amazon with free one day Prime shipping!

Another favorite is First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, which is literally made for sensitive skin. It’s lightweight, artificial fragrance-free, and made with soothing aloe, peptides and colloidal oatmeal (especially good for those times when you go overboard with the retinol and exfoliating products). This one contains collagen from fish so it’s not vegan-friendly, but it is cruelty free (meaning the finished product and ingredients are not tested on animals). First Aid Beauty is selling in mainland China, but they are still cruelty free. Jen did an in-depth investigation on this, which you can read about here.

Looking for a budget-friendly light hydration option for the summer? Derma E’s Hydrating Serum is another great choice! This one is also available on Amazon with free one day Prime shipping!

Now’s the time to peel!

With less sun exposure and fewer in-person events, this is a great time to try resurfacing treatments that use glycolic acid or retinol. If you haven’t built a tolerance to these types of ingredients, you can slowly start to incorporate them into your skincare routine. You may get some redness and peeling – if so back off a bit. You can either cut your products with moisturizer or use it fewer times per week.

Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol Cream combines 1.0% vegan retinol with a triple peptide blend to reduce fine lines and sun damage for younger-looking skin. If you’re just starting, use it once or twice a week and add more days on when you see your skin tolerates it well. (Tip: This one is great to mix with B-Hydra!) (Editor’s Note from Jen: I can only use this a couple of times a week but my husband had no problems using it every day from day one and his skin looks incredible!) You can find it at Sephora or Amazon (free one day Prime shipping).

If you have sensitive skin or are new to using retinol, you may need a milder formula. Try clean and sensitive-skin-safe brand, First Aid Beauty. Their Retinol Serum is made with 0.25% retinol, peptides and skin-soothing ingredients like avocado oil and colloidal oatmeal. Find it at Sephora or Amazon. First Aid Beauty is selling in mainland China, but they are still cruelty free. Jen did an in-depth investigation on this, which you can read about here.

If you want to the best of all worlds in one serum, try cruelty free skincare brand, Glo Skin Beauty’s, Renew Serum. It’s made with retinol, glycolic AND salicylic acids to speed up skin turnover, reduce fine lines and fade dark spots. Niacinimide is another great ingredient in this exfoliating serum that helps with anti-aging as well as acne.

Prefer to do more of a mask treatment? Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial produces some DRAMATIC results with this AHA/BHA powerhouse product that removes dead skin cells better than any other at-home mask we’ve tried! This is your enlarged pores nemesis! Not only will skin’s elasticity improve, but you’ll see a brighter complexion staring at you in the mirror. You can find it on Sephora or Amazon (with free Prime one-day shipping).

We find that it’s best to stick to once a week with this one and follow with their T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum for “maintenance” work on the skin. In the morning, I see visible results with this amazing serum. I can even see dead skin and gunk on the cotton pad I use to cleanse each morning! Just don’t forget the sunscreen when you use these exfoliating products!

Looking for a more budget-friendly exfoliation product? I highly recommend the Pixi glycolic acid products, like the Glow Tonic Serum. They aren’t quite as strong as the Drunk Elephant products but they are better for those with sensitive skin and with regular use, they produce results.

Have you made changes to your skincare routine since the quarantine started? Which cruelty free products are treating your skin well lately?


Katherine Clark