Face Soap

Plant-based soap is available in Japan (look for the kanji for ‘plant’, 植物/shokubutsu). Note however that palm oil is often used. It’s often not possible to tell what soaps are made of from the label as they will just list an ingredient such as “soap base” as the main component, with no note whether that is animal or plant derived.

It can be difficult to find a soap that was made without testing on animals. Cruelty-free Japanese products are not common and many large companies appear to sell in China. Beauty products sold in mainland Chinese physical stores are all potentially subject to post-consumer animal testing in the case of consumer adverse reaction. There are also pre-market animal testing requirements, although there are some ways to get around them for certain products, such as having those products manufactured in China. It’s probably safe to say most large Japanese beauty companies at least pay for animal testing to take place in order to enter the Chinese market. We will note below if any of the products are known to be cruelty-free.

Below are some examples of 100% plant-based face soaps, as well as some face soaps that contain animal products. Some products in this section can be used both on the face and the body. Check our Kitchen Soap & Soap section for body soaps, kitchen soaps, and so on.

FACE SOAP

‘ala Lehua is a small Japanese brand with a concept of products that use 100% pure essential oils blended with Hawaiian kukui nut and macadamia nut oils. Per their website, the Hair & Body Wash can be used on the face. The products can be ordered online.

Most of their products do not contain animal ingredients. To find out more about their other products, check our Kitchen Soap & Soap section.

Hair & Body Wash:

Photo from website.

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• Awake is a collaboration brand with the US-based Tarte. It’s owned by Kose, which is not cruelty-free. The Brand Concept (Japanese) section of the Japanese Awake website says all the products are vegan (have no animal ingredients)/ 全製品においてヴィーガン対応*。(*動物由来原料不使用).

The FAQ’s section of the U.S. Awake site says “many of our products are vegan,” but as of February 2020, a U.S. customer service representative stated all of the Awake beauty products are vegan. The Japan site sells: Skin Awakening-Shot (oil serum), Cleanse & Wash, Serum, Liquid Hydrator, Moisturizer, Special Care, UV Care, Makeup, and Hair Care products.  

They have four facial cleansing products in the Cleanse & Wash section (Japanese): a cleansing jelly, a cleansing milk, cleansing oil, and a facial bar.

Photos from website.

Awake the milky day cleansing milk 150ml

Awake Take It All Cleansing Oil 150mL

Awake Hello Clean Double Cleansing Jelly 150g

Awake Allize & Shine Facial Bar 100g

・Auromere Herbal Soap Bar– Auromere is owned by a company called BbyE that has a variety of cruelty-free brands that don’t use “ingredients obtained by killing animals.” However, it is still necessary to check if each brand/product is 100% free of animal ingredients such as beeswax.

The Auromere line consists of four flavors of toothpastes, three herbal soaps and an herbal mouthwash. The soaps are Tulsi Neem, Himalayan Rose and Lavender Neem. They are made with organic neem, cold press coconut oil and eighteen kinds of herbs.

Their website says they don’t use any ingredients obtained by killing animals. About animal testing, it says: “We are committed to avoid any and all animal tests from the planning phase to the launch of products.**

**Except when we are obliged to fulfil our accountability to the society or required by the authority.”

The website states: ““auromère” is excluding the chemical component as much as possible. We also consider the global environment and fair trade. No use of animal ingredients / Cruelty-free. So you can use it with confidence even for vegans. It is a “Natural & Ethical” brand that makes things friendly to people, the environment and society.”

They can answer English queries.

Auromere product page

BbyE’s English website

The products can be bought on the Sincere Garden website. The soaps cost 750 plus tax.

Photo from website.

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Bulldog Skincare for Men products are all suitable for vegans, according to the “About Us” section of their English-language website, which states “We never use ingredients from animal sources and are certified by Cruelty Free International.” Their products, including the Original Face Wash, Sensitive Face Wash, Oil Control Face Wash, and Original Shower Gel, are available for purchase on Amazon Japan. Although they sell in China, they have been reported to be the first international skincare brand to do so while maintaining their Leaping-Bunny certified cruelty-free status. Find details here (English). The full product line is shown here (Japanese).

Photos from website.

Bulldog Original Face Wash

Bulldog Sensitive Face Wash

Bulldog Oil Control Face Wash

Dr. Bronner’s certified vegan solid and liquid soaps can be found in some drugstores and shops as well as purchased online. They are certified cruelty-free and carry the “Leaping Bunny” seal.

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Genka Pure Soap is made by a company that often has booths at the Vegan Gourmet Festivals. They also make a “soft cleansing” liquid product, an essence, a skin lotion and a premium skin oil made out of plant-based ingredients. Information regarding the source of their ingredients is provided here (English). Their products can be bought on their website or at specialty shops like Loft.

Photo from website.

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The Konnyaku Shabon soap website’s about section states that their konjac jelly facial soaps are made of 100% plant-based ingredients and all handmade in Japan at a plant with 100 years of history. They can make 650 pieces of soap in one day.

The soaps are made with water from Niigata, where the plant is located, and the fragrances are from essential oils. Each shop sells soaps with different fragrances, or you can order them all from the website. Shops are located in Hakodate and Otaru in Hokkaido, Atami in Shizuoka, Yokohama (two stores), Kamakura (three stores, including the main Japan shop), Tokyo (two stores), Kawagoe in Saitama, Kobe, Kyoto (two shops), and Naha City in Okinawa. Shop addresses are here.

The soaps do not use petroleum preservatives, mineral oil, petroleum surfactants, synthetic fragrances, synthetic coloring agents, or petroleum ethanol. They do not use carryover components (components that do not need to be specified because they are at or below a certain amount). Children can also use these soaps.

They use persimmon-derived mannan polysaccharides as a mild scrub. Polysaccharides are also used to make sure the gel soaps don’t melt and keep the same form until the very end.

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Lush is a very popular store in Japan with more than 150 branches in the country. It does not do animal testing or buy from suppliers that do animal testing and all the products are vegan or vegetarian. The bags say “no animal testing” in Japanese. Check their “Cleansers & Scrubs” (Japanese) section for information about face washing products.

Lush sells plant-based soap as well as facial masks, shampoo, conditioner and many other products. They also sell charity products, with the purchase price, minus tax, going to various charitable organizations both inside and outside of Japan. The company’s website states that about 80% of their products are vegan.

Per Lush’s USA website, the company does use palm oil derivatives in some of its ingredients. The list of ingredients using palm oil derivatives is here.

At least in the Shibuya, Tokyo branch most, but seemingly not all, of the products were labeled vegan or vegetarian, so it might be a good idea to look up the products you want before you go. They appear to specialize in highly scented/fragranced products.

Per an article on plantbasednews.org as of March 16, 2019, Lush announced they will stop using eggs in their products and sell off the remaining stock of products containing this ingredient. However, some products will still use milk, honey, and lanolin.

First photo from website.

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Let’s move on to a Japanese company called Miyoshi.

Miyoshi is a company that makes, along with face soap, a variety of solid and liquid body, baby, hand, and kitchen soaps, as well as shampoo and conditioner. For information on these other products check our Kitchen Soap & Soap and Shampoo & Conditioner sections.

The soaps shown below as having animal ingredients were listed on the website as of January 2019 as having beef tallow (along with other Miyoshi soaps not pictured here), however, that information has since disappeared from the website.

Per a phone call as of January 2019, the only animal ingredient Miyoshi uses is beef tallow/gyuushi/牛脂. They only use beef tallow in some of their solid/固形 soaps or powder/粉 soaps, as well as other ingredients like palm oil. None of their liquid/液体 soaps contain any animal ingredients.

At that time, the Q&A section of their website (now gone) also stated that the liquid soaps were made of ingredients such as palm oil and rapeseed oil. However, a few of their liquid soaps did appear on their list of items containing beef tallow, so it seems their website had some inconsistencies.

Regarding animal testing, the Q&A section of their website said:

The situation regarding our animal experiments at this stage is as follows:

1 We do not conduct animal experiments on any products. There are no plans to conduct animal experiments on any products at this time.

2 We do not assign animal testing of any products to an external organization.

3 We have not received any reports from group companies that they are conducting animal experiments.

4 We do not investigate whether or not raw material manufacturers are conducting animal experiments on raw materials used by us. There are no plans to investigate at this time.

• Miyoshi Additive-Free Foam Facial Cleansing Soap/Miyoshi 無添加 泡の洗顔せっけん. Ingredients: Water, potash soap base.

Weakly alkaline soap makes it easy to gently remove old skin. A 180ml refill is also sold for this product (pictured on the right).

The back of the package says “Certified sustainable palm oil RSPO mixed” in English and “This is not a makeup remover/メイク落としではありません” and “About 98% of this bottle is made from environmentally friendly sugarcane-derived materials/このボトルの約98%は、環境に配慮したサトウキビ由来の原料から作られています” in Japanese.

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• Miyoshi Additive-Free High-Quality Foam Facial Cleansing Soap/Miyoshi 無添加 泡の洗顔せっけん 素材こだわり. Ingredients: Water, potash soap base.

High-quality soap made from macadamia and coconut oils moisturizes the skin.

A 180ml refill is also sold for this product (pictured on the right).

Miyoshi Additive-Free High-Quality Foam Cleansing Soap

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As of April 2019, the following Miyoshi face washing products are not vegan as they contain beef tallow per the Miyoshi website:

Miyoshi Additive Free Face Soap Bars (2 pc.)/Miyoshi 無添加洗顔せっけん 固形. Ingredient: Soap base.

This product is not vegan. The Miyoshi website previously stated the raw materials of this bar soap are palm kernel oil and beef tallow.

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Cosmetic Soap/化粧せっけん
・Additive-Free White Soap (1p, 3p)/無添加白いせっけん(1p、3p)

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Miyoshi Soap for the Whole Family 145 g × 3

The Perfect Anchor castille soap is vegan and cruelty-free, certified by PETA. It’s also certified organic by Oregon Tilth.  It comes in unscented, and also varieties scented with essential oil: lavender, peppermint, lemongrass & orange, black spruce blend, pink grapefruit, tea tree, and rosemary. They come in 236ml and 944ml bottles. Some of the scents have been spotted at Life supermarket.

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The Perfect Anchor Pure Castile Soap, Unscented. Ingredients: Water, coconut oil*, potassium hydroxide, olive oil*, sunflower seed oil*, tocopherol (vitamin E), hemp seed oil*, jojoba seed oil*, shea oil*, citric acid.

*Organic ingredients.

the perfect anchor unscented front of package

the perfect anchor unscented back of package

Rosetto Additive-Free Facial Cleansing Soap/ロゼット無添加石けん洗顔フォーム. Ingredients: Water (purified water) · Myristic acid K (vegetable soap) · Glycerin (humectant) · Stearic acid (skin protecting agent) · K stearate (vegetable soap) · K laurate (vegetable soap).

It’s been reported that this company says they don’t animal test, but they get ingredients from other companies and it is possible that those do animal testing, so the company can’t say they qualify as cruelty-free.

Gentle 100% plant-derived cream soap. Creamy bubbles protect the skin’s moisture while properly removing dirt and old skin. Leaves no tight feel on the skin after rinsing. No fragrance, mineral oil, preservatives, coloring agents, petroleum surfactants, or silicone are used. Recommended for those with delicate skin.

Photo from website.

rosetto facial cleansing foam

Rosetto Additive-Free Rice Bran Facial Cleansing Foam/ロゼット 無添加米ぬか洗顔フォーム. Ingredients: Water (purified water) · Myristic acid K (vegetable soap) · Glycerin (humectant) · Stearic acid (skin protective agent) · K stearate (vegetable soap) · K laurate (vegetable soap) · rice bran extract (moisturizer).

It’s been reported that this company says they don’t animal test, but they get ingredients from other companies and it is possible that those do animal testing, so the company can’t say they qualify as cruelty-free.

Moisturizing 100% plant-derived cream soap with rice bran extract. Creamy bubbles protect the skin’s moisture while properly removing dirt and old skin. Leaves no tight feel on the skin after rinsing. No fragrance, mineral oil, preservatives, coloring agents, petroleum surfactants, or silicone are used. Recommended for those with delicate skin.

Photo from website.

rosetto rice bran facial cleansing foam

Shabondama Sekken, meaning “soap bubble soap,” is a soap company whose website states that they do not animal test and they do not ask other organizations to do animal testing for them, because they are using ingredients that are proven to be safe on humans.

Some of their products are made by combining animal fats with vegetable fats and oils, and some with are made with vegetable fats and oils but no animal fats. The full list of products they make without animal fats, including bar soap, facial soap, laundry detergent, and toothpaste can be found here (Japanese). However it isn’t clearly stated that all of the products are vegan, as some may have other ingredients added in. Shabondama face soap products are shown below.

Shabondama Soap’s Olive Oil Facial Soap/シャボン玉 オリーブソープ(洗顔用)60g【泡立てネット付】 固形石けん. Ingredients: Soap base, olive oil.

Contains certified organic olive oil as a moisturizing ingredient. Gentle to the skin. Will remove makeup if you wash with soap twice. No fragrances, colorants, antioxidants, synthetic surfactants. High-quality vegetable oil is used. A lathering net is included. Photo from website.

shabondama olive soap for facial cleansing

• Shabondama Soap’s Moisturizing Facial Soap/無添加 シャボン玉 お肌をうるおす洗顔石けん also does not appear on their list of products that is made without animal fats.

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Yamato Cosmetics (Japanese website) has a vegan soap that is sold on the internet and at vegan festivals. It is also sold at a few stores in Nara and Osaka, which are listed on its website. It is a Nara-based product line that also includes two other products, a skin serum and a sheet mask, both of which are also vegan.

From autotranslate: “The grace of Yamato makes women beautiful and beautiful.
Yamato Cosmetic is richly blended with natural products such as mulberry leaves, lotus root, rapeseed oil, black rice, yuzu, gourd water, and agricultural products derived from Nara Prefecture’s foods and natural water.

Moreover, “Vegan Cosmetic” is being designed with a complete non-animal component that is a global trend.

We will deliver the gentleness of natural ingredients that lasts from the Yamato period to your skin.”

Yamato Cosmetics Persimmon Leaf Facial Soap/Yamato Cosmetics 柿の葉洗顔石けんIngredients: Soap base (contains potassium), rapeseed oil, sorbitol, persimmon leaf, glycerin, coconut fatty acid, bentonite, cocamidopropyl betain, water, persimmon leaf extract, lotus root extract, rice extract, persimmon tannin, pentasodium pentetate, tetrasodium etidronate, butylene glycol.

Formulated with moisturizing ingredients like persimmon leaf and rapeseed oil. No fragrance, color, parabens, or mineral oil are used.

The photo on the left shows special souvenir packaging that is sold in stores. Packaging may vary when the product is purchased online.

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ANIMAL-BASED FACE SOAP

Cow Brand Beauty Soap is made from beef tallow and also contains milk ingredients.

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Pelican Soap may contain beef tallow. The ‘Factory Information’ on the company’s English website lists the raw ingredients for their soaps as vegetable soap chips and “soap chips with cow fat and palm tree oil.” The photo below is also from their website.

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Reckitt Benckiser Muse Medicated Soap (ミューズ) is not vegan according to an email received from Reckitt Benckiser in late 2014.

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