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.

As of May 1, 2021, China implemented changes to its laws meaning, according to Ethical Elephant, “some cosmetics may qualify to be exempt from their animal testing requirements.” Check the Ethical Elephant blog here for more detailed info and an easy-to understand chart in English.

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.


‘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 the ‘ala Leahua website.


• Awake is a collaboration brand with the US-based Tarte. It’s owned by Kose, which is not cruelty-free. The Brand Concept section of the previous Japanese Awake website stated that 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.

As of April 2022, the Maison Kose (official brand site of Kose) website states that the product line is being discontinued when stock runs out.

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: 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 online on the Sincere Garden website or from iHerb.

Photo from website.

auromere herbal soap bar.jpg

The Body Shop has over 100 stores across Japan. They are a 100% vegetarian, UK company and were the first ever company to receive Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification. They are cruelty-free but not all products are vegan- around half of all the products they make are, according to their UK website. Vegan products are usually not clearly labeled. However, a list of their vegan products  (English-language link) can be found on their UK website. According to Plant Based News (English-language link), they will go 100% vegan by the end of 2023. 

You can check the face cleansing products that the Japan shops carry here, but be sure to check that they’re vegan before purchasing.

Photo from The Body Shop’s website.

 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 iHerb and 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.

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.

20190502_190233 (2)

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.

genka soap.png

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.


Lush is a very popular store in Japan with more than 70 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 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.

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.

First photo from website.


20190131_155338 - Copy


・Miyoshi is a Japanese soap company that also makes shampoos, conditioners, and other products. The list of their products containing beef tallow is here (Japanese). It states that for items not on the list whose main ingredient is “soap,” it is plant-derived (上記商品以外で“せっけん”が主原料の商品は植物由来の原料になります) and that their products use palm oil. Per a phone call as of January 2019, the only animal ingredient Miyoshi uses is beef tallow/gyuushi/牛脂.

Their animal testing policy, detailed on the same page, states (from autotranslate):

“Q Do you carry out animal experiments?
(1) We do not carry out animal experiments on all products. At this time, there are no plans to do so in the future.
(2) We do not outsource animal testing of all products to external organizations.
(3) We have not received any reports from group companies that we are conducting animal experiments.
(4) We do not investigate whether the raw material manufacturer is conducting animal experiments on the raw materials used by us. There are no plans to investigate further 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.

20190406_183428 (5).jpg

• 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

20190406_183428 (6).jpg

As of April 2019, the following Miyoshi product was not vegan as it contained beef tallow per the Miyoshi website. However, as of December 2020, it is no longer viewable on the list of products that contain beef tallow or on the Miyoshi website, so may have been discontinued:

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.


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)

20190607_201513 (2)

・Soap for the Whole Family (108 g × 3, 145 g × 3)/家族のせっけん(108g×3、145g×3)is not vegan because it’s made with beef tallow, per the Miyoshi website Q&A (Japanese).

20190414_184414 (2)

Miyoshi Soap for the Whole Family 145 g × 3

The Perfect Anchor castille soap is vegan and cruelty-free, certified by PETA. It’s a Japanese brand that’s made in the United States and is 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.

20200105_154657 (2)

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 Japanese soap company whose website (Japanese) states that their products are not animal tested in product development or research safely tests 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 from the list are vegan, as some may have other ingredients added in. Let’s look at a few products from the list. 

Shabondama Sekken 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 simple 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 Sekken Additive-Free Facial Soap/シャボン玉 無添加フェイシャルソープ. Uses natural fats and oils such as olive oil. Simple makeup can be removed by washing twice. A refill is available.

Photo from website.

• 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 does not appear on their list of products that is made without animal fats.

20190502_190204 (2)

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.



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

20190216_165335 (2) (1)

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.


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

20190216_165341 (2) (1).jpg

This post contains some affiliate links, and if you follow one of those links and then purchase a product you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your kind support!