Cruelty-Free Brands in South Africa 2018

Ignorance is bliss. Buying new makeup that is hot at the moment. Spending thousands on skincare that you believe will get rid of all of your skin problems. All to look your best, be it for an event, the gram or for yourself.

But did you ever stop and wonder where your makeup and skincare products are made? How were they made? What ingredients are used?


I started asking these questions towards the end of 2016. I was in second year at university. I was working part-time for a beauty brand. I had become intrigued by the beauty industry. Before that job, I didn’t know much about makeup and skincare. I knew the basics, but when I actually worked in that industry I had to learn more about every product. I started watching makeup tutorials which led to me exploring new makeup looks and sorting out my skincare routine.

After deciding to become an eco-blogger, I questioned everything. I wondered about cosmetics and how environmentally friendly they are. So, I decided to do some research about cosmetics and the effects they have on the environment. The phrase ‘animal testing’ came up almost everywhere. I read more about animal testing and I was in shock. I could not believe how many brands test on animals (and worse, what they do).

Now, I know this might get a little upsetting but I promise this post has a happy ending.

What Is Animal Testing?

Animal testing is the method used by companies to test their produts on animals before distributing them to the public. So, if a makeup brand creates a new lipstick range, they will first test every lipstick on animals in their laboratories. The animals that get tested on vary from aquatic to domestic to wild. However, the most commonly used animals by beauty brands are cats, dogs, rats, hamsters, rabbits and sometimes even monkeys.


These procedures are done to test whether or not the product would be harmful to humans (crazy, right?). Products are smeared onto the animal’s face, force fed or inhaled by the animal. Sometimes an animal dies from the testing or suffers from other reactions (loss of eyesight, rabidness, disease).


Which Beauty Brands Test On Animals?

Now, this is the tricky part of animal testing. It is actually banned in many countries, including the EU and Norway. Unfortunately, it is not banned in South Africa. There is speculation that it would be banned in South Africa but there is no indication as to when that will happen. We have no idea if animal testing is done is secret. But, for now all you have to know is that most of the animal testing is done in China.

For some reason there is a law in China that requires all cosmetics to be tested on animals. If a beauty brand sells in China, they test on animals. Ultimately, every makeup and skincare brand that sells in China enforces animal testing. This includes the beauty giants L’Oreal and Estee Lauder.


I have had some debates with beauty gurus who claim that no animal testing is done in South Africa, and that brands like MAC and Rimmel are cruelty-free as long as they are sold in South Africa. I understood where they were coming from. In the UK everything is cruelty-free. So, if you buy MAC products in the UK you are guilt-free. I could understand why they tried to enforce this idea but animal testing is not banned in South Africa (yet).  We don’t know what is made in South Africa and what is imported from China. Anything could have been tested on animals, from the whole product itself to certain ingredients. So, is it really that safe to buy from these brands?

One final point for this section: if the goal is to end animal testing globally, then why still support brands who do it, no matter where it is sold and tested?

Isn’t It Ironic?

I got criticised from a few other environmental activists about this topic. ‘You’re not a vegan so why are you even fighting against animal testing?’ they asked.

And again, I stepped back and saw things from their perspective. Here is this girl, who claims to be an environmentalist and an animal lover. Yet, she still eats chicken and seafood.

Fair point, but (again) no one is perfect. There is so much controversy about the relationship between veganism and environmentalism, but I will save that for another post. For now, I am doing my part as an environmentalist, to fight against animal testing in an rapidly growing industry.

Why Should We Change?

It’s simple: animals don”t use these products. Cosmetics are meant for humans. How harmful can a product be that a company has to first test it on an animal before real humans can use it?


Which Brands are Cruelty-Free?

I have compiled a list of cruelty-free makeup, skincare and haircare brands that are available in South Africa. This list is subject to change. Besides online brands, most are available in stores like Clicks and Dischem. Unfortunately, majority of the high end brands in South Africa are not cruelty-free. If you can’t find a particular brand on the list it’s because they still sell in China where animal testing is permitted.

Cruelty-Free Beauty Brands Available in South Africa:

  • Aesop
  • African Extracts
  • African Indigenous
  • Africa Organics
  • Africology
  • Afriderm
  • Aloe Unique
  • Apostrophe Bath & Body
  • Ardell
  • Back To Nature
  • Badger Balm
  • Batiste
  • Beaucience
  • Beauty_Treats
  • Bee Pure
  • Biomedical Emporium
  • Body Treats
  • Catrice
  • Charlotte Rhys
  • Charwhite
  • Cherish Beauty
  • Cherubs
  • Clicks Beauty
  • Davines
  • Decleor
  • Dermalogica
  • Dischem Beauty
  • Down to Earth
  • Dr Hauschka
  • Dr Organic
  • Earthsap
  • Eco Diva
  • Eco Styler
  • Ecologic Skincare
  • Emchantrix
  • Environ
  • Esse
  • Essence Cosmetics
  • Eylure
  • Gaia Organics
  • Good Stuff
  • GOSH
  • HASK
  • Hey Gorgeous
  • Himalaya
  • Inglot
  • Juice Beauty
  • Kevin Murphy
  • LA Girl
  • Lee Strafford
  • Lulu & Marula
  • LUSH
  • Marc Anthony
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty
  • Mavala
  • Mbiri Natural Skincare
  • Michelle Ori
  • Molton Brown
  • Morgan Taylor
  • Moroccan Oil
  • Natraloe
  • Nimue Skin
  • Neostrata
  • Noughty Haircare
  • NYX Cosmetics
  • OGX Beauty
  • Oh – Lief
  • Oh So Heavenly
  • Otiphi
  • Palladio
  • Palmer’s
  • Paul Mitchell
  • Physician’s Formula
  • Pure Beginnings
  • Pure Simple
  • Real Techniques
  • Reflectocil
  • RegimA
  • Ren Skincare
  • Shea Moisture
  • Simply Bee
  • Skin Medica
  • Smashbox
  • Smudge
  • Sorbet
  • Swiitch Beauty
  • The Balm
  • The Body Shop
  • Urban Decay
  • Vichy
  • Woolworths Beauty
  • Young Solution

Below is a list of international beauty brands that are available online. There are more international cruelty-free brands, however, this list shows the most popular brands that are bought by South Africans. This list is subject to change.

Cruelty-Free International Brands Available Online:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills
  • Australis
  • Bare Minerals
  • BECCA Cosmetics
  • BH Cosmetics
  • ColourPop
  • e.l.f. Cosmetics
  • Fenty Beauty
  • Glossier
  • Hard Candy
  • Hourglass
  • Huda Beauty
  • IT Cosmetics
  • Kat Von D Beauty
  • KKW Beauty
  • Kylie Cosmetics
  • Makeup Geek
  • Mecca Cosmetica
  • Morphe
  • Nude by Nature
  • Tarte
  • The Ordinary
  • Too Faced
  • Zoeva

What Now?

If you realised that almost everything you own is not cruelty-free, don’t freak out! Don’t start throwing out everything! I wanted to do the same thing when I found out that 90% of my makeup and skincare was not cruelty-feee. I used to use Garnier, Clinique, Revlon, Avon, Rimmel and Estee Lauder.

I felt ashamed. Don’t get me wrong, these products worked well but my guilt was too much to bear. So, I either used the products until they were finished (this was easy to do with my skincare products) or I donated them (mostly makeup). The last thing I wanted to do was dispose them irresponsibly.

Once I was clear of those products, I went out and tested skincare products until I found the best range for myself. Now my entire skincare, makeup and haircare collection is cruelty-free. Some of the brands I use now are The Body Shop, LUSH Cosmetics, Wet n Wild and Sorbet. I will share more about my favourtie cruelty-free products in the future.

Will you make the change?



Facebook |Instagram |Pinterest

6 replies »

  1. Looking very carefully through the make up counter at Clicks this has really started to make me thinking. Once you really looking carefully one starts to notice how much of the cosmetics is made in China and not South Africa or London like most woman would want to believe. But I fail to understand how a product like Wet and Wild (as shown above) can by any means truly be cruelty free when made in China. Nothing made in China is regulated properly and often what is acceptable in China is definitely not something I would ever consider using. This goes far beyond just cruelty to our animals but cruelty to ourselves. We need to be very careful what we put on our skin, on our eyes, our lips because ultimately this all ends up in our systems. No wonder we are a sick nation.


Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s