Cruelty-Free Blog

Tips on switching to cruelty-free

Switching to cruelty-free in South Africa can be a bit of a challenge…

however, knowing how and where to start can be a huge help! Read on to learn how I started my transition to cruelty-free and gain some tips on how you can begin your own journey.

2 years ago I had my skincare, beauty and cosmetic products sorted… meaning I knew what worked for my skin, what looked good and what didn’t. The problem was that ALL the items I was using were tested on animals or sold in countries where testing on animals is required by law. Yip, you read correctly…. all of them. I had no idea! I sorta just assumed that they didn’t because they were expensive, flashy brands with beautiful well known models endorsing them. Sigh.

When I made my resolution to go cruelty-free, I thought the transition would be easy, but it turned out to be overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. Did I throw out my collection of sparkly packaged beauty products and then spend a trillion million Rand creating a whole new collection for myself? NOT an option.

So these are my tips for going cruelty-free:

1. Educate yourself

Sounds cheesy, but knowledge is power! Find a resource that you trust (maybe this one?) to help you understand which brands are cruelty free and which are not.

Many products have ‘not tested on animals’ or a bunny logo printed on their packaging – this does not necessarily mean that they are certified! The only legit logos are Beauty Without Cruelty SA, Leaping Bunny, Choose Cruelty-Free and PETA. But even with these trusted logos be critical, cautious and curios as some of the four mentioned certified cruelty-free companies may not share your ethics. I personally do extra research on all PETA certified brands as PETA do not carry out the same extensive background checks as the other organisations. However, I also use products whose parent companies are not cruelty-free which is misaligned with the ethics of Beauty Without Cruelty SA and maybe yours (this blog will always state if a parent company is not cruelty-free).

2.  One out – One in

As you finish an existing product replace it with a new cruelty-free one. Don’t think you are a bad person because you still own non cruelty-free products, that’s too much pressure! Taking it slow will make the transition a lot less frustrating and has the added bonus of being good for the wallet.

3. Test new products

This mainly applies to make-up, but can also apply to lotions, lip balms and more. Testing new products before buying them will ease the process of going cruelty-free as it leads to buying products which you know work for you!

Be honest with the shopping assistant, say you are doing an overhaul of your beauty products to go cruelty-free and you are hoping to try before you buy to ensure you spend your money on the right products for your skin. In some cases they have mini samples available, in others they might have open samples to try in store or with high end cosmetics the assistant will sit you down and apply the make-up to you. You can then wear the product all day and if you love it go back and buy it or shop online if you can’t face the mall again!

5. Be vigilant

When repurchasing do a quick search on the brand to ensure that it is still cruelty-free. Do this each and every time you are about to buy it.

Going cruelty-free is a process and can be frustrating. For example at the end of last year I found a Leaping Bunny certified shampoo and conditioner which I loved, however as 2018 rolled in the brand got taken off the list. Irritating beyond! Which leads me to my next point…

4. Get some support

Having different support systems has been really helpful as it keeps me inspired and motivated. There are amazing resources out there! From blogs and websites, to YouTube channels, Instagram, Facebook groups and certified organisations (mentioned above). Although the majority of these are international and not geared toward the South African market, they are still amazingly helpful and inspiring. Find what works for you!

5. A step in the right direction is a good direction

Choosing to be more conscious and making kinder choices is a good thing.

Don’t let yourself be disheartened because you have bought a product which meets the standards of PETA but not other organisations. Don’t feel there is no point in choosing cruelty-free beauty products because you are not a vegetarian or because you have to use a medicated cream or whatever the case is! As long as your decisions are informed decisions, do what you feel comfortable doing and buy what you feel comfortable supporting. There is no right way to go about being kinder.

6. Have Fun

Try new brands, new lipstick shades, walk out of the cosmetics department looking like you are about to head to a Matric dance because you haven’t been able to stop testing cruelty-free foundations, bronzers, highlighters and mascaras! Post your  purchases and new looks on Instagram (and tell me about it! @crueltyfreefrances #crueltyfreefrances). This should be a fun venture, enjoy the process!

Thanks for reading and good luck on your cruelty-free journey!


  • Nicole


    I made the transition to cruelty free about 3 years ago. And it is still an on going struggling. I did endless research on what products to buy and I learnt a lot. It became frustrating because the information that was out there was majority for everywhere but South Africa. And actually finding the products that were cruelty free was another story. Standing in shops looking for products, doing research on them, downloading the lists off Peta.

    But honestly it has all been worth it. I love knowing that the products I use and that I use in my home have not been tested on animals is a reward all on it’s own.

    Thank you for your blog and I love knowing that there are more and more people caring and taking a stand.

    Thank you.

    • Frances

      Hi Nicole
      Thank you for your comment and WELL DONE for being cruelty-free for 3 years! Yes, I also find it a struggle but once my eyes were opened to the horrors of animal testing in the beauty industry I couldn’t go back to my old purchasing behavior. I am so happy that you like my blog and I hope we can use it as a platform to all help each other on our journeys to cruelty-free beauty 🙂

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