5 of the best cruelty-free face scrubs

5 of the best cruelty-free face scrubs

I love a good face scrub – it’s a sure way to rid your skin of dead skin cells that leave your complexion looking dull and lacklustre, while also helping your moisturiser do it’s job even better.

I usually opt for chemical exfoliants that make use of enzymes (think glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc) to break down the ‘glue’ that binds your skin cells together, helping to slough away dead skin cells quicker and more effectively (and also with less irritation, making them the better option for sensitive skins).

However, I’ve recently stumbled upon a slew of (mostly) natural and organic facial scrubs that leave my skin feeling soft, smooth and looking radiant – without harming any animals in the process!


Tous Les Jours Le Exfoliating Beads (R55) These little jojoba beads are a real novelty to use: simply pour a small amount into the palm of your hand, then add a squeeze of your usual cleanser (though I prefer to stick to the Tous Les Jours Cleanser), before massaging into your skin using circular beads. The beads are surprisingly gentle and don’t leave my skin red or raw. You can also rest assured that these beads are 100% natural – they’re derived from the jojoba shrub, which produces large seeds. Jojoba wax is extracted from these seeds, and this wax – in it’s fully hydrogenated form – results in what is known as jojoba beads. Jojoba beads gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin, and their similarity to sebum means that they’re great for those with oily skin types. They’re also biodegradable – another big plus! Get them here.

Esse Cocoa Exfoliator This scrummy, chocolatey scrub is a must for chocoholics out there. It contains a host of hydrating oils, including sesame seed oil, coconut oil and marula seed oil, and is really gentle on the skin. Mix with a little water before massaging into your skin – the amount you add depends on your personal preference; less water will result in a grittier scrub. It’s an absolute luxury to use, and is suitable for all skin types.

LUSH Ocean Salt This scrub is a bit like Marmite – you either love it, or you hate it. When I first discovered it in the hallowed aisles of my local LUSH store, I wondered why on earth anyone would ever even consider scrubbing their face with sea salt. But then Estee from Essie Button included it in several YouTube videos and it became impossible to resist the lure of Ocean Salt… It smells like a margarita and consists of salt granules suspended in a creamy coconut oil and avocado butter base. It also contains fresh organic lime extracted in vodka, which seemed a bit strange to me too – especially since we’re cautioned against alcohol’s drying effects on the skin! But according to the LUSH employee that helped me, it contains only the teeniest trace of vodka, which supposedly helps to clear up blackheads and congestion. I suffer from lots of blackheads and I know that my skin is pretty hardy, so I was happy to give it a bash (and ended up loving it), but I don’t recommend that anyone with sensitive skin try this scrub. Ocean Salt can be used on both the face and body, and although I do use it on my face, I’ve found that it works a treat on getting rid of pesky spots on my back – and preventing ingrown hairs along my bikini line. (TIP: be sensible and avoid using this scrub for a couple of days after a shave or wax, and don’t go anywhere near an open cut or wound with this stuff – it stings like a mother trucker! You’ve been warned!) In a nutshell? A definite win for me – it leaves my skin feeling baby-soft and smooth, but I’d definitely recommend that you test it in store to try and gauge whether it’s for you.

Naturals Beauty Essential Collection Face Exfoliator (R90) I’m having a serious love affair with this local brand lately; first their Hydrating Mask, then their indulgent Night Cream, and now their Face Exfoliator. It makes use of apricot kernels to gently exfoliate your skin, while cucumber and Sutherlandia extracts leave your skin looking noticeably more radiant and rejuvenated. It also contains avocado oil to soften and moisturise your skin. I like that my skin feels like it’s getting a really good scrub, but it doesn’t leave my skin looking red or raw – regardless of how ‘into’ it I get (I’m sure I’ve mentioned just how much I looooove scrubbing my face before, right? It’s a bit of an addiction…) I also love the affordable price point, and the fact that a bottle of this exfoliator lasts forever. Get yours here.

Smittens Facial Cleansing Mitten (R100 at The Beautiful Store) Ok, so this little guy doesn’t count as a traditional exfoliator, but it works a treat to remove dead skin cells and it’s a great substitute for harsh scrubs if you’re prone to sensitivity. In fact, it can replace your usual cleanser and makeup remover altogether, and even removes waterproof mascara! I didn’t believe these claims at first, but then I tried it and it really does work; every last trace of liquid liner and waterproof mascara gone in a couple of swipes. Smittens are basically made of a special fabric woven from teeny-tiny fibres that are able to penetrate the finest, microscopic particles of oil, dirt and bacteria (whereas the usual, rounded threads of your cotton face cloth simply push any dirt or bacteria around on the surface of your skin. Ewww!) Unlike a regular face cloth, the tiny, wedge-shaped fibres of your Smitten pull particles of oil, dirt, and bacteria into the internal structure of the cloth, away from your skin for a deep-cleansing effect that also gets rid of any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Smittens can be used daily with just a little warm water, but I like to use my usual cleanser with my Smitten. (Remember to wash your Smitten after every use – you can give it a quick wash using a little hand or face wash, then leave it to air dry. Each mitten last for about 3 to 6 months before it needs to be replaced). Get yours here.

All of the products mentioned in this post are proudly South African and they’re all bunny-friendly! I’m slowly starting to make the switch to cruelty-free beauty products, so you’ll see that reflected more and more in my posts going forward… the fact that animal-testing is still happening out there is beyond me, and I’d like to do my part in living a kinder, more mindful life. So if you have any suggestions for cruelty-free beauty and makeup brands that you think I should check out, let me know!