How to be Cruelty-Free in Bangkok

I had an epiphany a month or two ago, that a lot of products are tested on animals. I can’t remember exactly what triggered it – but it was something I’d sort of half known but never really thought about as I got on with my daily life.

And I don’t mean putting body lotion on a rabbit’s cracked paws or brushing its teeth with toothpaste. I mean putting nail polish on a rabbit’s eyeballs, pumping its stomach full of toxic liquid. There’s some more info about animal testing here.

I googled, and began one at a time to put in the hair care products and makeup brands that I used to see if they were tested on animals or not. And, I found that basically they all were, in some way or another. Through a good few weeks of intense googling sessions it seems there are three types of brand:

1 – Those that test their products on animals or allow their products to be tested on animals (eg. if they sell in China).

2 – Those that use ingredients that are tested on animals to make their products.

3 – Those that use other forms of testing (after all it is the 21st Century, we have better and more reliable methods), or no ‘new’ chemicals or ingredients, only those that we already know are safe.

Unfortunately most of the products in Boots and Watsons or supermarkets like Tesco and Big C fall under category 1 or 2. That is to say, big brands like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Church & Dwight, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive.

I resolved to try and find more products from category 3, to substitute what I’d been using up until that point. I thought it would be really difficult, or really expensive in Bangkok to do so, but the great news is, it hasn’t been difficult at all. There isn’t much on the internet though about cruelty-free brands that are available in Bangkok though, so I thought I’d put together a list to help anyone that is looking for them.

But of course, use this a a place to start. Do your own research too – a lot of blogs I’ve seen tout things as being cruelty-free, when actually if you go on the brand’s own website you can clearly see their policy on testing on animals (e.g. Younique). But, its not always clear, ‘Cruelty-Free’ is a phrase that isn’t regulated by anyone, so companies can use it to mean whatever they want it to mean. I used PETA’s website, to search their database, and also Cruelty-Free International. There are apps like Bunny-Free too, which you can even scan a barcode and it will tell you (it’s not always 100% accurate though, I’ve found). These websites typically have types 1 and 3 on them, and if they don’t come up I’ve assumed they’re type 2. Another thing that I aim to do is email a few companies and ask them. If they have nothing to hide then there should be no reason not to reply.

This list is not exhaustive, at all. There may be more brands out there in BKK and the rest of Thailand, but this is what I’ve found, what I’ve bought, and what I like. Please, if you know of more and where they are available, leave a comment!

Sephora – EmQuartier/CentralWorld/and has other branches
Though it should be pointed out that Sephora itself is not cruelty-free. I think there are likely to be other cruelty-free make-up brands at Sephora too.

NyxNyx is owned by L’Oreal, but has the ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo, so doesn’t test.

Murad – but it’s a bit pricey for me.
Face cream, sunscreen.

John Master’s Organics
Shampoo, Conditioner, hair products. (Also has pet shampoo available at Lazada, but that’s mighty pricey unless there’s an offer on.)

Zuii Organics take the escalator next to Sephora a few floors up and you’ll see the shop/stand. Their products are organic too, though some things are rather pricey.
Make-up, make-up remover.

Terminal 21/CentralWorld
The Body Shop and plenty of other branches. Again I’ll point out that it’s owned by L’Oreal.
Make-up, make-up remover, face cream, body lotion, perfume, shower/bath gel, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm.

Boots – has branches everywhere.
Burt’s Beesowned by Clorox who test on animals, but Burt’s doesn’t.
Lip balm, hand cream, moisturiser
Kiss My Face
Toothpaste (fluoride free), soap, detangler (for kids), hand soap, shower gel/body wash, hand cream, body moisturiser, face cream, foot cream.

Aubrey Organics
Shampoo, conditioner, face cream.

Desert Essence
Shampoo, conditioner (they make toothpaste too but it’s not sold at Lazada).

Pipper StandardI don’t actually know if this is strictly cruelty-free and not tested on animals. However, the brand is ‘all natural’; the main ingredient is pineapples so it’s eco-friendly.
Laundry detergent, stain remover, fabric conditioner.

Radiance Wholefoods has a few other things that I haven’t included. Also has fresh produce, check them out!
Conscious LivingThey also have their own website where you can buy. Again, I don’t actually know if this strictly cruelty-free, however, the brand is ‘100% all natural’ and it looks to be eco-friendly.
All in one cleaner, laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash.
Shipping could become a little expensive, but Etsy is a wonderful website full of shops selling homemade things. Lots of organic stuff, though not necessarily guaranteed that the ingredients aren’t tested on animals. Also a great place to buy reusable menstrual pads. A lot of companies that test on animals also make disposable pads and tampons, so if you really can’t face giving them money and want to be environmentally friendly too, I recommend re-usables. Anyway, re-usables are much comfier and quite easy to deal with in Thailand. (Tip: Shipping is cheaper from Australia than America to Thailand.)

For now that’s all. I’ll add a post or update as and when I find any more brands.

Don’t forget to comment if you know anything I’ve missed :)

Sorry I’m late…


No, thank you.

My students had 2 exams, both around 30 minutes long and together worth 40% of their final grade. The exams were to be taken in class time, at the same time we usually have class… that is to say, at 9am on Thursday. There are 15 students in the class.

At 9am I had about 8 students. 9.05 I had 10 and at 9.15 I had 12. Because I am probably far too kind I waited and we started the exam at 9.20. Between then and 9.30 the total number of students present rose to 14. The 2 last students said ‘sorry I’m late’ and began their tests.

At 9.43am, in walks the final student. ‘Sorry I’m late.’ The first exam will finish at 9.50.

Another class. Same 2 exams. Class starts at 1pm.  Class always starts at 1pm. At 1.10 I have 16 out of 35 students. The last 4 students come at 2.20 pm. That’s an hour and twenty minutes late for an hour long exam. They looked incredibly baffled when I said they had missed it.

I’m not going to pretend that I was never late at university level. In fact I remember having a 2 hour Spanish exam unusually on a Saturday morning and jumping out of bed just as it started. But the thing that gets me is…. These are their FINALS. Of course, the majority of my students turned up on time, or a few minutes late, and studied hard. But with every class the pattern of at least one student being more than half an hour late or over an hour late has repeated.

Am I… Is this… just… What?!

You know what the icing on the cake is? I had to reschedule the exam for the 4 students that came at 2.20 pm.

There’s more.

I asked them what time they could do. They said 1 pm. They came at about 2 pm, smiling sweetly.


Where I live

I’ve found myself watching lots of ‘My apartment tour’ videos on YouTube from people in various countries. It’s interesting to consider how different people live when they move abroad, I suppose. I figured people might be interested in where I live, too.

And so, without further adieu, here is a description accompanied by a few pictures, of my lovely apartment in Bangkok for you to feast your eyes on.

I live about a ten minute bus ride from the nearest MRT stop (subway), and in the north of the city, near to Nonthaburi, the next province. This is undoubtedly the reason why my apartment is a little cheaper than what I’ve found nearer the BTS or MRT or on Sukhumvit road. I pay 6,500 baht a month. I have a bedroom, a living room with balcony, and a bathroom. It’s quite a new building too, quiet and clean and I really like living here!

*Messy apartment alert*… Only downside is there’s not quite enough storage…



I bought the sofa and fridge myself, though they weren’t expensive at all. Some apartments in the past have asked me to rent the fridge/TV for 500-1000 baht a month which I have always thought was a little crazy! I was given the microwave and TV for free courtesy of my other half (who doesn’t live with me).


No, I don’t have a kitchen. I’ve never had a kitchen while I’ve been living in Bangkok. Food stalls are everywhere outside, and very cheap too. Nearly every supermarket and shopping mall also has a food court where the food isn’t expensive. There is also a restaurant in the apartment building itself which again, isn’t pricey, so I have quite a lot of options. I’ve recently been perfecting the art of microwave cooking too… though so far I’ve managed to explode around 4 eggs while trying to poach them. I recommend scrambled eggs as a far better option for those who would like to try it.

The view from the balcony.

The view from the balcony.

Oh, another thing that may be different in other countries, there’s a main door at the front of the building where I have a keycard to get in (and then once I go up in the lift I have keys to my door), and there’s also a reception where I pay my rent or tell them when my lightbulb’s blown etc. It’s quite convenient.

Well, I hope you liked my little tour. :)


Food I miss from England right now that I can’t get in Bangkok:

Salt and vinegar crisps
Cheese and onion crisps
Chish and fips (aka fish and chips), specifically scampi and chips and battered sausage and chips
Apple crumble made with Bramley apples, and eaten with custard
Royal icing on a good cake
Rich tea biscuits
Victoria sponge cake
Eton mess with strawberries and raspberries
Fresh ravioli/tortelloni you can (could?) buy 2 for £2.50
Fish finger sandwiches with mayonnaise
My mum’s ‘Budget Beef Wellington’ and her roast chicken and stuffing pie
Swede and potato mash
Mr Kiplings Cherry Bakewells
Scotch eggs

Hmmm……….. *stomach rumble*

What food would you miss/do you miss most?

How to be… cheerful

Pretty necklaces-pola delicious cakes-pola

I’ve been feeling a little down since coming back from my Russian adventure. I think there are always times in life where I feel a little lost, but I have to remember that it’s not just me, and I’ve been through times like this before and come out fine the other side. I feel a little homesick, I suppose, I feel like I’m a bit out of touch with what’s going on in England and my family, and that saddens me. Plus, I’m without a full-time job right now, and it’s scary not knowing what will happen in the future, and feeling out of control with applications. But – let it be, right? I can’t control what I can’t control.

What better to cheer me up than cake, and new necklaces? Haha ;)

Words of encouragement appreciated! :)

A bit of Lumpini

Despite the heat, Bangkok is actually quite gloomy most of the time! Here are a couple of pics from my lunch break :)

There are huge Monitor lizards in this park, one day I will actually have my camera with me when I see one….

Everyday Life

Silom Road. A busy area with a drastic juxtaposition of rich and poor; It’s in the business district, where ‘High-So’ people work and also home to Patpong; Go-Go bars and Ping-Pong shows. The shadows of the looming concrete BTS tracks cannot easily be avoided, either.

For more information about the challenge, click here.

(No) Banana Man

My walk to work in the morning used to take me round the corner or Sukumvit and Thong Lor. Everyday (ok well nearly everyday) I would walk past breakfast- stalls piled high with fried rice, fried noodles, rice porridge and other dishes, all ready to be put in a white box or a plastic bag and taken away. Busy people jostled about, their money ready, only to pay and then become the slowest walker ever as they continued up the street, me following closely behind trying to overtake on the right, no on the left, no ok the right… desperate to overtake somehow.

In amongst all this were two of my favourite sellers of breakfast. One was a lady who sold toast. Oh.. but not just any toast. This was delicious barbecued bread. Once the bread had been sufficiently browned over hot coals, it was covered in margarine and then dusted with sugar, or drenched in sweetened condensed milk. Cut up into triangular squares, I would take the sweet sticky bready mess and devour it later on.

Next to her was another barbecue. This guy was selling little banana leaf parcels, neatly held together with a cocktail stick at each end. One day I bravely asked for two, ‘ow sorng na ka’ and squirrelled them to work to find out what they were. To my delight, inside one was sticky rice and something sweet, mushy and lavender coloured (I later found out this was taro). To my disgust, I bit into the other one and… banana.

I.Hate.Banana. With a passion. Ewww. Yuck. Gross. Euuuuuurgh. I mean really.

So, from then on, in my bid to avoid banana poisoning and get the ones I liked, (and because I can be damn determined when I want to be) I attempted.. Wait for it.. I attempted to speak Thai. ‘Mai chop gluaay’ – I don’t like banana. Simple, easy. I wouldn’t get the banana ones again.

Simple… pssht. Every time I attempted the phrase the man would look at me blankly, and put a few parcels in a bag. Every time I would get one banana, one taro… Of course ‘mai’ means a bazillion different things if you change your tone slightly, and ‘gluaay’ well who knows.

Everyday I would try again, say it a different way, draw out ‘gluaaaaaay’, say ‘mai’ high pitched, say ‘mai’ low pitched. No avail. I tried English – ‘No banana’ – and…recognition! ‘Banana?’ he would say, and when I got it back to the office – two banana parcels.

A few months ago I changed jobs, turning my morning walk round the corner to a 25 minute train ride. I also, as it happens, began to officially learn Thai language. My breakfast, however, became something from 7Eleven, or a pastry from a self service bakery. Talk about boring.

This morning I left an hour early for work as I had to go to the bank near my apartment (and I never know how long things will take when they involve me speaking Thai). As I walked back, I saw ‘Banana Man’ as I had since affectionately called him, standing in his usual spot, blue apron on, tongs in hand, midway through rotating all the little parcels so they were evenly and perfectly cooked. I stopped in front of him, smiled, and said ‘No banana’, in English, wondering what the outcome would be.

He smiled back at me. ‘Banana?’ oh no not this again. ‘No, no banana’ I repeated. Confusion. He screwed his face up. Then, out of nowhere, ‘No banana? Uhhh! Mai chop gluaay’, he said. ‘You no like banana. You like taro’.

Cue jaw drop.

Weekly photo challenge – Urban

I decided to look up. It’s funny how quickly you become accustomed to the mass of cables and wires that are stretched everywhere in Bangkok. When one breaks or needs replacing, a long, skinny, bamboo ladder is put up, sometimes in the middle of the road, while an often unaccompanied repair man shimmies up it.

For me, this photo is about urban necessity and nature – either the tree grew around the cables… or the cables grew around the tree!