Saturday 29 November 2014

Cruelty-Free Christmas Gift Ideas

Cruelty-Free Christmas Gift Ideas

It's time for Christmas shopping! I love choosing presents for my family and friends so here are a few gift ideas for you, all from cruelty-free brands.

M&S Cranberry Gorgeous Gift Box - £10 (full price £20) 
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans. Cranberry scented toiletries galore!

Nails Inc Alexa Chung Hearts Nails Inc Collection - £45 
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans. 
Lust-worthy for any girl who has a love for Alexa Chung and sparkly nails.

Illamasqua Freak Eau De Parfum - £59
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans. The coveted luxury perfume.

Real Techniques Sam's Picks - £20 (full price £30) 
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans. Perfect for beauty beginners and experts alike, this set also has an exclusive crease brush.

Lush Deck The Halls - £49.95 
Suitable for vegetarians. 
Twelve pink and sparkly Lush products for 'grown up snow fairies'.

Too Faced Matte Eye Shadow Collection - £26 
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans. 
A sophisticated shadow collection perfect for dark and stormy winter nights.

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Colour Collection - £65 
Suitable for vegetarians. An all natural make-up gift set for green beauty lovers.

Organic Surge Beauty Bloggers Favourites Bundle - £26.25 
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans. 
A body, face and hair beauty bundle with a fantastic name.

Lush The Nightingale - £82.50 
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans
Twenty Lush bath bombs, melts and bubble bars to last all through winter.

Are you buying any cruelty-free presents this year? If so let me know your favourites :)

Thursday 27 November 2014

Four Cruelty-Free Highstreet Shops

Lush shops are packed this time of year and with good reason. Their bath bombs and treats make cold winter evenings so much more enjoyable and I find myself saving so many Lush haul posts to my Bloglovin favourites. They also carry Gorilla Perfumes, a range I love as cruelty-free perfume can be so hard to find. 

Lush is also really well known for their ethos of fighting animal testing, with the Lush Prize awarding funds every year to help advance research for alternatives. All their products are vegetarian with many vegan options clearly marked. Definitely worth a trip!

M&S' own brand beauty range is all leaping bunny approved. The packaging isn't marked as to what's suitable for vegetarians and vegans, but they have been including it on new products on their website. 

I'll certainly be doing some Christmas shopping here as they have lovely gift sets. So far I've completely fallen in love with one of their hand and body moisturisers, and have my eye on a fair few things from the Autograph make-up range that will hopefully be under the Christmas tree.

All of Superdrug's own brand is certified by the leaping bunny and labelled as suitable for vegetarians or vegans. Superdrug are owned by A.S. Watson, a parent company that test but Superdrug remain separate and cruelty-free. 

I'm currently loving their B. beauty range of skincare and make-up. Recently I've blogged about their moisturisers, face cleansers, and my favourite micellar water. I always shop at Superdrug for all my essentials like razors, toothpaste and toiletries, happy in the knowledge that it's all cruelty-free.

The Body Shop is also leaping bunny approved and all their products are suitable for vegetarians. The Body Shop are owned by L'oreal, worth knowing if you don't shop from brands with parent companies that test. 

Infamous for their body butters, The Body Shop also sell make-up, synthetic brushes and a vegan nail polish line. They have a big range of traditional and fruity perfumes and I really like their little eau de toilettes. Also great for Christmas gifts with lots of bundles made up for you ready to go.

What's your favourite highstreet shop for beauty? Where do you buy cruelty-free?

Saturday 22 November 2014

Healthy Glossy Hair | Dr Organic Restorative Treatment Conditioner

Healthy Glossy Hair | Dr Organic Restorative Treatment Conditioner Review

Healthy Glossy Hair | Dr Organic Restorative Treatment Conditioner Review. Cruelty-Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Cruelty-free.

Before I bought this treatment my hair was in such a state. It was dry, damaged, frizzy and lacking any sort of life to it. Having tried making my own hair masks at home, which turned out to be a disaster and made the problem worse, I was actually thinking about cutting off a big chunk of my hair because I considered it might be beyond repair.

From the first time I used this conditioner I saw such a difference to my hair. Sleeker, with less frizz, soft and shiny too. The instructions are to leave the treatment on for five minutes, but as my hair was so in need of saving I leave it on overnight as a mask and wash it off in the morning. Using it once a week, paired with the Dr Organic rose otto shampoo and conditioner, my hair is in so much better condition now.

The conditioner is thick and creamy, and has a rich clove smell that I love. It's also free from parabens and SLS if you're looking for something a bit more natural and nourishing.
After using the whole tub, I love how glossy and soft my hair is now. I'm so happy that I got to keep my long hair and it's in better condition than ever. If your hair is damaged, or just in need of a little TLC, this is the hair mask for you.

Do you use a hair mask? What's your favourite hair treat?

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Facing The Day

I have a real love for face wash. I currently have two on the go and I find that nothing beats that feeling of having a fresh, clean face to wake me up in the morning. Like all of Superdrug's own brand, these are leaping bunny approved.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

This face wash has a very strong lemony scent, perfect if you're a lover of citrus. It's very refreshing on a dark winter's morning! The wash has a mix of tea tree, lemon oils and witch hazel which help to balance my combination skin without stripping it. If I have any spots threatening to come out I've found using this wash helps to clear them up quicker than usual. It's a lovely every day wash, particularly good if you're prone to breakouts.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

I really love this wash as it's unbelievably thick and, as it doubles as a mask, I get so much use out of it. I smooth it on in the shower, leave it for two minutes and my skin always looks better afterwards. The oiliness is gone and my face is soft. The creamy formula gets rid of the shine on my forehead but my skin still feels hydrated - I'd really recommend this one if you suffer from oily skin. There's plenty of product in one tube and I know even if I were using it everyday it would last and last.

Do you use a facewash? What's your favourite?

Saturday 15 November 2014

How To Shop Cruelty-Free

If you're curious about buying cruelty-free and don't know where to begin, or are looking for a few extra tips, here's a guide to get you started.

Over the years these are the important points I've learnt to look out for, and I hope you'll find them as helpful as I have.

The Leaping Bunny

The easiest way to tell if a product is cruelty-free is if it's got this cute little fellow on it:
He's the leaping bunny logo and means that the product you're looking at has not been tested on animals, nor have its ingredients. Companies have to adhere to very strict guidelines to earn a place on the leaping bunny list, as well as paying a fee, so you know they're serious about being cruelty-free. Here's the website, which has a great explanation of the EU ban on animal testing, what the leaping bunny stands for and a list of all their cruelty-free certified companies.

Peta's Logo

Peta's logo looks like this:

The Peta website is another good place to start and also tells you which companies on their don't test list are vegan. Their list has been slow to be updated in the past though, so it is definitely best to do your own research too. They also have a huge list of the companies that do test on animals, so you know which brands to avoid in the future.

Animal Ingredients

It is important to note that the term 'cruelty-free' only refers to animal testing. The Peta logo and leaping bunny symbol are not indicators of whether a product contains animal ingredients or by-products.

Animal ingredients such as carmine (crushed insects), retinol and collagen (derived from animal tissue), silk and honey are commonly used in beauty products, so see Peta's list here for an idea of what to avoid.

Vegetarian & Vegan

The use of animal ingredients is why you see the terms vegetarian or vegan applied to beauty products, as the ingredients resemble what is usually acceptable for those diets. For example, a product that is 'suitable for vegetarians' would not contain ingredients such as tallow (animal fat), but may contain honey or beeswax. 

Vegan products contain absolutely no animal, animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

Some beauty products are also Vegetarian Society or Vegan Society approved, and carry their logos.

Parent Companies

There are a number of cruelty-free brands owned by parent companies that do test on animals - the most well-known examples being The Body Shop and Urban Decay. Both have a no animal testing policy, but were acquired by L'oreal (in 2006 and 2012 respectively), a corporation which - despite claims to the contrary -  do test on animals. 

Both The Body Shop and Urban Decay are still leaping bunny approved and have retained their cruelty-free status. However, as a large share of their profits go to L'oreal, many customers choose to boycott them, along with any other brands with non cruelty-free parent companies. It's up to you whether you buy from these brands, but there's no doubt it's a divisive issue and definitely something to consider. If you'd like to learn more, you can read my post Animal Testing & Parent Companies.

The Ones Not To Trust

There are many, many brands that label their products with 'not tested on animals'. Great! But this is the tricky bit. There are many loopholes that a brand can use to make these claims. The product itself might not have been tested on animals, but the ingredients were. They may have used third party testing, or the finished product has not been tested, but it was at another stage of the production process.

In my experience, when companies use phrases like 'against animal testing' and 'fund research into alternatives', it's just clever wording to get around the fact that they do test on animals. By no means is this a rule, just be wary of what you're reading.


If a company claims they don't test, how do you know if their products are okay to use? One quick and easy way is to Google them. Chances are, someone else has probably asked too. If the search comes up with conflicting statements, it may not be a good sign.

If their statement is ambiguous in any way (e.g. they don't mention ingredients) best not to buy until you've done your homework. Most companies will quickly respond to a friendly email, and there are loads of cruelty-free bloggers and buyers who post their research online for others to see.

There are fantastic brands out there, with wonderful products, whose policies and ingredients are honest and clear. When you've found beauty products you really love it all gets so much easier.

As you discover brands you can trust it actually becomes really exciting to find new products that are cruelty (and guilt) free. And if you still have more questions, see my post FAQs About Cruelty-Free or feel free to get in touch. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Calming Down | Badger Sleep Balm & Stress Soother

Calming Down | Badger Sleep Balm & Stress Soother Review

Badger Balms are made from natural, organic ingredients and are leaping bunny approved. Natural remedies aren't for everyone, but if you're a fan of essential oils I'd say these two balms are perfect if you're looking for a natural way to calm down and relax.

Suitable for vegetarians

This balm has a lovely soothing smell of tangerine and rosemary. The label reads 'to promote calm, courage & relaxed awareness when times get tough'. I've been carrying the tin around in my bag and find that whenever I'm feeling a bit stressed, taking a minute or two to stop, rub a bit of this on my wrists and relax has really helped. Perhaps it's just taking the time to wind down, but having this balm is a great reminder to help me keep calm. An excellent companion if you're preparing yourself to brave the crowds for Christmas shopping.

Suitable for vegetarians

This is my favourite balm. I've never tried using a sleep aid before, but usually have interrupted sleep and wake up a lot during the night. Now every evening I dab this onto my neck and wrists and happily drift off to dreamland. I think if you have trouble sleeping, it really helps to have a bedtime routine, and this balm is my favourite part of mine. You can also use it on your face and lips if you want. I've had this for around a month now and have definitely noticed an improvement as I'm finding it easier to get a good night's sleep.

What are your favourite ways to unwind?

Saturday 8 November 2014

Super Clear Skin | Superdrug B. Micellar Water

B. Pure Micellar Water
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

Until recently I hadn't paid much attention to micellar water and wasn't fussed about trying it.  But I'm a huge fan of Superdrug as all their own products are leaping bunny approved, so I like to try new things from them. This micellar water had positive reviews online, and was half price at the time, so I popped it in my basket. I am so glad I did! It's so good I now use it every night. 

If like I was, you're unfamiliar with micellar waters, let me explain. You dab it onto a cotton pad and wipe over your face. It removes your make-up, cleanses and tones your skin, and you don't need to wash anything off afterwards. 

This one from B. is super effective. It sweeps off make-up easily and when I haven't been wearing make-up that day, it's really satisfying to see all the dirt that comes off on that little cotton pad. It's so easy to use, especially when you're tired and the last thing you can be bothered with is cleansing your face. Now I happily sit in bed with a compact mirror and wipe off the day's grime in a minute.

Since I began using this cleanser I've seen a real improvement in my skin; my pores are smaller and it's actually gotten rid of a fair few of the blackheads on my nose. I've just started my second bottle; the first lasted me nearly four months, using it every evening, which I'm very pleased with for the price. It's absolutely my favourite cleanser now, and I can't recommend it enough.

Do you use micellar water?

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Winter Skin Saviour | M&S Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Lotion

All of M&S' own brand beauty range is leaping bunny approved, and they have a lot to choose from. I knew that their beauty range was cruelty-free, but had the misconception that it would all be on the expensive side (and really for much older ladies than myself). Not so! I was pleasantly surprised at the prices, and the products too.

Suitable for vegetarians

A gorgeous scent and this does feel good for your skin. At £2, this lotion is a steal and there are lots of other scents in the range to choose from. There's so much in moisturiser in there that I can't see this running out for a long time. I love the pump too! For me, it's a lot quicker and easier than using a tube. The moisturiser itself is creamy, thick, absorbs well and keeps my skin well nourished all day. I'm very pleased with it and can see it being my go to moisturiser this winter.

Have you tried anything from M&S beauty?

Saturday 1 November 2014

3 e.l.f. Lip Colours

elf essential lipstick, moisturising lipstick and lip tint review

elf essential lipstick in flirtatious, moisturising lipstick in pouty petal and lip tint in grapefruit review
Left: Pouty Petal, right: Flirtatious, front: Grapefruit

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

Pretty, pink and oh so natural, I find myself reaching for this most days as it's just so easy to wear. It is the longest lasting of these three shades, and, if you wanted, could really make a 'classic' look. I also think this is a perfect lipstick to wear with a dramatic smokey eye for night.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

At first I was scared of wearing this lipstick; I thought it was too bright! But now the days are getting darker I've fully embraced it and feel like the pop of colour lifts my whole face. I particularly like to wear it with a black cat eye flick to balance out my eyes and lips.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

This is a product I happily keep in my bag at all times. It's been so perfect for when I'm in a rush to leave; a few dabs and I instantly feel a little more made up and ready to face the world. As a balm it's plenty moisturising for me and I'm sure will be saving my lips from the harsh winter elements. Like any tinted balm, it does need reapplying every couple of hours but it's feels so nice to smooth on that I don't mind at all. A real winner.

Are you an e.l.f. fan? What's your favourite lipstick at the moment?

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