Tuesday, 31 March 2015

An e.l.f. Haul

Elf Studio Cream Blush in Tease, Vixen and Seductress
Studio Cream Blush in Tease, Vixen and Seductress

I love e.l.f.'s make-up. They're one of the first cruelty-free brands I bought from and got me into make-up in the first place. Their entire line is vegan, apart from a few brushes made with horse hair. Also their one shop in the U.K. is in Cardiff, close to where I live, which meant I could always pop by and test things out whenever I wanted.

So I was very sad when the U.K. site announced last week that they're closing down! The U.K. distributors are moving on and for the moment it doesn't look like anyone else is taking on e.l.f. here so we may be without it for some time. Maybe forever! Obviously, I had to grab everything I'd been wanting in their closing down sale. I'd also gone on a big spree the week before when they held a 50% off sale, so this is two hauls combined.

Edit September 2015: e.l.f. have returned to the U.K.! I've linked to everything that's available on the new site, and hopefully the other products will be added soon.

Elf Flawless Eyeshadow in Party Purple and Golden Goddess
Essential Flawless Eyeshadow in Party Purple and Golden Goddess

Elf Baked Eyeshadow Palette in Seattle and Eye Enhancing Eyeshadow in Brown Eye 2
Baked Eyeshadow Palette in Seattle, Eye Enhancing Eyeshadow in Brown Eye 2

Elf Studio 11 Piece Brush Collection

Elf UK Haul

Here's the entire haul - I got multiples of some of my favourites in case I don't get the chance to get them again. This lot should last me a while! If you've not tried e.l.f. before I'd really recommend you grab some bargains now before they're gone, the quality is just excellent for the price. I will really miss this brand and now I wish I'd blogged about them more. I reviewed a few e.l.f. lip colours here, the nail varnish here and here's a guest post from my sister Tessa where she used lots of e.l.f. make-up.

Come back on Thursday when I'll be holding my first ever giveaway - a few e.l.f. goodies!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

FAQs About Cruelty-Free

FAQs about cruelty-free


What does 'cruelty-free' mean?

Cruelty-free means that a product and its ingredients have not been tested on animals. Many people think that animal testing is a thing of the past, but sadly this is not true. There is a ban in place in the EU to prevent new ingredients for cosmetics being animal tested, which you can read more about here. However the majority of cosmetics companies still test on animals where there are no restrictions, such as in the U.S.A. and Asia. As for household products, there are still hardly any regulations in the U.K. and animal testing for products such as bleach and washing up liquid is still commonplace.

Why should I buy cruelty-free?

By only buying cruelty-free products you know that no animal has suffered, and that your money is not going to be used to fund animal testing anywhere else in the world. One of the main reasons that companies continue to use animals to test their products and ingredients is because it is easier and more profitable than using alternative methods. Boycotting brands that continue to test on animals is voting with your money to end animal testing.

What is vegetarian and vegan beauty?

The term cruelty-free does not cover the use of animal ingredients, only that the product and ingredients have not been tested on animals. Because of this, vegetarian and vegan labels are often applied to beauty products to indicate what ingredients have been used. So for example, a vegetarian product would not contain collagen (derived from animal tissue) but may contain honey. Vegan products are free from all animal ingredients and by-products. So you don't need to be vegetarian or vegan to use these products, they're there to assure buyers that a product does not contain animal ingredients.

Is cruelty-free expensive?

Not at all! There are so many budget brands that are cruelty-free. I myself only ever buy from highstreet brands as high end beauty is never something I've felt comfortable spending a lot of money on. You can even find cruelty-free household brands in pound shops and many more in supermarkets. Switching your products to cruelty-free options one by one as they run out is a much easier way to spread out the cost of replacing everything.

Is cruelty-free good quality?

Absolutely! Cruelty-free doesn't mean you have to sacrifice good products. There are many brands, both high end and highstreet that have amazing quality products, made without animal testing.

My favourite brand isn't cruelty-free! What should I do?


Don't panic! There are so many brilliant cruelty-free brands to replace them with. If you're comfortable with it, use up what you have instead of throwing it away. If you want to get rid of things immediately, give them away to friends or charity. The company already has your money so throwing products in the bin just contributes to waste.

How do I find out which brands are cruelty-free?

First of all beware of outdated, unreliable or misleading information on the internet. Many companies may have an animal testing statement on their website, but in a lot of cases these are specifically worded to make it sound like the company doesn't practise animal testing when in truth they do. 

The Not Tested guide is one of the top search results on Google for cruelty-free information, but it hasn't been updated in a long time and already has inaccuracies. There are many companies that were cruelty-free in the past but have since changed their animal testing policies to sell in China (where animal testing is required by law) so do watch out for old lists like this.

For reliable and up to date cruelty-free lists I recommend Leaping Bunny & Logical Harmony. The weekly #cfbloggers Twitter chat, on Thursdays 9-10pm, is another a great place for information for anyone interested in cruelty-free. There's also lots more information on both the Cruelty-Free International and the Humane Society International websites.


I hope this post has been helpful and if you have any other questions about cruelty-free, feel free to ask! If you want to know more you can also read my guide How To Shop Cruelty-Free. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A Vegan Spring Wishlist

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Spring Wishlist


Pretty pastel colours are what I always lust after when Spring arrives, so here's a cruelty-free vegan wishlist of the things I'm currently dreaming of.


1. PHB Ethical Beauty Wisteria Mineral Eyeshadow

Such a sweet lilac colour, I've been loving mineral eyeshadows lately as they're a lot kinder to my sensitive eyes.

2. OCC Skin Conceal

I'm in need of a really good concealer and I've read nothing but rave reviews for this one.

3. Barry M Speedy Quick Dry Nail Paint in Lap Of Honour

Barry M but quicker? Yes please! Their classic nail paints are just brilliant so I'm very keen to get my hands on this new range.

4. Konjac & Pink Clay Facial Puff Sponge

I'm really intrigued by these sponges, you can use them with a cleanser or just with water to naturally exfoliate your face and body.

5. Everyday Minerals Spring Blush Collection

Only recently am I getting into blushers, which is crazy as it's something I wear all the time. I'd love a starter kit like this to play with.

6. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Butter in Strawberry

A lip balm made with real strawberries sounds oh so delicious.

7. Pacifica French Lilac Spray Perfume

I have Pacifica's Vanilla Island Roll-On Perfume which I cannot get enough of, so I'd love to pick up another scent in the full size.

8. Nature's Aid Rose Water

Rose water is supposed to be an amazing natural toner to minimise pores and keep your skin clear. This one's Vegan Society approved.

9. GOSH Giant Blush in Shy

Because what's more appealing than applying your make-up with a giant crayon?! This just looks like a lot of fun to me :)


Let me know what's on your wishlist!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

An Interview With Kelly of The Vegan Taff

An interview with cruelty-free blogger The Vegan Taff

Introducing a brand new series! I wanted to interview other cruelty-free bloggers and get their thoughts and experiences on cruelty-free and blogging. I am very pleased to introduce Kelly, who writes one of my favourite blogs The Vegan Taff. I first discovered Kelly on Instagram after we had reviewed the same moisturiser, the B. Ready Day Cream, a product we both loved. That she's a fellow Welsh native puts the cherry on the cake!



Interview With Cruelty-Free Blogger The Vegan Taff



Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.


My name is Kelly and I blog over at The Vegan Taff, which is a cruelty-free and vegan beauty and lifestyle blog based in Wales, UK. The Vegan Taff is my own little corner of the internet where I'm able to talk about anything I like, whether that's a new eye shadow palette or the latest news in animal rights. I try to keep my blog pretty balanced, and post four times a week with a mixture of beauty and lifestyle, I've even been known to post the odd recipe.

Whilst I like to keep my blog free for any subject, there are several things you won't find on there; weight loss tips, how to stay young, and anything that I deem to be inappropriate for a younger audience, are all banned from my site. I like to think that my blog is somewhere that anyone can go and not feel judged, whether that's about weight, looks, age, race etc. all are welcome and equally beautiful in my eyes.



When did you start blogging and what inspired you to start your own?


I wrote my first ever blog post on 2nd April 2014, and to be honest it was on a bit of a whim. I'd been an avid reader of other people's blogs for a while but was finding it difficult to get reviews on the products that I wanted to know about; high street vegan make-up. I considered starting a blog for ages, but I wasn't sure what I wanted it to be about, but the more I was looking for specific reviews and was coming up empty handed the more it dawned on me that there was a gap in the market that very few people were filling. If I wanted to read posts like that, surely other people did too.

One night I wasn't able to sleep, so turned to Google to find out more about blogging, and I came across a post taking you step-by-step through how to set up your own blogger account, and how to start blogging. I didn't even think about it, it just sort of happened. I wrote my first post a couple of hours later and, almost a year on, enjoy everything about blogging and couldn't imagine my life without it.



What are your favourite cruelty-free products?


Out of all of the beauty products available, I would have to say that my biggest downfall is lipstick, I just can't get enough of it. I could own every lipstick in the world and would still be looking for the perfect 'my lips but better' shade. I really couldn't narrow it down to just one brand, but the stand out's for me are: Autograph by Marks and Spencer, Barry M, Wet N Wild, OCC, ELF and very recently, Makeup Revolution. All of these companies make amazing cruelty-free and vegan lip products, as well as tons of other vegan options.



What advice would you give to someone who wants to buy cruelty-free?


There are several things that I'd tell someone who wanted to start buying more cruelty-free products:

1) Look out for the bunny logo, that means that neither the ingredients or the finished product has been tested on animals. If a brand doesn't have the logo, that doesn't mean that they test on animals, but it's a good starting point.

2) Try and make yourself as familiar as possible with high street/drug store brands. The more knowledge you arm yourself with the less likely you'll be caught out. If you can, use one of the many app's that will tell you what brands are cruelty-free.

3) When first starting to buy more ethically, take down notes. Google for specific brands or products you're interested in and note down the information you find, then keep the notepad in your shopping bag so you have a guide you trust.

4) Use the resources available to you. There are several reputable sources for information online, from Peta to Logical Harmony and tons of other sites and blogs, anything you want to know is out there if you look hard enough.

5) Don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake, we've all been there. It's very easy to go to a brand's website and get their information wrong (most of them have written their websites purposely to confuse and mislead you), the trick is to ask as many questions as possible. If a brand says that they don't test on animals, do they say that they don't employ a third party to test on their behalf? Do the say if they sell in China (where imported cosmetics still have to be subject to animal testing by law)? There are multiple questions that need to be answered before a company can be cruelty-free, not just “do you test on animals?”.

The best thing you can remember is that knowledge is king. Arm yourself with as much as possible and you'll be fine.



What's your favourite part of blogging?


Although there are many amazing aspects of blogging, from the community to the people I've become friends with, the best part for me is having somewhere that I can talk about the things that interest me with little to no judgement and no censor. I used to bug my family and friends with my vegan and beauty talk, but now that I have an outlet for it I can leave them in peace.

I was in a really bad place in my life before I started blogging, and having this has helped me get out of that place, it's given me a lifeline which is something I never expected. My confidence has grown and it's amazing to have such lovely people reading and commenting on my posts every day. I'm so thankful to anyone who takes time out of their day to read my ramblings, I just hope they all know that.


Thank you so much Gemima for giving me the opportunity to talk about my blog today, I hope you all enjoyed getting to know me. If you feel like popping over to my blog please feel free to say “hello” while you're there.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

How I Fell In Love With Make-Up


My first foray into make-up was when I was 15, when I began wearing black eyeliner on my lower waterline. No mascara. It was the 'cool' look at the time and I felt pretty edgy with my long, straight emo hair. It required a whole lot of reapplying throughout the school day, but it was worth it. 

I also remember loving a double ended purple eyeliner - lilac one end and dark purple on the other, it was my most expensive purchase at £5. Sadly I lent it to a friend, and it was promptly thrown into the school bin by a boy who fancied her. I took this loss pretty hard and didn't wear make-up again for three years.

After much cajoling, my Mum and sister convinced me to put on mascara for my Christmas school dance. Aged 18, I still felt self conscious wearing it but they made such a big fuss I went along.

Not long afterwards, a friend of mine introduced me to liquid eyeliner. A little line and a flick and I discovered my eyes looked bigger, my lashes longer. Best of all, it stayed on all night! This was my kind of make-up. Off I went to university, armed and ready.

Over the next few months I experimented bit by bit with powder, purple eyeshadow, pink lipstick and peach blusher. I strongly remember going to class in my second week of term wearing a bright blue eyeshadow that perfectly matched my Primark t-shirt and cord trousers. So cool.

Next came the smoky eye, which I still have a great love for. Silver eyeshadow blended with dark blue was my staple look for a night out.

Nowadays I'm much more of a homebody so I don't often wear a lot of make-up, but I'm completely in love with what I do own. It's exciting to try different looks, to find what really suits me and to go out feeling good. I can finally say that I love make-up!

When did you start wearing make-up? Was it love at first sight?

Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Cruelty-Free Skincare Routine

Cruelty-Free Skincare Routine

To round off Be Cruelty-Free week I thought I'd let you have a little nose at the products I use every day. I'm definitely a creature of habit and find keeping to the same routine really benefits my skin. Here's what works for me!

Morning

1. Cleanse 

Every other day I refresh my face with one of my favourite Superdrug face washes, and on the days in between I just use water. I think it helps to balance my combination skin by not going too overboard with various products. But I do love a good face wash!

2. Exfoliate

Once a week, I exfoliate my face with Jason's Apricot Scrubble. It's lovely and gentle and has a nice fruity smell too. For my legs and arms I really like Sibu Beauty's Exfoliating Scrub, which is ridiculously good for any dry skin. 

I also use Deep Steep's Lavender - Vanilla Argan Oil Sugar Scrub (similar here). This scrub is very different to anything I've used before. First it exfoliates and then it becomes oily to really moisturise the skin. It's very good but takes some getting used to!

3. Moisturise

After I shower in the morning, the first thing I do is moisturise with B. Ready Day Cream. This is a lovely cream that also has an SPF15, although as soon as the weather gets warmer I'll also be using Superdrug's Solait SPF50 on top.

I also have a very strong love for Superdrug's Cherry & Macadamia Body Butter, which smells good enough to eat (but really, don't eat it). I hate moisturising my arms and legs so this delicious pot makes it less of a chore.


Night

1. Cleanse

If you're a regular reader you'll already know of my love for B. Micellar Water, which soothes my sensitive eyes. I really couldn't be without it. But with the winter weather my skin as been getting a few dry patches so I've also introduced Lush's 9-5 Cleansing Lotion as it's so soft and hydrating.



If I really want a good detox for my skin I use Lyonsleaf's Beauty Balm. I smooth it all over my face, rub it in really well then take it off with a warm flannel. It's a fantastic product that's very relaxing!

2. Mask

I nearly always use a face mask once a week. I feel like it's a way of hitting the refresh button for my skin. I am also determined to get rid of my blackheads and face masks certainly help with that.

My current favourite is Lush's Mask of Magnaminty. It's peppermint smell is wonderful! Others I rate highly are all the masks from Montagne Jeunesse, which are brilliant quality for the price.

3. Moisturise

At night I use Sibu Beauty's facial cream and eye cream, which are incredibly hydrating. It also has a delicious fruity smell which now has the association of 'bedtime' for me, and sends me straight to sleep. 

One of my latest additions is White Rabbit Skincare's Toning Eye Cream which is incredibly lovely and soft. I've also just picked up the B. Night Serum, which is so rich and nourishing I feel like it's doing a lot of good for my skin.


So that's my whole routine! A lot of Superdrug and mostly pretty affordable products. I have to say I am a little addicted to skincare. I know I don't need to use so many things, but I like to!

Do you have a tried and tested skincare routine?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Lush Face

Lush 9 To 5 and Mask of Magnaminty

Lush Mask of Magnaminty

Lush 9 To 5

9 To 5 Cleansing Lotion
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

This lotion is so soft and gentle, it's perfect if your skin's in need of some nourishing. I love the subtle almond scent and how easy it is to cleanse with. I massage it in, usually whilst watching Netflix in bed, then wipe it off with a warm flannel.

Afterwards my face is smooth, refreshed and perfectly clean. Make-up comes off easily, as does the cleanser itself with no residue left. I have combination skin; both oiliness and dry patches and it works really well to balance these out. The oil is gone and my face actually feels so hydrated I could even skip moisturiser afterwards.

A gorgeous, simple cleanser for soothing skin with no fuss.


Mask Of Magnaminty
Suitable for vegetarians


This mask is such a treat. It smells deliciously minty and fresh, and feels very cooling on the skin. I use it once a week and look forward to it every time. It really works to pull out any impurities in your skin - since using it I have fewer blackheads, something I always used to be fighting with.

One of my favourite parts of using this mask is actually taking it off! The texture is thick and peppered with evening primrose seeds and aduki beans which work wonderfully at exfoliating as I wash it off. With warm water, I really rub it in to my skin to get the full benefit and my face is left bright and soft afterwards.

Like all Lush products, this mask is made from natural ingredients but this one is actually self-preserving and lasts a few months. A good thing too, as I've hardly reached halfway!


What are your favourite skincare products?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Cruelty-Free Starter Kit

Cruelty-Free Starter Kit

As part of Be Cruelty-Free Week, I've put together a bunch of products to help anyone looking to go cruelty-free, or if you're just looking for some new things to try. It's a mix of essentials, a few extras and some of my personal favourites.


Essentials

Toothpaste - Co-op Freshmint Toothpaste
Fresh, minty, vegan toothpaste! 

My picks: Superdrug Totalcare Whitening Toothpaste, Lush Sparkle Toothy Tabs, Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste

Deodorant - Skinlikes Natural Deodorant
A 100% natural and vegan deodorant that works. No white marks and no stinging! Read my review here.

My picks: Lush T'eo Solid Deodorant, Superdrug Sensitive 48hr Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, Jason Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Roll On, Alba Botanica Tea Tree Deodorant Stick

Shower gel - Superdrug Orange & Satsuma
A tangy citrus scent to wake up in the morning.

My picks: Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel, Deep Steep Passion Fruit Guava Body Wash, Faith In Nature Raspberry & Cranberry Shower Gel & Foam Bath

Shampoo and conditioner - Avalon Organics Tea Tree Shampoo & Dr Organic Rose Otto Conditioner
My favourite SLS free combination for soft and nourished locks. See my full reviews here and here.

My picks: Faith In Nature Chocolate Shampoo, Faith In Nature Grapefruit & Orange ConditionerLush Jason And The Argan Oil Shampoo Bar, Lush Veganese Conditioner

Razors - Superdrug Triple Blade Disposable Razors
A budget razor with moisturising strips, I use these with a regular conditioner on my legs for a super smooth shave.

My picks: Sugar Stripease Kit, Superdrug 3 Minute Formula Hair Removal Cream


Face

Moisturiser - Sibu Beauty Daytime Facial Cream & Age Defying Eye Cream
All natural day creams to keep skin hydrated and bright. Read my review here.

My picks: B. Ready Day Cream SPF15, Yes To Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturiser, White Rabbit Dew Soft Day Cream

Face cleanser - Lush 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion
A soft, gentle cleansing milk to take off the day.

My picks: B. Pure Micellar Water, Lyonsleaf Natural Beauty Balm, Jason Brightening Apricot Scrubble, Yes To Cucumbers Daily Gel Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

Lipbalm - Crazy Rumors
All natural and vegan, these come in every fun flavour from Lemonade to Bubblegum. My thoughts here.

My picks: Hurraw!, Barry M Cor Balmy, M&S Nature's Extract Lip Balm Trio Set, White Rabbit Chocolate Orange Lip Balm, Badger Balm Classic Lip Kit


Body

Moisturiser - M&S Fig & Orange Oil Hand & Body Lotion
A budget moisturiser that feels absolutely indulgent. Full review.

My picks: Jason Invigorating Rose Water Hand & Body LotionSuperdrug Black Cherry & Macadamia Nuts Body Butter, Deep Steep White Nectarine & Orange Blossom Whipped Body Cream

Hand cream - Lush Charity Pot
A delightful tin for helping hands, the proceeds go to good causes. 

My picks: Deep Steep Lavender - Chamomile Hand Cream, PHB Ethical Beauty Extra Mild Hand Cream with Pumpkin & Mango Butter, M&S Vintage Bluebell & Daisy Hand Balm, Badger Balm For Hardworking Hands

Sunscreen - Superdrug Solait Spray SPF50
Summer is coming! This spray sunscreen is affordable, quick and easy to apply.

My picks: Superdrug Solait Face SPF50, Lush The Sunblock Solid Sunscreen Wash, Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF25, Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Mineral Sunblock SPF30, 100% Pure Everywhere Sun Stick SPF30


Some great advice if you do want to make the switch to go cruelty-free is not to throw out everything all at once. Use up what you have, and replace things one at a time with cruelty-free options. This gives you time to research properly and find products you really like!

What are your cruelty-free essentials?

Monday, 9 March 2015

#BlogForBunnies


Today my post is in support of The Humane Society International's Be Cruelty-Free campaign to end cosmetics animal testing. This is a cause I am so happy to be involved with! Lots of other bloggers and vloggers are taking part throughout the whole week so be sure to check out the campaign at www.hsi.org/becrueltyfree, the @HSIGlobal Twitter and the hashtags #BlogForBunnies and #BeCrueltyFree.

I try to keep my blog a very positive place, to encourage people to use cruelty-free products and show how easy it is to make the switch to cruelty-free. Because being cruelty-free doesn't need to be a compromise!

All it means is showing your compassion for animals by voting with your money. By boycotting brands that continue to test on animals, and buying from brands that refuse to do so, you're already supporting the cause to end animal testing. 

Talk to your friends about it. Do they know if their mascara was tested on animals? How about their moisturiser? Many people just don't know that animal testing is still carried out by the majority of cosmetics companies. Raising awareness is key to helping to end this practice.

Sadly, animal testing for cosmetics and their ingredients remains legal in around 80% of countries worldwide. What's more, animal testing for cosmetics is unreliable and outdated. 


Quite simply, cosmetics never need to be tested on animals. It is just a cheap and easy method for companies to deem their products safe for human use. This needs to change!

Thankfully, there are more than 600 cruelty-free cosmetics companies to choose from. You can find reliable, up to date lists at Leaping Bunny and Logical Harmony.

You can show you care and support the Be Cruelty-Free campaign by taking the pledge here to be cruelty-free and help to end animal testing.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Hillarys Crafternoon | Blogger Event



This week I was kindly invited to go to Hillarys Craft Event at Chapter Arts in Cardiff. I went along with my sister Tessa, who blogs at Holly Sparkle.

I come from a very crafty family but I myself have never been fantastic at making things, so I was very pleased to have a go at some beginner's sewing with fabrics from Hillarys new range.


At the event we were presented with tea, cookies and lots of fabric samples to choose from. The first craft was making a fabric notebook cover! I loved doing this as I'm a big stationery fan and think there's nothing so satisfying as a new notebook. It also reminded me of being in primary school, when we used to cover our workbooks with wrapping paper, a nice nostalgia moment!



This is a really easy craft to do if you're new to making things, as simple as sewing on a button really. I put a stitch on each inside corner, then stuck some cute buttons on the front to jazz it up. Lots of people embellished their notebooks with ribbons and rosettes if you want to get a bit more complicated.

The second craft was sewing a 3d bird. I was very excited as they're just so cute! The hardest part about this was understanding how to use the pattern as I'd never worked with one before. Once that was done it was just a bit of therapeutic sewing to stitch him together :)



My bird's head turned out a little funny but I quite like him for that. Or I may stick a horn on him and call him a narwhal.

Do you like to craft? Let me know what you think of these! 
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