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!
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.