Wednesday 28 October 2015

The Natural Mascara That Looks Fantastic But Isn't For Me

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
A few months ago I read an interview in Vegan Life with Rose Brown, the founder of PHB Ethical Beauty, which was both a really inspiring read and made me keen to try out their products. Their credentials are fantastic, all products are both Leaping Bunny and Vegan Society approved as well as being natural and eco-friendly. After looking at several natural and vegan mascaras, I was swayed for this one by the reviews and a very nice 30% discount from the Vegan Lifestyle Association.

When I first tried this mascara, I loved it. In the photo above I'm wearing one coat, which pushes up your lashes, curls, lengthens and thickens them. No need for eyelash curlers! (I've always hated eyelash curlers). I thought I might have found the one mascara for me. I was also very pleased that the natural ingredients don't irritate my eyes at all, which is always something to be careful of when you have sensitive eyes.

However, the more I've used this mascara, the more it tends to clump up on the brush and my lashes. Not just a little, but sticking a lot of eyelashes together. I could wipe off the excess from the brush on to a tissue each time I use it, but I'm loathe to lose that much product. So I solve this problem by combing through my eyelashes with my e.l.f. Lash & Brow Comb immediately after applying.

This works nicely and gives me my desired effect of full (but not clumpy) lashes. But it is an added step to my routine that I'd rather skip. I've also found that towards the end of the day, the mascara tends to flake and I end up with little black bits under my eyes. They're easy enough to sweep off and in fairness I have experienced this with natural mascara before, but I have to remember to check my make-up. Altogether, I love the look of this mascara but it's too high maintenance for me.

Do you use natural make-up? Do you have any fantastic mascaras to recommend? 


Saturday 17 October 2015

Bettes Handmade Organic Skincare

Bettes Handmade Organic Skincare Review | Cruelty-Free & Vegetarian

Bettes Luminous Face Scrub Review | Natural Skincare | Cruelty-Free & Vegetarian

Natural skincare is something I've been really get into this year. I love the ethos of green beauty and how it goes hand in hand with living cruelty-free. I'm also very keen to support independent and handmade businesses too. So when Mette, a lovely lady from Denmark, got in touch to tell me how she had moved to the countryside to fufil her dream of making natural skincare I was delighted to try out the results. Mette grows her own herbs and vegetables in her garden to make skincare full of fresh, organic ingredients and free from animal testing. 

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

I love this serum, it feels like a little bit of luxury before I nod off to sleep. I use it by applying a few drops to the back of my hand with the pipette, then dabbing with my fingertips and smoothing on to my face. The scent is lovely, a mixture of the natural pumpkin seed, sea buckthorn and coconut oils inside. The pumpkin especially feels very autumnal!

The serum takes a few minutes to completely absorb, but it does plenty on its own to hydrate my skin so I'm happy to go without moisturiser afterwards. I really feel like this serum has done my skin some good since I started using it - my face feels softer and my skin looks brighter. A bedtime treat for your skin.

Suitable for vegetarians

I really like this cream as a morning moisturiser. It has a very thick consistency which at first I worried would be too heavy for my oily/combination skin. However it works wonderfully to really sink in and leave my skin feeling fresh and looking matte. 

There is a spatula included to apply the cream with, but I prefer to just use my fingers. One of the main ingredients is marigold, which certainly shows in the bright yellow colour! It took me a little while to get used to the scent, a natural buttery smell of herbs. More organic ingredients are chamomile and cocoa butter which make for a very soothing combination that feels lovely on the skin.

This cream does contain beeswax, but Mette reassured me this comes from biodynamic sources. Every season, when the bees make new wax for the hive, the wax from the last season is harvested sustainably.

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

This sugar scrub really does a fantastic job to exfoliate my skin. I was hesitant at first that the sugar might be too rough for my face, but as you rub it in the sugar granules begin to melt as they exfoliate. Organic olive, coconut and carrot tissue oil really balance the scrub so it feels nourishing for my skin, rather than drying as some scrubs often do. After a good scrub I rinse my face with water to wash off the sugar, then go over once again with a warm muslin cloth to take off the oil and leave my skin really clean.

I sometimes get a little dry patch on my forehead, right between my eyebrows, which is a nightmare when trying to apply concealer or foundation. Since using these three lovelies, the dryness hasn't reappeared once which is quite impressive as the weather is changing.

My skin is still naturally oily, but this routine does help to balance it out. The beauty serum and cream are very moisturising so if you have dry skin or need a bit of extra hydration through the colder months I can certainly recommend Bettes.

Do you have any favourites for natural skincare?

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Autumn Empties | Cruelty-Free & Vegan

Autumn Empties | Cruelty-Free & Vegan Beauty

My first empties post was nearly five months ago so I thought it was about time I showed you my stash of finished beauty products. There's nothing like using up a product completely to really put it to the test, so here are my thoughts on these ones. All of these are of course cruelty-free and vegan too.

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Restorative Treatment Conditioner

After I cut my hair short at the start of the summer I got lazy and stopped using hair masks so I haven't replaced this one yet. My hair was in desperate need of something nourishing last year and this treatment really helped to smooth out the frizz and get it hydrated again. I'd also recommend it if you have long hair that gets really knotty like mine did, as this mask will keep it nicely conditioned. Once the weather gets colder and my hair is in need of some TLC I'll be happy to repurchase this. Here's mfull review if you want to read more.

e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Kit

loved doing my eyebrows with this kit. It's half wax and half powder and very easy to build up a bold brow with. For ages I didn't see the need for the powder, hence why it's so unused. Then I started applying the powder too and realised the benefits - it makes the colour of the wax darker, more natural looking and keeps it there all day. To see what it looks like on, take a peek at my e.l.f. make-up look. I'm not entirely sold on the colour, which is a little warm for my ashy brown eyebrows, so I'm currently debating whether to re-purchase this kit or try out the new e.l.f. Brow Pencil.

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Age Defying Eye Cream

I really liked this eye cream but after switching to my White Rabbit Skincare one a few months ago, I discovered that the skin around my eyes needs something a bit more heavy duty to stay moisturised. This is a really smooth and gentle cream to apply and never irritated my sensitive eyes. If you're after a light, all natural eye cream this is certainly worth a try.

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Nourishing Facial Cream

This is such a lovely moisturiser and it did a great job of balancing my combination skin, probably better than any other I've tried for hydrating whilst keeping shine at bay. It has a yummy fruity smell and absorbed really nicely, making my face feel soft and smooth. I currently have two other moisturisers to test out and finish but I would certainly buy this one again in the future. Here's my full review of this facial cream and the Sibu eye cream too.

Crazy Rumors Lip Balms in Mint Chocolate and Raspberry Sherbet

These vegan lip balms are so much fun. Both delicious and moisturising, my only complaint is that I wish the flavours tasted stronger. I seemed to use them up a bit quicker than my usual lip balms, probably because they taste so good! They smell lovely and sweet too. I have a few tinted lip balms on the go at the moment so I haven't repurchased these yet. But I am keen to try out the many other flavours so I expect they'll have a spot on my Christmas list as they make for great stocking fillers. Here's my full review from last December.

What beauty products have you used up lately? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Saturday 10 October 2015

Five Essentials From e.l.f.

e.l.f. Essential Make-up

In celebration of e.l.f.'s return to the U.K. I've put together a little round-up of a few of my favourites from their Essential range. It is worth noting that the brushes from this range are not synthetic, but apart from those all of e.l.f.'s products are cruelty-free and vegan.

Whether you're just getting into make-up, or want to try a few new cruelty-free products, I can definitely recommend these picks. Four of these products I've been using for years, and will probably always have a place in my make-up collection.

Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Pink Umbrellas

I got this lip gloss stick for my birthday and I absolutely love it. I'm a big fan of a pink lip and for me this is the perfect shade of 'my lips but better'. It's not at all like a conventional lip gloss, more a creamy lip crayon that is super easy and smooth to apply. It reminds me of Autograph's Twist Up Lip Colour, but more budget friendly. This shade is just right when I want my make-up to be subtle but polished.

Essential Clear Brow & Lash Mascara

I have never actually dared to use this on my eyelashes, but for my eyebrows I use it every day. Especially if you're a fan of a bold brow, this will be your friend. It keeps them nicely groomed without making the hair stiff. Apply over eyebrow powder or just on its own.

Essential Shine Eraser

Another product I use every day and I'm never without. I'm yet to find the perfect skincare routine to balance my oily skin so these blotting sheets are a huge help. Like little sheets of tissue, you press them on your face and they soak up any shine. Matte skin in an instant.

Essential Blending Wedges

When I first bought these make-up sponges I thought I'd never use them. But now, dare I say, I actually prefer them to my brushes. They give a much lighter coverage of foundation and make it super easy to blend around my nose, under my eyes and anywhere else that's tricky. Such a nifty little tool!

Essential All Over Color Stick in Pink Lemonade

This was maybe the first cruelty-free blush I ever bought and I still use it now. The shade is a gorgeous pink with just a little shimmer. It's a lovely cream that's so easy to blend with your fingers and really quick to apply. A great size too to keep in your handbag for touch ups but it lasts ages. I also use the 'Spotlight' shade as a highlighter which is perfect if you're super pale like me.

Have you tried any of these? What are your favourite e.l.f. products?

Tuesday 6 October 2015

An Interview With Ana of Aniqa Dreams

I am very excited to introduce Ana of Aniqa Dreams! Ana is a very cool cruelty-free blogger and youtuber who shares her beauty buys, fantastic tips on ethical fashion and how to eat vegan on a budget. Make sure you check out her blog and Youtube channel as well as her beautiful Instagram. Also how pretty is her nail polish in this picture?!

Hi! Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog.

My name is Ana (Aniqa is my nickname) and I write a blog Aniqa Dreams; a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle blog. However, lately, I have been focusing more on making videos for my Youtube channel. Sharing an important message in a fun and friendly way is something that I always wanted to do and I am truly happy that I found my voice. I also find it very exciting to be able to connect with many bloggers and youtubers that share the same values. Blogging definitely brought nothing but good experiences into my life :)

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

I started blogging in summer 2014 after reading many blogs that sadly praised products that were anything but friendly to animals (or environment). I wanted to show people that there were awesome cruelty-free alternatives out there and the response has been amazing.

What are your favourite cruelty-free products?

Eco Tools makeup brushes, Island Vanilla perfume by Pacifica, lipsticks by Lush and lipstick by this new company from Australia called Neek.

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

Look for certificates such as Leaping Bunny, certificates by Vegetarian Society and Vegan Society (personally, I only use vegan products). Try to educate yourself about the “no-no” ingredients. Get familiar with cruelty-free companies and with the companies that are known to test on animals and make sure you avoid them. But mostly: research things on your own. There is information everywhere and you will learn A LOT!  Knowledge is power ;)

What's your favourite part of blogging?

Getting familiar with new products on the market, talking to many wonderful people and basically the whole creative process (from taking the photos to writing the posts). 


Thank you Ana for such a lovely interview! Make sure to also check out my interviews with Sarah of The V Nice LifeEmily of The Bell JarMorag of mo'adore and Kelly of The Vegan Taff for their thoughts on blogging and buying cruelty-free.

Saturday 3 October 2015

Life Lately | September

Life Lately | September. A catch up post about what I've been up to!

This past month I feel like I've finally embraced lifestyle blogging. It was something I envisaged back when I first started my blog, as those are some of the kinds of posts I really enjoy reading myself. Of course, cruelty-free beauty is always going to be my main focus and I have dozens of posts planned around that. But I'm happy to be throwing in a little variety ;)

This month has been crazy busy, and I really want to remember all the fun things I was lucky enough to do. So I wanted to write it all down and share it with you! This may be my first and only 'Life Lately' post as usually my free time is mostly spent in my pyjamas watching Netflix and reading books. The last few weeks were a bit different to that.

September began with my birthday, which was a really good one and you can read all about it here (plus sneak a peek at the cruelty-free presents I got). My Mum baked a vegan chocolate cake for the day, and was very keen to share the recipe too. I really want to get more into vegan cooking and baking and maybe one day be good enough to share my own recipes on here.

My boyfriend and I took a lovely trip to the Brecon Beacons to attend a wedding, and it's such a beautiful place. I'm always amazed to see so many stars in the sky! We also went to go see Doctor Who in the cinema, which is a definite perk of living in South Wales where they film the show. We saw the first two episodes but I won't spoil them for you. Plus we caught up with friends and I managed to fit in three trips to Waterloo Tea in one week - their vegan cake is fantastic.

A friend and I made a visit to one of Cardiff's vintage fairs where sadly there was a lot of fur on sale, I'm unsure how much of it was real. We even saw someone wearing a fox scarf that had very much once been alive. I spend so much time online in my own bubble of wonderful people who really care about animal rights, that it's a harsh bump back to reality when I realise how little concern there is sometimes for the use of animals in our society. 

On a better note and most exciting of all, I took a trip to London to attend the judging for the Lush Prize 2015. More excellent vegan food and a day of discussing raising awareness for animal testing and the alternatives for it. It was so fascinating to go behind the scenes of such a brilliant award and really encouraging to learn about all the work being done to end animal testing. 

A couple of days later my boyfriend and I were back to London for a book launch. He draws amazing comics, and one of them has been published in a collection along with his artwork being used for the cover. You can check it out here - I am so proud of him! 

I am definitely expecting October to be a bit quieter and I'm looking forward to lazing around with my cats and making vegan cookies. What have you been up to lately?

Thursday 1 October 2015

My Interview For The Tofu Diaries

My Interview With The Tofu Diaries. Let's chat about cruelty-free!

The Tofu Diaries is a blog I've been reading and admiring for a long time. I mentioned Natalie in my 5 Cruelty-Free Lifestyle Blogs To Follow and I regularly share her posts on Twitter because they're just fantastic. So I was very pleased when she asked if I'd like to do an interview on her blog! Also how cool is Natalie's blog name?

After interviewing other cruelty-free bloggers for my own series, of which there'll be a new one on Saturday with another very cool blogger, it was fun to turn the tables and answer questions myself. In fact I wrote so much that I had to really edit down my answers, because I could talk about cruelty-free all day! 

Among the questions is one about my process for finding out if a company is really cruelty-free, which I'm planning on writing a post about because it can be such a tricky thing whether you're new or experienced.

You can read the interview here and also make sure to check out Natalie's other posts! She takes beautiful photographs of her veg travels as well as sharing delicious looking recipes and cruelty-free finds.
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