Guest Post: Beauty Emergency — How To Choose Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cruelty-Free Products

Today's post was written by Zara, and it's about her thoughts on opting to choose cruelty-free products (find her on Twitter @ZaraELewis and find her writing at Enjoy!

Even though many famous ladies claim that beauty is pain, the real question is  who actually suffers the most? People? Or someone else? It is well known that the majority of prominent brands in the beauty industry test their products on animals, which makes these little creatures experience true agony and pain in the process. Here are some tips on how to choose cruelty-free products.

Why Should I Choose Cruelty-Free Products?

The disturbing fact that rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice are forced to inhale or eat certain substances, or have some of these rubbed into their shaved skin is truly horrifying. It gets even worse when they are killed and cut open in order to see whether those substances affected their organs. Choosing cruelty-free cosmetics is a way of standing up for animal rights.

Cruelty-Free Make-Up

When picking cruelty-free make-up products from your local store it is important to check that the company doesn't test on animals [you can research this online, or look for the Leaping Bunny logo]. Even though animal testing has been banned by the EU since 2013 there is unfortunately a loophole that allows some of the ingredients to be tested, which is why you should be extra careful while choosing products. Some companies even call themselves cruelty-free when they aren't. Next time you go searching for the perfect make-up, why not try an eyeshadow or lipstick by 100% Pure?

Cruelty-Free Make-Up Tools

Another important part of every girl's make-up routine are brushes and tools. Some animals are farmed and killed in order for their hair to be used in the production of those tools, which is a very disturbing fact. The good news is that many brands are turning to synthetic bristles nowadays, without harming animals in the process. Such brushes are perfect for both powder and cream products, and are extremely easy to clean. Besides that, they shed less, which means they will last much longer.

Cruelty-Free Beauty Products

Other beauty products, such as body creams, lotions, bubble baths, shampoos and so on, have also been tested on animals in the past, which led to major protests and demonstrations all over the globe. Animal rights were at stake, and it is good to know that the situation is much better nowadays than it was just a couple of years ago. Thankfully, I found a list of cruelty-free brands that you can keep by your side. Unfortunately the truth is that the majority of the world's most prominent brands are still testing their products on animals, but hopefully that will change soon. Beauty without pain is definitely something we must strive for!
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5 Things I've Learnt From House-Sharing With Guys

Monday, 23 May 2016

Image from Pexels. Nothing to do with the post, really, but I liked the black and white, so it stayed.
I am very much one of the boys when it comes to socialising  not on purpose, I just always seem to end up being part of a group of lads, whereas I tend to know and see my female friends individually. (I hate the whole 'I prefer boys because there's so much drama with girls!' thing though, because it just enforces the stereotype that girls are bitchy. I'm not buying it; people do not slot neatly into categories like that and I think it's quite sexist to paint all females as gossipy hens. And breathe.) Anyway, Giulia and I have been sharing a house with two guys this year, and while I thought I knew a little bit about the male species, my eyes have been opened somewhat. As always, I've chosen to present my findings in a list.

1. They REALLY don't get the whole periods thing.
You know when they separate the boys from the girls in school, and give girls the period talk and say whatever they say to the boys? I think that everyone should hear about everything. I've tried explaining how painful periods can be and how much of an impact it can have on your everyday life, but it turns out that 'Sometimes there are clots' is a real conversation killer. That's probably TMI, to be fair, but it can't be healthy for men to clam up at the slightest mention of anything to do with periods when menstruation is perfectly natural. (Even a simple 'Why are you so hungry?' 'My period's due' makes some guys uncomfortable, which is ridiculous.)

2. They love a good natter.
All those stupid jokes about how you know which seagull is female because it's the one squawking (*rolls eyes*) are bullshit, I tell you, absolute bullshit. Talking is a human thing, not a female one, and I've had many a wonderful conversation with the lads. We've discussed all kinds of things, sometimes for hours at a time, and we've never been stuck for words. We also often disagree, but that's life, right?

3. They're pretty relaxed about food.
I'd like to think my attitude towards food is healthier than it has been in the past and it's partly because my housemates are so chilled about what they eat. It's not that they don't care about looking after themselves, but whereas I sometimes suffer from post-Dominos guilt, they don't worry about it  if you eat well most of the time, why stress about the odd treat? It's good for the soul.  

4. They're not complete slobs.
Another gender stereotype. None of us in my house are neat-freaks by any means but we do all like to keep everything clean and reasonably tidy. Sure, I've seen some terrible student houses which have made me shudder in disgust (my brother's, for instance) but I've also seen a lot of exceptions to the rule. Probably best not to tar everyone with the same brush.

5. They can be utterly lovely.
Okay, so I already knew this, but I didn't quite realise just how happy I would be living in this house. When I got the news about my nan's death in January and all I wanted to do was comfort eat, we drove into Cardiff and got emergency burgers and cheese fries. When I've arrived at the train station after dark, they've met me there to make sure I don't have to walk home alone. When I'm having a bad day (and when I'm having a good day tbh) they make me laugh until my stomach hurts. I'm going to miss them enormously.

What did you learn from your housemates at uni? Let me know in the comments!
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What's In My Bathroom? The Honest Version

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Yes To Products

I love being nosy and seeing what other people keep in their bathrooms so I decided it was about time I wrote my own post. This isn't a highlight reel, this is literally every single product that I've got stashed away  everyday things, occasional things, and products I just can't be bothered to clear away. I don't think there's anything wrong with posting an edited version of what you use  hell, I do it myself  but we're all guilty of hoarding and I thought it'd be fun to see how much I'd accumulated since I moved here last September.

Yes To have become one of my favourite cruelty-free high street brands  you get a lot of product for your money and their products are sold in most Boots stores, so they're easy to find. Yes To Coconut Ultra Moisture Conditioner, £5.99, smells absolutely gorgeous, first and foremost, and it also really nourishes the hair without weighing it down, which is important when your ends are fine like mine. I've used it every other day for I don't know how many months now and I'm only just running out, so I can't recommend this stuff enough. I normally shower in the morning but if it's later on in the day I'll use the Yes To Blueberries Ultra Hydrating Body Wash, £4.99, which contains lavender but doesn't contain sulphates and is therefore very gentle on the skin.

Green People, Soap and Glory, Lush, Maple Holistics

Of course, I couldn't just stop with one shower gel. Soap & Glory Rich & Foamous Body Wash, £6.50, tends to be my go-to in the mornings  it has the same warm, sugary, waffle scent as The Breakfast Scrub - but I also like a little bit of  LUSH Snow Fairy when I need a pick-me-up (another uber-sweet scent, although this one is more like candyfloss).

When it comes to shampoo I tend to use it every other day and alternate between two: Green People Daily Aloe Shampoo, £12, and Maple Holistics Winter Blend Shampoo. I adore the scent of the Maple Holistics shampoo, which contains five different types of mint, but I think my hair has got used to it because lately it hasn't been keeping my hair clean for very long. The Green People shampoo perhaps leaves hair less silky but it does give a nice, clean, swishy feel and its effects last longer, so I'm leaning towards that at the moment.

Neal's Yard, Lee Stafford, Lush, Superdrug

I'll be honest, I never use this Neal's Yard Remedies Rosemary and Cedarwood Hair Treatment (v), £6.50, and I should probably pass it on to someone who would. The thing with it is, yes, it does work, but it takes an absolute age to wash out of the hair and even then you're still left with residue on occasions, no matter how much time you spend rinsing. The Lee Stafford Coco Loco Coconut Mask, £6.99, on the other hand, is a dream to use, rinsing out with minimal fuss, and much like the Yes To conditioner it hydrates the hair and smells incredible. Body lotion-wise, I tend to grab either LUSH Dream Cream (v), £6.25, or Superdrug Vitamin E Body Cream (v) [just seen]. Both are lovely; the Superdrug cream is thicker in texture but I'd say Dream Cream is more soothing if your skin is having a bit of a nightmare.

Pixi, Lush, Tropic, Trilogy

On to skincare! Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser, £18, and Pixi Glow Tonic, £18, are a wonderful combination, smoothing skin and leaving it brighter (the hype is all-too real with these). I couldn't not mention LUSH Ultrabland, £7.50, my all-time favourite cleanser and make-up remover of choice. It has a thick, oily texture and breaks down all make-up with ease  mascara, liner, lip stain, you name it. 

I always like to use an oil in the evening, and I'm currently reaching for this cute little sample of the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (v), £12.50. Rosehip oil just really agrees with my skin, leaving it soft, hydrated, and calm without making any blemishes worse. The Tropic Organic Elixir* (v), £30, is a mixture of oils, including rosehip, and has the same effect on my skin, although I'd say my skin is less dry in the morning when I've used the Trilogy oil.

What do you keep in your bathroom? Are you a hoarder like me? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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7 Things I'm Going To Miss About Living In Wales

Monday, 16 May 2016

Henryhd Falls
Henrhyd Falls

I knew I would have to leave my university town eventually, but it was easy enough to put it out of my head when it was months and months away. But it's the middle of May, and that means I move back home in a week. The idea of living in Wales never really entered my head when I was planning to get a degree because I didn't expect to like the university, and yet here I am, having spent three years here. I thought it was about time I paid tribute (in the form of a list, of course!) So, what will I miss about Wales?

Living with my friends. My third-year housemates are hilarious. I've lost count of the occasions when we've been doubled over laughing at something or other and although I hope that one day I'll be sharing a house with people who are equally lovely, this is the end of an era.

The people. I don't know whether this is just because I grew up South East England, but I was taken aback by how chatty everyone is when I first came here (the people back home are perfectly polite, I hasten to add, just less likely to strike up a conversation). From the Asda delivery man to the kind Welsh ladies in my local Starbucks, most of the people I've encountered  not just those who work in retail  have been easygoing, friendly, and very very funny.

The accents. One of my favourite things about coming back to Wales after a few weeks away is hearing the accent again. While I'm used to it now, the novelty hasn't completely worn off  it still makes me smile and somehow it makes things ten times funnier.

The view from my window. All I have to do is look outside and there are hills right there. It's so different to the suburban village I grew up in; on a clear day it almost looks like someone has hung a painting up in the sky.

The view from the top of the view. We drove up to the top of the hills recently and went on a little adventure, and it was one of the happiest afternoons I think I've had (you can see for miles). We also went to Henrhyd Falls last Friday, which is the cave they used to double as the entrance to the Bat Cave in The Dark Knight Rises. It's beautiful there, so I'd definitely recommend a trip if you get the chance. The rocks at the bottom are wobbly and some of the ledges are narrow, so I'd recommend wearing sturdy shoes.

Cardiff. What a city. Chippy Lane, the castle, the Millennium Stadium (yeah yeah yeah, I know it's the Principality Stadium now, but no one calls it that), Bute Park, City Hall, Live Lounge... I could go on and on (and on...) about how much I love Cardiff. It has so much character and there's so much going on there. By far one of my favourite places to be.

The love of rugby. The passion just isn't the same in England, and that's a damn shame. Rugby in Wales is life. True, I get a lot of stick for supporting England, but the atmosphere on game day is like nothing I've experienced before.

What was your favourite thing about where you went to university? Let me know in the comments!
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Rosie For Autograph — Vegan and Leaping Bunny Approved

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Rosie For Autograph make-up

Rosie For Autograph Blush in English Rose Flush

Rosie For Autograph make-up swatches

I wasn't sure whether I was even going to be able to buy anything from Rosie For Autograph, the make-up line Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has done in collaboration with Marks and Spencer, so I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out that the range was cruelty-free, vegan, and approved by the Leaping Bunny. So many celebrity brands or endorsements are for companies that test on animals so it's lovely to know Rosie cares  not every cruelty-free brand is Leaping Bunny approved, after all, so it shows some thought has gone into it. Big love to you, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley♥. 

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who started swooning when they first saw the range. Everything looks beautiful (that rose gold!) and I struggled to decide what I wanted to get my hands on. In the end I kept it simple, and went for the Gel Eyeliner in I'm a Fox Star, and the Cream Blush in English Rose Flush. As you can see, I couldn't resist trying them both out before photographing them, and I'm not sorry in the slightest.

Gel Eyeliner in I'm a Fox Star (v), £12.50
I rarely buy eyeliner pencils but a swatch of this encouraged me to try it, and I'm glad I did, since it glides on with ease. Best of all, it stays put  even on the dreaded waterline. I'm a Fox Star is a little more red-toned than I would normally go for but I actually quite like it; it's a nice alternative to black but still quite classic looking. I've been wearing it smudged all around my eyes (it a subtle way, I hasten to add, not panda eyes style) but it also looks really pretty on the waterline if you're wearing eyeshadow. I daresay I'll be buying another shade soon!

Cream Blush in English Rose Flush (v), £14
I'll admit, I got a bit carried away the first time I used this and ended up looking like an absolute clown; this blush is very pigmented. Fortunately it blends into skin with minimal fuss, and a sweep of face powder soon sorted my mistake. English Rose Flush is such a stunning shade  not a statement or anything but just so, so pretty. I've been reaching for it nearly every day because it goes with anything and lasts for hours on the skin. In fact, this may be the best blush I've ever used.

Have you bought anything from Rosie For Autograph? What should I try next? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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