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It started with Nadia's review.

I'd been looking for something extra to add to my skincare routine, and there it was: a cruelty-free face mask that promised to calm down all my spot-related woes.

My complexion was the clearest it had ever been earlier in the year  I suspect it was the extra Vitamin D I got in Dubai that did it  but I've accepted that it will normally flare up at the first signs of stress, upheaval, and raging hormones.

And since over the past two months I've interviewed for, accepted and started a new full-time job, moved house twice, and had a car accident that's knocked my confidence in a huge way, my skin has been doing all kinds of weird and wonderful things.

(The positives are that I really like my job, have lovely housemates and am slowly getting back into driving, so there's still lots to be grateful for, but it's been overwhelming to say the least. This is why I haven't been posting on here as much as usual.)

I ordered Bloomtown's The Clearing Black Clay & Tea Tree Treatment Mask (v) for oily and acne-prone skin before all of that happened, but I was happy to have it on hand when everything kicked off.

I know there's more to self care than face masks  being kind to yourself, saying no to what stresses you out, and talking to the people you love are all important, for example  but there's something calming about taking the time to use one. I find that it slows me down after a busy day (and I always get a laugh out of how my face looks when the mask is on. Hello, horror film).

Bloomtown Botanicals The Clearing Treatment Mask

I'm also happy to support a brand like Bloomtown. You can read all about their ethical policies on their website, but here's a quick rundown:
  • They only use suppliers who treat their workers fairly.
  • They don't use palm oil or ingredients derived from palm oil.
  • They don't test on animals at any stage in the production process, and no animal ingredients are used, making them cruelty free and vegan.
  • All Bloomtown products are free from palm oil, animal products, wheat, sulphates, SLS, parabens, synthetic fragrances, colours and detergents.
  • Recycled and recyclable materials are used for packaging. Their packing peanuts and bubble wrap are biodegradable.

Ingredients list
Plant-derived glycerine; kaolin clay; natural black clay; radish root ferment filtrate; coconut fruit extract; tea tree leaf oil; white willow bark extract; bergamot fruit oil; cedar wood oil; pine leaf oil; juniper fruit oil; rosemary leaf oil; d-limonene; limonene

Tea tree oil, a known spot-buster, is anti-bacterial, while white willow bark is an anti-inflammatory. The black clay doesn't set because of the glycerine, which keeps moisture locked in the skin and stops the mask from being too drying, so you can still speak and move your face while the mask is on.

The smell of tea tree hits you as soon as you open the pot, which may not be to everyone's tastes, but I guess my brain just associates tea tree with skincare routines now, because I quite like it.

I used the mask the same day it arrived, scaring both my parents in the process, and saw a noticeable difference in my skin the next morning. All the redness and bumps had gone right down, and existing spots had dried up significantly. The gunk hiding in my painful, under-the-skin spots had been drawn right to the surface.

Bloomtown Botanicals The Clearing Treatment Mask

It wasn't a first-use fluke, either  I see results every time I use the mask. It calms down redness and has reduced the appearance of my acne scars, plus my chin in particular is less bumpy and has fewer blackheads.

What I really love is that The Clearing is gentle enough to use several days in a row if you've got a particularly stubborn breakout. It's not a mask to use before an event or big night out because it tends to bring brewing spots to the fore, but for significant, long-term results this is well worth the money. I'll be buying it again and again.

The Clearing treatment mask costs £12 for 100g of product (I've had mine since mid-August and I've got about a quarter of a jar left). Anyone who signs up for a Bloomtown account can earn stars to put towards discount vouchers, too. I'm tempted to do the whole multimasking thing and order their soothing face mask next...

Have you tried anything from Bloomtown before? What's your favourite face mask? Let me know in the comments!

Bloomtown The Clearing Black Clay & Tea Tree Treatment Mask

It started with Nadia's review.

I'd been looking for something extra to add to my skincare routine, and there it was: a cruelty-free face mask that promised to calm down all my spot-related woes.

My complexion was the clearest it had ever been earlier in the year  I suspect it was the extra Vitamin D I got in Dubai that did it  but I've accepted that it will normally flare up at the first signs of stress, upheaval, and raging hormones.

And since over the past two months I've interviewed for, accepted and started a new full-time job, moved house twice, and had a car accident that's knocked my confidence in a huge way, my skin has been doing all kinds of weird and wonderful things.

(The positives are that I really like my job, have lovely housemates and am slowly getting back into driving, so there's still lots to be grateful for, but it's been overwhelming to say the least. This is why I haven't been posting on here as much as usual.)

I ordered Bloomtown's The Clearing Black Clay & Tea Tree Treatment Mask (v) for oily and acne-prone skin before all of that happened, but I was happy to have it on hand when everything kicked off.

I know there's more to self care than face masks  being kind to yourself, saying no to what stresses you out, and talking to the people you love are all important, for example  but there's something calming about taking the time to use one. I find that it slows me down after a busy day (and I always get a laugh out of how my face looks when the mask is on. Hello, horror film).

Bloomtown Botanicals The Clearing Treatment Mask

I'm also happy to support a brand like Bloomtown. You can read all about their ethical policies on their website, but here's a quick rundown:
  • They only use suppliers who treat their workers fairly.
  • They don't use palm oil or ingredients derived from palm oil.
  • They don't test on animals at any stage in the production process, and no animal ingredients are used, making them cruelty free and vegan.
  • All Bloomtown products are free from palm oil, animal products, wheat, sulphates, SLS, parabens, synthetic fragrances, colours and detergents.
  • Recycled and recyclable materials are used for packaging. Their packing peanuts and bubble wrap are biodegradable.

Ingredients list
Plant-derived glycerine; kaolin clay; natural black clay; radish root ferment filtrate; coconut fruit extract; tea tree leaf oil; white willow bark extract; bergamot fruit oil; cedar wood oil; pine leaf oil; juniper fruit oil; rosemary leaf oil; d-limonene; limonene

Tea tree oil, a known spot-buster, is anti-bacterial, while white willow bark is an anti-inflammatory. The black clay doesn't set because of the glycerine, which keeps moisture locked in the skin and stops the mask from being too drying, so you can still speak and move your face while the mask is on.

The smell of tea tree hits you as soon as you open the pot, which may not be to everyone's tastes, but I guess my brain just associates tea tree with skincare routines now, because I quite like it.

I used the mask the same day it arrived, scaring both my parents in the process, and saw a noticeable difference in my skin the next morning. All the redness and bumps had gone right down, and existing spots had dried up significantly. The gunk hiding in my painful, under-the-skin spots had been drawn right to the surface.

Bloomtown Botanicals The Clearing Treatment Mask

It wasn't a first-use fluke, either  I see results every time I use the mask. It calms down redness and has reduced the appearance of my acne scars, plus my chin in particular is less bumpy and has fewer blackheads.

What I really love is that The Clearing is gentle enough to use several days in a row if you've got a particularly stubborn breakout. It's not a mask to use before an event or big night out because it tends to bring brewing spots to the fore, but for significant, long-term results this is well worth the money. I'll be buying it again and again.

The Clearing treatment mask costs £12 for 100g of product (I've had mine since mid-August and I've got about a quarter of a jar left). Anyone who signs up for a Bloomtown account can earn stars to put towards discount vouchers, too. I'm tempted to do the whole multimasking thing and order their soothing face mask next...

Have you tried anything from Bloomtown before? What's your favourite face mask? Let me know in the comments!
Lucky Cloud have been on my radar for a little while.

I saw a product of theirs in a blog post, thought 'Ooh, that looks interesting,' and then didn't do anything about it. So when the brand appeared on LoveLula, I decided it was about time I tried something and swiftly added the Sweet Orange + Vanilla Hydrating Body Balm* (v) to my shopping basket. I'm a sucker for anything with a citrus scent.

About Lucky Cloud
Lucky Cloud make luxury, cruelty-free products with natural, plant-based ingredients and everything is suitable for vegans. Their products are free from formaldehydes, sodium lauryl sulphates, sodium laureth sulphates, mineral oil, and animal ingredients. All their packaging is recyclable, including the shipping bags and boxes.

This is exactly the kind of approach I look for, so I was looking forward to trying the body balm for myself. Let's see if it lived up to expectation.

Lucky Cloud Hydrating Body Balm

The balm comes in a sturdy glass jar with a screw-top lid. Normally I would pick a tube or pump bottle over a jar (even though jars look that much fancier) but in this case it's much easier to scoop the product out because it's quite thick.

The first thing you notice when you open the product is the scent  it's very sweet, and smells like a Terry's Chocolate Orange, or the jelly part of a Jaffa Cake. The vanilla really comes through, but the sharpness of the orange is (thankfully) still there. Despite the scent being so strong, it's never irritated my skin, even the cracked, drier areas on my elbows and hands.

Ingredients List
Apricot kernel oil; hydrogenated soybean oil; sunflower seed oil; shea butter; cocoa seed butter; calendula flower extract; vitamin e oil; jojoba seed oil; orange peel oil; alcohol; benzoin essential oil; rosemary leaf extract; d-limonene; linalol

Lucky Cloud Hydrating Body Balm

The body balm's texture is thick and a little sticky, but not unbearably so. It reminds me of Vaseline, but this sinks into the skin and moisturises it, instead of just acting like a barrier.

The pot holds 60ml of product, so I reserve the balm for the driest areas of my body  elbows, knees, feet  and anywhere else that needs a bit of extra hydration and comfort (at this time of year, my hands always need help). I alternated using between this balm and Lyonsleaf's Calendula Cream when I had a cold last week, and both of them soothed the skin around my poor nose and stopped my skin from getting so flaky. It can also be used on eyebrows and eyelashes, post-shave, and as an aftersun.

At £16.50, it's not exactly a budget buy, but Lucky Cloud have created a lovely, soothing balm that will hydrate even the driest of winter skins. One to invest in if you want a natural, cruelty-free product (and you don't mind smelling of chocolate orange).

How do you feel about multipurpose products? Are they worth the money? Let me know in the comments.

*Product sent by LoveLula for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Introducing Lucky Cloud

Lucky Cloud have been on my radar for a little while.

I saw a product of theirs in a blog post, thought 'Ooh, that looks interesting,' and then didn't do anything about it. So when the brand appeared on LoveLula, I decided it was about time I tried something and swiftly added the Sweet Orange + Vanilla Hydrating Body Balm* (v) to my shopping basket. I'm a sucker for anything with a citrus scent.

About Lucky Cloud
Lucky Cloud make luxury, cruelty-free products with natural, plant-based ingredients and everything is suitable for vegans. Their products are free from formaldehydes, sodium lauryl sulphates, sodium laureth sulphates, mineral oil, and animal ingredients. All their packaging is recyclable, including the shipping bags and boxes.

This is exactly the kind of approach I look for, so I was looking forward to trying the body balm for myself. Let's see if it lived up to expectation.

Lucky Cloud Hydrating Body Balm

The balm comes in a sturdy glass jar with a screw-top lid. Normally I would pick a tube or pump bottle over a jar (even though jars look that much fancier) but in this case it's much easier to scoop the product out because it's quite thick.

The first thing you notice when you open the product is the scent  it's very sweet, and smells like a Terry's Chocolate Orange, or the jelly part of a Jaffa Cake. The vanilla really comes through, but the sharpness of the orange is (thankfully) still there. Despite the scent being so strong, it's never irritated my skin, even the cracked, drier areas on my elbows and hands.

Ingredients List
Apricot kernel oil; hydrogenated soybean oil; sunflower seed oil; shea butter; cocoa seed butter; calendula flower extract; vitamin e oil; jojoba seed oil; orange peel oil; alcohol; benzoin essential oil; rosemary leaf extract; d-limonene; linalol

Lucky Cloud Hydrating Body Balm

The body balm's texture is thick and a little sticky, but not unbearably so. It reminds me of Vaseline, but this sinks into the skin and moisturises it, instead of just acting like a barrier.

The pot holds 60ml of product, so I reserve the balm for the driest areas of my body  elbows, knees, feet  and anywhere else that needs a bit of extra hydration and comfort (at this time of year, my hands always need help). I alternated using between this balm and Lyonsleaf's Calendula Cream when I had a cold last week, and both of them soothed the skin around my poor nose and stopped my skin from getting so flaky. It can also be used on eyebrows and eyelashes, post-shave, and as an aftersun.

At £16.50, it's not exactly a budget buy, but Lucky Cloud have created a lovely, soothing balm that will hydrate even the driest of winter skins. One to invest in if you want a natural, cruelty-free product (and you don't mind smelling of chocolate orange).

How do you feel about multipurpose products? Are they worth the money? Let me know in the comments.

*Product sent by LoveLula for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
Finding a concealer that suits you can be a mission and a half.

Is it a good colour match? Will it go cakey? Should you get a liquid, a stick, or a solid product?

I've found a couple of close contenders in my time, but so far the perfect concealer has eluded. So when Botanical Brands got in touch to ask if I'd like to try Living Nature's Concealer in Light*, I figured it was worth a go.

Living Nature is based in New Zealand and was created after its founder, Suzanne Hall, was inspired to use native New Zealand plants to heal her skin as safely as possible. The company only uses sustainably sourced ingredients that have been certified natural, their packaging is all recyclable, and they don't test on animals. Sounds promising, but did the concealer work the way I wanted it to? Let's find out.

Living Nature Base Products

Packaging
A sleek, matte black tube. I like this because it's easy to squeeze out the right amount of product, and it's more hygienic than a pot. It's small enough to take on the go, although if you're going to reapply it in the middle of the day then I'd recommend bringing a brush with you, too.

Key ingredients
Manuka honey for nourishment, manuka oil for protection, and minerals for skin health. It's also worth noting that it contains shea butter (albeit further down the list), which can cause some problem skins to break out.

Texture
This concealer is quite a thick liquid, which means it sits better over blemishes than it does on the delicate skin underneath the eyes. Unfortunately, it can cling to dry patches, even when applied sparingly. It blends well with a concealer brush, but doesn't do so well if you just use your fingers - it's all in the tools with this one.

Interestingly, you're meant to apply the concealer before your foundation, not after. I do this anyway because my foundation of choice is mineral, but if you prefer liquids you might want to experiment to see what works best for you.

Coverage
Medium. It conceals redness and dark circles with ease.

Shade match
I could just about get away with this when I first came home from Dubai and had less of a milk-bottle complexion, but after my skin returned to its usual, uber-pale state I found that Light was in fact too dark. Fortunately, my mum, whose skin tone is much warmer than mine, was happy to take the concealer off my hands, and she's really enjoying using it.

Living Nature Base Swatches

Staying power
This concealer lasts longest when it's been set with a light dusting of powder. It has better staying power on drier skins, but I wouldn't recommend it if you really suffer from dryness because of its tendency to cling. One for those for whom oiliness and dryness aren't too much of an issue?

Price
£22 for 7ml. Would I be prepared to pay this? No. I don't mind splashing out on make-up occasionally, but it has to be something special and this isn't quite right for me.

In short
Pros: Sleek, hygienic packaging; covers blemishes and uneven patches; blends well with a brush; stays put with a little powder dusted over the top.
Cons: Shea butter makes some people break out; clings to dry patches; light shade won't suit the palest skins; v. expensive.

Living Nature's Concealer doesn't come in the right shade or formula for me, but if you have a medium skin tone, or skin that tans easily, and not many problems with oil or dryness, then this might strike the kind of balance you're looking for.

What do you look for in a concealer? Let me know in the comments!

*Product was sent to me by Botanical Brands for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Review: Living Nature Concealer in Light

Finding a concealer that suits you can be a mission and a half.

Is it a good colour match? Will it go cakey? Should you get a liquid, a stick, or a solid product?

I've found a couple of close contenders in my time, but so far the perfect concealer has eluded. So when Botanical Brands got in touch to ask if I'd like to try Living Nature's Concealer in Light*, I figured it was worth a go.

Living Nature is based in New Zealand and was created after its founder, Suzanne Hall, was inspired to use native New Zealand plants to heal her skin as safely as possible. The company only uses sustainably sourced ingredients that have been certified natural, their packaging is all recyclable, and they don't test on animals. Sounds promising, but did the concealer work the way I wanted it to? Let's find out.

Living Nature Base Products

Packaging
A sleek, matte black tube. I like this because it's easy to squeeze out the right amount of product, and it's more hygienic than a pot. It's small enough to take on the go, although if you're going to reapply it in the middle of the day then I'd recommend bringing a brush with you, too.

Key ingredients
Manuka honey for nourishment, manuka oil for protection, and minerals for skin health. It's also worth noting that it contains shea butter (albeit further down the list), which can cause some problem skins to break out.

Texture
This concealer is quite a thick liquid, which means it sits better over blemishes than it does on the delicate skin underneath the eyes. Unfortunately, it can cling to dry patches, even when applied sparingly. It blends well with a concealer brush, but doesn't do so well if you just use your fingers - it's all in the tools with this one.

Interestingly, you're meant to apply the concealer before your foundation, not after. I do this anyway because my foundation of choice is mineral, but if you prefer liquids you might want to experiment to see what works best for you.

Coverage
Medium. It conceals redness and dark circles with ease.

Shade match
I could just about get away with this when I first came home from Dubai and had less of a milk-bottle complexion, but after my skin returned to its usual, uber-pale state I found that Light was in fact too dark. Fortunately, my mum, whose skin tone is much warmer than mine, was happy to take the concealer off my hands, and she's really enjoying using it.

Living Nature Base Swatches

Staying power
This concealer lasts longest when it's been set with a light dusting of powder. It has better staying power on drier skins, but I wouldn't recommend it if you really suffer from dryness because of its tendency to cling. One for those for whom oiliness and dryness aren't too much of an issue?

Price
£22 for 7ml. Would I be prepared to pay this? No. I don't mind splashing out on make-up occasionally, but it has to be something special and this isn't quite right for me.

In short
Pros: Sleek, hygienic packaging; covers blemishes and uneven patches; blends well with a brush; stays put with a little powder dusted over the top.
Cons: Shea butter makes some people break out; clings to dry patches; light shade won't suit the palest skins; v. expensive.

Living Nature's Concealer doesn't come in the right shade or formula for me, but if you have a medium skin tone, or skin that tans easily, and not many problems with oil or dryness, then this might strike the kind of balance you're looking for.

What do you look for in a concealer? Let me know in the comments!

*Product was sent to me by Botanical Brands for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
Welcome to the latest post in my Going Cruelty Free series.

Last time I talked about shopping for cruelty-free beauty on the high street, but I appreciate that for many people it's necessary, or much easier, to order online and have parcels delivered. I also find that zooming in on what you're looking for takes less time (plus you can online shop in your pyjamas, which is a victory all-round I think).

I've discovered the majority of my favourite brands through the internet, be it via a trusty Google search or reading reviews and blog posts, and it's made me realise that there's far more out there than you'd expect. Lots of companies only sell their products online, so it's well worth looking around to see what takes your fancy. It's always helpful to have a starting point, so here's a list of cruelty-free beauty retailers on the web.

Walden Natural Perfumes

LoveLula
LoveLula offers a huge range of brands to choose from, all of them selling natural and organic beauty products. Animal testing by and on the behalf of the brands is a complete no-no, so you can browse without having to pick out the cruelty-free products  they're all cruelty free, which is the dream. They also have a section of their website dedicated solely to vegan products(If you want to chat all things guilt-free beauty, you can join their Natural Beauty Club on Facebook.)

Shipping costs: Free for orders over £10. £2.95 for orders under £10.

Free returns? Only if a product was faulty when it arrived, in which case you can send it to a freepost address.

What to buy: Lyonsleaf's Beauty Balm* can be used as a cleanser, a thick moisturiser, and a soothing ointment for dry skin. Skin & Tonic's Mini Calm Balm* is handy to keep in your bag for panicky moments, and Walden's natural perfumes are beautifully blended fragrances unlike anything you'd find on the high street. My favourite is Castles in the Air*, a mix of citrus, tropical flowers, and lavender that is sweet and sensual at the same time.

GOSH make-up

Superdrug
I included Superdrug in my previous post about high street shopping, but if going there in person isn't convenient for you or you need to make a bulk order, then it's good to know you can head to the website. The search function isn't the best  there have been a couple of times when I've looked for something and it hasn't appeared in the results, only for me to find it by going through the brand's page  but delivery is reasonably quick and I can't fault the customer service team (they were very helpful recently when I had password problems).

Shipping: Free for Health & Beauty Card members who spend over £10. £3 otherwise.

Free returns? Yes.

What to buy: Superdrug is excellent for cruelty-free basics like deodorant and toothpaste, which are often quite difficult to find in supermarkets. I'm also a fan of their own-brand body creams, which come in huge tubs for tiny prices, and you can find make-up brands like GOSH, theBalm and Sleek.

Naturisimo hair products

Naturisimo
Naturisimo has a large selection of organic brands to choose from, although you have to be careful because not every product they stock is cruelty free. This is a site to browse once you have a solid idea of which brands you're happy to buy from. Naturisimo offer quick shipping and they often sell Discovery Boxes, which contain miniatures of products that all have a similar theme  it could be hair care, winter skin soothers etc. You can also pick up to five mini samples with your order, which is handy if you've got your eye on a product and aren't sure whether or not you want to splash your cash.

Shipping costs: Free.

Free returns? No.

What to buy: Antipodes are my go-to brand if I've saved up for a serious treat. The Aura Manuka Honey Mask is the perfect blend of purifying and soothing, making it ideal for spotty combination skin, and the Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream always leaves my eye area super-smooth.

Lily Lolo products

Lily Lolo
I love Lily Lolo. Their mineral make-up is gentle, but it packs a punch all the same. The blushes are pigmented but won't look too clown-like on cheeks, while the base products cover redness without causing irritation or looking like a mask. Most of the products are vegan, too.

Shipping costs: £1 for orders £6 and under. £2 for orders over £6 and under £30. Free delivery over £30.

Free returns? No.

What to buy: The Mineral Foundation in Porcelain is my absolute favourite, whether my skin is spotty or not, and it's worth buying the Super Kabuki Brush to go with it. The large, rounded top is perfect for buffing in the pigments.

Tropic products

Tropic
The brainchild of The Apprentice's Susan Ma, Tropic is a vegan beauty brand which uses natural formulations, and lists all their ingredients in everyday English so you can see exactly what you're putting on your skin. They boast an impressive range of skincare, body care, and make-up, and are currently donating 10% of their sales to Breast Cancer Care if you buy a tube of Body Love Firming Buttercream.

Shipping costs: £3.50 for standard delivery.

Free returns? Yes.

What to buy: The Smoothing Cleanser will leave skin feeling comfortably clean, while the Tamanu Balm soothes chapped lips, cracked elbows, and dry hands.

Fairypants Lip Products

Fairypants
If you'd like your beauty to be a little bit different, you can't go wrong with Fairypants. Everything they make (cosmetics, body care, and perfume) is vegan and their scents range from tangy cola bottles to sweet apple crumble. Fairypants also happen to be one of the loveliest brands ever, so do get in touch with them on social media if you have questions.

Shipping costs: £3.50 flat rate.

Free returns? No.

What to buy: They have lots of cocktail-flavoured lip balms, so pick your tipple and enjoy (mine is Margarita).

Where are your favourite places to buy cruelty free? Have you tried any of the sites on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Going Cruelty Free: Where to Buy Products Online

Welcome to the latest post in my Going Cruelty Free series.

Last time I talked about shopping for cruelty-free beauty on the high street, but I appreciate that for many people it's necessary, or much easier, to order online and have parcels delivered. I also find that zooming in on what you're looking for takes less time (plus you can online shop in your pyjamas, which is a victory all-round I think).

I've discovered the majority of my favourite brands through the internet, be it via a trusty Google search or reading reviews and blog posts, and it's made me realise that there's far more out there than you'd expect. Lots of companies only sell their products online, so it's well worth looking around to see what takes your fancy. It's always helpful to have a starting point, so here's a list of cruelty-free beauty retailers on the web.

Walden Natural Perfumes

LoveLula
LoveLula offers a huge range of brands to choose from, all of them selling natural and organic beauty products. Animal testing by and on the behalf of the brands is a complete no-no, so you can browse without having to pick out the cruelty-free products  they're all cruelty free, which is the dream. They also have a section of their website dedicated solely to vegan products(If you want to chat all things guilt-free beauty, you can join their Natural Beauty Club on Facebook.)

Shipping costs: Free for orders over £10. £2.95 for orders under £10.

Free returns? Only if a product was faulty when it arrived, in which case you can send it to a freepost address.

What to buy: Lyonsleaf's Beauty Balm* can be used as a cleanser, a thick moisturiser, and a soothing ointment for dry skin. Skin & Tonic's Mini Calm Balm* is handy to keep in your bag for panicky moments, and Walden's natural perfumes are beautifully blended fragrances unlike anything you'd find on the high street. My favourite is Castles in the Air*, a mix of citrus, tropical flowers, and lavender that is sweet and sensual at the same time.

GOSH make-up

Superdrug
I included Superdrug in my previous post about high street shopping, but if going there in person isn't convenient for you or you need to make a bulk order, then it's good to know you can head to the website. The search function isn't the best  there have been a couple of times when I've looked for something and it hasn't appeared in the results, only for me to find it by going through the brand's page  but delivery is reasonably quick and I can't fault the customer service team (they were very helpful recently when I had password problems).

Shipping: Free for Health & Beauty Card members who spend over £10. £3 otherwise.

Free returns? Yes.

What to buy: Superdrug is excellent for cruelty-free basics like deodorant and toothpaste, which are often quite difficult to find in supermarkets. I'm also a fan of their own-brand body creams, which come in huge tubs for tiny prices, and you can find make-up brands like GOSH, theBalm and Sleek.

Naturisimo hair products

Naturisimo
Naturisimo has a large selection of organic brands to choose from, although you have to be careful because not every product they stock is cruelty free. This is a site to browse once you have a solid idea of which brands you're happy to buy from. Naturisimo offer quick shipping and they often sell Discovery Boxes, which contain miniatures of products that all have a similar theme  it could be hair care, winter skin soothers etc. You can also pick up to five mini samples with your order, which is handy if you've got your eye on a product and aren't sure whether or not you want to splash your cash.

Shipping costs: Free.

Free returns? No.

What to buy: Antipodes are my go-to brand if I've saved up for a serious treat. The Aura Manuka Honey Mask is the perfect blend of purifying and soothing, making it ideal for spotty combination skin, and the Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream always leaves my eye area super-smooth.

Lily Lolo products

Lily Lolo
I love Lily Lolo. Their mineral make-up is gentle, but it packs a punch all the same. The blushes are pigmented but won't look too clown-like on cheeks, while the base products cover redness without causing irritation or looking like a mask. Most of the products are vegan, too.

Shipping costs: £1 for orders £6 and under. £2 for orders over £6 and under £30. Free delivery over £30.

Free returns? No.

What to buy: The Mineral Foundation in Porcelain is my absolute favourite, whether my skin is spotty or not, and it's worth buying the Super Kabuki Brush to go with it. The large, rounded top is perfect for buffing in the pigments.

Tropic products

Tropic
The brainchild of The Apprentice's Susan Ma, Tropic is a vegan beauty brand which uses natural formulations, and lists all their ingredients in everyday English so you can see exactly what you're putting on your skin. They boast an impressive range of skincare, body care, and make-up, and are currently donating 10% of their sales to Breast Cancer Care if you buy a tube of Body Love Firming Buttercream.

Shipping costs: £3.50 for standard delivery.

Free returns? Yes.

What to buy: The Smoothing Cleanser will leave skin feeling comfortably clean, while the Tamanu Balm soothes chapped lips, cracked elbows, and dry hands.

Fairypants Lip Products

Fairypants
If you'd like your beauty to be a little bit different, you can't go wrong with Fairypants. Everything they make (cosmetics, body care, and perfume) is vegan and their scents range from tangy cola bottles to sweet apple crumble. Fairypants also happen to be one of the loveliest brands ever, so do get in touch with them on social media if you have questions.

Shipping costs: £3.50 flat rate.

Free returns? No.

What to buy: They have lots of cocktail-flavoured lip balms, so pick your tipple and enjoy (mine is Margarita).

Where are your favourite places to buy cruelty free? Have you tried any of the sites on this list? Let me know in the comments!
I'm a firm believer that the contents of a product are most important, not fancy packaging, but that doesn't mean I'm not a sucker for something pretty.

Fortunately, Pacifica appear to have mastered both style and substance. I've been testing some of their make-up and perfume over the last few months and I'm hooked. Not only is the packaging beautifully designed  just look at those metallic accents  but the formulas are a pleasure to use, and do what they're supposed to do.

I knew Pacifica were a cruelty-free brand, but I didn't realise absolutely everything they made was vegan until I had the opportunity to try their products myself. Everything is also free from lead and phthalates, and the ingredients are all natural and as sustainable as possible.

Pacifica French Lilac Solid Perfume

French Lilac Solid Perfume* (v), £10
Normally I use sprays, not solid perfumes, but I liked the idea of being able to take a scent with me in my bag without worrying about a bottle breaking, or losing a teeny little tube. This tin is a good handbag size and easy to find, so mission accomplished.

The perfume is made from organic soy and coconut wax, then blended with natural and essential oils, including French lilac, star jasmine, and hints of orange and driftwood. French Lilac is first and foremost a floral scent, but the orange and driftwood, although subtle, make it fresh and not too twee. It's a very feminine fragrance. I'd say it melts into the skin and lingers there for a good 6-8 hours, so ironically I haven't really needed to take it with me when I leave the house.

Pacifica Transcendent Concentrated Concealer in Light

Transcendent Concentrated Concealer in Light* (v), £15.99
Light looks darker than the shades of concealer I normally go for and I did worry it wouldn't be a very good match, especially since it's so pigmented. However, once I blend the concealer out it fades into my skin quite nicely and covers up any redness or blemishes (the hormonal acne on my chin currently visits once a month with a vengeance).

It also brightens up the under-eye area and won't sit in fine lines. I have quite a deep crease under each eye, so it does tend to settle, but that's the same for every single product I've ever applied there. A little bit of mineral powder helps to set the concealer and minimise this.

As for the ingredients, coconut water is said to reduce fine lines, sweet iris stem cells are said to have a firming effect, and ginseng extract is said to support circulation. While I haven't really noticed any changes in this regard, I'm not going to complain because I buy concealer to cover up. If it also improves the texture of my skin then that's a nice bonus, but my main concern is hiding spots and scars, which this does.




Enlighten Eye Brightening Shadow Palette* (v), £15.49
These pressed mineral eyeshadows are infused with coconut water and although I wouldn't describe them as buttery, they apply evenly with eyeshadow brushes and blend out beautifully. I chose Enlighten because the purple and coral shades are different to any other colours I own, although all four shades are lovely.

Skinny Dip: Matte nude. A swish of this will brighten eyes in an instant.

Coral Sand: Pinky-nude, a shade I would normally use on lips rather than eyes. This isn't so pink that it'll make your eyes look squinty, but might bring out red tones if your skin is prone to flushing.

Golden: Shimmery gold, looks particularly good on the inner corners of the eye.

Urchin: Purple with gold tones. Urchin is lighter than it appears in the palette, so it's not the substitute for black LoveLula suggest, but it's pretty all the same. A nice weekend alternative to neutral colours.

You won't get a dramatic smoky eye with this palette, but you will get a wash of colours that define and brighten the eyes, and look a little different to everyday browns and taupes.


7-Free Nail Polish in Totally Coral* (v), £9.99
It's always good to find a cruelty-free nail polish that sits on the right side of £10, since I've found most of the free-from ones to cost a fair bit more (and let's face it, even £9.99 isn't particularly cheap). Pacifica's nail polishes are formulated without parabens, phthalates, toleune, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animal ingredients. The colour is opaque and and long-lasting  I painted my toenails with Totally Coral at the beginning of August and it lasted almost the whole month (with top coat). I swear toenail polish would survive the apocalypse.

What started out as curiosity has turned me into a full-on Pacifica fanatic. I love the gentle, natural formulas, I love that everything does what I want it to do, and the packaging makes me happy. This stuff is special, and worth a try if you're looking for a brand to bridge the high street/high end gap.

Has anything from Pacifica caught your eye? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

*Products were sent to me by LoveLula for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

The Prettiest Vegan Make-Up from Pacifica

I'm a firm believer that the contents of a product are most important, not fancy packaging, but that doesn't mean I'm not a sucker for something pretty.

Fortunately, Pacifica appear to have mastered both style and substance. I've been testing some of their make-up and perfume over the last few months and I'm hooked. Not only is the packaging beautifully designed  just look at those metallic accents  but the formulas are a pleasure to use, and do what they're supposed to do.

I knew Pacifica were a cruelty-free brand, but I didn't realise absolutely everything they made was vegan until I had the opportunity to try their products myself. Everything is also free from lead and phthalates, and the ingredients are all natural and as sustainable as possible.

Pacifica French Lilac Solid Perfume

French Lilac Solid Perfume* (v), £10
Normally I use sprays, not solid perfumes, but I liked the idea of being able to take a scent with me in my bag without worrying about a bottle breaking, or losing a teeny little tube. This tin is a good handbag size and easy to find, so mission accomplished.

The perfume is made from organic soy and coconut wax, then blended with natural and essential oils, including French lilac, star jasmine, and hints of orange and driftwood. French Lilac is first and foremost a floral scent, but the orange and driftwood, although subtle, make it fresh and not too twee. It's a very feminine fragrance. I'd say it melts into the skin and lingers there for a good 6-8 hours, so ironically I haven't really needed to take it with me when I leave the house.

Pacifica Transcendent Concentrated Concealer in Light

Transcendent Concentrated Concealer in Light* (v), £15.99
Light looks darker than the shades of concealer I normally go for and I did worry it wouldn't be a very good match, especially since it's so pigmented. However, once I blend the concealer out it fades into my skin quite nicely and covers up any redness or blemishes (the hormonal acne on my chin currently visits once a month with a vengeance).

It also brightens up the under-eye area and won't sit in fine lines. I have quite a deep crease under each eye, so it does tend to settle, but that's the same for every single product I've ever applied there. A little bit of mineral powder helps to set the concealer and minimise this.

As for the ingredients, coconut water is said to reduce fine lines, sweet iris stem cells are said to have a firming effect, and ginseng extract is said to support circulation. While I haven't really noticed any changes in this regard, I'm not going to complain because I buy concealer to cover up. If it also improves the texture of my skin then that's a nice bonus, but my main concern is hiding spots and scars, which this does.




Enlighten Eye Brightening Shadow Palette* (v), £15.49
These pressed mineral eyeshadows are infused with coconut water and although I wouldn't describe them as buttery, they apply evenly with eyeshadow brushes and blend out beautifully. I chose Enlighten because the purple and coral shades are different to any other colours I own, although all four shades are lovely.

Skinny Dip: Matte nude. A swish of this will brighten eyes in an instant.

Coral Sand: Pinky-nude, a shade I would normally use on lips rather than eyes. This isn't so pink that it'll make your eyes look squinty, but might bring out red tones if your skin is prone to flushing.

Golden: Shimmery gold, looks particularly good on the inner corners of the eye.

Urchin: Purple with gold tones. Urchin is lighter than it appears in the palette, so it's not the substitute for black LoveLula suggest, but it's pretty all the same. A nice weekend alternative to neutral colours.

You won't get a dramatic smoky eye with this palette, but you will get a wash of colours that define and brighten the eyes, and look a little different to everyday browns and taupes.


7-Free Nail Polish in Totally Coral* (v), £9.99
It's always good to find a cruelty-free nail polish that sits on the right side of £10, since I've found most of the free-from ones to cost a fair bit more (and let's face it, even £9.99 isn't particularly cheap). Pacifica's nail polishes are formulated without parabens, phthalates, toleune, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animal ingredients. The colour is opaque and and long-lasting  I painted my toenails with Totally Coral at the beginning of August and it lasted almost the whole month (with top coat). I swear toenail polish would survive the apocalypse.

What started out as curiosity has turned me into a full-on Pacifica fanatic. I love the gentle, natural formulas, I love that everything does what I want it to do, and the packaging makes me happy. This stuff is special, and worth a try if you're looking for a brand to bridge the high street/high end gap.

Has anything from Pacifica caught your eye? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

*Products were sent to me by LoveLula for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
Cheesecake has been my favourite dessert since I was a child. Sweet, creamy, and comforting, it's perked up numerous bad days and made already-good ones even better. But I'd never attempted to make my own before  until recently.

There was one gloriously sunny Sunday back in August when we went blackberry picking, so I kept a portion of our findings for myself and decided that now was the time to try. I'm more of a cook than a baker — far more at home with curries than with cake  but cheesecake is simple, right?

Wrong.

I wanted to make a vegan cheesecake, because I like to use as many dairy-free products as possible, and it had to be nut-free because my brother has allergies. (Between us, in our family, we are allergic to nearly everything. Christmas is a nightmare.)

My parents were packing up to move and there were boxes all over the house, most of them secured with tonnes of tape. I had no baking tin, nothing with a pop-out base, nada. I carried on regardless, since nothing comes between me and food, and ended up using a little casserole dish.

The recipe itself was an amalgamation of two  one for the topping, one for the base. This was a mistake, seeing as one was for a baked cheesecake and one for a no-bake cheesecake. (Although I did do this so my brother could actually eat it, so I guess I win big sister points.)

Blackberry picking

Ingredients
  • 1 pack Hob Nobs
  • 3 tbsp dairy-free butter (I used Koko)
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free yogurt (I used Koko)
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half tsp salt


  • Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin until they resemble crumbs.
  • Melt the butter and mix evenly with the biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of a baking tin so it forms a base.
  • Blend the rest of the ingredients together and pour on top of the biscuit base.
  • Bake until the topping sets. This took 45 minutes in my oven, but may be less in others.


Blackberry pudding

The topping was... interesting. It was nice, and oddly charming in a school-dinner-pudding kind of way, but it resembled blackberry jam more than anything else. The biscuit base, on the other hand, was deliciously moreish. I enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn't a cheesecake. (My brother only had one bite, the bastard.)

Would I make this pudding again? Not in its entirety. I'd use the base as part of a cheesecake, hopefully with a creamier topping this time. And the blackberry mixture would make a lovely filling for sponge cake  I'm thinking Victoria sponge with lots of vegan buttercream and icing sugar. The hunt for vegan cheesecake continues.

Have you ever tried to make vegan desserts before? Do you have any favourite recipes? Let me know in the comments!

The Blackberry Cheesecake Experiment

Cheesecake has been my favourite dessert since I was a child. Sweet, creamy, and comforting, it's perked up numerous bad days and made already-good ones even better. But I'd never attempted to make my own before  until recently.

There was one gloriously sunny Sunday back in August when we went blackberry picking, so I kept a portion of our findings for myself and decided that now was the time to try. I'm more of a cook than a baker — far more at home with curries than with cake  but cheesecake is simple, right?

Wrong.

I wanted to make a vegan cheesecake, because I like to use as many dairy-free products as possible, and it had to be nut-free because my brother has allergies. (Between us, in our family, we are allergic to nearly everything. Christmas is a nightmare.)

My parents were packing up to move and there were boxes all over the house, most of them secured with tonnes of tape. I had no baking tin, nothing with a pop-out base, nada. I carried on regardless, since nothing comes between me and food, and ended up using a little casserole dish.

The recipe itself was an amalgamation of two  one for the topping, one for the base. This was a mistake, seeing as one was for a baked cheesecake and one for a no-bake cheesecake. (Although I did do this so my brother could actually eat it, so I guess I win big sister points.)

Blackberry picking

Ingredients
  • 1 pack Hob Nobs
  • 3 tbsp dairy-free butter (I used Koko)
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free yogurt (I used Koko)
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half tsp salt


  • Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin until they resemble crumbs.
  • Melt the butter and mix evenly with the biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of a baking tin so it forms a base.
  • Blend the rest of the ingredients together and pour on top of the biscuit base.
  • Bake until the topping sets. This took 45 minutes in my oven, but may be less in others.


Blackberry pudding

The topping was... interesting. It was nice, and oddly charming in a school-dinner-pudding kind of way, but it resembled blackberry jam more than anything else. The biscuit base, on the other hand, was deliciously moreish. I enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn't a cheesecake. (My brother only had one bite, the bastard.)

Would I make this pudding again? Not in its entirety. I'd use the base as part of a cheesecake, hopefully with a creamier topping this time. And the blackberry mixture would make a lovely filling for sponge cake  I'm thinking Victoria sponge with lots of vegan buttercream and icing sugar. The hunt for vegan cheesecake continues.

Have you ever tried to make vegan desserts before? Do you have any favourite recipes? Let me know in the comments!
Welcome to the latest post in my Going Cruelty Free series.

If you've decided to take a stand against animal testing, are in the process of decluttering your make-up bag, and want to know where to find some cruelty free replacements, then this guide is for you.

(Live overseas? There's a post about buying cruelty free products online coming your way in the next couple of weeks.)

When I first decided to avoid brands that conducted animal testing, I was shocked at how many of my everyday staples I could/would no longer use, and also by how widespread animal testing is in the beauty industry. Why torture rabbits and mice for the sake of a lipstick or mascara when there are so many humane alternatives out there?

Finding brands I could use always felt like a victory. Sometimes it was easy  some companies take great pride in their ethics. Others are a little quieter, but if no animals are harmed then I'm happy to buy. It's always lovely to support independent brands, but sometimes you just need to stock up on well-priced essentials while you're out doing your shopping, and where better to do that than the high street?

GOSH products

Superdrug
If you're planning a one-stop shop then Superdrug is the place to go.

They have an impressive range of own-brand products, all of them certified cruelty free and bearing the Leaping Bunny logo. Superdrug's products also specify if they're suitable for vegetarians and vegans, so you don't need to research if you're in a hurry. B., their make-up and skincare range, is completely vegan.

Popular brands available at Superdrug include Barry M, GOSH, Sleek, e.l.f., theBalm, and Lottie London. Prices start at £1 for MUA and Makeup Revolution products, which is a godsend if you're on a particularly tight budget (I used their make-up a lot during my student days).

I should point out that Superdrug are own by a testing parent company, but whether or not you buy from a brand with a parent company is completely up to you. If you're only just making the switch to cruelty free and want to keep your options more open, then Superdrug are an affordable, accessible starting point.

My picks: Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v); GOSH Lumi Drops in Rosegold (v); B. Men Daily Moisture Cream (v); Barry M Mani Mask in Birthday Suit (v); theBalm Mary Louminizer (v)

Oatifix

Lush
Beloved by many for their delightfully scented bath bombs and bubble bars, Lush also have an impressive range of cruelty free skincare products, make-up, and perfumes. Lots of products are suitable for vegans (and clearly labelled if so). Lush are out and proud when it comes to their ethical stance  they even sell a canvas bag with Against Animal Testing written on it.

I find that Lush is a good place to go if you're looking buy a specific type of product, e.g. shower gel or a hair treatment, but aren't sure what to get. I've had some lovely experiences with the assistants, who are always happy to grab lotions and potions for you to sample in-store before you make a decision. Some of them will even throw in free sample pots of products they think you might like, and you can request samples if you're curious about a product but don't want to part with your cash straight away.

I know some people are put off by what I've been told is 'the Lush smell', but if that doesn't bother you then you can't go wrong.

My picks: The Fresh Face Masks (I like Catastrophe Cosmetic (v) and Rosy Cheeks (v); my mum prefers Oatifix (v)); Ultrabland Facial Cleanser; Dream Cream (v); Sex Bomb (v); Butterbear (v); Cheer Up Buttercup (v)... it's very rare for me to find a Lush product I don't like.

The Body Shop base products

The Body Shop
Since being bought by cruelty-free parent company Natura, The Body Shop has been back in the good books of cruelty free consumers everywhere. They're a good place to go for targeted skincare, plus their bronzers and shimmer wave blush compacts give the complexion a gorgeously healthy glow. They're currently trying to veganify as much of their range as possible and promote their existing vegan products, which is so encouraging to see.

My picks: Vitamin E Cream Cleanser (v); Tea Tree Oil (v); Baked to Last Bronzer in Warm Glow (v); Shimmer Waves in Coral (v); Instaglow CC Cream for Light Skin (v)

Cruelty-free make-up

Marks & Spencer
Although not every product they sell is animal friendly, Marks & Spencer have brought several cruelty free beauty brands to the high street, brands that you could only previously buy online, such as Pixi. Their cult Glow Tonic is available in two different sizes (and often sold out) but they also have a range of other, less-talked about products that do just as good a job. I love the Glow Mud Cleanser, which clears up congested skin, and the MultiBalm sticks  pretty, multi-purpose creams for lips and cheeks.

M&S also have their own lines. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's make-up range, Rosie For Autograph, is absolutely stunning, both in terms of packaging (metallic rose gold) and formula (the Cream Blusher in English Rose Flush is one of my everyday go-to products). If you're looking for a brand to bridge the gap between budget and high end then this is it.

My picks: Rosie For Autograph Cream Blusher in English Rose Flush (v); Rosie For Autograph Lipstick in Super Model Kiss (v); Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser; Pixi MutiBalm in Wild Rose

I hope you found this guide helpful. Committing to only buying cruelty free is a big change, but it doesn't have to be a stressful one  there are plenty of accessible, ethical brands out there. Happy shopping!

Where do you like to shop cruelty free on the high street? Let me know on the comments!

(v) = vegan

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you go through to the retailer and purchase an item, I'll receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.

Going Cruelty Free: Where to Buy Products On the High Street

Welcome to the latest post in my Going Cruelty Free series.

If you've decided to take a stand against animal testing, are in the process of decluttering your make-up bag, and want to know where to find some cruelty free replacements, then this guide is for you.

(Live overseas? There's a post about buying cruelty free products online coming your way in the next couple of weeks.)

When I first decided to avoid brands that conducted animal testing, I was shocked at how many of my everyday staples I could/would no longer use, and also by how widespread animal testing is in the beauty industry. Why torture rabbits and mice for the sake of a lipstick or mascara when there are so many humane alternatives out there?

Finding brands I could use always felt like a victory. Sometimes it was easy  some companies take great pride in their ethics. Others are a little quieter, but if no animals are harmed then I'm happy to buy. It's always lovely to support independent brands, but sometimes you just need to stock up on well-priced essentials while you're out doing your shopping, and where better to do that than the high street?

GOSH products

Superdrug
If you're planning a one-stop shop then Superdrug is the place to go.

They have an impressive range of own-brand products, all of them certified cruelty free and bearing the Leaping Bunny logo. Superdrug's products also specify if they're suitable for vegetarians and vegans, so you don't need to research if you're in a hurry. B., their make-up and skincare range, is completely vegan.

Popular brands available at Superdrug include Barry M, GOSH, Sleek, e.l.f., theBalm, and Lottie London. Prices start at £1 for MUA and Makeup Revolution products, which is a godsend if you're on a particularly tight budget (I used their make-up a lot during my student days).

I should point out that Superdrug are own by a testing parent company, but whether or not you buy from a brand with a parent company is completely up to you. If you're only just making the switch to cruelty free and want to keep your options more open, then Superdrug are an affordable, accessible starting point.

My picks: Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v); GOSH Lumi Drops in Rosegold (v); B. Men Daily Moisture Cream (v); Barry M Mani Mask in Birthday Suit (v); theBalm Mary Louminizer (v)

Oatifix

Lush
Beloved by many for their delightfully scented bath bombs and bubble bars, Lush also have an impressive range of cruelty free skincare products, make-up, and perfumes. Lots of products are suitable for vegans (and clearly labelled if so). Lush are out and proud when it comes to their ethical stance  they even sell a canvas bag with Against Animal Testing written on it.

I find that Lush is a good place to go if you're looking buy a specific type of product, e.g. shower gel or a hair treatment, but aren't sure what to get. I've had some lovely experiences with the assistants, who are always happy to grab lotions and potions for you to sample in-store before you make a decision. Some of them will even throw in free sample pots of products they think you might like, and you can request samples if you're curious about a product but don't want to part with your cash straight away.

I know some people are put off by what I've been told is 'the Lush smell', but if that doesn't bother you then you can't go wrong.

My picks: The Fresh Face Masks (I like Catastrophe Cosmetic (v) and Rosy Cheeks (v); my mum prefers Oatifix (v)); Ultrabland Facial Cleanser; Dream Cream (v); Sex Bomb (v); Butterbear (v); Cheer Up Buttercup (v)... it's very rare for me to find a Lush product I don't like.

The Body Shop base products

The Body Shop
Since being bought by cruelty-free parent company Natura, The Body Shop has been back in the good books of cruelty free consumers everywhere. They're a good place to go for targeted skincare, plus their bronzers and shimmer wave blush compacts give the complexion a gorgeously healthy glow. They're currently trying to veganify as much of their range as possible and promote their existing vegan products, which is so encouraging to see.

My picks: Vitamin E Cream Cleanser (v); Tea Tree Oil (v); Baked to Last Bronzer in Warm Glow (v); Shimmer Waves in Coral (v); Instaglow CC Cream for Light Skin (v)

Cruelty-free make-up

Marks & Spencer
Although not every product they sell is animal friendly, Marks & Spencer have brought several cruelty free beauty brands to the high street, brands that you could only previously buy online, such as Pixi. Their cult Glow Tonic is available in two different sizes (and often sold out) but they also have a range of other, less-talked about products that do just as good a job. I love the Glow Mud Cleanser, which clears up congested skin, and the MultiBalm sticks  pretty, multi-purpose creams for lips and cheeks.

M&S also have their own lines. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's make-up range, Rosie For Autograph, is absolutely stunning, both in terms of packaging (metallic rose gold) and formula (the Cream Blusher in English Rose Flush is one of my everyday go-to products). If you're looking for a brand to bridge the gap between budget and high end then this is it.

My picks: Rosie For Autograph Cream Blusher in English Rose Flush (v); Rosie For Autograph Lipstick in Super Model Kiss (v); Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser; Pixi MutiBalm in Wild Rose

I hope you found this guide helpful. Committing to only buying cruelty free is a big change, but it doesn't have to be a stressful one  there are plenty of accessible, ethical brands out there. Happy shopping!

Where do you like to shop cruelty free on the high street? Let me know on the comments!

(v) = vegan

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you go through to the retailer and purchase an item, I'll receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
It can be difficult to know where to start when you first begin to look for vegan beauty products.

Sure, there's Google (and there are some lovely brands out there), but if you want to see the products in person, read the ingredients label, and try before you buy, then you can't beat B.

B. is Superdrug's own brand and everything they sell is reasonably priced, cruelty free, and completely vegan. There's a range of make-up, in swanky new matte, black packaging, brushes and tools, and skincare for all kinds of concerns.

The skincare products cater to men, women, and teenagers alike, so I roped my mum and brother in to help me try some of B's latest offerings.

B. Nourished Cooling & Soothing Face Mask

For Mum: B. Nourished Cooling & Soothing Mask* (v) £8.99 for 30ml
This face mask is from Phase 4 of B's skincare range, which is designed for women in their late fifties and beyond. It contains witch hazel to control shine and hyaluronic acid for an extra moisture hit, and you leave it for 10-15 minutes before massaging any excess product into the skin.

My mum is blessed with plump, young-looking skin but she still has concerns when it comes to dryness, so she eagerly took this off my hands. She didn't find it particularly cooling (although storing it in the fridge will solve that), but she did say it was hydrating and soothed dry, irritated skin. It also calmed down an insect bite she had on her cheek  unfortunately being a mosquito magnet runs in the family.

B. Men Daily Moisture Cream

For my brother: B. Men Daily Moisture Cream* (v) £12.99 for 140ml
Daily Moisture Cream is a multi-purpose moisturiser for the face, body, and hands, which appeals to the lazy minimalist in me. If it wasn't for the strong, standard male toiletries scent  we all know the one  I would have had a hard time handing the tin over.

So, what did my brother think?

"I like it; it works," he said when I asked him (he's never been one to go into detail). Once I'd pressed him for more information, he told me he's been using it on dry patches on his face, neck, and arms. His skin no longer feels tight or itchy, and it's hydrated but not too oily.

"I have lovely skin," he concluded.

I noticed he took it with him when he went back to university last month, so if that's not a good sign I don't know what is.

B. Blending Sponge

For me: B. Blending Sponge*, £4.99 (v)
B's blending sponge is free from latex, which is great news for anyone who has an allergy. I've found that the sponge is better at blending products over a targeted area  highlighter along cheekbones, cream blush on the apples of the cheeks, concealer over blemishes and redness  than it is at blending base products over the entire face. I think this is because it's quite solid as far as sponges go. The colour also leaks if the sponge gets wet, which is a bit of a pain when you wash it. It's a nice item to have, but I'd suggest using one of the brushes instead if you fancy trying some of B.'s tools.

Have you tried anything from B. before? What do you think of their makeover? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

*Products were sent to me by B. for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Testing New Products by B. at Superdrug

It can be difficult to know where to start when you first begin to look for vegan beauty products.

Sure, there's Google (and there are some lovely brands out there), but if you want to see the products in person, read the ingredients label, and try before you buy, then you can't beat B.

B. is Superdrug's own brand and everything they sell is reasonably priced, cruelty free, and completely vegan. There's a range of make-up, in swanky new matte, black packaging, brushes and tools, and skincare for all kinds of concerns.

The skincare products cater to men, women, and teenagers alike, so I roped my mum and brother in to help me try some of B's latest offerings.

B. Nourished Cooling & Soothing Face Mask

For Mum: B. Nourished Cooling & Soothing Mask* (v) £8.99 for 30ml
This face mask is from Phase 4 of B's skincare range, which is designed for women in their late fifties and beyond. It contains witch hazel to control shine and hyaluronic acid for an extra moisture hit, and you leave it for 10-15 minutes before massaging any excess product into the skin.

My mum is blessed with plump, young-looking skin but she still has concerns when it comes to dryness, so she eagerly took this off my hands. She didn't find it particularly cooling (although storing it in the fridge will solve that), but she did say it was hydrating and soothed dry, irritated skin. It also calmed down an insect bite she had on her cheek  unfortunately being a mosquito magnet runs in the family.

B. Men Daily Moisture Cream

For my brother: B. Men Daily Moisture Cream* (v) £12.99 for 140ml
Daily Moisture Cream is a multi-purpose moisturiser for the face, body, and hands, which appeals to the lazy minimalist in me. If it wasn't for the strong, standard male toiletries scent  we all know the one  I would have had a hard time handing the tin over.

So, what did my brother think?

"I like it; it works," he said when I asked him (he's never been one to go into detail). Once I'd pressed him for more information, he told me he's been using it on dry patches on his face, neck, and arms. His skin no longer feels tight or itchy, and it's hydrated but not too oily.

"I have lovely skin," he concluded.

I noticed he took it with him when he went back to university last month, so if that's not a good sign I don't know what is.

B. Blending Sponge

For me: B. Blending Sponge*, £4.99 (v)
B's blending sponge is free from latex, which is great news for anyone who has an allergy. I've found that the sponge is better at blending products over a targeted area  highlighter along cheekbones, cream blush on the apples of the cheeks, concealer over blemishes and redness  than it is at blending base products over the entire face. I think this is because it's quite solid as far as sponges go. The colour also leaks if the sponge gets wet, which is a bit of a pain when you wash it. It's a nice item to have, but I'd suggest using one of the brushes instead if you fancy trying some of B.'s tools.

Have you tried anything from B. before? What do you think of their makeover? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

*Products were sent to me by B. for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
I'm on a mission to include as much vegan food in my diet as possible. Main meals are surprisingly simple  there are lots of recipes for flavoursome curries, stews, tacos, and pastas out there  but until recently I hadn't given much thought to sweets and treats, unless you count dark chocolate. 

I love dark chocolate, but what if you want something more special? What if it's been one of those days and you're planning to treat yo'self Parks and Recreation-style, only without the fine leather goods?

Curious, I spent a couple of months trying vegan treats. Something extra with my food shopping, a few things from my local independent Wholefoods  the odd product here and there as I spotted something new. I've narrowed it down to five favourites, although I'm sure more posts will be written as I discover different foods. Taste-testing is tough, but someone has to do it.

Due to price, I'd say these foods are more like occasional treats rather than something you pick up every day, but even so, everything here will leave you with change from a fiver. Happy snacking!

Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, £1.99 for 110ml
I love Booja Booja's Hunky Punky Chocolate ice cream so I had high hopes for Raspberry Ripple, and it didn't disappoint. It only has five ingredients: water, agave syrup, cashew nuts, freeze-dried raspberries, and vanilla extract. Vanilla and raspberry is a classic, dreamy combination that will satisfy many a craving for something sweet.

I felt very nostalgic when I ate this because it tastes exactly like the ice cream my nan always used to have in her freezer, with one exception  there's more raspberry sauce in Booja Booja's offering. There are bigger tubs available but I really like the smaller ones; they're a good way to try new flavours (or indulge in old favourites).


The Coconut Collaborative Little Choc Pot

The Coconut Collaborative Little Choc Pots, £2.50 for 4 45g pots (on offer for £2 at Tesco at time of writing)
The Coconut Collaborative's choc pots are filled with a thick chocolate ganache made from coconut cream, and you can tell. The chocolate flavour is definitely there, but the coconut flavour comes through strongly, so how much you enjoy this will depend on your feelings towards coconut (I love it). The pots are teeny but you get the perfect amount  this is a really indulgent pud.


Ombar

Ombar Natural Raw Chocolate Bars*, £1.99 each
Being a newbie to the world of raw chocolate, I was really excited when Ombar got in touch to ask if I was interested in trying some samples. Their chocolate is made from raw cacao, coconut sugar, and cocoa butter, plus any extra flavours like fruit powders (if they're being used). Keeping the cacao raw is said to preserve the nutritional benefits.

I tried the 90% Cacao bar, which has a very intense flavour but won't leave a weird, bitter taste in your mouth. My favourite, the Centres Coconut & Vanilla bar, is sweeter, with a creamy mixture in the middle. It's so good I've bought several since my initial taste test. At £1.99 per bar Ombar isn't cheap as far as chocolate is concerned, but their bars are good quality and bloody delicious. Worth it as an occasional treat.


Hippeas Cheese & Love (prices vary depending on where you shop. If you're buying on the go then I've found Boots to be the cheapest retailer.)
I love a packet of cheesy crisps, but I'm also trying to consume as little dairy as possible. Hippeas Cheese & Love are the solution. The main ingredient is chickpeas, so they're a good source of protein and they also make quite a filling snack. This is one of the best vegan cheese flavours I've come across to date, although unfortunately you'll still get bits of crisp stuck in your teeth. (Worth it, but maybe have a mirror handy after, just in case!)


Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls, £2 for 6
Despite the name, these sausage rolls are most definitely suitable for vegans too. They're waaay better than standard, grey, meaty version that are made from who knows what, and although the pastry isn't quite as flaky as the homemade kind, it still rivals the sausage rolls my aunt makes every Christmas.

The meat substitute, which is made from soya, is so convincing that it even had my mother fooled. I tend to cook two sausage rolls at a time and serve them with baked beans and lots of sweet chilli sauce (Blue Dragon's is vegan!) when I want proper comfort food.

What are your favourite vegan snacks? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

*Raw chocolate bars were sent to me by Ombar for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

5 Delicious Vegan Treats Under £5

I'm on a mission to include as much vegan food in my diet as possible. Main meals are surprisingly simple  there are lots of recipes for flavoursome curries, stews, tacos, and pastas out there  but until recently I hadn't given much thought to sweets and treats, unless you count dark chocolate. 

I love dark chocolate, but what if you want something more special? What if it's been one of those days and you're planning to treat yo'self Parks and Recreation-style, only without the fine leather goods?

Curious, I spent a couple of months trying vegan treats. Something extra with my food shopping, a few things from my local independent Wholefoods  the odd product here and there as I spotted something new. I've narrowed it down to five favourites, although I'm sure more posts will be written as I discover different foods. Taste-testing is tough, but someone has to do it.

Due to price, I'd say these foods are more like occasional treats rather than something you pick up every day, but even so, everything here will leave you with change from a fiver. Happy snacking!

Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, £1.99 for 110ml
I love Booja Booja's Hunky Punky Chocolate ice cream so I had high hopes for Raspberry Ripple, and it didn't disappoint. It only has five ingredients: water, agave syrup, cashew nuts, freeze-dried raspberries, and vanilla extract. Vanilla and raspberry is a classic, dreamy combination that will satisfy many a craving for something sweet.

I felt very nostalgic when I ate this because it tastes exactly like the ice cream my nan always used to have in her freezer, with one exception  there's more raspberry sauce in Booja Booja's offering. There are bigger tubs available but I really like the smaller ones; they're a good way to try new flavours (or indulge in old favourites).


The Coconut Collaborative Little Choc Pot

The Coconut Collaborative Little Choc Pots, £2.50 for 4 45g pots (on offer for £2 at Tesco at time of writing)
The Coconut Collaborative's choc pots are filled with a thick chocolate ganache made from coconut cream, and you can tell. The chocolate flavour is definitely there, but the coconut flavour comes through strongly, so how much you enjoy this will depend on your feelings towards coconut (I love it). The pots are teeny but you get the perfect amount  this is a really indulgent pud.


Ombar

Ombar Natural Raw Chocolate Bars*, £1.99 each
Being a newbie to the world of raw chocolate, I was really excited when Ombar got in touch to ask if I was interested in trying some samples. Their chocolate is made from raw cacao, coconut sugar, and cocoa butter, plus any extra flavours like fruit powders (if they're being used). Keeping the cacao raw is said to preserve the nutritional benefits.

I tried the 90% Cacao bar, which has a very intense flavour but won't leave a weird, bitter taste in your mouth. My favourite, the Centres Coconut & Vanilla bar, is sweeter, with a creamy mixture in the middle. It's so good I've bought several since my initial taste test. At £1.99 per bar Ombar isn't cheap as far as chocolate is concerned, but their bars are good quality and bloody delicious. Worth it as an occasional treat.


Hippeas Cheese & Love (prices vary depending on where you shop. If you're buying on the go then I've found Boots to be the cheapest retailer.)
I love a packet of cheesy crisps, but I'm also trying to consume as little dairy as possible. Hippeas Cheese & Love are the solution. The main ingredient is chickpeas, so they're a good source of protein and they also make quite a filling snack. This is one of the best vegan cheese flavours I've come across to date, although unfortunately you'll still get bits of crisp stuck in your teeth. (Worth it, but maybe have a mirror handy after, just in case!)


Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls, £2 for 6
Despite the name, these sausage rolls are most definitely suitable for vegans too. They're waaay better than standard, grey, meaty version that are made from who knows what, and although the pastry isn't quite as flaky as the homemade kind, it still rivals the sausage rolls my aunt makes every Christmas.

The meat substitute, which is made from soya, is so convincing that it even had my mother fooled. I tend to cook two sausage rolls at a time and serve them with baked beans and lots of sweet chilli sauce (Blue Dragon's is vegan!) when I want proper comfort food.

What are your favourite vegan snacks? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

*Raw chocolate bars were sent to me by Ombar for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
Dry shampoo and I do not have a good relationship.

Despite my best efforts, it's a product I've never been able to make work for me. The sprays I've tried have smelt floury, left a white cast on my dark roots, and haven't improved the overall appearance of my hair. Washing it has always been the easy option.

But then KiteNest got in touch. KiteNest are a British brand, they make 100% natural, handcrafted beauty products, and they never test on animals  exactly the kind of company I like to support. 

They have two dry shampoos on offer: one for light hair; one for dark hair. And I began to hope that there might be a cruelty-free bad hair day solution for brunettes after all.

KiteNest Dry Shampoo

KiteNest Organic Dry Shampoo* (v), £10 for 150g

The packaging caught my attention as soon as I opened the parcel  how cute are all the different colours and patterns? The tube is fully recyclable, too, so there's no need to worry about waste.

As for the product itself, this dry shampoo comes in the form of a powder that you sprinkle on your roots, rather than a spray.

Unfortunately it took me ages to open the hole at the top  you have to stab it so you can get to the little holes that create the sprinkle effect and stop the product from pouring out. I got there in the end with one of those skewers that you use to check whether a cake has baked, but it was bloody hard work. The sprinkler doesn't fully close, either, so you can't take the dry shampoo with you unless you decant it into a smaller, more secure tub.

(Once it's open, don't do what I did and treat the tube like a flour shaker, or you'll end up with powder all over your clothes. It came out of my jeans with a cloth and some lukewarm water.)

What about the ingredients? The dry shampoo is made from clays, plant powders, and essential oils, with no artificial additives in sight. The only difference between the light hair and the dark hair version is the type of clay used; the light hair version contains kaolinite clay, while this version contains Moroccan lava clay instead.

The essential oils are a gorgeous, citrus-y combination of grapefruit peel and lime, making this one of the best-smelling products I've ever tried.

But does it work?

KiteNest Cruelty-Free Dry Shampoo for Brunettes

To use the dry shampoo, you sprinkle some onto your roots, massage the product in, then wait for 30 seconds to a minute before you brush your hair through and style it.

It doesn't leave any white residue once you've massaged it in, unless you go to town and end up with a bit more than you bargained for. Less is more with this one.

Once massaged in, it gives my fine hair a good volume boost and absorbs any extra oil. It also makes up-dos easier to style, particularly the high ponytail, and gives hair that textured, undone look. I have a sensitive scalp but I haven't experienced any irritation, which is a bonus!

So, would I recommend it? At £10 per tube it costs a lot more than your standard high street dry shampoo, but then this isn't your standard high street dry shampoo to begin with: it's natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and  wonky sprinkler aside  it works. It's best used sparingly, so you'll get your money's worth, and you'll be supporting an independent cruelty-free company. I'll be buying another tube for future bad hair days.  

What are your thoughts about dry shampoo? Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Product sent to me by KiteNest for consideraton of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Review: KiteNest Cruelty-Free Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo and I do not have a good relationship.

Despite my best efforts, it's a product I've never been able to make work for me. The sprays I've tried have smelt floury, left a white cast on my dark roots, and haven't improved the overall appearance of my hair. Washing it has always been the easy option.

But then KiteNest got in touch. KiteNest are a British brand, they make 100% natural, handcrafted beauty products, and they never test on animals  exactly the kind of company I like to support. 

They have two dry shampoos on offer: one for light hair; one for dark hair. And I began to hope that there might be a cruelty-free bad hair day solution for brunettes after all.

KiteNest Dry Shampoo

KiteNest Organic Dry Shampoo* (v), £10 for 150g

The packaging caught my attention as soon as I opened the parcel  how cute are all the different colours and patterns? The tube is fully recyclable, too, so there's no need to worry about waste.

As for the product itself, this dry shampoo comes in the form of a powder that you sprinkle on your roots, rather than a spray.

Unfortunately it took me ages to open the hole at the top  you have to stab it so you can get to the little holes that create the sprinkle effect and stop the product from pouring out. I got there in the end with one of those skewers that you use to check whether a cake has baked, but it was bloody hard work. The sprinkler doesn't fully close, either, so you can't take the dry shampoo with you unless you decant it into a smaller, more secure tub.

(Once it's open, don't do what I did and treat the tube like a flour shaker, or you'll end up with powder all over your clothes. It came out of my jeans with a cloth and some lukewarm water.)

What about the ingredients? The dry shampoo is made from clays, plant powders, and essential oils, with no artificial additives in sight. The only difference between the light hair and the dark hair version is the type of clay used; the light hair version contains kaolinite clay, while this version contains Moroccan lava clay instead.

The essential oils are a gorgeous, citrus-y combination of grapefruit peel and lime, making this one of the best-smelling products I've ever tried.

But does it work?

KiteNest Cruelty-Free Dry Shampoo for Brunettes

To use the dry shampoo, you sprinkle some onto your roots, massage the product in, then wait for 30 seconds to a minute before you brush your hair through and style it.

It doesn't leave any white residue once you've massaged it in, unless you go to town and end up with a bit more than you bargained for. Less is more with this one.

Once massaged in, it gives my fine hair a good volume boost and absorbs any extra oil. It also makes up-dos easier to style, particularly the high ponytail, and gives hair that textured, undone look. I have a sensitive scalp but I haven't experienced any irritation, which is a bonus!

So, would I recommend it? At £10 per tube it costs a lot more than your standard high street dry shampoo, but then this isn't your standard high street dry shampoo to begin with: it's natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and  wonky sprinkler aside  it works. It's best used sparingly, so you'll get your money's worth, and you'll be supporting an independent cruelty-free company. I'll be buying another tube for future bad hair days.  

What are your thoughts about dry shampoo? Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Product sent to me by KiteNest for consideraton of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
GOSH hold a special a place in my heart.

They were one of the first brands I turned to when I went cruelty free and didn't know what to buy anymore. They were the first high street brand I found that sold foundation in a proper pale shade. The quality of their make-up is high  the Velvet Touch lipsticks are a noticeable stand-out  but without the high-end prices.

So when they offered to send me some of their new products for AW17, I couldn't say yes fast enough. (I may have squealed a little bit.) Let's see what the new season brings.

GOSH Make-Up A/W '17

Primer Plus Skin Adaptor Anti-Pollution in Chameleon* (v), £14.99
I haven't been able to test this the way I'd like to because it has a tint which is too dark for me, so I'd suggest swatching it in your local Superdrug first. (It does even out the skintone, but I've only been able to wear it round the house.) Primer Plus contains anti-pollution ingredients and I can only wish there'd been something like it available when I was working in London! If you live and/or work in a big city, aren't ghostly pale, and need protection from everyday pollution, this might be worth a try.

Colour Corrector Kit in Mix 001*, £11.99
Colour correcting seems to be having a moment and I'm all for it - it can work wonders if you have any skin discolouration or uneven patches. The colours in this kit have a cream-to-powder formula that you pat onto bare or primed skin before applying your foundation and concealer.

There are five to choose from: a fairly light shade of concealer; yellow to neutralise dark circles; green to neutralise redness; purple to eliminate yellow undertones; salmon to brighten the eye area and give olive skin radiance.

I've been using the yellow shade every time I wear make-up. I draw the pigment on in an upside-down triangle shape under my eye, the same way I would concealer, and then pat it in until the colour disappears and the blue tones are less obvious. I also really enjoy using the green shade, which calms down the appearance of flushed, red skin. I get a fair bit of redness around my nose and this evens it out before I dab concealer over the top.

All the shades tend to blend in without leaving any tell-tale colour behind. They do, however, have a tendency to sit in lines if you don't use a primer or set your handiwork with powder, so I've found it's best to use them when you're not in a rush. I find color correctors really useful but I also tend to reach for the same shades all the time and I'd love to see some individual colours available. I'd also like to see kits with darker shades of concealer available  not everyone fits in the Light/Medium bracket.

GOSH Make-Up A/W '17

Mix & Fix Blender Brush* (v), £9.99
Mix & Fix is flat-topped and has a little well built into the bristles, which makes it ideal if you need to blend two foundations together to create the perfect shade, or if you like adding skincare products to your base. I've been putting a few drops of liquid foundation and rosehip oil in the well and then using the brush to buff it into the skin. This gives a beautiful, healthy finish  polished, but natural  and the hairs are synthetic, so it's suitable for vegans.

Lift & Highlight in Nude 001*, £9.99
This double-ended pencil is designed to make your eyes look as wide-awake as possible, something I'll no doubt be grateful for once the mornings get darker and I get sleepier (there's definitely a correlation). There's a matte end, which is a pale nude shade, and a shimmery end, which is lighter and golden. Both can be used on the inner corners of the eye, the cupid's bow, and under the brow bone to lift and brighten.

I like to use the shimmery shade in the corner of my eye  the gold really accentuates blue eyes  and the matte shade underneath for a bit of definition. The matte shade is creamier and easier to blend, but both stay put throughout the day. The pencil adds an extra something, whether you've gone all-out or kept your face quite natural.

GOSH Make-Up A/W '17

My Favourite Mascara in Black*, £9.99
The best thing about My Favourite Mascara is the brush, which separates lashes with ease and creates a natural, everyday look. It can hold a curl, but with continued wear I've found that the pigment can drop when it's humid, leaving you with panda eyes. While I doubt this will be a problem as we go into autumn, it means I tend to wear it on my top lashes only.

Lumi Drops in Rosegold* (v), £7.99
I like using the Lumi Drops as a highlighter. Normally I squeeze a little bit of product on the back of my hand, then use my fingers to dab it along my cheekbones and on my cupid's bow. You can also mix the drops with foundation or body lotion, something I might try next time I need to dress up a bit.

How gorgeous is this shade? There's a reason so many of us love rose gold. This particularly interpretation of the colour isn't too pink, too yellow, or too shimmery (unless you choose to pile it on) and it creates a healthy glow that reminds me of summer evenings and sunsets. It'll also look beautiful in candlelight when you're all snuggled up and, dare I say it, it'll be a lovely addition to your festive make-up looks come Christmastime.

So what would I recommend? The Colour Corrector Kit if it suits your skintone and you want to create an even base. The Lumi Drops for sure (that glow!) And the Mix & Fix brush  you may end up creating a whole new foundation/skincare hybrid for yourself.

Will you be trying anything from GOSH this autumn? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan. For a full list of GOSH's vegan products, click here.

Products were sent to me by GOSH for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you go through to the retailer and purchase an item, I'll receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.

GOSH Make-Up for Autumn/Winter 2017

GOSH hold a special a place in my heart.

They were one of the first brands I turned to when I went cruelty free and didn't know what to buy anymore. They were the first high street brand I found that sold foundation in a proper pale shade. The quality of their make-up is high  the Velvet Touch lipsticks are a noticeable stand-out  but without the high-end prices.

So when they offered to send me some of their new products for AW17, I couldn't say yes fast enough. (I may have squealed a little bit.) Let's see what the new season brings.

GOSH Make-Up A/W '17

Primer Plus Skin Adaptor Anti-Pollution in Chameleon* (v), £14.99
I haven't been able to test this the way I'd like to because it has a tint which is too dark for me, so I'd suggest swatching it in your local Superdrug first. (It does even out the skintone, but I've only been able to wear it round the house.) Primer Plus contains anti-pollution ingredients and I can only wish there'd been something like it available when I was working in London! If you live and/or work in a big city, aren't ghostly pale, and need protection from everyday pollution, this might be worth a try.

Colour Corrector Kit in Mix 001*, £11.99
Colour correcting seems to be having a moment and I'm all for it - it can work wonders if you have any skin discolouration or uneven patches. The colours in this kit have a cream-to-powder formula that you pat onto bare or primed skin before applying your foundation and concealer.

There are five to choose from: a fairly light shade of concealer; yellow to neutralise dark circles; green to neutralise redness; purple to eliminate yellow undertones; salmon to brighten the eye area and give olive skin radiance.

I've been using the yellow shade every time I wear make-up. I draw the pigment on in an upside-down triangle shape under my eye, the same way I would concealer, and then pat it in until the colour disappears and the blue tones are less obvious. I also really enjoy using the green shade, which calms down the appearance of flushed, red skin. I get a fair bit of redness around my nose and this evens it out before I dab concealer over the top.

All the shades tend to blend in without leaving any tell-tale colour behind. They do, however, have a tendency to sit in lines if you don't use a primer or set your handiwork with powder, so I've found it's best to use them when you're not in a rush. I find color correctors really useful but I also tend to reach for the same shades all the time and I'd love to see some individual colours available. I'd also like to see kits with darker shades of concealer available  not everyone fits in the Light/Medium bracket.

GOSH Make-Up A/W '17

Mix & Fix Blender Brush* (v), £9.99
Mix & Fix is flat-topped and has a little well built into the bristles, which makes it ideal if you need to blend two foundations together to create the perfect shade, or if you like adding skincare products to your base. I've been putting a few drops of liquid foundation and rosehip oil in the well and then using the brush to buff it into the skin. This gives a beautiful, healthy finish  polished, but natural  and the hairs are synthetic, so it's suitable for vegans.

Lift & Highlight in Nude 001*, £9.99
This double-ended pencil is designed to make your eyes look as wide-awake as possible, something I'll no doubt be grateful for once the mornings get darker and I get sleepier (there's definitely a correlation). There's a matte end, which is a pale nude shade, and a shimmery end, which is lighter and golden. Both can be used on the inner corners of the eye, the cupid's bow, and under the brow bone to lift and brighten.

I like to use the shimmery shade in the corner of my eye  the gold really accentuates blue eyes  and the matte shade underneath for a bit of definition. The matte shade is creamier and easier to blend, but both stay put throughout the day. The pencil adds an extra something, whether you've gone all-out or kept your face quite natural.

GOSH Make-Up A/W '17

My Favourite Mascara in Black*, £9.99
The best thing about My Favourite Mascara is the brush, which separates lashes with ease and creates a natural, everyday look. It can hold a curl, but with continued wear I've found that the pigment can drop when it's humid, leaving you with panda eyes. While I doubt this will be a problem as we go into autumn, it means I tend to wear it on my top lashes only.

Lumi Drops in Rosegold* (v), £7.99
I like using the Lumi Drops as a highlighter. Normally I squeeze a little bit of product on the back of my hand, then use my fingers to dab it along my cheekbones and on my cupid's bow. You can also mix the drops with foundation or body lotion, something I might try next time I need to dress up a bit.

How gorgeous is this shade? There's a reason so many of us love rose gold. This particularly interpretation of the colour isn't too pink, too yellow, or too shimmery (unless you choose to pile it on) and it creates a healthy glow that reminds me of summer evenings and sunsets. It'll also look beautiful in candlelight when you're all snuggled up and, dare I say it, it'll be a lovely addition to your festive make-up looks come Christmastime.

So what would I recommend? The Colour Corrector Kit if it suits your skintone and you want to create an even base. The Lumi Drops for sure (that glow!) And the Mix & Fix brush  you may end up creating a whole new foundation/skincare hybrid for yourself.

Will you be trying anything from GOSH this autumn? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan. For a full list of GOSH's vegan products, click here.

Products were sent to me by GOSH for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you go through to the retailer and purchase an item, I'll receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
Welcome to the latest installment of Eco-Friendly Beauty! I've been trying my best to cut down on the amount of waste in my everyday life, so I've started with beauty products.

In today's post I'm going to talk about solid soaps and scrubs. Until recently they were products I'd never really considered using, soap because I have vivid memories of getting a rash from a bar of Dove when I was little, scrubs because I thought they'd be a bit of a faff.

But things change. I'm keen to cut down on the amount of pointless packaging and plastic I use  switching to solid shower products is a simple step to take.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be an expensive one. PHB Ethical Beauty make a range of soaps and scrubs, with all of them leaving you with change from a fiver. They come in boxes made of card, so while they're not completely free of packaging, there's also no plastic (and the card can be recycled).

PHB Ethical Beauty Aloe Vera Natural Soap

PHB Ethical Beauty Aloe Vera Natural Soap* (v), £3.95
I was never a fan of soap until I tried PHB's offerings. There's a difference between what they have to offer and your standard supermarket soap  there's no animal fat, no palm oil, and this one is scent-free. (If you want something with a fragrance then I highly recommend the grapefruit one.) The base of all the soaps is a mix of shea butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, so it's quite moisturising, although I still like to use some kind of lotion afterwards.

I use the Aloe Vera soap in place of shower gel, massaging the bar into my skin to create a lather. It won't foam up quite as much as your standard shower gel but it's effective all the same, gently cleaning the skin with drying it out. A little goes a long way and my bar has barely shrunk since I started using it in July. I can't see myself going back to bottles of shower gel once I've used my existing collection up.

I've hunted high and low on the LoveLula website for some kind of budget soap tin and I can't find one, so I'd suggest either storing the soap in its original packaging, keeping it away from the bathroom and any wet surfaces, or buying a non-plastic container elsewhere.


PHB Ethical Beauty Avocado & Olive Handmade Sugar Scrub

PHB Ethical Beauty Avocado & Olive Handmade Sugar Scrub* (v), £4.95
This is surprisingly robust for something made of delicate sugar. It's on the scrubbier side, so make sure your skin is soaking before you use it  the bar can feel scratchy if you go in with too much enthusiasm. I massage into the skin in circular motions and there's something very satisfying about sloughing off dead skin, particularly on elbows and knees. You can't smell the avocado or olive, but this is a moisturising product so their presence is noticeable.

Unlike the soap, the Sugar Scrub wears down quite quickly. It's not an everyday product, so mine has lasted a good few weeks and will probably last one or two more, but it's something to bear in mind.

PHB Ethical Beauty Foot Scrub Bar with Dead Sea Salt & Orange

PHB Ethical Beauty Foot Scrub Bar with Dead Sea Salt & Orange* (v), £4.75
The skin on my heels is rough. While my feet are in a slightly sweeter state now I no longer dance en pointe on a regular basis, they're still not pretty. (Are anyone's though?) So finding an exfoliator that actually, well, exfoliates them properly isn't always easy.

The Foot Scrub Bar works, though. The dead sea salt helps to soften tougher areas like the heels and because the skin there is less delicate, you can be a little rougher. It's not a miracle cure  my feet aren't baby-soft just yet  but I can see an improvement. And the salt cuts through the orange to create a delightfully earthy scent.

So what if you want to start using solid shower products too? I'd recommend trying a soap bar first. They're reasonably priced, last for ages, and can be used to wash your hands if you decide it's not your thing.

Have you tried solid shower products before? Would you ever use them on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Products were sent to me by LoveLula for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Eco-Friendly Beauty: Solid Shower Products

Welcome to the latest installment of Eco-Friendly Beauty! I've been trying my best to cut down on the amount of waste in my everyday life, so I've started with beauty products.

In today's post I'm going to talk about solid soaps and scrubs. Until recently they were products I'd never really considered using, soap because I have vivid memories of getting a rash from a bar of Dove when I was little, scrubs because I thought they'd be a bit of a faff.

But things change. I'm keen to cut down on the amount of pointless packaging and plastic I use  switching to solid shower products is a simple step to take.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be an expensive one. PHB Ethical Beauty make a range of soaps and scrubs, with all of them leaving you with change from a fiver. They come in boxes made of card, so while they're not completely free of packaging, there's also no plastic (and the card can be recycled).

PHB Ethical Beauty Aloe Vera Natural Soap

PHB Ethical Beauty Aloe Vera Natural Soap* (v), £3.95
I was never a fan of soap until I tried PHB's offerings. There's a difference between what they have to offer and your standard supermarket soap  there's no animal fat, no palm oil, and this one is scent-free. (If you want something with a fragrance then I highly recommend the grapefruit one.) The base of all the soaps is a mix of shea butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, so it's quite moisturising, although I still like to use some kind of lotion afterwards.

I use the Aloe Vera soap in place of shower gel, massaging the bar into my skin to create a lather. It won't foam up quite as much as your standard shower gel but it's effective all the same, gently cleaning the skin with drying it out. A little goes a long way and my bar has barely shrunk since I started using it in July. I can't see myself going back to bottles of shower gel once I've used my existing collection up.

I've hunted high and low on the LoveLula website for some kind of budget soap tin and I can't find one, so I'd suggest either storing the soap in its original packaging, keeping it away from the bathroom and any wet surfaces, or buying a non-plastic container elsewhere.


PHB Ethical Beauty Avocado & Olive Handmade Sugar Scrub

PHB Ethical Beauty Avocado & Olive Handmade Sugar Scrub* (v), £4.95
This is surprisingly robust for something made of delicate sugar. It's on the scrubbier side, so make sure your skin is soaking before you use it  the bar can feel scratchy if you go in with too much enthusiasm. I massage into the skin in circular motions and there's something very satisfying about sloughing off dead skin, particularly on elbows and knees. You can't smell the avocado or olive, but this is a moisturising product so their presence is noticeable.

Unlike the soap, the Sugar Scrub wears down quite quickly. It's not an everyday product, so mine has lasted a good few weeks and will probably last one or two more, but it's something to bear in mind.

PHB Ethical Beauty Foot Scrub Bar with Dead Sea Salt & Orange

PHB Ethical Beauty Foot Scrub Bar with Dead Sea Salt & Orange* (v), £4.75
The skin on my heels is rough. While my feet are in a slightly sweeter state now I no longer dance en pointe on a regular basis, they're still not pretty. (Are anyone's though?) So finding an exfoliator that actually, well, exfoliates them properly isn't always easy.

The Foot Scrub Bar works, though. The dead sea salt helps to soften tougher areas like the heels and because the skin there is less delicate, you can be a little rougher. It's not a miracle cure  my feet aren't baby-soft just yet  but I can see an improvement. And the salt cuts through the orange to create a delightfully earthy scent.

So what if you want to start using solid shower products too? I'd recommend trying a soap bar first. They're reasonably priced, last for ages, and can be used to wash your hands if you decide it's not your thing.

Have you tried solid shower products before? Would you ever use them on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Products were sent to me by LoveLula for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

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Beth, 23, South East England. I'm a writer with a love of books, lipstick, and the Oxford comma. I love beauty and I also love animals, so I only buy, use, and feature products from cruelty-free brands. (Seriously though, I am the person who stops to fuss over every dog she sees.) You can also expect posts about vegan/vegetarian food, and plenty of musings about life as a 20-something. Want to get in touch? Email me at beth.toasty@gmail.com

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