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Barefaced and Happy

If someone had told me two years ago that in the future I'd be perfectly happy leaving the house without a scrap of make-up on, I wouldn't have believed them.

At that time I refused to let the general public see me without the whole works  primer, foundation, two types of concealer, brow pencil, eyeshadow, liner, mascara, blush, and lipstick were the minimum. To me, that was toned down.

I had adult acne and I used cosmetics as a distraction. Spotty forehead? Time for a statement plum lip. Breakouts on my chin? Let me blend out a smoky eye. If I was really upset I'd add some false lashes.


(At this interval, I would like to point out that just because someone wears make-up, it doesn't automatically mean they're insecure. Yes, it can give you a boost when you're not feeling 100%, but it doesn't mean the person wearing it dislikes their face. Make-up is fun! That plum lipstick was a distraction, yes, but it was also pretty and it made me feel like I had my shit together.)

Over time my skin has cleared and I've become used to seeing my bare face staring back at me in the mirror. That previously pared-down face of make-up suddenly looks like a lot.


What this has reaffirmed for me is not that one approach is better than the other, and I'm not writing this to tell everyone that they should throw their make-up bags away  women and men should be able to adorn their faces as they damn well please.


Instead, it's reminded me that the beauty of make-up is the purpose it serves for you. It's versatile: you decide what works.


I wore my full-coverage foundation and my purple lipstick as if they were armour and they made me feel better about myself. Nowadays I'm more likely to find happiness in some brow pomade and a sheeny highlighter  and that's enough. I daresay there'll be a time when I start wearing more make-up again (I can never go for too long without a good eyeliner wing).


My made-up face isn't better than my bare face, and my bare face isn't better than my made-up face. They're just different. I'm sure there's someone out there who'd do the whole 'You look so tired' thing out of faux concern, but you know what? Fuck'em. I'm happy. 

Barefaced and Happy

Barefaced and Happy

If someone had told me two years ago that in the future I'd be perfectly happy leaving the house without a scrap of make-up on, I wouldn't have believed them.

At that time I refused to let the general public see me without the whole works  primer, foundation, two types of concealer, brow pencil, eyeshadow, liner, mascara, blush, and lipstick were the minimum. To me, that was toned down.

I had adult acne and I used cosmetics as a distraction. Spotty forehead? Time for a statement plum lip. Breakouts on my chin? Let me blend out a smoky eye. If I was really upset I'd add some false lashes.


(At this interval, I would like to point out that just because someone wears make-up, it doesn't automatically mean they're insecure. Yes, it can give you a boost when you're not feeling 100%, but it doesn't mean the person wearing it dislikes their face. Make-up is fun! That plum lipstick was a distraction, yes, but it was also pretty and it made me feel like I had my shit together.)

Over time my skin has cleared and I've become used to seeing my bare face staring back at me in the mirror. That previously pared-down face of make-up suddenly looks like a lot.


What this has reaffirmed for me is not that one approach is better than the other, and I'm not writing this to tell everyone that they should throw their make-up bags away  women and men should be able to adorn their faces as they damn well please.


Instead, it's reminded me that the beauty of make-up is the purpose it serves for you. It's versatile: you decide what works.


I wore my full-coverage foundation and my purple lipstick as if they were armour and they made me feel better about myself. Nowadays I'm more likely to find happiness in some brow pomade and a sheeny highlighter  and that's enough. I daresay there'll be a time when I start wearing more make-up again (I can never go for too long without a good eyeliner wing).


My made-up face isn't better than my bare face, and my bare face isn't better than my made-up face. They're just different. I'm sure there's someone out there who'd do the whole 'You look so tired' thing out of faux concern, but you know what? Fuck'em. I'm happy. 
I'm going to be blunt: cruelty-free sun protection is an absolute bugger to find.

I know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least  I'm writing this the day after I both ate lunch outside in the beautiful sunshine and got woken up by a thunderstorm  but the sun always seems to break through eventually, even if it's in between rain showers. And apparently clouds only stop 20% of UV rays anyway, so it's incredibly important to apply your SPF on a regular basis.

But even with the best of intentions, SPF can clog up your pores and is often sticky, greasy, non-waterproof, non-sweatproof... and then of course you don't want to compromise your ethical stance (and why should you?), which rules out the majority of the high street market.

Enter Superdrug's Solait range.

Cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny-approved and with plenty of vegan products to choose from, Solait is ideal if you just want to nip off to the high street to grab your holiday essentials. The range is cheap, too, with most products costing under a fiver, and there are normally offers like buy one, get one half-price available.

But are the products any good?

Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion

Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v), £2.99

I find this lotion has a thinner, lighter texture than your standard sun cream, which makes it a lot nicer to apply  it glides over the skin with ease and doesn't leave any residue. I wouldn't say it was particularly moisturising, so don't skip body butter if you need it, but for me this is a small price to pay for sun protection that doesn't make you feel like you've been basted.

Hair & Scalp Sun Spray SPF30 (v)

I had high hopes for this but it weighs my fine hair down and leaves my roots looking and feeling greasy. I tried it for a week and just couldn't cope with the scalp build-up  or the wet look, which I must confess I've never fully understood anyway. Perhaps those with thicker hair would have more success?

Superdrug Solait Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50

Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50 (v)

If you need a heavy duty SPF then this is the ultimate choice, since it protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. It's much thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion and doesn't absorb quite so well, which makes it feel a little sticky, but if you don't want to take any chances then you can't go wrong. I've worn it many times and my skin hasn't even turned a teeny bit pink.

(I can't find a link on the website but I've seen Enhanced Sun Lotion in stores, so Solait don't seem to have discontinued it.)

Superdrug Solait Face Fluid

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid SPF30/SPF50 (v), £3.49 each [Only SPF50 is vegan.]

I bought this when I was with my mum, which led to exclamations of, 'What are you buying anti-ageing stuff for?! You're in your twenties!' but I don't want a sunburnt face, quite frankly.

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid has a thinner formula than the Enhanced Sun Lotion but is thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion, which is something to bear in mind if you like a lighter base. My skin gets oily quicker when I wear this by itself, although it's better when set with a light dusting of mineral foundation.

This fluid is good for holidays but I'm not so sure it works as an everyday SPF. I've worn it as both and my skin tends to get spottier if I use it too many days in a row, even if I double cleanse every night. I'm currently on the hunt for something else.

Final Thoughts

The one thing every product has in common is this: I've worn them on overcast days in the UK, the most unbearably humid days in Asia, and in the middle of the Arabian desert and not once have I been sunburnt.

Otherwise, this is a hit and miss bunch  I'd really recommend getting your hands on the Moisturising Sun Lotion though! A non-sticky, cruelty-free sun cream for £2.99? Sold.

Do you have any cruelty-free SPF recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Cruelty-Free Sun Protection from Superdrug

I'm going to be blunt: cruelty-free sun protection is an absolute bugger to find.

I know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least  I'm writing this the day after I both ate lunch outside in the beautiful sunshine and got woken up by a thunderstorm  but the sun always seems to break through eventually, even if it's in between rain showers. And apparently clouds only stop 20% of UV rays anyway, so it's incredibly important to apply your SPF on a regular basis.

But even with the best of intentions, SPF can clog up your pores and is often sticky, greasy, non-waterproof, non-sweatproof... and then of course you don't want to compromise your ethical stance (and why should you?), which rules out the majority of the high street market.

Enter Superdrug's Solait range.

Cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny-approved and with plenty of vegan products to choose from, Solait is ideal if you just want to nip off to the high street to grab your holiday essentials. The range is cheap, too, with most products costing under a fiver, and there are normally offers like buy one, get one half-price available.

But are the products any good?

Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion

Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v), £2.99

I find this lotion has a thinner, lighter texture than your standard sun cream, which makes it a lot nicer to apply  it glides over the skin with ease and doesn't leave any residue. I wouldn't say it was particularly moisturising, so don't skip body butter if you need it, but for me this is a small price to pay for sun protection that doesn't make you feel like you've been basted.

Hair & Scalp Sun Spray SPF30 (v)

I had high hopes for this but it weighs my fine hair down and leaves my roots looking and feeling greasy. I tried it for a week and just couldn't cope with the scalp build-up  or the wet look, which I must confess I've never fully understood anyway. Perhaps those with thicker hair would have more success?

Superdrug Solait Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50

Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50 (v)

If you need a heavy duty SPF then this is the ultimate choice, since it protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. It's much thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion and doesn't absorb quite so well, which makes it feel a little sticky, but if you don't want to take any chances then you can't go wrong. I've worn it many times and my skin hasn't even turned a teeny bit pink.

(I can't find a link on the website but I've seen Enhanced Sun Lotion in stores, so Solait don't seem to have discontinued it.)

Superdrug Solait Face Fluid

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid SPF30/SPF50 (v), £3.49 each [Only SPF50 is vegan.]

I bought this when I was with my mum, which led to exclamations of, 'What are you buying anti-ageing stuff for?! You're in your twenties!' but I don't want a sunburnt face, quite frankly.

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid has a thinner formula than the Enhanced Sun Lotion but is thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion, which is something to bear in mind if you like a lighter base. My skin gets oily quicker when I wear this by itself, although it's better when set with a light dusting of mineral foundation.

This fluid is good for holidays but I'm not so sure it works as an everyday SPF. I've worn it as both and my skin tends to get spottier if I use it too many days in a row, even if I double cleanse every night. I'm currently on the hunt for something else.

Final Thoughts

The one thing every product has in common is this: I've worn them on overcast days in the UK, the most unbearably humid days in Asia, and in the middle of the Arabian desert and not once have I been sunburnt.

Otherwise, this is a hit and miss bunch  I'd really recommend getting your hands on the Moisturising Sun Lotion though! A non-sticky, cruelty-free sun cream for £2.99? Sold.

Do you have any cruelty-free SPF recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
Last month I read a really interesting blog post by Laila from Tape Parade.

Let's Stop Eating Off The Vegan Menu is about supporting your local vegan and vegetarian restaurants by not only visiting them, but telling other people about them too.

'Vegan-friendly is great, but what I'm about is vegan-PROUD... I'm talking places that don't have a separate menu... Places that make you feel wanted and not just welcome. Restaurants with a menu full of choice.'

(Laila is an awesome writer so I encourage you to read the post in its entirety; I can't wait for her London restaurant reviews.)

As Laila points out, chain restaurants are all very well and good  especially in areas where choice is limited  but we need to support local independent businesses too.

With these words weighing on my mind, I decided to visit The Veg Box Cafe and then write about it afterwards. Best. Decision. Ever.


Food from The Veg Box


The Veg Box Cafe

Last month I read a really interesting blog post by Laila from Tape Parade.

Let's Stop Eating Off The Vegan Menu is about supporting your local vegan and vegetarian restaurants by not only visiting them, but telling other people about them too.

'Vegan-friendly is great, but what I'm about is vegan-PROUD... I'm talking places that don't have a separate menu... Places that make you feel wanted and not just welcome. Restaurants with a menu full of choice.'

(Laila is an awesome writer so I encourage you to read the post in its entirety; I can't wait for her London restaurant reviews.)

As Laila points out, chain restaurants are all very well and good  especially in areas where choice is limited  but we need to support local independent businesses too.

With these words weighing on my mind, I decided to visit The Veg Box Cafe and then write about it afterwards. Best. Decision. Ever.


Food from The Veg Box


Well, I say I've switched to mineral foundation just for summer  it may well be for life after the whole NARS debacle.

But warmer temperatures were my main motivation for swapping my usual base products for one simple pot of powder. Mineral foundation is a lot lighter than liquid formulas and I wanted something breathable to prevent breakouts, which sometimes pop up when I've been wearing a lot of SPF.

With all that in mind, I spotted PHB Ethical Beauty's Loose Mineral Foundation* (v) on LoveLula and couldn't resist trying it out. PHB's products are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and halal certified, plus they don't contain any nano particles, talc, fillers, mineral oils, or GM ingredients. If you're looking for natural beauty then you can't get much better than this!

PHB Ethical Beauty Loose Mineral Foundation in Cream

I Switched to Mineral Foundation for Summer

Well, I say I've switched to mineral foundation just for summer  it may well be for life after the whole NARS debacle.

But warmer temperatures were my main motivation for swapping my usual base products for one simple pot of powder. Mineral foundation is a lot lighter than liquid formulas and I wanted something breathable to prevent breakouts, which sometimes pop up when I've been wearing a lot of SPF.

With all that in mind, I spotted PHB Ethical Beauty's Loose Mineral Foundation* (v) on LoveLula and couldn't resist trying it out. PHB's products are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and halal certified, plus they don't contain any nano particles, talc, fillers, mineral oils, or GM ingredients. If you're looking for natural beauty then you can't get much better than this!

PHB Ethical Beauty Loose Mineral Foundation in Cream

When is the right time to stop telling everyone you're a recent graduate?

It's been an entire year since I graduated, so it's not really news, although most people I meet seem to think I'm either still at university or about to go. One woman I met recently asked me if I was at boarding school and she was shocked when I said no  the confusion a baby face can cause is really quite something.

Graduation programme

Graduation: One Year On

When is the right time to stop telling everyone you're a recent graduate?

It's been an entire year since I graduated, so it's not really news, although most people I meet seem to think I'm either still at university or about to go. One woman I met recently asked me if I was at boarding school and she was shocked when I said no  the confusion a baby face can cause is really quite something.

Graduation programme

Well, that was unexpected.

I wasn't planning to have a week away from blogging, you see, it just sort of happened, and I feel much better for it. I've been pretty run down  blocked nose, headache, sore throat, the works  and taking a step back from pretty much everything has worked wonders. (As have Tesco cold & flu tablets and gin & tonic ice lollies. Is there anything a good G&T can't fix?)

Anyway, I'm back today and focusing on some more eco-friendly beauty. Specifically, the konjac sponge.

Last year I tried a konjac sponge made for the face, with mixed results. I love the environmentally friendly approach towards making these sponges (they're all biodegradable) but the face sponge didn't work with the skincare products I normally use (balm cleansers and my acne cream).

But I don't use acne cream or balm cleansers on my body, so I decided to try out the Konjac Sponge Co's Pink Clay Body Sponge* (v) to see if that made a difference.

Konjac Sponge Co Pink Clay Body Sponge

Eco-Friendly Beauty: The Konjac Sponge Co's Pink Clay Body Sponge

Well, that was unexpected.

I wasn't planning to have a week away from blogging, you see, it just sort of happened, and I feel much better for it. I've been pretty run down  blocked nose, headache, sore throat, the works  and taking a step back from pretty much everything has worked wonders. (As have Tesco cold & flu tablets and gin & tonic ice lollies. Is there anything a good G&T can't fix?)

Anyway, I'm back today and focusing on some more eco-friendly beauty. Specifically, the konjac sponge.

Last year I tried a konjac sponge made for the face, with mixed results. I love the environmentally friendly approach towards making these sponges (they're all biodegradable) but the face sponge didn't work with the skincare products I normally use (balm cleansers and my acne cream).

But I don't use acne cream or balm cleansers on my body, so I decided to try out the Konjac Sponge Co's Pink Clay Body Sponge* (v) to see if that made a difference.

Konjac Sponge Co Pink Clay Body Sponge

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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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