I’ve reached the stage now where cruelty-free isn’t always enough.
A product has to be cruelty-free in order for me to buy it, sure, but I’ve started looking for more. Are the ingredients natural? Does the brand take the environment and sustainability into account? Do they accommodate vegan consumers? If the answer is yes to at least one of these questions then I’m far more likely to part with my cash.
(Cash is the other factor; I’m happy to invest if something works but I also don’t want to spend a fortune.)
British skincare brand Skin & Tonic London more than lives up to this criteria. I’ll admit, I was first taken in by how close their name is to gin and tonic, gin being my tipple of choice, but I soon discovered that there are many more reasons to get excited…
About Skin & Tonic
Skin & Tonic was created after its co-founder, Sarah, was diagnosed with endometriosis and began paying more attention to what she was putting on her body. Sarah started using organic ingredients to make her own skincare, since she couldn’t find anything similar in stores, and eventually quit her job to start up the company, training in Aromatherapy and Skincare Formulation along the way.
The brand has a list of principles it adheres to:
- Only organically certified ingredients
- No more than seven ingredients per product
- Many ingredients come from suppliers in the UK and France
- Everything is crafted in small batches
- No animal testing
- S&T support Fairtrade women’s cooperatives in Ghana and Sri Lanka
- 10% of their profits go to Charity: Water, which brings clean drinking water to developing countries
Basically, this is exactly the kind of homegrown company I want to support. Ethical beauty retailer LoveLula were very kind and let me pick out some products from the range to try, so let’s see how they fared.
Peppermint Lip Balm*, £3.50 for 4.3g
You can never have too many lip balms and this one is a welcome addition to my collection (you may have spotted it in last week’s post). The peppermint scent is intense, refreshing, and entirely natural, while shea butter and coconut oil leave your lips soft and moisturised. It can melt a little in the heat, so that’s something to be careful of, but this lip balm is one of the best I’ve tried and a must if you like minty flavours.
Rose Mist* (v), £20 for 100ml
I don’t always remember to use toners but this one is gorgeous, and wakes me up in the morning without being too abrupt. It’s also very hydrating. Unlike a lot of rose products you see on the high street, the primary ingredient of this one is actual rose flower water and you can really tell from the scent. It contains aloe vera, too, which soothes the skin after a long day. Toners are often a fancy extra in a skincare routine, rather than an essential, so I’d be most likely to buy the Rose Mist as a treat, but what a treat it is!
Naked Beauty Oil* (v), £25 for 30ml
It amazes me how long I was wary of using oils on my skin — I couldn’t imagine evenings without them now. Naked Beauty Oil is formulated for sensitive skin and contains a mix of rosehip, apricot, pumpkin seed, and raspberry oils. I’ve found it to be very good at calming my skin down when it gets inflamed and it hydrates any dry patches without making my T-zone even oilier than it already is. Best of all, it hasn’t caused any spots or irritation to appear. I’ve been using it for almost three months and there’s still just under half a bottle left, so it’s well worth the money, particularly if rose hip oil is your thing. (It will always be my thing.)
Mini Calm Balm* (v), £10 for 15g
I’ve been using calming products like this more and more recently and despite being skeptical at first, I really like them. I tend to alternate between Mini Calm Balm and Kiss The Moon’s Calm After Dark Balm — Mini Calm Balm is the one I like to carry around with me during the day. If I’m feeling a bit stressed or anxious then I massage it into my wrists and breathe, and it seems to do the trick! Whether it’s a placebo or not is anyone’s guess but I like knowing I’ve got it with me. Key ingredients include shea butter, lavender oil and chamomile, so it’s also a good one to use before bed.
What do you look for in cruelty-free brands? Have you tried anything from Skin & Tonic before? Let me know in the comments!
(v) = vegan
Products marked with an asterisk (*) were sent to me for consideration of review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin. Always thinking about my next meal.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!