11 February, 2016

Summer lippy selections! [Cruelty Free]


Quick - before the season's over here's my summer lip post!

Now, I haven't been following the S/S 2016 trends all that closely but for me personally this summer has been all about the extremes when it comes to lip colours.  I'm either choosing soft and sheer washes of colour or crazy bright lips - oh, okay there has been the occasional nude lip thrown in but not enough to warrant more than a passing mention! It's all about colour for me, so I've been favouring pinks, mauves and corals.

I'm really enjoying the bright lip, defined brow combination for an easy pulled together look whether it's been for work or an occasion, whereas a sheer lip with just a hint of colour has been the perfect pick-me-up for a 'rush out the door' situation  - you know, when the weather's just too hot or humid for me to bother with much more yet I don't want to be completely barefaced. 

So here's my little lippy wardrobe sharing my recent favourites. They're all unabashedly pretty, optimistic 'summer fun in the sun', and not too be taken too seriously shades - and all bunny friendly too of course!


Going in order from left to right (or gloss to matte) these are:
  • The Body Shop Flavoured Lip Gloss (Watermelon) - The flavour/scent reminds me more of honeydew melon actually but that's beside the point.  I like wearing this alone for that hint of watermelon pink colour with a lot of juicy shine.  Summer's just got to be the best time to wear a juicy gloss!  The handy tube makes it one of those pop in the pocket and go lip options, and this gloss is also a great moisturising formula. 
  • Essence Sheer & Shine Lipstick (11 All About Cupcake) - I look at the new Sheer & Shine range more as tinted balms than lipsticks and they're perfect for a low key lip. I've been enjoying two shades as they've got just the right depth of tone to add a bit of flush to my lips rather than washing them out. Don't be fooled by the vibrant looking lipstick bullet above because All About Cupcake is a very sheer and natural coral pink on the lips. 
  • Essence Sheer & Shine Lipstick (07 Sparkling Miracle) - The bullet looks like a deep blue toned mauve but again it swipes over the lips with a sheer wash of flattering pinky mauve and I like having the cooler alternative to All About Cupcake.  
  • Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick (Rosé) - This warm pink lipstick is a longtime favourite for spring/summer and I reach for it whenever I want a bright but warm pink lip.  It's just the right balance of playful yet grownup enough for me to get away with at the office too. 
  • Too Faced Melted Lipstick (Melted Fuchsia) - Melted Fuchsia is a knockout punch, vibrant blue toned pink but I love it.  It instantly brightens up my face and I really don't need to do much else to look like I've made an effort.  It's more of a playful weekend choice for sure - the slight candy scent adds to the fun - and deserves to be seen during the day!
  • Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick (Muse) - This is a bright coral but the most sophisticated choice of the bunch because of its matte finish.  I feel slightly retro in this lipstick and it's great paired with a groomed brow for a polished summer face.

Here are all the lippies swatched in the summer sun (of course!) in reverse order from above:
Muse, Melted Fuchsia, Rosé, Sparkling Miracle, All About Cupcake, Watermelon

I obviously like my corals and pinks!

What lip colours or finishes do you favour in summer?



(All products purchased by me.)

09 February, 2016

Essence Happy Girls Are Pretty Collection: 05 Pretty You

I'm rushing to get this Essence nail swatch post up because the Happy Girls Are Pretty Collection has been out for a few weeks already and you know what that means.  As with most LE collections it's the quick or the dead...

Pretty You is a simply chic neutral beige and though I favour shades like these on my skin in the summer months, if you're a little less pale than me you can get away with this all year round.  I found the formula quite opaque and I'd recommend a single coat as the second coat actually went on a little too thick and uneven for me.  Honestly, I should have just quit while I was ahead because one coat was just fine!  Wear time was around 4 days without chips and I was suitably happy with that.  

I haven't worn Essence polish for a while but I still think they're a great quality product for their bargain price.  Now onto some pictures because it's the colour that you want to see rather than me putting you to sleep with my rambling again!

All pictures taken in indirect daylight:



Have you bought anything from the Happy Girls Are Pretty collection?

Cruelty Free: Yes 
Vegan: To be confirmed
Certified Organic: No



Until next time!

(This product was purchased by me.) 

07 February, 2016

Review: A'kin Purely Revitalising Firming Night Creme

An undeniably enjoyable part of my cruelty free journey is venturing out and trying out different brands - the lure of the new! - and while the A'kin skincare brand has been around for some years I've only recently started dabbling more seriously in their range.

To share their story, A'kin is one of the natural skin and hair care brands from The Purist Company. Australian owned, The Purist Company has been focusing on creating natural and safe botanical products for the past 15 years and as a result all of their products are paraben free, sulphate free, toxin free, harsh chemical free, certified vegan and animal ingredient/testing free.  They are also a green company, avoiding excess packaging and using recyclable containers to avoid waste.

Bearing all of this in mind I was more than happy to take the opportunity to review some of the products in the A'kin skincare range, as not only am I committed to being cruelty free but I'm also looking for more natural, less toxic products to use on my skin. These are things that might seem so obvious, but only after years of me personally not thinking about it!

A'kin Purely Revitalising Firming Night Creme

A'kin Purely Revitalising Firming Night Creme is a newer product designed specifically for mature skin - that's me!!! Me with the drying out, sheet-printed face in the morning skin because my skin just doesn't bounce back like it used to. Alas the woes of aging...

A'kin describes this night creme as a "...luxurious anti-age night crème that will firm and lift to obtain smoother skin texture, visibly reduce lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity for a younger, youthful looking skin, naturally by combining powerful antioxidants, vitamins and Omega oils to create a night creme that will intensively hydrate and help stimulate your cell production while you sleep so you can wake up refreshed and revitalised looking your best, naturally."

The key ingredients are fragmented hyaluronic acid to stimulate collagen production, and Echium oil which is said to be a rich source of omega oil for reducing deep wrinkles and smoothing out the skin.


My impressions:
I've been using this night creme for a month so I have gone beyond the obvious first impressions but lets go through those anyway:  The first obvious thing as you can see in the pictures below is how lovely and thick textured the creme is - it doesn't budge out of the tub even when turned on its side!  Yet despite being so rich this rubs in and absorbs beautifully, even over facial treatment oils, so my skin simply looks and feels moisturised and not greasy in any way.  Ah yes, there is the barest essential oil scent but it isn't obtrusive in the slightest and fades away quickly - and I have to say that is a plus because my husband had issues with the scent of another natural night creme I'd recently used and half "threatened" to sleep in the spare room! No, I'm not kidding either!




And what do I really think after using A'kin Purely Revitalising Firming Night Creme for a month? They weren't kidding at all with their claims.  My skin looks soft and more refreshed in the morning and I have noticed the distinct reduction in those creases I can get on my face after my nightly 8 hours. They certainly iron themselves out faster too, so my skin appears to have more resilience and "bounce back" than it used to.  Okay, I'm hooked and highly recommend this product for women with mature skin.

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The RRP for 50ml is around $47AUD and I believe it's reasonably priced for a high quality product.
A'kin skincare is available from David Jones, Priceline, selected pharmacies and health food stores around Australia and online here.

Ingredients:
Water,Isostearyl Isostearate,Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter,Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil,Sorbitan Stearate,Cetearyl Nonanoate,Glycerin,Cetearyl Alcohol,Niacinamide,Ascorbyl Glucoside (Vitamin C Glucoside),Sucrose Cocoate,Behenyl Alcohol,Panthenol,Sodium Gluconate,Sodium Lactate,Arginine,Phenoxyethanol,Allantoin,Fragrance,Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil,Sodium Citrate,Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Juice,Ethylhexylglycerin,Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid,Piroctone Olamine,Xanthan Gum,Sodium Phytate,Methylsilanol Hydroxyproline Aspartate,Citric Acid,Citronellol,Sodium Hyaluronate,Sorbitan Olivate,Salicylic acid,Geraniol#,Potassium sorbate,Linalool#,Sodium Benzoate,Citral#,Limonene#,*derived from botanical sources, # component of the essential oil fragrance. 

Cruelty Free: Yes 
Vegan: Yes
Certified Organic: Yes


Until next time!


(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

05 February, 2016

Empties! January 2016



It feels like only a week ago that I posted my final empties for 2015! In reality it's been more like 3 weeks but this year seems to have got off to a flying start. Well, I'm at it again because I want to throw out this lot before I start accumulating the February stuff! 

As mentioned in my "I'm Cruelty Free!..." post I'm working at using up my non-CF products as well so these will be included in my empties. If you're only interested in my thoughts on the animal-friendly products look for those marked CF.  Oh yes, I'm not going to bother numbering every single empty this year but I will be keeping a running tally on my makeup empties to see how close I can get to 50 in my 2016 makeup use up challenge! Here we go with my first installment of 2016. I haven't finished any skin care yet so it's straight into...


Hand and body care

L'Occitane Arlessiene Shower Cream (70ml/2.3 fl.oz) - It's so sad that L'Occitane is not cruelty free because I love their products. This shower cream was no exception with its exquisite scent and velvety foam.

Mukti Botanique Wash Desert Lime & Lemon Verbena (100ml/3.5 fl.oz) CF/V - Yes this locally made wash is Vegan too! I originally bought it as a hand wash but swapped to using it as a body wash, then fell utterly in love with it. A tiny amount lathers up in the shower puff or sponge and makes for a refreshingly zingy shower experience! I will definitely repurchase this in a larger size if available.



MOR Body Butter (Italian Blood Orange) CF - This body butter had a fantastic orange sherbet scent but - of course - it's been discontinued so that's the end of that!

Miller & Moore Moisturising Shea Butter Body Lotion (150ml) - This was part of a gift set I received some time ago and actually did an okay job as it absorbed quickly to moisturize my arms and legs.


L'Occitane Zesty Lime Hand Cream (30ml/1 fl.oz) - I actually didn't care for this particular zesty fragrance as it reminded me too much of grated rind.

Crabtree & Evelyn India Hicks Island Living Spider Lily Hand Therapy (25g/0.9 fl.oz) - I only recently found out that C & E are no longer cruelty free so once I run through my current stash of hand creams these will be off the shopping list too. It's a shame because I really loved them and this was a very lovely, delicate white floral scented cream.


Hair care

Thann Aromatic Wood Aromatherapy Conditioner (30ml/1 fl.oz) CF - Just a little something I took away from the Raffles Hotel in Singapore I believe.  I grabbed it out of my travel bag to use while waiting for my next online hair care delivery and it served its purpose, preventing my hair from becoming tangled and snarled after washing. It has a nicely unobtrusive unisex orange, tangerine and nutmeg oil scent.

Original Mineral Hydrate & Conquer Conditioner (350ml/11.8 fl.oz) CF - I was worried this thick - and I mean really thick like a treatment - conditioner would weigh down my hair but it worked more like a volumising product. The combination of natural oils in the formula makes it smell rather deliciously like vanilla too!

L'Oreal Elnett Satin Very Volume Hairspray (55g/75ml) - It was good but not exceptionally great so reapplications were necessary. That's the last of my non-CF hairspray done!


Cosmetics

1) bareMinerals Marvellous Moxie Lipstick (Speak Your Mind) CF - I loved, loved, loved this lippy for its shade and formula!  There's nothing like a great everyday pink so a repurchase is planned in the near future.

2) NYX Mosaic Powder (Plummy) CF - I always wore the colours swirled together for naturally flushed looking cheeks all year round.  I'd probably repurchase if I wasn't drowning in blush!

3) Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara (Black) - To quote my instagram post, this mascara isn't meant for thickening but it did a great job of defining my lashes for a natural look.

4) Benefit Her Glossiness (Didn't Hear It From Me) - A milky gloss that's been discontinued.  I think I got it as a magazine freebie a couple of years ago.


Fragrance

L'Occitane Arlessiene EDT (7.5ml/.25 fl.oz) - Oh I'm feeling too lazy to try and describe this so here's the info from Fragrantica:  "[The top notes are]...the freshness of mandarin and the peppery character of saffron flower in bloom. The heart captures rose from Grasse complemented by lily of the valley. Violet at the base is accompanied by milky sandalwood, blonde woods and tonka bean."

Penhaligon's Elisabethan Rose EDT (50ml/1.7 fl.oz) - Penhaligon's isn't PETA or Leaping Bunny accredited but they state the following on their website:  "We have removed all animal by-products from our cosmetic formulations, including all fragrances, bath & shower gels, bath oils, hand & body creams, soaps, balms, talcum powders, shaving products and deodorants. These products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans."  I've also read they have recently been approached by vegan beauty and lifestyle website Logical Harmony to clarify their CF status so fingers crossed! Now onto the fragrance itself which is the purest old fashioned rose scent I've ever owned, and my husband forever complimented me on it.  The top notes are aldehydes and geranium; middle notes are chamomile, violet and rose; base notes are amber, musk and sandalwood. It is indeed old fashioned but delightful!


That's it until next month!


(All products in this post were purchased by me.)

03 February, 2016

FABY: Mrs Liberty

Now let's resume normal programming with a nail swatch post.

I've featured FABY nail lacquers quite a few times on this blog over the past year but have never mentioned they are cruelty free - Oops! To refresh everyone's memory, besides that little key thing FABY polishes are free of the "Big 5" nasties:  formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and camphor.  Right, so those important bits of information are out of the way let's get onto the new polish!

At the end of 2015 I was grateful to receive a little delivery of FABY blue polishes to celebrate summer and as I was able to make my own selections I was very happy with the shades!  I'm starting off with the brightest of the three in this post, the "bright cyan blue for the Statue of Liberty" called, of course, Mrs Liberty.  Mrs Liberty is from FABY's Karim collection, which represents the colours of New York.  It's that sort of aquatic blue that I love wearing in summer so that's why I gravitated toward it first.

The application was trouble-free and probably could have been a one-coater although I've applied two coats here.  Wear time was comparable to some of the "gel" polishes I've been wearing lately so I got through 4 days prior to chipping, and removal was easy too as considering the aqua blue shade I didn't end up with any staining afterwards.

Full sun


Indirect daylight


This is one gloriously bright summery blue and I really enjoyed wearing it.

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Question: Do you want me to mention if a product is PETA or Leaping Bunny endorsed? I've found that these organisations do not list all CF products but I will include the endorsements for now.

I will indicate where products are cruelty free and/or vegan and/or certified organic as below:

Cruelty Free: Yes (PETA)
Vegan: No
Certified Organic: No


Until next time!


(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

01 February, 2016

I'm Cruelty Free! What happens now?

Now for something really a little different from me...

After many months of quietly reflecting, researching and redirecting my beauty spending I can finally come out and say that I am now officially a cruelty free beauty blogger! Yay! I'm mentally jumping for joy telling you right now, you lovely people out there! 


Why did I do it? What does it mean for this space? Well, let me try and address all your questions by answering the ones that come to mind and that I obviously asked myself along the way.  I've jotted down a few things so I'll tackle this as a little Q & A session. Of course I'm sure I haven't thought of all the questions so if you want to ask anything I haven't covered then please feel free to ask in the comments!

Why did I decide to go cruelty free?
It's probably been in the back of mind longer than I realised actually.  The fact is, whenever I knew a brand or product was cruelty free that was always a selling point for me and I've also made a point of mentioning where products I've reviewed on the blog are cruelty free.  What really tipped me over the edge was when I read last year that my Canadian beauty blogger friend Maggie was undergoing a major downsize of her collection and transitioning to cruelty free, and that made me realize I could do it too. Simple reasons like me loving my pets and feeling a bit hypocritical about buying products that had been tested on animals made me think I needed to get serious about it for myself, and not just pay lip service to it.  I don't know that I'm articulating myself all that well but take it that I am sincere in my motivation.

How long has it taken me to transition to cruelty free?
Once I made the decision in the middle of last year I allowed myself until the end of the year - 6 to 7 months - to really make it happen.  Firstly, I wanted to make sure that I was being sincere and could overcome my own impulses to buy from all the pretty new collections without a second thought and I found that mostly it didn't take me too long to change my mindset.  Secondly, I spent a lot of time seeking out the information, mostly from other blogs, YouTube channels and Instagram - almost the whole of social media basically - and Googling brands like crazy to find out their CF status.  I also had to formulate my own position and where I stand on this subject exactly compared to the range of opinions and stances out there.  All of this takes time, and apart from telling a few trusted people I didn't want to share this transition widely until I was ready and sure of myself because I know there can be some controversy where there is a difference of opinion.  

Has the transition been difficult?  Have I fallen off the wagon?
Yes and no.  I was resolute in what I was going to do but there are difficulties in getting through the 'doublespeak' as I've found out that not all brands are entirely forthcoming about their true CF status. Yes, there has been some temptation along the way too.  I did fall off the wagon twice in the past 6 months where I quietly bought a Tom Ford matte lipstick (and felt so ashamed that I've not shared that little slip until now!) and when I not so quietly bought a Laura Mercier palette late last year, although I told myself  "That's the last time!" after that happened.  I have also made some genuinely accidental purchases from natural brands I'd assumed to be CF without checking first - I'll share that in a future post I think - and that mistake taught me to be a lot more deliberate in my purchasing and to do my research first!

Will I purchase from CF brands where their parent company is not CF?
This is where I have to justify my position when I say yes I will.  Call me an idealist here but by me - and others - choosing to spend money on the parent companies' CF brands only, I believe there is a message being sent. The ultimate goal would be a parent company's CF brands outselling non-CF brands and therefore delivering a very clear message to the parent company of where the profit should be coming from.  That means Urban Decay is not off limits! 

Will I be getting rid of non-CF items in my collection?
No. I believe that would be more offensive to the animals' suffering than me buying the products in the first place.

Will I be featuring any non-CF items in this blog?
I will not be reviewing any more non-CF brands here as I am no longer accepting non-CF products from PR companies. I will however continue to feature non-CF products in my empties posts as I get through them (I'll highlight the CF products as I did in my last empties post).  I may even be reaching out to you for suggestions on the best CF alternatives for some of the empties along the way!

Am I going to become vegetarian or vegan?
If I could do so easily I would.  I have a diagnosed B12 deficiency due to absorption issues so under my doctor's instructions I have to eat red meat and top up with supplements to maintain normal levels.

Will I still welcome non-CF visitors to this blog?
This is a silly question, but then again there's no such thing as a silly question so I'll address it sensibly by saying - OF COURSE!  All of my friends are still my friends regardless! I am not one to preach or judge.  If anything my goal here is to be accountable to myself and you all, to lead by example and perhaps even educate as I become more informed on the CF subject.  If you want to make the transition too then that's fantastic and if you're happy being as you are that's fine too.  I'm very much a live and let live person!





Until next time!  I hope you stick around for the journey!


28 January, 2016

Review: Rimmel Fix & Protect Makeup Primer and Match Perfection Foundation

*Rimmel is not listed as a cruelty free brand*

In my experience Rimmel has been great at producing quality drugstore base products for the most part so I was happy to try out their recent releases:  their newest makeup primer called Fix & Protect and their "new and improved" Match Perfection Foundation...  


Despite being seduced by the lure of the higher end brands, I'm like everyone else out there in the real world and can also be swayed by a good bargain so it made sense for me to try these out - especially the primer. I'm a bit of a primer "snob" and have mostly stuck to high end products so I was curious to see how Rimmel's new entry compares. Let's start with that shall we?

Rimmel Fix & Protect Makeup Primer

Rimmel says this new primer acts in three ways:
  • Protects the skin from pollution and UV related skin damage including hyper-pigmentation
  • Fixes and perfects appearance of skin with its light-diffusing properties to blur blemishes
  • Extends the life of your makeup, staying mattified for up to 7 hours

My impressions:
I'll get straight to it. I found the Fix & Protect Makeup Primer to be a nice product but not a holy grail for me.  On the positive side the texture is very light - not siliconey in the slightest - and smooth. It feels like a light moisturising lotion when applying and as you can see below it does have an instant illuminating effect on the skin when blended in, producing an almost pearlescent sheen.  



This primer can be worn alone if you have the right complexion, but pale old me looks more ghostly than ethereal with this alone so I'm only ever going to wear it as a foundation base.  It did allow foundation to glide onto the skin smoothly as I'd expect and I like the added SPF protection for sun protection.

Where the primer falls below expectation is its mattifying claims as despite me habitually setting my makeup with powder before I headed out the door, I found myself reaching to powder my t-zone again before midday.  Okay - I do have combination skin - especially at this time of year - so I think this primer would probably suit normal to dry skins better than mine.    


Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation

I've read this is Rimmel's "new and improved" version but I haven't tried the original so I can't do the old comparison for you here but I can see how it fares according to the claims listed below.  Spoiler alert:  I was a little more impressed with this than the primer!
  • Skin matching due to "wonder-tone" technology resulting in weightless texture and invisible coverage. I have to say the shade 100 Ivory was a pretty good match for my skin and it definitely doesn't look made-up, although without powder it's just a little bit on the dewy side. Rimmel are on the mark with the weightless texture too as I pretty much forget that I have anything on when I'm wearing this foundation - it's one of the most comfortable I've tried and my skin doesn't feel there's a layer sitting on top of it at all. You can see in the picture below this foundation is quite liquid and almost runny so it's no surprise it feels so light on the skin. Despite the light texture it still provides good natural looking medium to full coverage as you can see when blended out (albeit quite heavily) on the back of my hand in the last picture.
  • Perfecting and blurring the pores.  Yes it does a great job of taking care of those for me, especially on and around my nose. 
  • Protecting the skin with 24HR moisture, SPF20 and Vitamin E.  I'll hopefully never have to put the 24HR claim to the test but the dewy formula definitely feels moisturising on my skin.  I was actually going to write that earlier so I'll say it now - it feels more like a lightweight moisturiser than makeup.




So my final thoughts? I was happy with the performance of this foundation and I can see it as an easy everyday choice.  Match Perfection Foundation is available in 8 shades.

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Rimmel Fix & Protect Makeup Primer and Match Perfection Foundation are available from Priceline, Big W, Woolworths, Coles and pharmacies.



(These products were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

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