Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser – Cruelty Free SPF

I’m a bit obsessive with SPF, especially on my face. I always use an SPF moisturiser (or tinted moisturiser/foundation), even in winter. I up the protection in the summer months, though realistically I don’t spend a lot of time outdoors. However, last month I travelled to Phoenix for a conference (where it was 47 degrees Celsius!), then to Las Vegas (a mere 42 degrees), then to Orlando (a slightly more reasonable 32 degrees but with killer humidity). As I was going to be spending just over a week in the desert and then two weeks in bright and humid Florida, I knew I needed an SPF that was a bit more than my normal day-to-day one for England. Finding one that was cruelty free, high SPF, suitable for wearing under make up, and non-greasy was surprisingly difficult. I’d scoured Superdrug and not found anything quite right, so I headed to Lush to see if they had any advice. Then I discovered this gem – Lush’s Million Dollar Moisturiser.

Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser
Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser

I haven’t been a huge fan of some of the skincare products I’ve tried from Lush before, so I was a bit apprehensive about using a moisturiser from there, and especially when I learnt the cost – 32.50! The staff are so helpful in Lush, so the assistant got me a generous sample so I could try it out for a few days to see how I got on with it.

I wasn’t a fan of the scent initially, though after a couple of days I grew to love it (anyone else find this happens with Lush products?!). The way it left my skin feeling and looking however… that I loved straight away. It’s not too heavy and you only need a tiny amount; it’s very moisturising and smoothes nicely on the skin. I was back within a couple of days to buy the full size.

Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser
Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser – close up

It has an iridescent sheen to it which looks quite obvious in the tub, but on the skin it’s fairly subtle and gives a lovely glow. It’s a great moisturiser to wear as a primer under make up – I find that if I use this and more mattifying make up, it gives a lovely effect as some of the sheen shows through (I don’t wear high coverage make up).

Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser switched on hand
Lush Million Dollar Moisturiser swatched on hand

I’ve been wearing it almost every day since purchasing it, and it protected my skin amazingly well whilst we were away. I’ve had it for almost two months now and haven’t made much of a dent in it so I’d estimate it will last at least 5 months, possibly more. I probably won’t need this sort of coverage in the winter months so may not repurchase straight away but certainly intend to use this again next summer (though I notice on the website it says leaving soon – I really hope that’s a seasonal thing!)

What SPF facial moisturiser do you use? Any recommendations for other cruelty free and natural versions?

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Cruelty free favourites in 2016

2016 was the year I learnt about cruelty free companies, and I’ve gradually made the switch so that most of my skincare and cosmetics are now from cruelty free brands (I still have a few items that I’ve owned since before making the switch). I’ve tried a lot of new products and many of them have been brilliant – by having to research products I’ve made more informed purchases (not all have been good though!). Here’s my favourite discoveries; the things I’d not want to be without and will repurchase once they run out.

2016 Cruelty Free Favourites
2016 Cruelty Free Favourites
Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (£29.50) – By far my favourite cleanser of the year. I have dry/combination skin and this cleansing gel which transforms to an oil helps to really cleanse well, but leaves skin feeling lovely and moisturised rather than ‘squeaky clean’ which can leave it dry. The scent is lovely too, and you only need a small amount so although it’s expensive it does last a long time.

Foreo Luna Play (£29) – I got this in one of my advent calendars and am so glad I did as I’ve been wanting to try one for ages. It’s great for deep cleansing (especially around the nose). Since using this my skin has been smoother and my skincare products seem to absorb better. Sadly this can’t be recharged so once it runs out I’ll be treating myself to a full-sized rechargeable one.

Sukin Super Greens Nutrient Rich Facial Moisturiser (£9.99) – I wouldn’t have thought this would suit my skin as I tend to prefer a gel cream moisturiser and this is a rich cream, but I got it when it was on offer as it was recommended to me by a sales assistant in a natural beauty shop in Manchester (and I loved the smell!). I love the convenience of the pump dispenser and the moisturiser does a great job at balancing my skin. I have to leave it a little while to absorb, but a little goes a long way.

Sleek CC Cream (£8.99) – I tried this earlier in the year as it has a high SPF and I thought it would make a good tinted moisturiser for summer. I ended up loving it so much I used it all through summer, autumn, and winter! I occasionally wear foundation but don’t usually like anything too heavy, and this CC cream is perfect for wearing something to help even out skintone without being too heavy. The fair shade is pale enough for me in winter, and I wore the light shade (or a mixture of light and fair) in summer when I had a bit more colour. I’m almost out of my second tube of this and have another ready for when it’s finished.

Barry M That’s How I Roll Mascara (£4.99) – It took me a while to find a cruelty free mascara I liked but I love this! It’s a plastic wand and helps separate, lengthen and curl lashes. It gives a natural look, but you can build it up too. I’m on my second tube of this which will soon need replacing.

Inika Loose Mineral Blush in Blooming Nude (£21) – another advent calendar product, but not one I thought I’d love so much. Every time I’ve worn make up since I got this at the beginning of December I’ve worn this blush. It’s a very natural colour and easy to apply (though you only need a tiny amount!). I love it, and am definitely keen to try more mineral products.

Sleek Power Plump Lip Crayon in Notorious Nude (£5.50) – this one wasn’t as well researched as other purchases; to be honest I can’t even remember why I bought it but it was probably part of an offer with the CC cream. I’m so glad I got it though as it’s definitely my most worn lip product this year. It’s a very neutral nude, a perfect ‘my lips but better’ shade for me. It has a plumping effect which gives a tingly feeling (which I love). It lasts fairly well, and is easy to reapply; it doesn’t wear in an uneven way or clump if you add more later in the day. I just love it and have recommended it to so many people. Mine is getting much shorter and I may have to buy a backup soon – I’d be gutted if they stopped making this!

Lavanila Perfume in Fresh Vanilla Lemon ($19) – Cruelty free perfumes are quite tricky to find as most of the main brands aren’t cruelty free. I like fruity scents and foodie scents so this fresh vanilla lemon fragrance is right up my street. I’ve almost finished my current one and I’ve really loved it. It’s not so easy to find in the UK sadly, but I have family in the US so I may be doing some orders to their address now I know how much I love this scent!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm (£14) – I use an intensive lip balm every night and when I switched to cruelty free I started using this one. It’s only a tiny pot but I’ve been using it since June and you can hardly tell I’ve used any! It’s very rich and moisturising so is great for an overnight treatment which is how I use it.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Shampoo and Conditioner (£3.99 each) – My hair is very dry and this range works amazingly well for me. I don’t have bottles to photograph at the moment because I finally invested in a shower dispenser (I only wanted to do this once I’d found a shampoo and conditioner that suited me well!). I like the scent of this but the main thing is that it moisturises my hair well and leaves it feeling soft. My hair seems to be growing well at the moment and I think this is partly due to the shampoo and conditioner (and the fact I don’t have to style my hair as much).

Overall I’ve found some real gems this year and switching to cruelty free has been an enjoyable process and nowhere near as scary as it first seemed like it might be. The ranges I can choose from might be less than they were a year ago, but there are some great quality cruelty free brands and products so I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all.

What are your favourite cruelty free products?

Quick review – M&S and Look Fantastic Advent Calendars

This year I treated myself to two advent calendars, and was spoilt having two mini gifts each day from 1st to 25th December. Some of these products have been amazing discoveries. I’ll be honest though, some have been quite disappointing. Not all the products were cruelty free, though I knew this would be the case when I purchased them. A couple of products I was looking forward to weren’t to my taste (the Nudestix pencil for example I thought sounded great but the shade was too pale for what I like in a lip pencil). I think overall the Look Fantastic box had more products that I loved, but it was more expensive and yet the quality of the box was poor. Some of it was already open when it arrived, and it was difficult to open the days without seeing the items next to them. I much prefer the M&S approach of separate mini boxes (though appreciate this isn’t the most eco-friendly approach).

Here are the cruelty free (to the best of my knowledge) items I have enjoyed most from the advent calendars:

  • Alpha H Liquid Gold
  • Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream
  • Foreo Luna Play (and Day Cleanser)
  • Inika Loose Mineral Blush
  • Josh Wood Radient Shine Hair Treatment Oil
  • Pixi Brow Tamer
  • Pixi Glow Tonic
  • Rosie from Autograph Lip Glossy in Supermodel Shine

I did enjoy my advent calendars and think they were worth the money, though I think next year I need to choose just one as I have lots of sample products I won’t use (though I’ve gifted some and plan to give others to family and friends). I’m really hoping there might be more cruelty free options next year though as it would be great to have a 100% cruelty free advent calendar.

 

Beauty Advent Calendars – Day 5-13 Highlights

There haven’t been quite as many good cruelty free products for the last few days, however day 12 really upped the stakes so I thought it was worth another update. Here’s some recent cruelty free highlights from my advent calendars:

2016 Advent Calendar Highlights: Days 5-13
2016 Advent Calendar Highlights: Days 5-13

Moroccanoil (25ml) – I know, I’m late to the party on this one. I remember a few years ago everyone going crazy for this and I can see why. My hair is dry and prone to frizziness and this makes it smooth, more shiny, less frizzy, and helps detangle (I mostly use it on damp hair). It also smells great! My hair doesn’t tend to get greasy but sometimes oils can make it seem greasy but this one doesn’t. I’ve also used it on dry hair and it works well to refresh and nourish hair too. You only need a tiny amount so I imagine this small bottle will last a while but I may well be looking into repurchasing when it runs out (I also got a Josh Wood hair oil which is quite nice but this is my favourite). It’s not cheap (£13.45 for a 25ml bottle), and the packaging isn’t great (glass bottle with no dispenser) but the product is really good.

Alpha H Liquid Gold (50ml) – I’ve heard a lot of great things about this glycolic toner so was keen to give it a try. It says to only use it every other night so that’s what I’ve been doing and my skin seems to love it. It seems stronger (and therefore more effective) than the Pixi Glow Tonic and Freedom Glycolic Toner, but it is also a lot more expensive! Due to the cost I’m not sure if I’ll repurchase this but if cost wasn’t a factor I definitely would, and I may well be looking out for offers (this multipack seems like a better deal for example).

Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm – I love cleansing balms. I had an Emma Hardie one last year and quite liked it. It’s not my favourite cleansing balm it is a very good one that I’ll be happy to take with me when travelling. I don’t personally think it’s worth the full value but it’s often on offer and if you get the chance to try one of the smaller sizes I’d recommend it. I also really love the Emma Hardie double-sided cleansing cloths; they’re my main cleansing cloths.

Foreo Luna Play and Day Cleanser – I have been wanting to try this cleansing system for a while (I actually had one on my Christmas list before I knew I’d get this in my advent calendar!) and although I’ve only used it three times so far I think I’ll be purchasing another when this runs out (the Play isn’t rechargeable). It’s pretty powerful and seems to really help with deep cleansing; though I think that’s partly due to the fact you’ll likely spend longer cleansing and massaging and you have a tool which can easily get into your face’s nooks and crannies (like around your nose). Whatever it is, I really like it so far as my skin feels lovely and clean without feeling dry. These aren’t cheap (the full size rechargeable ones are £169!) but I think I’ll be saving up to get one as I love doing my cleansing routine and am happy to invest in something that will make it even more enjoyable. The cleanser is nice too – you apply it on dry skin and use the Luna Play damp, which helps the cleanser froth up. I like the sound of the night cleanser which is a gel, so may have to buy a sample of that to give that a go.

Look Good Feel Better Powder Brush – I’ve been aware of this brand before but never had one of their brushes. Look Good Feel Better is a charity supporting women  who have cancer; they run workshops to help women feel better about themselves. The powder brush I got is actually a mini one so is a really handy size for fitting into a makeup bag when travelling.

Beauty Advent Calendars – Day 1-4 highlights

It’s only 4th December but I’ve already had some fantastic items in my beauty advent calendars. As a reminder, I went for the M&S calendar and the LookFantastic calendar – neither have all cruelty free items but the majority in both are. Here’s some highlights so far…

2016 Advent Calendar Highlights: Days 1-4
2016 Advent Calendar Highlights: Days 1-4

Pixi Glow Tonic – Day 1 in LookFantastic calendar was a teeny tiny 15ml bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic. In my nighttime skincare I alternate between this and the Freedom Glycolic Radiance Tonic (both of which I love) so this will be really handy to take with me when I’m travelling.

Inika Loose Mineral Blush (Blooming Nude) – I’ve heard a lot of good things about Inika so was delighted to receive this full sized loose mineral blush in Blooming Nude for Day 3 in my LookFantastic calendar. I’ve never tried a loose powder blush and confess I had to search Youtube to find out how to use it! You only need a tiny bit of product but it gives a lovely natural flush which lasts all day. I don’t tend to wear blush every day but this is lovely and not too ‘made up’ so I’ve worn it today and yesterday over my usual CC cream. It’s £21 so not cheap, but I think it will last ages. Great value for an advent calendar item!

This Works Sleep Plus+ Pillow Spray – I have tried this before but got out of the habit of using it. My sleeping pattern is terrible at the moment (it often is!) so getting this in Day 4 of the LookFantastic calendar was a welcome item. I have a slightly earlier than usual start tomorrow so will be trying to wind down early tonight and using this to help me sleep. I’ve included the link to the 75ml spray which is the best value way of buying this, but if you want to try it out first there are plenty of gift sets available which include the smaller sizes like I got.

Pixi Brow Tamer (Translucent) – This was one of the items that I was particularly looking forward to from the M&S calendar so I’m glad it’s one of the earlier items (Day 4) – it’s the full sized product worth £12. I don’t tend to do much, if anything, with my brows but have been wondering about trying out a brow gel. This product doesn’t do a whole lot, but I don’t want a whole lot doing so it does the job for me. I’ve tried it out today and it doesn’t make my brows feel crispy at all; it’s just good for combing through and holding them in place.

So far so good – I’m loving having my beauty treats each day and am looking forward to trying out more 🙂

 

Cruelty free beauty advent calendars

Last December was a great month. I took some time off work, we moved house (back closer to the area both myself and my partner grew up in and where most of our family and friends are based), we spent time with family and friends around Christmas, and most importantly I had my M&S advent calendar. OK, I might be exaggerating the importance slightly, but it was seriously great. Every day last December until Christmas I had a little beauty treat to try out, and I absolutely loved it. I blogged each day and enjoyed sharing some of the new things I’d discovered thanks to the advent calendar. I concluded in my review post that I’d loved it so much that I was planning to get another this year.

Then earlier this year I learnt about the animal testing that still goes on with many cosmetic companies, and decided to go cruelty free. Suddenly trying new things isn’t so easy. Product purchases involve a lot more research and more careful consideration. I knew I really wanted to have a beauty advent calendar again this year though, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for different advent calendars and doing research to find the best one(s) for me. Sadly, it’s been quite a struggle.

There are some cruelty free brands who have beauty advent calendars (Dr Hauschka and Make Up Revolution for example), but I like the variety of trying different brands and I like to have 24 items (some only have 12 and I’m far too greedy to be happy with that!). So I scoured the spoiler blog posts and looked to see if any of the variety beauty advent calendars offer cruelty free options. I made a spreadsheet and noted which items were cruelty free, and which items I was interested in (to ensure good value for money). In the end, I decided to go for two options; partly because I couldn’t decide between them, partly because they both had some particularly great cruelty free items in, and partly because I’m being a diva and want treats!

I went for the Look Fantastic calendar and the M&S calendar (unfortunately both now out of stock); both of which have around 16 cruelty free items (from my research; some brands I can’t be sure about). Although it’s not ideal to be supporting some brands that aren’t cruelty free, I’m happy that the majority of the items I’ll be trying are cruelty free. I won’t be blogging every item like I did last year, but I’ll probably share some of the items if I find some new cruelty free items that I really like and will be likely to repurchase.

I’d love it if it was easier to get cruelty free versions of the beauty advent calendars; fingers crossed this might become the norm in future. I’m sure there are many people who would be delighted to be able to discover new cruelty free brands.

In the meantime, I’m very much looking forward to starting my advents calendars tomorrow. It’ll be Christmas before we know it! 🙂

Cruelty free items from USA

A couple of months ago I attended a conference in Philadelphia and managed to squeeze a visit to Sephora, Ulta and CVS. Some cruelty free brands are much easier to find in the US, so I was particularly on the look out for some, whilst others I just happened to spot. I was really hoping to get some LaVanila perfume but only found deodorant. Here’s what I got…

2016-06-26 13.59.04
Cruelty free items from USA

Becca Opal Glow on the Go set

This little set was great value at $20. I’ve heard so much great stuff about Becca products, particularly the shimmering skin perfectors, and I know Opal is recommended for paler skin tones so thought I’d give this a go. I really like both versions of this. I mostly use the powder just for ease of application as I can use a small brush. I’ve used it as a highlighter and also as an eyeshadow too. The liquid version is great for taking with you if you’re travelling and don’t want to take brushes as you can blend it in with your fingers. I imagine these will last me ages, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for Becca products in future.

E.L.F. Foundation Serum in Fair/Light

I used to really like the Bourjois foundation serum and have heard great things about E.L.F so thought I’d give this a try (the fact it’s SPF 30 also attracted me to it). Sadly I’m not a fan. It’s an extremely runny liquid and not at all easy to apply. It’s only a light coverage which I don’t mind, but the finish is nothing special and the difficulty in application means I’m hardly ever reaching for it.

Physicians Formula Healthy Wear in Light to Natural

I got this mostly because of the high SPF factor. I’m a bit obsessive about wearing SPF, particularly on my face. My current favourite high SPF isn’t cruelty free so I’ve been looking for an alternative for a while. I thought I’d give this one a go and it’s great. It applies nicely, absorbs easily and isn’t too shiny like some SPF creams can be (though it’s not matte in finish). It’s tinted and is a bit too dark for my natural colouring, but as I have a bit more colour at the moment it works OK for me. Sadly there are only two shades so this won’t be good for my usual pale skin.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum – sample size

You may be sensing a theme for my purchases here; this was yet another attempt to try to find a light coverage foundation with SPF (it’s SPF30). This is also watery, but not as runny as the ELF serum. Despite the name it does add a bit of coverage and leaves a nice finish on the skin. It’s not going to cover blemishes, but it’s great for evening out skin tone.

LaVanila Healthy Deodorant in Pure Vanilla – travel size

I have a full size one of these which I like, so when I saw this mini size I thought I’d pick one up. These has been really handy on long days in summer where I might want to freshen up during the day.

Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Pastille

I’d been looking for a suitable every day lip product, and particularly one which matches my current favourite mauve lip product which isn’t cruelty free. This one is a bit more of a raspberry shade than a mauve and a bit brighter than I usually like so it’s not really an every day colour for me, but it’s a nice lip crayon (though the recently discovered nude Sleek lip pencil I mentioned in my recent favourites is getting much more use!).

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm

A rich lip balm has been another item I’ve been looking for a cruelty free replacement for, and I am so pleased with this. It’s only tiny but you don’t need much at all. I’ve been using this every night and my lips haven’t been anywhere near as dry as they can be. It can also be used in the day too, as although it lasts a long time it doesn’t feel too thick. I wish this was easier to find in the UK but at least I now know I can get it online.

Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light – sample size

I got this free as I’d earned a points bonus (well, I almost did and the cashier was very friendly – the English accent always helps!). I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to do as I don’t seem to notice any difference in my skin texture, colour or appearance when I use this as a primer. It’s an expensive product and not one I’ll be purchasing.

The stand out items are the Becca products and the First Aid Beauty Lip Balm, and I’d love to try more of the Perricone MD products (I just wish they weren’t so expensive!).