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…

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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!).

LoveLula beauty box – June 2016

This month saw me receive my fourth LoveLula beauty box*. Here’s what I received:

LoveLula Beauty Box - June
LoveLula Beauty Box – June

Skin Blossom Gentle Face Wash* (150ml, worth £6.95) – I’ve had a couple of Skin Blossom items in previous boxes and given them to a friend, but I haven’t used a face wash like this for a while so thought I’d give it a go. It is indeed very gentle and I can imagine would be good for sensitive skin. I’ve used this a couple of times now and found it cleans the skin without stripping it too much. It’s good for my fairly dry skin and I’ll continue to use it. It’s nothing amazing so I wouldn’t rush out to buy again but I’ll definitely use it up.

Urban Veda Soothing Exfoliating Facial Polish* (20ml), Facial Wash* (20ml) and Day Cream* (10ml) – The collection this month is aimed at combination skin and helps to clarify and moisturise. As with the other Urban Veda range I tried, I’m liking this so far, especially the facial polish which I use in the shower. They’re a great value brand and one I’d consider buying in future. You can get sample versions* of many of the Urban Veda products if you’re interested in trying them out.

Pure & Light Essential Face Cream* (15ml, worth £8.70) – I don’t think this is anything special, but it does moisturise my skin well and doesn’t leave any residue. The scent is OK but the product isn’t something I’d personally rush out to repurchase, especially given the price (£29 for 50ml).

PHB Ethical Beauty Soothing Hand Cream* (50ml, worth £10.95) – sadly I’m not usually a fan of lavender scented things so I have tried this once but didn’t like the scent. I’ll be passing this on to someone who I know loves lavender and always needs hand cream!

The verdict

June’s box wasn’t as relevant for me as some of the previous boxes and having had four consecutive boxes (see my earlier blog posts on March, April and May beauty boxes) I now seem to have a lot of facial skincare to use up. I’ve therefore decided to take a break from the subscription whilst I use up some of the products I have, but I would still recommend the box and I’ll probably subscribe again in future once I’ve used some of the products up. I do love skincare but I wish it was a little more varied in terms of items in the box (e.g. haircare, make up) to reduce the chance of stockpiling!

Do you have any other cruelty free beauty box recommendations?

*Affiliate links




LoveLula beauty box – May 2016

This month saw me receive my third LoveLula beauty box. Here’s what I received:

Love Lula Beauty Box - May 2016
Love Lula Beauty Box – May 2016

Joik Lemon & Vanilla Body Scrub (don’t know what size the sample is but product is £14 for 240g) – this is a great body scrub – the scent is lovely and fresh and it’s a great texture. It has both sea salt and sugar in the scrub so that definitely helps make it a good scrub for the body. The sample is a really good size – not full size but plenty of uses and suitable for travel too. I’d be temptd to repurchase this, although I also really love the Soap and Glory Breakfast Scrub.

Ooh! Natural Cacay Anti-Aging Face Oil (5ml, worth £6.50) – I love the brand name ‘Ooh’ (it stands for Oils Of Heaven). The brand is apparently the first to bring Cacay Oil to the UK, which has 50% more Vitamin E than Argan Oil and 3 times more Retinol than Rose Hip Oil. I’m no expert but what I do know is this oil is lovely. You only need a few drops and I’ve been using it 2-3 times a week in the evening when I want a bit more moisture, and it works well. It reminds me of a nut oil in scent, but it’s not off putting. It sinks in nicely and isn’t too greasy though I wouldn’t tend to use it in the morning as I’d rather use this as a night oil. It’s quite a pricey product so probably not one I’d repurchase, but it does last long as only needs a few drops per application.

Lyonsleaf Body Butter (8ml, worth £0.98) – If you’ve read my previous blog post on Lyonsleaf, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of their Calendula Cream and quite like their Beauty Balm. Sadly I wasn’t as much of a fan of the Body Butter. I’m not keen on the scent (quite a botanic type scent) which is always high on my priorities with a body moisturiser.

Balm Balm Rosehip Serum (30ml, worth £14.50) – Great to have a full sized version of this in the box. I tend to use moisturising serums so this seemed like something my skin would like, and it does. I was pleasantly surprised at this as it’s an oil, but it sinks in so well and doesn’t leave any greasiness on the skin. It does really help to moisturise, and makes a great base for other skincare and/or make up. I’ve used it both morning and night and my skin seems to really like it. I’m not sure if I love it as much as my Superdrug Optimum serum, but it’s definitely close and I would consider repurchasing.

John Masters Organic Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender (60ml, worth £5) – I’m a fan of Lush’s sea salt spray so was pleased to find this in the box. It’s a really handy size too – a travel size bottle but not tiny so will last a while based on how fine my hair is! I’ve tried this on both damp and dry hair, and quite like the effect it gives – but I’m not so keen on the lavender scent. I will continue to use it but prefer the scent and hold of the Lush one. The spray is much finer though so easier to apply.

The verdict

I was really impressed with May’s box – it had a great variety of different types of products (previous boxes have tended to focus just on facial skincare so it was great to have haircare and body products included). The value of this box was good, so I definitely feel it was worth my £12.50 subscription. I’m really enjoying trying new products each month and am looking forward to receiving my next box.

Do you have any other cruelty free beauty box recommendations?

LoveLula beauty box – April 2016

This month saw me receive my second LoveLula beauty box and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s what I received:

LoveLula subscription box - April 2016
LoveLula subscription box – April 2016

Skin Blossom Nourishing Face Moisturiser (50ml, worth £7.95) – I wasn’t a huge fan of the Skin Blossom cleanser from last month (it was fine, but nothing amazing and I wasn’t massively keen on the scent) so I passed it on to a friend. I decided to pass this on too as I already have plenty of moisturisers and the box contained another one too!

PHB Brightening Eye Gel (15ml, worth £16.95) – This is my favourite item from the box. It’s in a small metal bottle and has a pump dispenser. As the name suggests it’s a gel rather than a cream and my skin tends to love gels. It’s really nice and refreshing to apply, and I find it leaves my skin lovely and smooth. I have a few eye creams at the moment and seem to get through them quite slowly as I find you only need a tiny amount so I don’t think I’ll need to buy any for quite a while but when I do I’d certainly consider this one. The one downside is the pump dispenses quite a lot of product so I find you only need half a pump, which can be tricky!

Barefoot SOS Repair + Renew Light Moisturising Lotion (28ml, worth £21) – This is part of a wider Repair + Renew range. Despite being described as a light moisturiser, this is quite a thick white cream. It doesn’t feel heavy on the skin, though I do find it’s not that easy to absorb (I do have dry skin though so often find this to be the case and it may just be me). I’m quite enjoying using it but not finding it better than other (much cheaper) moisturisers such as Superdrug’s own brand so I don’t think I’d repurchase this one.

Urban Veda Purifying Exfoliating Facial Polish (20ml), Facial Wash (20ml) and Day Cream (10ml) – The collection this month was aimed at oily skin so seeing as I have dry skin I passed this on to a friend. I’ve been using the radiance collection from last month’s box though whilst travelling. I’ve been enjoying using it but have had some blemishes and wonder if unfortunately this might be the cause of those. I still love the smell but I’m not sure if the products agree with my skin – since I stopped using them it seems to have cleared up but I have also been using products to help it clear up so it could just be a coincidence. Tricky to know when I’m trying so many new products at the moment!

The verdict

April’s box didn’t have as many different items as March’s box (see my review of the March box) but the value was higher (over £50). For £12.50 I think it’s excellent value. Even though I gave some of my box away I still feel like I got good value from what I kept and I enjoyed trying new products so I’ll be continuing my subscription. I may have to pause it in a few months though as despite using many skincare products I’m struggling to get through them all!

Do you have any other cruelty free beauty box recommendations?

LoveLula subscription box – cruelty free beauty

After enjoying my M&S Advent Calendar so much, I’ve been looking into beauty subscription boxes so I can try more samples. There were so many to choose from… until I went cruelty free. Fortunately, I discovered the LoveLula Beauty Box and decided to subscribe to that. I’ve used LoveLula to purchase items too, and looked at previous month’s boxes so was very excited about getting my first box. Here’s what I got:


LoveLula beauty box - March 2016
LoveLula beauty box – March 2016

It’s all skincare, which suits me just fine but probably wouldn’t be so good for those who prefer to try make up. I’ve had chance to try all the items now so below are my initial thoughts on each of them.

Hurraw Moon Balm (worth £3.99) – I get dry lips, and I’ve been a big fan of Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm for quite a while now, using it every single night (it always comes with me when I stay over somewhere!). I still have quite a bit left in my current tub, but have been looking out for cruelty free alternatives to try once it finishes. Hurraw was one I was intrigued by so I was really pleased to get this. It’s not as rich as the one I’m used to, so I’d say it’s more of a day balm than a night balm for me really. It has a nice scent – Chamomile and Vanilla. I don’t love it, but I will use it. I’ll carry on the hunt for a rich night balm though – let me know if you have any recommendations (I think I may try Superdrug Vitamin E Superbalm next).

Skin Blossom Cleansing Milk (worth £6.95)- I tend to use cleansing balms, but have been giving this cleansing milk a go and I quite like it. It’s fairly moisturising (my skin certainly doesn’t seem stripped ‘squeaky clean’ which is a good thing), and it cleanses well. It does say you can use it to remove make up but I didn’t find it worked well for me (and I don’t wear a lot of make up) so I’d say this is more suited to morning cleansing really. The scent of this is interesting – quite herbal. It’s not a bad scent, but it’s not terribly appealing to me either.  I will continue to use this but I wouldn’t personally repurchase.

UrbanVeda Radiance Exfoliating Facial Polish (20ml), Daily Radiance Facial Wash (20ml), and Radiance Day Cream (10ml) – In contract to the cleansing milk, these smell AMAZING! It feels like such a treat to use these products, especially the scrub and the facial wash. I’ll definitely be looking into this brand more. I love trying these sorts of things in sample size as you can really give them a good test. I think when I finish my current facial scrub (Origins Ginzing – great, but not cruelty free) I’ll be picking up one of these. I’m all about radiance and these do work well so I’d definitely recommend them. UrbanVeda is also on offer at LoveLula at the moment (30% off until the end of March), and you can also buy these sample sizes for only £1 which is a great way to try them out.

Madara Sunflower Tinting Fluid – As I have very pale skin, I wasn’t expecting to like this at all – it’s a skin tint for those with darker skin and warm tones (there’s also one for paler skin and cool tones). However, despite being so pale, I have warm tones which can make colour matching tricky. This worked surprisingly well! It is a little too dark for me really, but I quite liked it and my partner noticed I looked more tanned. It’s not high coverage like a foundation, but just gives a ‘sun kissed glow’ type effect to your skin. It’s really natural looking and great if you want a boost of colour without wearing make up. There are a couple of downsides though. Firstly, it’s expensive (£23 for 50ml, though to be fair my tiny sample lasted 3 applications). Secondly, it smells really bad. The scent doesn’t last at all fortunately, but on application it’s really not the most pleasing experience! Despite these I do love the effect and if it was slightly lighter I’d be very tempted to get it. It may be more suitable if I had a bit of a tan so definitely something to consider for future. You can get a sample of this, but sadly I can’t see a sample of the Moonflower one (the lighter one) which is a shame as I’d like to try that to see if it’s more suitable for me or if it would be too cool-toned.

John Masters Organics Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Wash – this was a fairly nice scent, and foamed well, but isn’t particularly special to be honest (though unless it has a really good scent I’m not sure what could make a body wash stand out to me!). It seems expensive for what it is, so it’s not something I’d repurchase (I’m a big fan of the Soap and Glory Rich and Foamous shower cream so it would take something very special to move me away from that!).

TurBliss Bioactive Peat Mask (30ml, worth £8) – this seems to be a mask that promises to be all things for all people. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a good thing, as I was really confused about what this was aimed at and what it may do for me. It says “Bioactive substances penetrate deep into the skin, restore its elasticity and normal functioning. Efficient anti-ageing treatment, heals problematic skin, alleviates acne, eczema and psoriasis. Accelerates skin metabolism, enlivens and tones the skin.” I tried it out, and found it quite drying. It says not to let it dry but on my skin it dried almost straight away. I kept moistening it with my fingertips which helped, but I think in future I need to make sure my skin is still dripping with water when I apply it, and make sure to apply it more thickly perhaps. It didn’t seem to do much to my skin, but I’ll give it another go and see if I was using in incorrectly. I always like trying masks anyway.

The verdict

Overall, I’m really impressed with my first LoveLula beauty box. I felt like I got a good variety of different products and brands, and am really enjoying testing them all out. I’ve definitely discovered some products I’m likely to repurchase, and whilst others didn’t suit me it was good to try them out. I like the fact you get a variety of different sizes of products – some will be great for travel, whilst if you get lucky and get the full size of something you love that’s a definite bonus! I really like the fact that you can buy many of these samples from LoveLula too – I’ll definitely be trying some samples next time I make an order from them (you can have up to 5 samples with each order). I like the offer to get these brands for 20% off if you purchase them this month too – really great idea.

For £12.50 I think it’s excellent value, and I’m looking forward to next month’s box already!

Do you have any other cruelty free beauty box recommendations?