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 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!).

Cruelty free favourites – August 2016

I haven’t been wearing make up much recently, but have enjoyed some skincare and a couple of new items.

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Cruelty free favourites – August 2016

Sleek Lip Power Plump Pencil in Notorious Nude – I am totally in love with this. I bought it on a bit of a whim but am so glad I did. I love the colour (very natural nude), I love the texture (creamy, almost balm-like), I love the lasting power (it lasts a good 2-3 hours), I love the fact it doesn’t dry your lips, and I love the tingle you get from applying it (this apparently makes your lips look more plump – I’m not sure but either way I like it!). Admittedly it’s not the boldest of looks, but I’m a wimp when it comes to bold make up so this suits me perfectly. I also really like that I can wear this with other make up, or I can wear it on its own when I’m not wearing other make up. I also picked up another shade from the range, Berry Burst, which I do like but is much bolder so the sort of thing I’d usually wear when I’m wearing other make up and feeling a bit braver.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel – I didn’t want to love this stuff, but I do. It gets quite a lot of hype on other blogs and isn’t the cheapest product out there, but I’m going to add to the hype because I really like it. I’ve been using it every morning for a few weeks now and it’s lovely. It’s a gel that turns into an oil, and it really helps to both cleanse and moisturise my skin. I like the scent too, though I don’t think I did at first so it might be more of a grower! The frustrating thing is I have no idea how much I have left so I’m wary about running out (I *may* have ordered another earlier today so I won’t be without it!).

Soap and Glory Hand Food in Smoothie Star – I’ll never forget the day my Dad told me I had old lady hands. I was about 19 at the time. Thanks for that Dad! I obviously wasn’t too traumatised though as I’ve never really looked after my hands but the last few months I’ve been keeping hand cream in my bedside table and applying it every night. This one is really lovely – quite rich but not greasy, and the scent is heavenly (it’s the same scent family as the scrub and shower cream I love). Sadly it doesn’t seem you can buy on its own – I got it in a Smoothie Star set.

B Blemish Gel – I had a breakout recently so have been using blemish gel, but I’ve been trying this one as it has hyaluronic acid so is more moisturising than most blemish products which can be very drying. It’s similar in effectiveness to the Superdrug one but doesn’t seem as drying so I’ll be sticking with this one.

Barry M polish in Festival Fever – I recently had an incredibly luxurious day to myself, and one of the things I did was treat myself to a new nail polish and paint my nails. My poor nails have been quite neglected recently (well, pretty much all year to be honest!) so it’s lovely to spend some time tidying them up and painting them. I went for a pretty pink which isn’t my usual choice (purple or deep reds are usually my favourite nail colour) but it seemed appropriate for the season and I’m really enjoying having pink nails. It’s a limited edition shade that is currently available in Superdrug (and is part of the buy one get one half price offer).

Another good month for cruelty free favourites! What have you been loving recently? Any recommendations?

Cruelty free mascaras

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I’m on the hunt for a cruelty free mascara and am wondering if anyone has any recommendations?

I prefer mascaras that separate lashes – I don’t like clumping. Any that lengthen and curl are good too. I also prefer ones that look more natural, I’m not a fan of heavy make up. I tend to prefer plastic wands rather than bristle wands.

I used to like the Maybelline Lash Sensational (though this was a little heavy for every day use). I got a sample of the Benefit They’re Real Primer in a magazine last year and I’ve been really enjoying that. I was going to purchase the full-sized version but Benefit aren’t cruelty free so I’m looking for an alternative.

So far I’ve tried B mascaras (from Superdrug) but I haven’t really liked these (bristle wands, seem to smudge easily and fall onto my undereyes). I’ve very recently picked up a couple from Essence (in Wilko) as they had lots of different types of wands and were a bargain (£2.80 each!). I picked up the Plump No Clump Deep Black Volume Mascara and the Maximum Definition Volume Mascara.

Essence mascaras - Plump No Clump and Maximum Definition
Essence mascaras – Plump No Clump and Maximum Definition

I wore one on each eye to test them out (I was working from home that day!). They both have flexible plastic wands. The wand in the Plump No Clump reminds me a lot of Maybelline’s The Rocket mascara.

So far I’m quite liking them as they both seem to separate lashes fairly well. The Plump No Clump seems to have a more natural feel than Maximum Definition, but they give a very similar effect. They were OK to apply but not as fool proof as some I’ve used in the past (I’m terrible at smudging as I apply my mascara!). They don’t seem to fall or smudge once they’re on the lashes though, but they were fairly easy to remove. They’re not quite up there with the Benefit Primer (in terms of ease of applying and lash separation) so the quest continues for a cruelty free easy to apply fairly natural looking every day mascara.

Does anyone have any recommendations for cruelty free versions of something similar to the Benefit They’re Real Tinted Eyelash Primer? Or other cruelty free mascara recommendations?