At this time of year I like to give my skincare routine a bit of a shake up. With all this warm air indoors and cold winds outside I find that my skin dries up completely and I tend to need a cream or serum that’s just a little more luxurious than my summer range. Of course, I love the freshness of my summer moisturizer (I wrote about my cruelty-free choice for summer skincare on my blog last year) but it doesn’t always clear up the flakiness of my skin when it’s dry over winter. No, I need a richer option – a hydrating and rejuvenating product. And I know where to find it…Even though Christmas is well and truly over, there’s no reason why I can’t smell frankincense every day, is there? I’m talking about the soothing scent of the Neal’s Yard anti-aging skincare collection. I’m always wary of trying out new skincare options as my skin is really sensitive but my first choice will always be the cruelty-free option and I’ve done a lot of research on the brand.Neal’s Yard skincare is certified by Cruelty-Free International and recognised by PETA, and the products are 100% vegetarian. Not only that; they use Fairtrade suppliers and are the first British health and beauty brand to be certified both For Life and Fair for Life by IMO. So far, so good!
Yes, I still have an advent calendar every year, even at my age. I’ve had chocolate calendars to countdown the days until Christmas for as long as I can remember. And I probably had a printed cardboard calendar even before then. I love opening a door every day, bring me one step closer to the big day with every chocolate treats I eat. Even my cats have advent calendars so that every member of the household can join in with the festive fun.And no, it’s not just for kids – you see, advent calendars have grown up. I can’t walk into a store or browse online without seeing calendars for adults too; mini bottles of booze, candles, jams, beer and (my favourite calendar idea of all) beauty. So this year I chose to plump for a slightly more grown-up countdown to Christmas with a calendar from The Vintage Cosmetic Co. Of course, I still have my Father Christmas chocolate calendar to enjoy too (!) but this beauty countdown is an extra special treat just for me.Once I started looking for a beauty calendar I found many different options. Some focus on nail polishes, some offer ‘seasonal specials’ from a cosmetics range, others have bath bombs, lip balms or skincare. Considering that I’ve got sensitive skin, a difficult-to-shop-for pale skin tone and will only buy 100% cruelty-free cosmetics, many of the beauty advent calendars weren’t right for me. Luckily I did find one that was perfect for my needs – and just in time for the start of December too!I picked the 12 Days to a Beautiful Christmas advent calendar for a number of reasons. Firstly, The Vintage Cosmetic Company is a cruelty-free producer – brushes are made from super-soft synthetic hair and their products are accessories rather than make-up. Secondly, there were items in the calendar that I actually needed, such as tweezers, make-up brushes, hair styling equipment and a foundation sponge. I didn’t have to worry about make-up shades not matching my skin tone or skincare products causing a reaction on my skin because each item in the box was a practical accessory, not a cosmetic product. Thumbs up so far…
I’ve always had trouble finding products to suit my eyebrows, cruelty-free or otherwise. In fact, I’ve never found a match before. The thing is that my eyebrows are SO blonde that any of the products designed for blonde eyebrows tend to be too warm. Yes, orange eyebrows have been my destiny for many years and for that reason I’ve never used any products on my eyebrows before. So why would I start now?Well, the good news is that my cruelty-free journey has led me to some excellent budget make-up brands that I’d never tried before. And, interestingly enough, the eyebrow products they produce are considerably less orange than other blonde eyebrow products I’ve used in the past. I tried three different types of products before finding my ideal colour match so I thought I’d let you know how I got on with each of them.Attempt number 1 was the MUA Brow Define brush-on brow colour. It’s like a mascara wand for eyebrows and I thought it could be a good two-in-one; taming hair and adding colour. It was exactly that, but for me it added a little bit too much colour. It picked up and coated the hairs rather than adding colour to my skin, so it looked much more natural than a pencil. But it was still a bit too dark for me. I can’t emphasise how very fair my eyebrow hairs are so it might be okay for you, and for blondes who want to go a little stronger on their eyebrows, it would be ideal. But as it was only £3 and I’d bought it on a 3-for-the-price-of-2 deal, I wasn’t worried about wasting money so I passed it on to my sister and moved on to this…The £1 MUA blonde eyebrow pencil. It’s much easier to control the pencil in terms of precision, so I could draw wispy lines to replicate hairs (so long as the pencil is super-sharp). Plus, there’s a brush on the end of the pencil to feather out the colour if needed. Still the tone of this blonde was too warm for my ashy pale eyebrows and made them a tiny bit darker than I would have liked. I suppose I’m still getting used to seeing my eyebrows after all these years so I felt it made me look a little surprised, although in reality it probably looked really natural. Even so, I wasn’t completely happy with the pencil so I tried a powder.Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Continue reading “Cruelty-free eyebrows + the Little Book of Cruelty-Free” »
Hairstyles come and go, but one thing is certain: Hair is always going to need cutting, trimming, colouring, and styling. Now that autumn is upon us, you’ll want to try something new instead of the same old, same old. But what to try? One way to figure it out is to check out the latest autumn hair trends. There are plenty of styles to choose from, so you won’t risk looking like everyone else. Even if you choose a similar style, you can adapt it to your own look and make it unique. Following are four autumn hair trends to try – let me know how you get on!
Image via Flickr by goMainstream
The Low Ponytail
Do you pull your hair into a ponytail, then pull it up higher using the elastic? It’s a habit that’s hard to break, as it’s the easiest way to tighten the hair so that it doesn’t come loose. But if you’re wearing your hair up as a regular style, it’s time for a change. Instead of pulling up on your hair, pull down. Get it as close to the nape of the neck as possible, then use a clip or elastic to hold it in place. Putting your hair in this position is not as severe as pulling it higher, and it softens your face because the hair isn’t flat against your head. You can give your hair a smooth appearance by combing or brushing it back in parts, then running a comb through them to blend the hair. The best thing about a ponytail is that it doesn’t need constant maintenance and is an inexpensive hairstyle to keep up.
I’ve really struggled to find a cruelty-free replacement for my mascara. Considering that I have some very blonde eyelashes under all the layers of black goop, you can probably tell why mascara is my desert-island beauty product. It’s literally the only item of make-up that I can’t do without. If I happen to pop out without wearing mascara, I’ll be greeted with lots of ‘are you tired?’ and ‘you look ill’ comments. Just kidding about the popping out bit – I NEVER go out without wearing mascara. My face can be totally naked but my eyelashes will always be fully coated. I need a good mascara, so make it a cruelty-free one, and pronto!Since making the switch to cruelty-free everything, I’ve tried out a number of mascaras. All of these have been great in their own right but, for one reason or another, they have not been quite right for me. My preference is usually for a waterproof mascara (I get wet eyes really easily) and I’m trying to stuck to a budget so I don’t want to spend too much. Of course, you can try them out for yourself and make up your own mind but I thought it might be helpful if I shared the good points and bad points of each of the mascaras I’ve bought so far. Here goes:LUSH Eyes Right
It’s SO good considering that it’s a totally natural product. Even after reading tons of reviews online, I was still convinced that it couldn’t possibly be a quality mascara if it is made of fruit n stuff (okay, no idea what it’s made of, but it’s LUSH so I guess it’s all good and non-chemically made). The mascara wand picks up all the fine hairs and coats them with a thin layer of the mascara – no goopiness or clumps here. It’s a buildable mascara – you can have a totally natural finish with just one coat (which is how I imagine non-blonde people’s eyelashes look without mascara) and then add more layers until you get the darkness and thickness you want.The wand is brush-like so picks up every little lash, but it has a very short handle so some wearers have reported it to be hard to apply or end up with smudges after getting too close to the skin with the short wand. I didn’t have any trouble applying it, but when I bought the product, I was given a spare long-handled wand (the ones they use in LUSH to apply a sample of the product) so that kind of solved the problem of the short handle. The only thing is that I WISH it was a waterproof mascara. My eyes tend to run a lot in the wind, the sun and whenever I’m crying with laughter at another cat video on YouTube. I ended up with so many smudges with this mascara so it became an ‘at home only’ mascara for me. It might be okay for you if you don’t have such sensitive eyes so pop into LUSH and give it a try. As much as I don’t like the idea of putting too many chemicals near my eyes, I also need my mascara to be waterproof so I had to move on to another CF brand.GOSH Volumateur
To begin with I was really pleased with this mascara. Compared to the non-waterproof LUSH mascara it was SUPER waterproof. It was so waterproof that it was actually was hard to get it off my lashes at the end of the day, even with oil-based waterproof make-up remover. No smudges and no streaks when weeping, which is great. But it meant that I started to skip taking off my mascara at night, and just kept adding another layer the next day. So I ended up with clumpy lashes and crumbly bits that were begging to be picked off (so bad, I know). When I did actually clean off the mascara and start afresh, the wand didn’t really pick up all my lashes, so they looked kind of short and a little ‘too’ natural. A second coat is definitely needed, but make sure you apply it before the first coat dries, otherwise you’ll end up with clumps straight away. The wand is more like a comb, with hard plastic ‘teeth’ all the way round the wand (it’s definitely not a brush anyway). So even though it’s really really waterproof, the mascara doesn’t do anything to make my lashes look any longer or thicker.MUA
At just £3 I didn’t hold out much hope for this mascara but I needed something to replace the GOSH one so I picked this up on impulse in Superdrug. I chose Eye Define lengthening mascara in waterproof black, although I’m not sure that I’d call it waterproof. I don’t know what most people need from a waterproof mascara, but if I can’t go swimming in it, I don’t think of it as being waterproof. This one would definitely end up on your face if you went swimming or showered – but not in a ‘running down your cheeks’ way, more of a flaking and smudgy effect. Even so, during the daytime it looks great and doesn’t smudge when I get wet eyes from the wind. And the fact that it’s not too waterproof means that it’s easier to take off with normal make-up remover and even my miceller water shifted it with a bit of rubbing. And the good news is that the brush is bushier than the GOSH masacara wand so it picks up more of my eyelashes and makes it look like I have hundreds of fine lashes. The formula must have something in it to lengthen lashes, because my eyelashes have never looked longer. You can see some fibres on the brush (below). The first coat is a ‘better-than-natural’ finish and the second coat is ‘woah, you’re causing a breeze when you blink.’ I love how it looks, but I just wish that it was a bit more waterproof so that I could confidently go out in the rain.Essence
My most recent purchase is the Essence Get Big Lashes volume boost waterproof mascara in black. A friend recommended Essence to me as a great budget CF brand and, after my trip to Wilkinson to check out the Essence make up stand, I definitely agree with her! I picked up this mascara, a fabulous waterproof eyeliner pencil in gunmetal grey and two lipsticks, and was shocked when I went through the checkout and the grand total was £5.80. Now that’s my kinda pricing! And do you know what? This was the most expensive item (and the most expensive of all Essence mascaras) at £2.80. Well, I thought I’d splash out for this review… Other than being really pleased with the price, I’m also really pleased with the product too (and the quality of the other products I bought was great too) so here’s a bit more about that…
The brush is really really fluffy. I’m talking bottle-cleaner/artificial-Christmas-tree fluffy (above). As such, it picked up all of my eye lashes and turned them into super-long, curly, perfectly defined eyelashes. Yes, I looked like I was wearing falsies and I loved it. The mascara didn’t budge all day, and even rubbing my eyes didn’t result in any smudges or flaking. For the sake of testing it out properly, I actually slept in this mascara (I know, I know…) and it looked almost as good the next morning. No flaking/crumbling and, after one more coat of mascara, I was back to having perfect false-lash effect eyes. You might have guessed that I’m very keen on this mascara, and you’d be right. For value-for-money I’d chose this one every time. Okay, I’ve not yet been swimming in it, but for day-to-day wear it’s a winner.So now I’d love to know YOUR cruelty-free recommendations so that I can test out some new products for myself. I tend to find out about CF brands and products through word-of-mouth more than anything, so please leave me a comment below to let me know what you’ve been using or tweet me your faves to @Cassiefairy. And be sure to check out Animal Welfare.org, for a cruelty-free lifestyle!
Earlier this year I made the switch over to living a cruelty-free life. I’ve been gradually replacing all my products with their non-animal-tested counterparts over recent months and I’ve finally got to the stage where my make-up bag is entirely cruelty-free. I didn’t want to waste the products that I’d bought previously so I’ve been using them up as usual and when they run out I’ve been searching for the non-animal-tested version to replace them. It’s a simple way to make a big difference without any waste (and without having to spend out on everything all at once) so I’d recommend a gradual change-over if you’re considering going cruelty-free. I’m including haircare, skincare, cosmetics, homewares, cleaning products and even food in my cruelty-free life so there will be plenty more blog posts to come as I make the switch to non-tested brands. I thought it might be an expensive choice to go cruelty-free but I was wrong – most of the products I’ve bought have been the same price as those I was already using and, in many cases, it’s even been cheaper to buy the non-tested version. That’s money in my pocket AND happy bunnies – I’m delighted! Today I’d like to share the contents of my cruelty-free make-up bag with you and let you know what I’ve found to replace my old favourite cosmetics.Foundation
Foundation is sometimes a tricky one for me, as I have very pale skin. I’m probably the palest person I know, so I find even the lightest shades are sometimes too dark for me. I’ve therefore been mixing up my own shade of mineral foundation for years. There are some great natural and organic mineral foundations available from cruelty-free brands and it’s a product that the cruelty-free market does well. However, sometimes loose mineral foundation can be very drying on my skin and I wanted to try a liquid foundation for the first time in ages. I picked up the GOSH X-Ceptional Wear Foundation foundation in shade ’12 natural’ along with the GOSH 007 stipple brush to apply it. I was surprised when I didn’t need the lightest shade in this foundation. Even though ‘porcelain’ might be better for me in winter months, the best match for me was the second lightest shade, which blends into my jawline really well. It’s also a great medium coverage and you can add layers to build it up if needed. It claims to be ‘light-reflecting’, and while it’s not particularly ‘dewy’, it’s certainly not entirely matt. In fact, it’s exactly the type of ‘natural skin’ foundation that I’ve been searching for all these years so I doubt I’ll ever use anything else!Blusher
Ooh now we’re on to one of my favourite cruelty-free brands; Freedom. The quality is great, the packaging is cute and the prices are very reasonable. The only trouble with this brand is that it’s hard to find on the high street. Even though it’s stocked on the Superdrug website, none of my 4 nearest Superdrug stores stock it on their shelves. That said, it’s well worth ordering online and click ‘n’ collecting in store. I did this when I ordered Freedom Pro Glow Pink Cat. This blusher may look like a scary neon pink leopard but it’s actually a gorgeous combination of pinks and peaches that swirl together to make the ideal blusher for my skintone. It’s also available in bronzer and highlighter tones too and is only £3.50. Again, I don’t know why I’d ever need to buy any other blusher now that I’ve tried this one! I like the look of Freedom’s eyebrow palette too but it’s hard to know what colour you’re ordering online, so I’d rather search out the collection in a shop and check it out ‘in real life’.Eye shadow
My new day-to-day eyeshadow is this mini palette from Marks and Spencer. I picked up the Autograph Colour Luxe Duo Eyeshadow in shade ‘Pink Shell’ last time I was in M&S, knowing that all the Marks and Spencer own-brand make-up collection is cruelty-free. It even has the leaping bunny logo on the back of the packaging. This cute compact has a mirror in the lid for easy application, and I’ve used it every single day since I bought it. Again these colours are just right for me – a pale highlighter for the brow-bone and inner corners of my eyes, and a heathery colour for the lids. It’s just shimmery enough to stop it being matt but not so sparkly that it looks like glitter! This duo comes in a range of colours and I think that the chocolate brown shade is next on my list. I had a left over gift voucher from Christmas to put towards this product but I think it’s still good value at £8.50 (despite being more than I usually spend on eyeshadow), because it is highly pigmented so you only need a small quantity each day. I’ve been using it daily for a couple of months and I’ve hardly made a dent in it. Continue reading “What’s in my cruelty-free make-up bag?” »
Did you watch Inside The Factory on BBC2 last night? I love programmes like this; finding out about the inner workings of factories that produce the products we use every day is fascinating to me. Last night’s episode was all about breakfast cereals and, as a serial cereal muncher, this was a total fangirl moment for me – who knew how many hours of processes go into making one cornflake? And the Coco Pops production line was almost too much excitement. I had to chill out with a bowl of Cheerios after the show.But the main reason that I’m writing this blog post today isn’t because I want to rave on about how much I love breakfast, it’s because the discussion on Vitamin D was so interesting. I’d never considered the effect of Vitamin D in the past, and didn’t realise how important it was to us. Hearing Cherry Healy discuss the fact that people with good levels of Vitamin D in their body were 50% less likely to catch a cold was eye-opening. That, coupled with the fact that Vitamin D is important in keeping bone and muscle problems at bay, got me thinking about just how little Vitamin D I must have in my own body. Vitamin D can be produced in the body just by getting enough sunlight. But, as an office worker (who lives by the light of her laptop for around 10 hours a day), I’m pretty sure that my Vitamin D reserves must be running low. And even when I’m not in my office, I’m trying to keep out of the sun at all costs. I’m a pale-skinned gal who burns easily so I stick to the shade whenever I’m outdoors, and cover up with plenty of clothes and SPF 50. So how can all the Vitamin D from the sun’s ray get through to my body? It’s unlikely, isn’t it? Continue reading “How breakfast cereal can improve your health” »
Last month I wrote about the reasons why I’ve recently made the switch to living a cruelty-free life. I’ve since written about homemade beauty as an alternative to bought products and the animal-friendly products I used to prepare for the UK Blog Awards. Today I’m looking at products that I already use and the cosmetics I’m currently carrying around in my make-up bag. Since the switch I’ve carried on using up the products I already own – this is a thrifty blog after all, and I can’t bear waste – but the difference is that whenever I use a product that’s been sitting in my makeup box for ages, I check the labels.I want to know what I can keep (the animal-friendly brands) and what will eventually be chucked. And when I can’t find out any info from the label, I google it and check out the brand’s animal testing policy. It’s such a wonderful moment for me when I discover that a product I love and have used for years is on the halo list! Phew, I can carry on using it and continue supporting the brand, safe in the knowledge that they are doing the right thing. Here are a few of the products I already had in my cupboards that are good eggs…Lush
In my bathroom right now is the Ocean Salt face and body scrub, the Cup O’Coffee exfoliating mask and Coalface charcoal soap. The product above is my mascara; I use the ‘Eyes Right’ mascara every day. I was pretty sure that Lush is one of the good guys – they’ve got the ‘fighting animal testing’ logo on their packaging (above) – but I wanted to make 100% sure. I check out their website to learn more about the brand and found a page dedicated to the animal testing policy. Their stance on animal testing is completely clear: they will not buy raw materials from any company that tests anything on any animals for any purpose and will never test any of their own products on animals either.
Yes, my washing-up liquid is cruelty-free! I’m celebrating by doing a little dance while washing up. This brand is great in so many ways: the liquid is made from renewable plant-based ingredients which reduces pollution, bottles are made from recycled and plantplastics, the formula is fine for sensitive skin and the packaging is recyclable. Boom! And of course, the leaping bunny logo is pride of place on the front of the bottle. The Ecover FAQ pages tells us “Since the beginning, we never tested finished products or ingredients on animals, and we have never ordered such tests by third parties either.” I’m switching all my household cleaning products over to cruelty-free brands so as I run out of washing powder, bathroom cleaner and hand soap I’ll be replacing them with cruelty-free alternatives. I’m sure that this isn’t the last time Ecover will be on my list.
Hi guys, welcome to Thursday – one of the greatest days of the week in my opinion. Today I’m talking about a recent shake-up to my skincare routine and sharing details of the new products I’ve been using. You may remember that I blogged about my ‘switch-over’ to cruelty-free products back in the spring and I’ve been gradually replacing my old classic products (that were, sadly, tested on animals) with new, non-tested replacements ever since. Well today it’s my skincare cupboard that’s getting a makeover and here’s what I’ve been using…Vinosource. It’s a new collection from French brand Caudalie and it’s such a simple range of products that really deliver what they set out to achieve. Do you ever feel like some moisturisers are just too heavy for your skin? Well there’s no chance of that with this skincare range. The creams feel as light as air when you put them onto your skin, and seem to disappear just as quickly. They are fast-absorbing, non-greasy and make your face feel fresh rather than weighed down by the cream. The brand’s creator Mathilde Thomas recently said about the collection; “I wanted to recreate the feeling of pure joy when you bite into a grape packed with water and sweetness.” I agree that she has achieved just that with the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet. In fact, spreading the soufflé onto the skin reminds me of wiping a cucumber slice over your face; it’s refreshing, feels very moist and melts away really quickly.
With us women being busier than ever as professionals, mothers, wives, friends, supporters, CEOs – and just plain amazing human beings – it can be tough to make time for ourselves. However, we can all agree that when we look our best, we feel our best. That said, I’ve gathered some expert tips together for today’s blog post on how you can look and feel your best even if you’re short on time.
Whether you dabble in makeup here and there or wear it faithfully every day, when it’s time to put your best face forward there are some tried and tested tips you can fall back to get a great look every time – even when you’ve got NO time to spare! Professional makeup artist Gucci Westman says exfoliation is key to a luminous face, so add a deep cleansing scrub to your skincare routine. Then start your makeup routine with a primer to give your makeup staying power and to minimize imperfections like fine lines and large pores. Use foundation only where you need it, curl your lashes and add mascara. Put some colour on your cheeks and swipe brown eyeliner along your bottom lashline. Finally, add a lip colour of your choice. If you’re heading somewhere after work, add a red lip to quickly add some evening glamour to your look. Continue reading “How to put your best face forward even when you’re short on time” »