FOTD | First Impressions

I went a little makeup crazy over the past month, and ended up with several new products to try. I was hold off on using the products because I wanted to photograph them for the haul in pristine condition first, so now I'm trying them all at once. In case you missed it, I shared my haul here.

 

In the AM: The Application

I always start with eye makeup, and usually that means starting with a primer. I'm still on the hunt for a primer by a green beauty brand, but for now I'm still working on the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I followed up with the Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Grace, a promising green beauty dupe for my all time favourite Burberry Eye Shadow in Pale Barley. If you've ever looked at Kjaer Weis products, you'll know this was a huge investment. Fortunately for me, this investment was well worth it. The pigmentation is great, the lasting power is great, and the shade is just perfect. I've finally found a winner. 

 

In the crease I quickly used the darkest eye shadow shade in the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette in Beauty Glow. More on this palette in a bit. I then followed up the eye look with the Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara. I had high hopes for this, as it comes with great reviews, but I just wasn't that impressed. After applying two coats, I felt that it did nothing for my lashes. No volume, no length, and no curl. It was probably the most underwhelming mascara application ever. I'm going to try it again, but this was a huge fail after my first use. 

 

A huge success followed though. The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+ in Light was instantly a favourite. I don't know if I've ever used a base product with such a skin-like finish. It feels like, it looks natural, and it doesn't make my combination/oily skin look extra shiny. I then concealed any active blemishes still peeking through with the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer in Custard. Since purchasing this, NARS has stopped being a cruelty-free brand, but I will use this up. It is such a shame that NARS is no longer cruelty-free because this is probably the best concealer I've ever tried. It provides great coverage, doesn't feel or look cakey, and comes in a good shade range. 

For the brows, this is nothing new but I changed the shade I use in the Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade from Chocolate to Medium Brown. Since going blonde, I've found Chocolate to be too red-toned for me. I'm glad I finally picked up a better shade, but I've got my eyes on some non-toxic alternatives. If you're looking for something long lasting and easy to work with, give this a try. It may seem intimidating to use at first but trust me, it's a lot easier than you think. 

 

Circling back to the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette in Beauty Glow, I ended up lightly contouring with the bronzer shade, adding a bit of colour to the cheeks with the bottom cheek shade, and a bit of highlight on the inner corner of my eyes, top of the cheekbones, and bridge of my nose with the highlight shade. This is a fantastic palette and I'm actually so glad I picked it up. I have always loved Charlotte Tilbury powder face products, and this one is certainly a winner. 

 

Lastly I applied the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne to the lips for a sheer wash of light pink and a good kick of hydration. I like this one. It's comfortable to wear and lasts a good couple of hours. The tube is also travel friendly, making it a purse favourite.

 

In the PM: Checking How It All Lasted

Everything lasted great, except the lip mask (obviously) and the mascara (unfortunately). I don't think the mascara was ever there to begin with, to be honest. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, or if I'm doing anything wrong at all, but I'm going to try to figure out if there's a way I can make this work. 

 

My base stayed well, even in the warm weather. My skin didn't look or feel overly oily, and everything stayed in place. I think my favourites from this are definitely the CC cream by IT Cosmetics, the palette from Charlotte Tilbury, and the eyeshadow from Kjaer Weis.

 

Have you tried any new makeup bits lately? What were your first impressions of them?

Haul + Mini Review | Giveaway Prizes from May

I got really lucky one week in May and won not one, but two giveaways. The prizes arrived last week, and I know this is the second haul post in a row but I just couldn't contain the excitement. You all tell me you love hauls anyway, so here's a treat.

 

The first prize I won was from Cindy's Instagram giveaway. I was screaming internally when she messaged me, because it was finally my chance to try Glossier products. All of you out there without access to Glossier (yet), you know the feeling of being separated from these goodies. 

 

The giveaway was for 3 lip products. The one I was most excited about was the Glossier Generation G in Cake. It's a gorgeous sheer nude shade that is a true my-lips-but-better kind of shade for me. When applied, I found that it was very sheer, but enough to even out the lips. I liked the look of the matte finish, and it felt very weightless. When I can get my hands on these, I will definitely be picked up all the shades as they all look beautiful. If you can't get your hands on Glossier and this particular shade yet, try the new Henne Organics Luxury Lip Tint in Bare. It isn't a matte finish, but the shades are very similar.

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For the Glossier Balm Dotcom, I chose the shade Rose. I wanted to try something with a slight tint, and also wanted to see how this compares to the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Masks. I find that this is more "balmy" than the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Masks, and like that the finish is more glossy with no visible sparkles. To some extent, this compares to the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne but feels more lightweight and leaves more of a gloss than a shimmer.

 

As for the Glossier Lip Gloss, I haven't tried it yet but I'm pretty interested in seeing how this one goes. I'm not a lip gloss gal at all, but I still like to give them a chance. 

Top to Bottom: Boho, Purity, Pulse, Sin, Burgundy, Stiletto 

Top to Bottom: Boho, Purity, Pulse, Sin, Burgundy, Stiletto 

Funny enough, that same week Cindy and I won a set each of the new Nudestix #Babeboss Faves Box. I have tried Nudestix in the past, but ended up giving them away to a friend during a clear-out. After that, I kind of missed their products, so I'm glad to have this set in my life.

 

I can already tell from the swatches that Purity and Pulse will be my most worn shades. Stiletto reminds me a lot of the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, so I'm very happy to have this cruelty-free (and Canadian!) option to replace my Dragon Girl. I honestly haven't tried these on my cheeks before despite knowing they are multi-use products, so I can't comment on them as blushes, but I do love them on the lips. They are comfortable to wear and pigmented, and the packaging makes them travel friendly too.

 

Have you tried any of these products before? Is there anything from Glossier or Nudestix that I need to try? 

Haul | June Beauty Picks

As much as I wanted to resist making more beauty purchases, I just couldn't resist some of the following products. I also have some product comparison posts coming up, and wanted to pick up a few more products to include in the mix. There's lots to talk about, so let's just jump right in.

 

The product that probably jumped out at you first is this beautiful Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette in Beauty Glow. I was on the fence about this product for ages because I really didn't need it, but I ended up treating myself to it for my birthday. The rose-gold and bronze tones in this palette fill the gap in my rather neutral makeup collection, and is just so easy to use on a daily basis. 

 

Another treat was the Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Grace. On the hunt for a cruelty-free replacement for my well-loved Burberry Eye Shadow in Pale Barley, I ended up splurging on this. Spoiler alert! This might just be the winner! Another good find was the hyped up It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream SPF 50+ in Light. I ended up paying $4 more to get it in a set with the It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7. The two really go together well for a flawless yet natural finish.

 

It pains me so much to know that NARS is no longer cruelty-free, but just before the announcement, I ordered the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer in Custard. It pains me even more to know how much I absolutely love this. Another new discovery is the Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water Resistant Mascara. I have been looking for a mascara by a more "green" beauty brand, and this one had some good reviews. 

 

A product that isn't new to me, is the repurchase of the Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade. This time I picked up the shade dark brown.

 

For the sake of testing out some lip balms, I picked up three. Firstly, a tinted one. I wanted to try the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne, for everyday use to add hydration and a sheen. For evening use, I picked up the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm, which I am quite fond of so far. I also decided to finally try the Henne Organics Luxury Lip Balm after hearing so many positive things about it!

 

Moving on to skincare, I wanted to try more by Herbivore. I chose the Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Mist and Herbivore After Sun Skin Soothing Aloe Mist. I have only tried the After Sun Skin Soothing Aloe Mist so far, and it has done wonders at keeping my skin cool and soothed after any sun exposure. Of course, I just had to get another oil cleanser, and this one is the One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleaning Oil + Makeup Remover.

 

Finally, nail polish. I discovered this non-toxic nail polish brand, Sundays, on Instagram recently. I picked up the shades No. 5, No. 6 and No. 26. I have tried No. 6 and No. 26 so far, and they are both incredible. They last about 5 days before minor chipping, which is quite impressive for a non-toxic nail polish.  

 

Until the end of this month, these are things I have picked up recently. Let me know what you've purchased in the past month or two! 

June 2017 Favourites

My June favourites post is a little overdue, but I didn't want to just skip the month as I have some great new discoveries to share. 

 

Starting with makeup, my absolute favourite lip product of the past month has been the Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Peacemaker. I redeemed 100 BI points for this deluxe sample, and I have no regrets. I love how comfortable and weightless this product feels, and the colour payoff is incredible. I'm tempted to try more, but the price tag is keeping me away for now. If you've tried these, give me shade recommendations! 

 

A summer staple of mine is the Marc Jacobs Beauty O!mega Perfect Tan Bronzer*. This massive bronzer is just the perfect shade for both gently sculpting and adding a hint of colour to the complexion. On the lids, I love wearing the Colour Pop Supershock Shadow in Smash. The warm, golden tone of this shadow is really warm weather appropriate. 

 

On the skincare front, I have been enjoying using the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm in the evenings to keep my lips hydrated and smooth. It has been one that I keep on my nightstand, but I think I might start carrying it in my bag instead as I think the packaging is perfect for on-the-go use. I like that the balm is a bit harder than most balms. At first I felt it was a bit dry and dragged a bit on the lips during application, but after breaking through the first layer I appreciated the consistency of the product as it helps me control how much product I apply. 

 

As an evening moisturizer, the Biossance Squalene + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer* is fantastic. As someone who has combination/oily skin that breaks out easily, I'm always on the hunt for a moisturizer that is lightweight yet hydrating. I find that this one does just the trick, and has helped my skin restore its balance. This is easily one of my favourite moisturizers and I couldn't recommend it enough for anyone, especially those with combination/oily skin. Biossance is also an EWG verified brand, meaning the ingredients in the product are clean and safe to use. This is definitely a green skincare brand I urge everyone to try. 

The theme this month has been to fight and adapt to the changes in the weather. I have been enjoying dry shampoo again, and a stand-out dry shampoo this month is the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo. It was a little messy to use at first, as the dispenser is just a small opening controlled by the squeeze of the bottle. While I love the convenience of aerosol, it's not great for the environment so I'm learning to adapt to this alternative packaging. I'm willing to get over the challenges of using the bottle just because I really enjoy the product inside. It's a product that works without an overpowering scent and obvious white or grey cast in my dark hair. 

 

Lately I have been enjoying the use of home fragrances more than usual. I'm currently on the last of the Diptyque Roses Candle, and can't wait to repurpose it to hold things like cotton swabs. For something a little cleaner, I have been obsessing over the Vitruvi Essential Oils in Lemon and Grapefruit. These citrus scents are perfect for the turn of the season to be used in a diffuser, but are also great for a homemade bathroom cleaner. 

 

Hopefully you have discovered something new in this post. Please let me know what your June favourites were, and link me to your favourites post if you have one up!

My Evening Routine

Everyone has some sort of evening routine, no matter how chaotic or ritualistic it may be. I try my best to follow the schedule below, but sometimes it gets pushed back or sometimes I miss a couple steps. This is the general gist of it, based on how I timed out my routine from the other night.

10:15PM | Hop in the shower
I am always a fan of using a bar soap such as the "Good" bar soaps Alaffia, available at Whole Foods. Every other day, I shampoo with the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo* and the Rahua Voluminous Conditioner*.

 

10:35PM | Make a cup of tea
I don't really get affected by caffeine. I like to drink relaxing teas like the Enjoy The Sunnyside Organic White Peach Tea and the Silk Road Tea Moonlight On the Grove Green Tea.

 

10:43PM | Slip into PJs & a fluffy robe
If I haven't already done so, this is when I like to slip into PJs. I also like to wear a fluffy robe to keep warm and feel cozy. It helps me relax.

 

10:45PM | Catch up on social media
Whether it's watching YouTube videos or browsing Instagram, or both, this is the time I tend to devote my full attention to media. My all time favourite YouTubers are AnnaEstée, and Lindy

 

11:30PM | Do my evening skincare and oral care routine

There are lots to do here, but typically I start by exfoliating the lips. I like to use the French Girl Organics Lip Polish. After scrubbing away, I go ahead an brush my teeth. At the moment I'm trying a natural toothpaste, the Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste. So far, I am loving it and I also like the metal packaging. 

Usually for skincare, at this point I've already washed my face. I am currently using the One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover to remove face makeup, We Love Eyes Tea Tree Eyelid and Eyelash Makeup Remover Oil* for eye makeup, and the NIOD Sanskrit Saponins* as a second cleanse. Every few days, I will exfoliate instead of doing a second cleanse using the Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder*. 

 

To prep the skin for moisturizer, I have been trying the Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist. I then follow up with the Biossance Squalene + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer*. I love that this moisturizer is hydrating without making my skin greasy. Any combination or oily skinned gals will definitely like this one. Every other day, I will also use the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum between using the mist and apply the toner. It has been doing wonders at brightening my skin.  

11:37 | Crawl into bed and fire up Headspace
I have started to try meditation again. Even if it's just taking 10 minutes to attempt to clear my head and listen to my breathing, a little quiet time is better than none. I have just been replaying the Basics pack over and over, but I am considering a subscription to unlock the other packs Headspace offers. If you've tried any of these, let me know!

 

When I meditate, I like to go straight to my bed. I like to start getting comfortable and settled in. I have been looking into buying an eco-friendly mattress that comes in a roll straight to your doorstep. Near the top of my list is Leesa. Their foams are CertiPUR-US certified, their One-Ten program donates one mattress for every ten sold, and their One-Earth program plants one tree for every mattress sold. I like the idea of doing good while knowing I will have a good night's rest on a comfortable and eco-friendly mattress. 

 

11:48 | Set an alarm

Switch on that alarm for either 7:30AM or 8AM, depending on how busy my work day will be ahead. I have flexible working hours, which also allows for an extra swipe or two on snooze...

11:49 | Apply hand cream, lip balm, and an aromatherapy oil

This is the last of the beauty bits. I like to apply a lip balm such as the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm, and a hand cream such as the Weleda Skin Food. More recently, I have been applying an aromatherapy oil to help ease my mind and body into sleep. I like the Vitruvi Sleep Aromatherapy Oil on the wrists and temples.

 

11:52 | Drop the head on the pillow
And then promptly shut the lights and eyes, and try to fall asleep.

 

Nighty night! 

 

The Sunday Pamper

Every Sunday I try my best to do a end of week (or start of week) pamper. It helps me unwind and feel prepared for the upcoming week. 

 

One thing I try my best to incorporate, is face mask time. With the warmer weather, my skin has been feeling a little more oily than usual. Lately I've been using the Beautycounter+ No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask*. The charcoal and kaolin clay helps to draw out impurities and absorb excess oils. 

 

After the face mask is ready to be removed, that's usually when I hop in the shower. This is when I like to exfoliate, and this week I'm cracking out the Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish again. This scrub is incredible at leaving my skin feeling smooth and hydrated, without being too greasy. In addition to a body scrub, I like to use the Aila Pumice Stone on the feet. It's an easy way to keep the feet smooth without using scrubs that leave dangerously slippery oils behind.

After all this exfoliating, I can't forget to exfoliate the lips. The French Girl Organics Rose Lip Polish is one I like to use post-shower while my lips are little softer. I then like to follow up with the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm to further lock down the smoothness and also add hydration. 

 

Usually this is when I'll make a cup of tea and paint my nails. I have been enjoying the Aila Nail Polish in Ms. Martin as it's a sheer, pale pink that evens out the nails. When painting my nails, I also like to take this time to use my Virtuvi Stone Diffuser. Currently I have been doing a simple blend of Frankincense and Lavender.

 

What do you do for a Sunday Pamper?

June 2017 Brand Updates: NARS, beautyblender, & More (Submit Requests!)

Since going cruelty-free, I have been doing a lot of research on brands to find out more about their stance on animal testing, their use of animal ingredients (if any), any certifications they may hold, and any other things (both positive and negative) that consumers should or may want to know. I want to provide a monthly update on any noteworthy policy changes with brands, what information has come through my inbox lately, and any outstanding questions for brands I have reached out to. 

 

I also want to note that I will be opening up more pages on this blog soon as guides on brands that do not test on animals and any noteworthy details about these brands. I hope to share the beginnings of these pages by mid-July. I'll keep you posted.

 

Without further adieu, let's take a look at the updates I have for this month.

1. NARS is now sold in China

On June 27, 2017, NARS announced on Instagram that they have decided to enter the Chinese market. I was personally disappointed, as NARS produces some of my favourite products. At the same time this was truly the final push for me to cut NARS out of my collection after I recently made the decision to wean myself off brands with parent companies (such as Shiseido) that do test on animals. 

 

For those unaware, entering the Chinese market means the company agrees to allow animal testing to be conducted on their products and ingredients where required by law. 

 

2. The Body Shop leaves the L'Oreal group

It became official in late June 2017 that L'Oreal sold The Body Shop to Natura, a Brazilian company that strictly prohibits animal testing. During the beginning of The Body Shop's Instagram posts on ending animal testing, requesting people to sign the petition, there was a lot of outrage because they were owned by L'Oreal, a company sold in China that allows animal testing where required by law. Well, finally they are free and I couldn't be happier!

 

3. beautyblender is sold in China, but is exempt from the animal testing law. How?

I was surprised to see beautyblender sold in China at Sephora, so I got in touch to find out more. Here is their response:

Hi Celina,

We are cruelty free and do not test on animals. We are classified as an accessory in China and not a cosmetic therefore we do not fall under Chinas requirements for testing.

This also include their blendercleaser (both solid and liquid), and all products by the brand are vegan. 

 

 

4. Charlotte Tilbury is not owned by another company

What does this mean? Well, Charlotte Tilbury is a brand that does not test on animals and the fact that it is not owned by another company means the profits are not going towards another company that tests on animals. However, I do want to note that not all Charlotte Tilbury products are vegan and brushes are a mix of animal hair and synthetic materials. For more details, see my "Cruelty-Free or Not: Charlotte Tilbury" post.

 

Brands I'm currently reaching out to

  • Briogeo 

 

Brands With Upcoming info posts

  • Tatcha
  • Drunk Elephant

A Request from me, to you

I want you to let me know what brand you would like me to reach out to. The goal is share as much information as possible so we can be more aware. 

Review | June Think Dirty Box + PROMO CODE!

Going cruelty-free introduced me to many new brands, particularly green brands. After going cruelty-free with my beauty collection, my latest challenge has been to find green alternative for everything I currently love. This journey has taught me that not everything that claims to be "green" is truly safe to use. Fortunately, I discovered the Think Dirty app.

 

The Think Dirty app contains a database of products and their corresponding ingredients, each rated from 0-10 with 0 being a safe product/ingredient and 10 being potentially seriously harmful long term. I was incredibly surprised to find that some of the products marketed to me as "healthy" and "green" contained potentially harmful ingredients with overall ratings of 7 or higher! 

 

In addition to this app (available for both iOS and Android), Think Dirty also has a monthly subscription box, each month featuring 9 hand-picked products with clean ratings of 0-3. This June box is full of goodies I was fortunate enough to try, and the Think Dirty team also provided me with a promo code for you to use on your box! You can use code CELUTION5OFF for $5 off your June box. Each box is $95 (USD), valued at over $250 (USD). 

 

Curious to know what's in the June box and what my favourites are? You've come to the right place!

BIOSSANCE SQUALANE + ANTIOXIDANT CLEANSING OIL

I have been on the hunt for a good cleansing oil, and this one is definitely one of my favourites so far. It calls for 3 pumps per use, which sounds like a lot, but it's just the right amount. I wear sunscreen, waterproof brow pomade, and long-wearing foundation nearly every day, and none of those stand a chance against this. I love that it leaves my skin feeling clean and balanced. 

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SOAP CO. TEA TREE NATURAL DEODORANT

I remember being introduced to this brand when I was small by my aunt who loyally uses Rocky Mountain Soap Company products. She's a fan of their deodorants, and somehow this my first time trying one! I don't think I will ever go back to anything else. I love how refreshing this feels, and it really does help keep me smelling fresh and odour free. I'm not a particularly sweaty person though, but I do need it in the hot summer weather. This is a summer staple for me, for sure.

 

LUMION OXYGEN SERUM + HOCL

Who doesn't want to look youthful and radiant? I have been using this serum in the evenings before moisturizer, and really have found that this helps my skin look radiant and feel balanced. This product is oxygen-rich and contains hypochlorous acid to cleanse and soothe, and dead sea salt to energize and balance.

 

THE ORIGINAL CLEANING ESSENTIALS BOTTLE

This bottle has encouraged me to make my own household cleaners using simple ingredients. I have been using the bathroom cleanser recipe (water, vinegar, and essential oils) with my grapefruit and lemon essential oils from Vitruvi. It'll definitely help me save money, and now I know exactly what's going into my cleaners!

 

CRAVE OIL CLEANSER + WAR PAINT REMOVER

This box contained not one, but two oil cleansers which was perfect for me! I have really enjoyed this as I find it to be super gentle and effective. Definitely another stand-out product from this box. 

 

CRAVE 40 WINKS EYE SERUM

To be completely honest, I'm only in my early twenties and don't have any problems around the eyes yet, so I can't say too much about how effect this serum actually is. However, I have noticed that it is soothing and depuffing! It is recommended that the serum stays in the fridge for maximum benefits. 

 

LITTLE MOON ESSENTIALS BEACH ALL YOU WANT

I'm not usually one to take baths, but after a long week I gave this a go and it's just lovely. I love the beachy scent and it just made me feel so relaxed. I definitely need to use more of these mineral bath salts!

 

SPINSTER SISTERS CO. ROSEMARY MINT BAR SOAP

Talk about refreshing! I love bar soaps, and this one is no except. The rosemary mint scent is great for the warmer months as it just feels so refreshing on the skin. The bar also contains ingredients like cocoa butter and shea butter for moisture, and I really do feel it! 

 

MUDJESTIC MODEST MUD

This product is sold out and will be replaced by an item of equal value in remaining orders. I'll leave my two cents anyway, in case you're interested in the product. I love clay or mud masks, and this is no except. This really gives that at-home-spa feel and leaves the skin feeling incredibly clean, but not dry. 

 

Be sure to order your June Think Dirty box before it's too late! 

Inspired Lately #2: Tackling Minimalism, Healthy Eating, & Sharing More Love

It has been a month since my last "Inspired Lately" post. I want to do this more often, as I love to share what I have been up to when it comes to gathering inspiration and self-improvement.

 

Recently, I have become more inspired than ever to become a "minimalist". Sometimes I feel the term gets a bad rep, or is at least misleading to some people, because it tends to seem as though it involves getting rid of everything. This isn't quite true. Really, I believe it means to pare down to the essentials, and find joy and purpose in everything you own.

 

Last week I mentioned that I started working towards a "curated closet" and two of the books that have helped me along the way are The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. For those in Canada, both books are on sale this weekend at Chapters online (just follow the links) and orders are eligible for 4% cash back through Ebates (get your account here)! But I digress, these books have been incredibly helpful and I even got my boyfriend and his family reading Marie's book. Not only has it helped me clear out my existing items, it has also helped me re-evaluate purchases and save money this past month. 

 

One of my mottoes this month has been "only essentials" thanks to this adorable tote by Vitruvi. Vitruvi is a Vancouver-based brand focused on wellness through the use to essential oils. I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for the beautiful packaging, but I am also deeply in love with their products. I have about eleven of their essential oils right now, an aromatherapy oil, and of course, their White Stone Diffuser. Right now, you can get this farmers' market tote with any purchase of $45+ with free shipping! Spoiler alert, I have a post on essential oils coming up next week, so stay tuned for that.

I hope this minimalism thing isn't just a phase, and I think blogging really helps me stay on track with my goals. These phases and goals eventually become habits, and whenever I stray, I know I have my blog to bring me back. Posts like these hold me accountable, which brings me to another goal I have been inspired to work towards lately. 

 

I wouldn't say I have ever been particularly unhealthy, but there were times when I struggled with my weight where I wanted to just eat crappy foods all the time just for the extra calories and fat. I'm underweight, and have been all my life. Even at 500-1000 extra calories over the recommended intake amount daily, I still struggle to gain any weight. Don't be jealous, because I've heard it a lot, but I was also bullied throughout grade school for my body. It was around middle school and high school where I would binge eat cookies and various junk food to pack on the extra calories and I felt awful. It also did nothing to my weight. Since then I have grown up to learn how awful that really is, and over the past year I have done research on how I can incorporate more healthy fats into my diet to help me gain weight in a healthy manner.

 

These days I'm focusing on cooking my own food more often. As someone who tends to be quite busy and also uses this as an excuse to eat poorly, I have been on the hunt for easy and tasty recipes. Some of my favourite food blogs at the moment are:

I'm also addicted to Pinterest, but when am I not? It's quite the long term relationship we have.

 

It never feels right not to share some love. I am loving Instagram more than ever right now, and while I could make a list of probably my top 50 feeds of the moment, I'll just share my top discoveries of the past month or so.

 

Until next time, share with me anything and everything that has inspired you this month! 

Spring to Summer Staples
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In response to the transition in weather, I have swapped out some old products and introduced some summer-ready bits. Some are just year-round staples for me, but worth a mention as they will be used even more often in the warmer months.

 

In the part of Canada that I live in, we spend a lot of time stuck in snowy weather. When the sun comes out, most people like to head outside and soak up the sun. As lovely as it is to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, I have become a more diligent sunscreen wearer. I recently began to wear a sunscreen for the face on a daily basis, and the Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28* is one that is currently part of the rotation. This one protects against both UVA and UVB, fully protecting the skin from rays that cause aging and burns. This SPF can also be made into a tinted SPF when mixed with a powder foundation. Definitely one of my favourites.

 

Other summer ready skincare products I have been loving include two year-round staples and a new addition. Firstly, the LUSH Tea Tree Water is a must-have for me. With combination/oily skin that is acne prone, this keeps the oil and spots at bay. I love it both morning and night, and can't imagine my skincare routine without it!

 

A newer year-round staple is the Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish. Words cannot describe how lovely this feels on the skin. It isn't too harsh, but definitely exfoliates the skin enough to leave it feeling clean and soft. The oil left behind after rinsing isn't too much, and doesn't linger post-shower. When I use a body scrub, I usually also remember to exfoliate my feet with the Aila Pumice Stone as well. I find that my feet can get quite rough during sandals season, and dry feet ain't cute when wearing shoes that expose them.

 

On days I don't use a scrub, I hydrate post-shower with the LUSH Dream Cream Body Lotion. It's a gorgeous, light body lotion with hints of lavender and chamomile blended with oat milk. This is the perfect lotion to apply before bed.

Another product I apply before bed is the Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Balm. I recently picked this up and have been trying it out. It is very hydrating without any sticky feeling, and by the morning it has fully sunk in to leave the lips feeling soft and supple.

 

For the hair, I have been loving the French Girl Organics Sea Spray more than usual for that everyday beachy wave. I will usually spray this onto damp hair and give my hair light twists as it air dries. I tend to wash my hair in the evenings so sometimes I'll just pin the twists. When I wake up in the morning I just go in with a curler and lightly curl small sections for added dimension. I'll finish all off with the Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray. I love that it doesn't leave my hair crunchy and doesn't have a very strong smell. It just gives my hair the lift and hold it needs, all day long. On the second day, I like to use the Verb Dry Shampoo just to soak up any excess oils and put a little volume back into the roots. 

 

Finally, there are two coloured items I have been enjoying this time of the year. The Aila Nail Polish in Ms. Martin has been a beautiful sheer pink just to add a healthy sheen to the nails. On the lips, I am loving the Milk Makeup Lip Colour in C.R.E.A.M.. To see the other shades I have been loving, head over to this post to see this month's go-to shades.

 

What have you been using to adapt to the changing weather?

 

Shop the post:

This Month's Go-to Lip Colours

Last month I did a Current Go-to Lip Colours post and a lot of you enjoyed it, and wanted more! I have since rotated my go-tos thanks to the introduction of a couple new products into my collection. 

 

I'll start with the ones that have remained the same. The Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Léché just cannot be beat for this time of the year when I want a light pink matte lip with incredibly travel friendly packaging. I know the lid with snap on tight and if I ever need that extra precision, I can pull the sharpener out from the end to get the point I need.

 

An all time favourite is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria. I'm honestly surprised it doesn't look more beaten up than it is, considering how often I reach for this. I have somehow still managed to maintain the sharp cuts of the product. If I am ever unsure of what to wear, I reach for this. It goes with any look!

My favourite of the new three is the Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Peacemaker. I traded 100 BI points for this one, and it was probably the best 100 points I have spent. This peachy nude shade is perfect for everyday wear and goes so good with my skintone and the natural makeup looks I go for. This is truly a "my lips but better" shade with the added hint of peach to it. The formula is creamy and comfortable to wear with a satin finish. It is one that needs to be reapplied every couple hours, but is so worth it.

 

The MILK Makeup Lip Color in C.R.E.A.M. is a fantastic nude mauve with a matte finish. I love how comfortable this is, and the colour is beautiful. It reminds me of the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glacé, but a touch lighter. The formula is also quite similar to the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayons, so if you like those, I think you'll like these too! I now have my eyes on the shades Wifey, Dip Out, New Whip, and Name Drop.

 

Lastly, a liquid lipstick. I was recently sent some of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Liquid Lip Cremes* and one of the shades was a favourite of mine, Slow Burn. This creamy nude rose shade is gorgeous and so comfortable to wear. It doesn't feel too drying, is long lasting, and is easy to apply. For the warmer months, I'm loving this for evening wear.

 

That's it for my updated picks! Let me know what you've been loving on the lips lately, and if you have shade recommendations for the products mentioned here.

Recipe | Avocado Rice Cakes + 3 Topping Ideas

It's not much of a recipe, but avocados on rice cakes are seriously good! While avocados on whole grain toast may be a breakfast favourite of mine, these avocados on rice cakes are my go-to mid-afternoon snack as of late.

 

I use to hate avocados as a child, but by my teenage years I was loving them in salads and on toast. Now I'm loving them on rice cakes. I pick up the rice cakes from my local Whole Foods store. They are by Kupiec and usually only $2 for a pack of 12. A bit more pricey, but I also like the Lundberg Organic Rice Cakes also available at Whole Foods or Well.ca (use code GET10TC for $10 off your order). 


SERVES 1
READY IN 5 MINUTES
GOOD FOR SNACKING, BREAKFAST

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the avocado in half and mash the flesh of each half in the shell.
  2. Scoop the mashed avocado flesh onto each rice cake.
  3. Season as desired (see below for my top 3 ideas!).
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TOPPING IDEAS:

  1. NUTRITIONAL YEAST + CAYENNE
    This is my personal favourite combination. I just sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast for a hint of cheesy flavour and vitamin B12, and cayenne for a little kick of heat. 
     
  2. PLAIN OL' SALT
    Sometimes it's nice to just keep it simple with a quick crack and sprinkle of salt. I personally like to use Himalayan Pink Salt.
     
  3. SUNDRIED TOMATOES + A SPLASH OF BALSAMIC
    For something much more flavourful, I'll chop up a little sundried tomato and mix it with the mashed avocado. After spreading the mix onto the rice cakes, I splash some balsamic vinegar over it.

That's it! A super simple snack that is incredibly healthy and tasty. If you've given this a try before, let me know what you top your avocado rice cakes with! 

Cruelty-Free or Not | Marc Jacobs Beauty

When I was looking up whether or not Marc Jacobs Beauty is cruelty free or not, I found a lot of mixed information. In all this confusion, I decided to directly get in touch with customer service at Marc Jacobs to ask them about both Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances. Here is what I found out.

 

First of all, shout out to Marc Jacobs Customer Service for getting back to me literally within 20 minutes of sending out the email. I have been waiting for weeks on some of the other emails I sent out to other companies. Anyway, the representative at Marc Jacobs Customer Service provided me the contact info for Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances. Yes, they are two separate companies. I cannot stress that enough in the rest of this post. Marc Jacobs Beauty is owned by Kendo, a company that owns other brands like Kat Von D, Bite Beauty, and Formula X which are all cruelty-free brands. Marc Jacobs Fragrances is owned by Coty, a company that owns many other fragrance brands and is known to test on animals where required by law.

 

The separate responses

I sent my questions regarding animal testing of finished products and ingredients, available vegan products, and availability in China where animal testing is conducted by law.

 

Here is the response from Marc Jacobs Beauty:

 

Dear Celina, 

 

Thank you for contacting Marc Jacobs Beauty. Marc Jacobs Beauty does not carry any of Marc Jacobs fragrances. You will need to contact Marc Jacobs at http://www.marcjacobs.com regarding any of the fragrances. Marc Jacobs Beauty does not sell to China. 

 

Marc Jacobs Beauty is not considered a vegan line. While the vast majority of the products are free of animal byproducts, there are a small number of ingredients in the line that are of animal origin, such as beeswax & carmine. Products are not specifically formulated to be vegetarian but they currently are. We apologize, we do not have a list for vegan products. 

 

No; Marc Jacobs Beauty products are cruelty-free; we do not test our products on animals, nor do our manufacturers. We require all of our suppliers to comply with all non-animal testing laws. 

 

Please let us know if we can provide any additional assistance.


The next day, I received a response from Coty regarding Marc Jacobs Fragrances:

Dear Celina: 

 

Thank you for contacting us about our use of animals in safety testing. Coty Inc does not perform, nor do we ever commission any third parties on our behalf to perform, testing of our products or ingredients on animals. Attached please find our full Animal Testing Policy Statement. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

 

So I dig through their Animal Testing Policy Statement and after a couple paragraphs on how important being cruelty-free is to Coty, the golden statement on making them not cruelty-free showed up.

 

"The only exceptions are the very few countries where, by law, the regulatory authorities requires us to submit our products or ingredients to them for testing on animals as a mandatory part of their regulatory protocols in compliance with their local regulations. In these countries we regularly communicate directly with the authorities and try to convince them to accept the validity of the results of alternative non-animal testing methods. We accede to mandated testing by the authorities on animals only as a last resort."


So why are Marc Jacobs Beauty and Marc Jacobs Fragrances different?

It all comes down to licensing. Marc Jacobs has licensed their name to Kendo for makeup products and the profits from the purchases we make to Marc Jacobs Beauty go to Kendo, a company that does not test on animals. Marc Jacobs has also licensed their name to Coty for fragrances so the profit from Marc Jacobs Fragrances go to Coty, a brand that does test on animals where required by law. 

 

I think it is very important to note that although Coty is not directly testing on animals, they are allowing others to do so in countries where it is required. While they say they are pushing to put an end to it, the best way to remain a company that does not test on animals is by choosing not to sell in those countries in the first place. 

 

In conclusion...

So after all this, I am happy to say that Marc Jacobs Beauty is a cruelty free company! Though they were unable to provide a list of vegan products, the ingredients for all their products are available online at Sephora and from what I was able to find, all their brushes are made of synthetic bristles.

 

Marc Jacobs Fragrances is not a cruelty free company and therefore, I will not be choosing to support the brand.


Please let me know what brand you would like me to find out more about next! 


Past "Cruelty-Free or Not" Posts:

My Curated Closet: Defining an Objective

How I Got Inspired

I have been toying around with the idea of whatever the definition of "capsule wardrobe" or "curated closet" is. After doing a massive clear-out of my beauty collection nearly six months ago, I had not felt happier with it than now. Everything had a place, a purpose, and a reason to bring me joy. I wanted to do the same with my wardrobe. I wanted to open it up every day and feel good about everything in there, to make dressing for each day easier and a generally more pleasant experience.

 

I had been reading about the idea of "capsule wardrobes" or "curated closets" for some time now. Blogs like Un-fancy and Anushka Rees (formerly Into Mind) were, and still are, two blogs that I followed closely. Seeing what they were doing, and later watching Anna's journey towards a capsule wardrobe, I knew it was totally possible for me to do the same. My problem was, I just didn't know where to start. I never had an excessive amount of clothing, yet I still never loved everything I own. So what was the problem?

 

Identifying My Wardrobe Needs

In early May, I picked up two books: Anushka Rees' "The Curated Closet" and Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". After doing online reading and following flowcharts, it was apparent that the amount of clothing I had wasn't the issue. It was what I was choosing to have in this small selection of items. 

 

After briefly flipping through the two books, I figured out what I needed for my wardrobe. I needed to firstly define a style, then choose items that fit the criteria and me. I also needed to let go of things I wasn't wearing, even if I really liked the items at the time of purchasing. 

Making a Plan

Knowing what my needs were now, I started setting goals and doing some proper planning. I already had a "mood board" going on Pinterest of everything I want to wear. I pulled it up, and it was so obvious what I am into.

I love:

  • Stripes
  • Denim
  • Black, dark grey, and white basics
  • Blush pink, olive green, mustard yellow, burnt orange, and burgundy pieces for "pops" of colour
  • Grey and camel coats
  • Leather jackets
  • Sneakers

These are the things I should have, and when I look into my closet there are items that don't fit in. Even for those that do fit in, I wasn't always wearing because they either didn't fit or were made of materials I didn't feel comfortable in. 

 

My way of tackling this was to pull everything out and give everything a category. I will discuss in a separate post about how I did this. Basically, I identified a lot of things that needing replacing. Yep, that was it. I needed to replace clothing, not cut down or expand the amount of items that exist

 

I am now working off a list of items I want to buy to either add to my wardrobe or replace something existing.

 

Where This is Going

It is a work in progress, and I am so happy to be documenting this on my blog. Going forward, in addition to posts about how I have achieved my dream wardrobe (fingers crossed this works out!), I want to provide shopping tips on how to stick to your goals and also choose better items. I have been doing research on ethical brands and am looking to support more companies that follow ethical and environmentally sustainable methods. 

 

I am also interested in partaking in the 10 x 10 Challenge. The idea is to create a mini capsule wardrobe featuring ten items to wear over ten days, and to get creative with it! 

 

Are You On Board?

Let me know if you've tried the capsule wardrobe or curated closet idea. What was your experience with it?

Trying Colourpop Eyeshadows

I've received a lot of requests since I went cruelty-free for affordable cruelty-free product options. I have known of the brand Colourpop for some time now, but I hadn't placed an order until now. I was watching some of Jenn's videos one Friday evening, and she mentioned Colourpop over and over. So I popped on their website and took advantage of their 3 for $10 eyeshadows promotion with free shipping. Here are the three shades I chose, and my thoughts on them.

 

Most of you know I tend to reach for neutrals. I also prefer matte and satin finish shadows, to glitters. After looking up swatches and reviews on their pigmentation and overall quality, I ended up with the Colourpop Super Shock Shadows in Hanky Panky, One by One, and Smash. As you'll see in the swatches below, these shades are actually very close in darkness to my actual skintone. I actually love that because I love subtle eyeshadows, but if you want to go lighter or darker in the same tones I'm pretty confident you'll find something that fits because Colourpop just has such a wide range of shades available.

 

Hanky Panky is described as a light, warm beige with a matte finish. I have been looking for a warm-toned matte crease shade as there isn't one my Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Palette (my go-to matte palette) and I think I've found the one! This is the perfect shade to blend those edges away and add a little depth to the lids on my light-medium skintone. I will say, it's a little warmer than I expected but it goes so well with my pink-toned shadows.

 

On the topic of pink-toned eyeshadows, how beautiful is One by One? Described as a true pastel pearlized peach, this is an unexpected love. This pulls orange/coral tones, but is still just a super wearable pink shade that I think I'll be loving all summer.

Left to right: Hanky Panky, One by One, Smash

Left to right: Hanky Panky, One by One, Smash

My favourite of the three for last, Smash. Described as a neutral satin beige with a soft golden sheen, this is an everyday shade for me. It almost like a warmer, slightly more gold version of my favourite Burberry Pale Barley which I have been looking for a cruelty-free dupe for. Although this is not a dupe, it is certainly in the running as a new everyday go-to shade. 

 

In general, I am super impressed by the Colourpop Super Shock Shadows. I have really been missing out! These are the definition of "buttery eyeshadows", they're incredibly pigmented, and easy blend. Next time they have a promotion (which is often), I'm definitely going to consider picking up a couple more shades. Please send your suggestions if you've tried Colourpop products! 

 

Quick note on shipping to Canada. My order took what felt like ages to arrive. I placed the order on a Friday night, it was shipped the following Tuesday, it hopped back and forth over the border about 5 times, then was stuck with Canadian customs for over a week. That part was quite frustrating, but considering how affordable these high quality shadows are, I can get over the wait time.

 

Have you tried Colourpop products? If so, send me recommendations!


Note that all shades featured in this post are vegan!

Ingredients:

Hanky Panky: CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, BORON NITRIDE, ISODODECANE, C30-45 ALKYL CETEARYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE/VINYLTRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE CROSSPOLYMER, PHENOXYETHANOL, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, MANGIFERA INDICA (MANGO) SEED BUTTER, PROPYLENE CARBONATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CUCUMIS SATIVUS (CUCUMBER) FRUIT EXTRACT, BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE (CI 77163), IRON OXIDES (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), MICA (CI 77019), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891).

One by One: CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, TRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE, ISODODECANE, C30-45 ALKYL CETEARYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, BORON NITRIDE, DIMETHICONE/VINYLTRIMETHYLSILOXYSILICATE CROSSPOLYMER, PHENOXYETHANOL, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, MANGIFERA INDICA (MANGO) SEED BUTTER, PROPYLENE CARBONATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CUCUMIS SATIVUS (CUCUMBER) FRUIT EXTRACT, IRON OXIDES (CI 77491), RED 40 LAKE (CI 16035), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), YELLOW 5 LAKE (CI 19140), MICA (CI 77019).

 

Smash: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, trimethylsiloxysilicate, isododecane, boron nitride, c30-45 alkyl cetearyl dimethicone crosspolymer, synthetic fluorphlogopite, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, aluminum calcium sodium silicate, calcium sodium borosilicate, dimethicone/vinyl trimethylisiloxy silicate crosspolymer, calcium aluminum borosilicate, silica, disteardimonium hectorite, propylene carbonate, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, tin oxide, glycine soja (soybean) oil. [ +/- aluminum powder (ci 77000), bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163), black 2 (ci 77266), blue 1 (ci 42090), blue 1 lake (ci 42090), bronze powder (ci 77400), carmine (ci 75470), chromium oxide greens (ci 77288), copper powder (ci 77400), ferric ammonium ferrocyanide (ci 77510), ferric ferrocyanide (ci 77510), green 5 (ci 61570), iron oxides (ci 77491), iron oxides (ci 77492), iron oxides (ci 77499), manganese violet (ci 77742), mica (ci 77019), red 40 lake (ci 16035), titanium dioxide (ci 77891), ultramarines (ci 77007), yellow 5 (ci 19140), yellow 5 lake (ci 19140)].

May 2017 Favourites

The end of another months means another monthly favourite post. This month, I've been loving mostly new things.

 

Latest to my collection is the COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30. Although I haven't even used it for 2 weeks yet, I am already in love. It leaves my skin feeling so smooth for base makeup application and it keeps me oil-free like no other product I have ever tried. I have been pairing it often with the bareMinerals Matte Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Light 08 and together, they just give the most skin-like finish. I am blown away by this combination. Anyone with combination/oily skin, give this combo a go!

 

The coloured items on the makeup front are probably no surprise. One is a cult favourite, and the other is something I have been going on about recently. The NARS Blush in Orgasm is such an iconic, staple blush for most people. I picked up this mini for 100 BI points from Sephora, and I actually love it. I had it in a duo before years ago but never quite fell in love. It was too shimmery and too bright for me at the time, but with the heat dialing up outside and the sun beating down heavily, I suddenly love it! To keep things more subtle on the lips, I have been loving the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Honeycomb. I never expected to like a true nude, but this one is a winner! You will have seen it in my "My Current Go-to Lip Colours" post and the "My Bite Beauty Collection" post. 

 

I dug out some LUSH products to use up this month because I honestly kind of missed using LUSH products. I'm not much of a "Lushie" but I do enjoy their products here and there. Over the holidays I picked up the LUSH Rose Jam Shower Gel and it is fab. It's rose-y yet citrus-y with the hint of lemon in it. When the holidays roll around this year, you need this and I need to stock up too. In their permanent line is the LUSH Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub. I got this in a gift set discounted after Christmas, but this is a product I pick up periodically anyway. This mix of fine and coarse sea salt is great for serious exfoliation, but is mixed in with coconut oil and avocado butter to soften and hydrate the skin. I also love the strong punch of lime to it and it even has a little vodka mixed in. I like this best on my legs and feet, but if my face is feeling extra dull, clogged, and oily that day, I will use a bit of this on the face too.

I saved the best for last. I know this is about to sound dramatic, but hear me out. I started using the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum every other night since the beginning of the month. From then to now, my skin has drastically changed in texture and tone, and it has changed my life. I have been suffering with acne and acne scars for nearly 10 years now, and I sort of accepted that that's just how it's going to be. When I first used this product, it broke me out in areas that are perfectly clear like my cheeks, but I stuck with it. What I noticed was that the product helped with active breakouts by minimizing redness and reducing the time it remains active. When it had died down, the scarring was minimal. Any old scars were drastically reduced.

 

The part that really changed my life, was seeing the scarring diminish which brought a wave of confidence in me. It has also cut down on my makeup application time, as I don't need to wear as much base makeup anymore. I know the product is incredibly pricey, but if your skin journey sounds anything like mine, I highly recommend this. You can also get 20% off your first Drunk Elephant order by following this link

 

Quick reminder that today is the last day to enter my re-launch giveaway. If it's too late by the time you read this, I have an Instagram giveaway going on for some Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish

 

That's it for now. Let me know what you've enjoyed this month! I love discovering new brands and products. 

Lessons Learned: Cruelty-Free Beauty
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I started going cruelty-free with my beauty collection in early February 2016, and nearly a year and a half in I have learned a lot about what it means to be "cruelty-free" and what some of the grey areas are. I have decided to start a mini series called "Lessons Learned" talking about some things I have learned along the way about labels and certifications in products, and lifestyle labels. 

1. "Cruelty-free" can mean a couple of things.

Typically, cruelty-free means the end products are not tested on animals. However, this is not to say that:

  • the ingredients have not been tested on animals
  • the products don't contain animal by-products

On this blog, I feature products where the end products have not been tested on animals. I try my best to make sure that the ingredients have also not been tested on animals, but sometimes this information can be hard to find. 

As for animal by-products, I try to find vegan products when I can and make sure I make a note of it when I can confirm it, but I definitely have products containing animal by-products. Some common animal by-products found in cosmetics are beeswax, carmine, glycerin, honey, lanolin, and retinol.

2. Hong Kong does not follow the same animal testing policies as china

In China, animal testing is required on products categorized as cosmetics. However, Hong Kong does not follow the same policies; animal testing is not required on cosmetics sold in HK. This means that just because a brand is sold in HK, it does not mean that it is also sold in China and therefore it may not have been animal tested. Be sure to do your research!

3. watch out for the parent companies

There are a lot of brands that do not test on animals, but are owned by brands that do test on animals. There are many brands owned by brands like Estee Lauder and Shiseido. For example, NARS and bareminerals are owned by Shiseido. While I do still buy from brands with parent companies that are not cruelty-free, I try my best to choose the fully cruelty-free option. The reason for this is because your money can still go to the parent company towards animal testing.

4. Similar name, not the same brand = different policies

Did you know that Marc Jacobs Beauty is not the same as Marc Jacobs Fragrances? MJB is owned by Kendo and MJF is owned by Coty. Kendo owns cruelty-free brands like MJB. Coty owns many fragrance brands which are available in China where animal testing is required by law. 

5. There are more cruelty-free brand than you may expect

When I first decided to go cruelty-free with my beauty collection, I was pretty nervous. I wasn't sure how many brands there actually were that do not conduct animal testing. To my surprise, most of the products I already love are from brands against animal testing. Through this switch, I also started shopping more "indie" or "green" brands. I will touch on green beauty in another post. Anyway, I have discovered so many new brands this past year and have also learned so much more about each brand by doing research and reaching out to brands to talk about their stance on animal testing. It has been great, and much easier than I expected!


I think when determining whether something is cruelty-free or not by your definition of cruelty-free, it is important to find brands that transparent about their animal testing policy and to do as much research as you can. You can expect to see more of my "cruelty-free or not" posts popping up with responses from brands regarding their animal testing policies and vegan options. 

 

Hope you enjoyed this first installment of the "Lessons Learned" series. Let me know if there are certain brands you would like me to investigate more on. 

Haul | This Month's Green Beauty Picks
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I placed two orders this month for some green beauty bits, one from a regular favourite and one from a new discovery. I have been shopping at Clementine Fields for over a year now and they recently implemented a rewards system. Kiss and Makeup is new to me, but I discovered it when hunting for some particular items I'm about to mention.

 

I needed a new base coat, and had AILA Cosmetics Prime on my list for some time. I love AILA Cosmetics because they offer a safer nail polish formula but still work great, if not better, than conventional polishes. This base coat contains ingredients like garlic, zinc, calcium, and selenium to strengthen the nails and allicin and sulphur with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties to keep the nails clean. It also prevents yellowing of the nails. I have used it once so far, and really like it! It dried quickly and really helped the colour stay on. The colour I used was AILA Cosmetics Petunia which has been lovely for this spring weather. 

 

With the purchase of two AILA Cosmetics products, there was a code to receive a pack of the AILA Cosmetics 3-in-1 Soy-Based Nail Colour Remover Cloths. These are textures cloths soaked in an oily solution that really do take nail polish off well without the smell. While they claim not to leave a filmy residue behind, I have to disagree. I just wash my hands after with soap, and it still leaves my nails feeling nourished. 

 

Some tools I picked up are a pumice stone and some face cloths. I picked up the AILA Cosmetics Pumice Stone after remembering my mum using pumice stones and also how great they were in a Fig + Yarrow foot scrub I tried a couple years ago. I also wanted some face cloths and these Pai Dual Effect Sensitive Skin Cloth Pack stood out to me. They have a textured muslin on one side for gentle exfoliation, and a soft terry flannel on the other. 

I was on the hunt for some COOLA products when I stumbled upon Kiss and Makeup. I was keen on getting my hands on the following two products and Kiss and Makeup seemed to be one of the only places stocking these in Canada. While I have heard a lot of good things about COOLA's matte sunscreens for the face, I really wanted to try the COOLA Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30. I haven't heard anything about it before, but loved the idea of a multipurpose product. I have used it twice now and love it! It doesn't leave a white film over the skin and is the complete opposite of greasy, as you may expect from a sunscreen. It just leaves my skin smooth and keeps it oil free throughout the day. 

 

I also couldn't pass up the COOLA Liplux in Nude Beach. I love trying any tinted lip balms, and wanted to compare these to the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments I love but will not longer repurchase because they are not cruelty-free. So far, I see a lot of similarities but I will touch on that in another post. 

 

Last but not least, I have been dying to try some RMS Beauty products and I finally settled on the RMS Beauty Swift Shadow in TT-73. This taupe shade pulls a lot of warm tones which is different from most of the shadows I already own. It is incredibly pigmented and lasts really well with a primer underneath. I have yet to try it without a primer, but to be honest I don't wear any eyeshadows without primers anyway. I'm definitely going to buy more of these.

 

That's my haul for the month. What have you purchased recently?

 

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