Cruelty Free Staples


I’ve been back in the UK for over six months now, so I’ve had plenty of time to “just pop into Superdrug” and leave with half the store. So now that I don’t have to meticulously plan what I want to buy six months in advance, I have more freedom to try new things. After many trails and tribulations, these are the cruelty free products I think everyone needs in their collection.

Superdrug Coconut Water Hydrate & Shine shampoo and conditioner

I’m not huge on coconuts. I don’t use coconut oil, I don’t drink coconut water – but damn, do I love this stuff. After using these, my hair feels soft and doesn’t break at the slightest touch. I use them as my usual shampoo and conditioner in between my weekly foray into purple shampoo and it definitely helps to hydrate my damaged hair. I also find that because it doesn’t build up any residue, my hair stays feeling and looking cleaner for longer. It doesn’t hurt that they also smell AMAZING too.

It’s also vegan friendly!

Colab dry shampoo in London

I know I just said that my hair stays cleaner for longer, but I don’t turn to this dry shampoo for reasons of cleanliness. One of the biggest battles of my life to date (y’know… other than the ones with my crippling anxiety and depression) is with my limp, flat hair. I could just never do anything with it. But a blast of this stuff through the roots and body really gives it life. What makes this my favourite dry shampoo though, other than the whole cruelty free thing, is how you don’t get that 18th-century-France-white-wig-effect all over your hair. Sold!

And hey, this one’s also vegan friendly.

Superdrug Soft Pink anti-perspirant deodorant

Finding a good cruelty free deodorant has always been a challenge for me. A very sweaty challenge. But recently, Superdrug came to the rescue with this. There’s not much to really say about a deodorant… other than I feel protected all day and that it smells very nicely of rose. Awesome.

Lush Ultrabland cleanser

I never knew what a truly cleansed face felt like until I tried this baby. After giving up makeup wipes a few years ago, it was a lot of trial and error before I found the right cleanser for me. Not only does Ultrabland remove all my makeup without irritating my skin, I genuinely believe it’s improved my skin condition in general. It helps to hydrate it without being overwhelming, all the while cleansing my face of any nasties.

B. Pure Micellar Water

Despite just gushing over a cleanser, sometimes I’m super lazy and just don’t want to go to the bathroom for my usual evening skincare routine. Or my flatmate is taking a forty minute shower and I just want to go to bed. Enter this micellar water. I’ve tried a cruelty free micellar water before in the form of Soap & Glory, but found its scent quite overwhelming. This one, however, is much calmer and is great for taking my makeup off in a pinch. I often use it in addition to Ultrabland, just to make sure I’m really getting all my stubborn mascara off.

Another vegan find!

Lush Enzymion moisturiser

How many times can I praise this moisturiser? My skin is the most awkward thing about me. It gets dry super easily, but breaks out if I even so much as glance at a moisturiser. Enzymion has been the only one to hydrate my skin without opening the door to an influx of blemishes. It’s super gentle on the face whilst managing to keep me from resembling a scaly lizard queen. Yes, that was a Simpsons reference.

Guess what? Also suitable for vegans.

Lush Buttered Brazils lip balm

With dry skin, comes dry lips. Especially if you wear as many matte lipsticks as I do. I bought Buttered Brazils on a whim on a trip to Florence and since then it’s become a staple of my skincare routine. A quick layer of this before bed and in the morning ensures I have super smooth lips ready to torture with a liquid lipstick.

And this one’s vegan friendly too.

So there you have it, a selection of amazing products that everyone should introduce into their stash. And they all happen to be cruelty free. Who says you can’t have beauty without bunnies?

2016 Favourites

I think we can all let out a collective sigh of relief that 2016 is over. It was a particularly depressing year – at least on a pop cultural level – but despite loving to revel in mutual loathing, first and foremost I am a blogger, so a 2016 favourites post was necessary. Consider it a form of purging. Out with old, in with the new. Except this stuff which I kinda sorta loved.

Favourite Book: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

I love me a good fantasy series – but sometimes it’s hard to find a good balance between the grittiness of adult fantasy and the playfulness of YA fantasy: enter V.E. Schwab. The themes of this book are most definitely adult, there are no overplayed love triangles or teenagers born to save the world. But still, the series manages to catch a sense of adventure that others don’t, all the while building a detailed and engaging world for the characters. The last book in the trilogy comes out soon and I am not sure how I’ll cope.

Favourite Beauty Product: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita

By no means new to 2016, but new to me. 2016 was the year Spanish Sephora finally got its act together and started stocking Kat Von D. I own four of these babies now (and plan on a million more), but Lolita is the ultimate one for me. It’s a dusty/purpley/nudey colour that never fails to make me feel a little more put together on days when I’m otherwise just meh. A pro tip is to pair it with Barry M’s lipliner in Blush. Kylie who?

Favourite TV Show: How To Get Away With Murder

I was sooooooo late to the bandwagon on this show, but once I started, boy was I hooked. As increasingly ridiculous as it has gotten, I can’t look away. The twists still hook me and the reveals still shock me. Also it’s like a little glimpse into Paris Gellar’s future since the Gilmore Girls revival ruined her character. If you secretly think you’d make a kickass lawyer, this one’s for you.

Favourite Movie: The Visit

Technically a 2015 release, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it until the new year so it totally still counts. I think this movie is proof that M. Night Shyamalan either makes really great movies or really terrible movies. The Visit is definitely a return to the likes of SignsThe Sixth Sense, and The Village.  I may have a soft spot for found footage horror movies, but this is probably the best since The Blair Witch Project. But if you don’t like horror, it works as a comedy too. Best of both worlds!

Favourite Album: California by Blink-182

When Fall Out Boy came out with Save Rock and Roll, I loved it because they had grown out of their pop punk phase gracefully. When Panic! At The Disco released Death of a Bachelor, it was clearly the same band with a more mature take. But when Blink-182 released California, it was as if it was still 2003. As much as I love that my favourite teenage bands are growing up with me, something about this album had just the right amount of nostalgia and growth for me. And now I don’t have to be embarrassed about not really listening to current music, because Blink have my back.

Maybe I’ll branch out more in 2017, but for now, fantasy, murder, and pop-punk are doing me just fine ❤

 

15 Months Of Growing Out A Pixie Cut


In 2014, I got a little antsy and switched my long blonde hair for a brown bob.

Around the same time in 2015, I took it a step further and lobbed off my hair into a pixie cut.

And in 2016… I didn’t do anything because I’m still living with the consequences of my last major haircut.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my pixie cut grow out story.


May 2015 wasn’t the first time I braved a pixie cut, so I thought I’d be able to handle the change. But this brief stint into pixiedom only lasted two whole cuts. On my second visit to my hairdresser, pleased with how she’d cut my pixie the first time, I asked for it to be slightly shorter. I believe my exact words were ‘the bottom of my ears’ but I guess she heard ‘the top of my ears’ and thus a way shorter pixie than I had anticipated was on my head. Scarred from this traumatic experience, I set out to grow my hair back. And now, in August 2016, I finally feel like I cut my hair this way on purpose rather than looking like I’m growing out a year old mistake.


By August 2015 I felt that only the fringe was growing and not much else. I hadn’t had to face the dreaded mullet cut yet and it could still pass as a relatively cute haircut, even if it was a little bit Early-Years-Justin-Bieber for my liking. However, this was when I realised just how long it would take me to get my old hair back.


In October 2015 I begrudgingly got my first official hair cut of the grow out stage. By this point in time I was already spending my entire life searching Pinterest for ‘how do I grow out a pixie cut please help??????’ and knew that to go longer, you have to go shorter. This annoyed me for 2 reasons: 1) at this stage  you’re clinging to every milimetre of hair you own and practically measuring it when you wake up in the morning and 2) paying normal prices for a haircut when the stylist is taking literally less than a cm off the length seems a bit stupid to me, but whatever, I digress. I was relying heavily on hats a lot at this time and doing anything to liven up the emo fringe that was taking up 2/3s of my face.


When December 2015 rolled around I had defeated my first enemy: the emo fringe. It was finally starting to look a little less like a pixie cut, but unfortunately I definitely still looked like someone who was growing out a pixie cut – because no one in their right mind would cut their hair like this. I was trying to kid myself that it looked like a short bob, but it definitely didn’t. My styling technique here was to just tease my layers into every direction imaginable to try and give the illusion of length. It didn’t work.


By March 2016, the unthinkable had happened: it kind-of-maybe-was starting to resemble a bob. A very short, very layered, very shaggy bob – but a bob nonetheless. The month prior to this I had dyed my hair a bronde-y colour to help numb the overbearing feelings of hatred and frustration I felt when I looked at my hair. And yes, that was my first trip to the stylists since my trim the pervious October. I committed the cardinal sin of growing out a pixie: I let myself get a mullet. I’m so sorry. Do as I say, not as I did: cut your hair!


Which brings us to May 2016, a year after the initial cut. I think at this point you actually could consider my hairstyle a bob without lying to yourself. I had passed the point of needing regular trims (needing and actually getting are two different things) and no longer felt the need to inform people that I was growing out a pixie and didn’t willingly choose for my hair to look that way. Some people may say that this 12 month point marks the end of my hair journey, but I disagree. At this point I was relatively happy with the overall length of my hair, but the shortest layers of my original pixie cut still hadn’t fully grown out. I felt like I had two seperate haircuts: a bob and then an even shorter bob sat on top of it.


So here we are at August 2016. It’s taken about fifteen months, but I’m finally happy with my hair and can officially end the pixie grow out saga. I’m still not perfectly satisfied with those pesky layers, but they’re getting there, and the hat can hang out with us until they’re ready to the join the rest of my hair down by my jawline.

I may not have grown out my pixie cut in the most graceful way possible, but it eventually got to where it needed to be. The first eight months or so were the hardest to navigate, but after that I think I finally found my groove. There were definitely moments were I wanted to give up and just accept I’d have to have a pixie cut for the rest of my life, but as long as you keep pushing forward and reminding yourself that it will grown back eventually, growing out a pixie cut isn’t as terrible as it first seems.

Tips For Dealing With Growing Out Your Pixie Cut:

  1. Get regular cuts, people. Even if aaaaah money. Remember: ‘bite the bullet, stop the mullet!’ Trademark Rosanna Parrish 2016.
  2. Find out what accessory works for you and run with it. I am a hat person, but you might be a scarf of a headband person. Invest in a couple and you won’t hate looking in the mirror so much.
  3. Use this time of having the same haircut for a year to experiment with colour. I’m usually a platinum blonde, so this time I worked my way up from bronde to ash to my usual light blonde. It definitely killed some time.
  4. And most importantly: Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! You’re welcome.

The Numbers:

  • Total Time: 15 months
  • Number of Cuts: 4
  • Number of Dye Jobs: 3

Next stop, the cool girl lob!

Cruelty Free Lipstick Collection


If I have one beauty vice, it’s lipstick. Back in the UK, one of my favourite pastimes was diving into Superdrug at every opportunity and perusing the super cheap cruelty free offerings. In Spain, however, my cruelty free choices are severely lacking, so I’ve found myself more on the higher end of the makeup spectrum. Combined, this means I have a pretty good mix of different lipsticks. Add in the fact that I culled my collection first when I went cruelty free and secondly when I moved to Madrid, and it’s been streamlined to only the most impressive offerings. So here’s another lipstick collection post to throw into the blogosphere! I was originally attempting to swatch all of these babies on my actual lips, but fuck that. So where I can, I’m including a photo of me actually wearing the lipstick. Less aesthetically pleasing, but I’m lazy af and it’s 23 degrees right now and uuuuugh can’t be bothered. Also you get to enjoy my ever-changing hair colour/style.


(L-R: Double Dare, Antique Rose, Sirius, Perfect Day, Simply Red, Vega, Nosferatu, Confident)

We’ll begin with the darkest, for my inner gothic soul. Vamos!


Lush- Confident

This is a recent purchase and one that I’m still figuring out how to fully utilise. When I bought it, I was under the impression it was matte, but I think that was a language barrier mishap because I bought it in Italy. It’s a pretty versatile shade. A dark vampy purple that can be built up from a light berry shade to something fitting for the Queen of Darkness. For me personally, I prefer to dab it on lightly for a more subdued colour, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to wear the full out purple. It doesn’t have the best staying power, but that’s the price you pay when you abandon the matte.


Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick- Nosferatu

THIS LIPSTICK. This is the perfect red lip and I’m sure it would go with any skin tone. It’s a medium to dark red but without being super scary. First off, I love the formula of these lipsticks. They last so long and can even survive stuffing your face with a giant burrito with only a slight retouching in the middle necessary. This is my go-to lipstick for when I want to hide the fact I’m tired, sick, or just having a bad face day. It’s pretty much a miracle worker. If you’re not used to liquid lipsticks, it can be kind of tricky to apply for the first few uses— especially because it’s so bright— but you quickly get used to the wand. If you take anything away from this post, buy this damn lipstick.


Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips- Vega

When I realised I only wanted to have matte lips forever, I donated pretty much all of my sheer lipsticks to my mother. But I couldn’t part with this one. I’m a huge Barry M fan, especially of their Gelly Hi Shine nail range, so when they brought out the lipstick equivalent, I was sold. It’s a cherry red shade, but you can build up its intensity depending on how much you apply. Admittedly the staying power is pretty terrible, but because it’s a pencil style design and has a sheer consistency, it’s easy to reapply on the go. So plus points for that, I guess.


GOSH Velvet Touch Lipliner- Simply Red

Okay, okay, so it’s not a lipstick. But I wear it as one by using it to fill in all of my lips. This is the quintessential classic red. It goes great with a cat eye for a super classic look, and most importantly, lasts all night through countless glasses of wine. Which tbh is what we all want from a lipstick.


Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Satin Lipstick- Perfect Day

Despite my unquestionable bias for matte lip products, this sheer lipstick is one of my all time favourites. I was searching for a shade that meant I could wear red lipstick in situations where red lipstick isn’t reaaaaally appropriate (like my job, where no other teachers seem to wear lipstick? Whatever, they’re missing out). This is the lipstick that’s always in my bag ready to apply, because it goes with pretty much any makeup look I throw together. It’s also super hydrating! Which is a great break for my lips in between days of countless matte products.


Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Lips- Sirius

I never thought bright pink lipsticks where for me, but this one changed my mind, and I still haven’t found another that’s swayed me away from it. Even if the winning reason for me buying this lipstick was the fact it shares its name with a Harry Potter character. The smell of these products might be off-putting to some, but I think they smell like cough medicine, so I can pretend wearing it is for medicinal purposes and not superficial ones.


GOSH Velvet Touch Lipliner- Antique Rose

Up until recently, this was my lip colour. The one you could always count on me to wear. Despite the influx of reds/purples in this post, and my above comments on bright pinks, dusty rose colours are my jam. Maybe it’s something to do with being called Rose, idk, but whatever it is it works for me. As well as being super cheap so you can buy 82 of these and keep them in all of your bags so you’re never without one, they’re pretty great at overlining your lips a la Kylie Jenner.


Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick- Double Dare

So why is the GOSH lipliner not my favourite anymore? WELL I’M GLAD YOU ASKED, IMAGINARY BLOG READER. Because I moved to a country with a Sephora and discovered Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks. Double Dare was the first shade I purchased from the range and it definitely won’t be the last. Originally I couldn’t decide between this baby and Lolita, but since everyone and their cat has Lolita, I decided to be different. If I could only wear one lipstick every day, it’d be this one. It’s described as “cocoa blush”, whatever that means, but I’d say it’s a medium to dark pink that can be kind of… coral-y? I can’t describe it but I love it and I want to have it forever.

So that’s my lipstick collection. Four shades I wear all the damn time and four I bring it whenever I feel like I need a change. I think it’s a good system. Right now I’m working on adding a proper nude colour to my collection and then I think it’ll be complete. Until I move back to the UK and have easy access to Superdrug once more, that is.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation Review

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I’m very loyal to foundation. If I find one I like, that’s it. Which means I do a hell of a lot of research before I invest my money. Which is exactly what I did with this foundation, Too Faced’s Born This Way. There’s definitely a divide among among the reviews I read, so I’m here to add my opinions into the mix. ‘Cause I’m so important, obvs.

First off, again, an explanation of my skin type. Dry as Pride Rock when Scar’s ruling the place. This means I need something which won’t cling to any dry patches. It’s also super sensitive. And is there really a point to foundation if you’re just causing more of what you’re tying to cover up?

So how did this foundation measure up against this skin type?

PROS:

  • Blending:

The formula for this foundation is super impressive. It’s creamy without being too thick, and doesn’t run all drippy-like all over your face before you blend it. I’ve tried both a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and a Beauty Blender during application and found that the Beauty Blender works like a dream.

  • Coverage:

I was originally a little wary about this foundation’s coverage, as I’ve never really used such a full coverage formula before. But with a name like ‘Born This Way’, I had to have faith that it would create the natural looking finish that I wanted. And it does. My blemishes are covered without the help of any extra concealer, unless it’s a particularly nasty blemish duh. I think it looks natural enough. I’m obviously wearing foundation, but not enough to make me feel self conscious or overdone when I go out.

CONS:

  • Dry Skin Compatibility:

My main drive to buy this product was its inclusion of coconut water to help hydrate the skin. Maybe I expected too much of this foundation, but occasionally I feel it draws more attention to my dry skin than if I wasn’t wearing it. Admittedly, this is only a real problem on areas that are super dry (for me, my T-Zone), but it’s something to watch out for when shopping for a dry skin-friendly product.

  • Staying Power:

I apply my foundation at about 6:30AM (I know, kill me) and by the time I get home around 3PM, I’m starting to feel a bit… bleeeeeh. I don’t know the word. Just less put together, I suppose. Obviously no foundation is going to keep me looking great for twelve hours, but if I do stay out longer for any reason, I don’t really want to have to think about lugging around a bottle of foundation and a Beauty Blender in my bag. I try and counteract this by adding some concealer (or hiding behind a red lipstick), but it’s not the same. Admittedly, I don’t use a primer, but I’m thinking of remedying this shortly, so maybe I’ll have to update my findings. But as of now, the staying power of this foundation isn’t perfect.

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(1: wearing only the foundation, so you can see how it clings to dry skin, particularly on the bridge of my nose and mouth area. 2: with the rest of my makeup [and clothes lolol] applied)

Overall, I really like this foundation. Of the four foundations I’ve used in the last five years (seriously), I would rate this at number two in terms of quality, but number one in terms of the product actually being cruelty free.

I feel comfortable wearing this, which with a name coming from a Lady Gaga song, I think was the aim all along. I use the shade porcelain, which is maybe slightly too yellow toned for my skin, but it’s the lightest shade available in Spain, sooooo… whateva.

So if you’re looking for a mid to full coverage foundation that doesn’t feel like you’re smothering concrete on your face, this one’s for you. I wouldn’t exactly say it makes me skin look ‘born this way’ in the natural sense, but certainly in the way that (sadly) foundation covered skin has now become the norm. But hey, that’s a whole other blogpost. Just know that its hydration powers are a little exaggerated.

My Lush Skincare Routine


Okay, real talk, my skin right now is the worst it’s been in years. It’s angry, it’s dry, it’s the skin of a scaly lizard queen. In other words, I in no way have any authority to be talking about skincare right now. But is that gonna stop me? Nah.

As I’ve mentioned before, my skin is A) sensitive B) dry and C) blemish prone. HASHTAG DREAM TEAM. Ugh. What I mean is I have pretty awkward skin and have spent a lot of time, effort, and (most importantly) money trying to figure out a routine that works for me. As of now, I’m pretty happy with how things are working out, and I figured I’d spread the magic around a little. You’re so welcome.

Oh, and because this is me we’re talking about, IT’S ALL GONNA BE FROM LUSH.

Cleanser: Ultrabland

The first thing I do at the end of the day is remove my makeup. I gave up using makeup wipes over a year ago now and since then have been trying out a bunch of different products to find the best way to remove my raccoon eyes, and this is the one. Admittedly, on the first few uses, you will hate this product. It’s thick and oily and not a really appealing colour… but stick with it! After a week of daily use, you’ll have figured out how much product to use, how long to rub it in for, and how to properly remove it. And you’ll fall in love. For the latter, I use a reusable makeup cloth from Sephora and it definitely does the job. Cotton pads just won’t cut it here. After about three months of constant use, I’m sold. My skin seems fresher, cleaner, and softer by using this daily, in contrast to the slight burning sensation I got from using wipes. This is definitely a keeper.

Face Mask: Mask Of Magnaminty

I’ve spoken about this face mask on the blog before, but months later I’m still singing its praises. I use Magnaminty 1-2 times a week and always repurchase it. I genuinely believe that it clears my skin up a bit, as well as ensuring I don’t need to buy a separate exfoliator, and just making my skin feel like it’s never been tainted by anything else. What more could you want?

Moisturiser: Enzymion

After my face is makeup free, it’s time to give my skin a treat. Technically speaking, Enzymion is not a moisturiser for dry skin… and I actually picked it up my accident. But my face is so happy I did. This moisturiser is perfect for my skin issues. The fact that it’s made for oily skin means it doesn’t irritate any of my blemishes and its lightness means my sensitive skin doesn’t feel clogged. Essentially I put this on before sleeping and my skin wakes up feeling happy and fresh. It doesn’t tackle my major dry skin areas, but we’ll address that problem later.

Lip Balm: Buttered Brazils

My dry flaky lips have always been a huge source of annoyance for me, and for years the only way to remedy that was Burt’s Bees. However I recently learnt that despite having the Leaping Bunny logo on it, Burt’s Bees is owned by a parent company that tests?! How rude. I finally ran out of my beloved BBees in Florence, and because travel stress was taking its toll on me, I ran to the nearest Lush and tested out all the lip balms before settling on this one (and €50 worth of other products…). As well as tasting and smelling amazing, this balm fully hydrates my lips meaning I can keep channelling my outer Kylie Jenner with my love of lipliner. I thought I was destined for a life of dry lips, but NOPE.

Moisturiser (again): Vanishing Cream

All though all of the above belong to my nighttime skin routine, I do have one more step that follows before I reapply my makeup the following morning. Due to the aforementioned dry skin, before I apply my foundation, I have to do one more round of moisturiser. My other moisturiser is a little too heavy to put on right before foundation as it needs a while to soak in, so I picked up this little baby in Florence to fix the damage caused by traveling. (Side note: I’ve been to a lot of Lush stores in a lot of different countries, but the staff in Venice and Florence were the nicest, most informed, and happy employees I’ve encountered. Good job, Italy!) The Lush Lady told me that Vanishing Cream was one of the thinnest moisturisers they have and recommended it for skin. And after using it for a while, I agree wholeheartedly! It’s perfect for sitting under makeup and really tackles my dry T-Zone area. Combined with Enzymion, they’re a match made in makeup heaven.

So that’s my face. It’s still not perfect, but I’m starting to realise Hollywood lied and that I’m gonna have bad skin way into my twenties. That or I’m just cursed.

Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer VS Barry M Flawless Concealer


So a couple of weeks ago I posted about my favourite cruelty free beauty products, including a certain Soap & Glory concealer. In the same post, I also said that my Barry M concealer is a good substitute for whatever the former can’t handle. Well, since then I maaaaay have had a change of heart. Kinda. I wrote the last post when I was attempting a foundation-less life, but am now enjoying my time with the Too Faced Born This Way foundation (review coming soon). And I’ve now realised that all concealers are equal… but some are more equal than others. Here’s what I’ve decided about my two go-to concealers.
Soap & Glory Kick Ass Blur & Brighten Concealer– The Pros:

  • A very creamy, buildable consistency
  • Thick, but not too thick
  • Pretty heavy duty stuff
  • Works great without foundation

Soap & Glory Kick Ass Blur & Brighten Concealer– The Cons:

  • It’s kind of terrible at under eye colour correction
  • Loses its staying power throughout the day

Barry M Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer– The Pros:

  • Due to its brush applicator, it’s easy to apply
  • That light reflecting thing is really true to its name
  • Super brightening for the undereye area
  • A great addition to foundation

Barry M Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer– The Cons:

  • Pretty lacklustre without foundation… not thick enough to really cover those super aggressive blemishes
  • You seem to go through a lot alarmingly quickly

So as you can see, these two cruelty free budget concealers do two very different (but equally important) jobs. If you need just a little extra help whilst wearing a full face of makeup, then Barry M is your man. But if you’re ditching the foundation for a few extra minutes in bed, it’s Soap & Glory to the rescue.
Honestly, I love them both. And I use them both. And I’m glad I own them both. They’re cheap, they’re useful, they’re pretty damn awesome. I say: go nuts, buy them both! They’re really great additions to my daily makeup routine, and I think they’ll be great additions to yours too.

Top Cruelty Free Beauty Products of 2015

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I promise this isn’t my six hundredth attempt to sound like a beauty blogger… I just really like makeup and I’m also one of those people who thinks the suffering of animals doesn’t outweigh my need to get that perfect foundation shade. There’s no preaching going on here though, I just figured that if anyone’s new years resolution was to go cruelty free then here’s a good starting my point: my five favourite beauty products from 2015! There’s a tonne more I could write about, but for now, here are my staples. Enjoy!

5. Soap & Glory Kick Ass Blur & Brighten Concealer Crayon: I’ve tried a lot of concealers in my time, both cruelty free and animal tested and from high end to low, and this is easily the best of the bunch. The consistency is so creamy and easily glides over any imperfections without looking cakey or thick. The only downside is it’s not the best at any under eye action, but there’s a Barry M alternative for that. I wear this baby without any foundation and never feel as if I need any extra coverage. Totally recommend.

4. Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Satin Lipstick in Perfect Day: Yes, another Soap & Glory product. This is gonna be a recurring theme here… but for good reason! Let me preface this review by saying I am a huuuuge lipstick person– reds particularly. But sometimes certain situations aren’t appropriate for a full blown red lip, but I still don’t feel like settling for nude. Perfect Day is the solution. This lipstick is a gorgeous muted red, perfect for daytimes or more casual settings. It’s hydrating and nourishing and has a pretty decent staying power for a satin lipstick (that’s a compliment coming from me, I’m a matte girl at heart). Also, that name pun, man. ❤

3. Soap & Glory Supercat Extreme Eyeliner Pen: As a former teenage emo kid, I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur in liquid eyeliner– and this is it. The best one. I know this eyeliner has a bit of a love/hate thing going on in the blogosphere, but I’m firmly on the Love Team. It’s black as my tortured little soul, glides on without any issues, and is super easy to control. I honestly don’t know what else a person would look for in an eyeliner.

2. Soap & Glory Archery Brow Tint and Precision Pencil: Aaaaah, eyebrows ❤ Little hairy caterpillars that somehow have the magical ability to transform a face. They’re wonderful little things, so you really should treat them to one of the best eyebrow tools out there. I. Love. This. Thing. First off, the tint brush is fantastic. You can do these delicate little brushstrokes and get a really natural looking brow or you can go full on Delevingne and not have it look ridiculous. Then there’s the pencil end, which is perfect for blending and filling in your eyebrows to fully perfect them. In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty enamoured by this thing.

1. Gosh Velvet Touch Lip Liner in Antique Rose: Finally, you rejoice, she mentions a product that isn’t by Soap & Glory! Yep, so you better believe me when I say it’s love, guys. So I’ll admit it, I didn’t even really give lipliners a second thought until I started following Kylie Jenner on Instagram, and now I’m a convert. Lipstick who? You know when you just find a lip shade that works for you, and you’re like “this is it, this is life changing”. Well, that’s what happened with antique rose. But the amazing thing is, this colour would do it for anyone. It’s a gorgeous dusty rose colour, maybe one step passed the whole my lips but better thing. It’s definitely pink, but not like… piiiiiiiink. The texture is another major plus, as it applies super easily and doesn’t cling to your dry bits. Which in my eyes makes it the perfect day to day lip product. And I’m obviously the authority on these issues. Duh.

So I hope anyone who is considering making the change to cruelty free, or just people looking for a few new beauty staples, get something from this post. What I lack in awful blog photography, I make up for in my Boots 3 for 2 spending vortexes. You’re welcome.

Lush Mask of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving) Review: A Test On Sensitive & Blemish-Prone Skin

I’ve dabbled with beauty blogging in the past, but since I’m strictly cruelty free and living in a country that still gorges live animals for fun, I can pretty much only go make up shopping in my biannual visits to the UK. But one of the few cruelty free brands that I do have access to in Madrid, is Lush.

Real talk, my skin is out to get me. It’s sensitive as hell, breaks out if I even so much as look at something chemical-y, and occasionally makes me resemble the lizard queen. Currently I’m suffering from my annual summer cold, so my skin is particularly bleh. For a bit of a pick me up, I decided to treat myself to a face mask. But because of said problem skin, I spent days agonising over the Lush website trying to find ~the perfect mask~. Most seemed to be for oily skin, so I didn’t want anything that was overly drying. But because of the constant mentions of words such as ‘calm’ and ‘gentle’, I figured that Mask of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving) was my safest bet.

Story time: I didn’t go to my usual Lush store for this as I was out and about in a different neighbourhood and figured I’d save myself the trip. After telling the Lush Lady what I wanted, she practically forced the tub into my hand, and stood there, staring. It was weird. Cut to a few hours later when I was finally home and I noticed that… the back label was all in Swedish. Pretty sure the shop assistant figured she’d give the foreigner the non-Spanish tub. Hashtag guiri problems.

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But back to the product, I’ve now tried it twice and I think I’ve formed enough of an opinion to blog about it. My first time using it, because my skin is the worst, I only put on a thin layer. I removed my makeup first with the Soap & Glory Drama Clean Micellar Water (which is great btw other than sometimes turning my eyes red à la Three Cheers era Gerard Way), rinsed my face, patted dry, and got to work.

Then I sat around for ten minutes taking selfies. Because duh.

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My first thoughts of the mask was that it wasn’t as solid and cakey as masks I’ve used in the past. I was free to contort my face into as many weird selfie positions as I wanted. There was a slight tingle, but nothing uncomfortable or even that noticeable. It just made me think it was working. On my second time using the mask, less scared that it’d turn my face bright red, I put on a decent amount of the stuff. And oh boy, that tingle. It makes your face feel hot and cold at the same time. I love it when my skincare products make me feel things, it feels like I’m actually paying for something. It’s definitely not an uncomfortable feeling though, but it makes me aware of why they say to only use it twice a week.

Fast forward to removing time, because nothing else noteworthy happened, I removed the mask with warmish water and a muslin cloth, rubbing in circular motions to try and get some sort of exfoliation out of the beads in the mask because lol why would I buy an exfoliator too? It came off pretty easy, although I did manage to absolutely soak myself in the process.

Here’s a lil timeline for ya:

Straight after use: My skin was super smooth! I kept wanting to touch it but didn’t because it felt all pure and magical after the mask.

An hour after use: My blemishes were looking a little red, but my skin is a bitch so that was to be expected. I presume a lot of it came from the exfoliation as well.

The next day: My blemishes seemed a lot smaller and definitely less red, which is what I wanted from the mask. My skin felt the healthiest it had in months. My cheeks seemed a little dryer than usual, but I took that to be from my rigorous scrubbing during exfoliation.

So there you have it, my review on Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving). I think it was a success, as my skin didn’t turn bright red like it has done every other time I’ve tried a face mask. I’ll definitely be incorporating this into my weekly skincare routine, and now I just need to concentrate on finding a new moisturiser that won’t break me out.

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THANKS LUSH, YOU’RE THE BEST ❤

FAVOURITES | Monthly Musings #3 (May 2014)

This whole blogging kinda regularly thing went super well, huh? In my defence, I’ve been proactive and actually started to take control of my own life throughout the month of May (instead of my usual routine of sitting in bed watching TV and reading my job rejection emails). I’m in the process of planning a move to Madrid, which is very exciting, but it’s not what I’m here to talk about right now. I’m here to spread positivity by telling you all about my favourite things, in the least Julie Andrews-like way possible.

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1. NARS Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross:

Technically I only bought this highlighter because I ordered a foundation pump on the NARS website and thought it was a bit ridiculous that the postage cost was more than the actual product itself. So I added this into my basket on a whim, as I’d seen it recommended on various blogs and was in the market for a new highlighter anyway. A powder highlighter was a new product for me, as I’ve only ever used liquid or cream types before, but I really do love it. It definitely jazzes my face up a bit, especially since I’ve abandoned my usual emo eyes in favour of a more neutral look. It also works like a dream with NARS Sheer Glow. I’m really digging my makeup routine this year.

2. Orange Is The New Black:

This is not a new favourite, but a constant one. I recently watched the entirety of season two in just over 24 hours. It wasn’t as impressive a time as some people managed, but I have to sleep sometimes, okay? It took me a few episodes to get into it, and at first I was worried it wasn’t living up to my expectations (the Piper-centric first episode was not a good start for me, she is the worst), but it soon won me over. My favourite episodes were the ones based on Morello and Poussey and the season finale. Miss Rosa is amazing… although I did somehow manage to get through almost two seasons of the show thinking she was Russian? Rosa is such a Russian name, clearly.

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3. Office Red Patent Shoes:

These beauties actually featured on my April Wish List, and although I originally told myself I wouldn’t buy them because they have a ‘leather sock’ (????), I caved when I stumbled into Office and realised they had 20% off. I’m weak, okay? I’m so sorry cows, I know I’m a terrible person. They pretty much are the perfect shoe though. The heel is low and chunky enough to wear in the daytime, but they also transition really well into night because of the bright colour so I get to save room in my suitcase. I’m pretty much just using Madrid as an excuse to buy new clothes and I’m loving it.

4. Brand New- Your Favourite Weapon:

I always love rediscovering an old favourite, and Brand New definitely were one of my most listened to bands back in the day. Although I’ve always been a total cliché and claimed that Sic Transit Gloria was my favourite Brand New song (and believe me, it definitely spent a long stint as my Myspace profile song), recently I’ve found myself listening to Your Favorite Weapon an awful lot more than I used to. Jude Law and a Semester Abroad, Sudden Death in Carolina, and Soco Amaretto Lime are my favourites, and definitely go perfectly with this amazing weather we’ve been having recently. Can I be 14 again now please?

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5. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser:

I know that I’ve already expressed my love for Superdrug’s tea tree range before, but recently I found myself in The Body Shop and all the green caught my eye. It’s like I have a spidey sense for tea tree oil. This cleanser is a godsend. I’ve mentioned before that I seem to be allergic to most things you can put on your face, so I’m always a little wary when trying out new products. But I am in love. I use this twice a day; once in the morning and once at night, and within two days I’d already seen a noticeable difference to my blemishes. My skin also feels absolutely amazing after using it, and I have to physically stop myself from rubbing my hands all over my face and audibly moaning. I know some people don’t like the smell of tea tree oil, but to me it smells of… clean. If you have blemished skin then I definitely recommend this product, even more so than the truckload of other tea tree products I have in my bathroom.

May was apparently a good month, as I managed to bring this list back up to five and not include a cereal on it like last month. I still really do love All Bran though.