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Beauty, Book Reviews, Books, Ethical

There’s Lead in Your Lipstick – Gillian Deacon | REVIEW

July 13, 2017

There's Lead In Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon

While I am an avid label reader and science nerd, trying to understand the confusing words on packaging is hard. Enter There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, which serves as a perfect entrance into figuring out what is actually in the products your using and how to avoid the toxins.

Would you ever imagine that there are harmful chemicals in the products you rub on your face every day, the things you wash with, what you brush your teeth with, or fix your hair with? I think the majority of people, including myself, probably wouldn’t. You would assume that there is some kind of governing body somewhere ensuring harmful toxins are not put in things we use. Unfortunately, it isn’t really the case (while there are bodies, they’re not as protective as you would hope) and the biggest lesson you will learn from There’s Lead in Your Lipstick is that you have to be your own advocate.

Of course, there are some chemicals banned for use in cosmetics but that doesn’t mean that what’s allowed in cosmetics is perfectly safe. Far from it. Luckily for those living in the EU, we appear to have stricter regulations that those in the US and Canada, but again it still doesn’t mean we are actually being protected from things that can cause us harm. (And with the whole Brexit debacle, who knows what kind of laws products will or won’t have to comply with.)

We have no way to measure the impact of an ingredient combined with every other chemical you encounter day after dayAdditionally, the ease of internet shopping might mean that by buying from abroad you’re exposing yourself to ingredients which are banned in your own country. Coal tar is one example. The known carcinogen is banned in the EU but is still allowed in products in the US, where it might be found in anti-dandruff shampoo, hair dye, and soaps.

I have found switching to a toxin-free lifestyle quite overwhelming, but Deacon’s book is the ideal accomplice. She explains the issues with each toxin and what it might also be referred to as on the label, in a really easy to understand way. I was half expecting There’s Lead in Your Lipstick to be a bit of a dry, textbook-style, read but it was far from it; it was equal parts interesting and horrifying. Her writing style is quite conversational, and I finished it off on my flight home because I just could not put it down.

As well as explaining some of the key ingredients to avoid (and giving a handy list of 20 things you really need to avoid), Deacon explains how to avoid them by including DIY recipes and lists of companies and products which are toxin free. Knowing what to do instead definitely takes away from some of the feeling of being overwhelmed because you feel like you’re armed with solutions and starting points. (And believe me, you will feel a little overwhelmed and want to throw away a large chunk of the stuff in your bathroom.) Note that this book does not detail every single ingredient you shouldn’t avoid, though I’d kinda like that book.

The book is split up into sections dealing with different kinds of products, such as hair, face, hands and feet. Two of the best sections are definitely the ones which teach you how to understand labels and deals with the issues with companies being able to use the words “natural” or “organic” pretty liberally without very strict guidelines.

It is sad that it’s surprisingly difficult to buy toxin free products in on the high street (how did the world come to this?). I have a few recipes or products saved on Pinterest but it can be tricky to keep going back to different pages and trying to remember where I saved something, so I like knowing I can pick up this book and flick to the section I need easily.

I wish books like this didn’t need to exist, but with the plethora of chemicals we’re exposed to every day without really realising it, and no one knowing the accumulative and combined issues they can cause over time, books like this are important. If you read one non-fiction book this summer, heck even this year, let it be There’s Lead in Your Lipstick.

I would like to point out that the products in the main photograph are not all toxin free, and NARS are no longer cruelty free either.

If you’ve read this, what did you think of it? Do you have any recommendations?


Beauty, Ethical, Ethical and sustainable living

NARS, quit pretending to be appalled by animal testing & supporting it anyway

June 29, 2017


Although it seems to have blown up all over social media, you may have missed the news that NARS have decided to sell in China, where the government requires cosmetics to be tested on animals.

This is a huge backstep for a company loved by many people looking for higher end cruelty free products.

While the news itself was enough to anger a lot of customers, the way they dealt with the backlash is easily one of the worst PR responses I’ve seen. I’ve embedded their full response from Instagram below, but here’s the TL;DR: we hear you’re angry about us testing on animals, but we don’t give a flying fudge because we want more dollar.



We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see:

A post shared by @narsissist on

Needless to say, the comment section on this post is alive with incredibly angry, previously loyal, customers who are accusing the company of selling out, which is exactly what they are doing. This is a company trying to weasel their way out of a bad decision. Sure, it’s great that you are supporting alternatives to animal testing, but what’s the point if you’re then going to carry out animal testing? The only way to stop governments demanding animal testing is to not comply with their demands and keep your products out of their market. You’re not going to encourage them to change their mind by doing what they want.

You don’t get to be outraged by animal testing and then support it anyway; it’s like bombing for peace. 

At this point, it seems fairly clear that NARS are not listening to their customers and are going to go ahead and sell in China. That being said, if you were previously a NARS fan, it might be worth emailing the company to let them know how unhappy you are and that you’re voting with your feet and taking your business elsewhere. If you’re interested in doing that, Cruelty Free Kitty has a great guide on what to say. I’ve given it a go, so let’s see what happens.

NARS are far from the only company who have decided to expand into the Chinese market, losing their cruelty free status. They are also far from the only company who claim not to like animal testing, who “support” alternatives, but test on animals anyway. Here are a handful of examples; you will find similar statements on pretty much every cosmetics company who tests on animals.

  • Estee Lauder are “committed to the elimination of animal testing”, but test where required by law. Amazing commitment there.
  • L’Oreal’s animal testing section on their website makes for a brilliant read: “L’Oréal does not test any its products or any of its ingredients on animals. Nevertheless, because our products are sold in China, L’Oréal still figures on the PETA list. In China, the health authorities still require and carry out animal testing for certain products.”
  • MAC, who were previously cruelty free, “do not test on animals” but will do if a regulatory body demands it…
  • Revlon’s statement is very confusing, as they claim they have not tested on animals since 1989 but then say “There are, however, a limited number of countries that have not yet adopted these alternative scientific methods. While Revlon complies with the requirements for safety in all of these countries”.

The wording of some companies policies is not always very clear, so the best way to make sure you’re supporting a cruelty free company is check the Leaping Bunny website.











30 Day Vegan Challenge, Food, Vegan

30-Day Vegan Challenge | Week #1

January 28, 2016


Last week, I decided to take the 30-day vegan challenge and I’m pleased to say that the first week has been really fun.

I originally planned to do a bit of a food diary but I completely forgot, so instead I’ll give you a little overview of how the first week has been.

My biggest weakness is cheese, but to my amazement I haven’t craved it or felt like I was missing out. I’m so impressed with this because I definitely ate way too much cheese before.

In general, I haven’t found a vegan diet to be very restrictive. The only time it has felt a little restrictive is when I went to Costa Coffee to meet my friend – I didn’t spot a vegan option. I tweeted Costa though, and apparently their fruity crumble is vegan, so I’ll keep an eye out for that next time I go – I’m hoping I just missed it. 

There are a couple of things I’ve eaten during the past week that have become absolute favourites for me and I cannot get enough of them:

  • Peanut noodles
  • Thai pasta from Mayam Bialik’s Vegan Table
  • Bliss balls – I started out with Kayla Itsines recipe, but ended up just doing my own thing, throwing in desiccated coconut and more cocoa powder

So far, so good and I’m looking forward to another week of discovering new, delicious meals.


Beauty Reviews, Cruelty Free, Face Masks, Vegan

Rosy Cheeks | LUSH Fresh Face Mask

January 20, 2016

Rosy Cheeks LUSH fresh face maskLUSH Rosy Cheeks fresh face mask

Rose scent + LUSH fresh face mask = something I can definitely get on board with.

A few weeks ago, I spotted a new addition to LUSH’s face masks, Rosy Cheeks, and I was sold as soon as I saw the name. I don’t know if my name gives me some kind of predisposition for loving rose scented things, but I cannot get enough of it.

Containing kaolin, calamine, and rose oil, Rosy Cheeks cleanses, calms, and tones your skin while smelling absolutely delicious.

The consistency is unlike any of LUSH’s face masks I’ve tried before; it reminds me of rubbing a thick moisturiser on my face. It glides on easily and you don’t need to use much to cover your whole face. I haven’t finished my pot yet, but I think I will get upwards of eight applications out of one 75g pot, which works out to be 84 pence per application at the most.

Pop it on, stick a timer on your phone for 10 to 15 minutes, sick back with a book and a cuppa and let Rosy Cheeks work it’s magic.

Removal is really easy, in fact it’s probably the easiest LUSH face mask to remove because of how smooth it is and quite thin in comparison to their other face masks. That said, I tend to stick a face mask on before I have a shower and then take it off in the shower.

I have combination skin and this works a treat for my skin; it leaves my skin looking fresh, clean and matte. 10 minutes is usually enough for me and I find that if I leave it longer than that it can leave me with some drier patches.

The packaging says you’re supposed to keep it in the fridge. To be honest, I don’t keep any of their products in the fridge because I’m lazy and it’s too much effort to go downstairs. I think that as long as you store it in a cool place, it will be fine.

Price: £6.75 for a 75g pot (Price correct at time of posting)

Is it cruelty free / vegan: LUSH are a cruelty free company, and Rosy Cheeks is a vegan product

Would I repurchase / recommend: I will definitely repurchase and recommend to EVERYONE (Sorry, not sorry if you get sick of hearing me talking about this)

To conclude

This wonderfully rose scented face mask gently cleanses skin, leaving it soft and bright.

What’s your favourite face mask?

Beauty Reviews, Mascara

Barry M Showgirl Extra Volume Mascara

January 13, 2016

Barry M Showgirl Extra Volumising Mascara

Oh I think I’ve finally found the mascara that was meant for me; enter Barry M Showgirl Extra Volume  Mascara.

I’m pretty fussy when it comes to mascara; I don’t want super long lashes, what I really want is just something that makes my eyelashes black and gives them a little extra volume. That’s not to say that that is all Showgirl does, because it does give a fair bit of extra volume.

Barry M Showgirl Extra Volume Mascara wand

Packaging & application

The sleek, metallic tube makes Showgirl look and feel more expensive than it’s £4.99 price tag. It’s a pain to try and photograph (but how many customers really have that “problem”?), but it looks so pretty and screams glitz and glam to me. It almost feels like a crime to stick it in my makeup drawers; I feel like it should be on display.

When it comes to mascara, the wand can make or break a product; a brush that’s hard or harsh on your eyelashes and eyes can make application painful and tricky. This isn’t the case  at all with Showgirl; it’s easy to use and gives good product payoff first time around.


Wearing Barry M Showgirl Extra Volumising Mascara


Showgirl only comes in black and has a really good, non-clumpy formula, so there’s no need to try and pick clumps out of your eyelashes before you blink and POOF, mascara all over your face.

As I mentioned above, the product payoff is brilliant first time around, and it adds volume without it looking over the top. If you’re going out or just want more volume, you can easily build up layers to add volume.

It lasts all day long, and I’ve had no issues with it flaking and coming off everywhere. Removal is easy and it will come off no problem with whatever cleansing products you use.

To top it all off, Barry M are a cruelty free brand and at £4.99 this isn’t going to break the bank.


What’s your go-to mascara?

Beauty, Beauty Haul, Cruelty Free

Christmas LUSH haul

January 6, 2016

Christmas LUSH Haul - Lemony Flutter, Snow Fairy, Veganese, Buche De Noel

Who doesn’t love a good LUSH haul? In 2014, my sister and I began a tradition of a LUSH exchange for Christmas; we head into a LUSH store, pick out what we want and then act surprised on Christmas Day at what we’ve given each other.

Veganese conditioner

I used Veganese last year, and loved it so it was definitely top of my list for my Christmas gift. It’s a lightly citrus scented conditioner that leaves my hair feeling silky smooth and hydrated.


Lemony Flutter cuticle butter

Working in a bar and the cold weather has taken it’s toll on my hands over the past few weeks, so some hand cream is definitely needed. Though it says it’s cuticle butter, this sherbet lemon scented cream is perfect for any troublesome, dry areas such as your hands, elbows, and knees.


Snow Fairy shower gel

This was something my sister got for me last Christmas, and I still have some left from last year (it was only a 100g bottle) because I love the smell of it and used it super sparingly. Now I have another bottle, I can finish the one off from last Christmas and then start dragging out this year’s bottle until this Christmas coming. I got a good thing going there.


Buche de Noel

This was one of the first LUSH products I tried, and it sealed my instant love for the brand. It smells Christmassy, and I wish they sold this all year round because this would by my go-to cleanser 365.24 days a year if they did.


Did you have any nice skincare gifts for Christmas?

Beauty, Beauty Reviews, Cruelty Free, Foundation, Mineral Foundation

Nude By Nature Radiant Loose Powder

December 11, 2015

Nude by Nature Loose Mineral Radiant Foundation

One of the things I’m perpetually on the hunt for, is the perfect foundation and I think I’ve found my foundation soul mate. (If such a thing exists.)

A few months ago, I ran out of my Bare Minerals foundation and wanted to continue my quest to find something with slightly heavier coverage and that helped control oil a little better. I was hunting on the Feel Unique website, when I discovered Nude By Nature. I’m not going to lie, the pretty packaging did catch my eye. I couldn’t find a huge amount of reviews for this product, but they’ve won a few awards and had a lot of good press and reviews for other products, so decided to give it a go.



The packaging is really clean and pretty, with a sleek rose gold lid that wipes clean easily. Unlike most mineral foundations, you don’t tip this product out into the lid. Instead, Nude By Nature encourage you to push your brush through the mesh sifter in the top, tap excess off, swirl around and apply. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you tipping the product into something else, but you couldn’t really use the lid it comes with as you can see from the photo above.

Nude By Nature Radiant Loose Powder

It took a bit of getting used to pushing the brush into the mesh, but I’ve actually found it to be tidier and I’m definitely wasting less product, which is always good. I was worried it would damage my brush but so far it hasn’t. I suspect that as long as you have a good quality brush, you won’t damage your brushes. (I use Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush, if you’re interested.)


Product & application

The mineral foundations I’ve used previously have always had light-medium coverage, but I feel like Nude By Nature gives what I would consider almost medium coverage on first application. Coverage can be built up easily, but you do have to be careful to make sure you buff it in well, otherwise you can end up with slightly orange areas.

While it does give medium coverage straight away, it isn’t heavy or cakey; it’s lightweight and soft.

It applies really smoothly and covers up redness and blemishes quickly and easily. I know this is a bit of a cliche in the beauty world, though I don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase on my blog, but it does leave you with smooth, radiant-looking finish.

Of course, you aren’t going to completely cover and erase the odd bright red spot, but this does a pretty good job.

Without foundation

Without foundation

As you can see in the photos above, my skin is being naughty at the moment and although it doesn’t erase the blemishes, it’s not doing a bad job of concealing them.

With combination skin, I always worry about how products and my skin will get on, and I’ve had no issue with Nude By Nature’s offering at all. I find that it helps control how oily my skin is better than any other mineral foundations I’ve used. Of course, there is the odd day where my skin does feel a bit oily at the end of the day but most of the time, I will get to the end of the day and my skin still feels matte.

Talking of the end of the day, the lasting power is good and I have no complaints about it at all. I work in a bar now, which means I’m often rushing around in toasty areas, and it doesn’t melt off my face or anything. It just stays.

I have pale skin and went for the lightest shade, W2 Ivory and it matches like a dream, though apparently it does adapt naturally to match your skin tone.

Nude By Nature’s shade range is quite good and ranges from W2 Ivory through to C7 Chesnut, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a shade that matches your skin tone.

A few other key points:

  • It contains SPF 15
  • It’s cruelty free and vegan
  • Contains Australian Kakadu Plum for Vitamin C
  • Contains Jojoba Esters to nourish skin
  • Contains Kaolin Clay to give a flawless finish
  • No parabens, preservatives, or synthetic ingredients. (Visit the Nude By Nature website for a full ingredients list.)


Value for money

At £25 (from Feel Unique) for 10g, you are getting good value for money when you compare it to Bare Minerals, who sell 6g for £26.00. Yes, you can buy mineral foundation for a lot less, but if you’re looking for something with slightly heavier coverage off the bat, and that just stays, I really don’t think you can go wrong with Nude By Nature’s Radiant Loose Powder. 

It’s hard for me to say how long this product will last me, though I expect it to last at least 6 months, and I imagine it will actually last around 9 0r 10. £25 for foundation that lasts me three-quarters of a year is perfectly fine by my standards.


In short

A lightweight, oil-controlling foundation without any of the nasties that gives medium coverage off the bat, and excellent value for money.

I love this foundation and I do intend on buying another pot when I run out.


What type of foundation do you use?

Brushes, Cruelty Free

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush review

November 25, 2015

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush

Real Techniques Retracable Kabuki Brush

Since switched to mineral foundation, kabuki brushes have become part of my daily routine. I struggled to find one that I loved, until I came across Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush. 

Most of my makeup brushes are Real Techniques, so I really don’t know why I didn’t check their website to start with.

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush

As the name suggests, it’s a retractable kabuki brush that can be used for mineral makeup, bronzers, blushers, or whatever you fancy. It feels nice and sturdy, the brush glides up and down easily, and the lid stays on tightly, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it coming off in your bag if you want to take it out and about.

The bristles are synthetic, which makes it perfect for those who have allergies to animal hair / fur, or if you’re cruelty free. As with every other RT brush I have used, the bristles are soft and gentle on your skin, which is a welcome change let me tell you that. I was previously using a Bare Minerals kabuki brush which felt quite harsh and scratchy on my face.

Whenever I get a new RT brush, I’m always nervous of using it for the first time because they look so pristine that it feels a little wrong to actually use them for their intended purpose. Silly, I know. On that note though, the bristles don’t lose their shape after repeated use, or after washing.

The brush picks up product easily and gives a nice even distribution of the product on to your skin. I haven’t experienced any shedding with the brush so far either, which is a good sign that it’s a quality product. (It’s pretty annoying to have to try and pick bristles off your face.)

In terms of cleaning it, it’s the same as any other makeup brush. Remember to try and dry them with the bristles facing down if you can to prevent the bristles from coming out.

All in all, it’s a really good, well-built brush that does exactly what it should. This has replaced the other kabuki brushes I have and when the time comes to replace this one, I’ll buy another one.

On average, the price of this brush seems to vary from about £9 to just under £12, which is a great price as far as I’m concerned. I’ve bought cheaper brushes in the past and been disappointed, so I have no qualms about spending a couple more pounds to get something that will last.

Which makeup brushes do you use?