Thursday, 3 August 2017

summer cruelty free beauty edit & more!

My transition to cruelty free beauty products has been pretty smooth - I've been mindful of what beauty products I've been buying for a while, and trying to minimise the possibility of funding animal testing somewhere along the supply line, so the move to out n' out cruelty free makeup was pretty easy.

For anybody considering starting to buy cruelty free, I can assure you it's really not as difficult as it looks! I understand that any lifestyle that rejects products welcomed by the mainstream (vegan, veggie, cruelty free, ethical, dairy/gluten free etc.) can construed by the media as living whilst dodging bullets of temptation... This is certainly not the experience I've had of buying cruelty free, and researching the makeup I buy in more detail has led to me making some amazing new discoveries, and purchases. (See: Emma Watson's Into The Gloss top shelf)

It's actually super easy to only buy cruelty free makeup in the UK, since a 2013 EU law bans the sale of cosmetics tested on animals in Europe. However, naturally for some companies dolla dolla bills are an incentive worth sacrificing morals and ethics (and in some cases, customer transparency too) for. These corporations all distribute their products in China, the only country that legally requires cosmetics sold to be tested on animals. Brands that sell in China also often claim to be cruelty free which is just incorrect (sorry!). Whilst if you buy from them in Europe, you wouldn't be directly contributing to animal testing in Europe, you would indirectly be funding the practice. There's also a common one in which a brand itself doesn't market in China, but is owned by a parent company (L'Oréal, Estée Lauder and Procter & Gamble, for instance) which does, which is also a no-no for me. I'm sure some names on the "to avoid" list will be familiar; it does boast Maybelline, Mac, Benefit and Bobbi Brown as just a few examples. However, the list of cruelty free companies is also extensive and definitely has well known and varied options too - Pixi, Charlotte Tilbury and Kat Von D are all there along with many more. (If you'd like a more comprehensive look at brands that are/aren't cruelty free, Cruelty Free Kitty is an excellent resource, with lists of cruelty free brands, brands that do test on animals, and lots of useful links. Ethical Elephant has also proven very helpful).

Before I start on some of my own current cruelty free loooooves, I just wanna offer a small disclaimer; I've only just properly started shopping completely cruelty free and am aware of some slight hypocrisy! (I have, after all, reviewed and promoted brands that have tested on animals before on this blog.) But I've really enjoyed learning more about how to shop for cosmetics more ethically, and hope you'll join me in continuing to learn about how to look your sexyyyyy self without helping anybody bash bunnies. You'll hopefully also be surprised about how many beauty brands you probably use are cruelty free already.

OKAY!!!!! I hope you enjoyed that whistle stop tour and now I can continue writing the post I actually intended to write. I'll start with Glossier. I could write volumes about Glossier (srsly @Glossier if you're ever in need of a sponsor or another ambassador hit me up ;)) but all you really need to know is they make me feel like one of those Instagram girls, with tiled marble bathrooms full of plants, dewy perfect skin, silky bathrobes, probably a French bulldog and an irrational love of chia smoothie bowls, which I assume can only be a good thing in small doses. Their packaging is stuff of DREAMS, (as lame as it is, when I saw the slanty black logo in real life for the first time my tummy did that swoopy thing) and SO photogenic (sorry for copious photos of the same lipgloss...). Their "skin first, makeup second" ethos matched with beautiful, simplistic branding and products has gained them a feverish following in the US. Oh... yeah. That's the catch. Glossier don't actually sell in the UK yet, (not that that's deterred the hoards of British Instagram fans) but have promised shipping to Britain by autumn. On a recent trip to New York I visited their Lafayette showroom (obviously) and I left with a quivering lip, a lipgloss, a lipstick and vow to get the haloscope highlighter the minute UK shipping commences, (and a little embroidered headband to make my face mask sessions infinitely more glamorous).

Glossier promised me "cushiony, crystal clear shine", and it delivered on the shine. I thought the lipgloss was nice and moisturizing; it gave me high definition shine which lasted for around 3 hours before I needed to reapply. My favourite thing was the lack of the gluey texture I'd come to associate with lipgloss, it slides on easily and cleanly. I can't lie and say your hair wouldn't stick to it in a big 'ol gust of wind, but it is lipgloss after all! I adore the glassy sparkle it adds, and it's a perfect "finishing touch" product.

vegan: no

Now, a lipstick among mere mortals. Ohhhhh goodness. I don't wear lipstick all that often, I'm not into having to check it the entire time and for some reason it always seems to end up drying my lips until they're just chapped sandpaper or smeared. This is a game changer, particularly if you're a "no makeup makeup" devotee. It gives the most delightful wash of colour which looks like maybe your lips are stained from just eating some summer strawberries, maybe it's just a natural flush, or maybe it's just blessed good genes. I've got the shade "like" which is one of the sheerest, but which has been an absolute summer staple. Going shopping? Generation G. Going swimming? Generation G? Sitting at home, typing a blog post, listening to the b-52's and eating madeleines? Generation G. It's a lovely formula - matte, sheer and buttery. Summer dreeeeeeams, guys.

vegan: no

The darling Sofia got me this argan oil from her travels to Morocco (which you can read about here!) and I am besotted. I know I am late to the argan oil bandwagon, but I'm a total convert. I use a drop of it to moisturize in the evenings, sometimes as a body oil after a bath, and sometimes even put a drop or two in my shampoo for extra silkiness.

vegan: yes!

In the corner you can also see a mini Pixi tube, which was a birthday present. It's the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser which has been perfect for summer travelling, and for the first step of double cleansing. It's light, and cleanses your skin properly without leaving it feeling tight. I've been using it in conjunction with the Pixi Glow Tonic, which needs no introduction. The glycolic acid has really helped my skin look and feel smoother and softer, without the harshness or slight tearing of a textured exfoliator like a scrub.

vegan: yes, and yes

Milk makeup is another brand that doesn't ship to the UK yet (I'm sorry, I'm sorry) but is worth bookmarking if you're travelling to the states or for when they hopefully start shipping in the near future. Their makeup is fun, pliable and made to be experimented with. This lip and cheek stick in perk is the first piece I've got from them, another gift from a friend (thank you very much Olivia! mwah) and I have been wearing it all summer. It's got a lovely little goldy sheen, and melts right into your skin. It's seriously foolproof - I've been drawing bright pink, clowny circles straight onto my cheeks with the stick and blending upwards with my fingers - it quickly goes sheer and takes about six seconds, great for a lazy girl who just wants that fresh fresh summer flush, such as myself.

vegan: yah huh!

The Mario Badescu drying lotion is, again, a product I doubt many of you will need to be introduced to. And here I am, again, telling you that yes, it is indeed one hundred percent worth the hype. Dab it on overnight with a cotton bud, look pretty, pink and pockmarked, sleep, wake up, wash off, all redness and swelling reduced. Magic. I've also been using this in tandem with Mario Badescu's glycolic foaming cleanser a couple of times a week, which has worked rather well.

vegan: yes, and yes

I have been searching for a cruelty free palette similar to Lime Crime's Venus one for eons and eons. This Makeup Revolution Flawless Three Resurrection palette has filled the position very nicely, and is one of the most affordable buys I've made in a long while. The matte shades are going to be great transitional shades for autumn, but they're all so blendable that they can be light and summery just as easily as vampy and autumnal. The shimmers aren't the most pigmented, but I'm really not bothered considering I only really need the other three rows for a spectrum of looks. Love love love love, thank you makeup revolution for helping me reach my Peak Vampy Self. All I've gotta do now is learn to apply pink eyeshadow without looking like I've got conjunctivitis.

vegan: ...unsure. I did some research and I'm inconclusive. If anybody knows, please let me know!

Proof that buying cruelty free is suited to all budgets is this M&S autograph nail varnish. Ya perfect pastelly pink shade for your Barbie doll days, I can't promise it's the most amazing polish in the entire world, but it's not painfully clumpy and goes opaque in around two coats, so pretty decent!

vegan: ...again, inconclusive, but I am assuming not. But Kure Bazaar is a wonderful vegan nail varnish brand if you're in need!

Now these aren't beauty, but I thought I'd give you a little roundup of "What Esme's Done/Gone To/Been Liking", just to persuade you that I do actually do things (though my twitter, recording all the various times I've eaten vienetta, would probably lead you to believe otherwise).

I've been adoring my little water marble notebook from & other stories, mainly because I've been on a few long summer journeys lately and a pen and notebook is escapism. This one has been used to "jot down blog ideas". I put that in quotation marks because
a) it makes me sound like a blogger with her blogging life put together, which we all know is not quite true
and, b) because it makes me sound like I live an oh-so-rushed life with barely enough time to "jot down" my fascinating musings before I flip my blow dry, grab my decaf, and juggle a phone call to an agent with a small toy dog. Which, again, is not quite true, being a fifteen year old school girl with limp locks who doesn't like decaf coffee. (I do have a toy dog, though.)

If you squint a little, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of posts to hopefully come, next to a monochrome peach. <3

Lastly, some pages from Grayson Perry's recent exhibition's catalogue. It was on at the Serpentine so I had a quick mosey, seeing as I love his documentaries and some of the pots and prints I've seen. It was wonderful; and witty and acerbic but sensitive and gentle at the same time. His work is very reflective of the times we're living in, and I love the references he makes in his pieces. On his vases, he's interwoven pictures and phrases into ceramic, making for a beautiful patchwork effect with meaning in each crevice. He also does beautiful installations, tapestries and photography. The entire exhibition encapsulates the diverse, eccentric and evolving Britain that I've grown up loving so dearly. It runs until the 10th September, so catch it whilst you can (and maybe eat at the Magazine restaurant while you're there - it's designed by Zaha Hadid and worth a visit).

I hope you've all liked this long rambly post. I wanted to update you and generally check in, but also wanted to give you some cruelty free recs - it's something I really believe in and I've actually found it really empowering (as overused as that word is) to keep up and invest my time in something I know will actually make a difference, and incorporate that into my life. Shopping cruelty free is emotionally and physically rewarding, and has made me rethink so many of my makeup buying habits. It's forced me to research products and learn more about ingredients, ethics, processes behind products, and what works for my skin and what doesn't. I feel more aware about what I'm putting onto my skin, how it got there, and what was involved in that process. Helping the planet, even just fractionally, helps me feel less helpless as a young person right now, which is cool.

It also feels so good to just be blogging again. As usual, I have post ideas and titles spinning around my head at a million miles a minute. I know every time I come back here it's with a fresh promise to not neglect this it tucked under my arm, but summer has cleared my head and I feel more determined than ever to write as much as I can here. I think I feel more certain on what I want to be putting out onto my blog too, which is a lovely feeling.

Do you shop cruelty free? Is it something you're interested in?

I'm listening to:

anything from haim's new album

Esme x

(P.S - I got a blog instagram! Go and follow @esmemadeline if an unruly feed is your cup of tea.)


  1. How have I not read Emma Watson's ITG top shelf?? So excited Glossier are now shipping to the UK! x xx

  2. I always thought I was shopping cruelty free then my sister pointed out to me the whole umbrella thing of brands being owned by L'Oreal and what not and it fucked me up! Especially because I thought NYX were great, turns out they're owned by L'Oreal and I bought so much of their stuff! I've never actually heard of Glossier but want to join in the hype- looks cute!x

  3. That's the truth, as you describe not all 'cruelty free' brands are 100% cruelty-free


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