Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes...

£6.95 per 30mls, click image to jump to Weleda

Sometimes it is easy to overlook a product simply because it is so much of a staple in your daily routine that you just take it for granted. So here is some feedback on my most overlooked product. I use it every day. It is so versatile – one of those products that have a multitude of uses, which makes it perfect for minimising what you carry around with you in your kit or handbag (or pocket!).

Created by one of the brands I have most faith in – Weleda – Calendula Weather Protection Cream was originally designed for babies. That is reassuring, as it is definitely going to be great for sensitive skins. I bought a tube of this gorgeous goo probably more than 6 months ago and to date I have used about an eighth of the tube. That is almost a whole 4 millilitres! In monetary terms that means I’ve used less than £1’s worth of the product! Ok, I’m getting carried away with my mediocre maths, but it still amazes me how far this product goes.

I use it everyday on my lips and on my hair. Lips and hair? Let me explain:

Just a miniscule drop on your fingertip will moisturise your lips for hours. It gives a slight sheen, but is gradually absorbed so the sheen does fade. It feels great so I like to reapply often, but that is not necessary.

An equally miniscule drop rubbed vigorously between the palms of your hands and applied sparingly to the surface of dry, styled hair will calm annoying frizz and flyaways. I have a frizz prone mop of undisciplined straw for hair, so I do use a little more on bad days. Go for less to start with and add more if required, otherwise you might get greasy roots (I’ve got the balance just right now).

I’ve also been known to pop some on my elbows, knees, heels, cuticles…anything dry will be softened beautifully by this cream. Another great tip is to apply it to your model’s lips after cleansing and moisturising. This will ensure that by the time you get to applying lipstick, his / her lips will be perfectly primed and flake-free. You can always blot before applying the lipstick to get rid of excess. Then, if you need a high-shine finish you can top the lipstick with another light layer of Calendula Cream…or for a gentle gloss finish mix a tiny bit in with your lipstick.

This is a product to experiment with. I’m sure I will be coming up with a multitude of alternative uses. I did once want to use it on a shoot to create high-shine on PVC, but annoyingly had forgotten to pack it on that occasion. That was the last time I made that mistake!

Maybe Weleda should run a competition to see who can come up with the most novel use for their Calendula Weather Protection cream…I may have to tweet that idea to @weleda!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Apparently, in the eyes of certain companies who are classified as ‘cruelty-free’, insects don’t deserve the same rights as other living creatures. I just discovered this and I am stupefied. Stupefaction hits me more and more frequently as I delve further into this research.

Yes, I have discovered a brand that is classified as cruelty-free, but uses silk in its foundation powder. If you don’t already know this, silk comes from the cocoons of silkworms. The cocoons are dipped in boiling water to kill the pupae inside, because the adult moth destroys the cocoon when it breaks out of it rendering the silk useless (to humans).

Call me crazy, but this does not cut the mustard in my world of cruelty-free.

Here is another discovery I made about a different so-called cruelty-free brand: they use crushed carmine beetles to colour some of their makeup products. Again, stupefaction (perhaps it was naive of me to assume that cruelty-free = vegetarian)!

Surely, with all the other amazing companies out there that manage to avoid insectile murder, these companies could find suitable alternatives? What is the point of going to all that trouble to steer clear of animal-tested ingredients when you still use dead creatures in your formulations? I don’t get it.

I will name and shame once I’ve done more thorough research. I just needed to voice my indignation publically! I'm using my blog as therapy! Thanks for listening.

Monday, 24 January 2011

A much-anticipated purchase from The Organic Pharmacy

So I finally splashed out on a product that I've been wanting to try for a long time. It is a cleanser made by The Organic Pharmacy and just the name makes me want to slather it all over my face (or even my toast)...Carrot Butter. Yum!

Flowers (and carrots!) for your face

Ironically, I discovered the Organic Pharmacy because of M.A.C, as they have a branch right next to the M.A.C store in Covent Garden. I noticed it about a year ago and I popped in just to satisfy my curiousity. Being a bit of a clean freak, I found the interior of the store a delight. It is an immaculate, even slightly futuristic pharmacy. The products are displayed in their own little white box shelves, with minimalist packaging. On that first visit I was helped out by a lovely woman who spent ages answering my questions and filling me in on the company, its ethics and its philosophy. I tried out a few things, but by far the product that excited me the most was their Carrot Butter Cleanser. I think the reason this product caught my attention was because I regularly used Ultrabland cleanser by Lush, but I was unhappy because it contains parabens (not-nice-for-the-environment-or-animals preservatives).

So I bit the bullet and bought some a few days ago. It is not cheap at £32.95 a pop, but when you consider the beautfiul, superior quality ingredients that it is composed of, it seems a fair price to pay. For your money you get 75ml which is quite a lot, and you only need to use a pea sized amount.

My first impression on opening the Carrot Butter Cleanser was its amazing fragrance. It smells almost medicinal, and that is because of the Calendula which has antiseptic and healing properties. I applied a small amount to my face using my fingers, and it easily melted to cover my whole face. Just a few gentle circles with my fingers loosened all my eye makeup. I gave my face a good massage and then wiped it off with a muslin cloth dampened with warm water as instructed. I really like the feeling of the cloth, as it is slightly textured, and it really leaves your skin feeling uber-cleansed. I have very dry skin, especially now in the winter, and after using this cleanser my skin felt smooth and flexible with none of that dried-out stretchy after-effect that so many cleansers seem to have. It is packed with carrot and rosemary which have antioxidant properties to protect your skin from free-radical damage, as well as St John's Wort which actually helps your skin to heal and regenerate. I would say this cleanser is particularly amazing for dry, sensitive and / or mature skins, although it is suitable for all skin types.

Here is the list of ingredients, which are conveniently hyperlinked to their excellent ingredients library, so you can click on the ingredient to view its description. Most comprehensive!

My verdict is that this cleanser is just sublime. I am going to make it a staple product for myself and for my clients. The quality of what you put on your skin daily is so important, and avoiding harsh cleansers is imperative when working to achieve flawless makeup results.

I am also so very impressed with The Organic Pharmacy as a company. It was founded by Margo Marrone, herself a pharmacist. She created the products herself utilising her extensive pharmaceutical experience and passion for natural, herbal remedies. There is definitely no animal testing in any phase of their product development. The company is family run, so it has no affiliations with 'Big Brand Baddies'.  I have found the staff across various branchees to be cheerful, helpful and fully knowlegeable about what they are selling.

The Organic Pharmacy's website is a treasure trove of information and I would really recommend that you have a browse. I have learnt a lot from it and often refer back to it for general natural healthcare information. There is a lot of info about toxins and carcinogens, where they come from, what effects they have on your body and how to avoid them. There is also a blog and you can get advice from their team of experts.

And they have a makeup line!!! Of course I will be blogging about that soon. In the meantime, click the logo below and prepare to be impressed:

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Acid face peel in a cotton pad?

My quest (and here I am envisioning myself as a medieval knight fighting fire-breathing dragons) to create high-end makeup using cruelty-free brands inevitably leads to discovering more natural products. This is a good thing, in my opinion. Immediate beauty is false, covered up by layers of product. However, if you consistently apply high quality, natural products to the skin, logically and provably the condition of the skin improves. The great thing about improved skin is that less makeup is required to achieve a radiant result. There are other great things about improved skin, but this is a makeup blog, and healthy skin makes my life easier!

Something that I learnt during my foray into ‘natural’ skincare retail a few years ago was that your average cotton pad is laced with bleach. This is one of the few really useful things I learned, and it has stayed with me. Somehow, I just envision that bottle of toilet bleach in my mind’s eye, the chemical solution dripping off my eyelashes onto my delicate skin (this is an extreme exaggeration of course), and I think perhaps this is a great start to a new Hollywood horror movie. Alternatively, one could use unbleached cotton to cleanse one’s precious sebaceous surfaces…

Yes, unbleached cotton pads exist, and they are available on the high street. The ever innovative Muji stores stock fabulous unbleached cotton in perfectly sized squares. You can actually feel the texture of the natural cotton and see the cotton seeds in these pads. They are cheap as chips (and healthier), and you can be reassured that you are applying your 100% natural, cruelty-free toner or cleanser to your skin without cancelling out that wonderful effect with evil, synthetic bleach.

I’m stocking up, and here is all the info you need to do the same:

Muji Online with useful store-finder:


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Recent Press

Some cool projects I worked on have recently been in the press:

Plexi Night Fashion Show - Makeup for designs by Zoe G Powell

(click logo to view mag)

Venrez the Band - makeup and hair for Superstar Magazine

He just couldn't help himself!
Click the photo to view article in Superstar Magazine

Listen to Venrez rock on his site

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Weleda: Cosmetic Royalty

Weleda is a superior brand on every level. They produce a full range of skincare, hair care, body care, baby care, oral care and healthcare. All of their products are vegetarian and a lot are vegan (they use cruelty-free honey and lanolin in some products which are therefore not classified vegan). They actually have their own herb garden in Derbyshire, UK, where they grow more than 300 plants for use in the manufacture of their products.

Weleda does not test any of its products or ingredients on animals. They are also a member of the National Anti-Vivisection Society ( which is the first organisation in the world to campaign against animal experimentation.

Over and above all these incredible standards, Weleda scores even more for their policies on artificial ingredients and the environment. All their products are 100% natural, meaning there are no synthetic preservatives, fragrances or chemicals in anything they produce. They do not even use plants grown using chemical pesticides or fertilizers and will not use genetically modified ingredients. They have fair-trading partnerships with the numerous countries where they source their top-quality ingredients. You can read more about all these standards by following these links:

Weleda Animal Testing and Welfare policy:

I use a lot of Weleda products in my daily skin and hair care routine. I can personally vouch for the Wild Rose and Iris Skincare range (the Wild Rose is my favourite and has a refreshingly cooling effect), as well as the Calendula and Chamomile Shampoo and Conditioner. I also posted about their Men’s Shaving Lotion in my Q&A and you can read my review here:

I would recommend joining the Weleda Facebook page to get regular updates and also lots of special offers. I also follow them on Twitter. Weleda Facebook link:!/, Weleda Twitter link:

Weleda is available at most health food stores throughout the UK. They have a store finder on their homepage, where you can also shop online:

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Read it and weep

Typical animal tests used to test cosmetics and ingredients:
  1. The first test is for eye irritations, or Draize test, in which shampoos and cosmetics are put into rabbit’s eyes, which are fastened, open. The chemical causes blistering, swelling and blindness. The pain often becomes so intense that the rabbit breaks its back trying to get away from it.
  2. The second test is the skin irritation test in which the test animal has an area of its back stripped of fur and the test product repeatedly rubbed into the bare skin causing rash, pain and swelling.
  3. The third test is the LD/50 test (Lethal dose - 50% die). In this test cosmetics are force fed to test animals to determine the amount necessary to cause 50% of them to die in severe agony from such things as organ blockage, toxic reaction, and convulsions.
  4. Fourth is the inhalation test. In this test, animals are sprayed repeatedly in the face for a 2-1/2 hour period, and then killed and their tissues examined.
Info from:

Monday, 10 January 2011

It’s not just a crime, it’s a Lime Crime

Here it is people, the Lime Crime review. I was so excited to use these lipsticks and see if the colours could possibly be so vivid. I had the perfect opportunity this weekend on a quirky Barbara Cartland-themed shoot. I used the following two craaaazy colours (just loving the names too):

Lime Crime in "No she didn't" and "Countessa"

The texture of these lipsticks is quite waxy, which means they feel lovely on the lips. The colour is exactly like the images and really OTT, which I love. I found I had to apply them quite carefully with my lip brush in a patting motion as side-to-side painting caused the colour to separate a bit. After a little getting used to I had no trouble removing and re-applying at speed. I also mixed them together for the final look and achieved an amazing lilac that was unusual and quite lovely. The finish of these lipsticks is quite plastic (in a good way) and you can mattify them if you blot and powder the lips with a translucent face powder.

Before applying the lipsticks I lined the lips with Illamasqua pencils in Manic and Debonair.

Lime Crime was created by Doe Deere to satisfy her obsession for uber-bright makeup. The brand is animal loving all the way so I’m thrilled to have discovered it. Their range of cosmic eye-shadows and lipsticks is guaranteed to satisfy your inner cyber-punk and give you visions of fluorescent bunnies hopping through electric-green fields. Do visit their funky website:

Lime Crime is available in the UK at SPACE.NK.apothecary:


These images are from my favourite shoot to date with Fernando Lessa and Karolina Maria Renor. I finally had the opportunity to put Illamasqua’s Disciple lipstick to the test and it was all that I expected!

You can see the related behind-the-scenes video here:

No swans were harmed in the making of this movie

As an ex-ballerina, I have always found it impossible to adequately articulate what an impact ballet had on my life. Now I no longer have to try and explain it to people…I can just refer them to Darren Aronofsky’s new masterpiece, Black Swan.

I don’t know how Aronofsky knew all that detail about what goes on inside a dancer’s head and how psychologically bizarre a ballerina’s self-identity can become. It is an astonishing piece of work, and Natalie Portman surpassed herself on every level.

So, let’s talk about the makeup. Ballet, of course, involves a lot of fabulous face painting. I was doing stage makeup from the age of 10. This is actually where my love for makeup started. I used to practice at home and my friends would often ask me to help them out before shows. The lining of the eye for typical ballet makeup takes a lot of practice. It does look quite strange close up, as the aim is to significantly enlarge the eye by basically redrawing it. Of course the makeup for the swan queen in Black Swan is not ballet makeup at all, but for the film it works so well and has created a youtube tutorial sensation.

Black Swan Makeup designed by Judy Chin

Typically for full ballet stage makeup the whole face is covered in cake foundation or pan stick. The application is heavy and often the eyebrows are blocked out and redrawn slightly higher to compliment the enlarged eye. This facilitates projecting facial expressions from such a distance and in such harsh lighting. Black liner is applied below the lower water-line following the shape of the eye and extending quite far beyond the outer edge. White eye pencil is applied to the water line and between the water-line and the new lower eye line. Black liner is applied to the top eye line as well, and extends beyond the outer edge parallel to the lower line (think Egyptian, but less severe). The tear duct is amplified using a red dot or short red line, and red and white are applied between the black liner where it runs past the outer edge of the eye, thus completing the new, enlarged eye. Large false lashes are applied and a heavy coating of waterproof black mascara on the top and bottom lashes. Normally not much dark eyeshadow is applied to avoid ‘closing’ the eye. A lot of highlighter is applied on the brow-bone and sometimes even a white line is drawn under the new eyebrow. Lip-colour depends on the role, but is normally a medium pink. The cheeks are normally enhanced with a pink blush and a dramatic contouring under the cheekbones. A lot of powder is applied as the stage-lighting is very hot. Towelling off is required constantly throught the performance and touch ups are done between acts.

Cynthia Gregory, American Ballet Theatre

Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes

You can watch the trailer for Black Swan here:

Friday, 7 January 2011

The artist and the brand that gives me hope!

Sometimes an image captures the imagination, and when it does the event can feel almost spiritual. Elements, shapes and mood resonate with some part of the observer in such a way as to elicit an emotional response. That response can be so powerful as to be literally life changing.

This is the image that changed my career and consequently my life:

The artist is Alex Box. I say artist, as opposed to makeup artist, because her talent crosses many divides and it was her work as an installation artist that eventually evolved into makeup (you can read more background and a great interview with her here:

 Alex at work on a Rankin shoot

Taking makeup to the next level: Alex Box by Rankin

You can read about the launch of her book on Dazed Digital

Alex is now the artistic director of one of the most avant-garde makeup brands in existence. I started investigating Illamasqua with some trepidation, expecting there to be some big-brother company behind them with a history of animal and environmental abuses, but no! After months of digging, I have still come up with nothing. Illamasqua is truly cruelty-free with no secret affiliations. Dare I say M.A.C replacement?

My Illamasqua kit is currently in development and growing rapidly (the company does have a 40% discount for professionals, providing you give evidence of your work).

All the products I have used so far are of exceptional quality. Illamasqua is renowned for their vivid colours and the amazing colour payoff of their products (what you see really is what you get!). I have found their foundations to be some of the best I have used. The Illamasqua face powders blend so exquisitely that you can truly create convincing sculptural effects with ease. All the products are safe for use around the eye area and I have used the cream blushers to create extreme eye effects with excellent results. I also feel compelled to make special mention of their new midnight blue lipstick (aptly named Disciple, which I now am), and you can see it in action in some of the Illamasqua Autumn/Winter 2010 campaign that I've included here:

Fans of punk band The Damned will be enthralled to know that David Vanian is also on the art team for Illamasqua. This has to be the coolest makeup brand on earth! 

Presenting, Illamasqua: Makeup for your alter ego

Visit their flagship store and makeup school:

20 Beak Street
United Kingdom

Easy, breezy...beautiful?

I want to know how anyone can look in the mirror and apply a Covergirl cosmetic product to their face after being enlightened with the following information:

Covergirl Cosmetics are owned by Procter and Gamble. Procter and Gamble regularly tests their products and ingredients on hamsters, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. These are animals that children keep as pets!

I took this list of past P&G tests from Uncaged as a vivid illustration of what is happening behind the scenes:

  • an acute toxicity test where dogs were force fed large amounts of a cleaning chemical by stomach tube
  • cancer and toxicity tests on rats and mice of optical brighteners and other washing power ingredients
  • long-term poisoning tests in animals for colouring agents
  • 71 mice were repeatedly force-fed a synthetic musk fragrance by tube

Need I really say more?

For more details and sources of this information, you can visit Uncaged:

FYI, Procter and Gamble owns numerous beauty and household brands, including:

Max Factor
Anna Sui
Dolce & Gabbana
Vidal Sassoon
Pantene hair care
Wella hair care
Aussie Haircare
Gucci colognes
Hugo Boss colognes
Old Spice colognes
Bold Laundry Detergent

The comprehensive list is available on the P&G website:

There are fantastic, healthier, cruelty-free alternatives to every one of the above products. If you want to know about any specific alternatives please email me on the Q&A page. In the meantime, lots of blogs on fabulous animal-friendly products to come.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Say "NO!" to Mini-furs

As an ethically aware person I would never buy a fur coat. The vintage debate still rages, but I steer clear of all fur because it just makes me nauseous. So how is it possible, then, that for years I have been purchasing a selection of squirrel pelts, horse pelts, mink pelts, goat pelts and badger pelts? I’m talking about makeup brushes guys. An animal-hair makeup brush is a mini-fur and there is no getting away from it. Most of the hair used to manufacture makeup brushes comes from fur pelt. Whenever you buy a hair makeup brush you are supporting the fur industry.

There are now so many synthetic alternatives to fur in fashion and in makeup that there really is no excuse for supporting this abominably cruel industry. In the past, synthetic brushes were only suitable for applying liquid makeup, but synthetic hair manufacturing technology has improved by leaps and bounds so this is no longer an issue. I have a range of synthetic brush brands, but I just want to talk about one brand today.

Ecotools brushes are spectacular and spectacularly cheap! I bought the 5-piece brush set for the princely price of £15.31 ( The kit contains:

Power / blush brush
Mini-foundation brush
Concealer brush
Angled liner brush
Eyebrow groomer

This is all packaged in a cute hemp travel case for your convenience.

Ecotools rules!

Since I bought these brushes three months ago I have been using them almost daily. They are so soft, yet incredibly durable. As a hygiene maniac, I wash my brushes (probably too vigorously!) after every job, and my eco-tools brushes are still as good as new. They also maintain their shape a lot better than hair brushes and they don’t shed, which is one of my pet hates. And, contrary to many claims in the makeup industry, I find they work brilliantly with powders. The angled liner brush has become one of my favourites for sculpting brows.

So come on darlings - out with the mini-furs!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Move over Tyra!

I love a bit of Project Runway when I'm feeling frivolous, but I do sometimes feel guilty about supporting their fur flaunting, chemically saturated and environmentally irresponsible leather wallets. Well, my fellow eco-warrior fashionistas, I have stumbled upon something very exciting...

Presenting ... (drumroll) ... Project Green Search. Finalists participate in challenges "related to developing a career as a model, host or spokesperson in the sustainable living sphere". The winner receives an incredible prize package including agency representation. I'm just loving this idea already! Now if only they had Tyra...

Read all about it at

Who needs a studio?

For your entertainment, here is some behind-the-scenes footage of a recent shoot I worked on with the amazing photographer Fernando Lessa. We did the whole shoot in his house, taking over the living room and kitchen. None of his housemates seemed too bothered! Due to limited crew, I became technical assistant and stylist too (as you can see by the extremely unflattering shots of me nexto our amazing model, Karolina Maria Renor). Enjoy!

Photographer: Fernando Lessa
Model: Karolina Maria Renor
Makeup, hair and styling: Sarah Frasca
Video by Edo Belleza

Final images here:

100% Pure (not 99.9% or 99.8%...)

When I started reading about 100% Pure, my first thoughts were: 'this is too good to be true' and 'I have to buy some of this stuff NOW'. These products are made from 100% fruits and vegetables. There is nothing, not a single thing in these products that is synthetic. Therefore, not only is nothing in these products tested on animals, but there is absolutely no need to test the ingredients as they are completely natural. Imagine: skincare and makeup made from salad! This seems to me to be the ultimate ethical approach. Also, considering that up to 60% of whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream, applying synthetic and chemical products for the purposes of beauty seems somewhat contradictory.

I bought three products to start off with: Jasmine Green Tea Tonique, Coffee Cherry Caffeine Face Cream and Fruit Pigmented Brightening Concealer with SPF20.

Jasmine Green Tea Tonique

I cannot recommend this product enough. I use it every morning and it immediately brightens and hydrates my skin. Using a toner is the best way to hydrate, and this is by far the most effective toner I have used to date. The fragrance is uplifting and light which is exactly what I need on a cold, dark London morning. I also love the packaging. The simple glass bottle reminds me of old-fashioned chemists.

Organic Aloe Juice, Organic Rose Hydrosol, Extracts of Organic Green Tea, Calendula Hydrosol, Licorice Root, Chamomile, Extracts of Comfrey, Cornflower, Echinacea, Horsetail, Hyssop, Japanese Honeysuckle, Jasmine Oil and Hyaluronic Acid.

Organic Coffee Cherry Caffeine Face Cream

This is another stellar product. Those of you with dry to combination skin will know how difficult it is to find a rich moisturiser that is that does not trigger your T-zone. This is a super rich moisturiser without any oily residue. When I first applied it I thought it would be difficult to spread as it is very thick, but my skin just sucked it up and immediately appeared more plump and glowing. I also find this is a great matte base for makeup. It contains loads of anti-aging ingredients as well as antioxidants - now who doesn't want that in a cosmetic product?

Green Tea, White Tea, Rose Hydrosol, Rosehip Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Coffee Cherry Extract, Green Coffee Powder, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Aloe Juice, Vanilla absolute, Extracts of Rosemary, Thyme, Goldenseal, Oregano, Japanese Honeysuckle, and Grapefruit Seed, Hyaluronic Acid.

Fruit Pigmented Brightening Concealer with SPF20
(Shade: Golden Peach)
This concealer de-puffs your eyes. Wow. That is because it contains green tea and green coffee, which are full of caffeine (I will be blogging later about why caffeine is a miracle ingredient). It also conceals very well. The texture is quite thick, but applies very easily with an invisible finish. I patted it on with my ring finger under and in the corners of my eyes and my early-morning dark circles were no more! Check out the fantastic ingredients in this product - it is great to see all those fruit and vegetable pigments. I am amazed with the effective coverage and excellent skin-tone match of this concealer.

Organic Green Tea, Organic Rose Hydrosol, Organic Green Coffee, Organic Rice Powder, May contain all or some of the following pigments : Organic Peach, Organic Apricot, Organic Carrot, Organic Pomegranate, Organic Cocoa Bean, Organic Goji Berry and Organic Tomato, Aloe Vera, Organic Lavender, Organic Chamomile, Organic Rosehip Oil, Candelilla Wax, Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Extracts of Organic Rosemary, Organic Oregano, Organic Thyme, Organic Grapefruit Seed and Organic Goldenseal
Sunscreen Active Ingredients: 15% Titanium Dioxide and 10% Zinc Oxide

I am in love with 100% Pure. The company is based in California, but you can buy their products online at Another BIG plus is that these products are very competitively priced. I am definitely going to splash out on a lot more of these products and you will be hearing about them here in the near future.

Thank you Susie Wang for creating this amazing brand!

Etho-vamping my kit

My main kit brands are M.A.C and Illamasqua, with some Smashbox and Urban Decay thrown in. The reason I have focused on these brands and not the more 'luxury' ones is that I will only use cruelty-free makeup and, unfortunately, most top brands are either directly tested on animals or their ingredients are tested on animals.

A recent (and devastating) discovery of mine is that Esteé Lauder still uses animal-tested ingredients in their products. It is a little-known fact that M.A.C is owned by Esteé Lauder. I have therefore stopped buying M.A.C altogether, but I anticipate that when my favourice M.A.C products run out, I am going to have a hard time replacing them. However, my goal is to totally convert my kit to only ethical makeup products, so the hard research must begin!

Goodbye M.A.C

Now that I know that Esteé Lauder does not meet my ethical standards, I have had to say goodbye to M.A.C and also, unfortunately, these other brands that they own:

American Beauty
Bobbi Brown
Bumble and bumble
Daisy Fuentes
Donna Karan
Estée Lauder
Good Skin
Jo Malone
Kate Spade
Lab Series
La Mer
Michael Kors
Sean John Fragrances
Smashbox Cosmetics
Tommy Hilfiger
Tom Ford Beauty

Yes, Smashbox is in there too. This is starting to get serious. Already!

Maybe this all sounds slightly depressing...what are we going to use if all these amazing brands are still being tested on animals? Well, that is the purpose of all this research. I am going to do a lot of hard work, test out alternative products, post the results (with images) and implement massive changes to my kit. Over time this blog will grow into a resource for anyone who is serious about ethical beauty.

A great site for checking out any brand's animal testing policy is Uncaged:

In my next post I am going to review an exciting, ethical and natural upcoming makeup brand that I have discovered. The alternatives are already out there and you will be hearing about them all here very soon, so watch this space!