Monday 26 May 2014

A Few Recent Summer Skincare Changes

Its that time of year again when my skin begins to completely reject my Winter skin routine and demands a fresh start for Summer. Not to mention the fact that Summer skincare is an entirely different kettle of fish to Winter with a whole different set of considerations. Add to that my 2014 switch to Veganism and a commitment to cruelty free products and you get a serious 'Alice in Wonderland' type of scenario. I thought I'd post a few of my recent skincare changes to prep my skin for the warmer months ahead. My skin has been a little unruly of late and can't seem to decide whether it wants to break out or shrivel up so I doubt these will be my only purchases this Summer, but here's the story so far...

Oqibo Purifying Cleanser and Toner* 
A completely new brand to me, Oqibo were kind enough to send me a huge bottle of their Purifying Cleanser and Toner earlier in the year. I was promised cruelty free and no animal ingredients so I can use this product with absolute confidence. I'll probably do a more in-depth review after I've been using it for a little while longer but this is a lovely, freshening product and does a great job of getting rid of dirt and oil. It's designed to regulate and balance the skin, which is great news for combination girlies like me. It has quite a strong scent of mint and leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed. 

DHC Pore Lotion -
I'm a huge fan of DHC. I emailed the Japanese-based brand to confirm a few ingredients with them recently and was delighted to discover that none of their ingredients are animal derived so now I adore them even more! I've been particularly enjoying their pore range of products lately as they're really gentle, alcohol free  and are really good for clarifying and minimising pores and creating a smooth canvas for makeup. I use this as I would a toner in between cleansing and moisturising (I also have their Pore Milk which is a lovely, light moisturiser for daytime). 

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Renewing Night Cream -
It seems that even my beloved Origins Night-a-Mins isn't good enough for my face lately so I'm having a rest from it. I was scratching my head trying to find an affordable, cruelty free substitute (I'm truly skint) and I spotted this in Superdrug and thought it would be well worth a try for £5.99. This cream smells so good! I can't stop sniffing it. It is infused with extracts of kiwi and mulberry with sugar beet and other fruit acids to nourish and resurface skin overnight. For the price I've been very impressed. My skin definitely feels smoother and softer upon waking. 

Organic Surge Blissful Daily
I've been using this for a little while as a light daytime moisturiser for my combination skin. I suspect I will need something more intensive with SPF as we continue on into Summer but this really has been lovely. Extremely gentle and perfect for normal/combination skin types. It keeps my skin hydrated whilst also keeping oilier areas at bay and sits well under makeup. I also love how it absorbs so quickly. Organic Surge, like Superdrug, are 100% committed to no animal testing and no animal ingredients.

Amie Pure & Natural Beauty 'Spring Clean' Clay Mask
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Amie Skincare products!! They've been a favourite for a couple of years now and I've tried most of their products. What I particularly love about them are their natural ingredients and Leaping Bunny certification which means no animal testing and virtually no animal ingredients (except beeswax, which it turns out this product does actually contain - serves me right for assuming - but most of their products are 100% Vegan friendly). This is an old favourite of mine from way back and I've started using it again once a week to purge my skin of any excess oiliness for a really deep clean. It has an gorgeous fresh lime/mint scent and an added bonus of making me closely resemble a White Walker for 10mins a week... HA!!

Those are a handful of my recent skincare switch ups. It's felt a little like I'm fighting a losing battle with my skin recently as it's been so unpredictable. I thought vegans were supposed to have perfect skin?!?! To be fair I was a little neglectful with my skincare routine whilst I was battling my way through exams so that might have something to do with it. Time to get back on it and treat my face right! 

What are your skin saviours?? Do you switch up your routine when the weather gets warmer?? What are your recommendations for Summer skincare??


Sunday 25 May 2014

Review: theBalm Betty-Lou Maniser

First post of my Summer Hols! It feels amazing to not have assignment deadlines and revision clogging up every waking minute of my time (at least for a couple of months) so I'm going to attempt to do as much blogging as possible over the Summer months. Today's post was a bit of a mishap, if I'm honest. Not that the product itself isn't STUNNING, but the purchase itself should not have happened. 

Here's the story... I'm struggling like hell to source cruelty free cosmetics that also don't contain any animal ingredients (carmine, fish scales, beeswax, tallow and the like) and discovered the cutECOsmetics website via a recommendation. They only stock cruelty free brands and list which items are suitable for vegans. One of those items was theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer....

As it was listed on the website under the Vegan category, and I was desperate for a new bronzer for Summer, I snapped this up. Unfortunately, when it arrived, I looked at the ingredients and was extremely disappointed to find carmine listed there. Obviously, I've informed cutECOsmetics and they have promised to re-list the item to avoid any future confusion. 

The saving grace of this situation, of course, is that the product is GORGEOUS. This is my first experience of theBalm. I've always admired their products from afar. Their packaging is ridiculously cute and I've heard amazing reviews of their Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter so was excited to receive this (until the bug-powder disappointment). I know not all of you are as bothered about such things as I am so I decided that it is still a product worth sharing. Supporting brands such as theBalm, who refuse to test on animals is so important. 

If you're looking for a seriously glowy bronzer this Summer then this product is for you! You only need the slightest sweep of product to produce an amazing, illuminated golden sheen. I've tried it in most of the ways you would use a bronzer; swept over the cheekbones or to highlight over the temples, bridge of the nose etc.  If you're planning to jet off anywhere exotic in search of a tan over the Summer then this would set it off like a dream! The texture is soft and buttery and a little goes a VERY long way. You might also try using a big kabuki style brush and sweep it over your shoulders and decolletage. 

Whilst I'm sad to admit that this will probably never be my go-to product, I will still be keeping a watchful (but slightly cautious) eye on for other similar products. They also stock a range of OCC, Sugarpill and Limecrime products including Lip Tar (more to come on these very soon on this blog) and the famous Velvetines. 

What's your perfect Summer bronzer?? Have you ever tried theBalm products?? Are cruelty free cosmetics important to you?? 

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Unboxing: The Vegan Kind #TVK7

I'm back again!!! Hopefully I'll be getting back to a regular blogging schedule now that my 2nd year of Uni is officially OVER! I've spent almost all of my time over the last few weeks finishing up my final assignments and revising my little heart out. I have quite a few things I want to share with you now that I have the freedom to do so but first I really wanted to show you what I got in this month's The Vegan Kind #TVK7 box seen as I never got to post about last month's. 

For anyone unfamiliar with TVK, they are a monthly subscription box service specialising in Vegan and Eco friendly snacks, toiletries and household products along with monthly recipe cards and discount codes on featured products. 10p from every box sold goes to benefit featured charities and this month the donation will be made to Give a Dog a Bone - And an Animal a Home. You do NOT have to be a vegan to enjoy this service but it's a great [place to start if you're looking to make more compassionate and eco friendly choices.

Here's what's in the box!!!

First of all, I know what your immediate thoughts were.... ERMAHGERD VEGAN CHOCCY FUDGE! It was my initial reaction too and it took a little while for me to acknowledge the rest of the contents of the box, I was that preoccupied with it. True to form it only took me a day and a half to snaffle all of the delicious Scoff Sweets fudge and it gets a massive thumbs up from me! 

I'm so excited to try the WholePlus Vanilla Spice Hot Pot. I am a long time porridge disciple and I love that you can just add water to this and munch away. It's made with coconut milk powder so completely cow and calf friendly. I'll definitely let you know what it's like. I must admit I'm a loose leaf tea virgin and I have visions of this fresh looking Keemun Morning Tea by The Dormouse Tea Company ending up all over my kitchen surfaces. They've cleverly provided some empty bags with it though so I will have to apply some serious concentration and get it packed up and ready to brew. 

I've had an overwhelming urge lately to make a big batch of vegan Tzatziki dip and these Golden Apple raw biscuits with Hazelnut and Peppermint will be the perfect thing to dip into it. I'm yet to fully embrace the whole 'raw' thing so I'm looking forward to giving these a thorough taste testing. I'm not a huge pepperminty person if I'm honest but TVK have a habit of making me like things I wouldn't normally. One thing I DO like however, is sweet potato and give me a packet of crisps and I will always be happy. The Piri Piri Sweet Potato Crisps from Hectares lasted about as long as the fudge did. Wonderfully crunchy and with a lovely spicy kick.

Lastly, TVK always seem to know when I'm running low on household things. They predicted my washing up liquid shortage with my first box and now they've come to my aid with some concentrated Non Bio Laundry liquid by Bio D with no nasty chemicals, fragrance free and made from sustainable, naturally derived raw ingredients. Winner! 

I'd definitely recommend the TVK service. I always feel like I've had my money's worth and they're always super chatty and friendly on social media. Check out their Facebook Page for Vegan and cruelty free chatter, recipes and giveaways. To subscribe to their service you can visit 
(£10 per month with £2.99 UK postage)

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