The last time I wrote about my favourite beauty/make up products was several years ago. Back then I had a very small selection of tried and tested products that I stuck to religiously. I never felt like I had a good understanding of the beauty industry and I found the range of products available daunting. As a result I never felt confident enough to experiment with make up or skincare, so I just stuck to what I knew.
In 2017 my approach to beauty products changed drastically. At the start of that year I was engaged and had begun to think about wedding make up. Then a couple of things happened in quick succession: first, I contracted a strep infection which caused a very rare type of eczema to explode all over my body. It got so bad that I couldn’t even use my hands and had to be hospitalised while they got the infection (and my skin) under control. I was referred to a specialist dermatologist and with his expertise I learned a lot about my skin and how to best care for it.
The second event of that year was even more unpleasant. My then-fiancé cheated on me. In a very short space of time I lost a lot of weight and became so run down that I got ill again and suffered a reoccurrence of my eczema – though thankfully I was better prepared the second time around to treat it.
My skin really suffered from the effects of that year and looked lack-lustre. My confidence had taken a beating too. So I began experimenting with skin care and make up, and with every product that worked a little miracle I began to feel better about myself.
More recently, I spent a lot of time in lockdown browsing social media (didn’t we all?) which led to a few new discoveries. The best thing I found has to be the PETA database of cruelty-free beauty brands.
While testing on animals in the UK is banned, unfortunately this isn’t yet the case in other parts of the world. To make matters more complex some brands who are cruelty free, may have a parent company who isn’t. A quick search on the PETA database will give you a definitive answer.
I will happily admit I was influenced by several bloggers throughout the past year and my make up collection now includes a lot more than the few staple products I had before. Here are some of my favourite cruelty-free purchases of the last year:
Becca Cosmetics Eye Brightening Cream. Sadly, Becca Cosmetics recently announced that it will cease production in September 2021. Luckily this is the only Becca product I’ve become addicted to, but that’s probably because I haven’t tried the rest. This cream, although a little heavy in texture, really gives full coverage for any dark patches under eyes. a quick swipe of this under my eyes and I instantly feel and look more awake. I’ve been using it daily for at least 6 months and I’m not even half way through this tiny pot yet. But of course I’ve already bought more – I’m not sure how I’ll live without it!
The Hourglass Instant Extensions Mascara is so good, that a friend actually asked me “Are those your real eye lashes?” This is a very clever formula which envelops your eye lash from base to tip in one quick swipe. It doesn’t clump easily and it leaves no residue or smudges, even after 12 hours of wear. As a bonus, I no longer have to scrub at my eyes to remove my mascara either. This glides off the lash with any make up remover – it’s almost as if you are sliding a tube off each lash at the end of the day.
The Illamasqua Look Fantastic Pallette came recommended by a make-up artist I follow on Instagram. The pigmentation is perfect. I don’t wear eye-shadow on a day-to-day basis so haven’t had the chance to experiment with it as much as I’d like to yet but the mix of neutral tones is perfect for me now that my social outings are a little more low-key than before.
I’ve purchased two liquid blushers which I love.
The first, Lumene Invisible Illumination Watercolour Blush is my go-to for fresh looking skin. I’m very pale so went for the shade ‘Coral Bloom’ which has a subtle peachy tone. One drop is enough for light coverage which freshens up my face. Perfect for Winter/Spring when my skin is at it’s palest.
The second, is the Glossier Cloud Paint in ‘Storm’ – if you follow any beauty/lifestyle blogger, chances are you’ve heard of Cloud Paint. I resisted it for a while as I wasn’t sure wether to believe the hype – my advice is believe it. It’s the tiniest tube of colour but it goes very far. You just need a tiny dab for instant cheek colour. I perhaps went a shade too dark with this, but in Summer/Autumn it really warms my complexion up.
I had a couple of issues taking delivery of my Code 8 AM/PM Tinted Lip Balm but the team were super helpful and when it eventually arrived, it was worth the wait. It’s a lip balm with sheen and a hint of colour. I chose the shade ‘Spin City’ which goes on lighter than it appears and was perfect for Spring but I could go a shade darker for Autumn.
I read about this tinted moisturiser in a magazine. We all know we should be wearing an SPF daily, but in winter it’s hard to see why. Because this is an SPF with a tint, it makes it easier to remember to take care of your skin all year round. I really liked the application and the very subtle coverage of this moisturiser but it didn’t fully agree with my skin. I’m going to add that I’m on a regime to manage oily skin and I think perhaps it clashed with that. Which is a shame because it’s a great product.