Wednesday, 18 May 2016

What's In My Make Up Bag? (Natural, Vegan & Cruelty-Free)

When I first went vegan, my only priority when it came to beauty products was that they had to be cruelty-free (i.e. not tested on animals) and made without any animal products. While these are still two of the main criteria I look for when it comes to what I put on my skin I'm now a lot more interested in 'natural' and organic skincare and make up. Now, I know the word 'natural' is extremely subjective and no two people will have the same definition of it so it's hard to know what it means when a product is marketed as being that - especially since companies can slap the all-natural label on any product they want because there aren't really any rules or regulations surrounding it. Also, nettles are natural but I'm not going to rub them all over my skin! So when I use the word 'natural' I mean free from 'nasties' with the majority of the ingredients being derived from plants to create a product that is, without a doubt, safe for your skin. There are a lot of companies out there who are 'greenwashing' so all I can say is do your research before you buy.

Anyway, back to make up - we all want to look good, right? And while the no make up trend is really starting to take off (yay for body positivity!) some of us still don't feel comfortable with bare skin and would rather hide in a corner than venture outside without some sort of product on our faces. But have you ever really thought about what you're putting on your skin other than the basic considerations of "does it make me look awesome?" or "how much does it cost?" or "does [insert celebrity here] use this?". I don't have a background in science so I'm not going to pretend I know about the ins and outs of skincare products but this article is a very interesting and helpful read! Basically, our skin is our largest organ and whilst it is absorbent it's also pretty efficient at protecting us from harmful chemicals (what would be the point of it otherwise?) so those people who claim that everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream are usually exaggerating a great deal. However, if you have incredibly sensitive or problematic skin like I do (hello eczema, dry patches and red bumps whenever my skin doesn't agree with a product) then avoiding certain ingredients can be very beneficial. Even if your skin is perfect then you should still be aware of things like parabens (preservatives commonly used in cosmetics and toiletries which are the cause of growing concern amongst researchers) because if there's a chance of damage through long-term use then it's probably best to err on the side of caution. There are plenty of harmless and plant-derived alternatives that can be used instead!

It's also incredibly important to buy cruelty-free; make up isn't a necessity at all so why would you be okay with a living creature being subjected to torturous experiments just so you can wear a lipstick that's being promoted by a random celebrity? Even if it was a necessity, it's made for humans so that's who it should be tested on. Make sure you also check that your make up is free from animal products - why anyone would want to rub the boiled bones of animals all over their face is beyond me. A lot of cruelty-free companies like sneaking beeswax and honey into their cosmetics which is very frustrating for us vegans, so keep an eye out for that too!

My skin has improved so much since I started using more 'natural' and gentle cosmetics and my favourite company definitely has to be Inika. In fact, pretty much all my make up is from them! Inika are certified vegan, cruelty-free and organic, and they don't use any talc, parabens or harsh fragrances (which can irritate skin). They do use palm oil but it's a sustainable derivative - I've been researching palm oil a lot recently and it appears that the best way to help the planet is by choosing sustainable palm oil every time you shop. I also use BB cream from Lily Lolo (all their make up is cruelty-free but some of it isn't vegan due to beeswax, carmine and lanolin being used so double check the ingredients before you buy!) and lip balm from Hurraw

So, here are all the fabulous vegan, cruelty-free and natural beauty products that are in my make up bag:

Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer
Before I tried this I'd never actually heard of primers, let alone used them, but now this primer from Inika is one of my beauty must-haves! It rubs in easily, is very gentle and calming, and makes my skin look beautifully smooth and even before I apply the rest of my make up. I'm currently using a sample size but will definitely invest in a full-size product once I run out!

This concealer is the perfect product for covering up small blemishes, making my ever present dark circles a little less visible and adding a bit more colour to my extremely thin eyelids. A tiny amount of this goes a very long way so it's worth the price.

My skin doesn't agree with liquid foundation at all; it's far too drying for me and for most of my teenage years I wasn't able to wear anything on my face at all because it would trigger horrible bouts of eczema. The first time I used liquid foundation I was 14 and it was from a popular conventional cosmetics company. That one day of wearing make up meant I had itchy, red and flaky skin for months and even now my skin can't cope with anything too heavy. Plus I'm not a fan of how liquid foundation sits on me; it looks far too fake and I always feel like I'm wearing a thick and cakey face mask! Luckily for me, BB cream exists - this particular cream from Lily Lolo is my absolute favourite because it's vegan and cruelty-free, it contains no nasties, it feels just like a lightweight moisturiser and it gives good coverage while still giving the impression that you're not really wearing much make up. It just makes your skin look more even and gives you a healthy glow. I used to use the shade 'Fair' but now we're heading into summer I want a bit more colour in my cheeks so I'm using 'Light' - it's a couple of shades darker than my usual skin tone but as I've recently been using a natural tanner from EcoTan (more on that in a later post!) it's the perfect colour for me at the moment.

I don't like using mineral foundation in place of BB cream because I don't feel like it gives enough coverage and it's not hydrating enough for my skin type but I love dusting this powder over the parts of my face that tend to get oily throughout the day, specifically on my nose and under my eyes. I use the shade 'Nurture' and apply it with an EcoTools Flat Foundation Brush. As with the primer, this is only a sample size but I will be repurchasing this in the future! I recommend trying one of Inika's trial packs so you can check which shade is right for you without spending heaps of money in one go.

This is such a gorgeous product and, while it wouldn't be on my list of make up essentials, it's definitely one of my favourites. I dab it on my cheekbones, cupid's bow and brow bone to make my skin super pretty and shimmery.

I know some people wear blusher everyday but I'm a bit lazy so I tend to skip it most of the time. However, on the days where I want to make more of an effort this is my go-to. I use the shade 'Pink Pinch' and apply it with the Inika Vegan Blush Brush. I really recommend getting this gift set because you get the blusher, brush, primer and a lipstick for just £19!

I'm absolutely awful at doing my eyebrows but even I can use this pencil! It's really easy to use and the colour 'Blonde Bombshell' is a perfect match for my light brown hair. It's the best brow pencil I've used in the 5+ years of filling my eyebrows in! 

I've had the same eyeliner style since I was 13 (black and winged!) although I like to think my application skills have improved since then. Anyway, the point is that I've tried a lot of different eyeliners in my time. My all time favourite has to be the Supercat Black Eyeliner Pen from Soap & Glory which is vegan and cruelty-free but probably isn't the best for my skin. The Black Caviar Eyeliner Pencil from Inika is a great alternative though and it's incredibly soft so I have no trouble applying it to my eyelids. I can do a pretty fab flick with it too! The only issue I have with this eyeliner is that it does come off quite easily, especially if you're running around all day and getting a little sweaty. Luckily this means that when you come to remove your make up at the end of the day you're not dragging the sensitive skin around your eyes, so it's worth it.

I absolutely adore this mascara, it's incredible! It makes my lashes look a lot longer and fuller and it doesn't smudge everywhere either which is great. It's long lasting but, as with the eyeliner, it comes off easily when you go to remove it. I recommend using coconut oil or even just water to remove your eye make up because the skin around your eyes is very delicate so it's not a good idea to be rubbing harsh products onto it.

Hurraw lip balm is a long term favourite of mine and I've been using it ever since I went vegan. It's extremely moisturising and it tastes delicious! I use it before I put anything on my lips and apply it throughout the day whenever my lips feel a little dry. My favourites are Vanilla, Almond & Coconut.

I don't wear lipstick every day but when I do I tend to use this lip liner beforehand to prevent bleeding - I have the 'Nude Delight' pencil and I find that it works well with all my lipstick shades so I don't feel the need to use any of the other colours!

About 5 years ago I went through a phase of wearing lipstick all the time. However, I found all the lipstick I used to be super disappointing because it would always end up all over my teeth and would have usually completely disappeared by the end of the day, so I completely gave up on all lipstick until just recently. Luckily I found this lipstick from Inika and it's by far the best I've ever used! It lasts for hours without me needing to reapply it (even after eating and sipping on water all day!) and it's really moisturising too. I don't know about you but I'm one of those people who tends to swallow half the lipstick I'm wearing and I've always been anxious about what I'm ingesting; luckily, Inika's lipstick contains nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba seed oil, avocado oil, argan oil and orange essential oil so you don't have to worry if it gets in your mouth (it tastes delicious too!). I have 'Naked Kiss' which is a great everyday nude colour, 'Flushed' which is a super pretty pink and 'After Dark' which is a gorgeous deep red. My favourites are probably 'Flushed' and 'After Dark', and I've received a lot of compliments when I've been wearing 'After Dark'! 'Flushed' is closer to my natural lip colour than 'Naked Kiss' is so it's generally my go-to lipstick. All three shades go perfectly with the 'Nude Delight' lip pencil from Inika.

So that's everything in my make up bag! I don't use heaps of products but what I do use I absolutely adore and would recommend to anyone. I'm always open to suggestions so if you guys have any favourites you think I'd love then please do let me know!

If you're looking for more vegan/cruelty-free make up, here's a list of some of my favourite websites to shop from:
Lucy Rose
Cocktail Cosmetics
Planet Organic
Content Beauty

Also, Superdrug have their own vegan and cruelty-free make up brand which is really good value for money and GOSH Cosmetics are cruelty-free and have a huge range of vegan products. There are so many brands to choose from to suit every budget so it's super easy to shop ethically! 

Disclaimer: I was sent some products by Inika to try (Trial Pack in Light/Medium, Pink Glow Gift Set, Light Reflect Highlighting Creme and Black Caviar Eyeliner) but I purchased the rest of the items myself and I use and adore every one of these products. All views expressed are my own and I would never recommend anything that I didn't absolutely love.


  1. Thank you for this post, so much inspiration for future make up product-buys, haha :) I was wondering if you could do more of these posts - would love to hear more about your favourite Neals Yard products, aromatherapy diffusers and the pai skincare you showed on snapchat the other day (worth the money)? xx

    1. I'm so happy you like the post! Haha, you'll have to treat yourself to lots of lovely make up now ;) I definitely want to start posting more things on my blog that aren't to do with food so those are all fab suggestions, thank you so much :) my next post will be my favourite natural beauty products and I'll also be doing a post about my skincare routine (featuring Pai!) - I'll do a post about the aromatherapy diffusers too because they're fab! xx

    2. such an interesting post!
      I am currently transitioning to cruelty free!

    3. Thank you lovely, I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Yay, that's amazing :) it's a bit difficult finding things at first but once you know what you're looking for it's all good! xx


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