Friday, 23 January 2015

Save or Splurge: Cruelty Free Eye-shadow Palettes

 I've only recently embraced eye-shadows, but once you do there's no going back. In this post I want to do a quick low down for you all on a few cruelty free palettes which have earned themselves a permanent place in my make-up bag. Whether you want to save or splurge on your eye wear, check these out...


These Barry M palettes are pretty neat. Each set comes with six different shades including both shimmery and matte colours. I also love that both palettes include a complimentary blush colour for the cheeks; a pale pink in the Naturals palette and a bright pop of coral in the Starry Eyed. The Natural Glow Palette is a gorgeous collection of subtle 'barely there' shades that enhance your eyes without screaming 'I'm wearing makeup' and are perfect for daytime wear. Starry Eyed is pretty much Natural Glow's evil alter ego, featuring intense, highly pigmented and colourful shades it literally dazzles in glittering blues, reds and golds that you can use to create striking evening looks. To see a subtle look I created using both of these palettes click here. One thing I would say is that the shimmery shades in both these palettes are quite subtle, don't expect a full on glitter overload as unfortunately that's not the case - but they are still great for a sultry shimmer.

The packaging is really lovely and looks cute in your make-up bag whilst the mirror on the inside is a god-send when you're re-touching out and about! Personally I'm not a massive fan of the sponge wands that are included in these palettes and prefer to use my own eye brushes - but for the price you can't complain! All in all, I think these palettes are excellent value for money and perform like a high end brand. The colours are all gorgeous and wearable and bought together, these palettes are a killer duo.


When it comes to eye-shadow, Urban Decay has to be one of the biggest names going and to be honest it's hard to find a blogger that hasn't blogged about at least one of the Urban Decay Naked palettes for eyes. Having received one as a gift for Christmas this year, I have now finally found out what all the hype is about. Quite simply, these eye-shadows are really really (really) good. It's not just the beautiful packaging, the incredibly effective two-ended brush or the fact that you get four samples of their famous Eye primer potion (although this all helps of course), it's that no-one can deny the perfect combination of shades that Urban Decay has created in this palette.

You get twelve shades in the palette ranging from neutral pinks and champagnes through to smouldering golds and bronzes into velvety purples, blues and inky blacks. Trust me - you'll use all of these! My particular favourites at the moment - and I do love a shimmer - are the shades 'Sin', 'Virgin' and 'Half-Baked'. Half-Baked, I have to say is probably the ultimate of all pale gold shadows, I never thought I would obsess over an eye-shadow but this one really hits the mark for me. It's subtle enough for daytime on it's own, but pair it with 'Smog' or 'Toasted' and you immediately have the ingredients for a killer evening look. 'Sin' meanwhile, is the holy grail of all inner corner shadows, it's a pearl coloured shimmery shade with a hint of pink that reflects the light beautifully, recently I haven't left the house without using this to highlight under my brows and the inner corner of my eyes for a wide-awake look.

Now, on to that brush I mentioned. At £37 I think you'd be pretty peed off if the palette didn't come with some sort of tool but with this set you will not be disappointed. The one included with the palette is a double-ended crease and shadow brush, one end sports the traditional flat tightly packed bristles for applying colour evenly over the lid and the other end (my favourite) features a fluffy head that makes blending and applying colour to the crease of your lid a breeze! Overall, this palette is a gorgeous and classic piece to add to any make-up collection but at £37 I'd suggest trying out some cheaper palettes until you're sure you're a fan of wearing shadow!


So there we are! Two lots of cruelty free eye-shadow palettes... one at the bargain end of the scale and one at the blow out but whichever one you plump for, I think they're both lovely! Out of the two, however, I would have to go for the Urban Decay Palette simply because I think it combines all the selling points of the Barry M palettes in one beautiful set with the bonus of an excellent brush. Don't forget to comment below if you enjoyed the post, have any tips or thoughts you'd like to share, or have tried any of these palettes and would like to have your say! :)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Pamper yourself silly: my top picks for a cruelty free night in...

(Bearded man not included in pamper night)

Every now and then we all like to give our hair and skin a bit of much needed attention, so here's a list of my top cruelty free picks for all your preening, pampering, buffing and beautifying needs. Pfft as if you needed an excuse for an indulgent night in...

Run your bath with...

LUSH Magic Wand Reusable Bubble Bar

Well, quite simply, who wouldn't enjoy waving a star shaped wand under a hot running tap and watching as pink Snow Fairy scented bubbles magically appear? It's awesome. I received this as a gift over Christmas and I absolutely love it! I've used it three times so far and it's hardly reduced in size at all. It releases a gorgeously subtle scent and turns the bath water pink! Add in the bell that tinkles as you wave it and you're all set for a magical candy-scented bubble bath.

The Body Shop's Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil - £10

I first purchased this last year in May and I still haven't found a bath oil that beats it. Not only is it a bath oil, it can be used as a body moisturiser, hair treatment or massage oil too. But best of all is the smell, it's absolutely heavenly. I pour a splash into my bath or massage it onto damp skin as a moisturiser and emerge smelling of gardenia and coconut and all things lovely. On my most recent visit to The Body Shop store in Brighton it wasn't on the shelves and I actually went to the lengths of asking the shop assistant whether they had any in the stockroom. They did! Warning: this stuff is addictive.

Mask yourself up with...

LUSH BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask - £6.50

Your hot, pink and heavenly scented bubble bath is running, so before you step in and relax, pop on a face mask. The face mask of choice? BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask. With seaweed, kaolin, antiseptic honey, soothing aloe vera, fresh rose petals and rosemary oil this moisturising, purifying face mask does it all. You keep it in the fridge so when you smooth it on it's deliciously cool and refreshing and the rosemary oil and rose petals make it smell so good you could easily leave it on for hours. This is my favourite face mask to date and I will definitely be back for more, it left my skin feeling soft and my complexion bright and clear. I think it's a really good all rounder and would suit nearly every skin type! It suggests leaving it on for 20 minutes before washing off with warm water but I like to leave mine on for an hour whilst I soak in the bath. 

LUSH H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Mask - £9.75

Don't ask me how to say it, but believe me when I say that this stuff is damn good. Bay leaf infusion, watercress, free range eggs, bananas, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary oil and cinnamon... all blended together to create the hair mask of all hair masks. Packed full of these protein building ingredients, this hair mask restores, strengthens and nourishes like nothing else. If you have long hair you're going to want to use about half a tub to cover your hair nice and thickly, so you get about two to four treatments in a tub depending on your hair thickness and length. For the perfect pamper evening, I'd recommend popping your hair mask on at the same time as your face mask, and wrapping it in a warm towel whilst you have a good long soak to let it really absorb into and condition your hair. You apply this to dry hair and then once you've left it on for at least twenty minutes you can wash it out and shampoo, condition and style as normal.  One thing I will add is that this is a hair treatment with a definite focus on conditioning over scent, it's by no means an unpleasant smell but it is quite strong!

Scrub yourself down with...

Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Salt Scrub - £11.50

Of all scrubs, body polishes and exfoliators I have ever dabbled with, Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Salt Scrub is my all time favourite. This scrub combines moisturising jojoba, coconut and almond oils with dead sea salt crystals that work together to leave your skin super smooth and moisturised. The large salt crystals are abrasive enough to leave you feeling squeaky clean and seriously exfoliated and then, when you shower it off, you're left with a silky smooth residue from the essential oils that soaks into the skin and leaves it gorgeously scented. I've never used a scrub that leaves my skin feeling as soft as this one does, and the smell truly is amazing. A word of caution however, don't use immediately after shaving - ouch it stings!

Boot's Botanics Traditional Loofah -£3.50

In all honesty, I bought this because I like the word 'loofah'. However I really like using this in the shower or bath along with the salt scrub to remove any dry skin or impurities and leave my skin feeling soft and smooth. It also works really well on dry skin before a bath or smoothing out dry heels before a pedicure. 100% natural, it's a bathtime winner for me.

Butter yourself up with...

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter - £13

The Body Shop body butters have achieved a cult product status and it's not hard to see why. They're also a pretty fantastic staple Christmas present, which means I have a nice stockpile to see me through until summer! The coconut and shea butter varieties are my all time favourites as they're rich and yummy smelling without being over-overwhelmingly sweet or strong. To compliment the coconut scents in the Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil and Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub though, I'd go for the coconut if you've treated yourself to all of these top picks! I apply it to slightly damp skin after my bath to lock in all the moisture!

The Body Shop Coconut Hand Cream - £3.50

This non-greasy, sweet smelling lotion is lovely for softening up hands and nails pre-manicure. For extra moisturising goodness, or if you really want to treat your hard-working hands, you can purchase a pair of cotton spa gloves from the Boot's Botanics Bamboo range. Massage a generous amount of the cream into your hands, pop the gloves on and let the moisture sink in. Heavenly soft hands are all yours.


Comment below with your cruelty-free spa favourites, thoughts on this post or any tips you have for the perfect cruelty free spa-at-home! :)