I've wanted to write about vegan beauty for quite some time now and was reminded rather forcefully to do so, when I saw a Facebook post featuring a sickening post on cruelty to animals for the sake of beauty.
I am not a vegetarian and I do not choose to live a lifestyle through vegan means however, I wouldn't be human if it didn't have a punch in the stomach and lump in the throat when presented with such posts. So with vegan month being November it seems apt to highlight products that are completely vegan. For those that don't know the definition of vegan is
'A person who does not eat or use animal products'
This includes clothing, household products, skincare products anything that has been used or made by animals, including any form of testing. It's not limited to just eating meat but any form of produce resulting from animals such as cheese, milk and eggs.
Of course there are many variables of veganism and a great website for more information is www.vegansociety.com. Here you will find a great deal of information on diet, products and how to incorporate a vegan lifestyle, alongside many supportive features.
When I put a call out to PRs I was surprised by the amount of beauty and skincare products that are vegan, but more interesting that not only is quality not compromised in any way, but also is in fact even better than their counterparts. Here's my pick.
Inika Makeup prices from £16.50 www.inikaorganic.com
Inika makeup brand has recently gone through a rebranding of image and so I was lucky enough to be given some of the latest products to test. I first came across this brand several years ago for a mineral make-up feature and it remained one of my favourites, purely as the quality of pigments were so beautiful and so I was unsure of how they could've actually improved on what was already a great brand. However, they have with new items added and reformulations on some of their lipsticks for even better texture and quality.
The Australian brand is the 'most Certified and Organic' make-up brand in the world, and has just launched the world's first Certified Organic Vegan Lipstick £18. I tested a few of them and have fallen in love with Sheer Peach, a delicate, shimmering peach that has accents of gold. Applied lightly it highlights lips with iridescence making them appear fuller or applied with full coverage is an oyster/peach shade. I also used it as a highlighter on my cheekbones and brow bone to give a quick 3 minute makeup.
For radiance and that special glow from within, the Lip and Cheek Tint £19 gives a pretty hint of natural flush, and with the Baked Mineral Illuminisor £29.50 gives a stunning dewy effect, without that heavy handed look many highlighters give. The BB Cream Foundation £27.50 is available in 6 new shades and I tested Cream. It wasn't the right colour for my complexion however, it blended to perfection, gave enough coverage to banish light blemishes and left my skin looking smooth.
Whilst testing these products it's hard to believe that such amazing quality also give the skin a boost with active ingredients to help protect and regenerate. The Cream Foundation for instance contains Prickly Pear, Pomegranate known anti-oxidants alongside essential fatty acids to feed the skin and giving barriers against environmental factors such as smoke and pollution. All the products are non-comodegenic and so won't block the pores and of course are all cruelty-free.
Pur CC Cream £25 www.marksandspencer.com
This wonderful CC cream treats a whole host of skin complaints from brightening dull, lack-lustre skin to protecting against harsh elements, providing sun protection whilst giving the coverage of a lightweight foundation. I tested Light (I am more medium) however, it was easy to see just the capabilities of this multi-tasking cream, as my skin was left looking radiant and smooth. I also tested the Big Look Mascara and with just one stroke my lashes were coated with jet, glossy black. It lifted my lashes and lengthened with just one coat without giving a 'spidery' look. They do a whole range of products, which is vegan and cruelty free.
Kat Von D Ink Liner £16 www.debenhams.com
Kat Von D has just launched in Debenhams and I've been testing quite a few of her products. So far non have failed to disappoint and so I've been even more impressed to see that many (note not all) of her products are vegan. This liner is super pigmented meaning that it gives rich, black coverage with one swipe (please ignore my make-up skills in the photo I'm not a make-up artist). It's also waterproof and so won't budge and inch (not sure if that's great again with my make-up skills), but for those of you who love to run, play and dance in your eyeliner - this won't let you down.
Argan Liquid Gold Beauty Oil £65 www.arganliquidgold.co.uk
100% natural, vegan and authentic the Argan Liquid Gold is a luxury, product hailed from the mountains of Morocco. Founder British-Moroccan May Hamid has a USP in that she is devoted to making sure the oil is reached to the customers in the purest possible form, by overseeing production every step of the way. The oil is decanted into dark glass bottles to ensure sunlight doesn't tamper the end result, which is the finest grade of Argan Oil from Morocco. Even more note-worthy is the fact it's the first Argan Oil to be registered Fairtrade in the UK, such an important and worthy status.
Just a few drops day and night will help transform oil and dry skin, by hydrating, revitalizing and giving comfort to sensitive skins. I'm a huge fan of Argan Oil and regularly use this to keep my skin looking and feeling youthful and supple.
Naturtint Reflex Semi-Permanent Colour Cream £10.49 www.naturtint.co.uk
Naturtint range of hair colour include shades in both permanent and semi-permanent and are all free from chemical nasties, as found in most other hair dyes. The gentle formula is ideal for those who need to cover grey or want to change their hair colour but who don't want to over-load their hair with strong, damaging chemicals. All of the dyes are vegan friendly and cruelty-free and many of the ingredients are organic.
The Reflex Semi-Permanent is free from PPDs the chemical that often causes allergic reactions in hair dyes, and so makes it an ideal choice if you have finished chemotherapy or are pregnant. However, whilst the ingredients are gentle and natural, a strand and skin patch test must always be done first.
I was sent Light Chestnut Brown but at time of publishing this online, I've not had the chance to test yet. However, I do have a friend who will only use Naturtint following her hair growth from chemotherapy a few years back - and the reason I know, is that I asked what she used to make her hair look so glossy!
Love Hemp prices from £19.99 www.cbdoilsuk.com
I've wanted to test these products for ages, as there is such a huge debate on whether Cannabis should be legalised for it's medical properties. These products are a food supplement and contain Cannabidiol (CBD) a natural extract from the cannabis plant. What makes it such a newsworthy debate is that the Cannabis is proven to help with anxiety and recent studies are now looking into how it can help people function with debilitating conditions such as Parkinsons, Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis.
I'm a great candidate to test these products as a couple of years ago, following the breakdown of my marriage, amongst other traumas and I ended up in hospital with a full on break-down - caused by the fear of that 'rug being pulled from beneath my feet'. I suffered extreme anxiety and panic attacks and subsequently was put on anti-anxiety/depressants for a year. Whilst I'm now off the medication and am functioning well, there are times when I do slip up and I can get the odd anxiety attack. I've used nutrition, meditation and exercise to help but quite frankly there are times when I could do a little boost.
I'm not going to lie as I placed 6 drops of the 800mg Hemp Extract under my tongue, it tasted pretty vile (nothing a chocolate biscuit couldn't sort out), then as I was full of cold decided to give up on the blogging and watch a film instead. An hour later I started to feel the effects and there was no doubt in my mind that it was from the Hemp. I felt as though I had been given a tiny dose of Diazepam, almost every muscle in my body started to feel relaxed, a far cry from the normal tense state they're in. Of course I wondered if it was the fact I was sitting down watching Come Dine With Me, but I couldn't ignore the way my body felt. I've taken Cannabis in the past (just to be clear around 24 years ago), and know the effects it can have. This was a similar feeling but just nowhere near as strong, it was just felt like a slight mellowing through my nervous system.
The above proved to me that the products do work, although I didn't feel any effects from the balm. It also made me wonder just how my body would react with the highest strength (something I'm quite interested in testing, although it is expensive as 40% CBD is £289.99 for 10ml). Everyone of course would react differently, but many friends and family would agree I suffer from a lot of stress, being a single mum of 2 kids (one with high functioning autism). I also have to point out that I took these when the kids were at their dads for the weekend, as I'm not sure just how my responsive my mind would be.
One thing is clear to me though, rather than pump my body full of chemically enhanced painkillers, I would rather take a 100% natural ingredient and of course vegan supplement, if it gives me the same comfort that other drugs do.