Wednesday, April 2, 2014

All for the sake of vanity

You are moving to the UK or you are already living here, and your supply of make-up and body products from back home (wherever that is) is starting to dwindle. You are probably nervous as to where you are going to go…Boots?? Superdrug?? Not that there is anything obviously wrong with these franchises, but the general brands they stock there that meet my needs were either too expensive or there really wasn’t anything that met my needs.

If you are an eco-friendly lady like myself, I did find I struggled when I first arrived to Edinburgh. After having found the perfect mineral make-up and body products that were paraben and SLS free (among other things) back home in Australia, I thought what a pain to have to go and find a new make-up and body products brand that would cover my ethical-self checklist:

- Paraben and SLS free
- organic/naturally derived products
- chemical free
- recycable packaging
- NOT tested on animals

I try to use the above as a general guideline when shopping for products, because if we all do our little bit, I really do believe we can help the planet. I know it sounds clich├ęd, but it does help, imagine if a different person each day started recycling, or giving clothes away to charity instead of throwing them out, etc. We can all do our bit and after all things you hear about make-up products and the treatment of animals - why the hell would you want to do that to a poor bunny or puppy?!!

Even back home in Australia, the anti-animal testing protest resurfaced recently after a Greens senator introduced the End Cruel Cosmetics Bill to parliament, a couple of weeks ago. My home country currently has no law in the importing of products that have been tried and tested on animals. With the EU being shown on a pedestal for its law where it stops brands being sold within the EU that have been tested on animals – except with brands that have used a loophole – where the product can be sold within the EU, if the product is made in a country where ‘the law says it has to be tested on animals’ before it can be sold for human use or consumption. For example, a brand is Italian-based but its products are made in China where the law states they have to be tested on animals before they are used on humans*. This bill would also seek to modify this particular loophole, to see to it that it doesn’t happen in Australia. 

[Read about the new anti-animal testing bill proposal, on the ABC website here.]

This made me think about some brands, there are very few, that carry the ‘not tested on animals’ logo, or it clearly doesn’t state ‘not tested on animals’ on the label. So how can you know whether the company does do animal testing or not? Do some research! A great place to start your research about which brands that do/don’t carry out tests on animals is at the following organisations websites:

-       Animals Australia

When I first arrived and eventually ran out of my Aussie make-up, I was forced to start looking. I went to Superdrug where I thought I had found the perfect product; a natural mineral face powder that suited my complexion and it fitted in the budget. So I started using it, until one day I was running scarily low on my second jar, when I went into Superdrug and they told me they were out of stock. I got told this for a couple of weeks, I even resorted to using some other s**t and eventually ‘googled’ the company - where I found out that the company had gone into receivership.

“I hate cosmetics companies. They get you addicted to the perfect lipstick or nail polish and then, six months later, they discontinue it. You have to buy your favorite colors like you're storing up for the Apocalypse.” - Denise Hennessey (Lisa Kudrow) in Ps. I love you (2007)

It took me a few weeks to stumble upon Holland&Barrett – a health food and lifestyle franchise – that have shops all over the UK. And I found my answer in Dr. Organic, a body product range that wasn’t too pricey, was organic (and all of the above) and the best thing is with Holland&Barrett is you can sign up for their rewards program; so everytime you shop, you collect points and you’ll eventually be rewarded with vouchers.
I love, love the different ranges Dr. Organic makes, but my personal favourites are:

I also found at Holland&Barrett; Lavera Loose Powder, a light loose powder that applies evenly and leaves my skin colour quite natural looking but covers up any blemishes and Miaroma Sweet Almond Oil, which I use to make my own body scrub (the recipe is down below). And low and behold they also sell my favourite body product brand Sukin that I used to buy in Australia, so I’m able to buy the Facial Moisturiser, though they sell the full range, I stuck to using Dr. Organic. Mainly because it is a UK-based company and since I am living here at the moment, I thought that it would be ‘experiencing’ the country I’m living in that little bit more, plus they are just a little bit more expensive that what I would pay for them at home (as I said it is a tight budget).

One of the other places where you can shop is Lush; yes that’s right, remember the UK is the home to this company, so if you are already addicted to the bath bombs and other beautifully smelling products, don’t fret. There is one in almost every major city/town in the UK. Well we already know these guys are definitely against animal testing and they try to use naturally derived products. Though I find most of their products to be too expensive (said it before I’m on a really tight budget) for myself, otherwise I would delve into my pockets to buy more of their lush stuff.

I recently made the change from using Maybelline mascara (which I have used since I was a teenager) to Lush’s wheat-grass based Eyes Right mascara. Just because I felt like the mascara and concealer I use was the final frontier before going all naturale on my face. It goes on nice and evenly, there is no clumping and you can re-apply if you want a heavier look for going out. The only thing I don’t like is that the wand is quite compact (it’s a handy travel size) and I feel it doesn’t give my hand enough freedom when applying it.

The other product that I have found to be the cheapest and the handiest of them all (because J uses it as well) is Treacle Moon bath and shower gel, which was found at Tesco. It is a bargain price – especially because I have a Tesco Clubcard as well – and its paraben and SLS free and not treated on animals. It is a win-win for everyone.

L- R: Dr.Organic Organic Moroccan Argan Oil hair treatment serum, Treacle Moon bath and shower gel, Dr. Organic Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner, Lush’s Eyes Right mascara, Dr. Organic Organic Dead Sea Mineral face wash, Lavera loose powder, Dr. Organic Organic Virgin Olive Oil skin lotion, Sukin facial moisturiser, Dr. Organic Organic Rose Otto skin toner, Miaroma sweet almond oil.
So that’s a little bit about my beauty regime, I’d say it is probably the girliest aspect of me and it’s a bit OCD - I hate having to try new products that I’m not used to using. What’s your favourite eco-friendly brand (UK or Australian)?? Are you worried about animal rights when it comes to make-up and cosmetic companies? Feel free to comment below.

*I actually haven’t gone to deep into the research, so I don’t know if China is one of those countries…it was just a hypothetical example. Do your research!!!!

D.I.Y Body Scrub Recipe

-       raw (demerara for British folk ) sugar
-       olive oil/almond oil*
-       lemon (optional)
-       ground cinnamon (optional)


Mix a half cup of oil* to about a cup of sugar* and stir together until you feel the consistency is right. Then squeeze a little bit of lemon juice (I’ve heard the acidity is good for rough patches like elbows etc.) and add a pinch of cinnamon to jazz it up a bit. Stir it all together and bobs your uncle, you’ve made a budget-friendly body scrub. Place into a recycle container and sit it by the shower ready for use.

*Olive oil is probably cheapest, but almond oil absorbs into your skin better and smells nicer – the choice is yours – just test a bit on your face or any other parts of your body that may be prone to break outs.
* Make sure it is a balanced texture of oil and sugar, excess oil is basically a waste, so add more oil or sugar to get a gritty texture of goop. You don’t have to use a whole cup of sugar, it does depend on how often you exfoliate, I tend to only do it once a week and it lasts up to a month.

To use:
Rub it on damp – wet skin in circle motion, and wash off under warm water.

Well enjoy life, until next time. x

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