Monday, 16 December 2013

Cruelty Free brands

Since becoming a makeup artist one thing has stood out to me more than before - animal testing. When applying just a beauty balm and lipbalm was enough I didn't take much notice of the brands I was using. To be honest I closed my eyes and ears to cruelty in any form, not wanting to know the bad stuff going on in the world. If a nasty picture of an animal testing flashed before me I would glance away thinking 'I don't want to see that'. That doesn't mean it's not happening though. As I started adding more and more makeup to my kit I started to see that I could be aiding these horrendous tests! That thought was numbing. During my research I found everyday brands that I've used for ages that are tested on animals - Chapstick, Aquafresh, Clean & Clear and Febreze are both Procter & Gamble products, Dove, Comfort, Vasaline and even MAC!
I adore animals - in my households there have been hamsters, fish, stick insects, lizards, guinea pigs, cats and dogs. I volunteered at The Dogs Trust in Snetterton for 1 morning a week for 2 years. It was a 45min journey one way and I savoured the time I got to spend with all the different breeds - giving them a chance to leave their kennels and get some much needed exercise. The state at which some dogs came into the centre is very distressing for the staff to see. You would hear the stories of animals being tied to the gate for the staff to find because the owners are to gutless to admit how they have neglected the poor animals. Have you watched Paul O Grady's love of Dogs?
So I decided that if I'm going to be in this industry that I was not going to aid in any animal testing. The best way to do this? Use brands that are against cruelty. There are already lists available on Peta and Leaping Bunny but it would take you hours to go through them all. The simplest way to see if the brands you're using are cruelty free is to look for the bunny logo on the bottles. 
Unfortunately, three of the largest cruelty-free companies, Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder, recently resumed animal testing in order to satisfy legal requirements in China, so that they could sell their products there. Revlon, which was one of the first large mainstream companies to go cruelty-free, is now selling in China but will not answer questions about their animal testing policy. Because of their refusal to answer questions, Revlon is now on the cruel list. Products sold in the EU remain free of testing since march 2013, see my post all about it here.
Below is my own list of brands which I have researched and found to be cruelty free. There are some known and unknowns which are worth checking out.
You will notice that I have listed 2 brands which are owned by L'Oreal (who everyone knows tests on animals). Why are Urban Decay and The Body Shop on my list then? This is a grey area and causes the most questions and opinions. When a cruelty-free company is owned or acquired by a parent company that tests on animals. For example, The Body Shop is cruelty-free, but was acquired by L’Oreal in 2006. Although The Body Shop still does not test its products on animals, L’Oreal continues to conduct animal testing. They were acquired on one condition - that they stay separate from L'Oreal and no animal testing at any stage of the process is carried out. It is your own choice whether you choose to use these companies or not.
In my opinion if we all stopped using the cruelty free brands owned by the parent brands what kind of message are we sending back to them? If we were to JUST use Urban Decay and The Body Shop and boycott any other brand underneath L'Oreal then at some point they will have to adjust their business strategy as they will see their primary income coming from the brands who do not test on animals.
Remember that an animal may only be a small part of your life but to them you are their whole world! Treat them with the love that they deserve.
To see the full list of brands that are cruelty free visit Petas' website as linked earlier. Please accept that these are my own views and respect my opinion before commenting. Would you like me to post about the brands that DO test on animals and who to avoid?
Wendy xo

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Homemade Christmas Beauty

I've always been a big fan of homemade products (especially if their edible). One Christmas I made rum truffles and cookies and packaged them up in cute bags for gifts. It was a nice change from the usual store bought presents. There was always the odd person who thought I was being "cheap". They can't appreciate the time and love that goes into making something special, it's such a shame. So I was quite excited when my boyfriend came home from his works party with a little something for me.
His workmate Leah had made a little lip balm for me. My first thought was GERMS! I'm terrible I know but I don't like to use my hands to apply things. I prefer to use tube sticks. Understandably these would have cost more. I plan on keeping it in my bathroom for use after exfoliating my lips. Surely it's not just me who gets dry lips after a good brushing. I asked Leah kindly if I could write a blog post about her little homemade products and she was happy to share her secret.
Leah says, "I decided this Christmas that the ladies of my life should have something a bit more unique and something homemade with love. Plus it's worked out a lot cheaper than buying presents for everyone." See her fabulous products pictured above and now give these a try yourself with Leahs how to -
How to:
Soap: melting some goats milk soap base down and adding shredded coconut and lime essential oil, pour into moulds and leave to set.
Lip balm: melted down beeswax and cocoa butter added oil and peppermint essential oil. Pour into sterilised lip balm tins or tubes - leave to set
Solid hand lotion: melt down beeswax and cocoa butter, add oil, vitamin e and any essential oil of your choosing, e.g. lime
Sugar scrub: add oil to sugar mix together and add essential oil and food colouring if desired
Buy your lip tins from Amazon. Thank you Leah for sharing your tips with my readers.
Wendy Xo