Cruelty free eyeshadow singles.

Eyeshadow palettes can be a thing of beauty. There is a new palette released almost everyday from drugstore to highend to luxury and they might be neutrals or a mix warm tones or all shimmers and have some beautiful shades in them, but would you use ALL the pans? It is hard to love every single shade in an eyeshadow palette so that is why some people choose to create their own palette using single pan eyeshadows. Depending on how many pans you buy it might be more expensive this way but it also means you end up liking every shade and thus use every colour and none will go to waste! Plus curating your own palette can give you such a smug feeling when you finally find your perfect combination of colours.

First up is Makeup Geek. You can purchase from the US website or find them on Beauty Bay. The eyeshadow formula of these singles is excellent, especially at the £4.95 price point. Marlena has avoided adding parabens in her products and most of them are also talc-free. There are even some vegan eyeshadows. If Wayne Goss mentions Makeup Geek in his yearly favourites video then you know they have to be good.

The eyeshadow singles from Anastasia Beverly Hills are pricey but they really are buttery soft and blend perfectly. Normally they are £12 per pan, but you can get four for £30 + free pan holder or eight for £50 + free pan holder. Sometimes they have 50% flash sales so keep an eye out for those. The ABH eyeshadows do not contain talc but be aware they have a short expiry once open (6 months).

Nabla eyeshadow pans are bigger than MUG or ABH and start at £5.75. They are an Italian brand and are available from Beauty Bay but if you order from their EU website, you get a free magnetic palette when buying six or twelve pans. I have not tried these but I am really curious as all the swatches I have seen look stunning.

If you like your eyeshadows bold and bright then Juvia’s Place is the brand for you. I have not tried this brand either but I think their pans are also on the bigger side of the spectrum. The pans are £6 and can also be purchased from Beauty Bay (this is starting to look like a giant BB ad).

Coloured Raine also has some colourful eyeshadow singles as well as a lot of more neutral-warm toned shades. I have heard they have a great formula and these can also be ordered off Beauty Bay or ASOS. The pans start at £4. I have only tried their liquid lipsticks. At first I found them drying but now I quite enjoy the formula.

From the people who brought you Makeup Revolution comes Freedom. It is their pro line and they have a range of eye shadow singles. Superdrug sell Freedom online but I haven’t seen them instore. I imagine the formula is similar to the shadows in the Makeup Revolution palettes, so that means you get pigmented shadows at a great price point. The magnetic palette I store my singles in is by Freedom.

Superdrug have also recently started stocking Bleach London products. They are originally a hair salon but have begun to produce cosmetics. Their makeup comes in magnetic pans and many of their eyeshadow colours are based on the brightly coloured hair dyes they use, so this is a great brand for anyone who loves rainbow colours. Pans are only £3 so you can build your collection fairly cheaply. All their products are vegan!

Another brand that is easy to get hold of in a store is Nyx and you can find them at Boots or Debenhams. You will not be able to swatch the pans as they are sealed in little packets so have a look online for swatches. Quality varies between colours but the pans start as low as £2.50 and come in a variety of finishes.

Another well priced brand is Essence and they are found at Wilko. Their range is called ‘my must haves’ and you can pop them into one of their four pan palettes. Although they are not the best quality, you cannot complain about the £1.50 price point.

Are there any brands of eyeshadow singles that you love? Do you enjoy creating your own palette or would you rather just buy a premade one? What colours would you have in your dream palette?


Decluttering my makeup collection and starting a ‘project pan’.

This post is a bit of a ramble. It is mostly for myself to justify my actions but I’ve thrown in a few decluttering tips in. If you are also doing a project pan then please connect with me and we can encourage and support each other!

For those who are not aware, a ‘project pan’ is a personal challenge where you select an unspecified number of makeup items and use these often enough so that you eventually see the silver pan holder at the bottom. Some people also pick haircare or skincare items to use up. My two main reasons for starting a ‘project pan’ is because I do not want to waste the products I have spent my hard earned money on and also I do not want to be a mindless consumer who buys every new release that a beauty brand comes out with.

When I was about 15-19 years old I loved buying high end and luxury beauty products. This started off as lip glosses since they were cheapest and I gradually worked my way onto foundation, blushers, eyeshadow etc. Then at some point in my early 20s my makeup spending slowed down as I preferred to buy makeup when I visited Hong Kong or Japan, which you can imagine wasn’t that often but I would purchase enough to last me until my next trip. I used to be very good and only repurchased an item if I ran out. I would walk around with super pink cheeks as I would overload on the blush so it would run out quicker and then I could get a new one.

You may not believe it but I would have one eyeshadow quad and would use this to death and only purchase another once every single pan was empty. I happily carried on this way for a long time but since I started watching beauty vloggers on YouTube a couple of years ago my strict regime has fallen to the wayside. I used to only watch Michelle Phan or Bubz Beauty every now and again on YouTube but now I subscribe to a few “beauty gurus”. It is their job to promote products so admittedly I have been lulled into buying some of their recommendations.

This year I am going back to my original policy and do a ‘no buy’ unless I use up something in my collection. I am starting a new Instagram account to record my progress and hopefully connect with likeminded people. Here are some reasons why I want to do this.

  1. I have too much makeup. It will be a waste of money if I do not use the products I have bought.
  2. Makeup expires so I want to make sure I use it before this happens. Again, it would be a waste of money if it goes off without me having used it enough.
  3. I do not want to just throw my makeup away because there is already so much waste going to the landfill. I got sucked into the consumer culture and want to try make use of the product before it goes in the bin.

Before my project pan, I did a makeup declutter. Compared to most people I think my collection is already small but I still have more makeup than I need. I only have two eyes so I cannot use too many eyeshadow palettes. Secondly, I am not a makeup artist and not that adventurous with my looks so there is no point in me having too much choice as it would overwhelm me. I also have quite a professional occupation so i am not able to do “fun” looks with makeup for work. Here are a few ways to declutter:

  1. Take out all your products and arrange them into categories eg. blushers, bronzers, highlighters, lipsticks, nail varnishes etc.
  2. Remove and throw any items that have expired.
  3. If there are any items you no longer like then give them to friends/family or donate them. In the UK you can send lightly used products to Give & Makeup London or Wales. If you don’t like it, you won’t use it.
  4. If you are transitioning to cruelty free then this is a good time to start a project pan or to give away any non-cruelty free cosmetics.

Since I am on a ‘no buy’, I have some ways to prevent me from buying more makeup that may help you too:

  1. Read/watch reviews for everything before committing to a purchase. Never buy anything on impulse, no matter how good a deal it is. You can always go back to the store or order it online. If I leave without buying something and if I keep thinking about it then it means I really want it. If I forget about it then it means I do not really care for it. Everyone reacts differently to products but items with consistent 5 star reviews are a good place to start. Test them instore before buying.
  2. Declutter who you subscribe to on YouTube. Are the vloggers you watch honest? I avoid watching people who get paid to go on brand vacations. I know beauty gurus make money by promoting products and talking bout free PR but they should tell you when they are reviewing something they received for free.
  3. Before buying something new, have a look in your own collection and see if you already have anything similar. Is it really necessary for you to own it? Is it different enough to stand out from everything else in your stash?
  4. Think of new ways to use your items. For example you could use a bronzer as eyeshadow or lipstick as a blush. You may be surprised how different one product can look if used differently.

Some people may struggle with a ‘project pan’ as they may feel limited or bored. If this is the case then I suggest ‘shopping your stash’ which involves pulling out items from your collection that you may not have used for a while. You could also do a ‘one palette one week’ challenge so you become more creative with your looks.

Do you enjoy buying cosmetics? Do you think you have too much or do you think your collection is just right? How much do you spend on beauty per month?

Is it worth ordering Colourpop to the UK? Review of Colourpop You Had Me At Hello and Lippiestix.

If you’re a beauty junkie then you may have heard of LA based brand Colourpop. I’ve read a lot of good things in terms of quality for the price point so thought I would check them out, especially since they are cruelty free. I very rarely order internationally but on Cyber Monday I took a chance since I’ve been eyeing up their “you had me at hello” palette since its tease and release.

My order was placed on 27th November and shipped on 2nd December. Due to Black Friday deals I guessed dispatch time might be a bit longer than usual so I didn’t mind. On 12th December I got a card through the post saying I had to pay a £13 fee, £5 was customs duty and £8 was a Royal Mail handling fee. (Sidenote: I don’t get why I get charged a handling fee, isn’t the whole point of Royal Mail, Parcelforce etc to handle post?!) All in all it took 16 days from ordering to delivery.

My order was around $30 and international shipping was a flat rate of $9.99 (it can be free over $50 but I didn’t want to spend that much on a brand I’d never tried). So in total that’s nearly £45 I spent on one eyeshadow palette and three lipsticks and a lip primer. To be honest I would say it’s NOT WORTH IT. If shipping was free and there was no customs to pay then it would be okay. Even when they have 20% off it’s not really worth it, I would rather just buy Makeup Revolution or Elf. For £45 you could buy Anastasia Beverly Hills‘ fan favourite Modern Renaissance palette and have some change leftover.

In terms of the eyeshadow palette I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the packaging. I thought it would be cheap cardboard but it feels sturdier than that. I was actually slightly disappointed when I heard the palette came with a mirror (Colourpop palettes do not normally have a mirror included) since I was planning to de-pot the pans into a magnetic palette. However the packaging is actually pretty solid and doesn’t feel too cheap so I will keep it all intact. I love the designs Colourpop comes up with. The cover is so cute. Colourpop released so many palettes in the last quarter of 2017 but “You Had Me At Hello” really drew me in with its mix of neutrals and mauves and pinks.

Finger swatches of Colourpop YOU had Me at Hello

The mattes in the palette are very pigmented. There is some fall out but that does not bother me too much. The shimmers look beautiful on application but I have oily eyelids so they do not last all day on me whereas the mattes last a bit longer. Overall I’m fairly pleased with the palette and the colours are not too bold so I can wear them at work.

I’m probably in the minority but I enjoy using lipsticks that are shaped like pens or pencils. I think I can apply it haphazardly without it going completely wrong. The three colours I ordered are Bossy (matte), Aquarius (creme), and Bound (satin). I know matte has been super trendy but my lips are dry no matter how much I exfoliate or use lip oils so I prefer a wetter finish.

Bossy is described as a “classic red” and looks great on the lips. It does transfer but also managed to stay on all day through two meals without leaving lips looking patchy. The matte formula did not feel drying and this was a pleasant surprise. My baby did poke me in the mouth and I ended up with red on my cheek but that’s the fun of having a 9 month old.

Button is a “satin peachy pink” which looked quite pink on me. This one transferred as well but again and is the patchiest of the three. This one is my least favourite.

Aquarius is the final Lippiestix I got and is a “soft pinky nude”. I was surprised at how much I adore this colour! For me it’s definitely a “my lips but better” shade and the crème finish is perfect. There is less transfer with this colour and doesn’t become patchy when it fades. Would definitely repurchase if I didn’t have to pay shipping or customs.

All in all I am happy with my order and I am surprised I prefer the Lippiestix over the eyeshadow palette. After customs it definitely wasn’t worth ordering internationally so I’d suggest getting something from Zoeva, Sleek, Elf, or MakeUp Revolution as mentioned earlier (good prices, good formulations and cruelty free) as they are readily available in the UK. Also check out Burt’s Bees for nice natural lip products.

Have you ever ordered something for international shipping? Did you think it was worth it? What was your experience?

Review of Good Bubble cloudberry bubble bath.

I am very excited today to share with you a Leaping Bunny certified baby brand! Please can I introduce Good Bubble! Found these guys when I attended the baby and toddler show last year and I just love the ethos of the brand. And so did Deborah Meadon from Dragons Den!

Not only are they committed to formulating gentle products for babies without ingredients such as sulfates or parabens, they also manufacture within the UK and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint by using recyclable packaging and responsibly sourcing ingredients. Their products have the seal of approval, not only from Cruelty Free International, but also the Vegan Society. I also love how it is a family business.

Good Bubble do a nice range of bubble baths, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, coconut oil, and wash mits. The two “favours” they have are dragonfruit and cloudberry. How exotic! I can tell you they both smell DIVINE. The coconut oil also smells very fruity and delicious and would be great for people suffering with dry skin.

Prices start at £3.69 which is great for a product which is practically classed as totally organic.

The item I bought to try out is the cloudberry bubble bath and it definitely puts lots of bubbles in the bath tub. The scent might be too sweet for some people but I really like it and Emery didn’t mind it either. Packaging is cute and attractive to little people. The bottle is kind of chubby and bulky but that lends to its appeal.

There isn’t really much I can say about a bubble bath! It was gentle and didn’t cause any redness or any sort if irritation. A little goes a long way so a 400ml bottle should last you a while.

I wish I had also picked up something with the dragonfruit in it. I love that I can add another cruelty free brand to my baby list. The only downfall is that the brand is not stocked (yet) in major stores but you can easily get Good Bubble online.

Have you ever tried Good Bubble? Do bath products with scents draw you in or put you off?

Review of Treaclemoon bath and shower gel.

Treaclemoon is a brand managed by “blue orange”. They do a collection of bath & shower gels (pictured above), body scrubs (£3), hand cream (£2), shower mousse (£3), and body butters (£4) in a wide range of scents to suit all tastes, from ginger to watermelon.

You can find them in Tesco, Waitrose, or online. Bath gels come in at £3 for a generous 500ml but look out for offers at your local supermarket! I picked up a bunch of these as Christmas stocking fillers. They also have gift sets with mini sized products so you could try a few different ones before you commit.

Before purchasing I contacted the company to confirm their cruelty free status. The reply was quick and was told they (or a third party) do not test their products or ingredients on animals, nor do they sell in a country where animal testing is required by law. With regards to becoming certified with the “leaping bunny” logo they said:

“Our on pack bunny symbol is our own design and not that of the Leaping Bunny Organisation (BUAV). We have discussed possible accreditation with BUVA and are still considering it. However whilst our products comply without issue we do need to consider the lengthy and additional administrational requirements on both us as a small team and our supplier to satisfy.”

I understand their decision but hope they make steps towards certification in future as I know some cruelty free folk will only buy certified products.

Having only tried the bath and shower gel products I can say that I am satisfied with them and makes me interested in the scrubs and body butter as well and look forward to using those but I have other products to try out first.

The gels smell absolutely divine, especially the plum custard one which is a limited edition flavour. If lather is something you look for in a bath gel then this gives you sufficient bubbles. Honestly what else can I say about a shower gel? Give them a sniff next time you are in Tesco or Waitrose. I promise you won’t be able to walk away without one!

Do you ever want to eat your shower gels because they smell so good? Which of the scents pictured appeals to you the most?

Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly palette available in the UK?

So on Black Friday I was browsing the internet for good makeup deals and I stumbled upon the Peanut Butter and Jelly palette by Too Faced on the Debenhams website.

I couldn’t believe my eyes as this palette was released in February 2016 in the USA as a limited edition item (which always sold out quickly at restock). At the time of purchase there was only one review as I was doubting the authenticity and thought perhaps the “Peanut Butter and Honey” palette was being shipped instead but the review seemed genuine.

Part of me wonders if these are returned palettes or faulty batches since it’s being released in the UK 20 months later but the shadows look untouched and seem to work well.

The palette runs on the neutral-warm shade selection with the “jelly” pan serving as a bright pop of purple colour. I love getting this palette out and taking a sniff. It smells of chocolate more than peanut butter.

Too Faced is a high end American brand with gorgeous girly packaging. They are cruelty free but note that the parent company is NOT. I remember when Too Faced was in the self selection area of Boots about 12 years ago as I used to love their “Lip Injection” so they’ve definitely gone onwards and upwards.

If you’re a UK beauty junkie who had your eyes on this much talked about palette but didn’t want to pay the horrendous international shipping fee then hop over to Debenhams! A quick internet search doesn’t show it coming up on any other UK stores that stock Too Faced. Not sure if it is limited edition here in the U as the description box does not mention it.

Are there any US-only palettes or brands that you wish you could get in the UK?

Review of Harry & Rose baby soft lotion

I attended a baby and toddler show last year and as always I was on the lookout for brands I hadn’t heard which may be cruelty free. One of these brands was Harry and Rose.

Harry and Rose is a British based company and was created by parents. Their products only contain good stuff so you won’t find things like parabens, SLS, dyes, or mineral oils hidden inside. Furthermore the products are gentle and can be used on sensitive new born skin.

The chap I spoke to at the show was lovely and was peddling the “organic and natural” idea, but as you may (or may not know) just because a brand claims to use organic/natural ingredients it doesn’t mean that they are cruelty free (looking at you Origins, innisfree). I asked about their animal testing policy but he didn’t seem confident with his answer (he did say they were cruelty free) so I didn’t purchase on the day but took a sample home with me.

Once at home I did some research and also emailed the company and I am pretty satisfied with their response and would say they are a cruelty free brand. They replied extremely quickly and the person I corresponded with was pleasant and also offered to send out a sample. Part of the email is below:

1. Are any of your products tested on animals by yourselves or another company?
No – we do not test our products on animals.

2. Are any of the ingredients tested on animals by yourselves or another company?
No. But we are aware that we need to publish our Fixed Cut Off Date on the site – For more information on FCOD please see link

3. Do you sell any of your products in countries which require animal testing by law?
We do have international distributors. But as far as we are aware, our products have not undergone any animal testing (all products have been sold under an e-commerce platform)

4. Would you or are you considering having the Cruelty Free International ‘leaping bunny’ logo on your products packaging?
Yes – we have looked into this and have considered introducing the ‘leaping bunny’ certificate into the range.”

Feeling confident that they are cruelty free I opened the sample sachet of baby lotion. There was plenty in there and I probably could have made use of it twice.

There was a bit of a scent, not unpleasant but I couldn’t work out what the smell was. My mind was telling me “rose” but that’s merely because of the brand name. Regardless the scent is not overwhelming and dissipates once the lotion is applied to the skin. The lotion was a good consistency and felt moisturising without feel thick or heavy.

Emery had dry skin in the first few months but it is much better now so thankfully we don’t have to rely on lotions to keep his skin soft. Nevertheless it is nice using a lotion to give him a quick message after bath time and before bed. Emery didn’t have any reactions to the lotion and his skin felt lovely in the morning.

After trying this sample I am more than happy to try out other products from Harry & Rose, especially as they are a British brand and we love supporting home grown talent!