Sunday, February 1

Valentine's Day with LUSH.

I got a surprise parcel of some very deliciously smelling things. LUSH was generous enough to send me a preview of some of their limited edition Valentine's Day items so I thought I'd do a little wintery morning photo sesh with 'em.

The Kiss Lip Scrub £5.50
I don't know how I ever applied lipstick before I discovered LUSH lip scrubs. I probably just roamed around the world with flaky lips, not giving a crap. But these things are the best. I've just finished Mint Julips and started on the Santa's lip scrub from their Christmas line. You will hear this from everyone, but these things are dangerously tasty (and safe to eat!). And no I am not admitting to having dipped my finger into the pot for a post scrub snack...

Unicorn Horn £3.25
I made one of these bubble bars when I visited the LUSH factory a couple weeks ago (video forthcoming)! But don't worry. No poor bugger's gonna be subject to my blobby creation--they gave me mine to take home. I've used it already and it was so sparkly and wonderful. And yes, you're not alone in thinking *cough*phallic*cough*

Heart Throb £3.65
It's not a bubble bar, y'all; it's a bubbleroon. Sandwiched in between two hearts is what I'm going to dub sparkly shea jam (making myself hungry now. May go take a hit off that lip scrub.) This will turn your bath water red--festive!

Cupid's Love £4.25
This soap looks like it is selling in bar form on the website rather than the mould form I have. Yummy ingredients include: figs, passion fruit, rosewood, & soya yoghurt.

Prince Charming £4.75
I'm not a big fan of marshmallow scents so I passed this on to my friend Annie. But if I shop by the scents I fancy, I've never met a disappointing LUSH shower gel. They lather really well and are great for shaving. I'm currently on the dregs of Hot Toddy. Will be sad when that's gone.

Floating Flower £3.50
I'm saving this bath bomb to use on Valentine's Day. It smells of jasmine and ylang ylang (though not really sure how ylang ylang smells, tbh). LUSH's website have really lovely videos for each product on their page that demonstrate how to use them. If you check out any of them, check out this one.

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If you are interested in checking any of these out, get yourself to your local LUSH by the 14th. Because when these babies are gone, they are gone. I'm thinking of picking up the Love Locket bath bomb since I'm a sucker for vanilla scented shiz. I saw LUSH employees making these at the factory as well. There's a bomb inside a bomb. Bomb-ception. Don't say that at an airport though.

I was not compensated for this post. I really love LUSH and respect the initiatives they have taken on as a company. Support the brands you love, yo!

Wednesday, January 28

The search for cruelty-free UVA SPF30+ facial suncare.

Jesus, what a title. Let's brake that down a bit.

 cruelty-free?  Made by a brand that does not test on animals (ingredients & final products), does not sell in the Chinese market (where it is required by law to test), and is not owned by a parent company (L'Oréal, Shiseido, Kosé) that sells in China or might test for other "reasons" 
 UVA?  From Hirons: "UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, gradually destroying elasticity and causing premature ageing." I'm 23 and getting older. I want my skin to look like it does now when I'm 43. I want this stuff in my skincare regimen. If a product contains SPF, it protects for UVB but not necessarily UVA (source)
 SPF30+?  I need a sunscreen that has a protection factor of 30 or higher because I am pale-ass-pale. Also I have a family history of melanoma so the more I can do to ward off that, the better. 
 facial?  No, not the one where I get pampered sitting in a chair. I want a sunscreen product that's formulated to be used on the face. Or at least claims to be suitable to both body and facial use.

It sounds like I am asking for a lot here. And after spending a couple hours researching through Paula's Choice and blog recommendations, it was becoming more apparent that maybe this is a lot to ask for. There are of course a lot of products that tick all the boxes except cruelty-free. Then some that are cruelty-free but don't have high enough SPF. Or are marketed as a beauty balm, not a sunscreen. Or marketed as a moisturiser with SPF rather than a just pure and simple sunscreen.

Putting an all-call out on twitter did yield some results. Bless you, Twitter. So here's what I've narrowed my options down to.

Andalou Naturals Oil Control BB SPF 30  £12.23  //  $19.95
Although this is a BB Cream, it is untinted. It claims to be mattifying which interests me as I struggle with T-zone shine. Katie Vibes, a cruelty-free blogger I've recently come across, has a great review on it that's definitely bumped it up to a top contender. But I want something that will sit well on top of my moisturiser, not replace it. Will this do that?
Rec'd by Jenn and Caroline.

Paula's Choice Clear Ultra-Light Daily Mattifying Fluid SPF 30+  £29
This takes the cake as the most expensive of the bunch. The reviews on the Paula's Choice downplay it's mattifying prowess but say it layers well over moisturiser, which is exactly what I'm looking for.
Rec'd by Eline.

Rituals 50 Sun Protection Face Cream  £18.50
Finally, we get to a dedicated facial sunscreen. Its high SPF appeals to me and even better, I can walk to House of Fraser to pick it up. Minimise that carbon footprint, get some exercise, don't have to stay in all day to wait for the post man.
Rec'd by Wiete.

Paula's Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50  £18.50
Love the price tag compared to the other Paula's Choice option. Less cash, higher SPF. Big fan of the non-greasy. Some reviews have mentioned unpleasant stinging reactions to this though. Luckily, you can get a sample of this from the site for 70p so you can try before you buy.

Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen  £28.75
This was in my basket to check out just the other day. But I'm wary about a powder sunscreen. It's SPF30 which is great. The blogs I browsed gave it positive write ups while the Paula's Choice review was pretty damning. Could this be used as an SPF setting powder maybe? I feel like I'd be more confident I got full coverage with a liquid.

100% Pure Everywhere Sun Stick SPF 30  £16
The creamy formula provides easy-to-blend coverage that never feels sticky and won’t clog pores. Music to my ears. But it is a stick. Like a glue stick? I haven't seen many reviews of this online so kind of tempted to get it just so I can figure it out for everyone.
Rec'd by Dina.

Let me know if I've missed anything. And if you've used any of these, how did you get on with them? I'll let you know what I end up getting!

Saturday, January 24

Haircut inspiration, part 1.

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Short hair is in. At least in the YouTube-world I reside in. It was Ingrid and Estée and Sanne, and by jove Zoella's followed suit (kinda sorta) only yesterday. The last time I got a similar chop was back when I was trying to rehab my bleached platinum hair.

I was undoubtedly partially inspired to cut off all my hard work by the ladies linked above. But I also have to credit Anna Karina, my forever girl crush. Ever since first seeing her in Alphaville in my first year at film school in LA, I've been mesmerised by that woman's style. And having moved to London, though she is not pictured, some credit has to go to the glorious Brit hair icon, Alexa Chung. Just look at the picture below and you'll see what I mean.

The above pictures were what I brought to my hair stylist. My instruction were: give me Rebecca's fringe and colour, Emma's length and angle, and if I come out as Anna Karina after the many hours in this chair, you've done a good job.

This cut happened back at the end of November when I was in the US for T-giv. London, you are too expensive and I haven't found a stylist I've been happy enough to stay with. So I continue to frequent the same hair stylist I had in high school. She is amazing. Central Indiana, represent.

But this is how it has grown out since. And it has lightened up quite a bit as well despite my desperate weekly Superdrug Colour Effects applications. As you can see, I am in the curtain bangs phase. Which some days I like and some days I'm like noooooo. I'm toying with the idea of going shorter (more on this later) but after writing this post and editing this photo, I'm feeling more zen about sticking with this length. Maybe I'll just go for a fringe trim and maintain the length as is. I mean, I have essentially achieved Alexa Chung hair status so I can retire from life.

Tuesday, January 20

Cruelty-Free Finds in 2014.


LUSH Eau Roma Water Toner Water  £4.25
I've been using this product a little over two years now and always find myself going back to it whenever I've strayed. I do the Hiron's regime so this baby gets used in my morning and night time skincare. I do three or four spritzes directly to the face and let the soothing hydration commence. Heads up--this does have parabens in (methylparaben).  My skin has never been bothered by it; like I said, this is a product that calms my skin, not aggravates it.

Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Blonde  £26
2014 was the year I started filling in my eyebrows. Yup. Getting old. No, but seriously, doing my eyebrows is of my life joys. I don't think I've completely mastered it, but the Hourglass Arch pencil has stepped up my game from the (not cruelty-free) MAC shadows method. The product shape is unique--the best I can think to describe it is that it's sort of flat like a popsicle stick. Its waxy texture keeps you from going overboard whilst locking in your brow for the day. I may already have a backup in brunette waiting until I use this baby up.

beautyblender Pro  £16
There's not a makeup brush I've found that gets foundation to behave like this little noir dew drop. And it's not any more of a pain to clean. Not much more I can say about this little cutie except that it became a staple in my makeup bag in 2014.

COLAB Dry Shampoo in Rio  £3.49
Your dry shampoo prayers have been answered. No white residue on dark hair? Check. Non-offensive fragrance? Check. Yummy fragrance? Actually... check! Awesome! And does it work? Like a mother-muffin dream. All hail Ruth Crilly, the model that gets shit done.

Oh and all of these products? Cruelty-free! Woo!

Have there been any stand-out products for you? Or did you do a round up of your favourite products in 2014? I'd love to see it so post me a link in the comments :)