My Cruelty-Free Journey | Update #1

So it’s been about three months months since I made my post about the start of my cruelty-free journey, and I figured it was about time I posted an update.

To be honest, it’s been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I never thought the transition would be easy or fast – I mean, I’m calling this series a journey for a reason – but I’ve discovered that it’s going to take me a lot longer than I thought to be completely cruelty-free.

While I was conscious from the beginning that living a cruelty-free lifestyle extended beyond just skincare and makeup products, I didn’t take into consideration a lot of other categories of products where I’d have to make a change. Over the last two months, I’ve come to realize that I also will need to replace:

  • Toothpaste: I use Sensodyne, which is not cruelty-free. I have sensitive teeth, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a cruelty-free alternative. If not, Tom’s of Maine is cruelty-free, and my boyfriend already uses that, so I might just stick to that if I can’t find anything better.
  • Nail polish: Sadly, I really didn’t think about this category at all, because I really don’t paint my nails at all. The last time I can remember painting my nails was last October… Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult of a category for me to work on, since most of my newer nail polishes are cruelty-free (mainly Smith & Cult and KL Polish), and most, if not all, of my nail polishes that aren’t are old and need to be tossed anyways. I just need to find an opportunity to bring these to a household hazardous waste facility.
  • Fragance: My most loved fragrance, Glossier You (1.7 fl oz, $60), is thankfully cruelty-free. The majority of my fragrances, however, are not, so I’m planning to donate all of my unused deluxe samples, not only because they’re almost all not cruelty-free, but I have no need for so many fragrance samples and would like to pass them on to someone who would have use for them. Thankfully, most of my perfumes are actually not full-size products, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. The only full-size non-cruelty-free fragrance I have is a Chanel perfume that my mom gave me for my birthday a few years ago. I don’t use perfume often, so it’ll take me a while to use up my perfumes, but I will not be repurchasing any perfumes that are not cruelty-free, Chanel or otherwise. I’m actually interested in natural perfumes, but I don’t really want to fall down that rabbit hole until I actually have space in my collection for new fragrances.

At first, I was really disappointed that it was going to take me longer than I thought to reach a point where I was using only cruelty-free products. Though as time went on, I  realized that there was no reason to be disappointed – I’ve already made a lot of changes, decluttering my stash and making it a point to only purchase products from cruelty-free brands. I’m proud that I have no issue with letting go of my loved non-cruelty-free products and finding cruelty-free alternatives, even if it means I still need to use up what’s still in my inventory.

And if anything, I think the fact that I’m using up what I have first, even if it’s not cruelty-free, is better than just replacing everything that I have and starting anew. Being cruelty-free is important and is my ultimate goal, but it’s also important to me not to be wasteful. If I’m not giving something away, I should use it up instead of generating more waste. I’ve been making pretty good progress, and I’m aiming to be completely cruelty-free by the end of next year, though we’ll have to see how that goes 🙂

The good news is that throughout this journey so far, I’ve really become more conscious of what I’m buying. I’m choosing to be more informed about where my money is going, being more aware of what ingredients are in the products I’m buying, and being more selective about what I buy. I’ve always been guilty of being too easily sucked into sales and discounts, and this whole process has helped me take a step back from all of that. I’m getting better about not stockpiling a bunch of stuff that I may never end up using anyways… 😅

Hopefully, my documentation of this process can help those of you who are also thinking of transitioning to only cruelty-free products and ensure that, if you plan to do so, you won’t feel like you have to get rid of all of your stuff and replace them with cruelty-free products in one fell swoop.

Are any of you also currently in transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle? How is that going for you?

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FAVORITES | August 2018

I had been planning to post a favorites in July, but when I couldn’t really muster up enough loved items to warrant a post. It’s the start of September now, and I think I’ve gathered enough items to share with you what I’ve been loving for these last two months.

Ilia Illuminator in Polka Dots & Moonbeams (0.18 oz, $34): This gives the most subtle glow-from-within look. It blends very easily and smoothly, even moreso than my well-loved W3ll People Bio Brightener Stick (0.21 oz, $23.99).

The Leo Oil (1 oz, $46): I’ve written a review already on this, so all I’ll say here is that this is worth every penny.

Alterna CAVIAR CC Cream for Hair 10-in-1 Complete Correction (5.1 oz, $41): My best friend got this for me for my birthday this year. She claimed it was hair crack, and I couldn’t understand why, until I used this for myself. It’s amazing. When I put it in my damp hair and let my hair air dry, my hair dries so smoothly that it’s almost like I got a blowout. It’s magic. I tried using this recently before blow-drying my hair, and it’s great that way as well – my hair stays smooth, soft, and far from frizzy until my next hair wash. My only concern with this product is that Alterna is a grey-area brand on the cruelty-free sites I could find it on.

Glossier Cloud Paints (0.33 fl oz, 2 for $30 or 1 for $18) in Storm and Beam: I’ve already written a review on this, but basically, these are some of the best blushes I’ve ever used.

Glossier Stretch Concealer (0.17 oz, $18): There’s also a review on this already, but tl:dr, I love this concealer’s creamy consistency that makes it great for both blemishes and under the eye.

Mount Lai Mini Jade Roller ($20): I definitely fell into the hype of these facial rollers, but I’ve known for a long time that these are really effective for de-puffing the face, and jade has cooling properties as well. My face doesn’t puff up that much in the mornings, but I definitely enjoy using this after applying my skincare because of how cooling the jade feels on my skin. The facial massages I give myself with this roller also helps relieve any tension I have in my face after a long day.

Anthropologie Palm Leaf Dish ($20): My friends got me this for me as part of my birthday present this year. It’s been a great prop in my pictures, and I love that it’s both extremely cute and functional.

Madewell Oversized Hoops ($24): I’ve been eyeing these for a while and finally picked them up in August when I got a $25 off birthday coupon. I’ve already lost count of how many times I’ve worn them, since they go with almost every outfit.

Madewell Bandana ($12.50) in Strawberry Multi: I’ve gotten obsessed with bandanas in the last couple of months and amassed a little collection, but this strawberry one is by far my favorite. I managed to snag it on sale for less than $5, but unfortunately it’s sold out now 😦 I highly recommend Madewell’s bandanas, because all of their bandana prints are extremely cute. They’re also pretty reasonably priced, especially if you can find one on sale (and there almost always is one on sale).

What have you been loving during these last couple of summer months?

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Wishlist & What to Buy | Sephora VIB Sale, August 2018

Recently, Sephora came out with an announcement that it’d be changing its reward program, and as part of that change, there would be a sale. That sale starts today, and I thought I could share some items on my wishlist (at this point though, I’ve already gone ahead and purchased them) and recommendations for what to buy.

As with usual Sephora sales, Rouge members get first access and the highest discount (20% this time), though unlike usual sales, the code you use to get the discount can only be used once.

Wishlist

As usual when Sephora has a sale, I try really hard to edit down my basket so that I don’t overspend and overstock on items that I won’t get to using for a while. I managed to limit my basket to just 3 items this time around, but to be completely honest, it’s because Dermstore and Biossance both just had sales with 25% off, so I picked up some items there instead. (The Biossance sale is ongoing until Monday! Get your Biossance goods there 🙂 ) Regardless, I thought I could share my Sephora basket items as well as the items I purchased from Dermstore and Biossance that could also be found at Sephora.

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Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial (2.02 oz, $68): I’m excited to use this because it claims to be a scrub, peel, and mask all in one, and glycolic acid does amazing things for my skin.

Biossance Only the Good Clean Beauty Gift Set ($72, $115 value): If it wasn’t evident already, I’m a pretty big fan of Biossance. This set was a no-brainer for me, since it included a full-size Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil (1 oz, $72), a 1 oz Squalane + Micronutrient Fine Mist (full-size 2.53 oz, $32), and a little 0.4 oz Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum (full-size 1 oz, $78). I’ve been ambivalent about the oil, but I wanted to use it more and see if I would change my mind, and I’ve wanted to try the latter two since they were released.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Smashed (0.52 oz, $26): I’m nearing the end with my current lip mask and have been dying to try this one for ages, so I definitely took advantage of the sale this time to pick it up.

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo (8 oz, $42): I’m not generally one that likes spending too much on hair products, but I’ve heard amazing things about this, and I do get dry scalp when it gets dry in the winter.

Saturday Skin No Bad Days Set ($39, $69 value): This is an amazing value, and I’ve been really wanting to try all of their stuff ever since my friend let me try her Saturday Skin eye cream. These samples will be great for me to bring on my travels later this year as well. The set includes a 0.67 oz Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel (full-size 2.53 oz, $28), a 1.01 oz Daily Dew Hydrating Essence Mist (full-size 4.39 oz, $34), a 0.51 oz Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream (full-size 1.01 oz, $46), and a 1.01 oz Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream (full-size 1.69 oz, $49).

Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 (1 oz, $25): When traveling, I love bringing stick products with me, since it means less liquids. I’ve heard great things about this one, so I hope it’ll be good! I love that it has such a high SPF.

What to Get

Rather than list specific things that are good to get during sales, I thought I’d just say that the best thing to buy during these sales are value sets. As you can see, I’ve picked up two value sets – one from Saturday Skin and one from Biossance. Value sets are great ways for trying new products or for getting travel-friendly sizes of products you like. Sales are the best time to pick up these sets because they’re usually pretty pricey, especially for higher-end brands, because you’re maximizing your savings.

For example, the Biossance set retails for $72, which is the price of just the Squalane Oil. This is already a great deal, but with the discount, you’re saving even more money. If you were to buy the set during this Sephora sale, you could save an additional $14 if you are a VIB Rouge member.

When looking at value sets to pick up, make sure you look at the descriptions for each set! The Sephora site is pretty good in that it tells how much each set is worth. If it doesn’t, that means the value set doesn’t actually save you money, and, in that case, it wouldn’t be worth it to purchase the set. Also look at what’s included in the set. If there are more items that you don’t care for than do, I’d say pass – you’d only be spending money on stuff you didn’t want, which defeats the purpose of using value sets to save money.

What are some items you’re planning to pick up during this sale?

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REVIEW | The Leo Oil

Nowadays, Instagram is where I discover a lot of the new products that I want to try, and the Leo Oil is one of these products. I first stumbled upon it because a couple of Instagram beauty influencers that I follow had been posting about it. I got curious about the product, with its beautiful, minimal packaging and raving reviews, so I picked up my first bottle of the Leo Oil when Dena (@leowithcancer on Instagram), creator of Leo Oil, was offering 20% off the first purchase.

The Leo Oil is a blend of Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Blue Tansy Oil. This combination of oils has such an amazing and soothing smell. It smells like bergamot, and my dog always wants to lick my face after I use it. The color is a greenish blue from the blue tansy as well, which I think makes it fun to apply.

I love this oil. First of all, it’s called the Leo Oil. I’m a Leo, so the name already really spoke to me. Honestly, I couldn’t really tell how much it was helping my skin when I first started using it. However, I’ve been using it pretty regularly for a couple of months now, and I’ve really started to notice a difference. This past month in particular, I decided to start using it every night since I had a lot of breakouts and redness from stress. My breakouts seemed to be going away faster, and the oil really helped calm down any redness in my skin. It was a miracle! I’ve already purchased a second bottle and plan to keep this product in my skincare routine.

You can buy a 1 oz bottle of Leo Oil for $46 or a little sample to try first for $13, and there’s still a promo for 20% off your first purchase. Dena makes every bottle of the oil by hand and in batches, so just a heads up that you may not get a bottle right when you order it. It’s definitely worth it though and makes the product that much more special. By purchasing the Leo Oil you’d also be supporting a small, woman-owned business, which is always a good thing 🙂

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EMPTIES | July 2018

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to post another empties so soon, but between my decision to transition to cruelty-free and my recent decluttering of old products, my empties box really filled up quickly this past month.

As you may notice as you read through this post, a lot of my empties this month were samples and/or travel-sized products – this is because I did a lot of traveling this month, so I put my large collection of minis to good use. It also made me feel like I made more progress in moving towards being completely cruelty-free, since I tried to reach for the non-cruelty-free products to use first.

belif Moisture Bomb: I didn’t enjoy this as much as the Aqua Bomb, since it’s a little too moisturizing for me, but it ended up being perfect for while I was traveling. My skin always gets dryer on trips, and this was great in helping my face retain its moisture.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate: I had wanted to try this for the longest time, since I’ve been a longtime fan of the Midnight Recovery Eye Cream, but it didn’t impress me in the end. It doesn’t matter, anyways, since Kiehl’s is not a cruelty-free brand – had I decided I liked this, I would’ve needed to find a cruelty-free equivalent anyways.

Caudalie Premier Cru Serum: I’d heard good things about this serum, so I got a sample of this with one of my Sephora orders a few months ago. It’s a really pricey serum, though honestly, I didn’t see much of a difference when I used this. The sample was pretty decently sized, too, so I got to use this for two weeks every night before forming an opinion on the product.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum: I’ve also heard a lot of good things about this, but like with the Premier Cru Serum, I didn’t notice much of a difference while using this.

Kate Somerville Daily Deflector™ Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ (1.7 oz, $48): I actually hadn’t finished up this sample, but it had been a couple of years since I opened it, and thus time to toss it. This was a decent suncreen, but definitely not my favorite, and I would not purchase a full size of this.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator in Grapefruit (0.11 oz, $3): I thoroughly enjoyed this lip scrub, and it is an extremely affordable one. Unfortunately, it went bad pretty quickly, so while I still had product left, I needed to toss it. I will definitely be repurchasing this when I get the chance.

Clinique High Impact Mascara: This had made it onto a favorites post a few months ago, but as I used it more, I liked it less. I started noticing that it would transfer to under my eyes if I kept it on for too long.

Glossier Balm Dotcom in Original (0.5 oz, $12): This is probably one of my favorite lip balms ever, but I’ve had other ones on rotation since I finished this one, so I won’t get back to it in a while. I look forward to trying the other flavors!

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil (1.18 oz, $80): I actually didn’t get to finish this little sample. The bottle malfunctioned, and I am unable to open it no matter what I try. I’m pretty bummed, because this was great to use when I was breaking out. Since I don’t breakout often, I doubt I’ll purchase this myself.

Acure Brilliantly Brightening Fruit Peel (1.4 oz, $22.99): This is one of the first products that I used where I really thought, “Wow, natural products can really make a difference!” I actually felt like my face looked a bit brighter after using this. I may repurchase this in the future, after I’ve finished using up the other peels and exfoliators in my inventory.

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Perk (1 oz, $24): This is the best cream blush I’ve ever used. I’m holding off on purchasing though, because I already have other blushes in rotation.

Colourpop No Filter Matte Concealer in Medium 28 (0.14 oz, $6): I started off really liking this concealer, but as I used it more, I realized it was too thin for me, and would cling onto the dry patches and fine lines under my eyes. The smell changed too, so I decided to toss it even though I didn’t use it up yet.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash: This is a really dependable face wash, but alas, Origins is not cruelty-free.

Sumbody Salt Scrub (12 oz, $18.95): I got this sample as part of a Birchbox order. It was a pretty great body scrub overall, and I liked that it was pretty gentle. However, it was a little too moisturizing for me – I like super gritty scrubs because I can always moisturize afterwards.

belif Aqua Bomb: This is one of my favorite moisturizers ever, so I was bummed to learn that belif may not be cruelty-free when I was doing research. Thankfully, I’ve discovered other moisturizers I enjoy just as much, if not more, than this one. I still have a full size of this, but I won’t be repurchasing this again.

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Weleda Evening Primrose Revitalizing Body Wash (6.8 fl oz, $10): I didn’t enjoy this as a body wash. It was so rich that I felt like I was trying to wash myself with a lotion.

Glossier Daily Oil Wash (8.4 fl oz, $18): On the other hand, I loved this. I’ve already mentioned this on an Instagram review, but basically, I will always find an opportunity to repurchase this.

Glossier Solution (4.4 fl oz, currently out of stock): I did not enjoy this at all, and it even broke me out a bit. I actually didn’t even finish this, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone to pass this on to. If you’re looking for a chemical exfoliator, I would say it doesn’t hurt to try it, though, since I know plenty of people that swear by this. A word of caution though – Glossier doesn’t give the exact percentage of each of the AHA/BHA/PHA acids, only a total percentage of 10%.

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W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick (6g/0.21 oz, $23.99): If you open the link, you’ll see that this product has a completely different packaging now. That’s how long I’ve had this highlighter stick. This was very well loved, but a little went a long way, so I never got around to using it up. I’ve had this for at least two years now though, so it’s time to let it go.

No7 Lift & Luminate Foundation in Warm Beige (1 oz, $15.99): I really enjoyed this but never found myself reaching for it, especially as I started going for base makeup with less coverage, and then it expired before I could donate it.

Urban Decay Brow Tamer in Dark Brown (0.15 oz, $20): I wrote a review about this a year ago, which really goes to show that it’s time for me to toss this. I did not enjoy this then, and I still do not enjoy this now. It has too wet of a formula for me to enjoy. If you’re interested in trying this still, only the clear version is available on the Sephora site now.

L’OrĂŠal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara: I bought this because Kathleenlights used to talk about how this was one of her favorites, and I did enjoy it for a while because it made my lashes super long. However, it was way too wet and clumpy for me, which made it way too difficult to use on a daily basis.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk: Dry shampoo is a staple for me. This was one of my favorites.

Bumble and bumble. Thickening Hairspray: This was my favorite hairspray ever. The best way I can describe it is a natural hairspray – it’ll keep your hairstyle in place, but it won’t make your hair too crunchy.

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REVIEW | Glossier Skin Tint, Stretch Concealer, & Cloud Paint

After purchasing and loving Glossier’s Generation G lipstick (review here), I had been dying to try more of Glossier’s makeup. However, for the longest time, I really wasn’t in need of new makeup, so I refrained from buying new stuff.

Recently, I finally was at a point where I could add new products to my collection, so as part of a massive haul, I purchased the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint (1 oz, $26) and the Cloud Paints (0.33 fl oz, 2 for $30 or 1 for $18). I also opened the Stretch Concealer (0.17 oz, $18) that I purchased a while back to use for the first time with the Skin Tint and Cloud Paints.

The Perfecting Skin Tint

The Perfecting Skin Tint comes in five possible shades: Light, Medium, Dark, Deep, and Rich. Before I go into anything else about this product, I have to point out that the shade names are very misleading. I purchased the medium because I am a very true medium skin-tone, but it ended up being way too fair for me, to the point that I looked ghostly.

Also, since there are only 5 shades, I would think it’s likely that some people would have difficulty finding a shade match – it’s even likely that the shade Dark is too dark for me, and I would have to mix Medium and Dark together to get my ideal shade. I know this is a skin tint, which means the coverage is minimal, but there is enough coverage that you can tell if the shade of the tint doesn’t match your skin tone.

My issues with the shade names and shade selection aside, I really enjoyed this product. Generally, my skin behaves well, so I don’t really need much coverage. This product gives me just enough to even out my skin tone. If I have any blemishes, I’ll go in with a concealer for more coverage (Glossier Stretch Concealer is great for this).

This skin tint is definitely on the dewy side for a face product, but that’s what I like. If you don’t like dewy complexion products, you may not enjoy this, though going over the product with a setting powder does minimize the dewiness a bit.

Surprisingly, this product is also very long-wearing – on more than one occasion, I’d put it on in the morning, and it’d still be on my face after 12 hours of wear. I also didn’t wear this on really hot days, so it may be different in that case. I’ll be bringing this with me to the hot and humid Taiwan later this year, so maybe I can give an update on wear time after my trip.

Overall, great product! It does what I want it to do and is pretty affordable for a non-drugstore product. I definitely plan on re-purchasing in the future if I don’t find something I like more, though next time, I’m purchasing the shade Dark. In the meantime, I plan on mixing in the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Serum and hope that will help deepen the shade a bit.

The Stretch Concealer

The Stretch Concealer comes in the same five shades as the Perfecting Skin Tint, though the shade Medium in the concealer worked for me so much better than Medium for the skin tint.

I love this concealer. Colourpop’s No Filter Matte Concealer in Medium 28 had been my favorite for a while, but then it stopped working for me because it would dry out my undereye when I used it. The Stretch Concealer is creamy and not too thick, which is perfect for blending out. I use it to cover my dark circles and any blemishes on my face, and the Medium shade is perfect for both of these functions.

Would I repurchase this? YES, though a repurchase would be far into the future, since I don’t use up concealer all that quickly. Like most Glossier products, the price of this one is pretty reasonable – it may seem expensive for very little product, but since this is a cream concealer, a little goes a very long way, and I can foresee myself using this for a good while.

The Cloud Paints

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the products in this post, but the Cloud Paints were by far my favorite. It may be because blush is just more fun than complexion products. I purchased Storm, a warm rose, one of the newer shades, and Beam, a soft peach.

The shade descriptions are pretty accurate, and these blushes are pigmented. Generally, I’m not a fan of blushes that are too pigmented, but since these are a gel-cream formula, it’s much easier to control how much I’m applying to my face.

The Cloud Paints may very well be my favorite blushes ever. I don’t think I’ve seen another blush formulation quite like the Cloud Paint one – it’s neither a gel nor a cream, and it’s extremely pigmented in the best way. I’ve tried Storm and Beam each on their own, and also mixed together, and the colors are beautiful, no matter how I wear them. The longevity is pretty amazing – immediately I compare it to the Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel that I reviewed recently, which had a similar formula but no pigmentation whatsoever and no longevity either.

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These blushes are great for travel in that they’re very small, though since they would be considered liquids, they probably wouldn’t be my first choice either. Though, I love these so much that I may just deal with the fact that I have to pack more liquids to have these with me.

Overall, I continued to be impressed with Glossier’s makeup, and the brand’s makeup is definitely more of a winner than its skincare to me. I look forward to trying more Glossier makeup in the future 🙂

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REVIEW | Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel

I’ve been a longtime fan of Pixi’s skincare products, but I had yet to try any of their makeup items, so a while back, I picked up this Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel in Flushed ($13.99) to try.

I had high hopes for this product, since generally it seems that people enjoy Pixi’s makeup products. Although the shade Flushed looked very deep in the tube, I had a feeling that I would get a nice wash of color on my cheeks.

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Unfortunately, this product didn’t really work out for me. After blending out the color on my cheeks, it just washes away into nothing. I tried using my fingers for maximum pigment retention, but it didn’t help. When I tried to layer on more, the blush started getting patchy and uneven. I tried it a few times to give it a good chance, but it just seemed like this blush and I weren’t meant to be…

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I’ll be passing this on to someone who would enjoy this much more than I would. If you’re looking to try out this blush, please keep in mind that if you’re medium skin tone like me or deeper, this is likely not to show up on your skin.

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EMPTIES | Makeup, Body, Hair, June 2018

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Still overwhelmed

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Now, part two of my many empties! Continue reading to see what makeup, body, and hair products I’ve used up. You can find part one here.

As I’ve mentioned previously, since I am moving towards a cruelty-free lifestyle, I will not be including any of the usual product information that I usually include (links, price, size) for non-cruelty-free products.

Makeup

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Urban Decay Naked 24/7 Double-Ended Eye Pencil in Whiskey/Zero (2 x 0.01 oz, $18): Unfortunately, this shade is no longer available on Sephora or the Urban Decay website. Although I didn’t use up either side of this wonderful eye pencil, I got a lot of good use out of it. I just decided to toss it because it had been way too long that I had owned it so it was definitely past its expiration date. I really like the Urban Decay eyeliner formulations so I may revisit them in the future.

Lancôme Cils Booster XL Mascara Base: This has been a longtime favorite, but as Lancôme is not a cruelty-free brand, I will have to find a good dupe.

YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils

Fiberwig Mascara

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 in Rose: Another favorite. I was so sad to find out that Fresh does test on animals when required by law 😦

Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill

YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer

Hair, Body, Etc

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Crabtree & Evelyn Bath & Shower Gel

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray (full size 8.5 oz, $46): Oribe products smell amazing, and this one was no different. This travel size was pretty small, so I don’t think it was enough for me to form an opinion on the product itself. I have another travel size of this product, so I may give an update after I use up that one.

Sensodyne Toothpaste

Bumble and bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil: This was one of the rare expensive shampoos that I had been willing to splurge on. Sadly, bumble and bumble is not cruelty free 😦

Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It Fine (H)air Styler

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil: The fragrance on this was way too strong for my tastes.

SKINFOOD Intensive Shea Butter Cream In-Shower: I’ve written a dedicated review on this. I’m having a difficult time determining for certain whether SKINFOOD is cruelty-free, but it seems like it’s sold in China, so I will no longer be purchasing products from them to err on the side of caution.

Trader Joe’s Coffee Body Scrub (8 oz, $4.99): This wasn’t a bad scrub by any means, but the coffee grounds made way too much of a mess for me to enjoy using this.

L’OrĂŠal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Transforming Oil-in-Cream

L’OrĂŠal Paris Color Vibrancy Nourishing Conditioner

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EMPTIES | Skincare, June 2018

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I’m a little overwhelmed, tbh

Given that it’s been a good six months since my last empties post, I have accumulated a ton of empties to share with y’all. Although I’ve been slacking in posting regularly, I managed to lug my empties with me from my previous apartment when I moved in March! I was committed to saving my trash and posting a really satisfying empties.

I was so committed, in fact, that I have too many empties to talk about and will have to split this post in two. This first one will be on my skincare empties, and the next one will be on everything else!

Also, as I mentioned in the first post of my cruelty-free journey series, I’m trying to use up my non-cruelty-free products, so you’ll see a lot of those here. Since I am moving towards a cruelty-free lifestyle, I will not be including any of the usual product information that I include (links, price, size) with the non-cruelty-free products.

Skincare

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Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial (1.35 oz, $48): This was a pretty decent daily nighttime moisturizer, but, to be honest, I’m not sure I experienced any brightening or evening of skin tone. To be fair, I only had a sample of this, so it probably wasn’t enough time to really notice any effects. The scent was a little too strong for my tastes, but I just saw that they’ve reformulated it with a lighter scent, so I may revisit this in the future when I’ve used up more of my current skincare stash.

Murad Hydro-DynamicÂŽ Ultimate Moisture (1.7 oz, $75): I didn’t particularly enjoy this, but that was because this was way too thick for my skin type. I imagine that someone with dry and/or dehydrated skin would love this. It’s supposed to be anti-aging as well.

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil (1 oz, $72) and the 100% Squalane Oil (3.4 oz, $58): I got these two samples via Biossance’s site, where you can choose one of three sample sets to try. I talk more about the brand and my impression of these in my Biossance brand overview post.

Origins Plantscription™ Anti-Aging Eye Treatment: This was a solid eye cream, but not my favorite. It doesn’t beat Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye, which was my holy grail nighttime eye cream until I recently decided to go cruelty-free.

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream: This was my holy grail daytime eye cream until I discovered the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème (0.5 oz, $38), review here. I’m glad I discovered the Ole Henriksen one, especially because Ole Henriksen is cruelty-free while Origins is not.

Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum (1 oz, $30): The packaging of this sample was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s a mini plastic bottle from which you can squeeze out product, but the plastic was so stiff I maybe got three uses out of it before I couldn’t squeeze anything out anymore. I considered cutting the little bottle to get as much of the product as I could, but the plastic was so thick and the bottle so small that I didn’t really want to risk cutting myself by accident. From the very limited experience I had with the product itself, I’m not really sure whether I liked it or not. Hopefully, the packaging of the full-size product is a lot easier to use.

Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash: This always makes it back into my skincare rotation because (1) my mom gets samples of this from her work, and (2) I’ve been a longtime fan. I’ve found out it’s not cruelty-free though, so after I use up the one I opened a couple of months ago, I’ll be phasing this face wash (and other Cetaphil products) out of my life.

Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser (7 oz, $30): I bought this so long ago that it’s since been repackaged and renamed as The Clean Truth™ Foaming Cleanser. This isn’t really similar to the Cetaphil other than the fact that it’s also a foaming cleanser, but I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the Cetaphil cleanser and would go back to it again in the future.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer (1.7 fl oz, $22): I did not enjoy this as a primer, but it was pretty great (and relatively affordable!) for a morning daily moisturizer. I may pick this up again in the future.

Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins™ Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, and “Buffet”: To be honest, none of these really impressed me. I had really wanted to love them, given the affordable price points, but I just rushed myself through these because I wanted to finish them and move on to other products. Anyways, I don’t want to support Deciem (The Ordinary’s parent company) anymore, so I will not be buying anymore of The Ordinary products after I use up what I have.

belif Hungarian Water Essence: belif is another brand that I really loved, until I found out it was possibly being sold in China. I’ve gone few quite a few of these essences, and I love them, but it’s time to let it go… I really want to try the Tatcha essence, though it’s so expensive…

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay: This was a longtime favorite, but I will not be revisiting it until Origins becomes truly cruelty-free.

Glossier Solution (4.4 oz, $24): I’ve done a review on this before, and I actually never used it up – it’s still half full. I tried to see if any of my friends and family wanted to try it out, but no takers as of now. I don’t really want to toss it yet since there’s still so much product left, but I may end up doing so in the end, unfortunately.

Glossier Soothing Face Mist (4 oz, $18): I enjoyed this for the most part, but probably won’t be repurchasing. It’s affordable and does feel nice on the skin, but I’ve sprayed it into my eyes by accident a few times before, and it burned like no other, which is odd, considering it doesn’t seem to have any irritating ingredients. The Botanics Organic Toning Spritz (5 oz, $9.99) with rosewater is at a much better price point and doesn’t irritate my eyes.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel: This wasn’t really life changing or anything, but it did the job. It was a great base moisturizer to mix with oils, and this size was an amazing value. It took me a year of using it twice daily to finish it up.

Julep Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil (0.85 oz, $36): This was my holy grail for the longest time, and I purchased a backup the moment I saw Julep was having a sale. I’ve since fallen in love with other oils, but this will always have a special place in my heart.

BYBI Beauty Prime Time Priming Facial Polish (1.01 oz, $18): I have a review on this product from when BYBI Beauty was still in its early stages, when it was still difficult to get BYBI Beauty products in the states. Now, you can buy from Urban Outfitters or ASOS! It’s amazing how far this green beauty company has come. Unfortunately, the product went bad (I kept this in my shower and the tub grew mold) before I could use it all up, but I may repurchase in the future.

Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser: This had been my holy grail cleanser when my skin was still more acne prone, but I’ve since grown out of it.

Stay tuned for the rest of my empties next week!

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My Cruelty-Free Journey | The Start

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At the beginning of this year, I shared my goals and intentions for this year, and one of them was that I wanted to make more mindful purchases. I’ve been doing pretty well, staying away from fast fashion stores and definitely putting more thought into where I’m spending my money, and a couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was time to go cruelty-free.

I’ve done research on cruelty-free brands and products here and there over the last couple of years, but this decision was actually a pretty abrupt one, and now I don’t even remember what brought me to make this choice. I’m glad I did though because I really don’t want to be supporting brands that test on animals. As transitioning to be completely cruelty-free is definitely a journey and not something that can happen within just a few days, I thought I could start a series here on my blog to document my progress. If you’re looking to make the same transition, hopefully, this series will be helpful to you as well!

Cruelty-Free 101

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the cruelty-free world, it’s really complex, as I have learned as I’ve done my research. If a company says it’s cruelty-free, there are a few possibilities for what that really means, which I’ll list and describe below:

  1. Certified by Leaping Bunny and/or signed the PETA pledge: If a company has either of these, it means it has an official guarantee that it does not conduct any animal testing.
    • Examples: Bite Beauty, Colourpop, e.l.f., Marc Jacobs Beauty
  2. Cruelty-free but no affiliation with PETA/Leaping Bunny: A lot of companies seem to fall into this category.
    • Examples: Drunk Elephant, Glossier, Sunday Riley, Youth to the People
  3. Cruelty-free but owned by a parent company that tests on animals: L’Oreal, Unilever, and Estee Lauder are just a few examples of parent companies that conduct animal testing. However, companies in this category are able to maintain their cruelty-free status even while being owned by one of these parent companies. Some of these companies even have the Leaping Bunny certification.
    • Examples: BECCA, Tarte (Leaping Bunny), Urban Decay (Leaping Bunny)
  4. Cruelty-free but sells in China: Selling in China is a big deal because China requires any foreign beauty products to go through animal testing if they are to be sold in physical stores in mainland China (Hong Kong is okay). Cruelty-free and selling in China were first brought to my attention when NARS, which is otherwise cruelty-free, decided to start selling its products in China. If a company says that it does not conduct animal testing “except where required by law”, it is likely that they are selling in China. I find this to be so shady, and any company claiming to be cruelty-free yet sells in China is betraying its own morals to make more money.
    • Examples: Caudalie, Kiehl’s, NARS, Origins
  5. Gray-area cruelty-free: This would be companies that say they do not conduct animal testing but don’t say anything or are vague about whether their suppliers do. Basically, read the company’s statement carefully and pay attention to the wording.

If you’re interested in finding out more, Cruelty-Free Kitty, Logical Harmony, and Ethical Elephant are all great resources. These sites all have lists of cruelty-free brands and brands that you should avoid, as well as a bunch of other helpful information. (If you’re already cruelty-free, please share any other resources you have in the comments below! 🙂 )

My Cruelty-Free Philosophy

As I’ve learned from doing my research, everyone has a different idea of what being cruelty-free is. For some people, if the brand is cruelty-free but its parent company isn’t, then they will not use products from that brand. For me, I will use a product as long as the brand itself does not conduct animal testing. However, I will not use any products that are sold in China. I’ve found some articles stating that it’s actually possible to sell products in China as long as the product’s in are white-listed, but I think that’s a black hole of research I’d rather not fall into.

Although it’s natural for a lot of cruelty-free people to use only vegan products, I’m not going to. I’m okay with and will continue to use products that have animal ingredients in them (mainly but not limited to bee byproducts like beeswax and honey) but will try to buy vegan products as much as I can.

IN SUMMARY: when I talk about cruelty-free brands from this post forward, I mean cruelty-free brands that: (1) do not sell in China, but (2) may be owned by a parent company that does test on animals, and (3) may or may not be vegan.

Current Progress

After I decided to become cruelty-free, I inventoried my skincare and makeup collection. To my horror, a good two-thirds of what I own is not from a cruelty-free brand, so it’s definitely going to be a while before I can call myself completely cruelty-free. The products I have photographed in the picture are all of the smaller sized items that I have that are not cruelty-free. I was getting a little overwhelmed gathering all of my non-cruelty-free products together for this little shoot, but, thankfully, this is the bulk of my items – I still have a few full-sized items not pictured here.

I’ll be using up any products that I already have that aren’t cruelty-free because I think it’s so wasteful not to use up products I already own, but I also plan on passing some items on to my family and friends and donating a lot of it to either local shelters or Project Beauty Share, an amazing organization that also takes gently used makeup products. However, from now on, I will only be purchasing from cruelty-free brands and will no longer be reviewing any non-cruelty-free products unless it’s part of a larger post (i.e. empties, cruelty-free journey update, etc.).

Sadly, Kiehl’s and Origins, which were two of my favorite brands, both have the “except when required by law” phrase that means they do still conduct animal testing, likely since they sell their products in China. Hopefully, they change their policies one day so I can go back to using their products again.

Going cruelty-free isn’t going to be limited to beauty products, either. I’m also going to do this for all of my household products, including cleaners, soaps, and more.

Look out for an update on my progress in a couple of months!

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