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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HAUL | Summer 2018, Beauty

So… I went a little apeshit shopping the last couple of months, and now that all of the stuff has arrived and my shopping urge has calmed down, I figured it was time to share what I got.

Since I really went a little crazy with my shopping, I dreaded posted this up for the longest time, just because listing everything seemed so daunting. I’ve since tried a few of these products though, so I’ll be able to share my thoughts on some of them.

I’ll be splitting this haul into two parts – part one will be the beauty portion, and part two will be fashion.



This haul was motivated by my upcoming business trip. I will be interacting with clients, so I wanted to get a complexion product that did more than a tinted moisturizer, but wasn’t a full coverage foundation like my Hourglass stick foundation. I won’t say much about these products, because I’ll be writing reviews on all of them after I’ve used them a few times.

Skin Tint in Medium (1 oz, $26)

Cloud Paint Duo in Beam and Storm (0.33 oz, $18 each or 2 for $30)

Lash Slick (0.29 oz, $16)




I’ve been really inspired to step outside of my comfort zone recently with eye makeup looks, so when I got a 20% off discount code for Colourpop last month, I figured it’d be a good opportunity to pick up a bunch of goodies to try out.

  • Super Shock Shadows (0.074 oz, $5): Super Shock shadows are some of my favorite eyeshadows, but I had always stayed with the more typical neutral shades. This time, I only purchased colors out of my usual.
  • Pressed Power Shadows (0.053 oz, $5 with compact, $4 without):
    • Glass Bull (duochrome lavender icy-blue)
    • Backstage (matte cobalt)
    • I also got the On the Daily Palette (4 x 0.053 oz, $12), which includes the four shades You Know the Drill (metallic light bronze), B-Side (matte warm nude), Optional (matte mid-tone brown), and Paper Crane (true vibrant bronze). I’m planning on passing on my Tartelette in Bloom palette because I only use maybe three or four shades from that twelve-shade palette, and someone else will probably get more use out of it. This mini palette will be great for travel and means I’ll actually be getting use out of every shade.
  • Supernova Shadow in Lucky Penny (0.17 oz, $6): I’ve only used this twice, but I love it. I’ve been wanting a liquid eyeshadow for a while, and I’m glad this is the first one I decided to try. The site describes Lucky Penny as a silver with a teal flip, but I would say that it’s more of a silvery white sheen with a baby blue.






e.l.f. products are already ridiculously cheap, so when there was a sale on the site, I couldn’t resist picking up a whole bunch of items.

Aqua Beauty Molten Liquid Eyeshadow ($1.60, originally $4) in Rose Gold: I’ve only used this twice, but I’ve really enjoyed it. On my skintone, there’s not much pigment to this shadow, but it leaves a beautiful rose-gold sheen on my lids.

Beautifully Bare Highlighting Stick ($4) in Fresh Morning Dew: I just tried this for the first time today, and I LOVE IT. This shade is described as a “clear, shimmer-free balm” that gives a dewy glow, and I think that that is exactly what this is. It’s great for super light makeup days, but I also want to try layering this over cream or powder highlights. I also want to give the other shades a try, because the formula is quite nice as well.

Best Friend Eyeshadow Duo ($1.20, originally $3) in Soul Mate and Peach Squad: I haven’t used either of these yet, but I thought they would be nice to have on hand for simple looks. I’m thinking of taking one or both of these with me when I go on a business trip to the UK in a little over a week. Soul Mate includes a shimmery silver and a matte navy/purple, and Peach Squad includes a shimmery gold and matte peachy nude.

No Budge Shadow Stick ($1.60, originally $4) in Blue Steel: I already have one of these in Perfect Pearl, and I like it a lot for highlighting the inner corners of my eyes. I’ve recently been inspired to do more cool-toned eye looks, so I thought I could pick up this blue/grey color.

Tinted Shape & Stay Wax Pencil ($1.20, originally $3) in Dark Brown: I’ve found that I don’t care too much about using the typical brow pencil on my brows, so I thought I’d give this one a try.

Mineral Infused Mascara ($3): I haven’t found a drugstore mascara I love yet, so I figured I’d give this a try, especially since it’s at such an affordable price point.

Lip Balm Tint ($0.80, originally $2) in Berry: I’m a sucker for lip tints, tinted lip balms, in the like, and this was only 80 cents when I purchased it.

Gotta Glow Lip Tint ($6) in Perfect Berry: I redeemed 150 of my points for this. It got decent reviews, and once again, I’m a sucker for lip tints.

Beautifully Precise Blending Eye Brush ($2, originally $5): I’ve heard good things about this line of brushes from e.l.f., and I always feel like I could do with more eye brushes.

Cream Blush Palette ($2.40, originally $6) in Soft: I love cream blushes, and I’ve heard Amy Serrano on Youtube talk favorably about this palette, so I grabbed it while it was at such a steep discount. This will be a good one to bring around while I’m traveling, since it’s pretty compact and is pretty versatile with its four different shades.

Matte Lip Color ($3) in Natural and Wine: I haven’t worn either of these yet, but I thought they could be dupes for the NARS or Laura Mercier lip crayons. I actually purchased two of the Natural one by accident and got another in the gift with purchase, so I’ll be donating one and giving the other to my sister.

Contour Palette in Dark/Deep ($6): I got this as part of the gift with purchase for spending $25. I have no need for a powdered bronzing/contour palette, so I will be passing this on to someone else.

Bronzing Brush ($2): This was also part of the gift with purchase.



Beauty 360 Premium Cotton Rounds (80 ct, $3.79): I think I got these when there was a 2 for $7 deal. I like these, and I think they’re comparable to the Glossier ones, which are slightly pricier at 60 ct for $4. Overall though, I think I still like using the Daiso ones the best, because they’re the most affordable.

Beauty 360 All In One Micellar Cleansing Water (13.5 fl oz, $6.99): I also got this when there was a deal, though I forget the exact discount. Regardless, at $6.99 it’s cheaper than the Garnier one, which is priced at $9.59 for the same size. Also, Beauty 360, which is CVS’s own brand, is cruelty-free. I’ll report back on whether this is good.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum (1.05 oz, $14.99): Glycolic acid works great with my skin, so I wanted to give this a try.

Lumene Arctic Lumenessence Valo Light Glow Boost Essence (1 oz, $25.99): I’ve seen a Youtuber or two talk about this brand, so I wanted to check them out. I’ve been wanting to compare different vitamin C products as well, hence the decision to get this product.

Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in Deep Bronzer ($16.29): I bought this because everyone and their mom raves about it, and thought my collection was finally at a place where I could get a new bronzer to use.

Also, CVS shopping tip: There are always discounts/coupons/sales at CVS. Unless it’s an emergency product, you can always wait for some type of discount. Although I listed the original prices for these products, I didn’t buy any of them at the original price.



You can always score at Marshall’s. I always make it a point to stop by the beauty section if I’m going to Marshall’s. I scored some Alba Botanica and Acure products this time around, which I’ve seen at multiple stores, including Whole Foods and Target.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Detox Warming Clay Cleaner (6 fl oz, $6.99, originally $9.49)

Acure Organics The Essentials Marula Oil (1 oz, 6.99, originally $15.99): I’ve been eyeing this for a while because I’ve been looking for an affordable marula oil that’s not from The Ordinary, and when I saw it at Marshall’s for such a discount I grabbed it without a second thought.

Acure Organics Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub (4 fl oz, $5.99, originally $9.99)

Urban Outfitters


Urban Outfitters had 20% off your whole purchase a while back, which was the only reason I placed this order.

Gisou Honey-Infused Hair Oil (3.4 fl oz, $90): I got interested in this oil after seeing Amy Serrano review it on Youtube. I was never going to pay full price for this hair oil, so I took advantage of the 20% off to purchase it. I have yet to use it since I still have another hair oil that I want to use up first, but you’ll definitely see a dedicated review on this. A $90 hair oil definitely deserves its own review…

Pixi Glow Mist (2.7 fl oz, $15): I’ve been wanting to try this since I’ve heard it’s a dupe for the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist (1.35 oz, $48), which I love but is a ridiculously pricey for what it is. I will report back after I’ve tried this.

Frank Body Cherry Bomb Lip + Cheek Tint ($0.51 oz, 12): I’ve wanted to try Frank Body for a while, and the sale was a good opportunity for me to order something to try.

The Detox Market + The Nature of Beauty


As I am transitioning to cruelty-free beauty, I’ve gotten curious about certain brands that I never really thought to try before. I didn’t want to commit to any full-size purchases either since I still had some to use up first. I then stumbled upon sample programs at The Detox Market and The Nature of Beauty and thus decided to pick up samples from both stores.

The Detox Market allows you to pick samples from pretty much the whole website. Rather than have a list of select samples, it offers sample sizes of most, if not all, of its products throughout the site. You can pick four samples for $7.99 plus shipping, and I picked:

  1. Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Joyful ($56): I’ve tried this once already, and I quite enjoyed it. It had pretty good staying power, but I’ll have to try it again to form a full opinion on it.
  2. Kjaer Weis Highlighter in Ravishing ($56): I tried this at the same time I tried the blush and will also need to try it again to form a full opinion on it.
  3. May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon (1.69 oz, $180): I’ve heard great things about this product, but it’s so ridiculously expensive that I’ve never had much interest in trying it until now.
  4. Vinter’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (1 oz, $185): Same thoughts as the Blue Cocoon.

The Nature of Beauty had more of the standard sample program, where you can choose from a list of select samples. You can choose 5 samples for $1 each and shipping. I chose all RMS samples, including:

  1. Lip2Cheek in Beloved ($36)
  2. Lip2Cheek in Smile ($36)
  3. Cream Eye Shadow in Solar ($28)
  4. Cream Eye Shadow in Seduce ($28)
  5. UN” Cover-Up in 22 ($36)


If you’ve made it all the way through this post, thanks for reading! If you’ve tried any of these products before, let me know whether you liked them or not! 🙂

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My Cruelty-Free Journey | The Start


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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