beauty, Skincare

Zero Waste Beauty Swaps For 2019

I have spent years honing my skills on knowing when a product is cruelty free and which brands I need to avoid.  Often I get asked why I bother trying to live a cruelty free life and the truth is I would find it much harder to deal with not trying to.  “But isn’t it hard?” they ask and I quite simply reply with a smile and say “no”.  It’s never hard when it’s something you truly believe in.  We are so fortunate to live in a time when we can check if our products are cruelty free quickly and easily using our laptop or phone, but what I did however find tricky was navigating the world of zero waste beauty products.

The zero waste movement is rapidly growing, between Sir David Attenborough educating us all with his message that we need to reduce our plastics and the popularity of the topic on social media, we are now more than ever aware of the fact that we need to take personal accountability for our actions when it comes to plastic.  While it is an incredibly useful substance, there is no doubt it is overused, but where do we start?  I mean how often do you walk into a supermarket and see unpackaged soap or solid shower gel?  What about package free body lotion or cleansers?

Most of the beauty products we buy today come heavily packaged and we have come accustom to using such a wide range of products that the idea of going zero waste can seem really daunting.  Nobody wants to give up the products they now deem essential but the great news is alternatives do exist out there and I want to share with you my top tips on where to start making your beauty routine more zero waste.  These simple swaps will not only reduce the plastic in your beauty routine without giving any products up, they are intelligent swaps that will also save you money in the long run too.

Shampoo bars – Costing £7.50, one of these will last around 80 washes and can be easily found in Lush

shampoo bars

A Safety Razor – This might seem old school and it’s likely your granddad had one but these razors only require you to replace the blades rather than disposing of the razor. It’s easiest to buy the razor online for £20+ but you can get replacement blades in most larger chemists.

Safety Razor

A Mooncup – This is a clever little thing to replace tampons and reduce the wastage created dealing with periods to almost zero, costing around £22.


A Massage bar – Made with solid cocoa butter, this is not only a solid body lotion but pick the right one and you can even use them to remove your make-up! Lush retail them starting from £4.95.

A Solid Cleanser – You can of course use a block of soap, there are many out there great for washing your face but I love these cocoa butter based cleansers.  They melt away make-up and leave your skin feeling soft and hyrdrated.  These cost £4.95 in Lush


Washable make-up pads – A bamboo or cotton cloth, perfect to remove your makeup daily without cotton pads or make-up wipes.  Just wash with your towels and you can use them over and over.  You can purchase from Etsy for as little t £2.99 for 5.  I picked up a set of 12 on Amazon for £7.99



Whether you try one of these tips or all of them, here’s to our small steps making big changes while maintaining our love of beauty in 2019.


beauty, make-up

Who does it better – Tarte vs Revolution

Sometimes people tell me there are dupes of my favorite products out there and I roll my eyes because they just aren’t the same.  They might do the same thing and look similar but the effect or quality is compromised.


I am a huge love of Tarte and their Shape Tape.  I not only love the concealor, I also love their foundation and it is my go to combo if I am going somewhere nice.  They are not however cheap, at £22 for the concealor and £33 for the foundation that is a fairly pricey combo to use for every day wear.  Step in Revolution.

My ears started to prick up when Georgie was talking about this concealer on the regular and so I decided for £4 I would give it a go.  It could after all be the perfect cheaper alternative to wear to work and it is easily picked up in Superdrug whereas I have to order Tarte online.


So who does it better you ask?  Well, I decided to put them to the test.  Below you will see me with no concealer on, I do still have some mascara and brow pencil on but I have removed the rest to best show you the difference.  It’s safe to say my eyes really do need help to brighten them up because with 3 kids and an early start every day for work, sleep is not my friend.


The next photos are me wearing concealer.



The applicators are similar, however the consistency of the Revolution is definitely oilier than the Tarte.

Effect wise, they both have great shade range and offer similar coverage with Tarte slightly in the lead with better coverage and drying slightly more matte.


If they both cost the same amount I would say that Tarte was the superior formula because it is, however when you realise you could buy 5 of the Revolution vs the Tarte you can’t really fault revolution for being slightly behind on the quality front.

So does revolution count as a quality dupe?  I would say yes, it offers great value for money and a very similar effect, in fact I guarantee if I went to work with one eye done with each nobody would notice!

I will still keep both in my collection, Tarte really is my true love, however the Revolution is likely to become my every day choice due to the price.


Have you tried both? Who do you think does it better?

Emmy x

Christmas, Seasonal Beauty

Cruelty Free Advent Calendars for 2018

Beauty based advent calendars have become ever more popular in the last few years and brands are not disappointing with their offerings for those of us looking Cruelty Free and/or vegan options this year.

It’s always advisable to buy early as many of the best beauty advent calendars will sell out early and I am desperately trying to work out which one I should go for this year.  I have compiled a top 10 – perhaps you can help me pick!


1. Elemis (£150 with £347 of contents)

I was super excited to see this one advertised in early September.  It’s an online exclusive and packed full of amazing travel size products as well as a full size Marine Cream.  If you enjoy quality skincare then this could be the one calling to you provided you are happy going big budget and having a veggie friendly option (It may be vegan but you would need to double check the individual ingredients).


2 – Revolution (£120 – contains £149 of product)

At the time of writing, this calendar is reduced to £80 on the Superdrug website, further incentive to buy early.  If you love going out over the festive period and going glam with your make-up then this calendar will have you sorted.  More make-up than you could shake a stick at and a wide variety of products to work your way through.


3. Make Up Revolution (£50)

As with the last one, this one is currently reduced to £30 on the Superdrug Website.  Again it is packed full of make-up.  Less in the way of palettes but still lots of variety for the cost.

revolution 2

4. 12 Days of Liz Earle (£80)

Okay, so not strictly a full advent calendar but Liz Earle is another cruelty free skincare brand I love.  At £80 it is much less than the Elemis one, though with half the products it’s arguably no better value, just kinder to the pocket in the short term.

My top tip would be if you are holding off on buying just yet, watch out for the Boots extra points events because you could end up getting £10+ back in points with this purchase.  This is another veggie friendly company but some products contain honey and beeswax so please double check if buying for a vegan.



5. Superdrug Bloom 12 Days Perfume Advent Calendar (£24)

VEGAN ALERT – this one is for you.  Bloom perfumes are all vegan friendly and this was such a popular advent calendar last year that I couldn’t not put it on this years list.  This contains 12 x 8ml bottles and offers you the chance to try a good variety of their range.  Perfect if you enjoy trying lots of different fragrances or like to wear different scents to fit different moods.

At the time of writing, this too is half price and retailing for £12


6. Bloom 25 days Candle Advent Calendar (£24)

Oh I am a big lover of a scented candle, are you?  If so then this boy is the one for you.  There are 6 different scents with 4 tea lights in each scent.  There is also a tea light holder (I assume on day one?) to pop them all into.  Without a doubt a great way to keep your house smelling magical over the Christmas season.  It’s vegan friendly and reduced to £12 at the moment, I will definitely be grabbing one of these!


7. The Body Shop (£45, £65 and £99)

Every year The Body Shop knock it out of the park with a choice of 3 advent calendars to suit a variety of pockets and are veggie friendly.  Each one is worth around double the value you pay and the come filled with delightful goodies (most in mini sizes) to give you the chance to pamper yourself and try loads of new products.


8. Bare Minerals, Out of this World (£79 worth £281)

This is without a doubt amazing value for money.  Bare Minerals have opted for minis to let us try as many products as possible while keeping the price relatively low.  People who use Bare Minerals in my experience normally swear by the whole range, so this could be a great gift if you have a Bare Minerals lover in your house.

Bare Minerals

9. Charlotte Tilbury, Magic Beauty Universe (£150)

Charlotte Tilbury always make their packaging look magical and this one follows that trend.  This one isn’t available until October 4th and after the success of last years Naughty and Nice Magic Box I would put money on it selling out very quickly so please put it in the diary if you want this one!

I haven’t seen a list of contents yet but it will certainly be a very luxurious mixture of treats to indulge yourself on the run up to Christmas.

Charlotte tilbury

10. Hotel Chocolat, The Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar (£12.50)

Okay, if you REALLY want chocolate then who am I to argue.  Hotel Chocolat have this cracking dark chocolate one available that is vegan friendly to let you count down the days munching your way through chocolate penguins, snowmen and Christmas trees.  Winner!

Hotel Chocolat


So hit me, have any of these caught your eye?  Or any tips of what cruelty free delights you are planning to go for this Christmas?

Emmy x

anti-aging, beauty, Skincare

Beauty Review | VeeBeautyLDN Skincare

You might remember that last week I posted about the VeeBeautyLDN Haircare products I had tried and said I would update you on the skincare at a later date.  Well as they say, there is no time like the present so let’s jump straight into the cleansers!

Rose Cleansing Beauty Balm – £11.95

I tried two of the VeeBeautyLDN Cleansing Beauty Balms, the first of which was the rose one.  Ingredients wise it contains Coconut oil, shea butter, Olive Oil, beeswax, vitamin E and rose geranium essential oil.  Lots of softening and gentle ingredients to stick to the grease and dirt for you to remove with a warm cloth.  Oils like this are also great to remove eye makeup. The floral scent will hit you instantly as you use this and I found it lovely to use in the morning.  My top tip is that I find it’s vital the cloth is warm otherwise you just end up pushing the oils about your face.  Use a flannel to be super gentle or a muslin for a little bit of gentle exfoliation.

Rose Cleansing Beauty Balm

Lavender and Lemon Cleansing Beauty Balm – £11.95

Next up is the Lavender and Lemon version of the Cleansing Beauty Balm.  Again the cleansing ingredients are similar with Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Vitamin E, Lavender Oil, Lemon Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus Oil.   It looks as though this one would better suit oily or spot prone skin with the antibacterial properties of tea tree and eucalyptus as well as lemon oil to cut through any grease on the skin.  I’ve been using it in the evenings to let the lavender oil help calm my mood for sleep.  As with the last Cleansing Beauty Balm, warm water on a cloth is the best way to remove this along with your grease, dirt and make-up.

Lavender and Lemon Cleansing Beauty Balm

Clarifying Clay Mask – £16.95

Stupidly I forgot to take a photo of this mask on to show you what it looked like but it was a dark grey clay on the skin.  The packaging said to make it up with 1 tsp mask to 2 tsp water (or other liquids such as apple cider vinegar) but I found this was quite runny and had to add a little more of the mix in to thicken it up.  I would say less is more when making it up and add more water if required.

Clarifying Clay Mask

It’s packed with a variety of clays to make it super absorbent and also contains lots of natural exfoliants to buff the skin when washing off.  The mask made my skin feel quite tight which is pretty normal for a clay mask.  It was a bit too stimulating for me though and I wouldn’t generally consider myself to have sensitive skin.

While I have loved all the other products I tried, this wouldn’t be one I would purchase.  I didn’t enjoy the feeling of it nor the price for the effects.  If I wanted a natural face mask I could think of other brands who make them for a lower price and which feel gentler on the skin.

Rose Gold Elixer – £19.95

Rose Gold Elixer

Last but not least is the Rose Gold Elixer .  This product has a lovely scent with the rose and citrus oils blending together.  It is packed with loads of nourishing oils to hydrate, balance the skins oil production and aid the repair of skin as well as holding back signs of ageing.  For a bit of extra added indulgence there is 24k Gold Leaf – gold is a natural antioxidant, it will also fight free radicals which cause the signs of ageing.

I’ve been using this every evening and really enjoying the feel of it.  It would be too heavy to wear during the day unless you had very dry skin but it makes a perfect overnight treatment to keep the skin in top condition.

The Conclusion!

Out of the 6 products VeeBeautyLDN gifted me, I really enjoyed all of them excluding the Clarifying Clay Mask which just really was not for my skin.  The ingredients in their products are great – clean and natural choices with them avoiding synthetics and parabens.  While I am not anti synthetics or parabens, I can’t deny it is lovely to stick to natural ingredients.  Price wise, the products are all very reasonably priced for the quality of the ingredients.

Will I buy again?  It’s very possible!  It can take me a while to repurchase things due to the amount of products I keep in my bathroom at anyone time but I can for sure see myself going back for a few products and I would definitely love to try the nail and cuticle oil and lip balms in the future.

Emmy x


Gel nail training | What are the cruelty free options?

I really enjoy learning new stuff and though I am a qualified Beauty Therapist, I have never actually bothered learning much about gel nails because I don’t actively do nails for people (other than myself and my girls).

Shellac is the brand that most people will think of when it comes to gel nails but would you be shocked to know they aren’t a cruelty free brand?  At one point they would have been but their status is now that they don’t test unless required by law which as we all well know means they will test to go into the Chinese market.  Such a shame!



Step forward Gelish, likely the second most popular gel on the market after Shellac and thankfully 100% vegan and cruelty free!  The training for Gelish can be done in Sallys, a 1 day course if you already have a mani and pedi qualifiation or a 3 day course if you have no formal qualifications.

Cost wise for the product, it’s a little on the steep side.  £150 for the “Student Kit” for your training and that doesn’t include the lamp, this will set you back another £150.

Each bottle of colour is £23.99 which again isn’t exactly cheap in comparison to other brands but with 15ml in each bottle there is an excellent amount of product for your money.  You can also purchase minis if you want to try a colour out a few times before committing to the full size bottle.  And talking of colour, I believe they have around 100 to try from so a really great variety.

Orly Gel FX:

Orly Gel fx

Orly are a long lasting and vitamin infused gel polish that is supposed to be kinder to nails.  As with Gelish, the range is vegan as well as cruelty free. Training for Orly is done in set locations and for me that would be a day trip to Dublin.  The cost of training when purchasing products/kit is however cheaper at £88, you will still require a mani and pedi qualification or else do a longer training course.

The cost of the product is pretty great, £12.95 a bottle but the volume is 8ml so almost half that of a bottle of Gelish.  For the month of August the supplier Graftons have a great offer of 3 for 2 on all purchases which is a pretty sweet deal.  Again Orly have a great volume of colour choice with 96 options.

What the reviews say:

To make my decision as to which brand would suit me best I started reading a lot of reviews and I spotted a few patterns in the comments.

  • Gelish requires buffing of the nail which some people like to avoid.
  • Orly can take a REALLY long time to remove.

Orly advertise removal time as 10 minutes, however a lot of reviews said it took up to an hour for the technician to remove the polish and this really worried me.  No matter how much money I would save in going for the Gel FX, it would be a futile spend if the product caused me problems long term in the removal process.

Buffing the nail isn’t something that bothers me, yes it adds extra time to the treatment but it is time you factor into your routine rather than an extra unknown time to add on.

And the winner is?

Gelish!  The range of colours, the fact the brand is well known and well loved were what sold it for me.  The fact the training is closer to where I live is nice but I would have traveled for training for the right brand.  I am content that this is a brand with the ethics I desire and the positive feedback of users has set my mind at ease that I will get on well with this brand.

Training will be in mid October and you can be sure I will keep you up to date on how it goes.

Emmy x



anti-aging, beauty, Skincare, Uncategorized

Beauty Haul | Marks and Spencers

I always enjoy a trip to the Sprucefield M&S because they have the best beauty selection with loads of cruelty free options.

Last month when I went in for the Studio 10 demo with Patsy Kensit the girls were kind enough to send me away with some more goodies so this haul review is 100% gifted but the opinions are my own.  I’ve had a good old month trying to make time to try all the goodies in here along with my usual stash of incoming products and the results are in!


REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial (£33 for 75ml)

First up were the samples of the REN 1 minute face mask.  This mask is activated with water after you apply it.  The purpose of this mask is to tighten the skin, fight the signs of aging and effects of pollution.  It does this with Vitamin C, Boswellic Acid and Magnesium for a boost to your skins glow.

With it only taking a minute, it really is the perfect mask for anyone short of time but in need of a mini pamper session.  I am pleased to say I did notice a positive effect on the skin using these but I wasn’t a big fan of the smell and dare I say acidic taste that was left on my lips after washing the mask off.

Rodial Stemcell Magic Gel (£55 for 50ml)

Rodial Stem Cell

I am a huge fan of Rodial as a brand and this product was a lovely one to use.  You can use the Stemcell Magic Gel as a night mask or an intensive treatment during the day.  The gel hydrates, tightens and tones the skin while also protecting against pollution (and if you weren’t aware, pollution plays a major part in our ageing).  It contains “Pronalen™ Bio-Protect complex and PhytoCellTech™ Alp Rose stem cell technology work towards maintaining the skin’s moisture balance”.  The product has a really silky feel when applied to the skin which I loved and the smell is very gentle and pleasent too.

Pure Super Grape Day Cream (£15 for 50ml)


The Pure Super Grape Day Cream comes with an SPF 15 which is always a good bonus.  It hydrates the skin with 95% natural ingredients and avoids synthetic colours, fragrances and parabens.  It is made with a complex of echinacea, peptides and an exclusive source of resveratrol which combined help smooth fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate and protect the skin.  This product feels non greasy when I apply it to my skin and hydrates well.  Great value for the price.

Rosie for Autograph Eau de Parfum (£14 for 30ml)


This is a really lovely fragrance if you are a fan of floral and rose scents. It is part of the exclusive range with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.  The fragrance lasts well on the skin like any of the other perfumes I have tried by M&S.  I love that they have a good range of fragrances to pick from and that they are all cruelty free.  So chuffed they popped two of this into my goodie bag so I can keep one in my handbag and one in the car.

Overall this was a great goodie bag and it really highlights a small portion of the wonderful range available in Marks and Spencers.  You may not find all these products in your local store as some are only kept in larger stores with a dedicated beauty department but you can 100% order them online for free pick up in your local store.

Do you have any favorites you have spotted in M&S recently?

Emmy x


*Although products are gifted, all opinions are my own.

beauty, Uncategorized

Beauty | How to go cruelty free in 2018

Going cruelty free can be a challenge.  It’s tricky to know what products you can use and what you want to avoid when you first start out on your journey to change your beauty products over.  And if I am honest, companies don’t make it easy on us.  Lots of brands will happily tell you they are cruelty free when the reality is they are not.  Others will fob you off and tell you that they comply with EU guidelines and animal testing is illegal in Europe (Which it certainly is) but that doesn’t mean the products haven’t been tested.

So here is my advice on what are you looking out for when it comes to keeping your beauty routine cruelty free.

Check for the Leaping Bunny logo

You will see a lot of bunnies on your journey to cruelty free but not all are equal.  Some brands will pop a bunny on their packaging and state the product is cruelty free.  These bunnies are worthless.  You need to be looking out for the official Leaping Bunny image, this is the only logo to assure a product is 100% cruelty free.  You will still find cruelty free brands that do not pay for the Leaping Bunny (such as Lush) but it sure is a good start to help you on your journey.


Vegan and Cruelty Free are not the same

If a product is listed as vegan, this does not mean it is cruelty free.  Companies such as Loreal have now started to offer “vegan” beauty products.  Sadly this no more makes them cruelty free than the moon is made of cheese.

vegan loreal

If a product is sold in China, then it is not cruelty free

It can be difficult to tell sometimes if a company sell in China, however if you can be sure they retail there, then you can be sure their products are tested on animals.  Sadly the Chinese government require products to be tested on animals by law before they can be sold in the country.  No matter how much care and attention a company has paid to its production of products, their efforts are undone the second they enter the Chinese market.

However do not confuse this for products made in China.  Products can be made in China and do not require any animal testing so long as they are not sold in the country.

loreal china

Google is your friend

We are blessed to be able to use our phones and laptops to check if products we wish to purchase are cruelty free.  There are so many wonderful resources out there to help you such as Logical Harmony, Ethical Elephant, Cruelty Free Kitty and Peta who all have their own lists for what brands are cruelty free.


You are on a journey and not every choice you make will be correct but it is important to forgive yourself for any mistakes.  It isn’t your fault, if only it was easier for you to know which products fit in line with your ethics.  You have made a choice to commit to small changes to your beauty routine and that is wonderful.  My advice is if in doubt, double check and if you need a quick replacement for an old product but have no time to research then stick to safe brands that you know you can walk into a pick cruelty free products with ease from such as Lush, Marks and Spencer own brand, Superdrug own brand and Aldi own brand.

This is actually my store where you will find me in most days of the week.  A 100% cruelty free business I am proud to work for.