Tuesday, 22 April 2014

April Wishlist and Lenten Update

April Wishlist and Lent Update

Easter is here and along with it the end of lent. March was a busy month with study starting for exams and going on a fabulous trip with some college friends to Amsterdam. Being so busy probably helped but I mostly managed to stick to my Lenten promise and bought little to no cosmetics.

My MarchWishlist went something like this. I didn’t invest in the Essie nail varnish but that will definitely be on the shopping list this month. My birthday was this week and I’m feeling the need to treat myself in the next few days.

My No7 concealer is still going strong so I won’t be investing in the Collection concealer yet. The other day I did a clear out of my makeup stash and put away all the things I don’t use, for example I have at least 5 mascaras and I can only use one/two max. When one runs out I will look to see if I have another and if not then it will be time to invest in a new one. Obviously there will be hauls and splurges but for the most part I should try to be more savvy when it comes to what I have.

I did invest in the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (currently a bargain, on offer at just €3.29) before Amsterdam so that I could decant it into a 100ml bottle for hand luggage. There will be a review posted in the coming weeks based on this vs the No.7 Cleansing Water.

The TanyaBurr nail varnishes are still on my list to invest in as I am just falling more and more in love with them every time I see them. I am dying to have little duck. Mint green is one of my favourite shades for this summer. I can’t resist things in mint.

I am still in love with the jumpsuit from Boohoo and I will certainly be adding this to my summer wardrobe  (am very upset it's out of stock). It’s been a long month of not buying things and I have come across some new must haves for April.

Floral Shorts by Mollie at Oasis

These shorts while pricey at €44.00, will look fab for Summer. Paired with white or any colour that you pick up from the design on the shorts, it will be fabulously easy to bring these shorts from day to night by adding a pink lip, some wedges and a blazer. Oasis also offer a student discount on presentation of a valid student ID. 

Sleek Pink Lemonade Blush Trio

This blush is full of the most amazing shimmering and matte pinks, both cream and powder. It is everything one looks for in a Summer blush palette. It would be the perfect blush to take away on holidays knowing that you will have something on hand for every eventuality. Sleek products are extremely good value and are available to order on boots.ie. I could not however find this product on the Irish site. 

Oasis Tropical Floral Playsuit 

This playsuit, again from Oasis, is also pricey at €56, but is utterly stunning! Paired with flip flops during the day it would make the perfect outfit for a trip to the market or sightseeing and with gold accessories and heeled sandals by night, it would take you absolutely anywhere. Definitely one not to miss. 

Barry M Gelly Nail Polish

I love when I get my nails done, but sadly gel just doesn't seem to last for me. I'm dying to try these new polishes from Barry M, which claim to give the same finish as a gel manicure. I don't think they last as long as a gel manicure would but if I apply a top coat every other day I tend to get about a week out of a home, manicure, which isn't half bad. 

Black Cowl Wrap Playsuit by Mollie at Oasis

There seems to be a running trend in this months wishlist, in that I'm going to spend my last penny in Oasis. They have really outdone themselves for their Spring/Summer Collection and the clothes by Mollie are so classy and elegant. If you aren't feeling the floral trend for Summer but still want a jumpsuit that will take you from day to night easily then this is the one for you. Black looks well on everyone and the cowl/wrap nature of this playsuit should be flattering on any shape. This one could be harder to dress down for daywear, but a white belt and some flip flops and this would take you into the heart of any European city. An absolute must have for those nights where you need something really elegant but cool and relaxed at the same time!

So that's this month's wishlist... Have you spotted anything you'll be lusting after for the month to come? Let me know in the comments below. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Smashbox Makeup Review

Although some products mentioned in this post were provided to me courtesy of Smashbox, the views expressed in the following post are entirely my own.

A few weeks ago Smashbox sent me some products to review including their Try-it Kit and a tester of their new Full Exposure Palette.

 I also had my makeup done by their makeup artist, which I have already reviewed in my Smashbox Makeover Post.

The Try-it Kit contains a travel size primer

and lipgloss

I already owned the concealer  in fair/light and foundation in shade 1.

I started todays look by applying a pea-sized amount of primer all over my face.

The primer glided on really easily and wasn't oily or greasy on my face. I have been considering investing in a Smashbox primer for some time, but the price was always a major deterrent for me. Having tried it, I do quite like the formula and for someone with oily skin who really needs a primer it would be perfect, however my skin being normal/combination doesn't really need a heavy duty primer. 

After applying the primer I applied my concealer in any areas I felt needed a little help. I don't usually use the smashbox concealer for blemishes; I mainly keep it for my undereye area, however as this post is predominantly for Smashbox products I decided to try it out as a blemish cover also. I didn't really like it that much as a blemish cover. It was fine to cover redness but it didn't really do much to cover the spot on my forehead.

After blending out my concealer I applied some lid primer all over my lid up to my browbone. Since my Smashbox makeover I have been applying my eyeshadow before my foundation in order to stop fallout affecting the rest of my face.

The top row of shadows in the palette are shimmery

and the bottom row are matte. 

I used the matte cream colour all over my lid up as far as my browbone, before applying the matte beige on it's left all over the lid. I used the matte taupe colour on the right of the cream on the outer half of the eye and used the matte chocolate brown on the very left hand side to contour my eye. The finished blended look was this. 

I then used my Real Techniques Stippling Brush to buff on my foundation. I found that I used more foundation than usual due to it sticking to the primer more than it would to bare skin. I suppose this is really a testament to the quality of the primer. After applying I used my normal No7 Concealer to cover up any areas I felt weren't properly covered by the Smashbox Concealer. I then applied my Urban Decay Liquid Liner

I used the Smashbox pencil liner along my upper waterline. There was no transfer to my bottom waterline whatsoever. It also didn't spread throughout the day. I used my Rimmel Pressed Powder on my T-zone and chin. I filled in my eyebrows and applied my bronzer and highlighter to minimally contour my face. I used Bourjois Blusher in Jasper Rose on my cheeks. 

Before applying the Smashbox Gloss, I applied Benefit lip plump on my cupids bow and in the middle of my bottom lip. I used my Kate Moss lipstick in 03 under the gloss. The gloss didn't feel sticky when I applied it but it did leave a sticky residue after it had been on for a few minutes. It didn't last more than a half hour and was totally gone after I had eaten. 

The finished look: 

How Cruelty Free is Your Makeup Bag?

Its obvious to anyone that knows me, that I am totally and utterly addicted to all things makeup. What is often not as obvious is that there are some issues I feel strongly about when it comes to makeup products I will use. Over the years, in the process of brands testing their products before placing them on the market, many animals have been subject to what can only be described as torture.

Living in Ireland, a member of the European union, bound by EU law, there is zero tolerance for animal testing. An EU directive provides the framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetic purposes. It is prohibited to test finished products on animals, and prohibited to market in the EU, finished cosmetic products and their ingredients which were tested on animals. The testing ban has been in place since 2004 and the marketing ban since 2009. 

I am no political activist but it seems ridiculous to me that in 2014, when Europe can find alternative methods of testing cosmetics that larger, more powerful countries such as the US cannot make more of an effort to put an end to animal testing. The US are by no means the biggest culprit when it comes to this issue, having outlawed the testing of cosmetics on mammals. In China, local laws require animal testing on cosmetic products to demonstrate consumer safety as part of the product registration process. This is a mandatory legal requirement applicable to all cosmetic products sold in china. This has caused many large cosmetic companies such as Urban Decay not to enter the Chinese market despite it being potentially highly lucrative.

Urban Decay is just one company out of many to be awarded the ‘leaping bunny’ logo.

If you see the ‘leaping bunny’ on a cosmetic or website, you can be confident in the fact that the company has committed to the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, a voluntary pledge that companies make not to test on animals during any stage of product development. The ingredient suppliers make the same pledge and the result is a product which is 100% free from animal testing.

Urban Decay, which has recently been bought out by L’Oreal, made the following statement via email:

"We are under new ownership but they basically only own us. We still use the same animal and cruelty free companies we use to make our products. We hope to lead the way for L’Oreal and show them they do not need to test on any animals."

L’Oreal claim to no longer test any of its products or ingredients on animals, but as is the case with so many companies I emailed, they do make the exception if regulatory authorities demand they do so. This basically means that when they sell in places like China, they do allow the testing of their products on animals. Many companies sent me full details of their animal testing policy and the mention of this exception was always buried somewhere mid-paragraph. It seemed to me that most companies were aware that what they were doing would make people unhappy and they were doing their best to hide it.
When I sent emails to companies I always asked specifically if they sold in Countries such as China, where animal testing is mandatory, and though I found that many companies were attempting to hide their involvement in the Chinese market, most were willing to disclose it.

Real Techniques emailed me to say that their brushes are 100% synthetic, so they are all cruelty free. They did however choose not to comment on whether they sell in markets where animal testing is mandatory. Benefit told me that they have not been carrying out animal testing since long before the ban came into effect in 2004. They also did not comment on whether they sell their products in the Chinese market.

Boots provided the following statement:

“Boots and its subsidiary businesses do not test any products or ingredients on animals, and do not commission others to do so on our behalf. In fact in March 2013 it became illegal for any company to test cosmetic products or ingredients on animals in Europe.  We realise that until satisfactory replacements are available, other businesses around the world will carry out some tests for their own particular products and ingredients to meet regulatory requirements.  These safety tests may sometimes involve ingredients of the type used in products which we manufacture and sell.”

I started off by going through my makeup and emailed all of the companies. From the statements they sent me I made this little table. When I started the research for this post I thought it would be really easy to find products that are ethical. It's actually a lot harder. A lot of brands will put the profits they can gain ahead of the welfare of the animals they are testing their products on. From now on I will be trying my very best not to buy products which have possibly been animal tested. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or if there are any brands you would like checked out.

Brands 100% free from animal testing
Brands not free from animal testing
Urban Decay
Real Techniques
Body Shop


Bobbi Brown



I was unclear when it came to certain companies such as Benefit and Bourjois, so I felt it best to leave them out of the running altogether, rather than give false/misleading information. All of these companies would be required not to perform animal testing within the EU but if they sell their products in the Chinese market I included them in the Not Cruelty Free bracket.