About Me

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Vegan. Ex-makeup artist. CFS/ME sufferer. Cares about human rights, equality, animal rights, conservation/climate change.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Vegan Faces Review and Swatches

What's this, a new post?! You'd better believe it. 

This time I wanted to share with you some products by an awesome, certified vegan company, Vegan Faces. The company was started when, exasperated by the lack of vegan facepaints available, facepainter Metala Theart decided to create her own. The range now boasts 15 shades of greasepaint, plus a beautiful selection of mineral eyeshadows, lipsticks, blush, mascara, glitter and cleanser. They are all made of natural ingredients and mineral pigments, making them ideal for little'uns or those with sensitive skins.

I was delighted when the lovely Metala gave me some products to try when we met at an event a while ago!

L-R Blush in Lychee, facepaint in Purple , eyeshadows in Passionfruit, Fire and Water.

Swatches Top L-R Lychee blush, eyeshadows in Passionfruit, Fire and Water. Bottom - facepaint in Purple.

My camera definitely doesn't do these colours justice, they are wonderfully vibrant in real life. The mineral shadows and blush are finely milled and buildable, meaning you can apply a little to achieve a subtle wash of colour, or 2 to 3 layers for a stronger, brighter shade. I love 'Water', a palest pistachio green that looks stunning with brown or green eyes.  I'm impressed with the blush, it's a flattering shade with the perfect amount of shimmer to give the cheekbones a beautiful dimension. The facepaint is highly pigmented, and easy to blend and apply. Once it has been set with powder it has wonderful staying power. It works well as both a lipcolour and a base for eyeshadows - I do love a multi-use product!
Mineral Lip Plumper in Rose Shimmer
The Mineral Lip plumper in Rose Shimmer is very moisturising, perfect for the winter when most of us get chapped lips. I like to use it to top a matte lippie, or to balance a strong eye.

Here's a couple of eye looks I did with the Water and Passionfruit shadows. I would have worn the blue shade (inexplicably named 'Fire'), but blue clashes with my colouring and gives me zombieface :(.

A wash of Water on the lid, and Passionfruit in the crease. My camera washes out the green :/

Passionfruit on the lid - it really brings out the green in my eyes! :)

I can't wait to try more products from Vegan Faces - I need the full range of facepaints in my life! I'd love to see her bring out more products - namely water-based facepaints, and perhaps foundation, concealer and primer? 

Plus, what with it being the festive season and all, I'm thinking the Brush Set or the lippie would make great gifts! 

Be sure to check them out - it's important to support small vegan companies! 

Til Next time,


*Products were given to me for review purposes, however this does not affect my opinions of them.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Update - New Vegan Cosmetics on the Scene!

What's this? Why, it's a new blog post! Yes, it's been quite a while! Sorry, my life lately has been quite ... how should I put it ... character-building. 

But enough of that, what I came here to talk about is some exciting new vegan make-up that has come to my attention!

Majorly late to the party on this one, but at the end of July, Lush launched their new range of colour cosmetics, Emotional Brilliance!

The range consists of 11 lipsticks, 6 cream eyeshadows, 11 liquid liners, mascara, powder, and 2 new skin tints, all of which are certified vegan.

The idea was inspired by Lush's spa treatment, Synaesthesia. The idea is, that you choose three colours from their spinny wheel instore or online, based not on your colouring or preferences, but on what stands out to you at that particular moment. 
The colours are all supposed to represent something about you emotionally. It's a nice gimmick, but personally, I like to keep my therapy sessions and my make-up bag separate. I don't know about you, but I have enough to think about without worrying that my emotions are clashing with my eye colour! My advice is to stick to what flatters your skin, hair and eyes.

They are rather pricey - shadows, liners and lipsticks are £14.50,  mascara, powder and skin tints are £12. You do get a good amount of product though, and they are multi-purpose - liners can be used as shadows and vice versa, and the lipsticks work beautifully as blush.

I bought their cream eyeshadow in Sophisticated, which is a shimmery taupe. It's beautifully pigmented and crease resistant, providing a lovely base for other shadows. Definitely one of the best cream shadows I've used. 

I'm rubbish at photography - in real life the colour is a neutral, suit-all shade - cooler than the bottle pic, but warmer than the swatch. Beautiful.

My second purchase was their Eyes Right mascara. I was very impressed with this one, deep black, non-clumping, serious thickening and lengthening. It's great for building up the coats for a full, dramatic look. It's not water-proof but water-resistant, however I experienced no smudging or flaking. 

I only have one problem with it, and that problem applies to the rest of the range, too. 

The packaging. 

Weird glass dropper bottles. What were they thinking? Glass is heavy and breakable - if you're like me and carry your make-up in your handbag this is just annoying. And how are you supposed to get to the last of the product when it runs out? Also, the powder doesn't come with a sifter - that's just an accident waiting to happen.

The packaging is just about passable for the other products, but it gets a but ridiculous when it comes to the mascara. Let me show you.

What is this!? A mascara wand FOR ANTS???!?

Wow, that is seriously small. Too small to use comfortably, if I'm honest.* 
I've smudged it a fair few times trying to maneuver it around my inner and bottom lashes.

My advice to Lush would be to scrap the bottles and switch to tubes, like OCC's latest lip tar tubes, and Eyeko's mascara. I know recycled and recyclable packaging is important to them, but I'm sure there must be a way to make a recyclable tube? Eco-friendly packaging is a major plus, but it shouldn't hinder my use of the product.

Products are available from Lush stores and online. Lush kindly sent me some swatches to give you an idea of the shades, but I encourage you to pop into the stores and have a play with them.

New post coming up, featuring Vegan Faces!

Til then,


Products were purchased by me.
*That's what she said.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Review - Lily Lolo, Bdellium Tools and cutECOsmetics

Earlier in the year, I came across a website called cutecosmetics.co.uk. It seemed pretty awesome - they are an 'online eco, organic & cruelty free cosmetics specialist'. They have a dedicated vegan section, and nothing they sell is tested on animals. Big thumbs up from me! So you can imagine my glee when I heard via their twitter they were looking for bloggers to try out some of their products. I volunteered, and soon afterwards, I received a package!

Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in China Doll (£12.49) and Bdellium Tools Green Bambu Vegan 959 Powder Blending Brush (£12.95) :D

The powder brush is soft and dense, but not as fluffy/silky as my favourites Cozette or OCC. It's great to apply and blend powders - I've used it for foundation, blush and bronzer and it works well. It's particularly good for stippling on liquid products - you need a slightly firmer bristle for that. I've washed it a fair few times and had no problems with colourfastness or shedding. The green is adorable, but I kind of wish it matched - the bristles are mint, but the handle is lime - they clash horribly. Of course that's just me being picky, it obviously makes no difference to how  well it works! Overall I'd recommend it, but it is worth it to splash the extra cash on a Cozette, in my opinion. However, I'm still eager to try some of the other brushes in their Bambu series. 

On to the foundation.

China Doll is the second lightest colour, and it matches me perfectly. It's a neutral shade, with just the right balance of yellow/pink. The silky fine powder gives a beautiful matte finish, with no sign of that horrible sparkly look some mineral foundations have... 
Not quite the natural look I was hoping for! (via Pinterest)
The thing that really sells this foundation for me is the coverage. Tap the excess from your brush, then buff it in for a beautifully even complexion. If you have a little more to conceal, use a combination of buffing and patting/pushing it into the skin, adding a second layer if you need to. Flawless! It's seriously the best coverage I've seen from a mineral foundation, and you'd need to be plastering it on with a trowel to get the dry, cakey look I've seen with other brands. 

With all this, plus SPF 15, it's certainly earned it's title as my Holy Grail mineral make-up, even before you consider the price. 10g for £12.49. Let's compare that to, I don't know, BareMinerals? 8g for £24! That's double the price, and frankly, last time I tried it I wasn't too impressed.

But don't just take my word for it, here's a swatch, and a pic of me wearing it. 

L Swatched with finger, R Blended out

Why am I wearing a teal wig? Because why the hell not?!

It should be noted that I suffer from both acne and eczema (lucky me) and it covered like a dream :) 

Both products are available to buy from cutECOsmetics.

Thanks for reading!
Guide to vegan make-up shopping coming soon!


Disclaimer - The products in this post were provided free of charge by cutECOsmetics for review purposes. This is not a paid review/promotion - all opinions are my own, honest thoughts. Have a beautiful day, you're awesome :)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

UPDATE - Urban Decay Backs Down!

Epic win for animals and lovers of cruelty-free make-up! Urban Decay have released a statement announcing they will no longer be going ahead with the move into China, saying they couldn't "...comply with current regulations in China and remain true to our core principles." Click here to read the full statement.

Whilst I'm delighted about this turn of events, I can't help but think that they only changed their minds due to the outcry from their customers (I like to think my email had something to do with it).

However, I've noticed something curious. Since the news about Urban Decay selling in China broke, YouTube gurus and beauty bloggers have been abuzz with criticism and opinions about it. This is a stark contrast to the tight lipped silence that met the news about Estée Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay. Arguably, that should have received more coverage - Estée Lauder owns a lot of companies, their decision would bring many more animals to the labs than Urban Decay. So why did the online beauty community ignore Estée Lauder but criticize Urban Decay?

Hypocrisy. Urban Decay have always made their cruelty-free status a selling point, printing it on all their packaging and shouting it from the rooftops. Avon, Mary Kay and Estée Lauder's crew never made a big deal out of it, they just stated it discreetly on their websites. You aren't shocked when you walk past a restaurant and see some guy tucking into the remains of a cow, but when you see me chowing down on a chicken leg, you're gonna do a double-take.

The point is, the animals don't care who is hurting them and experimenting on them. It could be Hitler or Ghandi, it makes no difference - they just want it to stop. And so do I. 

Urban Decay's backtrack shows us that when enough people talk, big companies listen - if only to save face and stay in the public's 'good books'. So I ask everyone reading this to sign and share my petition against Estée Lauder, Avon and Mary Kay testing on animals, and join me in boycotting them until they agree to stop selling in China - where animal testing is mandatory. Post on their Facebook and Twitter pages, blog and vlog about it, message your favourite beauty guru about it.

Although I'm sure Urban Decay wouldn't have changed their minds were it not for the consumer backlash, I want to commend them for listening to their customers, and not being too proud to hold their hands up and say 'Ok, you're right, we made a mistake'. 

Urban Decay is available in the UK via Debenhams and House of Fraser - check out their list of vegan products here.

There are more posts from me coming soon! 

Until then,


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Urban Decay's Shocking Moral U-Turn

So Urban Decay is now tested on animals. 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This has to be a joke, right?
It's true.
They, like Estée Lauder, Mary Kay and Avon, have decided to sell their products in China. They have now lost their cruelty-free certification. This is the same Urban Decay who prints on all their products the phrase "We don't do animal testing, how could anyone?" How indeed.

They released a statement, which has since been taken down, claiming they were only going into China to help change things from the inside. If you'll believe that, you'll believe anything! There was so much PR spin in their statement, I was getting dizzy! The press release can now be read here: Temptalia

I am outraged by this turn of events. Urban Decay is insulting our intelligence by trying to paint themselves like the good guys in all of this, when everyone can see the move is simply a money-making exercise.
Urban Decay's profit from China
So I did what I always do in extreme situations such as this.

Send a stern email!

I now present said email for your perusal.

To: u2@urbandecay.com; jdouglass@urbandecay.com
Subject: RE: Animal testing
Hello Jennifer,
I have read the original press release published at www.urbandecay.com/chinainfo (it has been taken down now). Urban Decay claims it is moving into China because 'Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes.' This is blatant whitewashing, as if Urban Decay had done their research, they would know that Peta has been working closely with Chinese government officials and researchers to change the laws, and they are in the final stages of approving the first non-animal tests (source). If you wanted to change things, you could invest in non-animal research (as Peta have done), and delay the move into China until the laws and regulations have changed. 
Urban Decay's move into China is just a thinly veiled plan to make a profit. It is clear that Urban Decay views their 'anti-animal testing stance' as a marketing gimmick. Selling in China whilst claiming they're trying to 'change things from within' is just trying to have your cake and eat it. 
 There are some consumers that aren't concerned with animal testing, and no doubt Urban Decay will have their continued custom, as well as all the new custom from China. But compassionate consumers are not convinced by your poor excuses, and will no longer purchase your products. I doubt you care, as the dollars rolling in from China should silence your conscience quite effectively. Allow me to suggest a more fitting name for your company - 'Moral Decay'.

Thank-you for reading,
Former Urban Decay Fan,
Emma Carvell

Please join me in boycotting Urban Decay, and sign these important petitions!

Every signature counts, guys! Be sure to share it on Facebook and Twitter!

Sorry for the lack of posts of late, I'll be back soon, posting my guide to vegan make-up shopping! 


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Foundation reviews and Tola's Engagement Party

First of all, this post is long overdue! Oops - bad blogger! Anyway, I've been testing out a few foundations lately and I wanted to let you know my opinions of them.

With my recent E.L.F order I got the Studio Line Flawless Finish Foundation, £6.50, in Porcelain. I'd heard good things about this foundation and was eager to try it. First I concealed with my favourite bargain concealer, E.L.F's All Over Cover Stick, £1.50, which is full coverage, non-greasy, and better than most expensive concealers I've tried. I patted it on with a damp foundation sponge, and was immediately struck by how greasy it was. There's no way you can get away without setting this one! However it disguised my eczema beautifully, and had a nice full coverage, despite feeling like I was wearing a face pack. I set it with a generous amount of powder, and looked in the mirror. My skin looked clear and even, but not as smooth as it does with my regular foundation. I checked my face again around 5pm, and found it had caked and settled into the lines around my eyes and mouth. A quick pat with the sponge and some more powder took care of it. I would recommend this foundation if you have dry skin and don't mind touching it up during the day, but avoid it if you have bumpy or oily skin. I am concerned that this foundation may be breaking me out slightly, (perhaps due to the it's high content of mineral oil) but this could just be down to my weird hormonal skin! 

I also bought their Mineral Foundation in Fair, £3.50. I used it over the all over cover stick, buffing it in with my ecotools powder brush. It provided a beautiful, natural, matte finish. It is fairly light coverage though, so it may be better suited to people with clearer complexions. I like to use it over my foundation to give a little extra coverage and keep it in place all day.

The final foundation I've tried lately is OCC Skin Foundation. I haven't airbrushed it yet, but stippled it using a damp sponge. The texture takes a bit of getting used to, as it's a thin liquid and can feel wet at first if you apply too much at once. Applying thin layers a little at a time seems to work best, giving it buildable coverage. This foundation has a beautiful finish – it looks just like fresh, clear skin - love it! Can't wait to airbrush it. I not only used it on myself, but used it on the gorgeous Tola when I did her make-up for her engagement party!

Tola and I have been friends since secondary school, and she's one of the loveliest, funnest people I've ever met! I managed to snap a couple of pics of our FOTDs, but I soon got caught up in the fun of the day and forgot about taking pics!

FOTD - OCC foundation in Y0/Y1, ELF eyeshadow, BWC Blush & Lippie.

My setup.

Tola's before and after - so pretty!!!
Kett Fixx Creme as concealer, OCC Foundation, Barry M Blush, Yaby Shadow, Barry M Mascara, Revlon Lashes and custom mixed OCC Liptar.

Bonus shoe pic! Seriously how awesome are Tola's shoes? Major heel envy!

It was a very pleasant day, and I actually got quite soppy seeing how genuinely happy the couple were. Congrats <3 

You need to check out Tola's blog here. She is très chic, and always looks fashion forward without flashing flesh, which is refreshing when a lot of girls these days tend to have a 'less is more' attitude about clothing.

Remember to sign and share the animal testing petition!

Til next time!


Thursday, 1 March 2012

E.L.F Review and Petition Update

I bought some bits from E.L.F in January, and I figured it's about time I reviewed them! 

The main thing I wanted was their Mineral Eyeshadow Primer, £3. I used to use and love Urban Decay's Primer Potion, but over a year ago UD removed it's vegan 'Marley Footprint', after it transpired that one of the ingredients is derived from lanolin. This also means that their Vegan Palette is not vegan, as it comes with a mini primer potion! I don't understand why they didn't just include a mini brush instead, or even rename it. 

Darn you, Urban Decay!!!
So now that I'd finally used up my remaining Primer Potion, I needed a replacement. I did my research online and it seemed that the general consensus was E.L.F's Mineral Eyeshadow Primer to prevent creasing, and Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy for foiling* shimmery shadows. Sobe Botanicals' Primed and Proper had good reviews too, but I decided to try E.L.F first as that's easier to get in the UK. 
(*Foiling - Applying shadow mixed with water or mixing medium to enhance the colour and metallic shine)

It comes in a tube with a doe-foot applicator. The primer appears beige but goes on clear, and is more liquid than UDPP, which is quite sticky. It has a silky, silicone texture, more like a facial primer, and when I first tried it I wondered whether it'd live up to it's reputation. 
E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow Primer,  swatched heavily (left) and blended out (right)

It makes my shadow more vibrant, and a dream to blend. I really put it to the test on 4th February. I applied my make-up at 7am, then headed off to IMATS. Went clubbing with friends that evening, partied into the night, and by 7am the following morning I was on the bus home wearing day old make-up! Yes, I know - gross! Bad me! So after IMATS, clubbing, plus lots of walking around in the snow without an umbrella, how did my eyeshadow fare? Not bad - very minimal creasing, it still looked decent! Win! I would have taken a picture, but in my sleep-deprived state it I was barely able find my own house, trundling through the blizzard! Thank god I don't drink, or I might never have been seen again!

My next purchase from E.L.F was the 48pc Eyeshadow Collection, £3.75. I needed a small palette for myself (i.e not my pro kit) with lots of colours ranging from nudes to smoky to brights. After a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing on the website, I settled on this, as it's small enough to fit in my handbag, and has a good variety of shades. I liked the packaging - the box was covered in silver glitter! The palette itself is covered in smooth patent-style plastic, with a small mirror inside. It comes with a double-sided foam applicator, which I promptly lost, using my EcoTools mini eye brushes instead.

I was kind of disappointed in the quality of this palette. Most shadows were chalky, many had poor colour pay-off and every shade was full of chunky, silver glitter that caused epic fallout all over my cheeks. I suppose I was expecting a lot from a £3.75 palette, but I really wanted this to be great. Overall not a terrible purchase, as there are a lot of nice colours, but the quality is what you'd expect for a palette of this price. 
Palette and Swatches over primer (apologies for my sasquatch arms)

I also wanted to mention the petition I wrote about on my last post. At this very moment, as I post this, we have 7,689 signatures! That's amazing! So many people from all around the world standing up for these defenceless creatures. But it's not enough, not yet. More people need to sign and boycott - they won't do anything until they see a significant drop in purchases. Sadly, this issue is being ignored by the beauty blogging/youtube guru world, probably due to sponsored posts and affiliate income and the like from the offending companies. That's why it's so important to spread the word - if you have a blog, post about it, make a video response to your favourite guru, comment the link on your favourite blog. It's truly vital that this receives more coverage! We won't give up until the animals are safe! 


Remember to buy cruelty-free. If you're not sure about something, you can always Google the company on your phone before buying! 

More posts to come,


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Animal Testing Bombshell - Step Backwards for Cruelty-Free

I am SO annoyed and frustrated after learning that Peta has struck Estée Lauder, Mary Kay and Avon off their cruelty-free list. After many years being at the forefront of the cruelty-free movement, these companies have backtracked and started animal experiments again. 

Why? Why on earth, after proudly claiming 'Not Tested on Animals' on every website, box, and leaflet, would they suddenly U-turn and start maiming mice? 


China is a massive market for cosmetics. In order to sell their products there, they have to conform to China's requirements - many products have to be tested on animals before they can be marketed there. No testing - no money from China. And so they caved. 

Now unless you've swotted up on your beauty company knowledge, you might not realise the enormity of this policy change. It's just three companies, there's plenty of others, right? Well Estée Lauder owns 28 of the most popular beauty and fragrance companies, including M.A.C Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Smashbox, La Mer, and many more! (click here for a full list)

As you can see, this is a large chunk of the beauty industry that has gone to the dark side. So I got to thinking, what can we, the consumers, artists, beauty gurus, and bloggers, do to stop this? We have to talk to them in the only language they'll understand - money. We need a boycott. In order for them to listen, we need a large enough number of people to stop buying their products until they change their minds. 

This needs to go viral. If you're a blogger, blog about it. Gurus, post videos about it. Tweet #ELauderAvonMaryKayBoycott , facebook it, stick it on reddit. I've started a petition, so please sign along with Peta's petition. If this gets big enough, we won't have to go without our beloved Mac for long, as they'll soon come round! 

I'd really appreciate if you help me out in this. We, as consumers, have the power to change things according to where we spend our money. 

Sorry for going all soapbox-y on you, I promise I have more, less rant-y posts on the way!


Monday, 13 February 2012

IMATS haul and something awesome...

When I did manage to squeeze through the droves at Imats, I made a couple of purchases.

I got a palette of Kett's Fixx Creme in neutral for concealing for £53. I also bought a Cozette eyeshadow blending brush for £10.40.

I'm very excited about buying OCC's airbrush kit! For £250, I got a Sparmax compressor and airbrush gun, 2 sets of 5 mini foundations (red based and yellow based) a set of mini highlighters, contour/bronzer and blushes, a set of colour correctors/adapters, a full size primer and a full size mixing medium! Here it is -

I've booked an airbrush course at Mink London on 2nd March to hone my skills.

When I went to the OCC stand, David Klasfeld, the owner, recognised me immediately. "I remember you, you're the girl with the nail varnish from last year!"

Last year at Imats, we got chatting and he admired my nails, taking a picture of them on his phone. I was wearing GOSH holographic nail polish -

It turns out, my nails were the inspiration for OCC's Mirrorball Glitter, a beautiful rainbow holographic glitter! He gave me one for free! (my camera doesn't begin to capture its colourful shine.)

So from one vegan make-up artist to another, thanks David!


My thoughts on IMATS...

So on Saturday 4th I went to Imats. I had a lot of fun, and meant to take lots of pictures, but my camera ran out of battery! Ugh!

The demonstrations are always amazing, but the scheduling is so annoying. Take this example -

10.15 - 11am -Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics presents David Klasfeld HD Make-up Techniques: Airbrush And Beyond

10:30—11:30 a.m. - A Design and DuPont present Damien Dufresne Artistic Make-up: From the Studio to the Finished Image

So you have to pick which to watch, when I would have liked to see them both. Plus a lot of the timings are set so that if you want to catch the beginning of one demo, you have to miss the end of another, which tends to result in a mass exodus 15 minutes before the end of a presentation. For a presenter, it can't be very nice to see people leaving halfway through your make-up.

Personally, I think the days should be lengthened to end at maybe 7 or 8pm, and sectioned so maybe fashion and beauty demos go on in one area, theatre and film go on in another, and Special FX in another. None of the demos should overlap other demos from the same section, and there should be enough time to move between demos without missing any. This would annoy artists that work in more than one field, but as most artists specialise, there shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I do, however, love the idea of the pro-only day. I was invited to go by Illamasqua, but something came up and I couldn't make it. I was gutted because I would have relished the opportunity to shop without fighting through the crowds!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

It's been a while...

I'm back! After the world's longest hiatus, I am now back to blogging! I had some drama in my life so decided to take some time off from blogging, and subsequently from make-up, until things were sorted. So it's about time I got back in the swing of things!

There will be no more of this -

Instead, there will be this -

And lots of this -

Anything you want me to post/blog about?


[All pics from weheartit.com]