About Me

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


Saturday, 25 April 2015

PSA: Don't Use Old Products & Review: Oz Naturals 20% Vitamin C Serum

Any online shopper knows the feeling. That frustrated impatience you get while waiting for an order to arrive. Uggh, come onnn, I want it noooooww! The week before last I was waiting for my new sunscreen, and my Oz Naturals 20% Vitamin C & Amino & Hyaluronic Acid serum*. THE AGONY. I was especially irritated because the sun had really started to shine, and my SPF 20 moisturiser had ran out. I needed to do something because I had to leave the house, and sunlight cannot be allowed to touch my unprotected skin. I will get wrinkles. I will get a tan and then my face won't match my make-up, let alone the rest of my body. Rummaging in the bathroom, I found my tube of SPF50 face lotion from last year. I thought to myself. "It's a year old, but I'm sure it'll be fine." Those were my famous last words.Three days later and my face was a bumpy mess of blocked pores, blackheads and angry red dots. 

My reaction when looking in the mirror.

Conveniently my orders turned up, but at that point I was too scared to try anything new out and anger the skincare gods further. I patch tested them, one behind each ear, and tried to sort out my facial mess using the oil cleansing method (sunflower oil) and also my Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask. 

After a few days of this, the blocked pores were clearing up, but the red spots were as angry as ever. So I figured it was time to try out my new Vitamin C Serum from Oz Naturals.

Review: Oz Naturals 20% Vitamin C & Amino & Hyaluronic Acid serum. Packaging
The packaging.

The serum is a clear liquid, which is quickly absorbed into the skin. Importantly, it contains ferulic acid, which helps stabilise the vitamin C so that it doesn't oxidise too quickly, losing its efficacy.  You are supposed to let it dry before applying moisturiser, and it dries fast with no sticky texture. 

Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum Bottle
It comes in a brown glass bottle, to protect the serum from UV rays. The dropper means you can accurately control how much product you want to dispense.
I've been applying it morning, before my (new) sunscreen, and evening, before my night cream. It's not terribly moisturising, but I don't mind as that's what my moisturiser is for. As long as it's not drying, which it isn't. There is no discernible scent, and it plays well with my sunscreen and makeup - some serums can ball up when you apply products over them. 

The serum - clear, and very liquid. Dries quickly and doesn't ball up under other products.

I've been using it for a while now, and I really think it's helped the red spots fade much faster than spots usually do for me. My skin usually gets hyperpigmentation for months after a zit, but this seems to be greatly reduced in the short time I've been using it. I have also noticed an overall brightening effect, which I'm rather pleased about!

Unfortunately, I haven't noticed any improvement in my fine lines, or dark circles. During my online research, I may have found the reason. From a post by 'shewh0mustnotbenamed' on reddit's skincareaddiction -

"SAP isn't as good at stimulating collagen synthesis as L-ascorbic acid (LAA) or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP). To achieve the same amount of stimulation of collagen synthesis, the amount of SAP used must be 10 times the amount of LAA that would be used (Source: [1]).
SAP has anti-acne properties (Sources: [1] [2] [3]). AFAIK, LAA and MAP don't."

Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum contains vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, or SAP. This explains why it has been great for my zits and marks, but had little affect on my dark circles and fine lines, which require the collagen boosting forms of L-ascorbic acid or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. 

My conclusion 
Oz Naturals 20% Vitamin C & Amino & Hyaluronic Acid serum is a good product for sufferers of acne or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. However if you primarily want a vitamin C serum for anti-aging or dark circles, I would try a serum containing one of the other forms of it. Would I buy another bottle when this runs out? I'm not sure, I do like the results, but I'm looking for a product to boost my collagen levels, which I don't think this one does enough. I'm thinking of trying the DIY Vitamin C Serum next.

Oz Naturals 20% Vitamin C & Amino & Hyaluronic Acid serum is £15.95 at Amazon UK.

Til Next Time,


*This product was sent to me for review purposes. My reviews and opinions will always remain unbiased and impartial. Please see skimlinks disclosure in the sidebar.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Most Used Products in my Vegan Makeup Kit!

Ever feel like you have to compromise on quality when choosing vegan cosmetics? That lacklustre, 'crunchy' vegan makeup could never compare to what the pros whip out of their zucas to use on top models and celebs?  Well I'm here to show you that professional quality vegan makeup isn't as hard to find as you might think. Here are some of the products I reach for the most from my own pro makeup kit.

Most Used Products in my Vegan Makeup Kit


A product I use time and time again is the Beauty Without Cruelty Sensuous Mineral Eyeshadow in Serenity, which is a beautiful shimmering beige with a hint of rose gold.

Beauty Without Cruelty Sensuous Mineral Eyeshadow in Serenity

It's perfect for injecting a pop of light to the inner corner of the eye, or to highlight the centre of the lid for a 3D look. I've yet to see a skin tone this shade doesn't work beautifully for. 

Beauty Without Cruelty Sensuous Mineral Eyeshadow in Serenity open

While sometimes their products can be a little hit and miss, BWC have got it right with this pretty, reflective formula. It's £8.79 to £8.99, depending on where you shop.

The next product I love is OCC Pure Cosmetic Pigment in White. No fillers, no shimmer, just pure, matte white. 
OCC Pure Cosmetic Pigment in White

It's great patted onto the eyelid over primer, or blended with other shadows to make the colour paler. As you can see, I've had mine for a while, and as I wipe over my products with alcohol periodically to disinfect them, the print on the label has disintegrated. Sorry it doesn't make for the most attractive product snaps!

OCC Pure Cosmetic Pigment in White Closed

 It's such a versatile product, it can be easily mixed into powder, cream or liquid products. OCC Pure Cosmetic Pigment is £9.00.

Gel eyeliners can be a tricky product to get right. Some melt and smudge too easily, some dry out and refuse to blend. I've enjoyed using B. Precise Gel Eyeliner in Black. 

B. Precise Gel Eyeliner Black

It's blacker than a goth's wardrobe, and you do need to work quickly, because once it's dry it really won't budge!

B. Precise Gel Eyeliner Black Open

I do recommend using your own fine or angled liner brush instead of the one that comes with it. B. Precise Gel Liner is £6.99 at Superdrug.

If gel liner is tricky to get right, mascara is almost impossible! Too clumpy, too flaky, too thin, too smudgey - it can get expensive trialling mascaras to find that ideal thickening and lengthening formula. The brand I always come back to is Barry M.

Lash Vegas mascara is amazing. I use the waterproof formula the most in my kit, to ensure it withstands the rigours of emotional brides and hot studio lights. The non waterproof version comes in a pink tube and contains fibres to really amp up the length and thickness. Unlike other fibre mascaras, they don't migrate into your eyes or onto your cheeks during the day.

It's supposed to have a 'spiral brush', but it doesn't look much different to a regular mascara wand, to me. It doesn't deposit too much product, and separates the lashes nicely. It usually retails at £6.49, but it's going for £4.49 in Superdrug at the moment.

These next three products are technically eyeshadow, but they are much more versatile than that. I use them for brows, for contouring the cheekbones and socket line, as a transition colour to blend out shadow in the crease or under eye. Yaby eyeshadows may be small in size, but do not underestimate their power.

The top shade, es048 or Bark, is the perfect brow colour for natural blondes, and a great contour shade for pale, warm skintones. My lighting makes it appear darker than it looks in real life. 
The bottom shade, es198 or Firewood is a stunning taupe that works for most blonde and mid-brunette brows. It's also my go-to natural crease colour on white skin. I could write pages about how much I love taupe shadows, and this is my favourite matte taupe. 
The right shade, es168 or Fresh Earth is good for dark brunette brows. It's a favourite of mine for deepening the crease and outer v, and using with mixing medium to make a dark brown liquid liner that doesn't pull too bronze or red. 

As these shadows are small, it's easy to fit a spectrum of shades into a magnetic palette, like Yaby's Freestyle Palette or the Z-Palette. This means you will never be stuck without a colour you need, plus it's easy to replace the shades you use most. To contour, I lift the pan out of the palette to ensure my brush doesn't pick up the adjacent shades. Yaby eyeshadow refills are £2.75 each.

Swatch time!
Top to Bottom, B. Precise Gel Liner - single line and thicker to show how black it is. BWC Mineral Eyeshadow in Serenity. OCC Pure Color Pigment in White. Yaby shadows in Bark, Firewood, Fresh Earth. Swatched over a stripe of E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (left) to show how they look over primer and bare skin.
Top to Bottom, B. Precise Gel Liner - single line and thicker to show how black it is. BWC Mineral Eyeshadow in Serenity. OCC Pure Color Pigment in White. Yaby shadows in Bark, Firewood, Fresh Earth. Swatched over a stripe of E.L.F Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (left) to show how they look over primer and bare skin.


I use airbrush makeup in my kit to give the most flawless, natural looking results. I've tried a few different products, but Kett Hydro Foundation gives great coverage and looks just like real skin! The shade I always finish up first is O3.

This is a water-based foundation. I prefer this over silicone based products as it dries down to a skin-like texture, while with silicone based makeup the finish looks more obviously like product. I use cream products (like cream blush or bronzer) before airbrushing. Always wait at least 5 minutes for airbrush makeup to dry without touching it before using powder products on top. I usually do the lips while I wait. 

I was going to swatch this for you, but it has literally just ran out, and I can't coax a drop more out of it! This is the smaller size, but I will be repurchasing the larger 35ml size for £23-£23.50 at love-makeup or Guru Makeup Emporium.


OCC Cosmetic Color Pencil in Trick is the definitely a contender for best neutral lip liner ever! It's a warm toned beige, and is just the right consistency to define without dragging the skin.

OCC Cosmetic Color Pencil in Trick

It produces the perfect nude lip, and works well with a number of different lip tars. I love this product so much I get a little excited about using it. Is that sad? Shh, that was rhetorical.

OCC Cosmetic Color Pencil in Trick is £10.95 - £11.

The final item I have to show you in this tour of my favourite products is OCC Lip Tar in Clockwork. A rich terracotta shade, this lippie is perfect for when you want something brighter than nude, but not a 'statement colour' like classic red, pink or orange.

OCC Lip Tar Clockwork

It adds warmth and vibrancy to the face, but doesn't detract from a strong eye, or overpower the face. It is a warm colour, but it can be cooled to a taupe with the tiniest smidge of blue mixed in, like OCC's RX or Life's Entropy's Osmosis. It's a great colour, and a great base colour to add to, to start mixing your own lip tar concoctions! As with all lip tars, a little goes a long way, so if you only squeeze out what you need, it'll last much longer than a regular lipstick.

Swatch Time!
Top - OCC Cosmetic Color Pencil in Trick. Bottom - OCC Lip Tar in Clockwork
This concludes my most-used products list!
Have you tried any of these? I'd love to hear some of your most used vegan products!

Til Next Time,


All products in this post were bought by me, except the BWC Serenity Pigment, which was a gift. My reviews and opinions will always remain unbiased and impartial. Please see skimlinks disclosure in the sidebar.