Cruelty Free Makeup

Not too long ago the terms ‘cruelty free’ and ‘luxury makeup products’ were not synonymous. “Cruelty free” equaled hippies in tie dye with homemade, hand-mixed mineral foundations and berry stained lips. And while personally I am very fond of my tie dyed makeup maker sisters, the truth is that those products were just not that suitable for professional use. Sure, for everyday use, natural mineral makeup is a great option but it just didn’t stand up to professional use when a client is paying good money to have a product that will last an entire day through tears and sweat.

The world is jumping on the bandwagon. Israel, India, Norway, South Korea, all 28 countries in the European Union and even our brothers and sisters in New Zealand have already passed laws that actually BAN the import or sale of any products or ingredients that have been tested on live animals. Australia isn’t there just yet. An Ethical Cosmetics Bill was introduced earlier this year but it’s still a way off becoming law. And then once it does there will be a grace period of a couple of years to allow companies the opportunity to get on board or get out.

Until then it is up to you to do your research and decide for yourself if a brand is cruelty free. Just because a company ‘claims’ to be cruelty free does not it make it so. The definition is grey and watery at best and many companies are happy to blur the lines with cleverly written statements to confuse the situation just a little more. A truly cruelty free company…

  1. Does not test their products on animals.
  2. Does not source ingredients from companies that test on animals.
  3. Does not sell their products in countries where animal testing is a required law. (ie: China and Brazil)
  4. Does not belong to a parent company that does not comply with these first 3 points.

To be included on any of the cruelty free lists with PETAChoose Cruelty Free (CCF) or Leaping Bunny a company must comply with all 4 requirements. Pretty high standards. Especially when you consider that Estēe Lauder and L’Oreal (NOT cruelty free) own like every major beauty brand on the planet! But business is business and without the financial backing of these monopolising powerhouses, companies like The Body Shop and Urban Decay would have disappeared years ago. It is for this reason that when I choose brands I stick to the first 3 points and then try to balance the ethics of the individual brand against their parent. For instance The Body Shop has been a fierce defender of animals rights and human rights since before it was cool. They sold to L’Oreal because they needed the money or would of died off, and then what would of happened to all those third world communities that survive because of their fair trade agreements with them? 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of cruelty free brands you can’t go past Suzi from Cruelty Free Kitty. I love her and her unbiased dedication to the issue. PETA, CCF and Leaping bunny require brands to undergo strict evaluation but they also charge a premium to use their logo so not every cruelty free brand is on their lists. Suzi on the other hand does her own research for each brand and contacts them directly to get the information straight from the horses mouth. I highly recommend you read her blogs especially her constantly updated Cruelty Free List 2016 and this insightful little piece called Leaping Bunny V PETA: Who to Trust? Honestly I could link to her all day. She really is fab!

It is entirely up to you to decide what feels right when buying products but if you are committed to the cause or even just interested in making more informed buying choices, then there has never been an easier time.

If you are interested in helping Australia to ban animal testing you can…
fill in THIS SUPER EASY FORM to encourage your local MP to speak up on your behalf 
Make a pledge to #BeCrueltyFree HERE

In the meantime if you are keen to go shopping here are some of my personal favs…

BECCA Cosmetics – All things Highlighty & Glowy!
Hourglass – Again with the Highlights, Mascara and their Primers
Obbsessive Compulsive Cosmetics – Airbrush foundation and Lip Tars
Iridis Cosmetics – Eye Primer, Eye Shadows & Lipsticks
Shanghai Suzy – Gorgeous Lipsticks
Inglot – Eyeshadows, Mascara, Lipsticks
Face Atelier – Foundation
The Balm – Concealers
Anastasia Beverly Hills – Brows
Charlotte Tilbury – EV-ERR-YYY-THING!
ModelRock – Lashes and Lipsticks

Happy Shopping 🙂

BECCA Under Eye Brightening Corrector

I want to talk about bags. No not Gucci or Mimco. I’m talking about ones that seem to be permanently stored under your eyes.

Now I’m just going to get a little soap boxy here for a minute. For a small proportion of the population, under eye bags are a real and annoying thing. A constant puffiness that never seems to go away. Then there are the people with hyper pigmentation which is a fancy way of saying they have extra dark patches of skin. In both these cases the cause is mostly genetic and there really isn’t a whole lot you can do to produce lasting change. A cold compress or even haemorrhoid cream can temporarily ease puffiness in some people but the jury is still out if cucumber actually really does anything at all. Frustratingly not a great deal can be done for hyper pigmentation aside from cosmetic bleaching products and intense abrasive facials. But as soon as your skin sees just a tiny bit of sunlight it will start to come back again. Not great news I know. Just telling it like it is.
For everyone else here is your number one, true, tried and tested, absolutely guaranteed way to make those dark shadows under your eyes disappear…. Ready?

Move away from overhead lighting!! Shocking isn’t it?

Heres an anatomy lesson… it’s your eye socket. It’s round and curved and naturally creates a shadow any time the light source is not staring you down the nose. We can thank ring beauty lights and photoshop for perpetuating this crazy goal of not having any darkness under the eye. But it’s just not realistic. Where there is depth there is shadow. Also the skin under your eye is really quite thin so all the veins (blue/purple) and capillaries (red) show through and add to the appearance of those dreaded dark circles.
While there doesn’t appear to be much that can ‘cure’ us of this horrible affliction, the old standards of drinking more water, drinking less caffeine and alcohol and getting more sleep can go along way for a lot of people. And if that isn’t working there is always makeup.
Shadows and bags can be minimised with a concealer containing a little light reflection. I actually mix my concealer with my BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl or Opal which adds just the right amount of refection without looking glittery.
If dark circles are your bane then ‘Colour Correcting’ is the ‘new’ thing, except it’s not new. In fact it’s old. Really old! But while it is true that some colours do cancel other colours out, like blue and orange, it can be tricky to do right. Put yellow over purple veins and you get a cold grey colour which makes you look less sexy-bright-eyed-goddess and more, well, dead. And orange over blue veins on anyone not very dark, just looks odd. However for darker skin or hyper pigmentation, the red/orange concealers can really work really well. Everyone else, just look for something peachy. That said, I honestly believe that colour correcting is overkill for most people! A great skin tone matching concealer and an illuminator will often do the trick in less time and with far less hassle.
So I just got my hands on the Under Eye Brightening Corrector from BECCA and I’m just a little bit in love! It’s literally like you are walking around with a beauty light attached to your nose! It’s not a concealer though. It is a skin brightener that is designed to go under or over your concealer. Under your concealer, it’s light refection and soft peachy tone help to get rid of the dark shadows and conceal some of those purple/blue tones. Over your concealer it reflects light away from fine lines and circles which creates a soft diffusing effect. It is super creamy and I worried it would move but I dusted just a tiny smidge of powder over the top which set it before applying concealer over that. Best applied with your fingers or a damp sponge but make sure you do the old ‘press and roll’ rather than a ‘patting’ technique which will give you a smoother look.
If you want to get your hands on this or any BECCA products, go see my friend Kerrie at Gloss & Bone.

Disclaimer: I only review products I love and use. I am not paid in any way for my endorsement of either the product or the business mentioned in this post.

BECCA – Shimmering Skin Perfector

I’ve never really been into the whole Kim.K extreme contour thing. Its all just a little too much for me… but then isn’t that the great thing about makeup? That we can all choose to wear as much or as little (or even none!!) as we want? It’s only makeup and frankly I’m really tired of all the makeup bashing going around. If it makes YOU feel good then that really is all that matters!

I love products that make your skin look better without looking like its even there! That make the skin glow without completely erasing life’s little reminders of the distance we have travelled. 

becca shimmering skin perfector in opal BECCA Shimmering Skin PERFECTOR!!

They say ‘Water-light and sheer, it absorbs, reflects and refracts creating a prismatic effect that allows it to adjust in any light so your refined glow is never lost’.

I say… It just makes your skin look bloody AWESOME!! Pop it on under foundation on top of the cheekbones and along the collarbone, because who doesn’t love a sexy collarbone! Make your lips extra pouty with a dab on your cupids bow or elongate your nose with a narrow (no seriously…NARROW people!) line down the bridge. You can even mix it into your body moisturiser for a little extra body glow.

Its not as iridescent as MAC’s Strobe Cream or glittery as NARS Highlighter Sticks, but that’s what I love about it. It gives you all the highlight without the extra bling!! There are 5 colours in the range and my favourite is the OPAL which is dynamite under the eyes.  If you have a little darkness mix a small amount into your concealer and you’ve got something that’s a little bit like YSL’s Touche Eclat but with coverage.

And then there is this… 

BECCA does not endorse or conduct animal testing on any of our products or ingredients, nor do we have any other parties, such as manufacturers and suppliers, conduct animal testing on our behalf. All collaborating parties are in compliance with the requirements and timelines of the European Union (EU) Cosmetics Regulation EC/1223/2009, banning the testing of cosmetics ingredients on animals within the EU.

If you think you would like to get your hands on some of this genie in a bottle then head over to Gloss and Bone where you also find some pretty cool tutorials. 

And no this is not a paid endorsement/affiliate type of thing. I happen to genuinely LOVE this product and also know that the owner over at Gloss and Bone is one awesome chick 🙂

Iridis Eye Primer

Anything that will make my clients eye makeup last through tears is a winner in my book and Iridis Cosmetics Eye Primer is most definitely a winner!

I’ve been loyal to Urban Decays Eye Primer Potion for years. You can read my review on that here. Seriously what’s not to love? So when I mentioned that to Peta-Gai the bright and sparkling-like-a-unicorn founder of Australian Brand Iridis Cosmetic, she decided to send me her primer to try out. And I have to say sorry PG, I was skeptical.

I was wrong! This is a totally fab product. crease-proof, water proof and fool proof… well nearly. Like all eye primers I have tried, you only need to use this sparingly. If you use too much it will look cakey. A little goes a really long way! I found it easiest to get a little on my ring finger and pat gently along the lash line until blended in. I also add a little just under the eye using a brush or cotton bud to push the product into the lash line. This will work wonders if your eyeliner tends to wander but again use sparingly. By their very nature, eye primers like this are dry and will highlight those under eye lines. Ain’t no one interested in that!

Again like all primers, including my long time loved Urban Decay, this colour is fab for most skin tones. It will brighten the eye area and neutralise that pinky/purple tint in the lids which makes us look tired. But for my clients with much darker skin tones,
Sri Lankan or Indian for example, with hyper pigmentation on the lids, it can look grey. Using a colour corrector underneath like BECCAs Backlight Targeted Correctors in Peach or Papaya may be a good fix but I would love to put in a request for a deeper tone.

This really is a super product that does exactly what it says it will and for $35 its not expensive. The packaging is mostly glass so easily recycled plus Iridis have a Loyalty Recycling Program. Return 6 containers and get a freebie of your choice up to $40! Hello! Awesome!! They are cruelty free, including sourcing their ingredients from cruelty free suppliers and mostly vegan with the exception of a little beeswax in lip products. PLUS they are Australian owned and made and run by two kick arse chicks right here in Melbourne! Winning!

I’ve decided that once my Urban Decay eye primer is finished in my kit I will replace it with a new Iridis Cosmetics one. But for now the kit will have to wait because this one is mine 🙂

What is Airbrush Makeup and is it really any better?

So what is airbrush makeup and what is all the fuss about?
Is it really any better than a liquid or cream foundation? Does it last any longer and can it cover spots without looking caked on?

For anyone new to airbrush makeup there are questions, so I just wanted to give you a little lowdown on the subject to help you decide if this technique is right for you.

So what is Airbrush Makeup?
Ok so basically it is a method of spraying makeup on to the skin. Technically a small air compressor uses gentle air pressure to push the super fine liquid makeup through the nozzle of the ‘gun’.  The result is a super fine mist of makeup that can be as sheer or full coverage as you want. The makeup itself is super highly pigmented (has lots and lots of colour) which means you don’t need a thick layer to get great coverage. Awesome right? No more heavy cakey foundations!! Generally the application process is super quick and with the right skin prep it will hold up while you bawl your way through your vows (speaking from experience!)

But is Airbrush Makeup Better?
Now that depends on who you talk to. Really airbrushing is simply a technique just as applying foundation with your fingers is a technique or with a brush is a technique or with a sponge is another technique. And every artist has their own preferred technique. One they have mastered by doing it over and over again for years! So here’s the truth….it’s not the technique that’s better…it’s the artist and their product. Boom!! There I said it!!

​This image gives you a bit of an idea about the way the foundation is laid onto the skin with each different technique but I do have to say that it isn’t an entirely accurate representation. A talented artist will easily create a beautiful finish with either brush or sponge and some mad blending skills. Also the Beauty Blender, which I reviewed HERE, certainly wouldn’t give this splodgy effect but some of the older latex sponges would. What I do believe though is that with either sponge or brush a little more attention and elbow grease is required to blend it just right.
Personally I LOVE airbrushing! For me it is a super fast way to create a beautiful flawless finish. It lasts brilliantly well up to the last dance of the evening and I haven’t yet found a face that I couldn’t use it on. In fact I will use it on everyone that allows me to. My go-to ranges are the vegan water-based offering from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics with is kind to sensitive skin and gives a slightly matte, real skin look or the silicone based Element2 which is awesome on super dry and mature skins and provides a more dewy finish.
At the end of the day though it really doesn’t matter which technique is better. What is important is that you choose a makeup artist based on their skill, experience and their ability to translate your ideas into the perfect look for you because a great artist can do that no matter what technique they use.

Photo Credit:

Makeup for Mature Skins

So I have a very dear friend named Rob (Hi Rob!), my son calls her Nana Rob, and like me she is a creative soul who loves to play with makeup. I posted AGES ago about Becca’s gorgeous Shimmering Skin Perfector and it caught her eye and prompted her to post me this question…

I was wondering about if there are hints for best application areas for well worn skin. And skin that is very fair like mine. It would be fair to suggest tailored application is better in this case to avoid looking ….artificial ?


Well Rob, yes and yes 🙂

Lets go back a bit first. When I was 14 my mum bought me some boots. I REALLY loved those boots! As I walked they made the same tapping sound that my mums heels made and I felt so grown up. I think that’s also what I initially loved about makeup. Wearing makeup meant you were grown up and the more applied the older you looked. The older you looked the less people treated you like a child. A few years (decades) on, while still not quite ‘mature’ in my skin (or otherwise) I now adopt a different approach to my makeup application. Funnily enough I’m no longer trying to look older!

Of course the best way to achieving a more healthy appearance involves living a healthy lifestyle and using great skin care. But in addition to that, or perhaps in leu, here are my best makeup tips for the mature lady with “well worn skin”

Prep it
You know the old saying “plan to succeed’?? Well that’s what primer is. A good primer will not only act as a super spack filler for your pores and fine lines but it’s also the glue that ensures your makeup will last. There are dozens of great ones on the market and I will blog about them another time but for now if you are not priming then you are not setting yourself up for makeup success.

Less is More
Go for a sheerer foundation and then use a good concealer to cover up any age spots or rosacea. Trying to hide wrinkles with heavy foundation only ends up accentuating them as the product creases. Stick with something that feels hydrating on your skin and is not mattifying. While having moisturisers in your foundation will help to plump out your skin and minimises super fine lines, it also adds to the risk of it creasing so you need to really blend it out.

Ditch the Powders
Use a little powder to ‘set’ areas you have either concealed or that are prone to creasing, like under the eyes, but use too much and it will look dull, cakey and sit in the lines which is the antithesis of fresh glowing skin. I love using mineral or loose translucent powders.  Minerals have light reflecting particles that defuse little imperfections and lines by bouncing the light around. My fav is (surprise! surprise!!) BECCAs Perfect Skin Mineral Powder (I seriously need to take out shares in that company!!) but any good cruelty free mineral or loose powder will do the trick. Also ditch the powder puff and use a brush instead. I actually use a large super fluffy eyeshadow brush so I can get really specific about where I put the product and don’t over do it.

You may have read about Strobing which is just a fancy smancy word for highlighting and personally I feel like some people are going just a touch overboard. I love me a little glitter as much as the next person but whats with the highlighting the tip of the nose?? It just looks weird.

Highlighting is all about accentuating features and if you are living life on the mature side you may not feel like there is much you want to highlight. But that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the glow. Stick with cream or liquid highlighters which glow more than glitter.  And avoid the glittery powder versions as they don’t flatter mature skins. Instead super fine shimmering liquids can actually help to diffuse and blur the appearance of fine lines.

If you have a rounder face, highlighting your cheekbones can help to accentuate them while slimming the face. But don’t do this if you have already have a slim face or you’ll just look gaunt. Use your finger and pat a small amount of highlighter along the top edge of your check bone from just under the outer part of your eye back up to your temple. You can blend a thin line down the bridge of your nose stopping before the tip to thin out a wide nose or apply small amounts to the middle of the forehead and the tip of the chin to elongate a short face. The possibilities are endless but honestly, a little convoluted. 

My favourite way to use highlighter on mature skins is to just mix a small amount into the foundation which adds a soft glow to the whole face. Then I might use a very light dusting of powder over the forehead and chin to stop it looking oily. Young skin glows so while you may not be able to cover the lines or lift the bags you can still glow. I also love to mix my highlighter in with my concealer for under the eyes but don’t do this if you have actual bags (not just darkness) under your eyes or you’ll wind up looking like you have packed for an overseas trip.

One of ageing’s many cruel jokes is that the hair tends to flee your brows and lashes and migrate south! Or they go grey, or worse, you wind up with John Howard brows, all wiry and out of control! We all know brows frame the face but as we get older that framing becomes more important and a well shaped brow can be quite transforming. If your brows are out of control and grey then get them shaped by a professional and you can tint them, or use a coloured brow mascara. But if they are disappearing learn to draw them in. I prefer using a powder two shades lighter than your natural brow colour or the lightest ash blonde if you are grey, and then use a fine tipped angle brush to draw the brows in. Run a clean dry mascara wand through the product to blend it which stops it looking blocky and viola! You have brows!

I get many mature ladies sitting in my chair saying “just do the best you can” as if nothing I can do will help. In a world that frustratingly values youth and beauty over experience and wisdom we have to remember that makeup actually only can do so much. It can’t really cover wrinkles or loose skin. But it can even out skin tone, brighten dark spots, add glow and help replace brows that have been lost. Its not about how you look, it’s about how you feel so if a little bit of lippy or some highlighter make you smile then the products have truly done their job.

Mecca Cosmetica – To Save Face SPF 50+

I know what you’re thinking. It’s bloody freezing so why am I doing a sunscreen product review??

Well beside the fact that sun protection isn’t just a summer thing, the real reason is that hubby, the kid & I have tried to escape the Melbourne chill and headed to the Gold Coast to warm the bones. Sadly winter has decided it wants to play in Queensland as well and I’m sitting in my apartment watching a huge freezing storm cell make it’s way along the coast. Not a whole lot of sun going on! Ahh Queensland… Perfect one day, Stormy the next!

But just 2 days ago the sunshine was glorious and I was super quick to slather on my favourite facial sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are the same and I’m fussy about what I put on my face. This has more to do with the texture and feel of the product than being an ingredient snob. I hate how most sunscreens, even the ones that are designed to go on your face, feel thick and sticky. I look forward to scrubbing it off at the end of the day. But I don’t get that feeling with this product. It’s super light and fluid and feels more like a moisturiser than a sunscreen. It doesn’t get sticky if you get sweaty and it doesn’t even smell like a sunscreen! With an SPF of 50+ I love this product so much I put it into my kit to use on my clients.

Most people try to get away mid year and whether you are escaping to somewhere warmer or just hanging out on the ski slopes, you need a really great broad spectrum sunscreen to protect your face from sun damage and premature ageing and this is my pick. Cruelty free and Australian. Enjoy 🙂

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

If you are doing bridal work or just want your own makeup to last more than 5 minutes then you definitely consider using a primer. Every company seems to have one on the market but, from my own experience, they don’t all do what they should do, improve the texture of the skin and help makeup last longer.

One of my makeup crushes is for Urban Decay. I do a lot (A LOT!) of weddings and am always looking for products that will stay on longer than the dress does.

TaDaa… Eyeshadow Primer Potion!!!

Firstly wow! And secondly… WOW!

I have tried 2 of the 4 shades. Original and Eden. Both are pretty awesome but I do love Eden as it tones down the pinky/purple tones in the eyelids and negates the need to use any concealer there as well. It goes on quite wet but then dries down to form a crease proof, budge proof, cry proof, sweat proof, you name it proof, base that makes your shadow last and last and last!! Brilliant for bridal work but it is also perfect for those of us with oily lids that are sick of our liner running away from our eyes. You can use your fingers to apply it but I get a better result using either the Beauty Blender or a small (clean) fluffy eyeshadow brush. Just make sure you blend out any creases because once this stuff sets you can’t move it anymore. If you’re putting shadow or liner on the lower lash line then definitely put a little potion there too. And before you head to bed, it all melts off easily with a gentle eye makeup remover.

I do love this product and it has become a staple in both my kit and bathroom. I love it even more that Urban Decay are a cruelty free company. “We don’t test on animals, how could anyone?” And thankfully Mecca Maxima recently bought this much in demand company back to Australia instead of us having to order from the UK! Yay! Thanks Mecca xx