Beauty Favourites December 18
[Vegan + Cruelty Free]

This year I’ve made it my mission to find high performing vegan and cruelty free beauty products to replace the ones I was using previously.

Here are some of my favourite pampering products found so far:

Banana Hair Mask | The Body Shop

My hair got into a terrible state a few years ago. It was dry and brittle and I ended having to have a chunk of it chopped out. I’ve managed to get it back into healthy shape but then found out that my trusty nourishing hair mask wasn’t cruelty free. Nuts.

I’ve tried quite a few brands now and the one I’ve ended up sticking with is the Banana Hair Mask from The Body Shop. It’s easy to apply and rinses out well, leaving my hair free from tangles and frizz with a nice shine. It also smells like Banana Munch Bunch yoghurt and the sweet scent lingers in my hair long after I dry it.

Shower & Bath Gels | Treacle Moon

Treacle Moon‘s bath and shower gels have the most delicious ingredients that smell good enough to eat. I’m currently finishing off Sweet Strawberry Dream before I head back to Marshmallow Hearts, which smells of sweet candy. My favourite over the summer was one Ginger Morning as its zesty smell was a really cheerful and refreshing pick me up in the morning.

Note that although everything in the Treacle Moon range is cruelty free, not all of it is suitable for vegans. Some products contain honey for example. However there is still lots of choice and the packaging very clearly labels the ones that are vegan. I also love the fact that Treacle Moon is available in supermarkets, which makes it easy for me to make an ethical choice.

Face Masks | Daytox* (available from Waitrose)

My skin was feeling pretty grotty a few weeks ago thanks to the cold from hell. I’d been cooped up inside with the heating on full blast and my skin overreacted by going extra oily and spotty. It was delightful!

Daytox (a new beauty brand available at Waitrose) had kindly sent me some products to try a while back and it seemed like the right time to put them through their paces.

The Active Charcoal Peel Off Mask did wonders for my skin and halted a few angry spots in their tracks. However I probably won’t buy this in future as I really didn’t enjoy peeling it off again!

This is because it sinks in deep to give your pores a very thorough cleanse, so when you take it off you can feel it clinging to your skin as it draws all the impurities out. My skin felt wonderful afterwards though, so if you’re less of a wimp than me and have trouble with blackheads this one’s for you.

The Detox Clay Mask, was a big hit however! It’s formulated with natural clay and an alkaline deep cleansing treatment designed to remove impurities and sooth stressed skin, so it does a similar job but is much more relaxing to use.

I really like it because it’s not too heavy and it dries fast, meaning that I can stil have a mini pamper session even when I’m a bit pressed for time. My skin feels clean, fresh and noticeably less oily.

Skincare for Men | Bulldog

I quite often treat my boyfriend to a pamper sesh so I’m chuffed to have discovered Bulldog, a vegan and cruelty free skincare range for men. It’s another one that you can find on the shelves at pretty much any supermarket as well as Boots and Superdrug now.

So far, we’ve tried the face wash, beard oil and an anti ageing moisturiser, all of which have been a success. The range has been on sale recently so I’ve been picking up bottles here and there for around £4 a time. In our opinion these are really good quality for men’s skincare so this seems like a total bargain to me!

The botanical scents are subtle and fresh and I’ve actually been nicking the face wash when I have a shower as I find it really gentle on my skin!

So there you have it, my vegan and cruelty free beauty recommendations for December ’18.

I’m always on the lookout for affordable, high performing ethical beauty products so if you have anything you think I should check out please let me know in the comments below!


*Disclaimer: Items marked with an asterisk are PR samples which I have received in exchange for providing an honest review.


Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

Know Cosmetics recently launched in the UK and whilst you might not have heard of them, across the pond they’re one of Sephora’s best sellers. They describe themselves as the ‘Fixer Brand’ as their range promises to tackle everyday makeup and beauty problems by providing quick and easy solutions. I was kindly sent some products to try out so I thought I’d do a quick review to share my experiences with you!

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

No Bleeding Lips | Know Cosmetics

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

‘No Bleeding Lips’ is designed to stop your lipstick bleeding or feathering, something that I don’t actually suffer from since I don’t tend to wear particularly strong lip colours! However I decided to try it anyway and quickly discovered another use for it which I’m sharing in case it comes in handy for any of you too!

One side of my top lip is naturally higher than the other. As a result I tend to shy away from bright or bold lipsticks as no matter how carefully I apply them, I only ever tend to accentuate the difference rather than conceal it, even when using lip liners too.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

The ‘No Bleeding Lips’ product is applied like a traditional lip pencil but goes on clear, meaning that I can use it to create an invisible base for my lipstick or gloss to stick to without having to worry too much about making a mistake.

I take it slightly above my natural lip line on the side that is naturally lower, then I gradually apply my lipstick up to this new line in stages, so that if I’ve taken the liner too high it doesn’t matter, I can just build up the shape gradually until I’m happy with it.

So not so much ‘No Bleeding Lips’ as ‘No Wonky Lips’ for me then!

No Bare Brows | Know Cosmetics

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

This is my favourite product and the one I’ve used most regularly. It’s a 4 in 1 eyebrow shaping kit with brow colour at one end, an invisible taming wax at the other, plus two caps containing a pencil sharpener and a brush that slip onto the ends.

I was initially sceptical of using a universal brow shade as I find it difficult enough finding a shade that suits me when I have a range to choose from. However this one blended really well with my brows and was the right shade for my skin tone. I have no idea whether it would work as well for blondes or redheads, but as a pale, cool toned brunette, I found it an unexpected success.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

The pencil has a soft almost crayon like consistency so I found that I needed to be gentle when applying it so as not to transfer too much product onto my brow, but once I’d gotten used to this I found it a really quick and easy product to use. The invisible taming wax is a nice touch to help set any wayward strands in place, then I use the brush to shape my brows and make sure that they look nice and natural.

When I’ve got more time to spend on my makeup I still prefer using a firmer pencil to get a really precise defined shape, but as part of my everyday 10 minute makeup routine this is a really handy tool to have for an instant brow transformation.

No Thin Lips | Know Cosmetics

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

This goes on like a gloss and temporarilly gives your lips a subtle boost of volume. I read a review online where someone had said that she gets asked if she’s had lip injections when she wears this product. The results were a lot more subtle on me thankfully. I don’t think anyone would even notice I had used it, but hopefully I just look like my best self when I wear it, if that makes sense?

I’ve tried some lip plumpers in the past which stung like hell and made me feel uncomfortable but this one just has a mild tingle upon first application which soon fades. It contains vitamin E and aloe oil which makes my lips feel smooth and moisturised, plus they give my lips a nice glossy finish.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

I wouldn’t wear this everyday, but for an extra little boost if I’m going out somewhere I think it’s a nice final touch.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

Thanks go to Know Cosmetics for helping me to fix some everyday beauty problems! You can find the range online here and in store at Lloyds Pharmacy, where they usually cost £12.50 each but are currently on sale for £7.50.


*Disclaimer: The products in this post were sent to me for review.


Green People | Vegan Beauty Review

When I made the pledge to take part in Veganuary my aim was simply to adopt a vegan diet, which I have since committed to carrying on permanently. For February I decided to take the next step, to begin educating myself on the processes and ingredients that go into the beauty products that I own so as to make it easier for me to make good, ethical decisions on my future purchases.

Whilst it’s fairly straightforward to work out whether the food you’re eating contains animal derived ingredients or not, in the beauty world things are far more complex. For example, did you know that just because something has the Leaping Bunny logo (shown below) and is labelled cruelty free, that doesn’t neccessarily make it 100% vegan? That’s because whilst it may not have been tested on animals, its ingredients still might contain them.

Leaping Bunny Logo

If you flip it around, a product can be vegan (i.e. not contain animal derived ingredients) but may not be cruelty free as it could still have been tested on animals. To make things even more confusing, lot of brands which claim to be cruelty free on their websites aren’t really cruelty free at all because they choose to sell their products in mainland China, where it’s law that foreign manufactured cosmetics must undergo animal testing. Whilst the testing is usually carried out by the government it is agreed to and funded by the brand. Thus they are very much complicit in the practice despite their protestations to the contrary.

When it comes to buying beauty products, I definitely want to move away from supporting brands that are not cruelty free or that contain animal derivatives. Realistically though this isn’t going to happen overnight. I need to carry on with my research to work out which of my beloved, tried and tested products can stay, and which ones I need to find affordable alternatives for.

Green People | Vegan Beauty Review

Green People* have already helped me to make a few swops. They are a certified organic health and beauty brand who do not test their products on animals and who strive to make as many products in their skin, hair and makeup range as possible suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They reached out to me at the start of Veganuary to introduce themselves and offered to send me some of their hair and beauty products which are certified by the Vegan Society.

The Vegan Society logo (shown below) tells you that the product has never been tested on animals in any capacity and does not contain animal derivatives. In other words, it certifies that a product is 100% vegan and cruelty free.

Vegan Society Logo

Here’s how I got on:


Starting with haircare, I received the Quinoa and Artichoke Shampoo and Conditioner. I wasn’t sure what to expect scent wise (quinoa and artichoke didn’t sound all that appealing to me) but they smell fresh and citrussy. The shampoo is deceptive as you don’t need much at all, a small blob works up into a really good lather. I tend to spend quite a chunk of my beauty budget on haircare and get through bottles quickly so anything that makes things more economical for me is a winner in my book.

Green People | Vegan Beauty Review

The shampoo has been somewhat of a revelation for me. It leaves my hair feeling clean and light and it has given it such a lovely shine! I’m not planning to return to my previous shampoo. In fact, I’ve already purchased another bigger bottle of this stuff to make sure I don’t run out!

The conditioner is also very lightweight and yet does a good job of sorting out my tangle prone hair. I tend to use an intensive hair mask most of the time so I’ve still got plenty of this left but I would definitely consider buying this again when it runs out to complement the shampoo.

By the way, these haircare products are also gluten free so they are suitable for those with gluten sensitivities too.

Shower Gel

The Daily Aloe Shower Gel has been another big hit with me. It doesn’t smell as strongly as the highly scented shower gels I tend to go for but it has a lovely consistency.It is really gentle and leaves my skin feeling nice and soft after use. I’ve noticed that it’s also great for those times in between my IPL treatments when I need to shave my legs in the shower, as it just glides along my skin with no bother and helps me to get a really close but comfortable shave.

Green People | Vegan Beauty Review

At £12.50 though this one is a bit out of my budget for an everyday shower gel sadly, I usually spend between £2 and £5. However I’d liken it to the L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil which I’ve tried samples of in the past and costs £18.

Gentle Cleanse & Makeup Remover

I have incredibly sensitive skin around my eyes but I have used this to remove my eye makeup without any resulting stinging or puffiness. I think I react to some of the chemicals in standard creams so maybe I got on well with this because the ingredients are so natural. All I know is that it works really well, tackling my heavy eye makeup and mascara with ease. I’d consider it reasonably priced for what I usually spend on cleansers, at £19 for 150ml.

Green People | Vegan Beauty Review

This is a great alternative to the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, which is still a fantastic product that I absolutely adore but isn’t 100% vegan as it contains beeswax.

Peppermint and Aloe Organic Mint Toothpaste

Confession: I didn’t start using this until midway through Veganuary because I have really sensitive teeth and I didn’t want to switch from my normal high street one, which I know makes me a bad vegan.

Green People | Vegan Beauty Review

I wish I could tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was when I did finally try it, because obviously I want to move over to all natural products where possible, but I just couldn’t get on with it. The paste was an offputting beige colour and it didn’t taste or feel pleasant in my mouth.

My boyfriend thought I was being a bit of a wuss and tried it too, but didn’t like it either. I’m sorry The Green People, I just can’t get on board with this one despite really, REALLY wanting to!

In conclusion, it has been great to discover a company that makes it so easy to find 100% vegan products that don’t compromise on performance and still evoke a feeling of luxury. I’m so glad that they contacted me as I had not heard of the company previously, but I have a feeling I’m going to be shopping there regularly now!

If you want to know more about the topics I have discussed in todays post this article from EthicalElephant helped me to understand the different ways of classifying the ethical status of beauty products. I recommend giving it a read.


*Disclaimer: I was gifted the items in this post for review purposes. As always, I’ve provided my honest thoughts on them.


Finding ways to destress with a day at Y Spa! (In the snow)

Last month the Y Spa managed to tempt me out of Winter hibernation with the promise of luxurious warmth and relaxation on another level at their thermal spa. It did not disappoint!

The Y Spa, which is situated at Wyboston Lakes, had invited me to visit them at Christmas time to try out their ‘Escape For A Day’ package and Oliver and I had been counting down to it for months. You can’t predict English weather of course and so as the day dawned Cambridgeshire saw its first substantial snowfall in years. By the time we arrived it was a blizzard!

Finding ways to destress with a day at Y Spa! (In the snow)

I did try and take a super cute totally cliched Instagrammable picture in the snow but I really don’t know how anyone pulls it off. Within 3 seconds my nose was bright red, my teeth were chattering and my hair was saturated. We rather wisely gave up and ran into the warmth!

Y Spa cafe

After checking in and collecting our wristband locker keys (giving us access to plushy bathrobes and slippers) our first port of call was the Spa Cafe. Although breakfast wasn’t included in our chosen spa package we hadn’t managed to stop en route for any food due to the weather so we treated ourselves to some fresh pastries and drinks to set us up for the morning, which only cost a few pound each – not bad for a spa retreat!

Y Spa Cafe

I’ve been to the Y Spa once before in a large group of girlfriends which was a really fun way to spend a day and relaxing in its own way, but as we spent most of the day chattering away and being social we didn’t make the most of the chillout areas of the spa. On this occassion Oliver and I were both feeling rather sleep deprived and in need of some ‘me time’, so we headed straight to the relaxation rooms.

Y Spa Chillout

After a long drive in the snow I can’t tell you how good it was to warm my toes by a gently flickering fire, then climb into a warm bed and have a nap for 20 minutes. I wish we had a room like that at my workplace – taking myself off for an 11am powernap would be amazing!

Afterwards we headed to the ChillLounge with our Kindles to curl up in comfy egg shaped chairs and read for a while.

Y Spa reading room Y Spa reading room

I’d forgotten how good it feels to get stuck into a good book and unwind without phone or tv distractions. Since I’ve been back home I’ve been making much more of an effort to go to bed earlier so that I can carry this on good habit and it has definitely been helping me get to sleep earlier.

After a very chilled morning we enjoyed a hot and cold buffet lunch in the Waterfront Restaurant which had lovely views out across the lake…

Y Spa Waterfront Restaurant

…and a seasonal visitor too!

Y Spa Waterfront Restaurant

I was about to start Veganuary at the time of our visit so I opted for the closest fit on the menu, a warming soup followed by vegetarian lasagne, whilst Oliver went for a classic roast with all the trimmings. We toasted our relaxing getaway with a crisp glass of Prosecco which felt exta luxurious enjoyed in our bathing robes!

Y Spa Waterfront Restaurant

As part of our spa package we each had one treatment included and had booked in our time slots well ahead of the date. However due to the inclement weather lots of guests had cancelled so we decided to make the most of our day by booking in some last minute additional treatments.

Y Spa

Oliver raved about his Soothing Scalp Treatment so much that it made me regret not opting for that one myself! Whilst he enjoyed a hand massage from the Men’s Treatment menu I opted for the Y Spa Fresh Face Treatment. If you’ve never had a facial before and you need to destress go book yourself one pronto, I find them utterly blissful! (Plus of course you end up with rejuvenated glowing skin that smells divine!)

For my second treatment I had a hot stone massage. I’ve always wanted to try one but wasn’t too sure what it actually involved as you only ever see a picture of someone lying down with three stones along their spine! What actually happens is that you lie face down under warm plush towels and the beauty therapist massages you with the hot stones in the palm of her hands. It’s an odd sensation at first but once I got used to it I found it very soothing.

My favourite part of the day had to be heading out into the open air heated eleven metre Hydrotherapy Pool… in the snow! The pool is toasty warm so you’re never in any danger of getting cold but it feels wonderful being outside in the elements and the added snowfall made it extra special that day.

Y Spa Waterfront Restaurant

Before we left, I made my way to the Y Spa shop with a voucher I’d been gifted so that I could pick out a treat from their Christmas selection. It was so hard to choose as they had goodies from some of my favourite tried and trusted skincare brands, but after much deliberation I chose a Neom Scented Candle set.

Y Spa Neom Y Spa Neom

Both candles smell divine but I still haven’t lit them yet. Why? Because they’re so pretty. Isn’t that daft?!


Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary stay and gift voucher to spend at the Y Spa in return for hosting an ‘Instragram takeover’ on their feed that day to show my experience live as it happened. I have chosen to write a post on my personal blog because I really wanted to share it with you.


Charlotte Tilbury Treat Yo'Self Christmas Giveaway

A few months ago I was on the lookout for a new eyeshadow set and decided to finally buy the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette. Although I really wanted to love it and made it my mission to get my moneys worth from it, deep down it just didn’t compare to my Charlotte Tilbury quads.

Charlotte Tilbury Treat Yo'Self Christmas Giveaway

Don’t get me wrong, I was seriously impressed by the quality and can understand why so many people swear by these palettes. For a start the texture of each shadow was exceptionally soft and finely milled and there was noticeably less fall-out upon application than any other eyeshadow I’ve used. However I had to heavilly layer on each shade to get the same sort of effect that I could achieve from just one sweep of shadow from any of my Charlotte Tilbury palettes and whilst the colours in the palette are stunning, they didn’t seem to do anything for me once applied to my skin.

Charlotte Tilbury Treat Yo'Self Christmas Giveaway

Anyway to cut a long story short I’ve reverted back to my Charlotte Tilbury quads and after posting on Instagram about it I started receiving comments from people asking me what products I rate and how much they want to try some things out for themselves, so I thought I’d give one lucky reader an opportunity to treat themselves this Christmas.

Win a £50 Charlotte Tilbury e-giftcard!

Charlotte Tilbury Treat Yo'Self Christmas Giveaway

Enter my giveaway below via Rafflecopter for a chance to win a £50 Charlotte Tilbury e-giftcard to spend on the website. Qualifying is easy, you just need to be following me on Twitter and Instagram (please don’t unfollow again afterwards as I will be checking when I draw the winner!). There are some extra things you can do to get bonus entries too.

Apologies to my overseas readers, I’m afraid that this is a UK only giveaway – see below for full terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
  • There will be one winner.
  • The winner will receive a Charlotte Tilbury e-gift card to the value of £50.
  • E-gift cards are redeemable online at only.
  • There is a one-year expiration date, from the date of issue.
  • Once sent, it is the responsibility of the prize winner to redeem the gift card within the allotted time.
  • The prize is not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • The competition opens on 24th November 2017 and will close on 9th December 2017.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and announced on Twitter on the closing date.
  • The winner has 48hrs to respond before a runner up is selected.
  • The gift voucher will be sent by email as soon as all necessary details have been provided by the winner.
  • This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Charlotte Tilbury. I have purchased the voucher myself for the purpose of this giveaway.

In case it helps…

As with all brands there are going to be some things you get on with and some you don’t, so if you’re thinking of buying something from Charlotte Tilbury and don’t know where to start, or if you are the lucky winner of my giveaway, this post sharing my thoughts on the hits and misses might help:

Charlotte Tilbury Hits and Misses – Loved By Laura Review

Good luck and please promise me that if you win you’ll let me know what you choose and how you get on with them, I’d really love to hear all about it!