Lush’s Luscious Vegan Lipsticks

So my eternal search for a great vegan, lipstick seems to have reached its conclusion, or certainly found two options which leave most bases covered. The first is from Lush. When I mentioned my love of Lush lipstick to a friend the other day she  told me that she wouldn’t go in the shop ‘because it smelt like a granny’s knicker drawer’. I know what she means, it can be a bit overpowering but from a vegan perspective it is pretty great.

There is a wide range of colours, each with a name which represents the feeling a person may get when wearing it. I now have 4, from left to right: Strong, Confident, Passionate and Glamorous.


The ingredients are as follows: Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis) , Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia cerifera) , Talc , Rose Wax (Rosa damascena) , Titanium Dioxide , Tin Oxide – along with whichever mineral colour the lipstick requires. Jojoba oil is fabulous for the skin because it is substance that is very similar to human skin oil. It is also not irritating to the skin. The talc content can be problematic to some though so this is worth noting. I also know very little about the rose wax. Lush claim it is good for soothing irritated skin and I feel I should do a little more research into this.


‘Strong’ is my favorite colour, a orangy red which compliments my pale but slightly peachy skin tone. I’ve discovered that the trick to longevity is to use a good base of mineral foundation underneath it. I use a thin swipe of lip oil (usually rosehip oil) over my lips, once absorbed I use a concealer brush and pat my Lily Lolo mineral foundation into my lips. This protects them and stops you from getting those awful little bleed lines around your lips.

I love the colour ‘Confident’ too, it’s my Lourde lipstick but it is the least inclined to stay put so takes a fair bit of upkeep through the evening. The two pinks are great fun and the paler, ‘Glamorous’ has good staying power. If I’m honest I have only worn these for a few hours at a time, mostly due to the terror of rashy clown-mouth, my usual reaction to lip colour (in the bad old days when I didn’t realise I was allergic to carmine). I would be interested in other people’s experience with this, especially over an entire day.

My other big lipstick discovery has been from M&S and I will post about that in the next few days..



The start of my Vegan journey

It has been almost 2 years since my last post, and quite alot has changed. I have been on a journey which relates to my skin, physical and mental health (which are all intrinsically intertwined). We’ll start with make-up.

For those of you who have read my earlier posts and have an interest in very sensitive, allergy prone skin will know that after years of reasearch and endless flair-ups I realised that I was allergic to lanolin (a fat derived from the wool of sheep) and carmine (a red pigment taken from a type of beetle). I also react to beeswax. This would usually come in the form of contact dermatitis and eczema, in oozing patches on my face, lips and eyelids.

From these two discoveries I was able to begin to eliminate all sorts of products and understand the problems I had had with my skin from trying to keep it moisturized to wearing nice make-up. The make-up was the easiest to conquer. Pretty much every high-street and high-end brand uses carmine in their red pigmented items which incluedes everything from lipstick to blusher and ofted strong brown coloured eyeshadows.

So, there was only one option. I would start using only vegan make-up. It was that simple. All the things which caused my skin issues were dreived from animals. I also found that the mineral powder forms worked better, especially for foundation, as the powder sits on your skin rather than being absorbed into it.

There are wonderful brands out there, Inika, Concrete Minerals, LunatiCK, Neve Cosmetics, Sugarpill Cosmetics, OCC Vegan, to name but a few. The days of people seeing vegans as un-glamorous, sack-wearing wierdos seemed to be over. And this is just from the make-up perspective!


And it didn’t stop there! Superdrug in the UK jumped on the bandwagon and started to produce vegan cosmetics, their own brands (B, Simply Pure) are vegan and cruelty free. GOSH, another brand available in Superdrug is mostly vegan (they will email you a list of items that contain any animal derivatives if you email them). And my most recent and exciting discovery – good old M&S! Their cosmetic line is 100% cruelty free and mostly vegan too. I may no visit Boots half as much as I used to but the possibilities for someone like me is ever growing and that is truely fantastic!


(images from &

Lipstick – things are never simple with sensitive skin..

I’ve been feeling a bit smug for the past few months. Finding that I was allergic to carmine and as a result finding lots of really great products which didn’t contain this ingredient opened up a new world of lovely products for me to try. I have found fantastic blushes (Inika’s mineral blushes are my favorite) and all sorts of eyeshadows too. No more cheek or eyelid reactions! Hurrah!

However, the one part of my face which still seems to be suffering still is my lips. In the past two months I have tried 5 different carmine free lipsticks from different brands. The outcome has been interesting. They each feel fine whilst on for the evening (no tingling or immediate reaction). However the following morning I’ve had anything from a mild reaction (dry cracked lips) to my old oozy, sore inflamed lips which I thought I’d be free of since I avoided carmine. This leads me to realise that there is something else in these products that is causing me problems.

I’m going to patch test each of the 5 products on the inside of my arm for 48 hours and see how they compare as a start. I will then have to use a process of elimination (ingredient by ingredient – zzzz) to see what I find. Here is a list of the products:

Inika Lipstick – Naked Ambition

Natural Collection Moisture Shine (Boots) – Rose Petal

Neve Cosmetics Pastello – Scarlett

Beauty Without Cruelty – Rosewood

E.L.F (eyes lips face) – Ripe Rose


My homemade patch tests:


I want to say now that I use each of these brands regularly, and have an assortment of products from each from blushes to eye colour which I have no problems with whatsoever. I want to try to find out what the sensitizing ingredients are in lipsticks for my skin.  I know that many people have no such issues and I am not suggesting that the ingredients are in any way dangerous.

I will let you know the outcome…


Carmine – My allergy bugbear

I thought I should write a little bit of explanation about my main cosmetic allergy, to the delightful ingredient ‘carmine’ (cochineal).


I am, like thousands of eczema sufferers, highly allergic to various things, including fragrance (both chemical and natural), lanolin (which is a shame because it is such a great emollient) and sodium laurel sulphate (which is in most shampoos and toothpaste along with most household cleaning products).

However, none of this explained why, since my earliest attempts with make-up, I couldn’t wear blush or lipstick without getting the most appalling rash, the oozing, swollen, itchy variety. Not nice. This was then followed by a couple of weeks of topical steroid treatment to get rid of it which isn’t ideal.

For years I tried different brands and it made no difference whether they were high-end or chemist, ‘hypoallergenic’ (a red-herring term if ever there was one) or ‘allergy tested’. I was beginning to completely despair when I found mention of someone with similar symptoms to me having sensitivity to something called ‘Carmine’. I did some research both online and in my own make-up collection and realised that every single blush, lipstick and bronzer I had ever bought contained it. I also discovered that this ingredient is in fact crushed, freeze-dried cochineal beetles which produces a pigments of red, violet, magenta, or orange, depending on its concentration. As a non-meat eater (though not vegan) I have to say I was fairly disgusted by this, and even more so when I discovered it is used as a food dye and can be found in sweets, yoghurt, drinks and sauces. Yuk.

As a result I have become an expert in it various names: Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red 4, Natural Colouring, C.I. 75470, or E120. Cosmetic and food companies like to give it new and interesting names.

The good news is that  I have also discovered some really wonderful cosmetics companies who won’t use this in their products for ethical reasons (if the brand is vegan it won’t contain any carmine or lanolin as they are both animal derivatives) and thankfully some other companies (non-vegan) who just chose not to use it. I can now wear blush and lipstick and its been really very exciting after all these years. I will review the best and hope to help any of you out there with similar allergies or who wouldn’t want to use it for ethical reasons.