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..



Urtekram – Danish Organic Hugs for your Hair and Skin

My local health food shop (Well Natural in Salisbury) is small but manages to cram a lot into its shelves, stocking everything from vitamin supplements to vegan chocolate and even a little coffee shop. The staff aren’t particularly knowledgeable, especially when it comes to being vegan (I’ll probably have a little rant about this in another post). But it has been a life saver over the past few newly vegan months.

I’ve been able to research brands they supply to see which would be suitable for a vegan with über sensitive skin like mine and was excited to see a new brand: Urtektram on the shelves in the shampoo section. The excitement came, not only because it was cruelty free and vegan but because it have ‘NO PERFUME’ in bright yellow on the front of the bottle – score!


In the days prior to my enlightenment regarding my allergy triggers (fragrance/SLS/lanolin etc) I had to wash my hair wearing rubber gloves. This has been a source of great hilarity for my friends and family.  I still do in fact, many years of bad reactions has left me nervous of risking days of steroid ointment and white cotton gloves as my poor hands recovered. I’m very fond of my yellow marigolds! However, in order to test how gentle a seemingly ideal product is, I give it the no gloves test over a week. It has been a revelation. The only other shampoo that I have found as good as this has been Jason Naturals Fragrance Free. However, I think this beats it hands down. I have super-fine flyaway hair and it leaves it clean and residue free. It also foams which makes it easier to ensure you have cleaned it thoroughly. I used to wash my hair every other day but this easily adds one more wash-free day which in the long is better for you hair. You can see from the water on this bottle that I have just used it!


In the last few months I have been researching the positive effects of certain natural plant and nut oils on sensitive skin and it is really interesting to see that the main ingredients of this shampoo are Sodium Coco Sulphate ( a mild, non irritating surfactant made from coconut oil) and aloe vera. There are lots of interesting articles around Sulphates on the internet, most around the negative effect of Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate which are irritants and often both toxic and carcinogenic. But it is not ‘Sulphates’ that are the problem as there are many that are useful and not harmful to you or the environment, the issue is the word that comes before it. If you see a sulphate that you don’t recognise – check it before you buy.

Urketram is a brand that has been around in Denmark since 1972, selling herbs at a time when awareness about the environment was “an idealistic matter of the heart to a few people”, they pioneered the use of organic and fair trade produce. In the 1990s they led the way in bringing organic products into the mainstream and their stockists are ever-increasing. Their name is a clever play on the traditional Danish word for a herb seller, “urtekræmmer” and the work for a hug: “kram”.  They have a new fan in me. My local shop only stocks their shampoo and conditioner so I will need to look online for other products in this range and see if they are great as this.

A Bird of Paradise

It’s still February and the rain is pouring outside my window. But this does not mean that I can’t think about sunny climbs and the promise of warm weather around the corner (or a couple of corners). I have written before about my problems with fragrance, I can’t wear it on my skin as I will develop a rash within minutes. Instead I spray it onto my hair (spray a little cloud above your head and letting it settle) and onto my clothes (spray a little cloud in front and then walk into it).

I’ve become a huge fan of Marks and Spencer cosmetics recently. They have been given the cruelty free (leaping bunny) stamp of approval and most of their products are free of animal derivatives too. I’ve always found the cost of designer perfume utterly ridiculous, we pay for the jazzy bottle and the name rather than the smell and that seems bonkers. So to find a fragrance which not only smells lovely but has a magic bottle for the princely sum of £15 for 100ml makes me very happy! Behold:


It is an eau de toilette so it is not as powerful as a purfme but I’ve never minded this. A little refresh during the day is not a problem when M&S do a little handbag sized 25ml version of all their fragrances. It has a very light, fruity smell, of peaches and tropical flowers. It is a scent to raise a smile, as is the bottle. I love the lid, it looks like the tail feathers of a very proud little bird. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of kitsch and maybe a wink to Marc Jacobs.

How Vegan make-up turned into Vegan Vegan….

The first thing I should say is that I am an animal lover. I don’ t think I’d function without animals in my life, being in their company makes me very happy. My husband would tell you that he has often felt second fiddle to various members of my animal family over the years and I would be unable to argue.

I was brought up on a farm, where cows, sheep, pigs, horses, cats and dogs were part of my every day existence. There was milk on the table every morning from the small herd of dairy cows and I loved taking left overs to our pair of pigs Bubble and Squeak. My family ate meat, lots of it, we weren’t allowed to leave the table without finishing it. Even as a small child I was fussy about food, specifically meat. It looked wrong to me, it was brown and lumpy and had strings that I didn’t like. My family ate everything, liver, kidneys, heart, tongue. There was a paticularily bad experience with some brain that I won’t go into.

This didn’t go down well. I spent many hours sitting in front of a plate of food I simply could not stomach. However it wasn’t until I was 6 or 7 that I made the critical link.


I went to feed Bubble and Squeek. But Squeek was no longer large and pink with wiry blond hair and a big snuffly nose. Squeek was small and had brown patches on his back. I asked my father what had happened and was told that pigs grew differently to people and sometimes they get smaller. I’ve asked my parents about this lie recently and they said that they guessed how things would go if I understood the truth and wanted to stop it for as long as they could. They also appreciate that this was wrong. Unfortunately for them, I have 7 older siblings and the truth came out almost immediately. I understood that I had been eating my friends and would be continually asked to.

I won’t spend too long dwelling on this. There were battles over food, over meat for years. There simply weren’t vegitarians in my family. Everyone shot, hunted, fished. I became anxious about food, I didn’t trust where it came from. As soon as I was old enough to become vegitarian I did. I found it easiest at school where vegitarian food was readily available. In school holiday at home I lost lots of weight because I simply ate the vegitables that were offered alongside the meat. My best friend was vegitarian as was her mother. I loved staying with them, no anxiety, no suspicion.

I was not perfect, I went through phases of eating fish, chicken and at one point (and I cringe saying this) bacon.

This brings me to Summer 2014. My husband (not vegitarian) had been working abroad for 6 months so there had been no meat in the house for a while as i had not need to buy any for him. I began to look into veganism. What took vegans that step further than vegitarians? What was I missing? So I asked the question: What is wrong with dairy? The cows and chickens don’t die so it can’t be that bad. I was overwhelmed with horror when the anwers came flooding back. I was heartbroken. How could I have been so ignorant? I cried for days and decided that I would bear witness to the suffering so I would never go back. The suffering and abuse that animals go through because of human greed is unacceptable. Dairy cows are inseminated every 14 months to keep them pregnant and their milk flowing. Their calves are taken from them at birth and either killed on the spot or taken to be raised for veal. Their mothers scream for days. After 4 or 5 years the cows produce less milk and they are then slaughtered. Chickens have a similar fate. I don’t need to labour the point but there are no happy endings here. There are two films that made a huge impact on me: The Ghosts In Our Machine ( and Earthlings (

So that was it. The leather shoes, belts and wool hat and jumpers went out the door. As did the milk, butter, eggs.

I was concerned about how my husband would react to the change when he got home. I didn’t need to. He was interested, and did his own research. He now eats vegan too.

Life is made far more simple today due to the internet. We can educate ourselves on any subject. We can research food, recipies and ingredients. There is no need to be afraid of the unknown because there will already be millions of people on that journey ahead of you waiting to give you a helping hand.

I have more energy, my eczema so rarely rears its scabby head that I sometimes forget I have it. And my food hang-ups are gone. There is no looking back.


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 &