Handmade Naturals Sensitive Face Cream – what a find!

Someone recently said to me ‘I would never put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat’, and I’ve thought about it a lot since then. If our skin is our biggest organ then we should be far more mindful of the chemicals we allow it to absorb through cosmetic use. When you read the ingredients list of your make up and facial creams, how much do you actually recognise? People now understand the benefits of eating healthy, fresh food but this is only part of the battle.

Due to my feelings about animal testing and the use of animal derivatives in products, I have almost stopped visiting shops like Boots. So this led me to search more widely on the internet and also ask questions on relevant Facebook boards. When I asked about plant-based, beauty for sensitive skin types I was recommended Handmade Naturals. I will be forever grateful to the person who did. It is a truly natural skin care range, using many of the oils I have been reading about as alternative antioxidant treatments. They are a small UK business and all their items are made here too. They are also 100% vegan and cruelty free.

I always try new products with some trepidation as I get reactions so easily. I was able to try their Unscented Sensitive Face Cream in a small travel sized bottle so I could check whether it was a great as I hoped before buying a full bottle.

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The ingredients are: purified water, virgin organic shea butter (butyrospermun parkii), unrefined rosehip seed oil (rosa moschata), golden jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis), peach kernel oil (prunus persica), emulsifying wax, aspen bark extract, vegetable glycerin, vitamin E oil (tocopherol).  I would happily eat it all!

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I used my small bottle within a couple of weeks and my skin absolutely loved it. No flare ups, no dramas. Jojoba oil, shea butter and rosehip oil are all well documented as being of great benefit to the skin and are also not irritating (though it is very important that every person tests their own skin’s reaction to new things). It is absorbed quickly, leaves the skin felling silky smooth and calm.  The creams come in pump-action bottles which are fantastic as they protect the cream from contamination (avoid buying anything to put on your face that comes out of a tub!) and stop you from using too much. One pump covers my whole face.

I have just bought their Unscented Plum & Avocado Face Cleanser and Unscented Hand & Body Lotion with Almond, Plum Kernel and & Virgin Cocoa Butter as I am hoping the rest of the range will be equally talented. If it passes the face and hands test then I an a genuinely very happy (and not itchy) person!

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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‘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!

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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!

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(images from beautylish.com & lipglossiping.com)

Molecule 01 – A fragrance for those who can’t wear frangrance!

I had never heard of Molecule 01 before this week:

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I am totally allergic to fragrance/perfume, both essential oils and synthetic scents make my skin very upset (think nasty rash) so I have to wear it on my clothes or hair. This doesn’t bother me massively – but it would be nice to be able to spray something onto my skin.

Molecule 01 was recommended as it has no fragrance related ingredient – in fact the only ingredient is described as ‘Escentric Molecules Molecule 01: Iso E Super (65%)’. The company who make it claims it ‘smells different on everyone, but amazing on everyone’. They also say ‘The scent has a subtle, velvety, woody note which will meld with your natural pheromones, vanish, then re-surface after some time, making it totally individual and personalised to the wearer. You will rarely smell this fragrance on yourself, Molecule 01 perfume is more about the effect it has on others’.

Understandably I was keen to see if this was the answer to my perfume woes.

Well, the good news is that I had no adverse reaction to it on my skin at all, no irritation at all – score! The less good news is that it just doesn’t smell that great, a bit pine-fresh air freshener for my liking . On top of this, I really couldn’t smell much at all after the initial spray and I kept checking my wrists to see if the smell would ‘re-surface’. It didn’t. I asked both Victoria and my husband what they thought of the smell and they both looked a bit blank, indicating that I smelt of very little.

Maybe I’m not in turn with my pheromones (and maybe my husband isn’t either which would be a bit sad) or its rather a lot of hype about nothing.

But hey – no rash!

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

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My homemade patch tests:

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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…

 

March Favorites: Inika Eyeshadows – Burnt Sienna and Copper Crush

I love Inika mineral make-up. They are a vegan brand so I can wear all of their blush colours and bronzers as they contain no carmine (which I am highly allergic to and is derived from cochineal beetles). I also have to check all eye shadow colours, especially the bronze/ gold shades as they often contain carmine too.

These two colours work so well together I thought I’d put them in the same post:

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Inika’s mineral foundations, concealers, blushes and eye shadows all start with a base of Mica, Titanium Dioxide and Iron oxides. It is really unusual to be allergic to these ingredients so they are a really good choice for people like me who react to combinations of oils and pigments found in most make-up brands. Titanium Oxide (and Zinc Oxide) are some of the best ingredients found in sunscreens so this type of make up also works to protect your skin from sun damage.

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The top one here is Burnt Sienna and the bottom in Copper Crush. If you use them with a damp, fine brush they can be painted on as a beautiful metallic eyeliner. I’ve done a very simple look in the picture below,m using copper crush as a base and burnt sienna as an eyeliner and in the eye-socket.

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