The secret to using pigments..

When I first started using makeup I was told to use pressed eye-shadows, with pigments seen as a mythical product used only by professionals. It was only when I started training as a make-up artist that I was introduced to pigments, and since then I have become addicted.

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What are pigments

Pigments are the main ingredients in eye-shadow. Usually with pressed eye-shadows a binder is added which dulls the pigment’s color. Without binder, the intensely coloured loose powder is known as pigment—they can be matte, shimmery or glittery. Pigments give you the ability to control the coverage, opacity and intensity of the finish.

Loose Pigments

Loose pigments are a fine, loose powder which are very multipurpose. These can be used wet or dry to create a vast range of looks. Loose pigments can unfortunately have a lot of fall out (falling onto other areas), so I find applying the pigment to my eyes first, gives me the chance to wipe my skin free of the fall out, before applying my base.

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Pressed Pigments

Pressed pigments are made with over 80% pure pigment which offer intense colour, shimmer and multiple dimensions. Pressed pigments are ideal when looking to create a range of looks.  Developed to deliver the coverage, rich colour payoff and finish of a loose powder without the inconvenience or mess.

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Face

Pigments can be used as blushers, highlighters and to contour your face. To use, tap the pigment onto a flat surface and use either a fan or angled brush to pick up the pigment (don’t forget to tap off the excess) and sweep along the desired area of your face. Be sure to choose colored pigment that complements your skin tone.

Body 

Perfect for a night out, festivals or holidays, loose pigments can be mixed into your body lotion or simply dusted onto your skin to create a body shimmer and give you a great all over glow.

Eyes 

Loose pigments can be used as dry or wet eye-shadows, or as eyeliners. To reduce fallout I would always recommend using an eye-shadow primer to create a base for the powder to adhere to. The application is also made easier when using a brush with dense bristles to pat the colour on and use a fluffier brush to blend. Pressed pigments can be used in the more traditional sense alongside pressed eye-shadows. Again use a fluffier brush to blend.

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Lips 

Loose pigments can be mixed with a gloss or balm and applied to the lips – this is sometimes a little trickier than it sounds, so practice the look first. I have used pressed pigments over the top of matte lipsticks to  create an ombre effect – and I love it. This is definitely a great look for an evening out.

Nails 

I know your thinking, how am I going to use pigment on my nails. Well its all too simple really. You can add your favorite loose pigments to a clear nail varnish, add into a small pot, stir well and paint away. pexels-photo-709803.jpeg

Budget Beauty – Give yourself the chance to sparkle

I am a huge fan of all things glitter, especially for a girls night out or on holiday. I love looking at new ways to incorporate a little shimmer into my life be that through my highlighter, eyes or skin . I need to make sure I get the balance right though as there is nothing worse than looking like a disco ball. I always found this rather challenging, that was until I tried GlitterEyes.

What is GlitterEyes?

GlitterEyes is a relatively new brand with a fast growing social media following, and for very good reason. The products are developed in the UK and are 100% vegan, non toxic and cruelty-free. (They test all their products on themselves!) All of this is great but are the products any good?

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The Collections

GlitterEyes are continuing to innovate their products, bringing new colors, pigments and glitters to their collection. They have multiple different types of products but I will be talking through the ones I use most.

GlitterEyes Pressed Pigment

GlitterEyes have a large range of pressed pigments all of which can be used anywhere on the skin. Pigments are now my go-to eye-shadows but I also use them as highlighter and on my lips.

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The application is easy and can be done with either a makeup brush or finger. The pressed pigments glide on the skin without much fall off and can be built up gradually to create a natural or dramatic look without looking cakey or thick. The GlitterEye pressed pigments are also easily blended to create a smokey eye or ombre lip. The colour layoff is brilliant especially considering these are only £6.99 and you also have the option to create your own palette of colours on the GlitterEyes website. So no need to have that one shadow you never use and feel guilty throwing it away.

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GlitterEyes Pressed Glitter

GlitterEyes hand make all their pressed glitters in house within the GlitterEyes lab and the best thing about their pressed glitter is that no adhesive is needed. These can be applied with a brush (more intense) or finger (less intense) straight onto the skin.

I love using the pressed glitter over the top of the pigments to add a little more drama to a look. These can also be applied round the eyes which looks great at festivals. The pressed glitters are easily removed with water and a microfibre cloth without going everywhere in the process.
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GlitterEyes Loose Glitter

Loose Glitter can be dusted onto the skin to create an all over sparkle or if you are looking for something more concentrated onto a particular area you can use an adhesive which GlitterEyes has available. Loose Glitter is great for festivals, parties and being a little bit over the top – because why not.

The loose glitter stays in place all day – I wore this for a 100km bike ride (long story) and it did not budge at all but was easy to remove when I eventually wanted to do so.

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 The Verdict

The GlitterEyes products are fun to use, they make me want to do something a bit different and they also work really well.

You can purchase GlitterEyes on their website and through a whole host of online boutiques. Be sure to check out their Instagram page for some amazing looks and sneak peaks at brand new products.

Beauty products explained – Face Wash vs Cleanser

I am constantly changing what I use to clean my skin. I tend to use cleansers when my skin needs brightening and an infusion of moisture, and face wash when I’m having a break out. But I wanted to be sure I was doing the right routine and really understand the difference between a face wash and a cleanser.

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What do they do..

Face wash and cleansers ultimately do a similar job, they rid the skin of dirt, makeup, and excess oil. But what is the difference, and when should you use them?

Cleansers are non-foaming and more gentle on the skin with nutrients that moisturize and hydrate. Cleansers also dissolve away excess oil, makeup and grime from your face rather than penetrating deep into the pores. If you have been exposed to a lot of dust and pollution or if you’re wearing makeup, it would be a good idea to use a cleanser first, before using a face wash.

A face wash, is a foaming liquid that acts more like soap, to remove deep seated dirt and grime. Face washes are a little harsher and thorough compared to a cleanser. The right wash should leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. Face washes should not be used more than twice and a day due to the removal of your skins natural oil.

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How to use them..

For those of us that wear makeup or are exposed to a lot of pollutants, I would always recommend a double cleanse. The first cleanse should rid the skin of surface dirt and if you are wearing makeup, use a cleanser designed to remove it as not all cleansers are. (If you are unsure to check the product label.)This will then prepare the skin for a second cleanse. Just like starting your beauty regime with a blank canvas. 

The second cleanse should provide for the needs of your skin, whether that be a deeper clean to unclog pores (face wash) or softer surface cleanse (cleanser). This is then your opportunity to decide if you would like to use your face wash or cleanser.

Top Tips

  • If your skin starts to feel dry and tight after using your face wash – switch to a new product as this may be removing too much of your natural oil
  • Not sure what cleanser is right for you? Have a look at my post here for your cleanser 101
  • You should always follow your cleanse with a toner, click here to read my post on why this is so important

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A more natural way to get those pearly whites..

I have always wanted to try a more natural toothpaste but I was unsure about what brands to try and how effective they would be. Reading multiple reviews and feedback online, many brands do not have the minty fresh taste and teeth rarely feel as clean.

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I am extremely particular in what I want from my toothpaste and I have never been the type of person to buy just anything offer. Toothpaste must be very minty, reasonably priced, convenient to purchase and whiten my teeth – due to my rather excessive Tea addiction.

So I started reading a lot of post purchase reviews on the likes of Amazon, Holland & Barrett and other e-retailers to try to find a brand that could accommodate my slightly demanding needs. One brand in particular really caught my attention.

EcoDenta 

Ecodenta is a Lithuanian oral care company who combine science and nature.  Ecodenta  manufacture their products from natural and eco-friendly sources, without harmful or abrasive ingredients. Ecodenta toothpaste’s have been developed with extracts of 7 different herbs, to ensure a comprehensive oral care. Some of the toothpaste also contain Kalident, a natural source of calcium, that strengthens your tooth’s enamel and helps to avoid decay.

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Ecodenta has a vast product range to suit all your toothpaste needs – perfect for the fussy buyers like myself.  I have included a few of the vast collection below;

Wild strawberry scented toothpaste for children with carrot extract & Kalident

Triple effect toothpaste with white clay, propolis and Teavigo

Whitening Toothpaste with black charcoal and Teavigo

Whitening toothpaste with mint oil, sage extract and Kalident

CODENTA COSMOS Organic toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums with natural salt and potassium citrate

I decided to try the Whitening toothpaste with mint oil, sage extract and Kalident – please note this particular toothpaste is not fluoride free. I purchased this from Holland & Barrett for £3.99 per 100ml – slightly more than I would usually pay for a toothpaste.

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So how was it?

After a long day and many cups of tea, I was very excited to try the EcoDenta toothpaste. When brushing, I use an electric toothbrush to reach my very new wisdom tooth, which I unfortunately cannot reach properly with any eco-friendly toothbrushes – so recommendations welcome.

I used a large pea sized amount and started brushing, I initially forgot that this was not a standard toothpaste as it was definitely minty enough. After a few seconds, I did notice that there was not a lot of foaming but I didn’t feel this impacted anything in particular.  After finishing, I was left with a herbal minty taste similar to a mint tea. My teeth felt very clean but initially not as white as they usually look. I will continue to use the  Whitening toothpaste with mint oil, sage extract and Kalident but just monitor how white my teeth become. Overall I am happy to convert to Ecodenta and will be exploring some of the other products within the range.

 

If you are looking for a fluoride free toothpaste try the Ecodenta Extra Black Whitening Toothpaste with Black Charcoal & Teavigo. I will be reviewing this product in the coming weeks. smile-mouth-teeth-laugh-65665.jpeg

Please note that Ecodenta states that they do not test on animals, I have done my own research and I am personally comfortable at this stage that they are cruelty-free, however they are not certified by leaping bunny, PETA or any other certification. I will also be monitoring Ecodenta going forward.

What does each Vitamin really do for the skin?

The beauty industry is consistently bringing out brands with a key focus on specific vitamins, especially with the trending Vitamin’s E and C. So how does all this science actually help our skin and what should we be looking out for?

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What is a Vitamin

Lets go back to basics and look at what vitamins are and as a collective do for the skin. Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small quantities to sustain life and are fundamentally responsible for a healthy body. The skin is the last organ to receive ingested vitamins, so in order to access the skin more effectively skin care products are now used.

Fat-soluble vitamin

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. These are easier to store than water-soluble vitamins, and they can stay in the body as reserves for days, and sometimes months. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins do not stay in the body for long as the body cannot store them, because of this, water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble ones. Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are water soluble.

A-Z of Vitamins 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also known as Retinol and comes with a huge number of benefits. Retinol is known to encourage healthy skin production which reduces acne, evens skin tone and encourages a glowing complexion. Retinol also stimulates the production of collagen so is a great ingredient to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A should be applied at night and application should be limited to 2-3 times a week or as per your product instructions.

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Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 also known as Niacinamide, increases production of fatty acids and cerimides which are two key components of your skin’s outer protective barrier. A daily application of Vitamin B3 can reduce redness, blotchiness and sensitivity. Vitamin B3 also reduces the transfer of pigment to skin cells, minimizing dark spots.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 is also known as Pantothenic Acid and helps to keep the skin healthy and attractive in appearance, with broad abilities to moisturize, soothe, heal and regenerate the skin. Vitamin B5 also helps to slow down the appearance of premature aging on the skin such as wrinkles and age spots.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nails, hair and skin because it contributes to cell reproduction. Vitamin B12 benefits the skin by reducing redness, dryness, inflammation and acne and can be applied to the skin for psoriasis and eczema.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a multi-beneficial ingredient which evens and brightens skin tone, improves your skins texture and helps to combat environmental damage. Vitamin C also helps to increase the production of collagen in the skin. In order for Vitamin C remain stable and work effectively, it must be stored in an opaque air tight container and is usually found in moisturisers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is very popular for treating Psoriasis symptoms including itchy and flaky skin. Vitamin D3 contains strong anti-inflammatory properties which make it effective for treating burns, skin injuries, skin damage and stretch marks.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is great for boosting hydration, reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage that can lead to pigmentation and damaged elastin. Vitamin E hydrates, prevents water loss, and soothes so it is good for both sensitive and aging skins types.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is applied to the skin to remove scars, stretch marks, spider veins, bruises, and burns. It can be used to treat rosacea, a condition that causes redness and pimples. Vitamin K also has the ability to strengthen the walls of capillaries and is generally used in eye creams to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Know your stuff..

If you use different vitamins within your skin care products, be sure to know exactly what you are putting on your skin, especially as some ingredients should not be combined. For example applying a Retinol (Vitamin A) which increases the production of skin cells with a Glycolic Acid, which removes the top layer of the skin, would result in flakiness and dryness – not a result I would personally be trying to achieve.

My recommendation with any skin care product is to read the label so that; 1. You know what ingredients you are putting onto your skin and 2. Understand how to apply the product effectively to achieve the best possible results.

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The hair care brand that bought my hair back to life

Hair care was a range of products I particularly struggled with to find a Cruelty-Free brand that actually made my hair look great. My hair is naturally mousy brown and can be extremely dry and frizzy, so I needed a product that added moisture, tamed frizz and could give my blonde ends some gloss – sounds like I was looking for a miracle.

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After visiting my local beauty wholesalers and talking to an extremely helpful sales assistance I was introduced to Maria Nila.

Who are Maria Nila?

My first thoughts were who are Maria Nila and why have I never heard of them before. Well Maria Nila is not your average hair care company – they are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA and the Vegan society (so there really is no confusion) – if you are not sure what the certifications mean click-through to my post here. If that wasn’t enough Maria Nila also climate compensate the packaging of their full product range – so every time you purchase a Maria Nila product, you contribute to the planting of new trees in South America. So all the ethical boxes are ticked – but how does product quality compare.

The collections 

Maria Nila has the following product ranges;

Head & Hair Heal, True Soft, Pure Volume, Structure Repair, Luminous Colour,  Sheer Silver, Colour Refresh, Style & Finish, Minerals, Maria Nila Soaps

I have mixed and matched three different ranges into my one routine to try and manage all my hair care needs.

Shampoo

I chose to use the Head & Hair Heel shampoo, as I often suffer from a sore and flaky scalp. The Head & Hair Heel shampoo is an anti-inflammatory, hair growth stimulating shampoo that uses natural Aloe Vera extract to treat and prevent scalp problems, with Vitamin E to stimulate the hair follicles for increased hair growth. Due to my large head of thick unruly hair, I usually have to use around a palm of product but with Maria Nila, I only needed half. The instructions advise you to massage the shampoo into the head and hair then rinse.

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After the first use I noticed that my scalp wasn’t dry and after two days, didn’t start to flake. I no longer had the embarrassing “dust” on my black jumpers. After three uses my hair felt stronger and after five uses I no longer had issues with my scalp – I am still using this today and have no problems.

Conditioner 

After heeling my head with the Head & Hair Heel shampoo, I decided to help my dry, frizzy hair become soft and silky. The True Soft range is designed for coloured hair, using aragn oil to moisturise and revitalise dry, brittle hair and help reduce the loss of color usually associated with washing and heat styling.

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I cannot begin to describe how much I love this conditioner. My hair is soft, silky and smooth without being greasy. After using the hairdryer I don’t look like a crazy poodle – I have a less crazy beach wave going on. I use my trusty large paddle GHDs to straighten out the waves with my hair usually deciding to go static, but this didn’t happen.

Colour Refresh

I love having my hair cut and coloured but as it is so long and thick it can become really expensive, so I only get it treated 2-3 times a year. Thank goodness for the ombre and balyage trend!

Maria Nila’s Colour Refresh range is a great fix for in between treatments and doubles as a nourishing hair masque. The masque contains temporary colour pigments that come in 13 different shades;

Pearl Silver, Vanilla, Sand, Bright Copper, Autumn Red, Cacao Red, Cacao, Cacao Intense, Black, Pink Pop, Azure, Vivid Violet, Bright Red, White Mix

The various pigments can never brighten up an already existing colour and only work on coloured hair, with the result depending on the hair’s existing colour or quality. You can mix the different shades together to get your perfect pigment. The Application was relatively simple; Shampoo your hair and then apply the Color Refresh to towel-dried hair. Let the product sit between 3- 10 minutes,  then rinse the hair and finish with conditioner – using supplied gloves.

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I used the Pearl Silver to rid my hair of the slightly warmer blonde tones that lurk within and left the Colour Refresh on for 8 minutes.

My hair did not turn out silver but looked as if I had been to a salon for a toner top up – and I am really pleased with the result. The most impact this Colour Refresh had however was how incredible my hair looked and felt after using it. Soft, silky, glossy and in great condition even though my last haircut was 4 months ago.

The Verdict…

Maria Nila is 100% winning on product quality. I am not saying this brand is a miracle to the hair care industry but alomost and I absolutely love it. I can honestly say my hair and head is in the best condition it has ever been.

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Cruelty-Free – Understanding who is, isn’t and the in between

Starting my new life Cruelty-Free was not as simple as I first thought it would be. There are so many companies that claim to be Cruelty-Free that do test on animals and lots of logos that sit alongside products to verify their Cruelty-Free status. So what is the “gold” standard and how do these other certifications fit in.

If I’m honest I felt utterly confused about what I should look for, that at one point I stopped trying anything new and stuck with one or two trustworthy brands. But where is the fun in that!

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So what does Cruelty-Free actually mean?

The term Cruelty-Free refers to animal testing only, not necessarily the wider animal cruelty issue. A company that claims it is Cruelty-Free is suggesting that they do not test their products on animals.

And what does Vegan have to do with cosmetics?

Vegan is used to describe something that does not contain anything derived from an animal, therefore Vegan approved cosmetics do not contain any animal by products – this however cannot be used as a reference to animal testing. So for the purpose of this post, I will not be discussing how to determine if a product is Vegan.

Cruelty-Free..

Unfortunately the term “Cruelty-Free” and “Not tested on animals” are often thrown around by companies but not always regulated. So pretty much any company could say they are Cruelty-Free, when they aren’t.  I know, what hope do we have finding these companies who really are legitimate, well Leaping Bunny is leading the way in terms of gold standard certification.

Leaping Bunny 

Leaping Bunny has become the international gold standard of Cruelty-Free certification due to the commitments expected by companies who pass and maintain a strict set of criteria including;

  • Introducing a fixed cut-off date after which none of their products or ingredients are tested on animals
  • Establishing procedures for verifying the strict implementation of the fixed cut-off date with product manufacturers and raw ingredients suppliers to monitor their supply chains
  • Adopting an animal testing policy verified by Cruelty Free International
  • Allowing independent auditors to evidence compliance with Leaping Bunny criteria

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PETA – Beauty Without Bunnies

PETA validate if a company is Cruelty-Free by either signing PETA’s statement of assurance or providing a statement that verifies they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and pledge not to do so in the future. peta-bunny-2

 

Choose Cruelty-Free

Choose Cruelty-Free (CCF) is an Australian based organisation and to become accredited by CCF, you must fill in a questionnaire & application for Accreditation (Q&A), including a legally binding contract.  If companies use third parties to manufacture their products, they are also required to submit a completed Q&A and supporting documentation.

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The declared but not accredited 

Some companies may claim the following, meaning that the products and its ingredients were not tested on animals, however not all with have accreditation from Leaping Bunny, PETA, CCF or other accredited organisations to verify these claims.

No animal testing
Not tested on animals
We don’t test on animals
Against animal testing

In an ideal world, I would be happy accepting these statements with no evidence but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Companies can legally state they are Cruelty-Free but not comply with the standards set by Leaping Bunny, PETA, CCF or other accredited organisations, by commissioning third parties to conduct animal testing on their behalf or using their ingredient suppliers to conduct animal testing on the raw ingredients.

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In my opinion you cannot go wrong with looking for the Leaping Bunny logo and using PETA’s App “Bunny Free” for clarity. I have looked into doing research of my own with particular companies but as this is time-consuming and nowhere near as thorough as the accreditation’s above, I try not to rely on this completely.