5 Cruelty-Free Brands That You Have To Check Out

Cruelty Free Beauty

The Makeup Wars crew is back and this time we’re highlighting our favorite cruelty-free products. I have my own theories about what “cruelty-free” actually means but I’ll save my rant for another day. I do know that there are many of you cruelty-free lovers out there so I know that you guys and gals will love this post. And so without further ado, check out 5 of my favorite cruelty-free brands.

Tarte Cosmetics

It’s no surprise, is it? I love me some Tarte. From their skincare products, to their lippies and liners, everything that Tarte releases impresses me. And it’s not just the quality of the products either. The packaging of all of their beauty goodies ALWAYS rocks. The Tarte team clearly thinks about branding and they rock. If you like higher-end cosmetics with a “natural” spin to it, you’ve got to check out Tarte Cosmetics.

NYX Cosmetics

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Girl yes. I love me some NYX. Where else will you get affordable makeup, that is great quality and easy to find? And what other brand releases an entire collection of just mascara? Yeah. NYX will always have my heart.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

OCC Lip Tars

I’ve been rollin’ on the OCC train for quite some time. Saying I’m obsessed with them would be just a little too cheesy but it’s certainly accurate. This brand is not for the weak. If you love supporting semi-indie brands and aren’t afraid of color, mixin’ and being BOLD, OCC is the way to go. I can’t waiiiiiiit to stop by their booth at The Makeup Show Orlando later this month.

St. Ives

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I’m a total skincare snob but I am open to using any brand as long as they are low in fragrances, dyes and synthetic crap. And that’s why I love St. Ives. They have recently reformulated a lot of their products and they are even more amazing. Three words: Green Tea Scrub.

[NOTE: Welllll, it looks like St. Ives may not be cruelty-free anymore but to be safe, check out the brand Desert Essence. They are definitely cruelty-free and one of my favorite skincare brands!]

Salma Hayek NUANCE

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I love love looooove this CVS-exclusive brand. Their skincare products are pretty awesome but so are their cosmetics too. And it’s a brand that caters to brown girls so the pigmentation of their shadows, lippies and blushes are dead on. Woot!

Check out some of the other cruelty-free brands and products of my Makeup Wars girls.

The Lip Balms I Almost Ate…

So Clarins has these lipsticks that they only release during the summer and it’s quite a shame. These bad boys are so dang fabulous that it’s a pity they aren’t available year round.

I got ‘em to review and it has taken everything in me to not bite them.

Clarins lips

Yah. Like bite bite. They just look so luscious.

Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balm

Clarins lipsticks

I’m not crazy though. No lipsticks were harmed in this feature.

Clarins packaging

To sum it up, these are fantastic. They look like lipsticks but they feel like balms. They are sheer in color, long-lasting and have a sweet and fruity smell.

Crystal Mandarin has a juicy and sweet orange tint to it. I didn’t think this would work so well but surprise…it does!

Clarins Crystal Mandarin

Crystal Rose, I think, is the most wearable shade for all complexions because it has enough red and pink in it to compliment ladies of all skin tones.

Clarins Crystal Rose

Crystal Gold Plum is really more of a gold and while I’ve never liked gold on my lips, this is subtle enough to actually work kinda well.

Clarins Crystal  Gold Plum

Crystal Berry is a subtle vamp of the family.

Clarins Crystal Berry

They are spectacular. Clarins, please make these available year round. Please! They retail for $26 a pop at ClarinsUSA.com and at Clarins counters. I’m all for sheer lipsticks. Sometimes you just don’t want a super pigmented lip, ya know?

By the way, I’m still trying not to bite these. Don’t judge me.

The cute and dainty COVERGIRL Smoochies Lip Balm

So COVERGIRL has these new lip balm-y type thingies and they take me back to being in middle school.

Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm

Did anyone else buy lip balms that looked a lot like these at the hair store? Hmm. Okay, maybe that’s just me. These are definitely better than the hair store ones because the quality is nice and they don’t smell like artificial cherry gone bad. Every few years just about every big drugstore beauty brand releases this kind of product. COVERGIRL’s Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balms are super affordable and I like to dub them as the gateway beauty product for pre-teens and teens. This is how a beauty addiction starts, y’all. They always start with something as innocent as a lip balm.

CoverGirl Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm

CoverGirl Smoochies

I’d let my preteen daughter wear them because the color is subtle and they lippie is actually moisturizing. I’m rockin’ Tru Luv here and I kinda how faint this is. If it were any deeper, this shimmery mauve probably wouldn’t compliment me too much.

CoverGirl Tru Luv on lips

CoverGirl Tru Luv

Not too shabby, huh? You can find these anywhere COVERGIRL products are sold for under $5. There are 12 shades of these and if you’re in the market for lip balm, you may like these. I totally want to hoard them all. Especially for nostalgia purposes.

Obessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Lip Tar Stained Glosses ROCK!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Just the sheer utterance of those words sends sparks flying. I could marry a beauty brand, I would marry OCC. We’d get along great too in our happy, vegan, multi-purpose world. OCC is just…amazeballs. And yes I know I featured them last week but baby, I’m back!

OCC Lip Tar Stained Gloss

And then some. I was sent these new stained Stained Glosses of theirs and well, yeah…I’m in love. Esposo, baby, you better watch out. These glosses are stealing my heart!

OCC Lip Tars

Have I told y’all bout my reoccuring obsession with all things rainbow? I fell hard for rainbows when I was in elementary school. Somehow the bug has bit me again and now I can’t stop hoarding rainbow’y stuffs. Or giving rainbowd’d kisses.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

I know. I am just in love with color these days. Or…everyday. Let’s do a rundown of these beauties, shall we?

OCC Jealous

Jealous is a popsicle pinkish red. I find this Lip Tar Stained Gloss to be the most wearable out of the 6. Jealous is just perfect by herself. I didn’t need an additional or anything. Sheer perfection!

OCC Androgyne Lip Tar

OCC Androgyne

Androgyne is a sheer orange gel. I almost looks neon in the tube but it’s surprisingly wearable once worn on the lips. I didn’t think I could pull this one off but I love it!

OCC Voyeur

Voyeur is a yellow glaze and I’m pretty sure this won’t look flattering on anyone. I reckon this gloss will better be used as a mix with other glosses.

OCC Rhythm Box Lip Tar

OCC Rhythm Box

Rhythm Box is my absolute favorite of the bunch. This purpled burgundy is just stunning and I could easily wear it every day. I found it to be the most pigmented of all of the Stained Lip Glosses.

OCC Lip Tar Meta

OCC Meta Lip Tar

Meta is a red orange shellac and I didn’t think it would work well for me, but it did! I tend to wear blue toned reds but this one shocked me. She is a beaut!

OCC Lip Tar New Wave

New Wave is a glassy neon pink. It isn’t as neon on the lips as it is in the tube. Still pretty nice though.

Mixin’ the lippies…

OVERALL:

Man, I love these. It’s really hard not to love stuff from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics though. These are $18 a pop at Sephora so they aren’t cheap but I’ve spent my lunch money on OCC lippies more times than I count. My favorite? Jealous and Rhythm Box are niiiiiice. I hope OCC does more of these Stained Gloses. The “stained” power wasn’t as long-lasting as the regular Lip Tars but they blend nicely, moisturize the lips and are more pigmented than I thought they’d be. So yes. I adore them. And I want more. I needs more!!

Any OCC lovers in the house? Have you tried the Stained Glosses yet?

Mixin’ Around With OCC Lip Tars + A Giveaway!

It’s been forever and 10 days since I’ve done something creative makeup-wise. Some beauty blogger I am, huh? Welllllls, through Coupons.com I was gifted with a $50 gift card to Sephora in hopes that I’d feature using one product or products and do multiple looks with them. I loves a challenge. I also have this extreme obsession with Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Lip Tars. I mean, look at ‘em…

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Pro's Picks Lip Tar Set v2.0

Sexy, ain’t they? Every few seasons OCC gives us a smashing deal of 5 Lip Tars for only $49. This is a crazy awesome deal because one Lip Tar usually costs $18. The Pro’s Picks Lip Tar Set v2.0 contains 5 unique shades that can be worn alone or mixed together to create your own shade.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars(l-r)
Hoochie, Lydia, Pretty Boy, Iced and Kava Kava

Of course Hoochie is my favorite. That vibrant magenta is quite the stunner.

OCC Hoochie Lip Tar

I wanted to create two additional lip colors using good ole’ Hooch as my base.

OCC Lip Tar mixing

I had to use flash on the camera for a lot of these pics because Hooch is so hard to photograph. But wow…I love it.

OCC Hoochie Lip Tar swatch

I did some mixin’ with Hoochie and Pretty Boy and came up with this…

OCC Lip Tar on brush

OCC Lip Tar mixing

…and then I mixed Hoochie with Lydia and Iced.

OCC Lips

Iced alone is pretty magnificent. I can’t wait to find other ways to use that beautiful frosty white. 5 Lip Tars for $50 is such a great deal and I am so going to be looking out for their next season’s release. That’s what I love about Sephora. You can always find some awesome beauty deal that you aren’t able to find other places. Check out what my fellow beauty bloggin’ ladies have featured in our Coupons.com giveaway blog hop!

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The Story Of The NARS Lip Pencil That I Wore For 2 Weeks Straight

My morning schedule is absolute madness. It isn’t even funny. Going back to work after maternity leave has had its challenges and Esposo and I are still trying to handle them efficiently, but dude…how do people do it? Getting myself and a baby ready for the day is tough enough but add in getting breakfast, lunch, washing bottles, pumping and trying not to forget anything and it’s like…whoa. By 7am I feel like I’ve already done enough for the day.

That said, when it comes to beautifying, I have a good 5-7 minutes to get it together. And even that’s pushing it. We all know how much I love a good lip and usually achieve one by pullin’ out a lipliner and lipstick but come on, y’all…ain’t nobody got time for all that. Fo reals.

Instead, I’ve been having a love affair with 2 of these new NARS Satin lip pencils.

NARS Satin Lip Pencils

Oh my, are they heavenly. I mean, my gooooodness…

And I know what you’re thinking, “B, it’s just ANOTHER lip pencil to hit the market. What’s the big deal?” Yah. I said the same thing. I don’t know, y’all. Except for the fact that these aren’t self-sharpening (ugh, hate that), these are actually better than many of the pencils that I’ve tried. And I’ve tried a lot.

NARS Satin Lip pencils swatches

For one these babies are nice and hydrating. I still like to put down a base of a balm before application but it’s great that I don’t have to worry about my lips being drier than the Sahara. And the color intensity is just well, intense!

Luxembourg is described as a watermelon and it’s just beautiful! ‘Scuse my imperfect application. Please don’t let it overshadow the awesome that is Luxembourg.

NARS Luxembourg

I could seriously wear this lipstick daily. Oh wait. I did wear it 2 weeks in a row. Womp.

NARS Luxembourg on lips

And then there’s Palais Royal, a stunning Sangria…

NARS Palais Royal

I know, right?

NARS Palais Royal on lips

I’m pretty much obsessed with these and I love how they leave a bit of stain behind. So yes, they will fade over time but not for a very long time. And since it’s a pencil, I’m able to line my lips, apply and then toss in my purse all under 2 minutes.

You done well, NARSy. You done well.

The Beauty Basics

Price: $25/pencil
Availability: At Sephora.com, NARS.com and at Sephora counters 
Limited Edition?: Nope
Do I recommend?: Hecks yah! I mean, they aren’t cheap but c’mon, when has NARS ever been cheap? If you’re okay with splurging, I think you’ll really like these. They are nice and as hydrating as lip pencils can be. Plus, the color selection is just really nice. You’ll definitely find something that suits you.
 
 

 

Are you a lover of lip pencils or do you find them to be pretty gimmicky?

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm – Because Most Guys Have Lips

It’s true! The male species have lips. At least most of ‘em. And if any of yours are like mine, they may be a bit “particular” about what they put on their lips. And not “particular” in a good way. And yeah, I know it’s not easy being married to a beauty editor. I’m always chasing after Esposo asking him to Smell this and Try that. And he’d rather eat burnt asparagus than acquiesce. Help with web design? Sure! Let me use his hand to swatch a lippy? NEVER! But when I told good ‘ol Esposo that Jack Black was a brand made for the fellas, he actually let me apply these popular balms on his lips. Score! I got these for review and now we are both kinda obsessed with them.

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You’ve spotted this brand at Sephora before, haven’t you? I’ve been eyeing them for years but I am just now trying out these lippies. These babies are popular! My fellow beauty bloggin’ sisters are always ravin’ about the awesomeness that is Jack Black.

The Basics

What The Lippies Don’t Have: Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances/Dyes and Phthalates
What the Lippies Do Have: Shea butter, avocado oil and SPF 25
Flavors: Vanilla & Lavender, Grapefruit & Ginger, Original, Lemon & Chamomile, Black tea & Blackberry

I’ve got good news…they are only lightly scented. Woo hoooooo! Nothing irritates me more than a lip balm that is insanely fragrant. If you’ve ever liked how Vaseline feels on the lips, then you’ll love how JB feels. It’s thick, hydrating and smooth. It feels fantastic when worn solo and worn with a lipstick on top.

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And it’s nice to have a lip balm with SPF in it. I’m sold. And so is the guy. At $7.50, they may be a little bit more than the average lip balm, but they are definitely worth their price. Especially if you’re a fan of having SPF in your lip balms. You can get these from Sephora stores and at Sephora.com.

Ever try anything from Jack Black?

Cargo Cosmetics is some kind of awesome…

So like a realllllllyyyyy long long loooong time ago, I was all obsessed with the brand CARGO. Some people are obsessed with shoes, some folx like hats (you know, like the ones people rock at the Kentucky Derby when they bet on horses), I obsess over cosmetics. Obviously. I’m not sure what happened but my love affair with them just…ended. Don’t you hate when that happens? It’s like one minute you’ll be obsessed with a song and then the next, you’re just like…over it. Okay, so fast forward a few years and CARGO and I are friendly again thanks to these press samples being sent to me. Yaaaayyyy!!!!

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CARGO is  currently sold in Ulta and at cargocosmetics.com, but I’m almost positive that they used to be sold in Sephora. I wish they’d go back to good ole’ Seph. But whatever – I’m just happy that I can buy them whenever now because it seemed to be that they weren’t so widely available years ago.

One of my faaaavorie things about the brand is their AMAZING bronzers. Mark my words – CARGO rules in the bronzer department. This Beach Blush in Echo Beach is absolutely lovely.

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Don’t be silly and try to use each individual  color. No no, loves. Simply swirl a brush in there and apply it all over the cheeks.

 

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Yep, that’s Elle’s little head at my chin. I’m a multi-tasking mama! Packing-wise, I love these bronzers but it’s really the longevity that make them stellar. I can use this bronzer on top of a powder and it will last a good 8 hours. Fo reals!

And then there’s the Essential Palette…

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Who knew CARGO did eyeshadows so well? Priced well at $32, this palette in Warm Neutral is the perfeeeect everyday palette. I love how all of the shadows are matte but they weren’t chalky. In fact, the only issue I had was with the Browbone color. It was a bit frostier than I would have liked. I managed to tone it down a bit using a primer but by itself…wowsers.

Lippy-wise, I was sent the darling coral and shimmery darling.

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A simple gloss, yes but it’s dainty and would probably be fantastic over a highly pigmented lipstick. It’s the kind of gloss that is appropriate for outdoor fancy affairs but it also works well if you need something subtle but nice.

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Prices:

Bronzer – $30
Essentials Palette – $32
Lipgloss – $14

Availability:

CargoCosemtics.com

I am beyond impressed with what CARGO has been doing lately. I’ve got some mascaras of theirs that I can’t wait to review so stay tuned for those reviews. Any CARGO lovers in the house? Have you ever tried the brand?

 

*This post contains a paid link