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.

China Glaze Sunsational nail polish collection, part II

If you missed my feature of the first 6 polishes of this gorgeous summery collection, check it out here. I am now back with the other 6!

China Glaze Sunsational nail polish

And there are mooooar jellies. Woot!

China Glaze Bottoms Up

Bottoms Up is a typical bubblegum pink. There isn’t anything crazy unique about it. Most nail polish companies will launch a pink like it in their summer collections. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, ya know?

China Glaze That's Shore Bright

That’s Shore Bright is a purple creme. It is far more fantastic in real life and if you love purple nail polishes, you pretty much need this one in your life. I kinda want a car this color. Don’t ask…

China Glaze Too Yacht To Handle

Too Yacht To Handle is a pretty teal that almost looks like a minty green version of China Glaze’s For Audrey. They could definitely be fraternal twins.

China Glaze Shell-O

Shello-O is a juicy coral pink and it’s a pretty jelly that would look stunning when paired with any kind of glitter.

China Glaze Highlight of my Summer

Highlight of My Summer is a mellow mint green creme. It almost looks like a spring-y shade and it’s a bit difficult to apply. Still pretty if you can manage applying a good 2-3 coats.

China Glaze Heat Index

Heat Index is a bright pink jelly. Yep, another jelly. It’s got a little more umph than Shello-O but jelly lovers will probably want both. Tell your wallet I apologize.

The collection altogether…

China Glaze Sunsational

You can still find this collection anywhere China Glaze polishes are sold..Sally Beauty Supply, ULTA Beauty and online retailers.

Any other jelly lovers in the house? I so wish I was creative enough to do some cool things with jellies. But unfortunately I’m far too lazy. Ha!

China Glaze Sunsational collection, part I

I can’t believe it’s almost already fall. Eek! I have to quickly crank out this review before the leaves start droppin’ on me. China Glaze always knows how to release a stellar summer nail polish collection and Sunsational isn’t any less. I received these babies for review and these are the first 6.

China Glaze Sunsational collection

Oh! And the best part…a lot of them have jelly finishes. *squeals*

 

China Glaze Sun of a Peach

Sun of a Peach is a gorgeous peachy creme. I don’t own anything like it. Sure, it took 4 coats to reach an opaque finish but whatever. It’s gorgeous!

China Glaze Are You Jelly?

Are You Jelly? Is a purple jelly that you basically need. Yeah, I said it. You NEED this one. Especially if you love purple nail polishes as much as I do. She’s super sheer so you’ll need 3-4 coats to get an opaque finish but she’s fantastic with layering a glitter in between. It’s such a stunning purple!

China Glaze Keepin' It Teal

Keepin’ It Teal is a turquoise jelly that surprised me! I thought for sure this one was going to stain my nails but it didn’t! I usually don’t wear turquoise polishes because they are notorious for staining the nails. I love this one. Another 3-4 coat wonder but it’s a stunning turquoise that has a beautiful application.

China Glaze You Drive Me Coconuts

You Drive Me Coconuts is an insanely bright and hot pink creme. It isn’t as jelly-fied as the other polishes but it’ll still require 3-4 coats. It is so so bright and pretty and will make the perfect pedicure color.

China Glaze Isle See You Later

Isle See You Later is a marine blue that has a hard time reaching an opaque finish. Which sucks because I would have loved for this one to work. I applied 5 coats and this one just wouldn’t work for me. Ah well…can’t win ’em all, huh? The formula of this one seems to be a bit on the watery side compared to the others.

China Glaze Neon & On & On

Neon & On & On is between baby girl pink and coral. It’s not my favorite shade of the bunch because I found that it applied unevenly. It isn’t a creme and it isn’t quite a jelly so the formula was a bit challenging to work with. And I’m not sure how flattering it is on my nails.

I’ve got 6 more of these to review so stay tuned but in the meantime if you just have to buy these ASAP (can’t blame you), you can snag ’em anywhere at Sally Beauty Supply, ULTA and anywhere China Glaze polishes are sold for about $3.99 a bottle.

See any that you like?

Makeup Wars: My Top 3 Favorite Oils

This week my Makeup Wars sisters and I are talking about oils. Weeeee!!

Cosmetic oils

Oils are totally a fad and er’thing now but honey, when I was growing up, oils were staples. Just like the butters. Brands think they are being all innovative by dumping naturally extracted oils in their products  but I’ve been using these oils in their original origins for yearsssss. I hoard many because they all have their uses but my favorite are these three…

Coconut oil

Coconut oil

Yes, girl. Yes. Coconut oil is the TRUTH! I use it daily and on every part of my body. Coconut oil gets slathered all over after a shower. I use it in my hair. I use it to remove makeup. I put it on my baheh, I use it to lubricate the nips after pumping (TMI nothin’…if you’ve ever put your nip in a baby’s mouth or in a flange, you know how badly the nippies need to be soothed afterwards) and I use it to moisturize cuticles. And if I’m craving an omelette or green smoothie, I’m using a teaspoon of coocnut oil. We don’t use PAM cooking spray. We use coconut oil. And don’t even get me started on coconut milk. Basically, El Coconut needs to run for President so that I can be its Campaign Manager.

Maracuja Oil

I hadn’t heard of maracuja oil until Tarte released it. And then I fell in love. It’s far from cheap if you get it from them but it’s worth the investment because this is one oil that doesn’t feel…oily. It’s amazing! I can slather this stuff all over and don’t feel like I can slip and slide down the tile floors. Elle’s super dry skin loves maracuja oil. Her skin sucks it up and while it won’t leave an oily film, it still feels nice and moisturized. Tarte also sells a version of this in a roller ball dispenser.

Best idea ever because now I can oil up on the go!

Argan oil

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I first learned of argan oil when I was aimlessly scrolling on TV and got trapped by QVC. Josie Maran was talking about her argan-infused products and I made my first purchase and then fell in love. To be such a light oil, argan oil is powerful! A little goes a long way and like maracuja oil, it doesn’t leave me feeling greasy. I also really adore argan oil because it plays nicely when placed in other products. I’ve even mixed my BB cream with this stuff and it didn’t cause any problems.

 

Honorable Mentions:
-Jamaican black castor oil
-grapeseed oil
-olive oil
-sweet almond oil
-jojoba oil

Check out some of my Makeup Wars girls’ favorite oils.

Do you have a fave?

Rx for Brown Skin’s Purifying Moroccan Mineral Mask

I’m not gonna lie – I thought Rx for Brown Skin wasn’t around anymore. When I received this glorious mineral mask to review I was in all kinds of shock. But apparently, they are still around and kicking. I think I confused their not being in Sephora anymore with them just not existing.

Rx for brown skin

But naw…they are here and I am soooo here for them.

My skin is on the highest level of trips right now so I haven’t used this yet but I still wanted to feature this glorious mask. Ready Freddy?

Rx for brown skin Skin Purifying Moroccan Mineral Mask

I’ve done several reviews on this brand before and I just love the idea of having a skincare brand that caters to the needs of those with brown skin.

Rx for brown skin mask packaging

Rx for brown skin mask ingredients

Rx for brown skin packaging

And of course I love that it’s fragrance-free.

It’s not cheap though. This tiny jar retails for $40. But you know how I feel…I never put a cost on skincare. Yes, girl. I will invest a ton to keep my skin looking clear, healthy and radiant.

Rx for brown skin Skin Purifying Moroccan Mask

Rx for brown skin mask

Have you tried anything from Rx for Brown Skin lately? Or am I the only loser that didn’t know they were still around?

Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is like…more dramatic

I remember when I first got into skincare. I was in 5th or 6th grade. My face was gettin’ all teenage acne-ish on me and I wanted to be  cool like my Mom and have like a REAL skin care routine. Mama Clumps trekked me on down to Governor Square Mall in Tallahassee, Florida and we made our way into Dillard’s and I got my first skin care consultation at a Clinique counter. And I left away with this baby…

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

I had the entire 3-step skincare system but the golden lotion was my truest love. Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion holds a special place in heart because it was my first big girl moisturizer. How this stuff could get any better is beyond me. But the magicians at Clinique had some tricks up their sleeve and they have made this popular moisturizer even awesomer. Yah. Let’s pretend that awesomer is a word, mkay?

Clinique moisturizing lotion

Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is now going to give us…

-All day hydration.
-Improvement in skin’s barrier strength in 8 weeks.

Clinique

Not HUGE improvements as I’ve always thought this lotion gave my skin a nice dose of hydration but hey, I trust ’em. I’ll be honest though. It feels and looks the same to me. Which, I guess, is a good thing. There’s a reason why this lotion is a staple in many households.

Look for it at your nearest Clinique counter or at Clinique.com for $26 for a 4 oz bottle. Rock on, Clinique. Rock on. And keep making more of your amazing nail polishes. I looooove them.

The Old Skool Mama and Pink Nail Polish

A lot of parents like to pretend like they never had a gender preference when they found out they were expecting a baby. Yeah whatever. I keeps it real. Esposo and I both wanted a boy. Mainly because we both have sisters and thought having a son would be a nice and new adventure. And then we found out we were expecting a girl and…

pink finger nails

…we were thrilled. Baby Clumps is the best thing in our lives and she is just perfect in every way. I see why God blessed us with this girl. I am loving our Mother and daughter relationship and can’t wait to do all kinds of fun things with her.

baby

Like polish her nails. It’ll be years before that happens though. I’m a beauty blogger, yes, but I am an old skool mama and want my daughter to fully understand that cosmetics are for fun. And they aren’t a necessity to life.

Pretty baby

Being a mother is the scariest task ever because I don’t want to “mess her up”, ya know? I don’t want to give her a complex. I want to give her a strong foundation of love, self-acceptance and I want her to recognize beauty in all things and all people. And if she really wants it, I’ll let her have COVERGIRL’s Pink Lady polish.

Covergirl Glosstini nail polish

I love these polishes. Mainly because most of them are pretty opaque after only 2 coats. And they are so so glossy.

Covergirl pink lady

Remember these? Yeah. And they dry pretty quickly too. There are some things  I just can’t wait for.

One being my nail polishes to dry.

And then are some things I CAN wait for.

One being my baby girl growing up….

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.