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


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


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


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 Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 101

China Glaze Are You Jelly?

Phyrra – says have a drink with the new Literary Lacquers Literary Liquors Collection.

we heart this – has the one case where picking your face is ok; it’s
Boscia’s Peel Off Face Masks.

Beauty Junkies Unite – See if Jordana’s new 12HR Made To Last eyeshadow pencils can really go the distance!

Chalkboard Nails – Honey, fly on over and check out this graphic bee nail art!

Clumps of Mascara – is holding onto summer a little bit by rockin’ those beautiful bright shades from China Glaze’s Sunsational collection.

EauMG – reviews a soft, citrus scent by Cartier.

Gouldylox Reviews – Can a makeover happen in a minute? Check out this speedy tutorial using a beautiful palette from Eve Pearl.

Lipglossiping – grabs the hair by the, err, root and gets to grips with all things tweezery!

My Beauty Bunny – Tired of razor bumps and irritation from shaving? Bikini Soft Smooth Shave Oil can change all that and we’re hosting an Instant Win Giveaway so you can have smooth, soft skin too!

Nouveau Cheap – It’s been a while since my last makeup brush review, but this one is so wonderful (and inexpensive) that it deserves some praise.

Prime Beauty – dishes about her favorite beauty oils for face, skin and hair in the latest Makeup Wars: Battle of the Best Beauty Oils!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Phyrra – Phyrra loves Mandy’s blog, Pretty Making. She always has lovely looks, beautiful swatches and great reviews. Mandy found a great affordable cruelty-free dupe for Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer, the Palladio Beauty Herbal Foundation Primer.

Question of the Week:

What is your all-time favorite blush shade?

B says, “Girl. MAC’s Sweet As Cocoa is like THEE brown girl’s shade. It’s so lovely.”

Do you have a favorite blush shade?


See you next week!

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


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?

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 100

Rx for brown skin mask

Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Question of the Week – A $50 gift certificate from Sephora magically appears on your desk. It’s going to disappear from your desk if you don’t use it within the next hour. What are you going to buy?

Prime Beauty – issues a GUSH ALERT for the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con Eyeshadow Palette in Starlet. She hasn’t been this verklempt since her teen crush on Bobby Sherman in the 70’s.

Phyrra – It’s no secret that Phyrra loves teal. See what she’s lusting after in this week’s Teal Thursday!

we heart this – Glamorous geek? Check out the Digital Nails Companions collection based on Doctor Who (she says while she pushes up her glasses and thigh-highs simultaneously!)

Clumps of Mascara – has gone gluten free and dairy free. No one said it would be fun but she’s putting together all kinds of yummy recipes.

Gouldylox Reviews – Can a washcloth be worth $33? I wouldn’t have thought so, but this one is!

Lipglossiping – contemplates the pros and cons of finding a perfume that bridges the gap between your teenage tastes and your current loves.

My Beauty Bunny – Get beautiful from the inside out by drinking your water! We’ve got a giveaway to add some pizzazz to your H2O and some cash to your wallet – Win $100 Plus All 6 Stur Drinks!

Nouveau Cheap – Pond’s, the classic drugstore skincare brand, has released a new BB Cream. Is it worth your time? Find out right here.

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Prime Beauty – Kathryne from TheFabZilla. The majority of her posts are beauty related, but she does mix it up with fitness, lifestyle, and fashion from time to time. Kath says “After all, looking fabulous is beyond hot red lips or sexy smoky eyes.”

Question of the Week:

A $50 gift certificate from Sephora magically appears
on your desk. It’s going to disappear from your desk if you don’t
use it within the next hour. What are you going to buy?

B says, “OMG OMG! I’d get a new Clarisonic face brush and a new mascara. Probably one from Dior.”

What would you spend your $50 on?


See you next week!

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 99


Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Prime Beauty – has stars in her eyes after reviewing the stunning Dior 5 Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Constellation…satin stars, shimmer stars, purple stars…oh my.

Phyrra – shares her Makeup Wars Favorite Hair Tools. Find out her must have items!

we heart this – want you to know your skin CAN handle the truth. Ole Henriksen’s Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil to be exact.

Beauty Junkies Unite – gives you an early peek at the newest member of the Benefit blush family, Rockateur.

Clumps of Mascara – is modeling a sweet pink nail polish with her baby girl.

EauMG – tries the juiciest, ripest peach in the ‘fume world, a new limited edition perfume by Providence Perfume Co.

Lipglossiping – explores 5 reasons why your hairdresser hates your guts! Are you guilty as charged?

My Beauty Bunny – This week I revved up my lips with Too Faced’s Lip Injection Color Bombs. Check out the swatches of the six new shades of this hydrating and plumping lippie.

Nouveau Cheap – “Revolutionary” is a strong word, but what if I told you that you could combine two manicure steps into one and achieve a really cool nail look at the same time? Meet the new Orly Matte FX Matte Flakie Top Coats.

Question of the Week:

Do you ever fall into a beauty rut?
If so, what types of things help to pull you out of it?

B says, “Yep! I’m in one now. Motherhood is my excuse. Actually, I blame pregnancy. I went 2-3 months without putting on makeup because I was just so sick and now it takes A LOT for me to do more than lipgloss, mascara, liner and powder. My life has changed and I just don’t have the time or desire to spend more than 15 minutes doing my face. I’m okay with that though.”

What about you? Have you ever been in a beauty rut?


See you next week!

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 98

Glossybox lip balm

Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Nouveau Cheap – Wet n Wild just released three new eyeshadow trios and a line of textured nail polishes. Have you seen them yet? If not, take a peek!

Pink Sith – says the Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer is like therapy in a bottle for her troubled skin. Plus, bonus sad walking away music from The Incredible Hulk!

Prime Beauty – has the 411 on the new butter LONDON Rock Your Colour Bespoke Colour Cosmetics Collection and it’s bright and beautiful!

Vampy Varnish – has swatched and reviewed the new Too Faced Lip Injection Color Bomb! Moisture Plumping Lip Tints for fall 2013!

we heart this – are giving away two amber delights; Win BPAL’s amber perfume oil and hair gloss!

Clumps of Mascara – Okay, so it isn’t exactly beauty related but if you’re living the gluten-free and dairy-free life or just want a fresh and delicious salad, check out the recipe for this one.

EauMG – is high on perfume this week (it’s OK, she’s in Washington state). Here’s EauMG’s guide to marijuana perfumes. These unusual perfumes contain a cannabis accord or are inspired by the substance. Don’t walk on the grass. Wear it.

Gouldylox Reviews – Curious if the Marc Jacobs line is worth the hype? I’ve got pictures, swatches and details!

Lipglossiping – feels the mercury rising with this spicy little number from Glitter Gal Cosmetics. Guaranteed to get you hot under the collar!

My Beauty Bunny – is excited to be spreading the cruelty free message in the pages of People Style Watch Magazine! Check out my newsstand glee and the shout out to my favorite vegan hair care brand, DermOrganic.

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Nouveau Cheap – Kimberly over at Libby’s Pink Vanity reviewed the Forever 21 Creamy Splatter Eyeshadows which, by the name alone, captured my attention!


Question of the Week:

How did you arrive at your current eyebrow
shape? Were you born with those brows, did you get them professionally shaped or did you shape them
yourself? And are you happy with them?

B says, “My brows are ridiculously thick. I mean, they are like fuzzy caterpillars growing on my face. I always hated them growing up but I now go to an amazing eyebrow threader who creates a beautiful arch for me. I then maintain them by trimming every few days but I am so so dependent on my brow lady.”

What’s your brow story?


See you next week!

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 97

Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

My Beauty Bunny – They say living well is the best revenge – and your nails will be living in style when painted with a polish from NCLA’s Sweet Revenge Collection. Come take a peek!

Nouveau Cheap – Drugstore polishes that look like Vintage Leather on the nail? Yep, and they’re from Maybelline!

Pink Sith – Needs more nail polish like a squirrel needs a can opener, but that didn’t stop her from picking up the latest Urban Decay Nail Polishes in Addiction and Vice.

Prime Beauty – was gobsmacked when she had the opportunity to have her hair styled by big-time British celebrity hairdresser Mark Hill. Mark has crossed the pond and launched his salon professional line in Walgreen’s!

Phyrra – shares the best CC Cream with you; It Cosmetics Anti-Aging Full Coverage Physical SPF 50 CC Cream. And it comes in 5 shades!

Vampy Varnish – shows you the latest and greatest Zoya collection called Cashmeres and Satins for fall 2013.

we heart this – loved the Benefit The Rich is Back palette at $34, but did you know it was just marked down to $24? It’s a beautiful deal!

Beauty Junkies Unite – See which lippies were hits, and those that were misses in the new MAC So Supreme Lipcolor Collection!

Clumps of Mascara – is hosting a giveaway where you could possibly win a $125 Visa gift card. Sounds pretty groovy, huh?

EauMG – is kicking it old-school with this review of an iconic 1980’s fragrance, Jessica McClintock.

Gouldylox Reviews – Want to make your eyes pop? Try this new mascara from Make Up For Ever!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by My Beauty Bunny – We are constantly in awe of the tips, tricks and tutorials shared by the lovely Christina at Hair Romance. Like this Easy Braided Updo; the perfect solution for any bad hair day!


Question of the Week:

Have you ever had your makeup done by a professional
makeup artist? If so, tell us a bit about the experience(s).

B says, “I have! Although not recently. I’m usually not very satisfied when makeup artists do my face. Except that one time Tia Dantzler did my face. She did an amazing job.”

Have you ever gotten your face beat by a MUA?


See you next week!

Makeup Wars: Color Wars

This is probably the funniest (yes, that’s a word….for today) Makeup Wars ever! Each of us gals signed up for a color and we are going to be sharing some of our favorite products featuring that color. I picked purple! For the record, I don’t have a favorite color. And if I did it would be rainbow and since a rainbow has a TON of colors I’m not sure that really counts.

I know. I’m so complicated but picking a favorite color when there are so many beautiful ones out there just ain’t easy. I picked purple because there are just sooooo many gorgeous purple picks when it comes to the beauty world. Here are 3 of my faves.

Purple nail polish

I love love looooove purple nail polish. Especially when it is unexpected and has some kind of funky shimmer or whatnot. It’s hard to pick a favorite (especially since I did so in our last Makeup Wars post) but Zoya’s Aurora is by far the prettiest purple nail polish in the world.


You can’t deny it. You KNOW you can’t. Sidenote: I sooooo miss my longer nails. Can’t wait until I can do this shape again.

Ah yes…purple lips. You either love ’em or hate ’em. I can easily get down with some purple lips and it was MAC’s All of My Purple Life that had me going bananas.

Pay no attention to my beach hurr but to that stunning purple gloss. Yas! Yas!

When it comes to eyes, I think purple eyeshadows look amazing on everyone – especially on brown eyed girls. Make Up For Ever’s #92 is epic. I mean, epic. I think I’ve lost this baby because I haven’t seen it in awhile but years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long since I’ve used it) but it was the bee’s knees back in the day. I took this picture back when I didn’t care much about photography.

That about does it…a few of my favorite purple picks. Of course I’ve got more but I don’t want to make this post insanely lengthy. I’ve always wanted purple hair but my jobs never allowed it. Womp. Check out the colors my other Makeup Wars sisters picked!

 photo colorwar.jpg