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.

St. Ives Pear Nectar & Soy Body Wash – so fruity!

Welp. Spring time is here. And that means it’s time to switch up the body products. Yes, darlings. As the seasons change, so do my body preferences. I prefer thicker butters, creams and soaps in the winter time but now that it’s warmer, it’s time for somethin’ a little different.

Like this kid I got sent to review!

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Okay, so we all know how I feel about fragranced products. Yeah, I just can’t get down with too many of them but whatever – I know I’m in the minority and it just so happens that St. Ives’ products aren’t insanely fragrant. Yes, this smells like pears but not in an overwhelming OMG, I’m going to throw up this smells so bad kind of way. Which is awesome!

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Like all St. Ives products, this baby is free of parabens and all of that yucky stuff. I asked Esposo what he thought of the fragrance and in typical male fashion, he was totally off. “It smells like bubblegum,” he says. Okay no. It smells nothing like bubblegum. It smells like a fresh pear. Really!

It’s a body wash that is probably best for those with oily skin. It’s a bit on the clear side so if you have super dry skin, it may lack some of the moisture that you may need.

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Somehow my eczema didn’t flare up too badly with this so I’m doing cartwheels. St. Ives always does a grand job with um, everything. Yes. This is a nice addition to their skincare line. I love!

 

The Beauty Basics

Price: $3.99
Availability: Target, Target.co, and drugstores nationwide
Would I Repurchase?: Why not? Cheap, cleanses well and smells yummy!
 

Whatcha think, St. Ives fans? Would you get down with a pear smellin’ body wash?

St. Ives eliminates even MORE bad stuffs from their products!

I know many folx think this whole “preservative-free” and “natural skincare” thing is just another way for brands to trick us into thinking we HAVE to buy their products. Many brands tote titles like cruelty-free, all natural and organic to convince us that their products are more superior than the ones that don’t tote these titles. As a skeptic, beauty editor and consumer, I raise a side eye to all of ‘em. But at the same time, I do celebrate when brands claim that they’ve eliminated harmful ingredients from their products. Since I suffer from skin issues that are exacerbated when I use products that are drowned in fragrance, sulfates and other artificial preservatives, I LOVE when brands remove them altogether. Three cheers for St. Ives! And why?

Their scrubs are now sulfate-free. In the past few years, they have also removed parabens and phthalates from their products as well. Way to go St. Ives!

The sulfate-free scrubs include the following:

  • St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
  • St. Ives Timeless Skin Apricot Scrub
  • St. Ives Blemish Control Green Tea Scrub
  • St. Ives Sensitive Skin Apricot Scrub

I’m excited. Now if they add a fragrance-free scrub to their line-up, I’Il be their BFF ‘fo life yo. I’m serious. I know fragrance-free is tough for brands because people love to smell pretty but let’s face it – artificial fragrances can oftentimes be as damaging to skin as phthalates. And don’t even get me started on the migraine triggering they can do. By the way, like all St. Ives products, you can grab these at drugstores nationwide for no more than $6 a bottle.

Are you more likely to use a brand if they claim to be preservative-free? Or are you all about using what works for your skin and lifestyle?

 

St. Ives new Scrub-Free Exfoliating Pads. Are they hot or not?

I’ve been a die hard fan of St. Ives skincare products for I don’t know hooooow long. Even before I was a beauty blogger, I was hoarding St. Ives stuffs like it was a job. And ever since they started omitted harsh ingredients from their products, well, I love ‘em even more.

Good ole’ St. Ives has recently launched these Scrub-Free Exfoliating Pads and of course I’ll had to check ‘em out.

Peep the stats:

  • First mass-market brand exfoliating pads with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
  • Formulated with 100% natural lactic acid
  • Only $4.99 and you get 60 pads
  • Exfoliates to reveal smoother, younger-looking skin in just 7 days

Well. These extreme claims of promising to provide younger-looking skin in just 7 days had me on my toes. I think I look like a youthful 27 years old but I’ll take 24-year old skin any day. :D I gave these pads a whirl for exactly 7 days and welllllll, they have their ups and downs.

For one, I LOVE the fact that you get 60 pads for under $5. That’s pretty dynamic considering you really only need 1 pad per cleaning. Now, if you use these TWICE a day then you’re average at least 60 a month which still isn’t that bad. I think these are ideal for traveling. You can just pop ‘em in a carry-on, suitcase or tote and you won’t have to worry about them spilling. Because I’m that nut that ALWAYS ends up spilling a face wash or shampoo in her luggage.

So yeah, portable and spill-proof products are definitely for me. On the downside, I’m not sure how effective these are at really cleansing the skin. Sure, they feel good but I didn’t get that streaky clean feeling I love to feel after washing my face. Oh! And I so think the product name is weird. When you think of exfoliating, you think of scrubbing beads or somethin’ like that, right? Well nope…the pads are smooth. It’s the ingredients that provide an exfoliating experience. But then it says scrub-free. Huh? So yeah, I get it, but I think the language may throw you off if you’re taking a quick glance of this in drugstores. Reading thoroughly is indeed fundamental.

Pro’s
-Affordable and easy to find
-It’s paraben-free

-They aren’t unscented but the light fragrance that they provide isn’t too overwhelming
-Pads are lint-free and smooth.
-One pad should be good enough for the face and neck.
-While you may want to use a makeup remover prior to these, they do a great job at removing face makeup like light foundation, powders and blushes.
-Those with dry skin will love how moisturizing this is.

Con’s
-It’s a bit drippy. Which is good because you get more than enough cleanser but bad because it can be a bit messy.
-The pads are hard to pull apart. Each time I used ‘em, I’d grab 2-3 and then had to spend a few seconds pulling them apart.

2-3 pads…

1 pad…

-Didn’t really change the appearance of my skin in 7 days. But then again, despite the claims, I didn’t expect it to.
-My skin didn’t feel ultra clean. I still felt like I needed to follow up with another cleanser. Then again, I’m not really sure if it’s a cleanser or not. Maybe this is something you use AFTER you wash your face? I’m not sure.

Are these ideal for me for every day use? Probably not. I like the skin drying-type clean and these didn’t give it to me. But I’ll still be carrying them with me when I travel. I can be a lazy somethin’ when travelin’ and skincare wipes and pads that help me remove the days’s gunk without turning on some water are sooooo up my alley.

Oh, and this warning was on Drugstore.com so it’s definitely something to take heed to,

“This product contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.”

ETA: Look what else I found per Drugstore.com: Use on cleansed skin twice daily or as tolerated. In case of contact with eyes, flush thoroughly with water. That changes a lot, uh?

So is just me or am I the only slow bird that thought that these pads would actually be textured to exfoliate? Even though they said “scrub-free”? Whatcha think?

Can facial cleansers double as makeup removers?

Soooo, I’m back with another St. Ives product that I can’t believe I’ve never tried. I thought I had given just about ALL of St. Ives products a spin buuuut I guess not. Have you seen this baby in stores?

Retailing for a little less than $4, this gentle cleanser also doubles as a makeup remover.


I am always skeptical of such gimmicks. After all, I’m a beauty blogger and skepticism is one of my finest traits. A cleanser that promises to not only cleanse the skin AND remove makeup must be good enough to cleanse thoroughly as well as remove making without drying out the skin. It’s the kind of product that will only work for guys and gals with certain skin types. The consistency of the cleanser is like a lotion.

In fact, it looks and feels exactly like lotion. But if you were to rub it in your skin, it wouldn’t sink in as effortlessly as lotion does. When rubbed together a bit, it because slightly frothy and creamier. And I do mean slightly.

When thrown on the face and mixed with water, it still feels just like a lotion. It took a ton of rubbing in for me to “feel” like I was cleansing my skin. You know, because, like many, I’m used to cleansers foaming up. But despite the foams and bubbles, I felt like the cleanser really did its job. My skin felt clean and after wiping my face on a hand towel, I didn’t see a left of leftover concealer. Score! It removed my mascara and gel liner with ease too. Eyeliner on the waterline is a bit tricky, though, because if you get it too close to your eyes, you may endure some burning. I’m okay with using a regular oil-based eye makeover remover for the hardcore eye cosmetics.

I’m thinking this cleanser is best suited for those with normal to dry skin. Because it can be a bit emollient, it may be too moisturizing for those with oily skin. I’m sold!

Another win from St. Ives. Woot!

St Ives’ newest: Naturally Smooth Body Lotion

We all know our how much I love St. Ives. And I mean, I LOVE St. Ives. Even more so now that they’ve become paraben-free. My eczema-ridden skin sings praises. I’ve tried several of St. Ives lotions and I am excited to announce that they are adding a new kid to the crew.

According to St. Ives, “Formulated with a natural, fruit-derived AHA complex, the dual-action, non-greasy formula absorbs quickly to provide intense hydration while a multi-fruit blend with alpha hydroxies gently exfoliates skin by promoting cell turnover. Perfect for all skin types, Naturally Smooth Body Lotion works to improve texture, revealing fresher, smoother and younger looking skin – naturally!”



Like all of the newly formulated St. Ives lotions, this one feels absolutely wonderful on the skin.

Aaaand, the paraben-free formula means that my skin won’t have to go haywire shortly after application. I’m not the biggest fan of this fragrance though. While it isn’t overpowering, it doesn’t smell THAT good. It has a plasic-y/fruity smell. The good news is that is dissipates quickly and is virtually hard to sniff once on your skin. Woot!

My skin does 10x better with products that aren’t heavily scented and loaded with synthetic ingredients. Which is why St. Ives is one of my top drugstore-friendly skincare lines.Them being super cheap has something to do with it too. ;) Because I’ve only been using this for a few weeks, I can’t really speak on if my skin has improved or not. My guess would be that it would take a good month or so to determine that. The good news is, because this lotion feels good all over and is great at ash bashin’, the likeliness of me using it to actually see results is pretty high. It’s getting a little colder ‘roun these parts and this lotion will be one of the ones in my stash.

Any St. Ives lovers in the house?