How Cruel Is My Make-Up Bag?


This blog post is inspired by a video I saw on Emma's Rectangle's YouTube channel. In the video she discussed how cruel the products in her everyday make-up bag were in terms of animal testing. Since I hate the sound of my own voice and cringe at my own quite a lot - I'll be carrying on this tag through the form of a blog post (obviously).

When I first started wearing make-up at the ripe age of 11, I didn't spare a thought on whether it'd been tested on animals, and quite frankly, I didn't really care. I was 11; all I cared about was coating my lips in Dream Matte Mousse and making my eyelashes as spidery as possible. Trust me, that was the look in 2007. I'd insert a picture, but thankfully, I didn't have Facebook until I was 18 and my MSN profile pictures (which I used to save on floppy disks, the absolute horror) are long gone.

My mum had always told me not to "ruin my beautiful skin with make-up" and I was never allowed to wear foundation. My sister and I would always mess around with lip glosses and coloured mascaras, but nothing 'proper'.

I remember getting my friend to come to the local Tesco before school one day to buy our first ever pots of foundation. We then went into the bathrooms at Tesco ~classy~ and applied our make-up. My friend also wasn't allowed to wear much make-up, so this was a pretty big deal for us. Naturally, she picked a shade that was too orange for her pale complexion and I picked a shade which was too ashy for mine. Those were the unwritten rules of secondary school at my age; orange or ashy - pick a side. I spared no thought for the animals who were hurt in the process of getting that Dream Matte Mousse onto the shelves.

Fast forward to 16 year old me; I was now aware of what animal cruelty was and it started to play on my mind more. I had just started to take off in the beauty blogging community and I was loving it. I was watching YouTube and reading blogs and saving every penny from my part-time job to buy the latest cult products. Although I was aware, I was also ignorant. I feel as though a lot of people can relate to this.

I'm now 22 and a full time freelance creator, writer and blogger. I get sent products through PR daily and even multiple times a day, most of it being beauty, skincare or haircare. I feel very privileged and flattered that brands want to connect with little old me. I'm now more selective about the brands I work with. When I am contacted  by a PR about working with or receiving samples from a brand, the first things I do are look up whether they're inclusive of genders and ethnicities and whether they're cruelty-free. If they check these two boxes, we're good to go. I've also requested removal from PR lists from some global companies which test on animals.

Taking a look at my make-up bag now, I feel very proud and happy knowing that my everyday make-up products are all cruelty-free. I still own products which aren't cruelty-free (Estee Lauder Doublewear, L'Oreal Brow Gel etc etc), however, these are products which I don't reach for very often. These are products I'll use once in a blue moon and are sitting in a box waiting to be used up but not re-purchased (I hate wasting things!)

Primer | Illamasqua Hydra Veil 
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know (or not know due to the stupid algorithm...) how much I adore this primer. It's hydrating and makes your make-up last all day, without separating, going patchy, letting excess oils through or making your skin look dry. I've been using this primer since a lovely make-up artist called Debbie introduced it to me on a shoot I was part of in 2015. I was blown away and I haven't stopped using it since. Also, the big pot lasts me a year and I use it 4-6 times a week.


Foundation | Primark Longwear Ultimate Matte
If you read my last post, you'll know how blown away I was by this cruelty-free, affordable Estee Lauder doublewear dupe. Read my post to find out more.


Foundation | NYX Professional HD Studio Photogenic Foundation
This is the foundation I wear when I know I'm going to be photographed a lot or I'm going on a night out. It helps to smooth our pores and leaves you photo-ready all day. This used in combination with the Illamasqua foundation is the dream team.

Concealer for the face | Make Up Revolution Conceal and Define
I did an Instagram stories showing the power of this concealer - it covered my tattoo in one swipe! Its coverage and packaging is comparable to that of Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer, but for a fraction of the price. I absolutely love the coverage of this - on most days, I'll use this to cover little hyperpigmentation spots and just powder over the top and skip foundation altogether.


Concealer for carving brows | NYX Dark Circle Concealer
You may be thinking that a dark circle concealer should probably go under your eyes, not on top. Bare with me. Due to the tone of this concealer (orange toned), it's specifically designed to brighten skin, hence why it's been name a dark circle concealer. However, it also brightens under the brow perfectly without the need to buy a separate concealers for under eye and over eye. The shades blend into your skin tone without any harsh lines and without the under-brow concealer looking white. This also creates the illusion of naturally more lid space, meaning you can blend your eyeshadow further up without looking like you've been punched in the eye or attacked by a pack of crayons. Furthermore, it is designed to cover anything dark, so if you miss a day on waxing your brows and you have thick, dark hair, the pigment in the concealer will cover the hair and lay it flat against your skin.


Contour | NYX Total Control Drop Foundation
This is a product which I use for a really natural foundation (in my skin shade) but more commonly, I use a cool toned foundation which is two shades darker than my skin colour to contour. It blends perfectly into any foundation and you can build this from natural to full on sharp-as-a-knife contour. The dropper make this product easy to work with and ensures you don't waste any product.


Powder | Make Up Revolution Banana Powder
Whilst banana powders are traditionally used for baking, I like to loosely dust this over my t-zone  as well as bake under my eyes and my cheekbones - anything to make my moon head look slimmer *sighs*.


Brows | Make Up Revolution Brow Pomade
This is probably the closest product I've found that compares to ABH Dipbrow and it's only £4. You can create a natural brow by mimicking brow hairs with a fine angled brush, or you can use a heavier hand and create the classic 'Instagram brow'. It's creamy, comes in lots of shades, holds up against the rain/swimming and doesn't smudge when you accidentally scratch your itchy brow.


Mascara | Soap and Glory Thick & Fast
This has been my go-to mascara for years. It does what it says on the (incredibly cute) bottle. Volumises and lengthens quickly, without being clumpy or too wet. The unique brush works for both top and bottom lashes.


Highlight | Illamasqua Beyond Powder Highlight
I was kindly gifted this highlight after working with Illamasqua a few months ago; I haven't used anything else since! I use the shade Epic; it's the perfect gold toned highlight without being chunky/glittery. The shimmer is subtle with one swipe but you can build it up for blinding cheekbones by going in with a heavy hand. I like to apply this with a small fluffy brush for even dispersal.


Lipstick | NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream
I own so many Soft Matte Lip Creams and Lip Lingerie's, it's actually ridic. You know how some people have a lip balm in every room of the house and every coat pocket and every handbag? Well, I have a NYX nude lippy in every one of those places. The shade I'm loving at the moment is Dubai. If you're not on the SMLC train, get on board.


Lipstick | Charlotte Tilbury 
This lipstick is in the shade Birkin Brown and is a medium brown, almost red colour. It's creamy, lasts all day and makes me feel hella glam. There's something about the gold packaging that I just can't resist. It's a little burst of luxury peeking out of my make-up bag. Yes, CT is cruelty-free and doesn't sell in China, woo!


Tools | Zoeva Brushes
I own the Zoeva Vegan Prime Set, the Vegan Face Set and the Vegan Brush Set. These brushes are hella expensive; these sets come in at a total of £195.00. However, I've owned them since early 2014 and they show absolutely no signs of wear and tear. They're still in immaculate condition and they're by far the best brushes I have ever used. For reference, I've used MAC, Estee Lauder, Origins, Sigma, Spectrum, Morphe, No7, Urban Decay. N O T H I N G compares to Zoeva; I'd purchase these again tomorrow with no hesitation. Real Techniques come close to the quality and longevity of Zoeva brushes and are perfect if you're looking for a cheaper alternative.

Tools | Real Techniques Sponges
Whilst I own Real Techniques brushes and I do use them daily alongside my Zoeva ones, it's the sponges that I love from this brand! I own the Miracle Complexion Sponge and the Diamond Sponge. I use the Miracle Complexion for base products: foundation, blending liquid/cream contour, buffing in concealer. I use the Diamond sponge for powder - the straight edges are perfect for chiseling out underneath your cheekbones.

That's all from me today. I hope that you've recognised some of these brands from you own make-up collection. More brands are cruelty-free than you would initially think! It just takes making the conscious choice to shop from NYX instead of Maybelline (it's cheaper too). How cruel is your make-up bag? Are you making more ethical choices with your beauty products? Let me know! And as always, if you have any questions please ask and I'll get back to you all.

xoxo