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UpCircle are a brand with a cool concept. They use byproducts of the food and drink industry as ingredients in their products. A lot of their products are plastic free - and everything's vegan and cruelty free.

Unfortunately, I find a lot of their products hit or miss. This blogpost is a run through on a product I find as largely the latter...

UpCircle's cleansing balm is a beautiful rich yellow colour & smells floral.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that when you work it onto dry skin & it melts into an oil, it feels pretty thick. It has a waxy consistency to it that does dislodge makeup & SPF, but it leaves a film on the face. It also doesn't emulsify when you introduce water. You need to rub it off with a cloth - and even then it leaves a waxy film on the skin.

This especially sucks considering it retails for £18.99, which is not a bargain buy at all.

This thickness/waxiness could be down to the fact that according to the ingredients list, it has a lot of olive oil in it - which is a relatively thick oil. Honestly, you'd be better off using actual pure olive oil to break down your makeup. I wouldn't recommend it, but it's effectively the same thing as using this balm - only a lot cheaper...

Full ingredients list:

100% NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Powder, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Flower Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, Juniperus Communis (Juniper) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Eucalyptus Citriodora (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil, Salvia Sclarea Oil, ^Limonene, ^Linalool. *Organically-grown ingredient. ^Natural constituent of essential oils listed.

Overall, I wasn't impressed at all with this product. For the price I was expecting a lot more. I've tried many many cleansing balms and this is definitely one of the worst. A solid 2/10 for me. 

If you want to watch it in action - here's an IGTV of it in use.

And here are some affordable vegan makeup removers to try instead!

This Veganuary 2021 has been a great time to switch out your makeup bag as well as your diet to embrace plant based and vegan options.  This post is going to take you through some alternatives for Glossier, MAC, L'oreal, Nars, Laura Mercier, Tom Ford & more.

Why use vegan makeup?
Lots of makeup contains animal derivatives - often obtained in a cruel way via hidden industries that are greatly exploitative of animals. The fundamentals of vegan living is the belief that animals aren't there for us to pluck and prod and use for our own gain - especially when there are so many alternatives that are just as good! 

What's not vegan about highlighters?
Highlighters in particular may contain beeswax, honey, lanolin and other animal derivatives. In my experience using vegan makeup, it's just as effective as non-vegan makeup. You just need to know where to shop.

Vegan Highlighters You Need to Try
Today we're going to be going through some cult classics so you can find a replacement for your favourite highlighter - one that doesn't contain animal derivatives

1. Glossier Haloscope Dupe = Fenty Beauty Match Stick

The Glossier Haloscope is a cult classic. Although Glossier may be cruelty free, many of their products contain beeswax: including their Haloscope. Fenty have a handful of vegan products and luckily their match sticks are all stated as vegan! They come in a load of different finishes, colours & tones - so something for everyone. We love to see that Riri-level of inclusivity. 

2. L'Oreal Glow Mon Amis Drops Dupe (or any liquid highlighter!) = MUA Light Lustre Drops

These MUA Light Lustre drops are hands-down one of my favourite highlighter products ever - they sit amazingly on the skin & look really natural. You can add the drops to your foundation for a natural glow too. Plus, they're amazing value for money! £4 for 30ml. Winner winner chicken dinner.

3. Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Highlighter Dupe = Makeup Revolution Reloaded Highlighter

Retailing at £3, this is a brilliant budget buy and comes 8 different shades to suit a variety of skin tones. It swatches really well, very smooth and works well as an eyeshadow too. Also - peep that same embossing... I smell a carbon copy... for 1/10th of the price...

4. Tom Ford Glow Drops Dupes = Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

If you prefer a highlighter with a tinted base colour, you could always use the Drunk Elephant Bronzi Drops, which have a rich bronze, metallic tint to them. 

Both are matched on price-point as well at £30 each.

5. Mac Strobe Cream Dupe = NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator

MAC are unfortunately not cruelty free. Whilst NYX do have a parent company who are not cruelty-free, they are cruelty-free as a brand and have quite a few vegan options. This liquid illuminator from their Born To Glow range is a pretty similar dupe for MAC's Strobe Cream and works just as well. It's also a lot more affordable!

6. Nars Multiple Dupe = Hourglass Flash Highlighter Stick

The Hourglass Flash Highlighter is a really beautiful stick highlighter and comes in a range of shades. Hourglass are owned by Unilever now, but they are cruelty free themselves and have loads of vegan products (they were supposed to be completely vegan by 2020, but I'm not sure if there's been an update on this).

7. RMS Beauty Living Luminizer Dupe = Kora Organics Luminizer

8, 9 & 10:

Some of my favourite vegan powder highlighters may not be direct swaps for non-cruelty free versions, but I figured they're worth mentioning anyway!

Jouer Cosmetics Powder Highlighter
One of my all time favs - it's so soft and smooth. Be careful when travelling because it's such a soft formulation, it is prone to smashing in transit! 

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector

Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Highlighter

Thanks for reading! Check out my Instagram for more @crueltyfreebecky x

Hi folks! Time to take you through my current collection of glowy base products for frikka frikka fresh & juicy skin. I'm always trying out new vegan highlighters & illuminators, so I figured I'd share my stash alongside some swatches of how they apply to the skin. We've got a mix of high end and affordable, drugstore and more natural brands, so I hope you find something that tickles you pickle. My personal vibe/preference when it comes to highlighter is AU NATURALE. I like it to look like I'm glowing & not like there's a metallic stripe on the top of my cheekbone. But thas just me. 

In no particular order...

Starting off on the high end of the makeup world: Charlotte Tilbury. I currently have 3 Charlotte Tilbury products on the go at the moment - and they are as follows: Hollywood Beauty Light Wand in Spotlight £29, Wonderglow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash £39 [or £15 for small size] and good old Hollywood Film Star Bronze & Glow in Light to Medium £49. Yeah, not a cheap brand by any means. But her formulations are pretty brilliant. Charlotte Tilbury is cruelty free with no parent company [for now!!] and lots of vegan options. They even have a shop-able vegan tab on their website. We love to see it.

Let's start with her Hollywood Beauty Light Wand [pictured above, left swatch - and yes these are swatched on my legs which haven't been touched with a razor in a while. It is what it is..]. The shade Spotlight is described as a golden champagne - but to be honest, I think it's more of a neutral champagne on me, with not much yellow/gold to it. It's got a foam-type applicator & it's one of those squeezy-tube type situations where the product is dispensed through said sponge/foam. Gets a bit mucky under the cap, but it does have an 'on/off' twist feature to the packaging which is good. I really love the effect of this on the skin, it blends seemlessly & has a nice sheen to it with no actual glitter in it. The picture of the swatch above may seem like it has glitter in, but don't be fooled, it's just reflecting the sun & giving a glittery illusion. It gives a subtle, gorgeous glow. It's definitely overpriced for the amount of product you get, but it's a wonderful formula & I enjoy it a lot. Would I repurchase? Hmmm. Depends how boojee I'm feeling.

Next up, Wonderglow [above, right]. This is technically a primer but can be mixed with foundation or worn alone. It's more golden toned than the Hollywood wand, more of a subtle glow & has a soft-focus effect. Ever used the Benefit Porefessional (NOT CRUELTY FREE! But just as an example) ? Well this is like that but with lit-from-within-ness in it. The teeny tiny glitters are slightly more noticeable than the sheen of the Spotlight wand, but obviously through foundation it doesn't look glittery or chunky, only illuminated. If I'm comparing it to the CoverFX Illuminating Primer, that one is more sweaty-shiny-illuminating (in a nice way). This one is more golden-shimmer-illuminating (also in a nice way). I like this a lot to be honest. Definitely try the smaller size first if you're interested because this has lasted me AGES & was £15. 

And last Charlotte Tilbury mention of this post - it's my old favourite Filmstar Bronze-and-Glow palette. This is a bronzer & highlighter palette suited to very-fair, fair & light skin. I love this to bits. It is soooo expensive but my one lasted me 5 years of regular use [not EVERY day because I try lots of bronzers, but quite regular!]. If you're very fair & feel fancy schmancy, I recommend this. The highlighter in mine has been reduced to just a couple of very gnarly makeup pebbles [you know what I mean... it's basically just pan], hence why I haven't inserted a picture of it in the palette. But as you can see from the swatch [above], it's such a beautiful, natural sheen, incredibly lightweight & natural-looking.

Above we've got the Inika Baked Mineral Illuminisor - this one isn't my fav as it's kind of chunky & the glitters are very obvious on the skin. Thought I'd mention it though as it's £33 (!!!!!!!) and I wouldn't want you to waste your money when there are better alternatives out there! Has a slight rose-tone to it, so might work for a blush topper if you're a fan of glitter.

Another pricey purchase, this is the Ilia Liquid Light Serum Highlighter in the shade Nova. It's described as a soft gold, which I can agree it certainly is. It mixes with foundation, can be used as a primer or on its own. It's pretty sheer though - it's no way near as intense as the Charlotte Tilbury Spotlight Wand. It's supposed to be skincare + highlighter in one. Glycerin is high up the ingredients list, which could maybe explain it's gel-like texture. Overall, I like it, but is it worth £38? Jury's out.

Kani Botanicals are a brand I've only tried through Petit Vour - this is their Prismatic Highlighter in Moonstone 1 and retails for $28. It's a cream highlighter - but it's not that creamy... if I'm comparing it to the Tropic Cream Highlighter in Spotlight (an old fav - I've used it over on my channel. You can check out this cringey years-old video for a demo), it's much more dry. The effect is quite cool as it has a real white-gold look to it with yellow reflects. But not sure I would purchase myself had I not received in a subscription box. Ya know?

Last but certainly not least, this highlighter trio by MUA certainly packs a punch and is the cheapest of all the glowy products in this post. It's their Light Lustre Trio Highlight and retails for just £5. You get three shades in this little palette - a bronze, a pink & a gold toned highlight. They are very pretty, very pigmented but I would say they can show up texture slightly on the cheek. Still good for the price though!

Thanks for reading folks. Lots of Love, B x

April is up! Over! Done! Dusted!

Here are my favourite stuffs & things from the month (and from a bit before... it's been a while, folks!)

Lots of love, B x

It feels like an age since I sat down on camera to test natural + vegan beauty products + just had a good old natter with my fellow makeup lovers online! Not making excuses here, but the time I've had my channel has spanned across leaving school, being at uni + now working full time, so it's unsurprising that the amount of spare time I have to blog + film has varied quite a bit over the years. 

But I find so much joy in sharing vegan beauty finds that this year I'm really making an effort to prioritise finding time to do the things that make me happy.

So I'm back to test out green beauty products + give you my thoughts. Trying Jane Iredale, EX1, Inika, Axiology, PHB Beauty & lots of other goodies.

Lots of love x

January, February. You have been brisk + brief. I've had a good time, but I'm also glad you're over. 

Here are some of the best bits.

Preloved Pieces
I've been thrifting with a passion this year - I actually need to reign it in slightly as money on secondhand clothes is still money I shouldn't really be spending. However! We're going to pop that to one side for the time being because I have actually picked up some amazing bits recently. 

I visited the Birmingham Cow Vintage store + fell in looove with this gold dress! I have nowhere to wear it in particular, but I think it can easily be dressed up + dressed down. So... a worthwhile investment. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

I couldn't walk away from a silky dress that makes me feel like the Oscar award statue. Y'know?

Wonderful Things
I went along to the Tim Walker: Wonderful Things exhibition at the V&A, which was as wonderful as the name suggests! If you're not familiar, Tim is an amazingly creative photographer that captivates spectacularly surreal scenes - experimenting with focus, perspective + colour. 

I found it fascinating how carefully he devises his shots. This may seem quite obvious really as these things don't happen by accident - but the way he manages is produce a final photo that captures a specific, bizarre moment that seems so accidental + natural... It adds to the perplexity of his pieces, almost forcing your brain to process the scene at a deeper level. 

The exhibition felt like stepping into a corner of his mind + showcases his photos alongside a selection of props used on the shoots - bright blue elephants included. I think the exhibition is only on for another week, so be quick to check it out if you're in the Kensington area.

Here are some ~ironically~ rubbish wonky pics of a part of the exhibition.

Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason
We visited the F&M tearoom in Piccadilly in January as a special post-Christmas treat. I will have a whole blogpost on the experience so be sure to check it out before booking. Here's a picture of a demolished scone until then.

Vegan Chicken (yes, this is a highlight-worthy moment)
Finally got the chance to try the THIS Isn't Chicken Goujons and I was ~not~ disappointed. These were so darn tasty - I fried them with sriracha + vegan feta cheese with some rice. 

They went down a treat with both the vegan + the non vegan of the household so that's always a good sign! They have a really high protein content too - I think around 19g per 100g serving.

Sweet Like Chocolate
The sweetest sensation of the past few months has been the Oatly Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream. This is one of the best vegan launches I've come across in ages! And I was ready to be disappointed, because I've been burnt in the past.... e.g. recently I was very let down by the Alpro Almond Salted Caramel ice cream (really do not recommend). 

So I was hesitant to purchase a new ice cream instead of sticking to what I know and love (vegan Magnum, Swedish Glace, Booja-Booja.. y'all know how it is). Alas, I'm so glad I splurged on this! It is pretty sweet as it has bits of fudge in it but I don't find it sickly. Sooo creamy + approved by the non-vegans in my house. If you miss Ben + Jerry's Phish Food as a vegan, buy this. Buy it + thank me later. Top stuff. Can Oatly do any wrong??

Vegan Sausage Casserole
We made vegan sosej casserole on the stove at work on one cold + slow afternoon recently. As you do. 

It was a very wholesome activity + I really appreciated how everyone gave vegan sausages a go :-) They went down so well + it was great to see non-vegans enjoy vegan substitutes. This is a random addition to my winter highlights, but hey. It's been a slow month. 

Thanks for reading (if you've made it this far). I'm experimenting with moving my favourites over to my blog as opposed to filming them for my channel. 
Let me know if you like it this way. Just switching it up a bit :-)

Very ready for longer days, lighter evenings + some springtime sunsets.

AD | This blogpost is in partnership with Sainsbury’s.

When reviewing and recommending vegan and cruelty free makeup, something very important to me is making sure that I promote brands that are accessible to people on all budgets. I think that everybody deserves to be able to pick up makeup that is free from animal ingredients that has not been tested on animals. Anyone who’s interested in experimenting with makeup colours, textures and different finishes of product should get the chance - without breaking the bank.

The good news is that gone are the days where vegan products are hard to source and ridiculously expensive. I love to hear about brands putting in the effort, time and money to investigate the ingredients they put into their products, making sure that they are definitely not tested on animals at any stage. Vegan makeup is becoming more affordable too - but a cheaper price point doesn’t necessarily mean the makeup is less effective or not as long lasting.

Sainsbury’s is a great example of this – with their Leaping Bunny certified affordable own-brand makeup line called Boutique. The line has some stand-out products which are genuinely very good and nothing in the line is over £6. My personal favourite is their £2.50 Eyebrow Defining Gel which is my daily go-to in my brow routine. It holds brow hairs in place MUCH better than any other gel I’ve tried (and trust me when I say, I’ve tried a lot of brow gels. Like, a lot.)

Another big bonus of Boutique is that the line is now entirely vegan. I attended the launch of their revamped makeup range a couple of years ago, where I had the opportunity to test out a few products – which lead me to fall in love with their brow gel and nail polish formulas. At the time of their re-launch, a couple of products had beeswax in the ingredients list – but now they’ve reformulated the handful of non-vegan products so that now everything is free from animal by-products! Exactly how we like it J

I tried a few products from the range & below are my thoughts on my favourites. Check out my recent vlog to see me create a warm-toned makeup look using some of my favs or read on for some bite-sized reviews of a couple of their stand-out products.

My Top Picks from Sainsbury’s Boutique

This lip gloss smells absolutely delicious – like vanilla cake and icing and basically childhood birthday parties. It’s also a joy to use as it’s  not sticky nor thick and actually feels more like a lip balm when you apply it. It’s almost whipped in consistency, so it’s very comfortable on the lips. If you’re averse to the stickiness of some more traditional lip glosses but you still want a gloss-effect: you’ll be a fan of these.

I picked up this shade because one of my long-time favourite nude lipsticks is the Boutique Moisturising Lipstick in the shade Mocha. I’m a big admirer of this colour because I find that it’s the perfect neutral nude for my skin tone (which is quite fair) without making my teeth look yellow (which can sometimes happen with cool toned or peachy nude shades… and is not really the look I’m going for…).

I tested this gloss in the video on my channel, so be sure to check it out to see how it applies. They’ve also launched new colours and there’s a bit of a selection to choose from if nude isn’t your thang.

You saw this one coming, didn’t you? I could be an ambassador for this gel. The road to finding the perfect brow product has been both long and expensive. But we got there in the end! I love this brow gel and use it every time I wear makeup - it holds brow hairs in place really well for the entire day, but still comes off easily with makeup remover and doesn’t make them feel crunchy or uncomfortable at all. The formula is clear and it’s great for adding texture and shape. The wand is the longest brow wand I’ve ever seen (bit off a weird statement out of context, that…). It’s the perfect length for quick application, because it’s also quite thin compared to other brow gels I’ve tried, which means you have more control over applying the product. This is great because it means that you don’t have to faff about going back over your brows – one swift swish over each brow and you’re good to go. The lazy person’s must-have in their makeup bag.

I am always tempted to try liquid blush but seem to shy away from using it. In theory it’s a great type of product to opt for to give a natural, sheer colour to the cheeks. In reality, I tend to be a bit heavy handed with the application and end up looking like I’ve had an allergic reaction rash across my cheeks…

That said, I was pleasantly surprised by these two liquid blushes. They are both thin & lightweight on the skin – not sticky at all. I picked up Terracotta (peachy shade) and Deep Pink (magenta-pink). They work best when warmed up on the back of the hand and then worked onto the cheeks with a blending sponge.

I’ve spoken about Boutique nail polish formulas in the past and even put them in my all-time favourite cruelty free nail varnish formula video. Affordable nail polish is quite common nowadays, but a good quality nail polish under £10 is not too common. Some cheaper options peel or chip really easily. Happy to report that this is not the case at all with the Boutique polishes – the colours are really opaque on one swipe (I do two coats just in case) and incredibly long lasting on the nails. The polish also dries really quickly – which is crucial when you’re as impatient and as easily distracted as I am J.

My personal favs are the shades Forever Red and Dusty Rose.

When I first saw this in store, I wasn’t sure whether it was a highlighter or a setting powder. After using it for a while, it’s more of an illuminating face powder or a natural highlight – which I like. I’m not an intense-blinding-highlight kind of gal, so this is a nice option for a natural glow (that isn’t glittery) & sets makeup without making the skin look flat.

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or need any recommendations in regard to Boutique.

It makes me really happy when I hear that more and more brands are taking the time to ensure their products aren’t tested on animals at any stage in the supply chain. Bonus points to Sainsbo’s for ensuring their makeup launch is cruelty free and vegan. Being able to pick up a vegan lipstick where you do your weekly (hopefully vegan) food shop… can’t get more convenient than that!

If ya wanna shop any of these bits, check out www.beautybyboutique.co.uk and look out for Boutique stands in Sainsbury’s superstores.