ELF Exclusive Offer

If you’re like me, the holidays are a great time to play with your “look.”  Holiday parties offer the perfect excuse to glam it up, make it dramatic, or just have fun playing with color and glitter.  This is why I was oh so excited to get this offer from ELF in my inbox.  A free 100 piece eyeshadow palette with any purchase of $20.00 or more?  Yes please!

Go to ELF, pick out your cosmetics/brushes/tools/etc, and at check out enter the code 100FREE. The palette will automatically be added to your order!  The offer is only valid through 12/19/12, so take advantage of it now!


Styling Saturday: Cruelty-Free for Under $15.00

“I admire what you’re trying to do, but I just don’t think it’s practical.  I’m a single mom on a budget.  I can’t splurge on cruelty-free cosmetics.  Maybe if you were a mom you’d understand”  Dee took a sip of her latte and gave me an apologetic look.  We’ve been lamenting her 4 year-old’s attempt to make home-made crayons out of Mommy’s make up collection.  Now she’s facing a full-on restock.  I suggested she go cruelty-free, and she immediately jumped to the expensive designer brands only available in stores like Ulta, Sephora, or high-end department stores.  The thought of replacing her entire daily make up routine was daunting enough, but the idea of breaking her budget was even more frightening.  “Believe me, if I could afford that stuff, I’d do it in a heart beat, but I’m lucky if I spend more than $25.00 on an entire look.”

Challenge accepted.  Dee’s right, I’m not married and I’m not a mom, so my disposable income is a bit more flexible than that of other women my age.  That being said, I do have a budget and I don’t want it to go bust on cosmetics.  So while I do feel there are certain items that are absolutely worth splurging on, I am all about finding a good deal.  I got Dee to agree to let me go shopping with her.  I promised her that not only could I give her a great daily make up look, but that I could do it with only cruelty free cosmetics and I could do it for less than what she would pay for the standard drug store brands.  Unfortunately Dee didn’t want to model for me, but because her complexion and coloring are very similar to mine (and since the Product Purge I’ve been in need of a new “emergency kit” to keep at work) I bought myself a duplicate set.

So for this week’s Styling Saturday I give you: Cruelty-Free for Under $15.00

Primer, concealer, foundation, pressed powder, eye shadow, color stick, eye liner, mascara

Perhaps the most important thing to note here is the all-over color stick.  This may be my favorite time-saving-find ever.  It works as a cream eye shadow, cream blush, and lipstick.  It blends with your skin tone so you don’t look like you’ve put the same color in all three places, and on your cheeks it gives you that great dewy look.

Applying the cream stick as eye shadow

Sorry for the awkward photo angle, but my tripod went missing so I had to MacGyver that shit.

As blush. 

Yes, I make ridiculous faces when applying blush to the apples of my cheeks.

As lipstick.

I prefer to use a q-tip to apply lipstick.  I feel like I have more control over the color and it’s more sanitary than brushes.

Put a little more mascara on

I…am not sure I can rave about the mascara.  It came out thick and rather gloopy.  Dee, however, loves hers.  She hasn’t had the same issue with the mascara as I have.  Then again, for only $1.00 I’m not sure I can complain about the mascara either.  Also, don’t laugh guys.  Your girlfriend also makes ridiculous faces when putting on mascara.

All made-up.

Sorry I couldn’t give you guys a great big smile here.  It was Monday when these pics were taken, so really I’m lucky I didn’t break the camera.

So all in all I used: primer ($1.00), concealer ($1.00), studio foundation ($3.00), translucent powder ($3.00), cream eye shadow ($3.00), all over color stick ($1.00), eye liner pen ($1.00), and mascara ($1.00).  Final total with tax?  $14.83.  Dee got a new cruelty-free daily look for less  than what she would have spent on regular drug store brands that she loves.  She bought herself a bottle of wine with the difference.


Great Beauty Product Purge

It was a sad day in Smalltown, America.  Heavy grey clouds hung in the sky, too sad and disheartened to move on.  Our heroine, with puffy-eyes and tear-stained face, said her silent goodbyes.  Her quest, though valiant and honorable, has claimed its first victims and she mourned the loss of her dear friends, The Duchess of Olay and Lady Maybelline.

Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but The Great Beauty Product Purge has certainly left its mark on my cosmetics and toiletries.  If you’ve read the rules you’ll remember that No. 4 states all toiletries must be cruelty free.  This includes my collection as it currently stands stood at the time.  So a week ago, I did the thing I was dreading most at the start of my year-long journey.  I compared my cosmetics collection to the Cruelty-Free Companies and Products list.  I have to admit that while the results were largely within the realm of my expectations certain things truly surprised me.

Look for this little guy on products for quick cruelty-free confirmation

If you want to live cruelty-free you can pretty much say goodbye to drugstore cosmetics.  That’s right ladies.  Cover Girl, Almay, Neutrogena, etc.  It doesn’t matter which end of drugstore price spectrum you run, none of them are on the cruelty-free lists, and neither are their various umbrella corporations.  This was, sadly, not a surprise. What did sadden me was the lack of Olay on these lists.  (I checked several different ones, and then their website.)  Olay has been my trusted skin care line for the past 9-12 months, so I suddenly find myself without a skin care line.  But never fear ladies!  There is still a budget-friendly cosmetics option. I was absolutely thrilled to discover that E.L.F. Cosmetics proudly displays the cruelty-free bunny.  Not only are their cosmetics and products a bargain, but they’re now widely available at Target stores across the country.  (Ideal for those situations where you drive 3 hours for a job interview, only to realize you’ve forgotten your make-up.  What?  You’ve never done that?  Oh, well neither have I…)  Seeing E.L.F. on these lists was a good surprise.

A not-so-good surprise was the discovery of how many of my favorite, more up-scale products were not represented on these lists.  MAC, Benefit, NARS, and Laura Mercier were all found to be cosmetic contraband.  Benefit and NARS especially surprised me because their websites boast not testing on animals, however their umbrella corporation animal-tests on both ingredients and finished products.  This led to the dilemma of “if a product is cruelty-free but the company isn’t, is it within the rules or is it contraband?”  Ultimately I had to say that yes, it counts as contraband.  It broke my heart to say goodbye to one of my favorite eye-shadow pallets, but ultimately I believe it’s truly cruelty-free if the company that makes it is not.

So what does this leave me with?  Too-Faced, Urban Decay, and Stila are all safe, along with the E.L.F. collection I’ve built.  (With most products being $1.00 a piece, they’re a little tough to resist.)  I have the beauty basics covered.  My hair care is covered, even if I did have to part with a large amount of styling products.  That is thanks in large part to a miraculous product which I’ll cover later.  Surprisingly, I still have both of my fragrances of choice.  I was expecting the designer fragrance to be okay, but fully expected Bath & Bodyworks to make the “no list.”  Way to go, B&B!  I’m also left with a rather large bin of contraband, for which I now must figure out an acceptable fate.

I was also left needing to replace some products.  Skin care products aside, at the end of this product purge I was also in need of basic things I hadn’t really thought about being affected by this whole process.  Things like toothpaste, antiperspirant, and shaving cream were never really a blip on my mental radar.  Now, they were a legitimate reason to run to the (locally owned!) health food store.

Oh, and on the way home I stopped into a thrift store where I found this little guy.  Now he sits in my bathroom as a reminder to double-check all products before I buy.