monthly favorites, Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Cruelty Free, vegan lifestyle

September Favorites

The leaves are changing colors and while I hate (like a lot) to see Winter come, I LOVE any opportunity to throw on my boots, a scarf and some cozy sweaters. Yes, I’m a #basicb*@$h and proud of it. Fall always reminds me of that line from You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks (aka Joe Fox) tells Meg Ryan that it reminds her of a big bouquet of new pencils: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

Anyways, as we’re transitioning from Summer to Fall, I’ve loved these throughout the month of September.

1. Tom Ka Kai soup

I’ve legit made this vegan Tom Ka Gai soup (aka Tom Ka Kai, Tom Ga Kai) three times last week, and each time it lasted just a little under a week. Guys. It’s SO good. I suggest adding as much lemon juice as possible so it’s nice and acidic. Is your mouth watering? Mine is! Also, I just load it up with veggies. I also used the regular coconut milk in a can, but I suggest the low-fat version so that it’s not as rich.

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2. Trestique Lip Crayon

I’ve been on a lip binge lately. This lip crayon goes on so smooth, and it gives your lips just the right amount of shade and gloss. LOVE IT. If you want the best of both worlds (lipstick and lip gloss), definitely give Trestique lip crayons a shot.

But Samantha, are they VCF? Definitely cruelty-free! Are they vegan? Here’s the answer on the Trestique FAQs:

WHAT IS YOUR INGREDIENT PHILOSOPHY?

We believe in high tech, high performance makeup. Why? Because you get better color, smoother application and longer lasting results. trèStiQue is free of parabens, synthetic fragrances and petro chemicals. We infuse our products with natural plant ingredients wherever possible, such as coconut oil, which is why we know you will love them! Most importantly our products are never tested on animals and everything is made with love.

3. NYX Lip Gloss

If you can’t wear lipstick because it literally wears off once you blink, then you’ll love this NYX butter gloss as much as I do. In “Tiramisu” it’s literally a your (or my) lips but better. It’s pretty much the same color as my natural lips but make them hella juicy–your welcome. I personally think it’s the perfect substitution for chapstick (which isn’t at all good for your lips).

Is NYX vegan

While not all NYX produts are vegan, they do have a vegan dedicated line. Check it out here!

Is NYX cruelty-free?

According to their website, they are. BUT they are owned by L’Oreal Cosmetics, which is not cruelty-free. (WHY!!!)

4. Hair Protectant

I seriously think I have hair protectant to thank for how long and thick my hair has gotten in the past few months alone. Stay tuned this week for a post on how to get strong, long and thick hair. Hello #hairgoals! I’m still on the search however for an amazing (and good smelling) hair protectant that’s VCF, so if you know of any, please comment your recs below! Appreciate ya.

Is OGX cruelty-free?

According to their site:

Are OGX® products tested on animals?

OGX® does not initiate animal tests on either finished products or ingredients whether directly or indirectly. All ingredients used are carefully monitored. All suppliers are requested to confirm that their materials have not been tested on animals. Ingredients which do not have this data supplied for them are not used in any products. OGX® is against the suffering endured by animals when ingredients and products are tested. We support suppliers and organizations that are developing alternative methods of testing without using animals.

5. Book I’m Currently Loving

Image result for an american marriage book
Photo c/o: Chicago Review of Books

I’ve been starting a new feature with  monthly favorites, and that’s my favorite book of the month! Ya’ll can judge me, but it’s definitely The Secret! It changed my life, and I have the book to thank for taking my already positive self to a whole new level and understanding. If you’re not into it, I also really loved An American Marriage. 

Questions of the Day

What book are you loving lately? Any change to your routine that you’re loving?

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Tarte Shape Tape Foundation Review

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The Tarte Shape Tape concealer apparently turned the makeup world on it’s head. It seems Tarte decided to ride the coattails of their concealer’s popularity and bring their beloved Shape Tape lovers with a foundation by the same name. While I have yet to try the Shape Tape concealer (because I don’t need a concealer yet), I decided to give their Shape Tape foundation a try. If you’re thinking about handing over more than $40 to your Ulta salesperson, please read this review first. Spoiler alert: it ain’t good.

Note: I tried this foundation everyday for 10-15 hours per day for 2 weeks straight, just like I did for my Kat Von D Foundation review.

I purchased my foundation at Ulta for $42 including tax. It retails for $39.

The Tarte Shape Tape Foundation: Pros

1. 2 Formula Options: Dry or Oily Skin

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Of the 36 shades (we’ll get into that below), 18 are made for those who have dry skin and 18 for those who have oily skin. Dry skin individuals may opt for the Hydrating Foundation and those with oily skin (hi!) will probably want to try the matte foundation. So, of course, having a semi-oil slick for a face, I opted for the matte foundation.

2. Medium Coverage

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This is NOT at all a full-coverage foundation. Because it’s more liquidy, it tends to lean on the err of medium coverage. You can build it up, sure, but there’s a reason why you shouldn’t (see cons).

The Tarte Shape Tape Foundation: Cons 

1. The Color Range

After Rihanna’s successful launch of her Fenty Beauty makeup line, including a range of foundation colors for everyone under the sun, Tarte’s range failed to please. As in crash and burn. They only have a selection of 18 shades per line (see above). 18! Drugstore foundations have more of a color range than that, right?

2. Doe-Foot Applicator

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I found this applicator cumbersome to work with. I mean, yes, hardcore first world problem, but every time I used this foundation, I would open it, and swipe the foundation on one of my fingers (clean hands), and would swipe that onto my face. When I needed more, I used a new finger. I don’t think the doe foot applicator is the most sanitary option, which is why I count this as a con.

3. Longevity

Ya’ll, this didn’t last for sh**. I said in the cons that it has medium coverage, and it does, but even one small layer of this foundation lasts maybe about 2 hours, 4 hours if you’re having a good day. If you layer the foundation on, it’s worse. This may be because I have oily skin (not sure), but this foundation moved around SO much. I put my makeup on around 6AM then head to work about an hour later. Around 9AM-10AM, I go to the bathroom and when I look in the mirror, my face has marks from where I touched it because this foundation doesn’t stick worth a dime to your face. It MOVES. It’s a matte foundation that sits on top of your skin. Not to mention, it get super blotchy throughout the day.

Worth It? Absolutely not. Although, you obviously have different skin than I do and there are many other outlying factors where this foundation may be your holy grail! I have tan, oily skin with an olive undertone, and it didn’t work for me.

Question of the Day

What is your favorite vegan and cruelty-free foundation? I went back to my Kat Von D foundation, and am loving it.

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Farsali Elixir and Farsali Serum Review

If you waste half your life on Instagram (hi.), then you will have seen that gorge beauty Farah work her magic. Half the time she uses her own line of products like the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir or her Farsali Unicorn Essence. And if you’ve never seen these products, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to get your hands on these (spoiler alert), mostly because the packaging–and the products–are to die for. I picked up the samples, which are the perfect size as gift toppers and stocking stuffers–hint hint.

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Farsali Unicorn Essence Review

Perhaps one of the most popular Farsali products, this pinky cloudy liquid smells like cotton candy and sinks like a song into your skin. It’s packaging describes it as a Skin Enhancing Antioxidant Serum. It also claims to work as a dual product: it infuses your skin with beneficial skin care and also preps it for putting on moisturizer or makeup. So I did both.

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I washed my face and put a drop each on both my cheeks, my forehead and my chin and patted it in. In almost immediately sinks into your skin but also has a slight sticky feeling, which can feel unwelcome at first. BUT it’s this sticky feeling that makes makeup application a dream.

USE: I DO NOT suggest using this as a stand-alone moisturizer. If you use this, definitely top with moisturizer or top with a moisturizing foundation. I used it alone as well and it made my face feel tight–you know that feeling after you wash your face and don’t moisturize it? That. (yuck).

RESULTS: I waited a while after I got this to review and guys, when used as a primer, it’s amazing. Definitely go with the sample to see if your skin agrees. Even if it doesn’t…you may get addicted to the smell if you like sweet sugary scents. Photo Dec 20, 3 03 00 PM

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: If it was $20 cheaper, yes! If you have a coupon, yes! Otherwise, not so sure TBH.

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir Review

If you guys are into luxe things that are 100% extra (hi again), then you want this, believe me. The Farsali Rose Gold Elixir is marketed as a 24K Gold Infused Beauty Oil and it literally has flecks of 24K gold in it. How’s that for extra?

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While the Unicorn Essence is cloudy in appearance, the beauty oil feels like a true dry oil, not unlike my skincare secret and anti-aging hack: Rosehip Oil. It has Vitamin A (retinol–scientifically known to help fight wrinkles), and Vitamin C, which is why it smells a bit citrusy.

USE: Best used as a moisturizer.

RESULTS: I’ve been using it as a moisturizer before going to sleep and man, I feel like I’ve aged backwards at least like 3 days. But really, I love it.

Photo Dec 20, 3 03 29 PMWhat’s nice about this beauty oil is that it absorbs SO quick. I HATE the feeling of being covered in oil, especially when I sleep with it in. Since I’m extra as all hell I sleep on a (far too expensive) silk and copper-infused pillow case and the last thing I want to do is ruin it with oil. BUT I can put this oil on, let it dry for a hot second and go to sleep knowing my pillowcase wasn’t a total waste of money.

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: Yes! Wait until you get a Sephora coupon then spring for the full 1 OZ. Yo welcome.

VCF? Yes, according to the About Us page, they are cruelty-free!

Question of the Day

Have you tried anything from Farsali Beauty? What are your favorite night serums or moisturizers?

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Vegan Cruelty Free

Sephora & Vegan Beauty Haul

What else do you do when you have a coupon for Sephora? You spend your life savings and withdraw from your 401(k) to spree is what (jk–but am I really). Well I’m on a tight budget (hello dream house), so I really only got the things I need. Come snoop through my cart!

1. Fresh Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm

If you need a new lip balm that smells like divine heavenly angel food cake and caramel on a plate, then you need to get this. Not only that, it feels dang good on the lips–your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, lover, cat will thank you.

Unfortunately guys, I learned some tragic news thanks to Ethical ElephantFresh is NOT CrueltyFree! Sadly, this doesn’t look good for Fresh considering all imported cosmetics into Mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals and by Fresh choosing to sell in these stores, they must consent and agree to have their products/ingredients subject to animal tests.

2. Farsali Beauty

Ya’ll, I am BEYOND excited about these two. I only got the mini sizes of Farsali Beauty Unicorn Essence and the Rose Gold Elixir because I wanted to test them out first, and also because the full-size options are hella expensive (bye bye dream house), so I opted for the little bottles. Also I like Farah, so I had to support her.

From their website:  Our naturally inspired products are always cruelty-free, and made with exceptional-quality in mind. YAY! <– not from their site, only my enthusiasm.

3. Asili Naturals Bath Bomb

I mean, you know I can’t go a couple weeks without talking about my #1 homie, Asili Naturals, my most favorite VCF brand of all time. So of course, this Rosemary Jasmine bath bomb joins the haul party.

4. Fresh Sugar Roll-On

Aside from the fact that Fresh Sugar is NOT VCF (did you hear that noise? That’s my heart breaking), I am most excited to try this product because it’s both an anti-perspirant AND deodorant and most “healthy” deoderants are only the latter. This will most likely go back because it’s not VCF. Womp womp.

P.S. I also got a little sample of the Solid Beauty Blender cleaner because I love my Real Techniques Beauty Blender…is that cheating to us the BB cleaner for my Real Techniques sponge?

Question of the Day

What have you guys picked up lately that you’re loving?? We want to snoop!

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Fashion

11 Affordable Stocking Stuffer Ideas

If stuffing stockings were a hobby, I’d be a freakin’ pro (toot), but as the holidays come around, it can be hard to find vegan and cruelty-free gifts and stocking stuffer ideas without succumbing to throwing boxes of raisins in those oversized socks. That’s why I’ve come up with some ideas (which also happen to be my faves) that make your non-vegan family members and friends not hate you for gifting them with a “meat is murder” sticker, right? So let’s get less political, and a WHOLE lot more fun!

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1. GIFTS FOR THE PERSON ALWAYS ON-THE-GO

If you know someone who is always on-the-go, go, go (hi), then you want to put some travel friendly ideas that scream, hey I’m fashionable, healthy and awesome on to their gift list.

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Hair Invisibobble: For those women or men with long hair, being on the go means throwing your hair into a bun (or man-bun) and getting ish done. My favorite hair tool of all time is the Invisibobble (hello millenial scrunchie). It’s that black ring that looks like a phone cord in the picture above. It doesn’t kink your hair, and pulls out really easily. #gogetsome. Now I look at old hair bands and just wonder…but why. I bought mine at Sephora and it sells for $8. I got it for 20% off woop woop.

Vegan Leather Tassle: This tassle keychain is so boujee, it pretty much screams that you love fashion with an edge. You can get any of these vegan tassles (and pom poms!) pretty much anywhere (i.e Charming Charlie, Forever 21, Discovery, TJ Maxx, Target, pretty much anywhere, maybe even Cracker Barrel?!). I got mine on clearance for $3.00 something at Target. They usually range from $3 – $12.

Coconut Oil Packets: If your person travels a lot, remind them to keep their health in check from the plane to the hotel and anywhere else. Coconut Oil is the perfect solution to almost anything they happen to forget, like moisturizer, hair mask, toothpaste (oil pulling), makeup remover, a whole bunch of stuff. I bought my box of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Packets at Trader Joe’s for $3.99.

A Cute Tray: When they do come back home or take off all of their baubles before a bath, give them a place to put it all, like this cute tray! I got this one at Target on clearance but you can get them virtually anywhere.

2. GIFTS FOR THE BEAUTY LOVER

If you have a friend who loves to primp and prime or is all about self-love (hallelujah), then they’ll love these gifts. Especially if they love to smell amazing. Santa will be jealous you thought of these first, well second I guess 😉

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Native Deodorant: If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I’ve tried every deodorant in the world and after my deodorant review, am now addicted to Native Deodorant. They’ll love that this smells great, and that it leaves them smelling great.

Formula 10.0.6 Pore Strips: With all the big work parties and family dinners or even if you have that hot holiday date (I do every year, hi hubs), you gotta make sure your nose is blackhead free! These Formula 10.0.6 Pore Strips clear out your pores and you’ll be walking with confidence, one nose ahead of everyone else.

Pacifica Perfume: This perfume is both vegan and cruelty-free and comes in a whole bunch of scents. Since perfume is a pretty personal choice, I would give them a fun “coupon” that you drew up yourself for them to go shopping with you and pick their own Pacifica Natural Spray. This means you can give a gift and set-up some time to hang out. Quality time: check!

Bath Bomb: This is a no-brainer. You can wrap this Whole Foods Bath Bomb up with a bottle of some good wine and one of their favorite movies and there you go: spa night! Maybe throw in a face mask too–see the next idea 😉

3. GIFTS FOR THE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO RELAX

Know someone that needs to relax or is always uptight? (um, hi). Then throw all of these into a cute little basket and wrap it up into their stocking and BOOM. I’m falling asleep just thinking about it I’m so relaxed.

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Bath Bomb: This is what I was talking about before! You can get festive and throw in an Asili Naturals holiday-scented bath bomb, like the pumpkin spice one above.

Asili Naturals Clay Mask: On my Friday Face-Off, we compared this clay mask with Glam Glow, and guess who won? You called it–this one is AMAZING! This Spirulina Clay Mask doesn’t smell like dirt like most masks (ahem Glam Glow), but smells amazing like lavender. #treatyofriend Throw in a makeup brush too, which makes applying pretty much any face mask much easier, and far less messy.

Handmade Natural Soap: When soap smells good, it makes a shower even more relaxing, literally feels like it’s melting away your stress.

With all of these ideas, you’ll be stocking stuffer royalty. Might as well buy a tiara when you’re out shopping for presents.

Question of the Day

What kind of stocking stuffers do you like? What is your favorite part of gift-giving? Share, please!

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