Wish listing aka #treatyoself

Everyone has a wish list. The nice little treats you dream about when you’re in need of a pick-me-up and coffee won’t quite cut it. Maybe you’ve had a particularly yuck day. That’s when wish lists, also known to me as TREAT YO SELF, come in handy.

The fun thing about going cruelty-free and using vegan products (where I can, but cruelty-free is the main game here) means I’m discovering a whole new world of lovely products that are actually not terrible for me/the environment/animals.

Here’s what I’m currently keen on …

weleda penWeleda Cuticle Softener Pen

I do not know what I’ve done to my thumbnails to make them so ridged, but I suspect it has to do with my anxious cuticle-picking habit. I’ve never had fake nails, acrylics or even shellac on my fingernails so this (slight) issue is confusing. Maybe this would work, along with my zinc supplements.

wishlistnails2wishlistnails1Jinsoon Nail Lacquer in Nostalgia and Doux 

They’re pretty, the end! Five-free and lovely colours. I love a beautiful, nude-y coat of polish on my nails. At the moment my absolute favourite is Floss Gloss Lipliner. It looks like my favourite lipstick of the moment, Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk! Truly pretty.

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Ouai shampoo and conditioner

With a thick, full and fairly independent mane I’ve never worried taking that much care of my hair. I don’t brush, blowdry or straighten it because (a) no point and (b) time spent. In truth that’s my mum’s bugbear – I HATE brushing my hair. It makes the frizz go nuts! So it’s wash ‘n go every few days and pretty self-sufficient. My hair doesn’t usually do what I want it to but that seems to work for me? Pretty French I guess. Or maybe I’m just getting a bit older and less worried about it. But I’ve found the Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil makes it sit better and – added bonus – is less itchy at the end of the day than when I’ve used other products. Result! Also, no nasty bits like sulfates and parabens.

wishlistlipmaskSara Happ Sweet Clay Lip Mask

As I said on Instagram, wahh! I don’t know how to get this to Australia without paying exorbitant shipping fees.

Wildcard: A vegan, cruelty-free perfume based on rose absolute and sandalwood. Know of one? Let me know!

What’s on your TREAT YO SELF wish list?

AL x

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How do you mask?

One of my very favourite things to do at the end of a long day (or on a rostered day off) is get clean and then mask up my face.

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Actually me.

I’ve used and loved many a mask in my time, starting from those $3 packets at Priceline (which I swear are made from glue and food colouring) to a little more sophisticated.

I used to hardcore mask my face when I had particularly bad skin, going in with super-exfoliating formulas which I was certain could only help, but I’ve since learnt that I was, literally, going too hardcore and freaking out my face … making it too squeaky-clean, confusing the hell out of it by doing too good a job exfoliating and depleting it of natural oils. Without the proper education, I was bombing my poor, stressed face with alpha-hydroxy acid at least three times a week and much longer than the recommended time. Then there was the bentonite clay mixed with apple cider vinegar which again, I think was probably too harsh for me. Pore strips … bicarb and water … drugstore formulas … I could go on all night. You name it, I tried it. I thought it was all part of my relaxing routine and the  angry, sore little bumps were still appearing on my jawline and I couldn’t work out why.

And then there was the infamous black peel-off mask that everybody was doing. Well … at least it did some dermaplaning for me, I guess? With a side of extreme pain.

Now I’ve detoxed my skincare regime and do a mask once a week with something gentle and soothing. I now have Tata Harper’s lauded Resurfacing Mask, which smells so yummy! It goes on as a pretty pink jelly and dries nicely, not at all like glue. I’m also just about to try Black Robin Mallow Out Soothing Clay Masque, which also smells beautiful. Along with a beautiful little mask dish from Eve Organics and a Leahlani mask brush, I think I might FINALLY have my perfect set-up.

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SO PRETTY.

My Sunday night just got a lot more exciting!

Then I make some tea (my favourite is raspberry leaf or Twinings Digest), pop on some trash, usually The Bachelor catch-up, or check out something more virtuous like a Suzannah Lipscombe doco, wash it off, tone and moisturise and add a little facial oil if I need some moisture.

So tell me. Do you have a masking routine? What do you do? And super importantly, what do you watch while you wait for it to dry? I do all my chores first so I can actually take a good amount of time and chill out!

AL x

50 per cent of all of us.

Courtesy: Rupi Kaur

Courtesy: Rupi Kaur

Today’s post is mainly about how I can make The Curse better for my body and eco-friendly to boot. But there’s something else I’d like to raise at the end. Please hang on for it.

I’ve used organic pads and tampons for a few years now, after suffering allergies from using big-brand products that knocked me for six. Allergies I know were caused by the garbage that big businesses put in their “feminine hygiene” gear … that women then put inside their bodies … for several hours. This means whatever is in your tampon could be leaching into your bloodstream direct; bleach, dioxin, rayon and BPA (plastic) have been found in certain pads and tampons.

These can (I am not saying they do!) cause infections, irritation and some of these ingredients have been linked with cancer.

Also, don’t forget the environment and the impact that wrappers, packaging and used products have on our world.

It’s enough to make your insides shrivel in disgust.

At the moment I’m using Tom Organic and Cottons products – they’re great so far! No discomfort whatsoever. And they also work hard for the environment and community.

Tom Organic say: “TOM Organic was founded on the philosophy that women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or the health of the planet with the products they buy.”

Their priorities? Women’s health, the environment, community awareness and ethical business practices. They also work with charities that provide birthing kits and period products for homeless women and at-risk families.

🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

And Cottons? They use 100 per cent cotton and work with Share the Dignity. Read more here.

But what about even greener options? To make a small change, I’ve ordered a set of Thinx. No waste, no chemicals AND devoted to empowering girls around the globe who need it most. Can’t wait for their arrival.

So – how do you deal with your period in a clean, green, cruelty-free way? 

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Ugh.

OK, let’s look at this globally.

Menstruation has a massive impact on our world. It’s not just a female problem, it’s a people problem. It’s a problem for girls and women and trans people and non-binary people, whether it’s because they’re being forced to live outside for a week until they stop bleeding, or if they’re trying to stay comfortable and hygienic while sleeping rough, or perhaps struggling with the cost or availability of feminine products. There’s a lot to consider.

Can you imagine sending your teenage daughter (or younger!) out into the cold to contend with wild animals, strangers, the elements and who knows what else? I can’t. It’s shocking.

Last week, Nepal passed a law criminalising the practise of Chhaupadi, where menstruating females are forced to leave their homes to live outside or in animal huts for the duration of their bleed.

And it’s just not necessary, because periods aren’t dirty.

The new law, subject to a grandfather clause, will mean those found guilty of forcing women into Chhaupadi will be fined 3000 rupees and three months’ jail.

Bring it on.

And if you’ve never thought about how homeless women deal with getting their period, this video is well worth a look. Then maybe throw some money or time in the direction of a charity working in this particular area.

Phew. And I haven’t even got to the Tampon Tax. That’s for another day.

The #extra things I do for my skin.

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#soextra

I’ve done some strange things for my skin and they range from the painful, to the un-tasty, or super #extra, but I stick with them. Why? Because I think that you’ve got to be good inside to look good outside.

This is a great read by Women’s Health explaining the importance of gut health to skin health to explain why.

FOODS, SUPPLEMENTS AND SPICES: I take zinc in the morning for strong nails, wound repair and nail health, as well as a shot of apple cider vinegar. Oil-pulling when I can remember (I wish this was more often because it is so good for teeth whitening and a general fresh-feeling). Bone broth sometimes but I find the taste very fatty. It’s best with raw, crushed garlic. I also add lots of turmeric and cayenne pepper to my food and sometimes my drinks. I also eat plenty of garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, dark green leaves, avocado, red onion, lemons … super colourful, Mediterranean flavours. I figure yia-yias and nonnas have amazing skin, so why not give it a go? Besides, it’s a yum way to eat. Moisturise from the inside out!

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I want that Glossier-model-type moisture pls!

At work, I’ll switch up my normal coffee for a turmeric latte, because coffee can be a little brutal on the tum.

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Same.

There’s only a few places in Sydney that do turmeric lattes really really well – Di Bella is one of them! It’s good on coconut milk. I have tried a tea marketing itself as a skin boosting tea. It was not good. If you can find tasty (or at least not nasty-tasting) skin-boosting tea, please tell me! I’m a huge fan of herbal tea but not too keen on those that taste like the water left over after steaming vegies…

If my tummy is super-painful or a bit puffy then I love this gut healing elixir by Jessica Sepel. It has cinnamon, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cayenne pepper, fresh ginger and probiotic powder. I swear by it and I’ve even managed to get Mr Leaf on board. It’s spicy and interesting and very soothing. It also lasts for a few cups and because I’m never without a cup of tea, this is super-attractive in my eyes.

At night is when I go BEYOND EXTRA. I’ve been taking The Beauty Chef’s Glow powder and Collagen Inner Beauty Boost liquid. This leads me to discuss …

PROBIOTICS: My probiotics are so important to me. Ever noticed that when your tummy is peelie-wally, your skin usually looks a bit dull and sad? Maybe you get a pimple or it’s flaky? That’s not your imagination. If you’ve heard of Dr Perricone’s diet, you’ll know why this theory has some weight to it. Because being healthy and looking after yourself shows itself in many different ways – especially on your body’s biggest organ.

I’m prone to tummy troubles and have always had painful acne. Not the all-over-my-face type of acne, but several red, hot and sore zits in painful places. They like to set up camp on my chin and cheeks and settle in for a few good weeks. When I was a teenager they loved my eyebrows, the bridge of my nose and the fleshy parts of my cheeks. Ow. And of course they scarred! Not fun! As previously mentioned, I think 27 is too old to be getting these nasty break-outs.

Enter The Beauty Chef Carla Oates, whose philosophy is “beauty begins in the belly”. I like that. You can read about Carla’s ethos here. I’ve noticed my skin dryness has improved but wow, my fiance’s skin has never.looked.better. It’s plump and glowing and his beardy ingrown hairs are much improved. I’m frankly a little jealous, maybe I have a lot of damage to reverse?

I struggle a bit with the sweet sweet sweeeeeet taste of the Collagen drink, but I mix the Glow powder and Collagen drink into a paste and add a tiny bit of water to make it into a shot. Then I can get it down no problems. But that’s just me – he loves how it tastes.

TOPICALLY: I really, really wanted to like Mario Badescu’s drying lotion as much as everyone else. I really did. But it just doesn’t work for my angry, hormonal, cystic pimples. So instead I’ll dab apple cider vinegar on it when the heat and tingling hits and then hope for the best. It stings but as far as I’m concerned, that means it’s working! I am a naughty squeezer but sometimes that’s the only way to truly slay a zit. I do concede, however, that it’s a bit safer to have an expert do it, as well as much more hygienic. Maybe I should put a post-it on the mirror? I also use the Dr Spiller range advised by my dermal therapist and it’s soothing, not overly fragranced and feels very luxe on the skin.

big fat greek wedding zit

I can relate.

EPSOM SALT BATHS: I believe in the power of sweat! Personally I feel better when I sweat heaps. My favourite ways to do this are through bikram yoga and hot epsom salt baths, with a little lavender and tea tree thrown in FOR THE PAIN. As well as decreasing bloating and water retention, I swear my skin looks more moisturised and brighter for a good sweat purge.

LINEN: A clean towel for my face each time (always) and same for my pillowcases. Can’t emphasise the importance of this enough, because bacteria. Needn’t say more.

WATER: I’ve put this last because it’s the one thing that sounds completely cliched but it’s not! I’ve bought a glass water bottle and have never drunk so much water in my life. Win for the environment, win for my skin, win for my body.

A quick disclaimer: I’m not an expert in things food, health etc. So please do ask someone professional and get your own plan sorted. You’ll feel so much better for it!

The new guard

My shelves and beauty bag are looking decidedly empty, so it’s time to repopulate. Enter Jane Iredale, via Adore Beauty.

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Yum.

I’ve been ordering my makeup from Adore Beauty for about a year now and I love being able to browse at my leisure, with no pressure from sales assistants (despite their good intentions!) and time constraints. Also shopping centres aren’t exactly conducive to mindfully choosing cosmetics, IMHO.

After a few days of thinking, I decided on the Glow Time BB cream, as well as the Disappear Full Coverage Concealer, Eye Pencil, PureLash Lengthening Mascara, Eye Shere and PureBrow Clear Brow Gel.

Reasons I love this brand: Skincare focused, mineral-based and Leaping Bunny certified. The packaging is simple and beautiful and each box explains that you can watch a tutorial on each product on the website. Too easy.

So I’m restocking my makeup with the intention of creating a beauty capsule wardrobe – just a few products to enhance my natural skin, eyes and brows. I’ve spent a lot of my years blackening my waterline, adding glitter and big colour to my face. It’s been great fun, but as time is no longer on my side in the mornings, I want to pare it down.

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Look for the bunny! Too cute to miss.

What’s Leaping Bunny? Looking out for this cute little logo is an easy way to tell that the brand is cruelty-free compliant, as they must abide by a standard, implemented by a coalition of eight animal welfare bodies, as well as the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments.

Time to swatch ’em up! As you can see, the colours are nicely pigmented and offer pretty great coverage. I wish the concealer was a little thicker but that may go well when sitting on top of a good base – I usually prefer to dot concealer on my bare face and I love fairly thick coverage, as I am prone to angry red cystic zits, as well as dark undereye circles. However I am very sold on its willow and green tea extracts. I have been using Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, as well as Kat Von D’s Lock It. Tarte is definitely the thickest and best match to my skin tone. I may switch it up.

I hardly wear foundation or BB cream anymore, mostly because I am lazy, but also because I hate getting foundation smudges on my clothes and glasses. I’m a simple creature. I think I’ll still stick to this principle but on special occasions, I’ll give this a red-hot go. The coverage looks good too.

I used to be a huge fan of a big, thick, black line on my eyes – either winged or not winged because I’d messed it up. Now I love a bit of a smudge on my top waterline if I want some glamour.

Mascara is an everyday product for me and not really negotiable. Never really been one for volume, I’ve preferred length as the tips of my lashes are very blonde.

The clear brow gel (obviously I can’t really swatch this) is perfect, because after getting my brows fixed by Delphine at Kristin Fisher Eyebrows, all they need is a little hold and they’re good to go.

I’ll use the Shere for days when I need to be a little extra. I had been using Benefit’s Hoola on my eyes for a bit of depth, but that’s long gone now.

Now it’s time to find a good multi-tasking eye, lip and cheek colour – something berry or warm.

As a former fan of Nars Orgasm (sob) I’m pretty interested in trying something completely different. The Make Beauty pots look fun.

Have you tried Jane Iredale or even Make’s pots? Let me know!

AL x

Let’s get down to it

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Bye, baby.

I’m cleaning out my beauty bag. Years of purchases – in the bin. I’m embarrassed to say it’s thousands of dollars in cosmetics but this decision makes me feel good. Some of my most-loved brands and I have had to part ways, simply because they’re bad for me and bad for the environment. Yuck.

I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but I am still very conscious about what I put in and on my body and thinking recently about the stuff I’ve been putting on my skin has freaked me out! It’s only the body’s biggest organ, yikes. And when you discover that your beloved brands aren’t as scrupulous as you about the stuff that’s in their products, or how they make sure they’re safe for humans to use, sadly it’s not surprising, but still quite disappointing.

I first started thinking about revamping my beauty and skincare wardrobe after noticing strange, painless bumps appearing on my chin and jawline. At 27 I’m pretty sick of the seeing the acne that’s plagued me since I was 13, so I saw a dermal therapist who told me to amp up the probiotics (looking after my gut, but that’s another post!) as well as laying off the sulfates, phthalates, aluminium, talcs, animal-based ingredients and other garbage that’s found in the products I was already using, including a “natural” brand, who test on animals…oy. I’ve since been using Dr Spiller, who are cruelty-free and natural, and my skin has improved a lot.

Below is a list of my product detox thus far – the emphasis is mainly on cruelty-free, and trying to use clean and green as much as I can. It’s a process and I will make mistakes, but these will be unintentional.

So here’s my list; what’s out, what’s in, what I plan to keep and what I’ve suspended for the moment.

OUT: Benefit, Bvlgari, Calvin Klein, Chapstick, Colgate, Dove, Jurlique, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane (!), L’Oreal, La Roche Posay, Listerine, MAC, Nivea, Nuxe, OPI, Revlon, Rimmel, Sally Hansen, Sephora brand, Simple, Sinful Colors, Yves Saint Laurent.

IN: Charlotte Tilbury, Dr Bronner’s, Dr Spiller, Floss Gloss, Jane Iredale, Kevin Murphy, Lavanila, Noosa Basics, Sukin, Weleda.

KEEP: Anastasia Beverly Hills, Kat Von D, Lush, Mario Badescu.

JURY’S OUT: Cruelty-Free Kitty tells me Becca, Tarte and Too Faced are cruelty-free, but their parent companies are not. I’m not sure how I feel about this. What do you think?

I have a little package of Jane Iredale goodies and Wunderbrow on the way to start out. Exciting! For the moment, here’s a few of my favourites.

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My squad.

Thanks to Cruelty-Free Kitty for the helpful list here, which was my starting point for my beauty bag and cabinet deep cleanse!

Disclaimer: I haven’t received any payment or products from any of the brands mentioned here. I just like the ones I’ve given a shout-out to, and hope you might too!