how to style: matt & nat brave backpack

Matt & Nat are a fantastic sustainable brand, who use vegan leather within their beautiful bags. They’re an incredibly innovative brand who are constantly experimenting with different recycled materials, and have recently started using bicycle tyres! In appreciation of their company and their beautiful bags, I’ve put together a set using only ethical brands, perfect for the first blue skies of the year.

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Azur Backpack · £98.00 · Matt&Nat

Square Oversized Sunglasses · £192.00· Stella McCartney

Eyes To Mesmerise · £22.00 · Charlotte Tilbury

Lyocell Trousers · £29.99 · H&M Conscious

Pamela Heeled Boot · £149.00 · Bourgeois Boheme

Textured Stripe Front Top · £420.00 · EDUN

Full Fat Lashes · £23.00 · Charlotte Tilbury

brand spotlight: faith in nature

Shopping ethically on a low budget can be a real difficulty, since most of the sustainable/organic brands cater to a more affluent audience. Luckily this is not the case with Faith in Nature, a value-for-money natural skincare brand that began in a kitchen in 1973. They were trailblazers for their time, in that the brand started cruelty free and has remained so for forty years.

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I have decided to try their Coconut range, as I am a self proclaimed worshipper of the furry fruit. All the products I’m reviewing have a high concentration of coconut oil, making them extremely beneficial for all skin types. My favourite part of these products has to be the scent, the nostalgic, powerful and completely natural smell of real coconut. There is not the slightest hint of artificial aroma, which for me is a huge deal breaker (my days of smelling like a bottle of Malibu are fortunately far behind me)

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The Coconut Hand Wash left my skin feeling smooth as smooth can be, without a hint of greasiness. Coconut oil is anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal so there is no need for a harsh and drying hand wash, great news for those of you who suffer from skin conditions. The hand wash also contains Vitamin E, which protects the skin from environmental pollution and well as preventing inflammatory conditions in the skin.

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I was really satisfied with the Coconut Shower Gel & Foam Bath, a best seller on their website and a winner of the 2016 Natural Health International Beauty Awards. Putting a dash of this in your bath will instantly whisk you away to a sandy beach in a tropical paradise. It’s a fantastic multi tasking product, which performs well as both a shower gel and a bubble bath. It also contains Sea Salt which helps to cleanse pores and balance oil production.

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My favourite of the bunch was the Coconut Body Lotion. The texture was perfect, incredibly light and easily absorbed, but with the effectiveness of a heavier moisturiser. The scent is subtle, natural and lasts all day. It also contains Cetaryla Olivate, a natural wonder ingredient that moisturises and prevents water loss in the skin. Would definitely recommend this product.

product review: neal’s yard organic eye make-up remover

2016 was the year of the contour. And although I was as drawn in as the next lady by the ability to completely change my bone structure with a bit of bronzer, it has become impossible to walk down a British high street without seeing the same heavily contoured face over and over again. It seems unfair to me that we are expected to spend approximately an hour on our faces every morning, with the reward of looking like a very sexy clone. So for 2017, my plan is to instead focus on my skincare, minimising the need for makeup in the process, and saving me a hell of a lot of time. I’ve been using only natural and organic products, and the difference is ridiculous. It seems obvious now, but I didn’t make the connection that the chemicals I was putting onto my skin were actually making it worse.

One of my favourite products that I have discovered this year is this Neal’s Yard Organic eye make-up remover, which you can purchase here. Firstly, I am a huge sucker for the Neal’s Yard packaging, I feel that it gives my dressing table an air of mystery, which counteracts the high maintenance yet disorganised vibe of the piles of mismatched products. Being someone who cries at pretty much anything, I need the most waterproof of waterproof mascaras, which is usually a nightmare to remove. Not so with this make-up remover, which removes with very little effort and leaves my eyelids feeling soft and nourished. With rose water and white tea extract, the scent is so delicious that taking of my makeup feels like a treat.

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Organic Eye Make-Up Remover  · Neal’s Yard · £11.00

animal friendly valentine’s makeup

Following on from my previous post, I’m trying out a cruelty free valentines day makeup tutorial. Though testing cosmetics on animals is now banned in the UK, many companies still profit from the sale of products in countries such as China, where animal testing is compulsory.  And often brands that don’t test on animals are owned by companies that do. Fortunately, you no longer have to sacrifice quality for ethics, with outstanding makeup coming from all angles.  Within this article, I’m only using products that I think are better than the alternatives. Because what better advertisement is there for cruelty free makeup than your face looking flawless.

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I’ve been sent a lovely lip gloss to try out from Neal’s Yard which you can find here. I don’t think I have ever bought a lip gloss in my life, probably because I had all these preconceived notions of my mouth getting stuck together, Neo in the matrix style. This gloss has none of these issues, it’s incredibly nourishing, making my lips feel soft and not even slightly sticky. Part of the huge love that I have for Neal’s Yard is that their products just seem to please all of my senses at once. This gloss is no exception, with the organic orange oil making it taste and smell amazing. I applied it over a natural lip liner, and it gave a very pinky ‘your lips but better’ colour. Because I’m a crafty lady, I also put a little on my cheeks, which needed hardly any blending, and gave me a natural, glowy blush. If like me, you don’t like to carry a huge makeup bag around, multi tasking products like this are a gift from the heavens.

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Neal’s Yard · Wild Rose Beauty Balm · £38.00

Charlotte Tilbury · Magic Foundation · £30.00

Charlotte Tilbury · Airbrush Flawless Finish · £33.00

Eyeko · Sport Waterproof Mascara · £19.00

Anastasia Beverley Hills · Dipbrow · $18.00

Neal’s Yard · Goji Berry Lip Gloss · £9.50

Charlotte Tilbury ·  Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk · £16.00

cruel beauty: child labour in the cosmetic industry

The culture of wilful ignorance within the cosmetics industry makes it incredibly difficult to navigate when you’re trying to shop ethically. Though a few admirable companies are reducing their environmental impact, campaigning against animal testing and ensuring human rights are safeguarded, this is by no means the norm. With so many different ingredients in our cosmetics, sourced from all over the world, it’s hard to keep pace.

Mica is a mineral commonly used as an ingredient for products such as eye shadows, powders and lipsticks. Sixty percent of the world’s mica supply comes from the mica mines of India, where exploitation of children is widespread.  I spoke to Reid Maki, the Director of Child Labour Advocacy and Coordinator for the Child Labour Coalition, who was clear on the urgency of this issue. She expressed that ‘more than 20,000 children may be engaged in the production of mica for the benefit of cosmetic companies and consumers at the expense of the health and educational development of children.’

Despite having ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, India is yet to unreservedly ban child labour. Article 32 of the Convention states ‘States Parties recognise the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education.’ The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are 5.8 million children currently working in India, with twenty percent of them involved in hazardous work.

Cosmetics companies such as L’Oreal and Estee Lauder continue to use mica within their products, despite being aware of the risks of child labour. Fortunately, a few companies are starting to respond. LUSH, a UK based cosmetics company, with a strict ethical buying policy, stopped buying mined mica in 2014 when their mica supplier stopped allowing LUSH to visit their mines. They now use a combination of synthetic glitters and agar agar glitters (made from seaweed!)

If you’re interested in learning more or donating to a charity that campaigns against child labour, you can do so here. And if you want to show some love to LUSH for their pioneering and meticulous ethical buying policy, take a look at the shimmery beauties below.

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Orange Flower Lip Tint  ·  £5.95 · LUSH

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Sunnyside Bubble Bar · £4.95 · LUSH

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Delighted Eye Jewel · £10.00 ·  LUSH

six ethical gifts for your miserable mate

Whether it’s anxiety, depression, or the existential dread brought on by Sir David Attenborough stating that humanity is a plague on the earth, we all have a friend who needs a little extra TLC. And though it can be hard to avoid excessive wastefullness in the lead up to the most extravagant time of the year, it is possible to send some great gifts, without destroying the environment. So without further ado, I’m going to be showing you some lovely presents for that friend who needs to feel loved this Christmas.

Anxiety Essential Oil Blend  ・£13.95・MysticMomentsUK

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 According to the mental health charity Mind, mixed anxiety and depression affect 9.7 out of a 100 people in England.  A few drops in the bath can really help regain that sense of calm that can be hard to come by. This blend contains Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Bergamot, and you can even mix it with a carrier, such as Almond Oil and apply it directly to the skin for a relaxing scent all day.

Ambreen Statement Earrings・£49.50・Sjo Accessories

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Channel your inner Frida Kahlo, with these handcrafted earrings that will add some sass to just about any outfit. Not only are these the most day-brightening beauties in existence, they are made by women in Pakistan as part of a business model designed to empower and improve their quality of life. One of these women, named Marvi says “I earn more than my husband now and pay for my son’s school fees and his school books, stationery.” Not just a pretty earring.

Meditation Cushion・£25.39・The Yoga Shop

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After years of thinking that meditation was reserved solely for wearers of tie dye, but thanks to a couple of pushy friends, I am now a convert. (I also own tie dye leggings, for yoga, who have I become?) Luckily, the NHS are also on my side, asserting that mindfullness helps us deal with stress, anxiety and also prevent depression. You can read more about that here. So if someone you know is stressed out, buy them this heart shaped cushion, and as you give it to them, say ‘I heart you.’ They will feel so sorry for you, it will make them feel better about their own life.

Fruit And Nut Frenzy・£16.00・Hotel Chocolat

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This beautifully curvaceous slab of chocolate was the winner of PETA vegan food awards. Crying is great, but what is even better is crying whilst eating chocolate. Why don’t you buy one for your friend and one for yourself, watch Grave of the Fireflies, hit rock bottom, and then move on up from there.

Recycled Socks・£6.95・Braintree

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Don’t believe in reincarnation? Well these socks used to be plastic bottles. What a time to be alive. Your miserable friend can wear these fluffy numbers whilst wondering about their past life. Did Britney Spears drink from them? We will never know for sure.

Silver ‘Beauty’ Necklace・£60.00・Dogeared

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Dogeared are an eco friendly company, whose staff are paid to volunteer at non-profit organizations. This delicate silver necklace comes with a quote from the inspiring poet and activist Maya Angelou. It’s a very sentimental piece that will be loved for a lifetime.

pink, pink, to make the girls wink

We ask our daughters ‘why not another colour?’ as if liking a typically feminine colour is dangerous. We worry that a little girl wearing a pink princess dress will turn out to be an airhead. And maybe there is some truth in that, and maybe it’s the fact that we are telling our daughters that favouring the ‘girly’ colour is wrong. Maybe we should start telling them they achieve anything they want, even in a pink princess dress.

So in celebration of all things pink, here’s a selection of ethically sourced pieces, to help you escape the chills this winter.

 

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Trousers · £60.00 · Nomads Clothing

Betsy Necklace · $54.99 · Starfish Project

Backpack  · £65.00 · Fjallraven

Beanie Hat · £32.00 · PeopleTree

Loveheart Coat  · £70.00 · Tara Starlet

Scarf · £9.99 · Vito Road