New Zealand Cruelty Free Beauty Brands

60cc6f698efa317df7fbcdb98d5b8316.jpgNew Zealand has many amazing cruelty free, vegan and organic skincare brands. For the sake of this article, I will focus on cruelty free brands (although many of these are vegan and organic too). When I was living in Australia, there was also an awareness of ethical brands and the ability to choose cruelty free and eco-friendly options.

There are many beauty and skin care products that promote ethical production. As we have increasingly more access to information online, there is more awareness about the brands we use. I’ve listed below just some of the cruelty free brands. However, if you have any that you know, please feel free to comment them down below!

Makeup Apotheka |Belle & Sage | Karen Murrell | Living Nature | World Organics

Haircare Belle & Sage | Earthwise | Ecostore | Essano  | Evolu | Lust | SavarThe Herb Farm

Skincare  Antipodes | Apheleia | ApicareApotheka | BeautousBelle & Sage |BestowBlue Earth | Bon Bon Vegan | Do No Harm | Ecostore | Essano | Ethique | Evolu | Geo Skincare Goodness | La’bonicLinden LeavesLiving Nature | Moana | Nellie Tier |OasisOlive |Only Good Orania | OxygenPlantae Sansceuticals | Skinfood |Snowberry | Stella For Cruelty FreeSurmanti | Tailor  | Tonic RoomTrilogy |Tribeca|  The Herb Farm | The Cruelty Free Shop | World Organics | You Are Loved

Washing Earthwise | Ecostore

Photography by Elias and Theresa Carlson

5 Skincare Beauty Secrets From Taiwan

art.jpgMany people will relate to the need to protect the skin from the sun, rather than exposing it in the sun during long periods. It’s a general beauty standard in Taiwan to keep the skin clear and bright. I do think a good balance of Vitamin D is important too. However, taking good care of the skin will keep it young and healthy. This is why during the Summer, you will see many Asians carrying umbrellas. I never thought I would be one of the people carrying them, but I found I really needed it to escape from the glaring sun. Sydney’s sun is extremely harsh and with my dark Asian black hair, it attracts the heat intensely. I don’t tan because my skin type tans easily, and after long periods in the sun it will sunburn. Not to mention the rate of skin cancer in Australia is quite high.

There are many articles that talk about skincare secrets from Japan and Korea. They both have some of the best skincare products out there. A good daily skincare routine is very important. Generally, many Asian makeup looks try to achieve a softer and natural look to appear more youthful. I do believe that drinking water, exercising and having a good diet plays a large role in taking good care of the skin. There are certain products and skincare routines that are extremely popular in Taiwan. Many of the skincare products I purchase are often from Taiwan, because they are more affordable and effective on my skin. They have a wide range of Korean, Japanese & Taiwanese Brands.

1) Face Masks. Taiwan has an amazing range of Face Masks. You can find a huge range in Watsons, Cosmed or any beauty shop. There are ones for whitening, anti-aging, soothing, moisturising, firming and more. There are masks with snail extract, fruit extract and all kinds of ingredients that keep your skin soft and supple.

2) Wear Sunscreen Everyday. No doubt you should still have a little bit of sun, but for those who want to maintain their skin and keep it as healthy as possible, sunscreen should always be part of ones daily routine. Long exposure directly in the sun can cause early signs of aging, risk of skin cancer and sun burns.

3) Don’t Cake the skin. In Asia, it’s more common to use BB and CC creams than foundation. Heavy layers of foundation will cause more breakouts to happen. Allow the skin to breathe by using a hydrating sunscreen or a light BB cream that includes SPF.

4) A Healthy Food Diet. It seems obvious that what you put in will reflect on your skin. In Taiwan, there are certain foods that are healthy, particularly for your skin. Aloe vera, black sesame, ginger, jujube, white fungus, goji berries, green beans and green tea are good for the skin.

5) Face Tapping Exercises. The skin around your eyes are very delicate, and there are certain muscles that can tense up. By massaging, tapping and relaxing those areas, your blood will circulate more smoothly. There are certain pressure points that relieve stress from the muscles. Eye creams are also effective for keeping the skin healthy and firm.

Sleeping well, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and eating healthy are all the basic factors for healthy skin. If you wear makeup, make sure to gently remove all of it before sleeping. Use warm water to wash your face and pat dry the skin, rather than rubbing it dry. Our skin is the largest organ of the human body, which means what we put inside of our body, also affects what’s outside :)

art by Hsiao Ron Cheng

You Don’t Need To Wear Makeup To Feel Beautiful

413509047a75a934a36ca6a54a8b40ea.jpgThere are many articles online that have titles a long the lines of “How to look good without makeup” and that makes me feel all kinds of discomfort of what messages are being communicated to women and young girls growing up. This might seem hypocritical and I cannot deny I put makeup on days where I want to look more together. But the message of what I really want to express is that beautiful is ultimately a feeling. Aren’t we beautiful as we are? When did society become so superficial and judgmental of every detail of a person, even if their face has makeup on or not?  We become obsessed with the surface level of what is beautiful that we lose the true meaning of beauty.

We need to let people know that they are beautiful as they are. If you have a daughter in the future, you wouldn’t want to tell her that you only feel beautiful when you put on your makeup. We want them to embrace themselves wholeheartedly without feeding off what images are saying. It’s okay to put on makeup and allow it to enhance your natural beauty or allow it to emphasise your character just as ones personal style may. It’s not okay to make it a rule or seem like a fact that women can only feel beautiful if they wear makeup. I mean isn’t it sad to see things that tell us this celebrity looks surprisingly good without makeup or this person is brave for wearing no makeup. It’s absolutely wrong. We are all born naked into this world after all.

Feeling beautiful could be by: doing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return, giving someone a genuine smile, lifting someone up when they feel down, laughing about anything and nothing, embracing the skin we are born in, using your mind to create something wonderful, not judging others but trying to understand, listening to your favourite song, doing something creative (dancing, drawing, singing, playing music..), the beautiful quiet and unseen acts of people, generosity and positivity, unconditional self love or taking in the colourful nature around us. What ultimately makes me feel beautiful is the ability to be completely myself with someone. The feeling of comfort and confidence to be loose and silly. It’s the moments of smiling, talking and laughing with the ones I love.

Sure, we will have days where makeup does make us feel a bit more pretty, because we aren’t feeling beautiful. However, beauty should not be defined by makeup. On your physical elements, focus on what you love, whether it’s your smile, the colour of your eyes or your hair. Let’s remember to put emphasis on the wonderfully beautiful things that don’t only look on the surface too but look more deeply within. You are most beautiful when you spread the light inside of you. There’s that special spark within every person that makes them uniquely them. You know when you just meet someone, and they become more and more beautiful, or perhaps less so. The personality starts to outshine the first impression.

What makes you feel beautiful?

How Do People Treat You When You Wear Makeup?

$.jpgI love makeup, like many other women and men who wake up in the morning and feel like putting makeup on. However, as someone who doesn’t wear makeup often, I have noticed some subtle ways people may treat you when you are wearing makeup compared to when you don’t. The ones close to me couldn’t treat me any less or more regardless of what I looked like. In most cases, most people will treat me completely the same. We often wear makeup for certain occasions or simply for days when we feel like it. For example, many people wear makeup for work. It’s common courtesy to wear at least a little makeup for a job interview, a wedding or a dinner party.

At the same time, makeup is an individuals choice. It can affect how we feel in our skin, enhance our natural beauty and make us feel more ‘on’ on days when we feel off. It can be for your own personal satisfaction, just as the way many people wear clothes that embrace their personal style. For some people, they may truly feel prettier and more attractive when they wear makeup and for others it’s simply a form of self expression or something they find fun to do.Other time’s it’s like putting on our clothes in the morning – it’s become a part of our routine.

4defac874c22273f2739507310d10dce.gifWe live in a culture where women are judged when they are not wearing makeup and when they do. We are judged for the way we look. It’s inescapable and something that I deeply hope could change. As for many people, grooming and taking care of oneself is part of self care and presenting oneself the way we may want to be seen. For some, makeup is a way of feeling more confident, more ready for the day or perhaps it may make one feel more in character. In our society, it’s very often that women must look put together in order to be taken seriously. This puts a huge emphasis on our appearances, which can be one of the simple reasons as to why many young girls grow up feeling aware and conscious of the way they look.

93bc98cda71703ba9ed26d6f438a0330I think the massive emphasis of body image and the media can play and twist a persons self confidence. I feel the most myself when I wear a bare or natural face, but I do not think makeup should be something that makes someone feel that they are a better person. Personally, I have never felt that I was treated significantly different when I wear makeup or if I don’t. The only time is when I get a glance from someone or if I am complimented or told that I look pretty when I wear makeup. Sometimes someone will comment “You have lovely lashes” or “Your eyeliner looks good!”. To be honest, the only time I feel I am treated better when I wear makeup is by people I don’t know. Whether it’s the counter person at the supermarket or the waitress at the cafe. I find if you do wear makeup very often, most people are probably more used to you wearing makeup than seeing your bare face. Maybe it also comes from the way makeup makes some people feel and act more confident, and therefore they attract a different way of being treated by other people.

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I find it may be common that a lot of people have been told at least once, if they are tired or sick when they don’t wear makeup. When some people wear makeup, they may also receive more attention from other people. Unfortunately, we live in a superficial and shallow world . People will be judged by the way they appear. People deemed attractive will often be treated differently and sometimes better by certain people. Then again, there are the good majority of people who treat others the same. Apparently wearing makeup, can cause some people to seem more likeable or trustworthy. I’m not sure if I agree, but according to NY times: Dr. Vickery, whose Ph.D. is in chemistry, added that cosmetics “can significantly change how people see you, how smart people think you are on first impression, or how warm and approachable, and that look is completely within a woman’s control, when there are so many things you cannot control.”

Therefore, makeup can come with its pros and cons. On one hand we are in control of not wearing any or how much and how little makeup we put on, and on the other hand we will always be perceived someway for the way we appear. Makeup has a wonderful way of transforming how we may feel. In the world we live in, beauty is ranked highly and seen as a high social status. I truly wish this perception will be changed, because this way of thinking will cause us to stay on the surface, rather than delve deeper. Everyone is different, which means we should treat everyone the way we wish to be treated. Perhaps next time, compliment on how beautiful they are when they’re bare faced too.

images: disney princess via | rabbit via

Naruko Apple Seed Tranexamic Acid Spot Line Refining BB Cream (Fair Skin Tone) Review

elleFirstly, I am quite a sunscreen addict and am hesitant to use BB cream more than 3 times a week. It’s a personal fear of mine to break out as my skin is alas on the oily side. However, I was given the Naruko BB Cream from a family member, and have used it for just over a year now. Compared to my younger teen years, I don’t break out as much as I used to. There are more sprinkles of freckles that often appear and pimples occur mostly in the T-zone or that time of the month. The shade Fair Skin is perfect for those who prefer having a slightly pale and smoother complexion. For example, if you are lightly tanned, then the fair skin will be able to smooth out the skin tone more easily. The scent is not too strong and sits very subtly on the skin. The consistency is not as thick as it may look and is quite light.

naruko1Although I have not used enough BB Cream or foundation in my lifetime like my trusty friend the mascara, I can fairly say that as long as a BB Cream provides good coverage, I’m happy. For those who are crazy about having to wear sunscreen, I find it’s good to apply a little sunscreen and moisturiser underneath first. However, the cream contains SPF 50 already. Take note that it does not absorb so well and may show through out the day (eg. more noticeable you’re wearing the cream). Interestingly enough, after reading several reviews, many people aren’t very pleased with the BB Cream, but maybe it’s because I don’t wear it enough – personally I’m quite happy with it. The downside is that it’s not easy to apply and starts to look a little on the surface after a few hours. The image below is after applying 2 layers of BB Cream. If you want full coverage you will need to apply more (note: the tube is 25g).

Australian Cruelty Free Cosmetic Brands

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We all purchase from well known brands, such as L’Oreal, Maybelline, Cover Girl, M.A.C Cosmetics, Estee Lauder and Revlon. In writing this article, I’d be lying if I said I don’t use Maybelline or L’Oreal. Because I do. My make up bag would tell you the truth. However, with the rise of technology, people are exposed to more behind the scenes and facts of what goes on in testing and production. The sad truth is that these brands are so globally well known, extremely well advertised and earn so much money, that they will sell, regardless of the ethics behind them. Even I’m guilty of that, there’s no denying. We walk into the makeup store and see a good sale, and it seems too easy to purchase it and put it on without giving a second thought of what little guy had to feel the pain, just so we wouldn’t.

This is in no way of saying stop using this and that makeup product, but simply to gain awareness that they are not cruelty free. Just as much as it wouldn’t be fair of me to say that eating animals is cruel and we should stop, when I still eat meat even though I am finding it hard to read between the lines of how they are being produced. It’s becoming more often that animals are being killed through suffering, rather than humanely. Any good facts on becoming vegan please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Without further ado, here are a few Australian Cosmetics brands to try out:

Adorn Cosmetics
12042605_10153617184430842_3125528957020413188_nAdorn launched in 2008 and was created by founder Briony Kennedy. Passionate about both ‘inner and outer’ beauty, Briony believes that products should have toxin free ingredients that have minimal impact on the environment. The Eco-Luxe products include mineral makeup and organic skincare.

“Our proud commitment to minimise both our carbon footprint and landfill is backed by our popular Earth Friendly Eco-Refill Program. ” Adorn Cosmetics are Choose Cruelty Free certified and Vegan Society registered. They are suitable for even the most senstive skins. They contain no Palm Oil and are Non Toxic, Pure Mineral, Organic and Earth Friendly.Capture

Ere Perez

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Ere Perez is a company that was created to produce healthy, natural makeup. They select premium quality ingredients (plant extracts, oil and minerals) that are blended with antioxidants to create a gentle, effective makeup solution. Their products have natural colour pigments to suit all skin types, assist with sun protection, do not contain perfumes or chemical colourants.

Ere Perez Commitments

  • We select our natural ingredients with the greatest respect for mankind and the environment
  • We never test our products on animals
  • None of our products are manufactured using child labour
  • Our products are full of natural properties that protect your skin’s beauty
  • All our natural products are made and delivered directly to the customer or store

Inika

12243494_10153815013949706_3709135529786934445_nINIKA is a 100& natural and ethical cosmetics company, that began in 2006. They wanted to product natural cosmetics that people would fall in love with. INIKA has won over 35 awards for product excellence and innovation. Their full natural beauty range is now sold in more than 25 countries around the world. INIKA has also been awarded one of the highest safety ratings in the world by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and is committed to maintaining their Certified Organic, Cruelty-Free, Halal and Vegan status.

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Musq Cosmetics

musqMusq cosmetics prides themselves on a long standing commitment to provide only natural and ethical cosmetic and skincare products. Musq’s luxurious, clean, natural and ethical cosmetics embodies conscience. Reinventing ‘Luxe’ where you live in a luxurious world with sustainable style.

Since 2007, Musq has grown organically and now holds a firm place in the Australian cosmetics market. Musq is all about going back to basics and nature and providing excellent simple skincare products that fit today’s busy lifestyles, allowing women and men to be and look themselves with a little extra confidence.

“We aim to encourage people to make small changes to improve their health, mind & wellbeing along with our environment. This is our philosophy; Keep your food, skin & thoughts clean!” Musq has a “sport luxe” feel that promotes healthy lifestyle choices which ultimately will result in healthy skin.

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Nūdus

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Nūdus have the utmost respect for the planet, the people and the products they share. Their company believes in bringing natural cosmetics to you that are not only superior in quality and safety, but also provide beneficial ingredients to the mind, body and soul.

Nūdus is handcrafted with beautiful certified organic ingredients and combines bio-active ancient ayurvedic colours and extracts made from flowers, fruits, herbs and minerals with organic cold pressed oils including pumpkin, kiwi fruit, raspberry, pomegranate, argan and moringa. This makes for a nutritious cocktail of moisture and beauty.

Nūdus are very proud to be the very first company in Australia to have the COSMOS Organic certification on their lipsticks, certified by Australian Certified Organic (ACO). The ACO is the most recognised certification body in the whole of Australia and through out the world.

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beautiful image from greenweddingshoes.com