New In | ColourPop (First Impressions & Swatches)

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Now that my exams are finally over, I can get back to posting! I decided to start this week with my first ColourPop order; I’ll share my thoughts on the brand, first impressions and swatches!

So, I’ve been wanting to order something from ColourPop since forever (!) and I finally did so last month when they had free shipping on all orders (no minimum). I’m very pleased when it comes to how fast my order was processed, everything came in perfect condition and it took only a week or so before the package was in my hands. Unfortunately, I had to pay some additional costs since this was a package from a non-EU country (I’m in Sweden) so, in the end, it wasn’t really that cheap, but I’ll live. :D

Products I ordered:

  • lippie stix in shades: Lumiere, Bichette, Back Up and LBB (all vegan)
  • Super Shock Shadow in shade Cricket (vegan)

Lippie Stix

The product I was mostly interested in was Lippie Stix because I’ve read so many good reviews and I just wanted to try them for myself. Well, I can definitely say that I am impressed with their pigmentation, the colours on lips are true to those in the packaging. Matte shades - LBB, Lumiere, Bichette – do have a drier texture and have a sticky feeling after application. The last shade, Back Up, has a matte X finish and it is completely different from matte finish because it has this waxy formula and it’s so nice and creamy on lips. It’s also the only shade that looks completely matte on my lips. The downside of these is that they all have a weird scent that reminds me of wax crayons. I don’t know if it is something that’s typical for Lippie Stix in general or it is something that depends on the shade. Another thing – LBB stains my lips (I just can’t remove it, LOL). I don’t see this as an issue, but someone might.

Lippie Stix cost $5 / 43 SEK / €4.44 and you get 1 gram of product. I have to say I was surprised that they contain only 1 gram of product. It was my fault though, I assumed they contain the average amount, like 3 grams of product or so, but they don’t. I should’ve checked before I placed my order. Anyway, that’s why I think their claims as being an affordable and cheap brand are actually misleading. You pay less, yes, but you get less, too. :D For reference, Wet n Wild lipsticks cost $2.49 and you get 3,3 grams of product! THAT is a cheap and affordable brand.

Super Shock Shadow in Cricket (ultra-glitter)

When it comes to the eye shadow, I don’t really have much to say besides that I end up having glitter all over my face when I apply it. It is a nice colour though and you do get a proper amount of product for the price you pay – $5 / 43 SEK / €4.44 for 2.1 gram of product. I think this shouldn’t be applied on it own but rather on top of a dark base like black or purple pencil. Will try that this week, I finally have some time to play with new looks. The texture is soft and smooth with good color payoff. Oh yeah, the thing that I really dislike about this product is the packaging – unnecessarily too big.

Conclusion

Overall, I am pleased with my order, but I won’t be placing another one. Even though ColourPop has nice products, I don’t think I’m willing to pay extra costs for products that contan only 1 gram of product. Another thing that really bugs me is that I’ve read so many posts on blogs and reddit about how their customer service is bad and that is just unaceptable.

Photos & Swatches

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l-r: Back Up, Bichette, Lumiere, LBB

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l-r: Lumiere, Bichette, Back Up, LBB and Cricket

What are your thoughts on ColourPop?

Vesna ♥

Why I Went Cruelty-Free (And How)

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In 2015 I decided to go cruelty-free. If you don’t know what the term means, it simply means that beauty products aren’t tested on animals. In this post I wanted to explain why I went cruelty-free, but also how (in case you’d like to do the same thing, and hopefully my little guide could help you at that). To be honest, I don’t really have a valid reason for not doing that sooner; it’s not like I didn’t know brands were testing on animals, but I obviously chose to look the other way or to ignore this issue. I’m glad I finally did some reading because I realised I didn’t want to contribute to this cruel practice any longer just so that I could buy a pretty lipstick or mascara. So, if you’re interested in my reasons and how I went cruelty-free, keep reading!

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WHY

There are many reasons why I decided to go cruelty-free, and while certain reasons were more important than others, all of them lead me to my decision.

Animal testing is cruel and disgusting

Have you ever wondered how testing on animals looks like? Did you know that chemicals are literally rubbed into their shaved skin, dripped into their eyes or given to them oraly? I know I wouldn’t allow such tests being performed on my dog, so why would I be okay with them being performed on other animals? And can someone explain the purpose of that? I have a really hard time understanding how are these tests helping anyone.

Animal testing isn’t necessary and there are other alternatives

Beauty products don’t need to be tested on animals and it’s completely unnecessary since thousands of ingredients have already been proven to be safe for use and there is no reason to test them over and over again. Not to mention there are other alternatives to animal testing like, for example, in vitro testing.

I didn’t want to support animal testing

You know how they say that we, consumers, vote with our money? Well, that’s true and that’s why I wanted to stop supporting companies that test on animals. Because, let’s be honest, everytime I purchased something from companies that do test, I was basically paying for animal testing (among other stuff). Well, I figured there are better ways to spend my money so I was done supporting companies that test on animals.

I wanted to support animal-friendly brands

This is actually related to my previous point. There are many cruelty-free brands which means that I actually have a choice and that I could support brands that shared my view when it comes to animal testing. There are actually so many brands to choose from, and you would be surprised how many brands are cruelty-free. I will link some lists in the ‘how’ part of this post.

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HOW

When it comes to how I went cruelty-free, I can tell you that it did feel a bit overwhelming at the beginning, but it isn’t impossible.

Research

First thing I did is, obviously, research. As I said, it felt so overwhelming at the beginning and I didn’t know where to start, but luckily there are so many excellent cruelty-free bloggers and various organisation who share their information on cruelty-free brands. After checking lists with cruelty-free brands, I went through my makeup bag to check if I already owned any of those brands. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so good at that, I actually have many products from brands that do test, but I did make a list of brands and products that I planned to purchase in the future.

Switching products I already owned

When it comes to this, I can tell you that I did (and I still do) this as I go and I would recommend this to anyone who’s going cruelty-free. I didn’t throw anything away because I don’t like to throw stuff away and I don’t see the point of that; I rather gave away some of my products and I even sold a few, but I still have many products since I am a bit of a hoarder, so I’m still figuring out how to deal with that. In the meantime, I’m buying products as I go and as I use up something (I mostly use up skin careproducts  because I have less of those and it’s easier to use them up ).

Being up to date

Even though I did my research at the beginning, it’s important that I’m always up to date because brands do change their status – some brands lose their cruelty-free status (unfortunately), while others join the cruelty-free community.

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USEFUL LINKS

As I mentioned above, I started by doing some research and here are the links to bloggers and organisations that helped me with information on animal testing and cruelty-free brands.

Organisations

  • Humane Society International – is a global organisation that helps all animals through various programs and on their website you can read more about animal testing – HERE
  • Leaping Bunny – is an organisation that has so called Leaping Bunny Program which means that brands (companies) can be certified by them; this certificate means that these brands do not test their ingredients or products on animals, nor do they pay a third party to do the testing for them. You need to keep in mind that not all companies are certified by Leaping Bunny and that doesn’t mean that they’re not cruelty free. Click to see which brands are certified – LINK.

Cruelty-Free Bloggers

  • Logical Harmony – this is probably one of the first blogs I came across; Tashina, the author behind the blog, has her own list of cruelty-free brands – she contacts them directly with a set of questions and then adds brands to three lists: cruelty-free, gray area brands and brands to avoid. Lists are available HERE. Again, keep in mind that not all brands are on these lists, simply because it takes time to contact all these brands and then for them to answer; not to mention she’s just one person.
  • Cruelty-Free Kitty – another blogger I like to read and I’ve been following since I started my cruelty-free journey. She, too, has her own list and you can see it HERE.
  • Phyrra – I’ve been reading her blog for years, even before she went cruelty-free; the reason I followed her is because she has many indie reviews and I just love indie brands! You can see her list of cruelty-free brands HERE.

There are many other websites I follow, but these are probably the ones I read on a weekly basis, especially when it comes to cruelty-free lists. You’ll notice how many lists have similar brands  on them, but then there are some diffrences. That can depend on various reason, but I think one of them is the fact that they (bloggers I mentioned) all contact brands by themselves and that’s something that just takes time.

I hope you’ll find this post useful, but I do plan to go a bit into more details about cruelty-free brands and why certain brands still test their products on animals. I’ll also share some of my favourite brands in this range, but I’m sure you already know which those are since I’ve been all about certain brands. ;)

 Vesna ♥

Review | Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum

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Note: I’m 32 years old (time really flies!), with combination skin + dehydration issues during winter, some fine lines, but nothing too “serious” ;)

It’s been 7 months since I purchased my first Hylamide products, and I think it was about time I wrote my review. I’ll start with the SubQ Anti-Age Advance Serum, but before I get into details, let me just cover some basic information about this brand (though I’m sure you’ve probably heard it all by now). Deciem, the company behind Hylamide (and a few other brands), made a certain break through a while back since their approach and products are somewhat revolutionary (at least, that’s my view). If I had to use one word to describe them, I’d probably use the word simplicity. Additionally, I’d say that when it comes to Hylamide, I would describe it as “what you see is what you get”. By the time I’m writing this, I’m already on my second bottle of the SubQ Anti-Age serum, so I guess it’s fair to say that I took my time to test it properly ;)

The reason I purchased this product in the first place is because I have combination skin which can be dehydrated during the winter, especially here in Stockholm (it’s really windy and winter is quite harsh to put it mildly). Last winter I had a bit of an issue with dehydrated skin, so I figured I’ll do something about it for the next one. That’s how I came across Hylamide and I decided to give it a try. Long story short, it was a good decision. Of course, I haven’t used only this product, but I’m quite sure it did most of the work and my skin is really grateful now that the winter is almost over.

ABOUT THE PRODUCT

SubQ Anti-Age Advance Serum is “a highly active concentrate of advanced hyaluronic complexes, next-generation peptides and biotechnological technologies to target rehydration, while improving the look of lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and textural damage.

It comes in a blurred pipette dropper glass bottle. The formula of the serum is on the watery side so I have to be a bit careful when I apply it since occasionally it can drip here and there. I apply it after my toner, morning and night, directly onto my skin, a drop on the forehead, cheeks and my chin. It goes on smoothly and I don’t wait too long before I move on to my next step.

RESULTS

What have I noticed? For one, no dehydration, even if I skipped using it for a few days on certain occasions (like, when I was sick / didn’t feel like doing anything, let alone taking care of my skin. I know, not a great thing to do, but it happens from time to time). Additionally, my skin looks fresher and firm(er). My skin tends to look dull and tired because I do have issues with sleeping, so anything that can help with that is more than welcome. And, last but not least, I seriously see a difference when it comes to some fine lines and nasolabial folds (smile lines). I swear that lines between my eyebrows have improved and my right nasolabial fold is less obvious. You might think I must be exaggerating, but I do have quite visible smile lines. I have big mouth and I laugh/smile a lot! :D I wasn’t actually thinking about it before, but I do notice the difference now that I look at them. I purchased this product primarily to deal with dehydration issues, but I see that it does offer much more than that. I mean, they do say it offers more than just hydration, but that wasn’t mine concern. Well, if you are concern about fine lines and wrinkles, you might wanna consider buying this serum.

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?

You bet I would! To anyone who has first signs of aging – some lines and mild wrinkles / you have issues with keeping your skin hydrated / you just want to add an effective and yet affordable serum to your skin care regime. Especially if you’re 30+. ;)

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Ingredients: aqua (water), glycerin, hydrolyzed yeast extract, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, pentylene glycol, ethoxydiglycol, tamarindus indica seed gum, palmitoyl tripeptide-38, myristoyl nonapeptide-3, copper lysinate/prolinate, methylglucoside phosphate, hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate, ahnfeltia concinna extract, saccharide isomerate, polyglucuronic acid, lactobacillus/ eriodictyon californicum ferment extract, pseudoalteromonas ferment extract, phospholipids, lecithin, salicylic acid, hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, hexylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, sodium citrate, citric acid, trisodium ethylenediamine disuccinate, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, sodium benzoate, caprylyl glycol, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin

Suitable for vegans / cruelty free? Yes
Where to buy? here if you are in Sweden (out of stock at the moment) or here
Price? €36 / 340 SEK

Vesna ♥

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New In | Herman Black Tara ♥

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Herman Design is probably one of my favourite brands when it comes to bags. In case you haven’t heard of the brand, let me tell you a bit more about it. Herman Design is a small, privately owned business located in Zagreb, Croatia.  Kornelija Herman, designer behind the brand, describes their products as “… a desirable mix of grunge, punk and rock combining an eclectic synthesis of the modern and retro.” All products are handmade and they can be made in genuine or faux leather. Since the products are handmade, you will have to wait a bit before you receive your bag, but trust me, it is worth the wait. ♥

Now, back to Black Tara. The reason I ordered it is because I actually wanted a new backpack, but as it turns out, this is actually a 2 in 1 product – it can be both a bag and a backpack! You basically get two products for the price of one. How cool is that? Of course, the fact that it is black had nothing to do with my choice ;) Once I placed my ordered and paid for it, I just had to wait. It took several weeks, but I really don’t mind since I know this is a handmade item and that it takes some time (they do tell you how long it will take for them to process your order). It took max. 10 days for it to get into my hands once it was shipped (I had a tracking number). And well, once I opened my package I have to say all my expectations were, once again, exceeded. I say once again because this isn’t my first order from Herman Design.

What can I say about the bag itself? Well, if there is perfection then this is it. It is beautifully made, every piece fits perfectly and one of the things I really liked – it comes in its own box! Anyway, take a look at my photos and hopefully I will show you soon how it looks in action!

♥ ♥ ♥

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Size: 32 x 30 x 10 cm
Price: €160 / $170 / 1550 SEK (this is the price for faux leather + shipping costs: €18 / $20 / 180 SEK to Sweden)
Where to buy: online

Vesna ♥

First impressions | estelle & thild

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Three weeks ago I picked up a few products from estelle & thild, a Swedish brand based in Stockholm. I’ve read some good reviews about their products and since I was running low on my toner and cleansing gel, I decided to give their products a go. Along with these two, I grabbed their tinted moisturizer, too (I got it instead of a new liquid foundation, and since I don’t like liquid foundations either way, this product seemed like a better option). As I mentioned at the beginning, I got these products three weeks ago which means I’ve used them for some time now, and here are my first impressions.

BIOCLEANSE Fragrance Free Cleansing Gel (150 ml / 189 SEK / €20 / 20 USD) – estelle & thild has two cleansing gels, and I chose this one because it’s fragrance free (I got really sensitive for the past few months and I try to buy products that have mild scent or, if possible, no scent at all). This product has a funny jelly formula and I have to be careful when I’m squeezing it out, because it is a bit watery/thinner, and I have to be careful not to end up with too much product. This gel isn’t just for washing the face, but it also removes make up. I have been satisfied with both options, even though I don’t use many layers of make up / mascara / eye shadows so I don’t know how it works with heavier make up. However, it does remove my daily make up which consists of tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush and brows.  All in all, I do like how it works, I feel like my skin is really clean after each use, but I’m not sure if I would recommend it to someone with really dry skin. I do have the feeling like my skin does feel a bit drier after I use it, but I do have a good skin care regime so that doesn’t really bother me since I apply my products right after I washed my face.

Ingredients: aqua, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, xanthan gum, gluconolactone, sambucus nigra flower extract*, glyceryl caprylate, sodium gluconate, citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate.* Ingredient from Organic Farming

BIOCLEANSE Multi Action Facial Toner (150 ml / 189 SEK / €20 / 20 USD) –  before getting this product, I was using another toner from Paula’s Choice, but I decided not to re-purchase it since I wasn’t really impressed. I mean, it was okay, but nothing special. I just figured I could get something a bit cheaper, with the same effect. For now, it seems like I found a good product – I feel like my skin likes it, it feels hydrated and refreshed after each use, and it works well with the rest of my skin care regime. All in all, haven’t noticed any negative changes. Another reason, why I got it is that it has an alcohol-free. However, it isn’t fragrance free so that might not be a good option if you’re after fragrance free skin care. It has a mild plant-based scent which disappears soon after application.

Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Glycerin, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract*, Gluconolactone, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Parfum, Limonene, Sodium Gluconate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate

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BIOHYDRATE All In One Tinted Moisturizer Light (50 ml / 299 SEK / €31 / 33 USD) –  instead of buying a new foundation or a CC cream, I decided to go with this tinted moisturizer, but I do think I will be getting a foundation as well or something with SPF since this product doesn’t contain any SPF. The lack of SPF is the only thing I don’t like about this product and that might be a deal breaker for many (especially today when we all know how important SPF is). But, if I put that aside and if I had to describe this product in one sentence, I would probably describe it as ‘my skin but better’. I really love how it looks on my skin, how light it feels and how easy it is to work with. This is how estelle & thild describes it: “The custom all-in-one formula provides natural coverage, hydrates the skin and infuses it with radiance.” I completely agree. However, if you look for something that has SPF and offers medium coverage, you might want to look elsewhere since this product is really light in coverage. It looks completely natural and it does give this lovely healthy shine to the skin. Additionally, even though it says it’s for all skin types, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone with oily skin. It’s not fragrance free, but its scent is really mild. It comes in two shades: light and medium. My shade is light.

Ingredients: aqua, titanium dioxide, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, rosa damascena flower water*, glycerin**, prunus armeniaca kernel oil*, coco-caprylate/caprate, simmondsia chinensis seed oil*, butyrospermum parkii butter*, glyceryl stearate citrate, lecithin*, gluconolactone, sodium hyaluronate, glyceryl caprylate, tocopherol, cetearyl olivate, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, sorbitan olivate, parfum, limonene, linalool, sodium gluconate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, CI 77491,CI 77492, CI 77499.

Suitable for vegans? Yes, all three products are vegan
Where to buy? estelle & thild or naturisimo (both ship worldwide); if you’re in Sweden then you can get their product at Åhléns, KICKS, etc.

Vesna ♥