Holy Grail Vegan Primer | ELF Studio Mineral Face Primer

ELF Studio Mineral Face Primer

I’m not going to lie. I’m not a massive primer fiend…

I’ve tried one previously and was pretty disappointed, so I wasn’t too eager to try another until I saw this featured on a Youtube review and heard the price – €8.92!

ELF Cosmetics (Eyes.Lips.Face) is one of those companies that seems too good to be true. First and foremost – no animal testing. In fact, their FAQ section explicitly states that their products do not even contain animal derived ingredients with beeswax and lanolin being substituted meaning they are vegan friendly! They also currently support HSUS and are partners with PETA in the Caring Consumer Project. And all the packaging is recyclable… Doesn’t get much more eco-friendly eh?

In fact the only downside that I’ve noticed about this company is that they are so good, certain products seem to go like hotcakes (I’m still trying to snag a highlighter that is continuously out of stock). Even their shipping is extremely reasonable and there are regular discount offers too. It’s easy to see how they have become such a popular and raved about company. Now I’m just hoping they resume shipping here – US and UK folks count yourselves lucky!

This primer comes in four colours – Green (Tone adjusting – listed as ideal for minimising redness and correcting blotchy skin), Lavender (Brightening – listed as ideal for uneven skin tones and to brighten dull or yellow tones), Salmon (Radiant glow – listed as ideal for creating a luminising effect on dark spots and uneven skin tones) and clear, which does what it says on the jar I suppose. I got the clear one, and definitely plan to try the others as soon as possible.

This product is silky smooth on the skin and the consistency is that of a gel, so it leaves absolutely no residue. It reminds me a lot of the Smashbox primer (I can’t afford to purchase it, so that opinion is limited to shop samples) – does anyone else find that too? It has the same feeling on the skin for me anyway.

You’ll need a one to two pumps to get it spread evenly I find, and it absorbs extremely quickly so you can progress with the foundation application quickly. So the main question – does it work?

I have been using it with a light-medium coverage BB cream and I can confidently say – it’s become a staple Holy Grail product for me.  The real testament to make-up lasting is what you need to remove at the end of the night, and I can safely say after 12+ hours, I was still covered perfectly. Comparing it with my other primer experience – well, there’s no comparison! The last one left horrible residue and felt like sunscreen on the skin. This is so light, it doesn’t feel like I have any layering at all and yet you can see the benefits it has on makeup application and longevity! And there’s absolutely no clumps, lumps or bits left on the face. I should also add that this primer didn’t cause me any irritation, and I do have somewhat sensitive skin of late.

In conclusion – 100% recommend! If you’re looking to try a new primer, I couldn’t recommend this one more, and at that price point that you can’t really go wrong!

Have you tried this primer? What’s your favourite cruelty free primer? What’s your must-have ELF product?

~ MTL

~mirrorthelove@gmail.com

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove

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Happy Valentines Day

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“If I’ve learned anything about love, relationships and just life in general, I would emphasize that it’s important – paramount, really – to surround yourself with people who help you love yourself. Not life – that’s what puppies, cupcakes, carbuncles, funny movies, sunsets and sunrises are for; to help you love life. But to help you love yourself? That is an immeasurable gift, a rare friendship and an even rarer love affair. Because when all the things, and all the people fade away – and believe me, they do eventually all fade away – all you have is yourself. And all we can hope at the end of the day is that we have become someone worthy of our own love, a peace in knowing that if we are alone, we are never lonely.”

Le ghrá. X

 

JĀSÖN Shampoo & Conditioner Review | Vegan

Jason Shampoo Conditioner Review Cruelty Free

The past few weeks (months even) have been hectic for me. Between deadlines, meetings, getting my wisdom teeth extracted (eep!) and a whole lot of stuff in between, I was really starting to notice that my skin and hair were not looking their best. To make matters worse, my skin took a severe allergic reaction to something and my eyes and hands became flakey and sore with a heavy breakout to boot. Pretty picture eh? Well, I’m just telling it like it is. Some days we wake up feeling like Miss Universe and then we have those days where even a truckload of makeup won’t make a dent. I’m a big believer that when we’re healthy, we glow with or without cosmetics and that’s one of many reasons I feel so strongly that we need to remember that what we put on our skin goes straight in. Those products might give a temporary fix, but with the ingredients building up beneath the surface, are you ready for the day they all come oozing out? I’m not.

Shampoo and conditioner were products that I admittedly was struggling to find “cruelty-free”. I had stumbled upon one brand that I was using, but although it didn’t have parabens, it did have other chemicals that I was never very comfortable using on my skin – much less my face and scalp! I began to realise the likelihood was that even if they weren’t causing my skin troubles, they certainly weren’t helping. Like I said – one day, we’ll pay the piper for what we’ve used! Well ladies (and gents!), I have now found the perfect brand. My eyes have come back to normal, my skin isn’t breaking out and while the limited sunshine is only slowly starting to fade into clear skies, I’m starting to feel I look healthier!

JĀSÖN were – to my knowledge – one of the first brands to take a stand against chemicals and animal testing. Founded in 1959, they’re at this business a long time and the quality of their products reflects this. They never test on animals, and use the most natural ingredients to keep your outsides and insides healthy and glowing. If you want to read more about how they test every product’s safety, click here. I picked up the Volumising Lavender shampoo and conditioner, which is paraben-free, SLS free, and phthalate free (I’ll do a post about these ingredients and their serious dangers very soon).

This pair are absolutely divine and to make things even better, I got both for the price of one! AND that was still cheaper than a leading animal-testing brand that’s chocked full of nasties. Who says eco-friendly has to be expensive? JĀSÖN state that Our Volumizing Shampoo gently cleanses fine, limp hair, adding lift without dryness. Lavender and Sweet Almond Extract weightlessly strengthen and fortify hair while Wheat Protein amino acids add all-day volume. With renewed body, bounce and shine, your hair is noticeably uplifted” and while I’m usually skeptical about product claims, I have to say this definitely lives up to its expectations. It smells sweet and clean, without being overpowering. It’s the kind of scent you could wake up to or go to sleep with… does that make sense? I tend to wash my hair every second day, or third if I am not going out, and whereas other products have left me feeling icky and greasy by day 2, with these I find I can easily hit that mark.

Other benefits of these products are that a little goes quite a long way and the bottles are quite large so I don’t anticipate going through it nearly as quickly as I would with others. They also have a massive selection of scents and products for all types of hair, so there’s something for everyone. JĀSÖN can be found at most natural health stores and larger drugstores including Holland & Barrett, The Health Store and Walmart

Have you tried any JĀSÖN products? Let me know your thoughts because I’m itching to try many more! I anticipate I’ll be making the swap for a lot of my skin and hair care.

MTL x

~ mirrorthelove@gmail.com

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove

2016

Hello everyone!

After a long time of not being active, I finally logged back in and am about to catch up on all the blogs I have been missing.

I hope Christmas was wonderful, peaceful and full of laughter and love, and that 2016 has kicked off to a great start! If you have written any posts you’d like to share, please post them below! It’ll take me a while to fully catch up I think 😛 Have you set resolutions? If so, what are they and how are they going??

mirrorthelove xx

Top 5 Benefits of Coconut Oil | Biona Organic Coconut Oil

Biona Organic Coconut Oil Raw

Lucky for me, I come from a large, wonderful family that loves to share product recommendations. Even luckier, several of my cousins also enjoy the more natural lifestyle and that is where I struck on this gem – coconut oil!

– Ethically sourced from farmers’ co-operatives in the Phillipines
– Unrefined, Unbleached, Non-Deodorised, Non-Hydrogenated
– Free from Cholesterol, Trans-Fats and GM Ingredients

One of my cousins is an excellent midwife and recommends this for women during breastfeeding (it soothes cracked and sore nipples AND is good for baby!), but also suggested that it can be used as a general moisturiser. She was dead right, this stuff is incredible – and extremely affordable at €6.99 for 200g in my local health store (bear in mind, as a skin care product this size will go a LONG way)! It really is one of those products that you could take to a desert island and use for almost everything. Cooking, skin care, energy, pure nutrition; this is a real super food.

So here is an overview of 5 areas where coconut oil can be used, and a little extra info to boot (please add your findings in the comments!)*

1. Let’s start with the obvious – Cooking!

Making a simple change, such as using coconut oil instead of butter when frying food can produce massive health benefits. Not only is coconut oil dairy-free, studies have suggested that the fatty acids within it can have a positive effect on brain disorders such as Alzheimers and Epilepsy. Another bonus with coconut oil is that it tolerates high-temperature better than vegetable oils. Although solid at room temperature, it will melt instantly when exposed to even low levels of heat (so be careful storing it and stand it upright!). Once somewhat melted, coconut oil can also be used as a spread instead of butter – great option if you are lactose-intolerant!

Bonus Point – The Biona Organic website has a host of free delicious recipes that you may enjoy!  I plan on working my way through them, so if anyone else does please post recommendations below.

WARNING: Do not make big changes to your diet without first consulting with your doctor.

2. Beauty / Skincare

Okay, first some potentially bad news as I debunk a myth that’s doing the “natural-life” rounds at the moment – the use of coconut oil as a sunscreen. There have been conflicting reports about this, with some saying that it can be an effective skin protection against harmful UV rays that cause melanoma/skin cancer. While this would be ideal (a natural alternative to sunscreen is a goal for many companies) and is not a complete fallacy, it is a potentially dangerous exaggeration.

While coconut oil does appear to have a stronger SPF value than some other natural oils, the value is still extremely low (SPF4 or thereabouts), and therefore does not replace a strong sunscreen (dermatologists recommend SPF30 every day, with higher values for outdoor activities in the sun). This misunderstanding could be detrimental for skin health, particularly for children so please keep it in mind. The only way to protect your skin against sun damage and skin cancer is to use a high SPF sunscreen, frequently reapplied especially after swimming and to avoid the sun during the mid-day period.

Now onto some good news! Coconut oil can be used as an all-natural, organic and super intensive moisturiser! Although solid at room temperature, the second coconut oil hits your skin it turns to liquid and can be applied easily and with a delicious scent to boot. One recommendation I will make is that you use it at night because it can feel a bit like you’re basting your face and I’m not sure I’d want to wear it out-and-about. I’d also be hesitant about how well make-up would apply over it until it’s completely dry, which can feel like a while.

Coconut oil can also be used as a staple product in oral hygiene by substituting a regular mouthwash. This is not something that I have personally tried yet, so I can’t give too much advice but I will try to post a future entry about this! So back to the topic, this is known as “oil pulling” (where the name comes from I have no idea, there is no pulling involved!). To do so, you put about a tablespoon of the coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 15-20 minutes, as you would a regular mouth wash. The benefits of this are the reduction of harmful bacteria in your mouth and swallowing it is not an issue! The only con that I can think of is that it does take longer than your average oral hygiene routine, so maybe do it during your favourite show at night when you’re not in a rush.

Did you know coconut oil can act as an intensive deep conditioner for your hair? Yep! Put some in your locks before bed, sleep on it and wash it out in the morning. Voila! (I will be doing a full post on coconut oil in haircare, so keep an eye out!)

Another benefit I have found is a bit of an unusual one but deodorant/antiperspirant! Okay, it won’t prevent sweat if you run a marathon (!) but for the average day, coconut oil can be used as a perfect deodorant. If you find you need a little extra umph, try adding some baking soda to absorb the moisture. My personal favourite thing about this – besides the fresh scent – is that it doesn’t sting after shaving and really softens the skin, limiting in-grown hairs in the process!

3. Medical

If I haven’t already said it enough – coconut oil is a super food and has a massive range of health benefits. Now this bit gets a bit technical so disclaimer *I’m not a doctor, but here’s what I have found so far!

In the wintery season, colds and flus are rampant. As a full-time student, I find the college to be a breeding ground for coughs and any other bug doing the rounds so any inch of preventative measures help. Some studies have found that blending a tablespoon of coconut oil into your hot drink can help in a speedy recovery from these winter pests. It can also be used as a delicious addition to coffee, substituting cream and dairy products.

This next point ties back to the oil-pulling information and the anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil. These benefits not only work in your mouth, but in your digestive tract too. The fatty acids in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections – another great thing for this time of year.

The best known therapeutic application of the ketogenic diet (very low carbohydrates, very high fat – ie. like coconut) has been in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children. This diet leads to increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood, and can significantly reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, including those who have not yet had success with medication. A study by Neal et al (2008) is one of many supporting these findings. Again, please talk to your medicial practitioner before implementing changes like this into your child’s diet.

Finally, coconut oil can be used in the treatment of allergies. From a practical standpoint, putting a little at the entrance of your nostrils can help to ‘catch’ bits of dust and pollen from going up into your sinus cavity. This is one benefit I can swear by!

4. Pregnancy / Baby Care

During breastfeeding, nipples can become tender, cracked and extremely painful. The already discussed moisturising benefits of coconut oil can be particularly useful in this situation, where medicinal creams may impact feeding baby (always be careful what you apply there, as they can ingest it). Some studies also suggest that consumption of coconut oil during breastfeeding can increase milk production. Just remember, check with your own medical consultant to be sure!

5. Energy / Exercise / Study Fuel

Coconut oil contains a form of saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides. Unlike other saturated fats, MCTs provide an energy source for the body, rather than being stored (Livestrong, 2013). Because of this, coconut oil can be used as a supplement prior to exercise and will provide an energy boost almost instantly.

Mixing 1tbsp of coconut oil into your water can have this effect – perhaps useful for those of us still slogging through study and exams!

Coconut oil can also be a beneficial part of your post-exercise meal, promoting hormonal balance and muscle recovery.

* Disclaimer:
I am in no way qualified as a physical health professional, so please be sure to ask your doctor, nurse, midwife etc. if you are unsure about any of these tips or considering diet changes – and feel free to correct me too! This post is all based on my own experiences, those of my friends/family and information that I have found on this magnificent world wide web (on reputable websites, of course). If you are interested in the exact sites where I read some of this information, please just send me an email and I can provide more details.

Information taken from the Biona Organic website

~ mirrorthelove@gmail.com

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove

xxx

TheBalm: Balms Away | Eye Make-Up Remover

thebalm-banner-1

Okay, so I’ve frequently mentioned how I don’t have a massive budget for beauty products these days and it’s at this point that I need to fully disclose where I purchased this little gem – at a charity sale for a local hospital for TWO EURO! BRAND SPANKING NEW. With the sealer plastic and all in tact. Can you ever beat that deal?! I don’t think so. Proof that when you go to help a good organisation, karma pays back tenfold! 😉

First things first, here’s some brief info about the product:

TheBalm Balms Away Eye MakeUp Remover Review Cruelty Free

 

The company as a whole is cruelty-free and paraben-free so you know it’s all good for the little furry faces out there. This eye makeup remover comes in the form of a paste, meaning its spill-proof and extremely easy to use. It’s fortified with vitamins A, C and E and a blend of  plant-derived sterols and lipids, meaning it’s super hydrating and doesn’t burn the eyes out of you (having made that costly error with other removers, it’s not one I’d endorse). In fact, my previous negative experiences of other makeup removers had actually made me hesitant to wear anything on my eyes because frankly, the removal was too painful!

TheBalm Balms Away Eye Makeup Remover Review Cruelty Free

When I took this rather-substantially sized jar home, I admittedly didn’t put much faith into it… I just wasn’t convinced that this could work. I have extremely sensitive eyes, and dry skin, redness and even swelling have been an ongoing battle the past year or so, so eye makeup removers had been a disaster for me. In fact, this sat in my drawer for a while before I rediscovered it one day while trying out different eye makeup and gave it a go (read more about shopping your stash here!) .

Mind-blown.

It is incredible. You scoop a little bit out with your finger, rub it on the eyelid for 20-30 seconds (if even), clean away with a cotton wipe and you’re sorted. No burning, no rinsing it out, no feeling like every ounce of moisture has been sucked from your skin with a hoover. It really works and removes everything including water-proof mascara.

So now, the price-point. I can see how it might seem steep (usually around €25), but the reality is a little goes a long way and you’ll be getting use out of it for a lot longer than a standard remover meaning significant savings overall. Annnd what’s more – Cloud10Beauty sell it for a steal at €18. That’s with FREE delivery.

This is my absolute Holy Grail eye makeup remover and honestly, I can’t see myself ever trying something else as long as this little gem is available.

Have you tried it, or anything else by TheBalm? I’m oogling their newest palettes for Christmas! Please let me know if you have any product recommendations!

xXx

~ mirrorthelove@gmail.com

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove

Saving Tips & Shopping Your Stash | Snupps

It’s coming up to that time of year when our bank accounts can take a major hit – especially if Santa is visiting your home and you need to stock up on cookies and carrots! Unfortunately, by way of marketing genius, it’s also the time when everything in shops looks extra glitzy. We want to buy cosmetics for Christmas parties and New Years Eve looks and well, it’s easy to get sucked in by festive packaging, even if we absolutely do not need another red lipstick.

The problem I have – and I’m sure I’m not alone – is that sometimes I can’t remember exactly what I already have. Do I own this shade of nail polish? Or will I regret not getting it, so I should, just in case? Sound familiar? Well, turns out there’s an app that can help with that and save a lot of money on the way.

Snupps is a free app available for Android and Apple, and is a perfect way of documenting what you already own – be it in cosmetics, skincare, nail care or clothing (not sponsored in any way, just found it through a YouTube recommendation). By adding photographs and labeling the various items, you can scan through and at a glance see what you have and what you actually need.  As I’m currently trying to use up a lot of older products, this has been an absolute blessing for me and honestly, I’ve found it quite exciting to “shop” my stash and remember things I already own that have sadly been neglected (and horrifying to realise I’ve now got about seven lipsticks  in more or less the same colour…none of which actually suit me! )

Snupps mirrorthelove collection cruelty free cosmetics

It also allows you to enter in information like when you bought it, when you want to use it by and how much it cost. Of course, it wouldn’t be “social” media without an interactive element. Using the ‘explore’ button, you can search and follow other beauty/fashion collectors and see what they own, ask whether they’d recommend it and give “wows” (basically likes) on particular products you might want to purchase yourself. Kind of like creating a virtual wishlist!

Snupps mirrorthelove cruelty free nail polishes catrice cosmetics

 My username is mirrorthelove, so if you set up an account follow me there so I can follow back! I’ll also be adding all my CF products on there, so you can see what I own and recommend other brands to me!

Speaking of which – any CF foundation recommendations??

Let me know if you set up a Snupps account! I am certain it will continue to save me money, and has already helped me to clear old really old make-up and stuff that has chemicals I don’t want on my skin. What’s one product you find yourself over-purchasing?

Can’t wait to reconnect with you all! I’ve missed blogging! xx

~ mirrorthelove@gmail.com

http://www.instagram.com/mirrorthelove