Alien on Toast... it's what you think you'd asked for when you tell people you're vegan. This blog is dedicated to all things vegan from someone who lives in a pretty non-vegan world! Stay tuned for food, beauty products/makeup, recipes or restaurant/product reviews.... along with a healthy smattering of bad food photography, half eaten leftovers and bad puns.
It's that time of the month again when the Vegan Kind lifestyle box arrives! Also, it's August so it's time for a quarterly beauty box too. (I also unboxed both of these on my Instagram Stories, so if you're quick you may still catch it!)
So recently I ordered some of the new W7 Very Vegan range. I talked about this in my Beauty Chat video but if you hadn't heard, affordable brand W7 released a totally vegan (and Vegan Society approved) range of makeup.
I ordered an eyeshadow palette, eyeliner, mascara, blusher, highlighter
and a lipstick; here is the video of me trying them for the first time / first
I also wanted to use them all a good few times so that I could give you my proper opinion on all the products.
Starting with: Eye Eco Eyeshadow Palette - £14.95
If you ever wanted a vegan (and more affordable) dupe for the Naked 2 palette from Urban Decay, this is a good option.
(for full swatches, check out my video linked above!)
Overall I like this palette. The shimmers are pigmented and go on well, they last pretty well and the colours are nice. There's a bit of fall out, so be aware of that and maybe do your foundation first or put some translucent powder down to catch it. I should add that I have hooded eyes, so without a primer, even super expensive shadows will crease on me. I use the same primer I use with all shadows and these last as well as some of my more expensive ones. In the video I only primed one eye and the eye I didn't prime did crease.
If I had a criticism of the palette at all, it would be that there's only 3 matte shades, one flesh tone, one black and one that could be used as a crease colour; I'd have preferred a couple more matte crease shades, as I think only having one limits it a bit. But overall it's a good palette.
Eyeliner - £5.95
I don't like this eyeliner. Mainly because I am not a fan of stiff, nib style eyeliner applicators, which this has. I find it difficult to get a smooth line and really hard to draw a wing without blobbing it to hell. The actual formula is ok and lasts well so if you like this style of brush you may love it! But for me it's a no.
I also found that when going over it to make it fully opaque, it lifted some of the liner off!
Mascara - £7.95
I like the mascara. It is not my favourite mascara wand ever because I am messy and I like a nice thin plasticky type wand. But I do like this mascara. It holds a curl on me and doesn't flake. Also I cried a lot the other day and it didn't run down my face. So there's that. For the price, there's other mascaras I'd pick over this one.
Blush - £8.95
I LOVE this blush; it's my favourite thing out of all the items I bought. The colour I got is Sugar Sugar and it's the perfect peachy pink. I love it. It's a nice formula, it lasts well and doesn't look chalky. I also love the embossing - the heart detail. It's so cute. And it has a decent sized mirror. I would absolutely recommend this blush and will be buying the other colours!
Highlighter - £8.95
I like the highlighter. I got the paler of the two shades available and it's a touch darker than I'd like it to be. However, it's a lovely highlighter. You're not gonna be seen twinkling from space or anything but it is very nice and catches the light lovely. I have other highlighters I prefer and this is very yellow gold, but it is very pretty and I see myself reaching it for it often.
Lipstick - £6.95
I like the lipstick. Although I wasn't crazy about it at first, it actually lasted a really long time, I mean hours! Through drinking and eating which surprised me for it having such a slippy formula! I would buy more of these!
So that's my thoughts on what I have tried so far. I didn't buy a concealer or foundation, as my skin is tricky to find good products for. However, at the price point W7 have set, I will probably try them at some point. I will probably also pick up some of the eyeshadow quads to try.
Oh and here's the look I came up with on the video! :)
Let me know your thoughts - do you think the range looks good? Have you tried anything? Would you?
I heard a rumour there was a vegan-friendly cafe, not all that far from where I live. You could easily miss this place! It's a 10 minute drive from the town centre, it's next to a pub in the middle of a housing estate. It's not much to look at from the outside.
On this inside though it's super cute and they have a vegan specials board and vegan cake!!
The menus on each table are standard cafe fayre; cooked breakfasts, sandwiches, jacket potatoes... But they also have a specials board and a vegan specials board with loads of options on!
The staff were very friendly and told us that in addition to the vegan specials, some of the regular items could also be made vegan and just to ask for more info.
I eat a lot of curries and Mexican inspired food on a day to day basis, so I went for the Italian burger and I was not disappointed.
It was a soy (I think) based patty, which seemed like it was probably home made. It had quite a crumbly texture (if that's the right word) which I liked a lot. The Italian part was a balsamic glaze, tomato and basil. This burger was so good and the chips were excellent too.
As we were taking away cake, we both got a milkshake instead of dessert; I got a soy vanilla shake with oreos in. Simon isn't vegan and he dreamed up an odd concoction of fererro rocher and turkish delight (??I know right?!) which he said was pretty good.
We also took some cakes to go; a couple of the lemon crumble cupcakes (icing was nice, cake was a wee bit dry but still tasty) and one of the chocolate brownies. The brownie was for a very non-vegan friend of ours and she said it was 'gorgeous!'. We asked which cakes were vegan and it seemed they all were except for the ones with mini marshmallows on.
yeah, I managed to smush it a bit in transit!
So if you're anywhere near Basingstoke, I would definitely recommend checking this place out.
So I have a few vegan lists that I regularly update and this week I've updated the following lists, after receiving new information from the brands (clik the brand name to view the post):
Aveda - I recently posted a list of the non vegan items GOSH - I have updated list of their vegan items Lee Stafford - I have re-confirmation of their cruelty free status and an updated list of their vegan items theBalm - I have an updated list of their vegan items Pixi by Petra - I have an updated list of their vegan items
I also have an updated list from The Body Shop that I will update this week, so watch out for that.
I also reached out to the following companies, recently and sadly have decided not to support them anymore and here's the brief reasons why (if you want more info, my video about it is linked at the bottom of the page!):
I emailed for clarification on their cruelty free stance (as I keep hearing they're not CF!) and was not happy with the response, so will no longer support them and have taken them off my animal friendly brand list.
They cannot guarantee any of their products are vegan and are now ignoring my follow up emails (in typical Sleek style).
TAM Beauty (Makeup Revolution, Freedom, I Heart Makeup):
Similar to the above. They're saying they can't confirm anything is vegan as they do not know the source of all their ingredients. Which is not what they told me when they launched. So I won't be buying any more of their products until they can confirm this.
Before the Estee Lauder buy-out, when they starting using the standard EL testing policy (I'm not sure if they ever actually went into the Chinese market or not!), I was a HUGE fan of Aveda. My number 1 all time hair product was their curl enhancing lotion. So to hear they are now CF again made my day.
I decided to contact them for a vegan list and it was very refreshing to receive a super helpful, polite email a couple of days later with the list of products that are not vegan (as it's shorter - weeee!). I say refreshing because I feel really frustrated this week with the cut/paste and unhelpful answers I've been getting from brands - but more on that in another post. For those of you here for the list, here it is (I've also pasted their response for information too) .....
Thank you for your interest in Aveda and I apologise for the delay in responding to you.
Sarah, although Aveda products are not certified Vegetarian or Vegan, many of our products contain no animal derived ingredients. However, we have a small assortment of products that are made with beeswax or honey since we have not found substitutes for these particular ingredients in those formulae at this time. As of March 2013 you will find Beeswax or Honey in the products listed below. We are also happy to provide the ingredient listings for any product you are interested in using for your review -- please contact us with the specific product names.
Beeswax: Lip Saver™ Lip Shine Light Elements Shaping Wax™ Light Elements™ Texturizing Crème Nourish-Mint™ Rehydrating Lip Glaze Nourish-Mint™ Renewing Lip Treatment Nourish-Mint™ Sheer Mineral Lip Color Nourish-Mint™ Smoothing Lip Color Uruku Lip Pigment Uruku Color Gloss
Honey: Phomollient™ Pure Abundance™ Volumizing Clay Conditioner Pure Abundance™ Volumizing Hair Spray Pure Abundance™ Volumizing Hair Potion Pure Abundance™ Volumizing Shampoo
YAY, my beloved Curl Enhancer is safe! I should note that for those of you who avoid cruelty free companies with non cruelty free parent companies, Aveda are owned by Estee Lauder.
Have an awesome weekend everyone!
Ps: * Logical Harmony's list is, in my opinion, the most thorough and my go to list for finding out if a brand is cruelty free. There are others I check if a brand is on the LH Pending or Grey Area lists and of course I spend a lot of time contacting brands myself too, but this one is the one I trust the most.
As this post is now pretty out of date, I contacted theBalm this week and asked for an updated list and here it is. If you're a fan of theBalm, bookmark this page, as I will update it here whenever I receive confirmation of new vegan items.
Vegan Options from theBalm
Read My Lips – all shades Meet Matte Hughes – all shades Pickup Liners – all shades BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer – all shades Photobalm – all shades timeBalm Primer Put A Lid On It Stainiac – Beauty Queen Cheater Mascara Whats Your Type? – Tall dark and Handsome + Body Builder Schwing Mad Lash Mr. Write Now – excluding Scott + Raj Overshadow – all shades Sexy Mama Bahama Mama Instain – all shades Balm Beach Balm Springs Mary Lou Manizer Highlite N Con Tour Meet Matte Ador How Bout Them Apples
Just a quick one today but keep an eye out for a new beauty video going live on youtube tonight, which is uploading as I type!!
I've been getting the Vegan Kind beauty boxes for a while and I think they're pretty awesome, but they're quarterly and I like getting boxes of cool shit. So I decided to sign up for the monthly snack box, because I'm a complete pie and yesterday, my second one arrived.
Because I love you, I busted out my proper camera and went outside and took these pictures for you! No shitty iPhone pics for yous today! That is love.
So inside the box there was a Bounce V Life protein ball (I've seen this brand in Holland & Barrett and the majority have whey powder in, so it's nice to see one with the Vegan Society logo on!)
Next up was this Chewsy lemon chewing gum; not gonna lie, I'm not excited about this. Mostly because I'm worried it'll be minty lemon flavour, which is abhorrent and should be banned. I'm keeping it for a taste test video that I'm planning on filming REAL soon, so keep an eye on my youtube (*cough*linkabove*cough*) channel for that.
Next these salted sticky toffee sweets which sound pretty good. As I turned them over to read the ingredients I was saying to myself "please don't be made of dates please don't be made of dates...." They are made of dates! BUT they do also have golden syrup in, so I'm feeling hopeful. In fact I'm gonna try one right now, hang on......
OK so they're good! Don't taste too healthy, nice kick of sea salt and I like the crispies in there. Not sure they're worth 50 calories for how small a piece is, but good if you don't care about that shit or just want a salty chocolate hit. If only they were ball shaped!
Next up, Metcalfe's Sweet n Salty flavoured Skinny Popcorn. I'm already a fan of this; I quite often buy a bag for a snack!
Next, this interesting looking natural energy drink. It says it has gurana and high levels of caffein in - sold! I'm gonna try it on Monday morning.
Also, although I say it's a food box, I believe it's sold as a 'lifestyle' box so you also get at least one non-edible item. This month's was this candle from Harper's candles. I love that it has the TVK logo on. I have to be honest, it kinda smells like a generic home fragrance spray you can buy in the supermarket. However, those are full of shite and tested on animals so this is way better anyway. I love a good candle so I'm interested to try this out.
So that's this month's box. What do you think? Did you get it too? What do you love? What do you think is total pants? Do you think it's worth the box price (I totally do!)? Why am I asking so many questions? Seriously Sal, what is this, 20 questions?
I must say, I'm never disappointed with the beauty or food (so far) boxes; they really are a great way to discover new stuff for a lot less than you'd pay for the individual items. Here's a pic of the May beauty box, for those interested:
So last Friday was my 38th (fuck!) birthday and unlike most years when I ask for a tonne of makeup, or vouchers to buy a tonne of makeup, I mostly asked for gym stuff. Yes I've become that bellend! I got a new fitbit...
My trainers are on order and my best friend bought me a gym towel that I asked for. Also I spent this morning browsing Fabletics for gym leggings (I forgot to skip the month, duh), but I digress.
I did get some makeup, my awesome Bro and Sis-in-law brought me this lovely lot and I need to play with it all soon so I can organise my thoughts on it!
Simon also bought me a beautiful bracelet and a cute Penguin called Pongo to add to our collection, seen here acting as my glamorous assistant, showing off the Vegan Tuck Box that my rad friend Jojo sent me.
But onto the food.
We went to Las Iguanas, which is a chain restaurant here in the UK, for those of you not on this side of the pond. They have a separate vegetarian menu, that has all the vegan options marked on it.
We shared a couple of starters. Firstly, chips & guac:
Then we went for the Taco Plank, which had coconut squash on (so good!)
For my main I picked the Moqueca de Palmitos, which I'm pretty sure I have every time! It's a lovely mild curry type dish, with coconut milk and tonnes of veggies in, including squash and hearts of palm. They serve it with rice and some green beans.
We also shared some curly fries :)
I spent the rest of the day drinking birthday prosecco, but I also wanted to show you the cake that Simon had made for me! How awesome is this! He sneakily asked me some of my favourite cruelty free makeup brands and so this cake features Nars, Anastasia Beverley Hills, Charlotte Tilbury and Nabla! So cool. My photo doesn't do it justice at all.
Also this cake was HUGE! Inside was layers of chocolate sponge, with chocolate frosting and also a top layer of speculoos spread. It was delicious.
Overall I had such a good birthday. Even more so because I feel super grateful for how things have changed in a year. Last year on my birthday, I was basically in tears on the couch most of the day due to a back injury, that meant I was in so much pain, I could barely walk to the loo! After that, a load of other stuff went wrong and the rest of 2016 was a complete shower of shite.
So far, 2017 has been awesome and I feel unbelievably lucky that my back is pretty much better. 10 minutes of walking at Christmas had me in agony; now I'm doing my 10,000 steps every day and going for 3 mile walks whenever I can (with no pain!). I am back at the gym and feel better than ever. My fiance has a new job that he loves and is happy in and in a few short months, we'll be getting married.
So 38 is looking like being a good year and I'm super excited for what's to come. If I had a drink in my hand I'd cheers ya, but apparently it's bad luck to cheers with water, so I'll not do that, I'll just bugger off and stop rambling.
A while ago I wrote this post about vegan mascaras you can buy on the high street. I thought it was time for an update (even though I do update that post regularly) to also include high end / online brands. I want to show there are tonnes of options out there for cruelty free AND vegan mascaras, so here we go.
Any brands that you cannot buy on the high street, I will link to a place online you can buy it. All these brands are cruelty free:
I have noted where a brand has a non cruelty free parent company with PC
If the mascara is waterproof I have noted it with W
If I have tried it and liked it, I have noted it with A
- It's a long story mascara
- Mosscara B. (Superdrug) PC
- Volumising Mascara
- HD Lengthening Mascara
- HD Dual Wand Mascara (All B. Makeup items are vegan! the new B products are online now and will be in selected stores soon)
(Above link is ELF's website, but you can also buy ELF from Superdrug online and in selected stores.)
- Rebel Eyes Mascara A
- Volume Serum Mascara
- My Favourite Mascara W
Kiko - Volume & Definition Top Coat Mascara
- Curling Top Coat Mascara
- Luxurious Lashes Maxi Brush Mascara
- Extreme Volume Effect Mascara Kit
- Extra Sculpt Volume Mascara
(I do not have official confirmation that these are vegan; however, Kiko have said the only animal ingredients used in their range are beeswax, carmine and lanolin, so I've scanned the ingredients list for these ingredients) Lavera
- Deep Darkness Mascara
- Volume Mascara
- Front Row Curl Organic Mascara (Lavera's other mascaras have beeswax in) Lottie London
I've got a few beauty favourites that I will probably film a video about but I thought it might be fun to talk about some of my recent favourite food things. Great English there Sal! Let's do this.....
Tofoo Co Tofu
My friend bought this tofu when I visited her and made a curry with it and I was so impressed at the way it held up, I bought some as soon as I got home. And I LOVE it! The texture is brilliant; it's much firmer than Cauldron and it makes the best tofu scramble ever.
I get it from Tesco, but according to their website, you can get it from the Co-Op (never seen it in my teeny local!) and from Ocado too.
They also make a couple of flavoured varieties but I've not tried them yet. Booja Booja Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream
This stuff is delicious but it's also SUPER sweet, so you don't really need that much of it. It's also pretty expensive so I wouldn't be buying it every week, but for an occasional treat, it's a good one!
Oatly Oat Fraiche
Thank you Oatly, thank you so much for this!!!
This stuff is the bomb. I use it wherever I would have used creme fraiche (durr) or sour cream etc in my pregan days. It's especially awesome for dolloping on nachos/tacos/burrito bowl type meals. I also add it to sauces to make them creamy or put a bit on pancakes with some syrup. It's so good.
Caramel Snack A Jacks
I swear these didn't used to be vegan? But they are and a friend of me got me into them recently. Yes they have a cardboard like texture, but who doesn't like cardboard covered in caramel flavouring? No one? Oh, maybe skip these then :)
Seriously though, I like them as a quick snack if I just want a sweet hit.
Food Doctor Roasted Soya
These are a really good post gym snack because 25g (a large handful) is 100 calories ish and has 10g of protein in! I have been trying to find snacks (and foods in general) with more protein in and soya/edamame beans are great for that. And these crunchy little beauties are awesome!
I know, this stuff is old news but I love it! I especially like the orange spice one, it makes a great sauce for pancakes, or ice cream or just squeeze that ish straight into your gob at the same time as squirting in some schlagfix squirty cream! Don't let anyone ever tell you I'm not classy!
Lemon & Ginger Tea
I had tonsillitis recently and whenever I'm sick like that, I cannot face milky drinks. Although I'm back on it, I've been drinking less regular tea and coffee. Which has been great, because I'm not getting that headache on days I don't have any caffeine anymore! Anyway, I discovered I like this tea. I do add extra lemon juice to it and sometimes a few slices of ginger if I have it. And when I was sick I also added date syrup instead of honey and it really helped my sore throat.
So those are the things I'm enjoying right now food wise. What's your current food/drink faves??
Upfront I will tell you I was sent these brushes for review, but hopefully you guys know that I will not recommend something I don't like....
That being said... I was contacted by the owner of Flawless Brushes recently about being added to my cruelty free brands list and she kindly offered to send me some of her brushes to try.
I've been using them for a couple of weeks now and I really do like them. In fact I have used them every. day. that I've worn makeup since I got them!
My favourites are this one:
A flat topped kabuki style brush. I use this for foundation; I'm a beauty blender girl usually but I absolutely love how soft this brush is and how flawlessly (geddit?) it blends out the foundation. Also, it doesn't absorb a tonne of product, so the brush doesn't get mingin dirty after one use. Great for lazy Bs who do not like to wash their brushes. Not that I'm advocating that... ok moving on.
I also love this diddy one.
I won't lie, when I got this I looked at it and though, what the hell am I gonna use that for? I tried it to apply and blend out my liquid bronzer* and it does the job brilliantly. (*Nars' Liquid Laguna is vegan if you are looking for a very lovely liquid bronzer.)
The angle brush is good for brows or eye liner. Also, I discovered on Saturday when I had limited time and limited tools, that the brush in the middle is great both for putting shadow on the lid and for a super quick smokey lower lash line! So that's a bonus.
There was also another eyeshadow brush in the set, but it's dirty from use so not in these pics. It's a fluffy blending brush and I love it for exactly what it's meant to do!
I like the fluffy brush on the left in the pic below for setting my eyelid or under my eye with powder, as it's great for applying powder to small areas (I think it's actually meant for highlighting but I prefer a fan brush for that). I've also found that it blends out my cream/liquid blush really nicely too.
The big brush with the short handle on the right, I use for setting my whole face with powder.
A couple of other brushes are also missed out of my pictures due to needing a clean! A blusher brush (very similar in shape, but softer and less dense than the Real Techniques expert face brush, so I think that'd work well for foundation too) and a pencil brush. The pencil brush is a good size for putting colour under the lower lash line and in the inner corner of the eye and it's very soft so blends out the shadow lovely. Also, I think it'd be good for spot concealing.
As I said above, these brushes are super soft and fluffy. I have had a couple of hairs shed from them, but none on my face, just one or two when washing them. Nothing that causes me concern. Also, I'm an idiot and left one of the brushes in a bag for a couple of days with the dirty brushes and a damp sponge after a makeup job. Yes I'm gross. But the brush is still in tact (which is more than I can say for one of my crown brushes, which has lost most of the handle's coating! haha).
If you follow me on YouTube, then expect to see these brushes in a video at some point and if you're not then why not - go do it!! HERE ;o)
So if you're looking for some new brushes and want to support an independent and vegan/cruelty free brand, then check them out at https://www.myflawless.co.uk/.
Logical Harmony is also a great resource for all things cruelty free and vegan, including vegan lists.
And one of the most useful tools I've ever found for shopping online especially, as you can cut and paste a whole ingredient list: Double Check Vegan. I'd highly recommend bookmarking this site.
So why am I writing this post? I see a lot of people say they don't understand the ingredients list or know what to look for and that's not really surprising. Ingredients labels can be super confusing, due to the EU laws regarding having to use chemical/INCI names in the lists. Quite often you'll see a list that looks like this:
Great if you know what all that stuff is, right? But if you don't, all those CI numbers are a bit scary. CI numbers are usually colourants; so in this list above we have Blue Lake colouring, Carmine, Mica, Chromium Oxide Green, Ferric Oxide or Red Iron Oxide, Black Iron Oxide, Manganese Violet, Tin Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, respectively.
The one to look out for there is Carmine, which you may or may not know, is a red pigment that is derived from crushed beetles.
Some brands will use the code as well as the common name for the ingredient (for example you might see Cera Alba listed, some brands will also put beeswax in brackets to help you out), like this list, where they have given the common name as well as the INCI code for the colourants:
So what should I look out for?
The most common animal based cosmetic ingredients I see on makeup, include:
(Right at the bottom of the page, there is a little graphic I made of the above ingredients, so you can save to your phone and favourite it for easy finding later.)
These are the main ingredients that I personally look for when I'm reading ingredients. If I don't know the company well, I will probably email them and ask for a list or at least to see if they tend to use animal or vegetable based ingredients aside from the obvious ones; a lot of companies have started to swap out animal based ingredients for vegetable derived. Some brands I will buy if they do not contain any of the above ingredients.
But this list is not exhaustive. There are also some ingredients that can be plant or animal based and the only way to know for sure would be to email the manufacturer. Just a few examples include:
- Squalene (most commonly nowadays derived from olives but can also be extracted from shark livers!)
- Retinol (often animal based but can be sourced from plants)
- Panthenol (usually derived from honey or meat but can be veg-sourced)
- Lecithin (can come from soy or from eggs)
- Stearic Acid
This is kind of the tip of the iceberg for ingredients that could be animal or could be vegetable based, which is why sites like doublecheckvegan are soooo useful!
The best way to know for sure is to email the company and ask. Also, google the company and vegan list as chances are another blog has done this for you.
There are some brands that will not confirm if products are vegan and you will have to go by the ingredient list. The ones that springs to mind here are NYX and the TAM Beauty brands (Makeup Revolution, Freedom and I heart Makeup). TAM Beauty for example, won't confirm if products are vegan, but when they first started they told me that the animal ingredients are obvious ones. So I go by that with them and read their ingredients labels. Generally if there's no carmine or beeswax you're good to go. (UPDATE: Please see this post about why I don't do this anymore with Revolution and NYX.) Kiko are another example; they have confirmed they only use carmine, beeswax and lanolin and everything else is vegetable derived, so those are the things to look out for on their labels.
Obviously this method is not fool proof and I've made mistakes before. So it really comes down to how comfortable you are about reading the labels and making a decision. Hopefully this will give you a good start.
Have I missed anything obvious? Please let me know in the comments or tweet me @sal_on_toast
Also, if anyone wants a more in depth post about labelling (for example what some ingredients are used for, +/- lists and their purpose....) just let me know.