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Cosmetics Cruelty Free

Dreaming of the perfect lashes

May 13, 2016

We all want long, lush lashes, right? Just amazing peepers.

But only about one in 100 of us are lucky enough to have those lashes without enhancements. So the other 99 of us need a good mascara. Preferably one that won’t flake, clump or itch.

And some of us want that mascara to be cruelty free, too. When I decided to switch all of my cosmetics to cruelty free products, my mascara was the last to go. I was without hesitation in love with my CK One mascara, but I was determined to switch (The CK One has since been discontinued, thus eliminating my ability to go back to it).

So I set out to research the best CF mascaras and try them. Keep in mind that everyone’s eyes are unique and respond differently.

Before we go too far, I should say I tried the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($22 at Ulta) first. I wore it two days before I took it right back to Ulta for a full refund. I can highly recommend Ulta’s simple and easy return policy, but I cannot recommend the mascara. My eyes burned and itched something awful.

I have since tried it Cosmetics Superhero Mascara ($24 at Ulta), Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes ($21) and what the CF supporters online proclaim as the best CF mascara out there, Lily Lolo ($19.50).

The it Superhero gives really great lash length. And Tarte gives excellent fullness to my lashes. Neither made my eyes itch or burn. But by late day, both began to flake a bit, which did cause me to rub my eyes, which isn’t the best look.

The Lily Lolo, though, is very gentle. Easy to apply and remove. Never burned, itched, clumped or flaked. It really was as kind as everyone said. It wasn’t, however, as stunning as the CK One I had hoped to replace. Even after multiple coats.

I will admit, though, that with the three available to me on a daily basis, if I don’t have a specific reason for wanting one of the other two, I go toward the Lily Lolo on a daily basis and will most likely buy it again, so I suppose that makes it my favorite.

So there’s my story. Tell me your’s. What is your favorite CF mascara?

Cosmetics Cruelty Free Fragrance Skin care

Top 10 Holiday Wish List Products

November 25, 2015

We’ve been gone. Did you miss us? Sure you did.

LeeAnn wrote her list of products she’d like to try in 2016 (go on, call it a Wish List), and here is my list to go along with that. Keep in mind that we shop differently. There are products on my list that I already know I love but that I’ve just been too cheap to replace.

We hope you find some things in one or both of our lists that you decide to try and that become favorites.

1. Vera Wang’s Hippie Princess perfume ($60 for 1.7 oz)

Blame LeeAnn for this one. She suggested I smell it & tell her what it was like because she likes the other scents in this line. I now can’t go into Ulta without spraying this just all over me. My daughter also likes this one, which isn’t a real selling point for me.

2. Urban Decay Naked Palette ($54)

This is the benchmark of nude and near-nude palettes. There are multiple options to choose from within the Naked line. I prefer the Naked 2, but I swear, I’d take any of them. I’ve reached a point in life where I prefer a muted eye with a darker liner as opposed to the brighter shadows I wore when I was younger. These palettes have just everything. And Urban Decay is a Cruelty Free brand.

3. Lily Lolo Mascara ($20)

I am a dedicated user of my CK One mascara, but I’d like to try a CF brand. The Lily Lolo is the highest rated CF mascara I can find. Whether I love it or hate it, I’d like to try it.

4. MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub ($18)

This is one of my favorite finds from PetitVour. This fruit enzyme scrub is wonderful. You can leave it on just a few minutes or a few minutes longer, depending on how your skin reacts. It smells wonderful and leaves my skin feels smooth and clean.

5. Tarte LipSurgence (Holiday Set $34 for 9 minis)

If you haven’t tried these lippies, you’re missing out. They feel like a balm and look like a great lipstick. Now, I’ll admit, I don’t like the matte options. But the others are amazing. For several years now, I’ve bought the holiday set (it’s a super value), and divided it up between gifts for others and for myself.

6. Tokyo Milk ($20)

I love this hand lotion. It is hydrating without being greasy, and the scent lasts forever. My favorite scents are the Dead Sexy and Kabuki No. 9. Every handbag should feature something this lovely.

7. nyl Skincare Organic Shimmer Sugar Scrub ($38 for 8 oz)

Ever since I started getting PetitVour boxes, I’ve been eyeing this sugar scrub. Who doesn’t love a sugar scrub? One that gives your a golden shimmer? Even. Better.

8. 21 Drops ($29 each)

I want all of these. Just all of them. We have the Sleep oil and love it. I’d like to try so many of these. They do have some holiday sets that might be good starting points.

9. BITE Beauty lippies

I am in love with BITE’s lip mask. In. Love. And I’d like to try one of their other lip products. Just any other one.

10. Anything LUSH

Seriously. For real.

Now, share with us your wish lists. Maybe we’ll add some of your products to our lists.


Cosmetics Cruelty Free Nail care Skin care

10 Best Inexpensive Sensitive Skin Care Products

October 23, 2015

I’ve gotten several positive comments on a recent post about some of my favorite sensitive skin products. One of the items on the list peaked the curiosity of several people because it was inexpensive and a great product for those of us who battle sensitive skin. It was suggested I continue that list to include some budget-friendly options. So here you have it!  These are my choices for non-budget busting beauty products.

1. Simple Skincare Cleansers ($5.99)
Let’s start with the brand that initiated this post. I professed my love for Simple’s Kind to Eyes Makeup Remover Pads. So let’s continue spreading some more love for the brand. The Simple product line has several cleansers. Foaming, micellar, moisturizing, and a smoothing scrub are all part of this line. It’s easy to find one that is just right.  The entire line of cleansers contain minimal ingredients and are super gentle. No dyes, perfumes, or known irritants make it perfect for sensitive skin.  Many gentle cleansers don’t always remove all the makeup. That isn’t the case with these. Skin feels clean and not overly dry. Added vitamins make it extra good for your skin. My personal favorite is the Simple Smoothing Scrub.  It isn’t harsh like a lot of facial scrubs either. Both of my kids use this product line. Gentle but effective, and budget-friendly make Simple cleansers great. Oh, and this line is cruelty-free. Winner!

2. Burt’s Bees Cranberry and Pomagranate Sugar Scrub ($13.00)
Most people think of lip balm when thinking Burt’s Bees. I love all their lip balms, lip tints, and lip glosses. I have them in the car, my purse, everywhere.  I also like BB’s all-over body scrub because it exfoliates skin for a nice glow and soft feel. I’ve avoided body scrubs in the past since I have sensitive skin. That much abrasion irritates sensitive skin like crazy. This scrub by Burt’s Bees doesn’t do that. Natural ingredients I can pronounce like sugar, cranberry seed, shea butter, and sunflower oil make me feel good about what I’m using. There are no tiny plastic scrubby beads either so it’s environmentally friendly and it is cruelty-free.

3. Gud by Burt’s Bees Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, and Lotion ($7.00)
Since we are talking about Burt’s Bees, let’s talk about their Gud product line. This is a line of shampoos, conditioners, lotions, body wash, and even body wipes. What I like most about this product line is I can have the same scent in all my products. I like that layering option. My favorite is Mango Moonbreeze. There are five other great scents, too. Similar to the Burt’s Bees line, ingredients are minimal and pronounceable. There is no irritation or redness when using these beautifully scented products, either. It washes off clean, leaves a great scent, and does a great job of cleaning. Of course, this line is cruelty-free. It’s a great line to start a tween on, too. Thumbs up!

4. Albabotanica Good and Clean Pore Purifying Mini Peel ($8.99)
The Albabotantica line is pretty extensive.  Ive not tried all the products in this line but I do particularly like the mini peel with Alpha Hydroxy. Using it a couple times a month gives a deep clean and smooth feeling to my skin. Like so many other products, I’ve avoided peels. After a disasterous peel that left my sensitive skin red and irritated for days, I avoided them like the plague. Why I bought this on a whim, I can’t say. I’m glad I did.  There are no artificial colors, fragrances, or other ingredients I don’t feel good about. Again, it’s cruelty-free. What’s not to love?  I plan to explore this brand further and blog about this line more.

5. Physician’s Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Foundation ($14.95)
There was a time when makeup was just about the last thing on my list. With two small children, studying for graduate school, and a husband who worked crazy hours, it was progress just to shower most days. When I did wear makeup, it wasn’t pricy. It was what I could grab in the drug or discount store as I purchased other items for my family.  Most of the makeup I grabbed quickly I didn’t like. Physicians Formula foundation was one I found in the big box store that I actually did like.  It goes on light, but it can be added to for more full coverage. It looks natural and not cakey. It isn’t greasy. There are several shades to choose from. Application is smooth. There is no irritation or redness after removal. It’s a solid foundation when you are on a budget.

6. Pacifica brand makeup, body care, fragrance ($5.00–$30.00)
I think this is my favorite cruelty-free brand out there right now. (Okay, I may have said that about the Simple line, too?). Pacifica works hard to make sure their products are safe for all skin types, but especially sensitive skin folks. Their fragrance line has 17-18 different scents to please everyone. Tahitian Garden is my favorite. The fragrance lasts most of the day – like the majority of the perfumes out there. Their Skin Renewal Micro Dermabrasion Scrub is fabulous, too. Again, no irritation because what goes into Pacifica is good. If you only pick one product line on this list. Pick this one. From makeup to hair care to perfumes and scented lotions, Pacifica will have something for a sensitive skin gal.

7. Sally Hansen fingernail polish ($3.00–$7.00)
Michele, will disagree on this one, but I’m not quite as into polish as she is. I like this polish. It gives good coverage, most of the time in one coat. It lasts as long as any other polish does on me. This polish is always forgiving and easy to use. It does not irritate the skin around my nails. It comes in millions of colors and lasts several days.  At this price you can buy ten polishes and paint every finger or toe a different color.  I do not think this line is cruelty-free, though. Thumbs down for that, but it’s a solid purchase overall.

8. Almay One Coat Lengthening Mascara ($4.97)
Almay is not cruelty-free, that’s for sure. It IS recognized as a good brand for contact lens wearers or those with sensitive eyes, though. I suppose there is some give and take here on the whole animal testing issue and making the product extra safe. My point isn’t to argue either side but to list budget-friendly products I like. I like this mascara. It’s gentle. It comes off easy at night and it doesn’t smear during the day. Best of all for this redhead, it comes in a brown color. That is harder to find than you think. This mascara stands out above most for those with sensitive eyes.

9. NYX Finishing Makeup Setting Spray Matte or Dewy ($7.99)
On the previous list I told the Internet of my love for Urban Decay Setting Spray. I stand by that completely. If you are on a budget and find that one out of your price range (which I do a lot) NYX has a good spray also. I like that you can choose between dewy or matte finish. I’ve bought both and like them both, though I tend to buy the matte more often. NYX keeps the makeup in place, doesn’t make my face itch, and the price is right. I think Urban Decay keeps my makeup in place longer than NYX, but I’ve done no official test. Overall, NYX does the job for less.

10. LUSH Bath Bombs, Bath Melts, and Bar Soap ($5.00-$8.00)
What list of loves doesn’t have at least one LUSH item on it?  Especially if it’s on this blog site. It’s LUSH love around here all the time. Yes, some of their products like facial moisturizers are a bit pricy (but worth it). While others are very reasonable. LUSH is a believer in scent affects mood. I am, too. A yummy smelling soap, or calming scented bath can change my mood instantly. There are so many fabulous scents by LUSH in their soaps and bath products to have a different one everyday for weeks. There are no harsh ingredients. No irritation. No weird ingredients. LUSH is a sensitive skin girl’s dream. With a few dollars, LUSH gives a spa-like experience with no worries. The brand is environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, and just all-around the best.

So there you have it–my picks for budget-friendly beauty products. They are out there. Let us know what your faves are.


Photo Credit: Taryn Nefdt

Cosmetics Cruelty Free Fragrance Skin care

10 Best Products for Sensitive Skin

October 16, 2015

Sensitive skin is the worst. The itchy red patches, the bumps or welts, all make choosing beauty products a tough job. Just because a product says its for sensitive skin, doesn’t mean it will work.  In many cases, those of us with sensitive skin have full-blown allergies to deal with, as well. But I’ve found a few products made for us that are worth the hype.

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation ($39.00)
This foundation actually feels good going on. Tarte isn’t into using a lot of chemicals so their foundation is much less irritating. In fact, they pack a lot of good things into this foundation to help soothe skin. There are tons of shades to choose from so it’s easy to find a perfect match to your skin tone.  The coverage is a good medium coverage, in my opinion. It’s buildable though, so it could very easily be a full coverage foundation like the name describes.  Tarte is cruelty-free, too. Yippie!

2. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush ($28.00)
This blush glides on. You can use as little or as much as you’d like. It blends like a dream, and my cheeks don’t itch or break out after application like with many products. Again, the ingredients are minimal and great for sensitive skin. There are tons of colors so it actually made picking one difficult. Oh, and being cruelty-free like the rest of the Tarte line makes it perfect. Tarte for the win!

3.  It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil ($24.00)
I snickered at the term “universal.”  Not only do I have sensitive skin, but I’m a redhead. They seem to go together. Finding a “universal” product that includes us redheads is impossible. Or so I thought. This pencil works great. It makes my brows look natural, but gives them color and depth. No itching or redness around my brows either. Oh yeah, this line is cruelty-free, as well.

4. Bare Minerals Powder Eyecolor ($14.00)
Really any of the Bare Minerals powder in their foundation, blush, and shadow lines are good for sensitive skin. There isn’t a lot of unnecessary ingredients and all their products have staying power. I never worry about the sensitive skin around my eyes when I use Bare Minerals. Some brands of eye shadow have made my lids itchy and red with weird dry patches. Not Bare Minerals. It’s a great go-to brand when all the others get tossed aside. Bare Minerals is also cruelty-free. (I’m seeing a pattern evolve here.)

5. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray ($14.00-$30.00)
This is one of my favorites that isn’t cruelty-free. While some label the brand CF, its parent company is not. Is that splitting hairs?  Maybe. I’m just giving the information. I love the spray, honestly. Something that gets put on the entire face makes me nervous. An itchy red eyelid or patch on the cheek is bad enough, but to have your entire face react to a product is the pits. Unfortunately, it happens to those of us with sensitive skin if we aren’t careful.  Urban Decay’s setting spray really works, and my skin feels great when I use it. It dries fast. Makes my makeup look dewy but not oily. It has no discernible  scent. Best of all, it makes my makeup last longer without crazy reactions.

6. Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser and Oil-Free Moisturizer ($22.00 and $28.50)
Awhile back, I wrote about my search for a new cleansing system because Origins is not cruelty-free. I’m still on that search. Origins is hard to beat for sure. I have not found a product line I buy into and love as much as Origins, but I have promised myself I would. I’d like to phase out all the products that aren’t cruelty-free eventually, so the search for great CF products is ongoing. For now, I have to give Origins props for helping out those of us with sensitive skin. The cleanser gets rid of all traces of makeup. It does not over-dry the skin. The moisturizer is light, not too oily, and keeps skin with just the right moisture balance. Origins, if you were only cruelty-free, I’d sing your praises more.

7. Dr Brandt Pores No More Refiner Primer ($15.00-$45.00)
Here’s a product line on the pricy side, but good heavens does it work!  On a whim I bought this primer. I bought a small one so I didn’t feel too guilty if it didn’t minimize pores like many products claim to do.  Wow!  I loved it. It isn’t greasy. My pores around my nose disappeared. My sensitive skin felt wonderful, and my foundation went on smoothly over this primer. It’s a dream. It’s cruelty-free, too.  I’m in love with whoever this Dr Brandt is. After trying some sample sizes, I’d say the Dr. Brandt product line would replace my disappointing love for Origins if I could afford their cleanser and moisturizer ($35.00 and $60.00).  But alas, I can’t. For now, I’ll sing the praises of the primer though, and pray Origins becomes cruelty-free or Dr Brandt goes on sale permanently.

8. The Clean Perfume Line ($18.00-$72.00)
For those of us with sensitive skin, it doesn’t stop at the neck. Many perfumes and perfumed lotions make my arms and legs itch. Spraying perfume directly on the body is like dipping some sensitive skin people in acid. More often than not, I spray the perfume on my clothing, not my body. The lotions, I choose carefully. The Clean line is not like that for me. I don’t itch when I apply the lotion. The perfume does not make my neck turn into one giant itchy welt. Oh, and every one of their scents smell amazing. Yep, the product line is cruelty-free, too.

9. Simple Kind To Eyes Makeup Remover Pads ($5.99)
God bless a cruelty-free product line that is less expensive. Michele already talked about how going cruelty-free is not always cheap. This is one product that can be found in most drug and discount stores. The skin around the eyes is very delicate for everyone, not just those of us with sensitive skin. These inexpensive rounds remove all traces of eye makeup without making my skin feel like it’s burning. Contact lens wearers also worry about harsh makeup removers. Not with Simple. This product gets a very big thumbs up for being budget-friendly, cruelty-free, and great for sensitive skin.

10. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer ($22.00)
Let’s end where we began. Oh Tarte, I love you more everyday. Like I said before, delicate skin around the eyes needs special care for everyone. I worry about eye makeup and what goes into it. Least of all, I don’t want needless wrinkles that didn’t come from living life. While worst case scenario, I don’t want to harm my vision. I never worry with the Tarte product line. This primer really does help my lashes look longer and thicker. It doesn’t clump or smear. It helps my mascara stay in place. I don’t notice dark circles under my eyes at the end of the day where my mascara gradually leapt from my lashes to under my eyes. No itching or redness from Tarte’s primer either. (Now, Tarte, please make a brown mascara for us redheads. Pretty please. I promise to write about it.)

Okay sensitive skin peeps–speak up. Tell us what products you love, or hate. These are mine, and I’m sure my list will always be changing as I find product lines I love AND can afford.


Photo Credit: garlandcannon

Cosmetics Cruelty Free

CF Drugstore Brand Reviews

October 2, 2015

Here’s the thing. Buying Cruelty Free can be expensive.

There. That’s out there. Now, I told LeeAnn when she first began her 40s ReStyle that she didn’t have to switch her products that she didn’t have to make a complete switch or even switch everything all at once (all of which I’m pretty sure she ignored).

The testing process is more expensive when it’s done ethically. But most of us don’t have an endless supply of beauty-dedicated funds, so we began to search out and try CF lines that you can get at your fave Target or big box store.

We tried NYX, e.l.f., and flower (Drew Barrymore’s line at Wal-mart) for cosmetics. We’ve also tried some inexpensive skin care lines, but we’ll cover those another day.

There were some hits and misses here, mostly misses, I’m afraid.


You can buy this at your drugstore chains, Target, and Ulta. I bought a mascara (trying to give up my favorite CK-1) and a lipstick. The lipstick was nice. It was creamy with a full pigmentation. I’ve had lip issues this year, so I’m particular. This didn’t dry my lips out, so I was pleasantly surprised. The color was a little off for me. though. The downside of a less expensive brand is that you can’t swipe a test patch on your hand before buying. LeeAnn now has this tube and likes both the color and the creaminess.

I would, however, give the lipstick another try in another shade.

The mascara, on the other hand, not so much. Whatever I paid for it was a waste. It was like I was waving an empty wand over my lashes. Nothing ever happened. Ever. I was startled at the difference between the CK-1 I had been using and this. Please don’t buy this.


I was very excited to try this one because I had read such glowing reviews. Again, I bought a mascara. I added an eye shadow to this purchase. The eye shadow didn’t have enough pigment to give me much coverage at all. I had to add layer after layer to get any color on my lids. I added the mascara to my lashes, and they did look fuller, which was nice.

It took about three minutes – max – for my eyes to begin to burn. And I’m not talking a light tingle. I’m talking I couldn’t wash my eyes fast enough. I threw both products out immediately. Do. Not. Buy. This. I’m not sure what’s in these products, but anything that makes skin & eyes burn has to be bad.


I wanted to try these myself because I might have a girl crush on Drew Barrymore, but I refuse to shop at Wal-mart, so LeeAnn bought and tried these. She bought multiple eye shadows. The shadows looked good but within a few days, her eyes were itching and watering, a result of a reaction to the new shadows. So, again, we have to suggest, don’t do it.

Other Options

More expensive brands like Tarte, Urban Decay and Bare Minerals all have good products. Sale shopping can make a more expensive brand close to equal in price, especially if a sale is combined with coupons at places like Ulta. Much as I love fabulous cosmetics, I’d rather have three or four really great products that work beautifully than a drawer full of things that harm my skin and don’t work well at all.

Let us know what your favorite CF brands are so we can try them. Or if you’re looking for a specific CF product, let us know that, too, and if we don’t already have a brand we love & can suggest, we’ll do some testing. For now, buy the NYX lipstick & skip the others.


Photo Credit: Wonderlane

Cruelty Free Skin care

Meow Meow Tweet – Silly Name, Sensational Skin Care

September 25, 2015
IMG_1005 (1)

One of the first samples I received from PetitVour was from Meow Meow Tweet, a small-batch skin care line located in New York.

The packaging in adorbs, without a doubt. (If all 40s ReStyles could look that good.) It was a little odd, though. It was a pump bottle, and the cleanser was a milky liquid that was really quite runny. I wasn’t at all sure it would take off all of my makeup and sunscreen.

I’ll go so far as to admit that I was a little skeptical even as I used it for a week or so.

But then we vacationed in a hotel. A hotel with the pristine white wash cloths that show every bit of makeup when you take it off at night. And by darned if that cleanser didn’t take just all of my makeup off every night, as evidenced by the multi-colored cloth.

I was leaning toward buying a bottle of it for real, but unlike my lovely LeeAnn, who will drop and buy the entire set, I couldn’t spring for it. Lucky for me, MMT offers samples of all of their products at very reasonable prices. The one ounce bottle of cleanser that I got in my box lasted me a little more than a month. I ordered another sample of it (same size) at a very reasonable $8.  I’m not quite finished with it yet, but I’ll buy a full-size bottle when I do finish.

Picking a moisturizer was complicated, and I almost didn’t. Luckily, I found a handy tool on their blog that helps you determine what you need based on your skin type. For my dry skin, it suggested either their body oil (what?) or their baby body balm (again, what?). I ordered samples of both.

The Frankincense & Flowers Body Oil sample is one ounce and was $8. It smells amazing. The mini Baby Body Balm was $5.

The baby balm was way too much, even for my dry skin. But I think it would be just divine on a baby’s skin. It is smooth and only every so lightly scented. And new moms could rest easy knowing only natural ingredients were going on their baby’s skin.

I will without a doubt buy the body oil and keep using it on my face – on everything. Never before have I used a product on my face and had both my husband and daughter say to me after I prepped my skin at night, “you smell good.”

Recently, I had a small surgery and didn’t leave the house for several days. I didn’t put on makeup & thus, wasn’t as diligent about my skincare routine. After a few days without the oil each evening, my skin was dry and flaky. This is good stuff, adding good stuff to my skin.

Yes, MMT is Cruelty Free, and yes, they are vegan. I’m all for both of those. More than that, though, I like to support small businesses when I can. They are absolutely a new part of my personal 40s ReStyle.

And seriously, these products are lovely. And the packaging is just almost as wonderful. Go visit their site. Order a few samples. Let us know what you think. We’re interested.

Cruelty Free

Make your 40sReStyle a Little Kinder

August 21, 2015

Honesty time…
Pure, unvarnished truth coming your way…

I’ve occasionally gotten frustrated with people who claim to only buy cruelty- free products. They have, at times, come across as condescending or superior in their thinking and life-style choices. BUT before you want to string me up with all-natural hemp rope and torture me with videos of sad bunnies, know that the opposing camp frustrates me, too. Those who claim it doesn’t matter what products we purchase irritate me just as much. So that group can string me up with something equally as strange or heinous and test ugly neon pink blush on me for that last comment. (I hate ugly neon pink blush. Sorry if you love it, but I said I was being honest today.)

Truth be told, this isn’t a black and white issue. I bet those who jumped on that cruelty-free bandwagon have no idea how many of the products they use everyday are tied to companies testing on animals for one reason or another. Also, the other side has no clue what is involved when someone says a company promotes or conducts animal testing.

Where someone draws the line on animal testing is a personal choice. I’m not going to tell someone where they should draw their line. That’s not the intent of this post. To further complicate things, though, companies are not always clear on what they consider acceptable practice. While some companies produce some cruelty free products, not all their lines are cruelty free. Still others have policies opposing animal testing in one country, but not in others.  So claiming you buy only cruelty-free products OR disregarding the subject all together isn’t a realistic approach in this day and age as a consumer.

I’m assuming if you are still reading this, I haven’t made you too mad.  So what is the solution? A wise person once told me that this whole thing was a process. Once I decide to do something, I’m in 100%.  As Michele and I started this 40sRestyle, I wanted to dump all my products in favor of cruelty- free ones. I wanted to trash everything not certified by Leapingbunny.

Personal care products, beauty products, cleaning products – all were about to be given the boot in my house. Not even acknowledging the hundreds of dollars that I would have wasted had I done that, I was in no way prepared to replace everything. I hadn’t researched the companies, I hadn’t sampled products I’d like for my skin and hair type.  I hadn’t done anything other than decide where I drew my own personal line in the sand.  I was in no position to make a purchase yet.  THAT is my point in writing this. Going cruelty-free is a choice requiring some work. It isn’t a fad we follow and brag to our friends about, and it isn’t an impossible task we should just ignore, either.

Looking back at the process and emotions I went through switching to cruelty-free products, I realized the process is not easy. And I am, by no means living 100% cruelty-free, but I’m getting there little by little. Will I ever be 100% on that bandwagon?  Probably not. It’s a full time job just keeping the list of cruelty-free companies current. Leapingbunny and PETA admit they do their best, but their lists are not all-inclusive.  They do an excellent job, but if the animal advocates themselves find it hard to keep up with all the companies that come and go in one way or another, I’m pretty sure I’m going to slip up.

So, we are back to the topic of solutions. Read a label. Look up the company’s policy on animal testing online.  Search the aisles of your local store for that little section of cruelty-free personal care products. Start small with one product. I think both sides I mentioned today will be surprised. One side might find out that their favorite products are not quite as cruelty-free as they thought, while the other camp may find a product they love that is cruelty-free.

Start somewhere. Start small. But, for heaven sakes, START!

Don’t be intimidated by the task and don’t smugly assume you know all about it.  Maybe you want to start with a product line you already know and love like Bath and Body Works. They are NOT a 100% cruelty free company!  They do have a line called Aromatherapy that is. Vote with your purchases. That is possibly the most effective way to convince huge corporations to make changes. Look for “all-in” companies such as Pacifica, Juice, AlbaBotanica, Simple, Gud, or LUSH (Yeah, yeah!  I know. We have mentioned them a few times on this blog.).

Leapingbunny has an app for smart phones to look products up while you are at the store to see if they are cruelty free. I use it all the time rather than just assuming the product is. Check it out because product names can be misleading.

The bottom line is, DO SOMETHING.

Keep learning and help each other. In the words of the great twenty-first century philosopher Jimmy Buffett, “You got to bend a little one way or the other.  You got to leave your mind open to discover.  Seems we’ve been fighting it all along, but you got to bend a little no matter which side you’re on.”  (Yeah, I just did that. You read it right. I connected Jimmy Buffett and beauty products together. You can thank me for that later if you haven’t made me watch sad bunny videos or put pink blush on me.)

Now go do something to support cruelty-free products or someone who doesn’t know where to start. Go on…you know you wanna.

Beauty Boxes Cruelty Free Nail care

Do I have to choose just one?

August 18, 2015

Nail polish is my guilty pleasure. OPI and Essie are my favorites. I polish my nails easily twice a week with complete color changes. I know the difference between polish and lacquer (polish is thinner, easier to layer… lacquer is thicker and heavier).

How could I resist the lure of a Cruelty Free polish subscription box? Or two.

For the record, there are well more than two such subscription boxes out there. I might have considered just all of them. I settled on Square Hue (partially because it is based in my current home state & I feel some loyalty to buying somewhat local if possible) and on Julep. My theory is that I will get a couple of boxes of each and try the polishes and decide which ones I like the best. Then, I’ll choose which box to keep. It’s the theory at least.


Other than the fact that Square Hue is based in Miami, I also liked that it allowed for you to select from two options. You can select two or three polishes per month, with two pricing tiers. I chose the two polishes, which is priced at $10.99 per month. I thought that was an exceptional deal… right up until I realized that they do not include shipping in that price. The $5 shipping isn’t unreasonable, but all of the other boxes I’ve received in the past have included that in the price, so keep that in mind.

One other great thing about Square Hue is that they give a portion of the proceeds each month to a different charity. The hippie in me likes that.

Each of their boxes are themed, and the first box we got was a 1970s theme. We received a shimmery silver polish that is perfect as a top coat, and a shimmery blue. Both are thinner polishes that go on more like a gel consistency. The blue has a royal color with just one coat but builds to a really nice darker blue color with multiple coats. The shimmer in the blue is subtle, but with the silver on top it’s got a really beautiful pop.

My daughter has pronounced Square Hue her favorite after just the one box.

We’re also trying the Julep Maven box. Julep lets you select options as well. There are options with three polishes and options with two polishes and one beauty product. I received a Welcome Box with three polishes, two little buffers, and their Oxygen Bonding Base Coat. The base coat is said to allow your nails to breathe while serving as something akin to sticky tape for your nails. I’m not sure how it works, but it did seem to help the polish stay on my nails longer than usual.

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The Julep polish is thicker, like an OPI lacquer, with a wider brush. And the shine on these polishes is astounding. This one is, however, more expensive. For the two polish/one product or three polish option, it is $24.99. Shipping is included.

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This is the pretty purple included in the Welcome Box. The initial box after that is curated for you, but by your second box, you have the option of switching out colors. You can also choose to suspend the box for a month or to send the box to a friend.

I know that we’re supposed to narrow it to just one next month. Maybe.

If anyone wants to try one of these boxes, let me know & I’ll get you an invite. And if you already subscribe, leave a comment telling us what you think. If you happen to get one of the other polish boxes – Black Dahlia, in particular – let me know what you think of it.

Polish on.




Beauty Boxes Cosmetics Cruelty Free Skin care

Cruelty Free Subscription Box: PetitVour Review

July 6, 2015

For Christmas last year, I got each of my kids a subscription box as a gift. The teenage boy received Loot Crate, and Little Bit received Boodle Box (she has since switched to iBBeautiful on LeeAnn’s recommendation).

Soon after, LeeAnn said she had begun receiving the ipsy bag. Loads of folks on my Facebook feed were raving about their ipsy hauls, too. I’m rarely a joiner, but if we’re talking beauty bags, I wanted to play. So I looked around at the options, and I bucked the trend and went with Birchbox instead. Birchbox seemed to offer more skincare than cosmetics, and that’s more my style. I got the box for three months, and was pleased with the samples I received on the whole.

For $15 a month, I was introduced to some nice products (one, in particular that I will stick with for a while) and was able to share some products that I didn’t so much like. But I was already a little bored, so I started looking around again and found PetitVour, a box with all Cruelty Free and vegan products. Same price. Products more in line with the way I think and shop. So I dropped Birchbox (but not before cashing in my points and getting a free product) and picked up PetitVour.

The full contents of my first PetitVour box.

The full contents of my first PetitVour box.


While there were only four products in the PetitVour box (and I usually received five in Birchbox), I have loved all of them. With the exception of the 100% Pure cleansing brush, I will most likely purchase either a full size version of each of these products or I will buy another product from the company sampled. And in the case of the brush, they just gave me what I would have needed. And it’s really nice – such soft bristles for massaging cleansers or masks into the skin.

I think that for a sample box, this was a pretty good return. For less than the cost of a lunch out, PetitVour introduced me to four new companies and shown me four really great new products.

The Fior Minerals eye liner is wonderful. I’m not a young woman, and I have a difficult time finding liners that I like. I’m not steady enough to use liquid liners well, but I need a soft liner so it doesn’t tug at my eyelids. This eye liner is super soft and smudges beautifully. But it is also highly pigmented, so the color stays all day. And it arrived in brown. I get so annoyed when sample eye liners are always in purple (maybe just mine?). I cannot tell you how many purple eye liners I have.


It looked like a small, sample sized eye liner, but when I took the lid off, I realized the lid hid half the liner. It appears to be a full size liner. I’ll buy more of these in different colors.

I’m a sucker for fun company names, and Meow Meow Tweet wins this box’s prize for that category. In this month’s box, everyone got to sample either the Facial Cleanser or the Spot Serum. I lucked into the cleanser. I’m not going to lie, it’s odd. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and only this week have I decided that I really do like it. And I mean I really like it.


The Meow Meow Tweet cleanser is a liquid that is supposed to be gently massaged onto your face. It has a milky appearance and feels almost as an oil on your skin. But when I rinsed my face, all of my makeup was gone, and my face didn’t feel dry or oily either. It just felt really smooth and soft. Again, it took me a while to decide I liked it, mainly because the whole experience was just so different. But my skin looks good, and it feels good.

I like the fact that you can order the smaller, 1 oz. sample size on the website, too, to try before buying the full size version. Many of their products offer the mini versions for sampling. Given what products cost, in general, this is a big bonus in my book.

The dark horse in this race was the Jacq’s Organics face mask. It looks unassuming in packaging and when opened. But it’s ah-mazing. Truly. I like every, everything about it.


This mask is a dry powder. You add your own water to activate the mask. I adore this. Seriously. Any product that arrives in my possession as a dry powder asking me to add my own water is automatically in my top 20 list. Dry products conserve water in general, which is important for our environment. They also last longer because there is no risk of contamination. You can set that sucker on your shelf forever if you want. Love.

I also like that you can add exactly as much water as you want. Add more if you like a thinner paste, less for a really thick paste. Love.

It smells wonderful. My husband suggested it smelled like pine trees, but all I could smell was the peppermint oil. My pre-teen daughter and I both used it at the same time, and she hated it because it dried on her skin. She hates a drying mask. It’s a shame because her skin honestly glowed when she took the mask off. It sucked up all of the awful pre-teen facial oil and made her skin look lovely. It still looks good days later.

With my dry skin, I was worried it would make it even drier, but I applied a really thick coat of the mask so it didn’t dry out too much, and it was really nice. I applied a good moisturizer right after, and all was well. This is the 1 oz. sample size, and I expect we’ll get six or eight uses out of it.

I’m already excited to see what new products will be in my next PetitVour box. (Let me know if you’d like to try it. I’ll give you my info & I think we both get a little something happy.)

Now, the PetitVour points system isn’t great, from what I can see so far. Best I can tell, Birchbox has the best points system. In three months, I earned enough points to get a $20 product for free. But I think I’ll enjoy the PetitVour products more, so that’s good enough for me.

If I had unlimited disposable income, I’d subscribe to multiple, multiple boxes. Alas, you noticed I mentioned the children.

But I like them, so for now, PetitVour and iBBeautiful are the boxes we’re enjoying around here.



Cruelty Free Skin care

I changed my mind. I’m a LUSHie now.

July 6, 2015

Hi, my name is Lee Ann and I’m… Ah, you know the rest.

Admittedly, I’m a product addict. I feel loyalty to very few brands, and have a need to try them all–yes all!  I’ve been known to purchase, use, and discard a product within hours. No, I probably did not give it a fair chance. Yes, I know it is wasteful and excessive. Yes, I feel guilty but do it again and again. (We can discuss commitment issues another time.)  Ironically, beauty products are something I have to be one hundred percent sure about before showing true loyalty to the brand. Yet, I’ll jump from brand to brand not finding much I really love. Expensive to budget-friendly, I’ve used and abused many a beauty product, only finding a handful I’m sold on.

As I get older and become more aware of my waste and its impact, I find myself investigating a product more before purchasing it. This 40s ReStyle has me doing things differently. After attempting to go Cruelty-Free and FINALLY listening to my co-blogger, I researched LUSH Cosmetics. LUSH, with all its vegan-this and natural-that, was intimidating at first. I felt scared, excited, overwhelmed, and elated all at once. It’s where I decided to make my entrance into the Cruelty-Free world, though. I call it losing my LUSH virginity. I even posted about it here.

I first got excited about LUSH after looking online. After I felt comfortable with the entire premise, I embraced it. Recycled packaging, minimal waste, and charitable giving were all ideas I could support. So many of their products looked interesting, but I couldn’t smell and feel the items that interested me most.  Problem solved on a recent vacation. I stumbled across a LUSH store.  Within minutes I went from “LUSH virgin” to…well…”LUSH experienced.”

From the baskets of bath bombs to the shelves of soaps, the store was enticing.  At LUSH, I could have broken the bank, but didn’t because they are wonderful about giving samples. After I told the sales associate that I did not have a LUSH store near me, she proceeded to shower me with sample after sample to try and purchase later online if I chose. By the way, she was just about the most helpful sales person I’ve come across in a long time. She knew her products and gave me legitimate advice. A personal pet peeve I have is any store associate passing out bad/misleading/dangerous information to make a sale. She wasn’t overly clingy or overly complimentary. Both are pluses in my book, as well. The entire LUSH experience was better than most stores I’ve been in recently.

Now that I’m “experienced” in LUSH ways, there are some products I’d recommend. I’m still exploring and there is always something new, but here’s what I love so far.

  • The Dirty product line is fabulous. It’s for men or women and smells so clean. Im not a lover of unisex smells, but I am a fan of clean smells. It’s amazing.
  • Also try Fresh Farmacy facial cleanser. It’s great for oily skin. This cleanser gives a squeaky clean feeling.
  • The tea tree toner.
  • Ice Blue soap.
  • Steamers feel so good on your skin.
  • Of course, the bath bombs, bubble bars, and lip balms are fabulous.
  • Many of the soaps are cut off a larger block, weighed, and wrapped for you when you purchase them. That was cool.

The black pots the lotions, facial scrubs, shampoos, and conditioners come in are encouraged to be recycled back to the store. Makes sense.  They also have a charitable product with all proceeds going to a charity on a rotating basis. Love. Love. Love. There are bunches of unique items such as solid shampoo and conditioner, shower jellies, and massage bars to make LUSH unique.

Wander around a store or the website to get a feel for what LUSH is all about. It’s worth it.  Don’t be a LUSH virgin. Add this brand to your list of brands to show a little love.