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cruelty free

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

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

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

ipsy… or don’tsy?

July 21, 2015

It’s no secret that Michele and I are fans of subscription boxes. I’ve been getting the Ipsy Glam Bag for several months, and here are some of my thoughts on the bag.


Ipsy is a monthly subscription of cosmetics, skin care, and perfume.
It costs $10 a month.
Cancel at anytime for no charge.
The bag contains 5-6 items each month.
All items are sample size.
Ipsy has a points system to earn free items by rating products and sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Some products that have been in past bags are available for sale.

It only costs $10 a month to try new beauty products.
Cancellation is simple.
Samples let you try a product before purchasing a potentially pricy item.
Receiving a little goodie in the mail each month is fun.
A profile including your likes and dislikes, favorite products, skin type, and personal style help to customize your bag.
IpsyCare answers emails promptly and politely. Their customer service rocks.

There is no option to choose cruelty-free products.
Most items in the Glam Bag are not cruelty-free (if that kind of thing bothers you).
Even after filling out the profile, products still seem to be very generic.
It takes forever to accumulate enough points to get a free item, unless you want to bombard your friends with Facebook and Twitter posts about your Glam Bag each month.
When you have accumulated enough points for a free item, there are usually only a couple items available.
Items available for points, or to purchase, go fast.

I’m known for being the queen of indecision when it comes to beauty products. I can love and hate a product in a few short hours. You’d think a bag of samples would be right up my alley. No beauty product has made me waffle more than this bag.  While the anticipation was enticing, the let-down was equally disappointing.

I always had high hopes for the next bag, but usually only found one or two products I liked enough to keep and use. The others I passed on to friends. There were also very few products I purchased later because of Ipsy. After the new wore off, it seemed to take forever to collect enough points for a free item. The bottom line is that the anticipation and excitement kept me going, while the desire to collect points for a free item kept me from canceling the subscription all together.

Weigh the pros and cons for yourself. It is a great way to introduce yourself to the subscription game at a low cost. However, I will probably use my money on a cruelty-free box in the future.


Photo Credit: Amber

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.

Skin care

Cruelty-free Products Worth the Fight

June 8, 2015

As I get older, I learn to pick my battles. In my younger years, I was passionate about everything…for about 10 minutes. As I go through my 40s ReStyle, I find some causes don’t affect me like they did when I was 20. Other issues I just can’t ignore. For example, I am not a member of PETA. (I like pretty leather purses and shoes.) Vegan products don’t interest me much. I am not swayed by the all-natural trend.  BUT…animal testing for beauty products and fragrances that, in all honesty, are no more than luxuries, upsets me.

There are all sorts of opinions out there. Medical research is one area I’m sure that there are arguments for animal testing. I am not drawing a line in the sand.  I know that with this, and many other issues associated with animal testing, there is A LOT of gray area. I am not trying to persuade anyone to support or discard one brand or another. I am all about making informed decisions, though.

Armed with all the information I can find as I go through MY own 40s ReStyle, I am making better, more informed decisions about how I spend my money on luxury items.   From now on, I will seek out products created by companies that do not test on animals.

I wish I had known all this when I revamped my entire skin regime a few months ago. The Origins products appealed to me when I was looking. I bought it, and it works well. I doubt I’ll buy it anymore. The company does animal testing. Come on Origins!  We could have been a great match!  I had already recommended you to so many people.

I was angry when I read the article, but I’m renewed in my quest for quality products that I feel good about.  I was skeptical too, so I read other articles and visited product websites. After weighing my options and with a bit of sadness, I leave behind brands like Origins, Benefit, Coach, and Urban Decay.  I will miss you a bit. Yet as I research cruelty-free beauty products, I find there is so much out there. There will be other products to love and recommend. In fact, there are some smaller companies, as well as big name brands, and quirky little lines I find incredibly interesting. I suppose this 40sRestyle is all a process. It is definitely all about learning and changing for the better.

Skin care

Don’t Test on Fido. Really.

June 7, 2015

I’m a bit of a hippie, worried about the planet and the things and people on it. I carry my reusable bags to the market, recycle just anything possible, and want to make sure the products I buy are helping, not hurting the Earth. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that several of my favorite brands are not Cruelty Free.

After reading this, I was reminded that I need to pay more attention to the brands I use. Cruelty Free Kitty has several posts about which products that are cruelty free and which aren’t. That blog is about to become my new go-to site before I try a new brand.

And I’m going to have to review the brands I already use. It’s a process, though, because there are levels, people. Just because one brand doesn’t test on animals, that doesn’t mean its parent company doesn’t. And some brands are owned by companies that do medical research, which is an entirely different situation. In my opinion, there is no one right answer. Everyone has to make his or her own decision.

For now, for me, in every case possible, I’m going to avoid brands and companies that do any animal testing. A 40s ReStyle doesn’t mean giving up what I believe in about the world around me.

Unfortunately, that means giving up brands I enjoy. If you read my post about my skin care plan, you know I primarily use LUSH and Neutrogena products. Of the two, I’ll be keeping the LUSH. So I’ll be looking for something new here soon.

I’ll also be working through some of my makeup brands and doing some replacing of some of those. I’m thankful that most of the brands I enjoy are on the good list, certified by Leaping Bunny and approved by PETA. A few, though (I’m looking at you Benefit), not so much. If you look through the good list and see something you love, let me know. I’m happily taking suggestions.


Photo Credit: Logan Ingalls