Cruelty Free Beauty Review #2

A few month into this whole ‘switching to cruelty free beauty products‘ adventure, things haven’t changed much since my last post on the topic.

Finding information hasn’t become any easier, but every once in a while, you do come across a few things worth trying out – some resulting in immediate adoption into your skincare routine, and other not quite delivering on their promises.

So here it is – my latest instalment of the good, the bad and the extraordinary of cruelty free beauty!

Cruelty Free Beauty review • The Good, The Bad & The Extraordinary • Cake + Whisky

The Good

Fair Squared Argan Facial Cream Light*

I’ve recently run out of my impressive stock of my former face moisturiser of choice, so I’ve been trying a few alternatives lately.

Amongst the lot was Fair Squared’s argan facial cream and while it’s a good face cream and I’m still absolutely smitten with the brand, I’m a bit torn.

The product composition is obviously great (Fair Squared’s products are not only cruelty free, but also vegan, certified Fair Trade and Natrue), the texture is lovely but I’m not sure it was the best match for my skin at the time.

It might have been my fault. I have combination skin and I started using it before it became properly cold so it was a bit rich.

Now that the days have grown colder, it is a much better match though. So if you have dryer skin or you’re looking for something to use this winter, give it a go – it’ll work wonders!


One of the biggest changes I wanted to make this year was to switch to non-disposable menstrual products.

I was terrified so it took me a while to put this into action, but I finally took the plunge and got myself a mooncup.

It wasn’t the easiest switch to make – it take a bit of practice to make it truly comfortable, and the cleaning process definitely rules the menstrual cup out if you’re the squeamish kind.

So yeah, good overload but still a bit of a work in progress.

That said, not running the risk of putting bleach into my private parts and not having to get my hands anywhere near one of those gross menstrual product disposable bin things is absolutely priceless.

The Bad

Tisserand Rose Deodorant

Let me tell you something – finding a good cruelty free deodorant is no easy fate.

So when I found this little number in my local TKMAXX, I was quite excited to say the least – it was affordable, not complitely impossible to find in the UK and it smelt divine.

The only problem is – it’s rather useless as a deodorant. As in, you’ll be good for about 30 min and then it’s back to being a sweaty, smelly mess. So yeah, not exactly ideal…

The Extraordinary

BareMinerals Total Cleansing Oil

I’m a big cleansing oil advocate.

In my book, nothing beats it when it comes to removing hefty waterproof eye make up without having to scrub like crazy.

And BareMinerals’ is the best I’ve ever tried. The texture is perfect (thick and very sensory), it smells divine (quite herbal with a touch of lavender), doesn’t burnt your eye AT ALL and removes all your make up perfectly.

So yeah, that one’s in it for the long run!

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

I’m not entirely sure what it is, but my skin has simply been the worst lately.

Is it the crazy weather swings? Stress-related hormone peaks? Too much chocolate? Not enough water? Some other mystery reason I’ll never ever find out about? All of the above? Whatever the cause is, I haven’t quite manage to figure it out just yet.

So in the meantime, I’m treating the symptoms (aka all those lovely spots that simply won’t stop appearing on my chin).

And Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is simply the best for this. Seriously – I’ve tried A LOT of those over the years – nothing comes close.

Definitely one that’s good to have in the bathroom cabinet just in case!

REN Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Cream

I’ve already raved about this eye cream in my last cruelty free beauty edit and I’m still absolutely in love with it.

The texture is a sort of very light gel that dries to feel a bit like aloe vera gel. It really helps keeping the thin, fragile eye contour area moisturised and comfortable.

An all-year-round lifesaver!

Next on the ‘to try’ block

Korres Shampoo

I’ve loved every Korres product I’ve ever tried sofar (this thing is especially A++) so I hope the shampoo I recently picked up from TKMAXX (an excellent source of cruelty free beauty finds!) is just as dreamy as the rest!

Do you have any cruelty free beauty faves? What do I need to get my hands on? Hook a combination skin girl desperately looking for a good moisturiser & deodorant up!

*Press sample.

Cruelty Free Beauty Review #2

Cruelty free beauty – Edit #1

Making the decision to switch to more ethical consumer products is one thing. Implementing said decision is another.

Cruelty Free Beauty • Edit #1 • Cake + Whisky

Truth be told, it’s not all been quiiiite as easy as I thought this would be.

Part of it is liked to my neighbours insists on filling our food waste caddy with their empty coffee cups ?.

Part of it is because ethical choices are usually less convenient, and information can be difficult to find.

Cruelty Free Beauty • Edit #1 • Cake + Whisky

Especially when it comes to cruelty free beauty, since there is no legal definition.

Which means that no matter how many links you click on & how many pages you read on the back of an innocent ‘brand name + cruelty free’ Google search you make, there are times when you will still not get any conclusive answer.

That can be quite discouraging at first, but if you dig deep enough, there are absolute gems to be found!

Cruelty Free Beauty • Edit #1 • Cake + Whisky

Fair Squared’s Apricot Shampoo*

Now, I know the idea was to replace products for a cruelty-free alternative as and when I run out. But I simply couldn’t wait to try this one. And how right I was not to!

Free from parabens and Laureth Sulfate, and smelling absolutely delicious, Fair Squared’s Apricot Shampoo is simply the dream! Its light texture is easy to rince and leaves your hair smooth, soft and shiny.

Not to mention the fact that Fair Squared is probably one of the most ethical beauty companies around (their products are not only cruelty free, but also vegan, certified Fair Trade and Natrue) and has one of the most impressive range.

I don’t know about you, but I aprican’t wait to try more!

Urtekram’s Nordic Berry range

Another berry good discovery from award-winning, Danish organic beauty pioneer brand Urtekram!

Founded in 1972, Urtekram is renowned for creating plant-based products which are wholesome and natural.

Packed with vitamins and antioxidants derived from traditional Nordic Berries including Seabuckthorn, blueberries, cranberries and rosehip, the Nordic Berry range includes all the products you need for a full ethic body ‘n’ hair routine.

The body lotion* is my favourite sofar because of its light (it gets absorbed in seconds) yet very moisturising texture and its delicate, subtle scent.

I’m also looking forward to trying out the repairing conditioner* -aloe usually works wonder on me- and I’m looking closely into their toothpaste & deodorant ranges…

Hurraw lip balm

These have been a favourite of mine for several years now and if you haven’t tried them yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!

They are the best lip balms I’ve ever tried. I’ve tried A LOT and nothing comes even close.

All Hurraw products are cruelty free, vegan, non-GMOs and mainly made of organic ingredients. There’s a huuuuuge range of scents to choose from (my favourite is Earl Grey). And they’re really easy to find too (on Amazon, or at Whole Foods, Planet Organic and other natural food and beauty stores).

To which I say: hip-hip-hurraw!

Ren Instant Brightening Beauty Shot eye cream

With the heat and the increased pollution levels resulting from it, the skin around my eyes has been unusually dry and itchy lately, so I decided to give this little thing a try.

I can’t really give you any information on the brand’s anti-aging promises. But what I can vouch for the moisturizing and calming effect of it. The texture is a sort of very light gel that dries to feel a bit like aloe vera gel and really helps soothe itchy eye lids.

An absolute sore eye Summer dream!

Do you have any cruelty free beauty faves? What do I need to get my hands on? Hook a (newly converted) girl up!

*Press sample.

Cruelty free beauty – Edit #1

7 Ways I’m Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical

Now that we’re -finally- settled into our new home, there’s finally space in my brain to move forward with making different aspects of our life more in phase with our personal ethics.

Truth be told, making ethically-proofed consumer choices is no easy task.

7 Ways I'm Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical • Cake + Whisky

There’s so much to consider. So many fronts to fight on. And once you start digging, it seems like the list gets longer and longer. Because the thing is, sustainability is a complicated thing and reconsidering an entire lifestyle isn’t easy in any way.

So this whole ethical consumer journey of mine might well end up being a lifetime project sort of thing.

7 Ways I'm Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical • Cake + Whisky

Which doesn’t mean I (and you) can’t start doing smart, small changes right now to improve our ethical footprint and make a big difference to the environment, animals and other people.

Here’s what I’m starting with:

Reducing household waste

Top of my list of things I want to make a significant change about is reducing the amount of household waste we send to landfill by at least half.

1. Pay attention to what goes into the rubbish bin.

The first step to reduce household waste is to figure out what actually makes its way into my rubbish bin.

So for the past week or so, I’ve been paying extra attention to what I put inthere. And the results are in: half of it is food waste (fruit & veg peelings, bones, tea leaves…), the other half is non-recyclable packaging (with a few other bits such as paper tissues and other personal care bits thrown in as well).

This was an easy step to take and yet a very important one. Finding out what you’re throwing away will allow you to single out what next step makes sense for you on your rubbish-reduction journey.

2. Check how your local council can help with recycling.

From recycling bins, compost boxes and collection services and more, most local councils offer free or low-cost solutions to help you reduce your household waste. So find out what recyclable materials can be collected from your kerbside.

As far as I’m concerned, that means a shiny new recycling box is on my way, as well as a food waste caddy so those items can be upcycled & composted instead of ging to landfill.

3. Buy fruit & vegetables at the market or greengrocers.

One – it’s much cheaper to do so than to buy those items from the supermarket anyways. Two – Fruit & veg have absolutely no need to be kept in those little, non-recyclable plastic wrapper things. Three – You’ll be supporting people instead of corporations.

Win, win, win.

4. Start using non-disposable feminin hygiene products.

Now, this one terrifies me, but here it is: I, tampons no.1 supporter, am thinking of switching to a mooncup. Good luck wishes and advice welcome.

Rethinking transports

5. Walk, cycle, sleep, repeat.

If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of cycling bikes. And yet, for about 2 months now, they’ve been my main means of transport!

It saves me a lot of time (not having to wait for the bus is an absolute game-changer) and money (£90/year to use the Santander bikes whenever you want you guys!), it helps me feel healthier AND I’m having a near-zero carbon footprint.

Fair to say I’m LOVING it sofar!

Making my purchases count

6. Switch to cruelty free beauty

There are now excellent alternative to animal testing (and the cruelty-free certification is a free one), so companies have absolutely no reason not to keep outdated and cruel practices going.

That’s why I’m slowing switching to cruelty free beauty and personal care items, following this simple rule: whenever I finish something, I’ll replace it with a cruelty free alternative.

7. Keep reducing how much of my groceries come from supermarkets.

I’ve talked about it before – reducing my reliance on supermarkets has been an ongoing goal of mine for a while now, and it’s still going strong today.

I do most of my grocery shopping via Farmdrop, with a few visits to local markets and food stores when I’m after something specific. It does take a bit of getting used to (the opening hours aren’t quite as convenient as traditional supermarkets). But in the end, it is quite manageable. And a small price to pay to have access to fresh, local (and not too over-packaged) ingredients and support small producers instead of big corporations.

What ethical considerations affect your consumer choices? What steps are you taking to make things change?

7 Ways I’m Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical

Aaand relax! Himalayan Ritual massage at Thai Square Spa

I have a massive confession to make.

I’m not really a massage sort of person. (please don’t throw stones at me!)

Now, I know many people swear by them for relaxation and health purposes, but I always struggle to let things go to benefit fully from it.

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

However, learning to let things go and trying new things are two of the things I want to focus on this year (am I the only one making new year’s resolutions on my birthday?)

So when an email popped into my mail box, inviting me to try out Thai Square Spa‘s new Himalayan Ritual Massage ON MY BIRTHDAY, I decided it was clearly a sign and that it was time for me to give this massage thing another chance!

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

Housed within a beautifully converted Victorian Turkish bath on Northumberland Avenue, the venue itself is breath-taking.

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

With the eclectic mix of Thai, Roman, and Turkish spa décor element, Thai Square Spa is a peaceful environment to nurture the spirit of modern life.

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

Spread over two floors, Thai Square Spa offers extensive facilities, including a dozen massage rooms, Vichy Shower treatment room as well as an ice fountain, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, as well as an in-house beauty salon… the very definition of a restorative haven!

But the prettiest of all the pretty rooms?

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

Thai Square Spa’s unique Himalayan Salt Room, where the Himalayan Ritual Massage is performed. Complete with authentic Himalayan Salt walls and white sand for a floor!

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

Found deep within the rivers and valleys of the Himalayan Mountains, these salts have been celebrated for centuries for their healing properties, and the Himalayan Rituan Massage promises to reduce stress, relieve pain and soreness.

Thanks to the use of essential oils and fruit & flower extract, it also detoxifies, hydrates and soften the skin and leave you soothed and relaxed. It can also helps with some medical conditions such as psoriasis or acne, reduces stress and promotes a better night’s sleep.

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

The massage itself is a 1 hour, full body massage combining various Oriental massage techniques, allowing for the ultimate personalised therapy.

A true haven for all the senses that made me a total massage convert!

Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

There’s something so relaxing about letting go of all your every day worries and focus on just being while you get massaged and smoothed until you feel completely melted.

So if the pressure of the London life is getting the best of you, there’s only one thing to do: take half a day off, and book yourself an afternoon at Thai Square Spa.

By the time you get out, I garantee you won’t even remember what it was you were stressing over. Utter bliss indeed!

Check the full range of treatments & services available here

Thai Square Spa, 25 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5AP


Himalayan Ritual Massage at London's Thai Square Spa | Cake + Whisky

I was invited by Thai Square Spa to rewiew their new Himalayan Ritual Massage, but all love of pink salt bricks & life-changing opinion of massage therapy my own. Pictures courtesy of Thai Square Spa and Scarlett PR.

Aaand relax! Himalayan Ritual massage at Thai Square Spa

6 beauty new-ins #1

I already said it and I’ll say it again: I’d be the worst beauty blogger in the world.

But does it stops me from buying loads of beauty stuff? Nooooo! Of course not! And I’ve been especially pro-active on that front lately… 🙈🙈🙈
10 Beauty New-Ins, July 2015 | Cake + WhiskyThe worst part is, I’m been using most of those every day since I got them. How did I even live before, I have no idea!

Like toe separators. Those really shouldn’t be a revolution in anyone’s life in the 21st century, and yet until last week, I ended up with nailpolish all over my toes for lack of having purchased that most necessary accessory, but this mistake is now fixed at last.

The Bath & Beauty Works’ mini hand sanitizers I obviously brought back from my US trip after having heard literally EVERYONE raving about it on YouTube. It was a bit of a challenge for me to find sents I actually liked (I’m not much of a sickly-sweet perfume fan…) but I really like how small the bottles are (so convenient to carry them around!) and I’m really happy I got my hads on those.

Having struggle to apply my Bourgeois Bronzing Powder for far too long, I finally took the plunge and got myself a shiny brand-new RealTechniques Coutour brush. It’s so soft and I recently caught myself dreaming of a pillow made of the exact same material… (oh, and it makes applying bronzer SO easy too, in case you were wondering…)

My absolute favourite amongst my new beauty purchases is most probably that Essie nailpolish I picked up in Macy’s on my last day in New York. The name itself (Pret-A-Surfer) is THE BEST and the colour (the perfect mix of blue and lavender) is the one I had been looking for forever. Quest achieved.

With new nailpolish always comes new nailpolish remover (or am I the only one always running out of nailpolish remover when I’d most need to have it at hands?). I bought those little Superdry nailpolish remover pads mainly for the compact size of them but I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised with how great they did their job and will definitely re-purchase those again in the future (and not just because the box is the cuttest and I can think of a billion way to re-purpose it…)

Last but not least, that Shea Butter Cleasing Oil from L’Occitane is SO GREAT it’s made me want to take my make-up off EVERY SINGLE NIGHT without any exception at all. Which if you know me and how lazy I am when it comes to beauty stuff, is quite a revolution really! It’s so thick and it leaves your skin all soft and comfortable, I can’t get enough of it! And don’t even get me started on the smell…

*Not pictured* Josie Marant’s Coconut Watercolour blush (which is the prettiest blush I’ve EVER used); and the cutest lipstick EVER…

What are your latest beauty discoveries? Anything I should know about, now that I have the essentials covered? 

6 beauty new-ins #1

My 10 beauty favourites of all time.

When it comes to beauty products, I am very much a creature of habit. Many because my skin has a bit of a temper and strongly reacts ever single time I try out something new (until it gets used to it, that is). So I almost never get around to try new things, unless some of my favourites get discontinued (end of the world). I would be the worst beauty blogger ever.


But i figured that, since thy’ve served me so well for such a long time, it was about time I pay a tribute to 10 beauty products I love (and cross everything that they never ever stop being sold!)

1. Eau de Parfum, Chloé: I fell in love 5 years ago, when I was looking for a “signature” scent. My skin being acidic, a lot of perfumes don’t stay on me/ start smelling funny after a few minutes (sexyyy!). But not this one, thanks god!

2. Moisture-rich Body Lotion, Clarins: Rich but gets absorbed SO quickly and doesn’t leave your skin sticky/oily. THE most decadent body moisturizer ever. It doesn’t come cheap, but is worth every penny.

3. Le Vernis Rouge Noir (#18), Chanel: It has the most fantastic colour. I’ve worn it all winter and I’m still not bored of it. I smile every single time I look at my nails. #InLove

4. Exfoliating gel, Lexel Paris: THE BEST exfoliating gel I have EVER tried. And I’ve tried A LOT. And it smells DIVINELY good. The only issue being that it’s quite difficult to find on this side of the Chanel.

5. Aqua Smoky Lash mascara, Make Up For Ever: Make-Up Forever has FINALLY made it to London. Which means I won’t have to cry on the phone to get my mum to send me this little wonder! *little dance of happiness*

6. Make Up Remover Oil, Mixa: I’ve never really liked water cleasing lotions (is it just me or do other people feel like their skin is left weirdly sticky?), and since I wear waterproof mascara (see above), oil makes a lot more sense for me anyway. I love this one because it smells so nice (a rose-y sort of thing), but it’s not sold in the UK, so I’m probably going to try out the L’Occitane one once I finish my stocks.

7. Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet, Caudalie: The only face moisturizer that doesn’t turn my combination skin into a complete mess. The texture is somewhat odd (more like a serum than a moisturizer), but it works for me.

8. C me smile Lip Butter, Yes to Carrots: Everyone needs some lip balm in their life. I have tried many (I went through a lip balm collection phase at some point), but this is the one I’d buy immediately if I ever were to run out (not happening any time soon though!).

9. Sephora Twizzers: I can’t live without twizzers. So much so that when in my first year of uni, we had to bring along the one thing we couldn’t live without for one of my German conversation classes, I brought twizzers along. Back then, I had pink ones, but they died a tragic death. So I bought the exact same ones in yellow and now my life is back in track!

10. Stay Matte Powder, Rimmel: It keeps the skin perfectly matte for hours without having to worry about re-applying any. Oh, and it’s cheap as chips too (especially if like me, you take advantage of some crazy offers!).

What are the beauty products you can’t live without? Anything I absolutely must try? 

My 10 beauty favourites of all time.