In Which Jenn Reviews Cruelty-Free Products

I alluded to this in my last round of random product reviews, but to make it official: a couple years ago I went strictly cruelty-free when it comes to makeup. Medical testing, in my opinion, is a separate ethical debate, but I see absolutely no reason why we should make animals suffer purely for the purposes making select portions of my face a different color. I just don’t need it.

Mind you, I do sometimes want it, and luckily there are plenty of cruelty-free companies out there who can help me out. My personal code is that if a company is cruelty-free but its parent company isn’t, I will still consider it cruelty-free since I’m still voting with my dollar. I’m also not as concerned with veganism in my products, just that no one is mean to them during any part of the process. Your own standards may be more strict or more lax than mine. It’s up to you!

If you are interested in making some part of your cosmetics consumption cruelty-free, here’s an important thing to know: companies can be pretty tricky about it. Even if the company itself never tests its products on animals, that can be rendered moot in two ways: they can get components of their products from companies that aren’t cruelty-free, or they can sell in China.

That’s right, ANY cosmetics brand that sells in China is NOT cruelty-free. China has a post-market animal testing policy, wherein any product on a shelf in a store in China can be pulled and tested on animals. Yes, even though it’s already been approved for sale. No, I don’t get it either.

There are a couple loopholes as I understand it – I think maybe airports don’t have the same requirements? – but generally speaking, if a brand sells in China it’s not cruelty-free and that’s all.

Why am I telling you all this? Because cruelty-free beauty is the theme of this round of random product reviews! Every one of the below items is kind to animals and it makes me happy. So let’s start off with

HAIRCARE
Maple Holistics Argan Oil Shampoo. DISCLAIMER! I received a bottle of this shampoo for free, but with no obligation to give a good review. I can assure you I strive to be fair and balanced when I review anything, regardless of how I got it.

Now, on to the argan oil shampoo! Despite being sulfate-free, this shampoo lathers easily, with a pleasantly robust texture and no scent worth noticing. It made my hair soft soft sooooft – I’d consider a great dupe of the classic Morrocanoil shampoo, only Moroccanoil isn’t cruelty-free so eff ’em.

Here’s the thing, though: my hair is fine, and by consequence already pretty soft. Softening it further kinda sucks the life out of it, and certainly deflates my naturally wavy texture. If you have something similar going on, I’d recommend the tea tree oil shampoo instead (I like how it gets rid of scalp buildup that can weigh down hair). If you have a coarser texture that could use some softening up, or if you like to add your volume products post-shower, go for it.

Not sure? No worries! Maple Holistics offers an impressive sampling program that’ll let you try just about anything as far as I can tell. Have at it.

**All other products listed below were NOT sponsored or gifted in any capacity and I have no relationship with any of their parent companies. I bought this stuff of my own accord, kids.**

Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. Hooray! A cheap, easily accessible cruelty-free dry shampoo! NYM’s version comes both unscented and in a “warm sugar” smell that makes me think of vanilla with a hint of chalk. You need a pretty thorough spray down to get the full effect and your hair is gonna have a white cast to start. Don’t panic! By the time you brush it all through it’ll be invisible. Trust me; I dye my hair as close to black as brown can reasonably get and I’ve had no troubles after a good brush-out.

SKINCARE
Sheet masks. Who doesn’t love a good sheet mask? They’re extra great for when you’re traveling solo and want to schedule a brief relaxation period. I believe these originated in Korea, and many would argue that the Koreans have perfected the genre. Thing is, a LOT of Korean brands sell in China. One that doesn’t? Creme Shop! I recently found this brand in CVS, tried their egg white sheet mask, and loved it. I need to try more!

More readily accessible: the Miss Spa face masks I see at Target seem to be cruelty-free. I wasn’t impressed with the bee venom one but the hydrate version is always good. A little research suggests the whimsical Animalz face masks are cruelty-free too, but I haven’t tried any yet. Maybe for next time?

MAKEUP
Foundation with SPF. I’ve been playing around with some drugstore SPF foundation options, because I find them extremely useful when touring Walt Disney World (or any outdoor activity, for that matter). No one wants their vacation ruined by a painfully sunburnt face!

This has been a somewhat more challenging adventure, as a lot of the BB creams with SPF I’ve used in the pass are owned by companies that test on animals. (Looking at you, Maybelline Dream BB Cream. D:)

I found the e.l.f. BB cream with SPF 15 to be entirely too dark for my complexion, and Sonia Kashuk’s version felt too thick. I briefly landed upon a Physician’s Formula cushion compact with SPF 50 (!!!!), and while I like it for its high protection powers it’s so sheer it’s barely worth wearing. Also, it seems to be on clearance everywhere so we may never be able to buy it again.

Right now what’s working for me is e.l.f.’s Beautifully Bare Foundation Serum with SPF 25. The fair shade works on my skin, and although it’s sheer it’s also buildable up to a low-medium coverage as needed. I love how it sinks into my skin weightlessly and makes my skin soft with vitamin E and goji berry among other things. It’s a little price-y for e.l.f. but at $8 it’s still not an investment.

All that being said – I’m open to more SPF foundation suggestions? Cheap, cruelty-free suggestions, naturally. I see Wet ‘n Wild has a cushion compact with SPF too…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if Ruffian becomes aware of
anything ever she will assume it’s for her.

As always, if you’d like me to expand any of these reviews or product topics into a full post, let me know! I’m thinking I might do cheap running gear next…

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Receives An Influenster Vox Box

Wanna hear something weird? Influenster believes you are interested in my opinions! I can tell because, against all odds, they sent me their Spice Vox Box, full of stuff I did not pay for. I am nothing if not chock full of integrity, however, so you can be sure that the following thoughts are devoid of bias. You can tell because sometimes the things I say aren’t complimentary; which is another way of saying this may be my last Vox Box. Time will tell!

So what was in this, my first and potentially final box? Well…

Good Health Veggie Stix – Made with broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, and the like, these are definitely a healthier alternative to potato chips. They’re not a substitute texturally, and are strangely a little greasy, but if you’re craving something salty it’s not a bad pick. I wouldn’t buy these on the regular but it would make a great road trip or airplane snack.

Not Your Mother’s Whip It Up Mousse (FB) – This stuff comes out like whipped cream and smells like vanilla frosting. All major pros in my book but don’t give it to your toddler unless you fancy a call to poison control. I’ve used it in my hair a couple times, applying it wet and then blowing dry, and it worked nicely enough, but I did not notice enough difference to label this a must-have or miracle product. I’d buy it on sale but not go out of my way for it.

Boots Botanics 81% Organic Hydrating Day Cream – I was skeptical of this product from the start, especially since my facial skin can be temperamental. The texture of this cream is thick in the jar but comes out on your fingers much thinner, which threw me off, and once soaked into my face I thought I detected a waxy residue. But having used it several days in a row, I found it really did leave my face looking pretty good, soft and even. And this next bit will be a love-or-hate thing for potential buyers: you can REALLY smell the rosehip oil. I loved the smell, which lingers on your face for a bit, but if you’re sensitive to scents or prefer something more neutral, skip. Otherwise, give it a shot. Major bonus: cruelty-free!

Sinful Colors Nail Polish & Topcoat – I lasted painted my toenails… I want to say… two and a half years ago? And the last time I can actively remember painting my fingernails was in 8th grade. You could say I’m not the target market for this product, but I’ll give them this: the deep, rich red they sent me ALMOST tempted me into trying it. Who knows; I might slap this on my toes someday. Further updates as events warrant, but until then I give this a hearty ???

Yogi Tea – I received two flavors, vanilla spice and tangerine. Neither are really in my wheelhouse (I’m a mint and/or green tea girl), but both did the job. I was not blown away by either flavor but the vanilla spice was excellent from a thematic perspective when I was wrapping Christmas presents. I recommend you add a little sugar to really bring out the vanilla notes.

Foot Petals Kill Kushionz – There were two models of shoe augmenters sent in these boxes, and of course I got the one I don’t have much call to use: the one for heels. I don’t wear heels much because a) I like to walk really fast and b) my boyfriend is max two inches taller than me and while neither of us care from a symbolic perspective if I’m taller it’s not really conducive to good times if you’re constantly addressing your words over your date’s head, y’know? Next time I do bust out some heels, I’ll let you know if these are worth the money. In the meantime, Foot Petals, if you want me to send those boot inserts, they would get a VERY THOROUGH REVIEW.

And now, saving the best for last…

Soapbox Soaps Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner – LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. I’m not going to go into too much detail just yet because I’m trying to arrange a discount code or giveaway from the company earlyish next year, but suffice it to say you should buy some right now. It does nice things for my hair AND it’s animal-safe, which is very important to me. Never looking back!

There you have it: a bunch o’ opinions from me.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!