Skimlinks Test

5 Of My Favourite Affordable Make Up Brands.

I love splashing the cash on new make up. My bank balance, on the other hand, does not. Make up and beauty products can be very expensive, but fear not! Recently I have been trying out a lot more affordable make up brands and I am really impressed. More often than not the quality has been just as good (and in some cases even better) as more expensive, high end brands and you won’t have to take out a second mortgage – everyone’s a winner.

Here are my top 5 that I have been experimenting with over the past few months and some of my favourite products they have in their collection.

Collection Cosmetics 

Collection Cosmetics were all the rage in the beauty Instagram world a while back with their Lasting Collection Concealer. If I am not mistaken, this did result it them upping the price, but you can still get your hands on this concealer for under £5, so still pretty good. I have been using this concealer for about a year now and love it. I wouldn’t say it can compete with my NARS concealer, however, it is still very good and the concealer I go to on a daily basis. It has excellent coverage and lasts for a long time without creasing loads.

Collection Cosmetics have loads of other great products and they are all very affordable. They have the prettiest blushers and bronzers for whatever finish you’re looking for and these are only £2.99, which is great if you’re on a budget. I have yet to try any of their lip products but I will definitely be making a purchase as they have a huge range of different products and colours that are right up my street.


No surprises here – I adore this brand. It is cruelty free, has an excellent range of products and colours and it is so affordable. You might remember in my May and June favourites this brand made an appearance for their incredible eye shadow palettes (25 shades for £8, my favourite is Burning Embersand their lipsticks (£1 each! I am still shook). 

I have been trying a load of their products recently, from highlighters to primers and I have to say, I am impressed. I also recently reviewed their Silent Disco palette, which was only £4 and is full of super fun and vibrant shades! How beautiful is this?

Soap and Glory 

A little more expensive than the others but certainly not overly expensive, Soap and Glory is a favourite of mine for both skin care, make up and bath products. I could go on and on about all the products I love from this brand (and I probably will do in a future blog post) but for now we will focus on make up. The Sexy Mother Pucker lip gloss in Candy Queen is one of my favourite glosses on the market. It comes in at £9 but it is huge so will last for ages, plus it is such a wearable and delicate colour! They also have loads of other shades so if you’re looking for a gloss I would seriously recommend these. Also, don’t worry about the tingle! I am a huge wimp when it comes to plumping lip glosses but this is totally fine. I would describe it as a ‘buzz’ rather than anything painful!

Another lip product I love from this brand is the Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick that comes in at £3.50 on their website. Unlike the lip gloss, these don’t tingle at all. They resemble the Clinique Chubby Sticks but, in my opinion, have a lot more pigmented finish. I think all of these colours are super pretty (I got a lot in my Christmas Advent Calendar) and I have continued to repurchase since.



Saturated Colour 

I first tried this brand a few months back in my Pip Box and I love it. The products are 100% cruelty free and the LIPSStick Moisturising Lipstick I received in my box was also vegan. The LIPSSticks feel so soft on the lips but the colour is so vibrant and beautiful, plus it has excellent staying power. I would recommend Naked Pink for a really beautiful, spring time look. They also have a stunning red, nudes and purples. At only £7, these are super affordable!

They don’t have a huge range of other products. However, another lip product I loved was the Make Me Matte Lipstick Mattifier . This award winning product is totally vegan and transforms glossy or satin lips into a matte finish. It does not feeling drying at all also has great staying power. It’s £8, so pretty affordable, and great for those of you who love a matte lip.

Bourjois Paris

Another brand that has been mentioned a fair few times on my blog, Bourjois Paris is a fab and affordable brand for foundations and face make up. I adore their Healthy Mix Powder and use it every single day either on its own or as a setting powder. The powder is £9.99, which I thought was a little expensive at first, but it is so worth it and lasts for ages. Also £9.99, their Healthy Mix Anti-Fatigue Foundation is such a fab drug store foundation. It gives such a pretty, dewy coverage and lasts pretty well throughout the day. This foundation is definitely be go to on a day to day basis.

I also absolutely love their blush collection and, of course, their Delice De Poudre Bronzing Powder , which will set you back £7.99.

So there you have it, 5 of my favourite affordable make up brands at the moment. You do not have to break the bank when it comes to make up. Just as with high end make up, different formulas and brands work differently for different people and half the fun is experimenting and trying out new things. With these brands, experimenting is a lot less of a risky investment and can be less than your morning coffee. 

What are your favourite affordable make up brands? Let me know in the comments down below. 

Jamie x 

Is Your Vagina Vegan?

Vegan. Once a word most people knew very little about, now fast on the rise, it seems that *everybody* is going vegan. Since trying my best to follow a plant based lifestyle, I can say with confidence that this is only going to continue to grow, which has great implications for the animals, the environment and for our health. You might be vegan, your wellness #inspo might be vegan, you may have even convinced your Mum to try whipping up a vegan take on her classics but… Is your vagina vegan?


Time to abandon the always?

There are plenty of vegan sanitary products on the market right now. Towels, tampons. Menstrual cups and reusable pads. The truth is, I haven’t actually tried any of the products. This blog post comes from a curiosity more than anything and I wanted to share what I have found with you guys. Since doing this research I have decided that I will be giving some of these products a go so stay tuned as there will be a review coming up over the next few months.

My interest came when I came across TOTM on Instagram, a company making 100% organic, vegan sanitary products. I was intrigued. I have never really thought about what went into making my sanitary towels or my tampons, I just used them. Turns out I was not alone. In a survey done by TOTM, 9 out of 10 women did not no what tampons are made of. I am sure, like me, many of these women chose their sanitary products based upon names they know and trust. When you’re spending a week out of every month bleeding you want to be confident that you are not going to be having any accidents. It seems, however, that a large majority these brands do not provide a full list of ingredients. Surely they would have to? Nope. Sanitary products are regulated and approved a medical devices under the FDA, which means companies are under no obligation to share what goes into them. I had never thought about this before, but all of a sudden I felt very protective over my vagina. I decided this needed a bit more digging. I wanted to know about cotton.

Turns out cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop on the planet when it comes to pesticides and insecticides and a 2015 an independent study by the University of La Plata found 85% of tampons tested contained Glyphosate. What is that I hear you ask? Well, Glyphosate is the active ingredient within weed killers and according to WHO is classified as ‘probably carcinogenic’. Probably carcinogenic? I am going to need a little bit more information before I go putting a possible carcinogen up the most sensitive and absorbent part of my body thank you very much.  And then there’s rayon, a man-made material that’s been used since the 1930’s. If that wasn’t enough to make your legs clench, rayon is a material that has been used since the 1930’s and is produced from cellulose. This is a compound extracted from wood pulp and what happens during the extraction process? Well, it creates hydrocarbon dioxin as a by-product. These dioxins can be pretty harmful, not the mention the potentially harmful chemical additives and finishing agents.

But Jamie, people have used these things for years. Surely they can’t be that bad. Well, in terms of health, it probably isn’t as the amount of ‘bad stuff’ is pretty negligible. As Dr. Nita Landry said, there is no data proving that organic tampons are any safer than regular tampons and the FDA do check them for consumer safety so it might not be a shady as we first thought. However, it is not just our health that should be considered. For most people who go vegan, the decision is based upon a variety of different reasons including animal cruelty and the environment. The company, GladRags, known for their reusable pads have a lot to say on the environmental impact of disposable sanitary products. The average person who menstruates will use between 12,000 and 16,000 pads in their life time, which produces a lot of waste and has a huge environmental footprint. When not disposed of properly, sanitary towels contribute to the main source of UK coastal clutter, Sewage Related Debris.


A huge bonus with vegan sanitary products, for me, is the fact that animals are not harmed in the process of making them. These products do not test on animals or have any animal products in them, which is a huge selling point! Mooncup, for example, are approved by the vegan society and were the winners of the 2007 Best Buy Award for Ethical Consumers.  After having a browse, it is safe to say that these products are not cheap. However, many of these companies sell themselves on the fact they are an investment that will save people money in the long run. You only need one Mooncup and apparently that will pay for itself after 6-8 months, after that you’re then saving money. No need to go splashing the cash on always, instead you could throw it into a piggy bank and save up for something nice… like vegan chocolate to get your through the agony that is a period. Similarly, apparently these GladRags can last up to 20 years!

Where do I sign up? It is safe to say that I am sold and will definitely but giving some of these a try. I have yet to decide which of the products I think would be best for me but the sites have little quizzes and loads of information so you ca see which sanitary product will fit in best with your lifestyle. If you are interested in more vegan sanitary companies, I would recommend checking out as this site has a fantastic comprehensive guide and loads of posts on different cruelty free products. As always, my sources are down below.

Jamie x



The Ultimate Guide To Having A Cruelty-Free Period


Mooncup Menstrual Cup


The Pip Box: March Edit Review

Since learning more about the vegan lifestyle I been trying to move towards more vegan, cruelty free beauty products. To help me on my journey the lovely folks at The Pip Box sent me over this month’s subscription box to try out and I am obsessed. For those of you who haven’t heard of The Pip Box, they are a monthly subscription box that deliver at least 5 cruelty-free, vegan beauty products to your door every month. From £13.50 a month, you get products with an average total value of £45 with 50p from every sale being donated to ‘Animal Free Research’.

I have never had a subscription box before. I always worry I am going to get a box full of samples and every month they are going to send over the same stuff that I don’t need in colours that no one else wants. I decided to do a little bit of research about The Pip Box. I knew I loved their cruelty-free ethos, but is it good value for money or did I just get lucky? For starters, The Pip Box ensures every single edit is created bespoke each and every month so no worries about getting the same stuff over and over again. They also promise that every box will contain at least 1 full sized item and will never feature any one-time use sachets. I had a look through some of their previous boxes and, not only are they right on trend for the season, the products in them look fantastic and cover a huge range. For example, here is what was included in the February Pip Box:

Johnny Concert Glamour Amplified Eye shadow (RRP £11.99)

Johnny Concert Glamour Eye shadow brush (RRP £6.50)

Dr. Botanicals Kale Superfood Nourishing Day Moisturisers (RRP £14.90)

Akamuti Chocolate Marshmallow Face Mask (RRP £2.99)

Medusua Makeup Matte Lip Paint (RRP £9.99)

Naissance Argan Virgin Certified Organic Hair Oil (RRP £1.50)

JOMS Fizzy Caramel Snack Pack (RRP £1.25)

Pretty good, huh? Unfortunately, I cannot review these products (JOMS Fizzy Caramel Snack Pack, I’m coming for you…) but I can review the products that were in the March Pip Box. This months box came to a huge £65 worth of goodies, which for £13.50 is madness!

the pip box

Saturated Colour Naked Pink Lipstick (RRP £7)

My favorite product in the box is the Saturated Colour Naked Pink Lipstick (RRP £7). I am a huge lipstick fan and usually go for MAC but, unfortunately, this is not cruelty-free brand. For starters the colour is gorgeous and perfect for spring. It is a soft pink colour and feels really nourishing on your lips. It doesn’t quite have the staying power of MAC but it has such a soft finish. It does not feel thick or like you need a full face of make up to pull it off (today I wore it with some powder and mascara and I was good to go) so it is great for everyday wear. I am a huge fan of this lipstick and the range of colours are fantastic so I will definitely be trying some more of these out.

Make Me Matte Lipstick Mattifier from Saturated Colour (RRP £8)

Next up was the 2016 Beauty Awards shortlisted, Make Me Matte Lipstick Mattifier from Saturated Colour (RRP £8). This product transforms satin or semi gloss lipstick into a sleek, matte finish! I was worried it would feel really dry on my lips but I could hardly feel it and it made my glossy lipstick perfectly matte. My lips did not feel dry at all, which I was really impressed with. I probably wouldn’t buy this product again but not because it isn’t really lovely, but I tend to prefer glossy lipsticks. If you like matte lipsticks then I would seriously recommend this product.

Dr. Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Cream (RRP £44)

Next up is the most expensive product in the box, retailing at £44! The Dr. Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Cream is lovely and smells like elderflower, which is delicious (although maybe you shouldn’t eat it…) not to mention the packaging is beautiful! I did a little patch test of this over night and it was really soothing. The next night I used it all over and really like it. It did not leave my skin feeling greasy at all, just soft and nourished. Again, this is not a product I would buy again but not because I don’t love it! I think it is fantastic and I am really glad this was part of my box as usually I would never be able to afford a product like this. I guess this is a great reason to subscribe to The Pip Box – you get to try products you normally might not be able to afford or wouldn’t risk spending that much money on in case you didn’t like it.

RawGanic Aloe Vera and Green Tea Facial Wipes (RRP £2.99)

The next product, however, I would definitely buy again! The RawGanic Aloe Vera, Green Tea facial wipes have 2% natural moisturizer in them and so felt fab on my skin (RRP £2.99). With no added fragrance or Parabens, they cleanse, tone, moisturize and are super refreshing. They also smell like marzipan somehow (again, maybe don’t eat them but they do smell delicious!). You get 25 wipes so they are super affordable if you wanted to buy them separately from the Pip Box as well. They are also perfect for to throw into your gym bag for after a sweaty HIIT session.

Okko Natural Foot Balm (RRP £3)

Last up is the Okko Natural Foot Balm, which kind of smells like mint and eucalyptus. It is the trial balm (kind of like a mini lip balm) and sells for £3. Being honest, this is probably my least favorite in the Pip Box just because I had no idea how to use it! A footbalm? What’s a footbalm? I did a bit of a Google and gave it a go. My feet felt soft afterwards to be fair and I do think it would be great for sandal season. What I really like about the box is that they tailor the products based on the season!

Overall, I am really satisfied with the quality of this box and I love the ethos of the company – plus, it is super cute to have a little box delivered to your door all perfectly wrapped. It is like a gift from past you to present you! You can also get it for someone as a gift, do this would be a great non-chocolate Easter present. I will definitely be subscribing to this box in the future as I think this is a really great and affordable way to try out new cruelty-free, vegan products.

Thank you ‘The Pip Box’.

Jamie x 


Beauty without the Cruelty.

Hey guys. As you will probably know if you have been following me on any form of social media, I am currently in the process of incorporating more cruelty-free products into my make up and beauty regime, with the view of going entirely cruelty-free (vegan if possible!) in the future. I thought I would share with you guys some of the things I have been using so far if any of you are looking for cruelty-free, high quality alternatives. Look gorgeous whilst doing your bit for animals and the environment – win win!

PS. None of these reviews are sponsored and I either bought the products myself or was given them as gifts. 

First up is a shampoo and conditioner that I was gifted by the lovely ladies from my Women’s Health Internship. I’m a pretty committed Aussie user, and with very temperamental hair, changing my shampoo and conditioner was a little bit daunting and something I haven’t done in years. The brand is called Kind Natured (already we’re off the a good start) and both products are 97% natural, not tested on animals at any point during production and totally vegan. Great, but how did they compare to my usual haircare? I have to say, I haven’t noticed a difference. My hair smells fab and is super smooth and shiny. The only thing I will say is that neither seem to go quite as far. You feel like you’ve hardly put anything on your head and don’t get that super washed feeling (anyone know what I mean?) but then you hit it with the blow dryer and you’ve got yourself luscious, smooth locks. I guess it’s not really a negative, just something to bear in mind that you’re not going to get a super foamy, TV commercial-esque shower time experience. I checked out their website and they’re really reasonably priced at £4.99 a bottle, working out at very similar to my usual Aussie shampoo and conditioner. They also have loads of other products, from hand cream to kiddie detanglers and a section of all their entirely vegan stock so it’s super easy to get what you’re looking for. No sulphates, parabens, petrochemicals (I could go on) just lovely products and fab results. Overall: 8/10.

Kind Natured 


Next up is a product that I have actually been using for ages without really realising it was vegan. 100% vegan society approved, Original Source is pretty famous for that Mint and Tea tree tingle. Not a fan of the tingle, no worries! They have loads of different scents with different feels. I would recommend trying the raspberry and vanilla – it feels really soothing and gentle. I’m actually a big fan of the mint tingle as well, just maybe avoid your private parts… They also do hand washes, scrubs and moisturisers so there is plenty to have a go at. There ethos is all about respecting the world we live in, which I absolutely love. I would definitely recommend these products! You can pick them up from your local supermarket for about £1 and they’re usually on offer. Overall: 10/10.

Original Source 

This next brand is one I absolutely adore! It isn’t something I use every single day but Illamasqua definitely deserves a mention! Before starting to use MAC, I wore Illamasqua Skin Base Foundations and it is definitely something I will be going back to. It gives amazing coverage (if you like the natural look this might not be for you – I used to use this brand as stage make up!) AND is vegan. Not every single product in the range is vegan and some of them contain Carmine but all is cruelty free. It’s a fab brand for the experimental make-up lovers out there ad the ethos is so fun. If you haven’t checked them out they are worth taking a look at – even if it is just to be in awe of their incredible MUA work! Overall: 9/10


Next, I have started to hit a bit of a dilemma. Brands that I have been using, loving and believing were cruelty-free have a parent company that isn’t – L’Oreal. I decided to still post about these companies but that is something to consider and certainly something I hadn’t thought about but definitely will now. Urban Decay is a favourite of mine. I’m a huge fan of all of their palettes and the staying power on their lipsticks is fab. I am sure you’ve seen many a beauty blogger chat about these palettes over the years so I won’t repeat what has already been said, however, I am a huge fan. Another brand I love and is cruelty-free is NYX, however, again their acquistion with L’Oreal back in 2014 means it gets an * next to it’s name on‘s fantastic, comprehensive list of cruelty-free products. The products, however, are high quality and really affordable. I’m a huge fan of their Soft Matte Lip Creams and the colour choices are second to none so there is something for whatever your style – from neutral to bright blue! Lastly in my ‘conflicted’ section as I am going to call it is The Body Shop. I have always really loved this company (that chocolate moisturiser though!!) and I got gifted some lovely products for Christmas that I have really been loving. I have only ever tried a few bits of their make up range but from online reviews it seems that the products are comparable to some middle end brands. Rating these brands has to be lower due to the fact none can be considered vegan and both are affiliated with L’Oreal. Overall: 6/10 for both urban decay and NYX and 7/10 for The Body Shop.

Urban Decay


The Body Shop 

So, as I have said this marks only the beginning of my journey I have had loads of new brands I want to try over the next few months so I thought I would share a few with you guys.

I want to start being kinder to my vagina with TOTM (Time of the Month). Them make femcare products, which are 100% organic cotton without any nasty chemicals that can’t be doing my privates any good! They’re ethos is fantastic: Why is this important? Your body deserves better than harsh chemicals, synthetic materials, and unnatural additives. We choose to be transparent about our ingredients so you know what you are using on your body. Taking a stand of menstrual health in the kindest of ways.


I have always been a LUSH fan but don’t often use their products, they are more things I receive as gifts. However, they have just releases vegan cleansers and scrubs, which look fantastic so I really want to try some of these. I might pick up a cheeky bath bomb too while I am there, got to get that Instagram picture you know!


My friend did a year abroad in the US and recommended ColourPop to me. I’m currently in a purse-pigment battle as to have it shipped over here is not going to be cheap but oh, the pigment of their shadows! Totally cruelty-free as well, but do I really need to be shipping stuff over just to make my eyelids look pretty? Might have to wait until my next US trip and stock up then. Element of Surprise Palette I am coming for you!


Last but not least, if you’re in the blogger world I am sure you have heard of the next brand. I kind of wanted to give it a try just to see what all the fuss was about and when I found out it was also cruelty-free it became a must. If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s Glossier. Apparently perfect for those who like natural make up, this would be fab for everyday/work make up. ‘A Beauty Brands inspired by Real Life’ created by beauty editors sounds right up my street.


So there you have it, my favourites at the moment and some of my favourites yet to come. Keep your eyes peeled for more updated in the Beauty Not Cruelty series and keep those recommendations coming in. Huge thank you to Ana (@Faded_Spring) for all her help in pointing me in the right direction. I can’t wait to continue on my journey. 

Jamie x