Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Ellis Faas Lights

RRP: €32

--What does the promo say?--

"Ellis Lights are much more than just highlighters. Although liquid, they dry upon application. Lights have a wonderfully smooth finish, so you won't feel any stickiness and you'll avoid those pesky eyelid creases. To create the illusion of metallic eyes, both as a fully coloured eyelid, or used topically. In combination with Creamy Eyes, the Lights give infinite possibilities to play with shadow and light – which is exactly what applying makeup is all about."


Ellis Faas continues to provide a modern and innovative pen-style applicator made of high-shine metal. Just twist the end of the pen to make the eyeshadow appear in the brush.


The Ellis Faas website advises: "Use the brush to paint on the Light over any ELLIS FAAS eye shadow, even though it can also be used on its own. For the strongest effect of metallic intensity, let the Light dry where you have painted it on the eyelid. For a more subtle effect, dab it with your finger before the Light has dried completely." These methods prove easy, fun and versatile in all their incarnations.
Shade E306, which I was kindly sent by Ellis Faas' PR, is a gorgeous subtle shimmery beige that's a lighter shade of gold, perfect for those hoping to strike a classy note this party season. Needless to say, I now want to try *all* the others, from the unusual Holographic Bordeaux to the elegant Antique Silver. Wears well alone or combined with Ellis Faas' other eyeshadow ranges.
The liquid shadow dries powder-light, with no grittiness.
Don't worry about your Christmas or New Year's party: this will see you through the night and into the morning with not a crease in sight.
--Value for money--
Would make a stunning gift for others or yourself - anyone who loves a touch of sparkle will love this, and a little goes a long way, thoroughly justifying the price tag.

perfect partners
Glazed Lips, €27
Creamy Eyes, €28

Thursday, 13 December 2018

How ethical is your beauty routine?

I recently did this quiz online, hosted by webzine Stylist. It asked about the ethics of my beauty routine, ranging from packaging to ingredients and stopping at a whole host of other topics along the way. I didn't get a very high score - and to be honest, I'm not surprised. Here's why:

Q1: How important is packaging when it comes to beauty products?
I'm not as conscientious about this as I should be, in truth - and I have no excuse. I enjoy brands such as Lush, which is a famous forerunner in terms of providing packaging-free and sustainably- and recyclably-packaged products, as well as offering initiatives to its customers that encourage this (if you bring in 5 empty pots, for example, they recycle them for you, and give you a free face mask to boot). I also try to use bar soap rather than the liquid kind that comes in pumps. It's true that some packaging-free products, or products that come in more sustainable forms, such as tins, are not always that practical, so I tend to steer away from them for this reason. However, I tend to be more driven by the product itself. Nevertheless, I definitely could be more ethical in the beauty product choices I make when it comes to packaging. The trouble is, most brands are not - which can make it difficult to avoid. This still isn't an excuse, though, as I already do a lot of my shopping online, which makes it easier to find ethical brands, such as SW Basics (with their glass bottles), Gallinée (with its paper wrapping), and Organic Essence (with its plastic-free deodorants). If you're more of a high-street shopper, you can return empty Guerlain products to John Lewis for recycling (and a discount on more Guerlain), purchase Neal's Yard products from their boutiques (which are housed in glass bottles), buy from L'Occitane (which emphasises refills and recyclable pouches), or use Beauty Kitchen's fully compostable wet wipes (which you can buy from Holland and Barrett). Yes To's wipes (which you can buy from Boots) also are completely biodegradable. Furthermore, plenty of makeup brands are packaging their products in bamboo and metal. So could I do better? For sure.

Q2: Do you look for ingredients that are responsibly sourced?
Truthfully, no. It's hardly ever a consideration and just comes down to a lack of effort on my part. FOR SHAME.

Q3: Is animal testing something you consider?
This was the most ridiculous question in the quiz by a country mile. Firstly, according to Cruelty Free International, "From 11 March 2009, the EU banned the testing, within the EU, of cosmetic ingredients – irrespective of whether there were non-animal alternatives. It had already banned the testing in the EU of cosmetic products. The bans are known as ‘the testing bans’. From 11 March 2013, the EU completed the ban on the sale of cosmetics animal-tested after that date anywhere in the world. The ban applies to both cosmetics products and ingredients, again irrespective of whether there are alternatives. It is known as the ‘marketing ban’."
For now, Britain is still in the EU, so this still applies. However, what about Brexit, I hear you ask?
Fret not. According to Speaking of Research, "The UK has some of the strictest animal research regulations in the world, guided by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 (ASPA)[...]ASPA says that animal procedures can only:
  • take place in research institutes or companies which have appropriate animal accommodation and veterinary facilities, and have been granted an establishment licence
  • be part of an approved research or testing programme which has been given a project licence
  • be carried out by people with sufficient training, skills and experience as shown in their personal licence (read more about getting a personal licence). Licences are only granted if:
    • the research cannot be done using non-animal methods
    • the minimum number of animals will be used
    • dogs, cats or primates are only used when other species are not suitable
    • any discomfort or suffering is kept to a minimum by appropriate use of anaesthetics or pain killer
    • the potential results are important enough to justify the use of animals (the harm-benefit analysis)
    • researchers and technicians conducting procedures have the necessary training, skills and experience
    • research premises have the necessary facilities to look after the animals properly (as laid down in a Home Office Code of Practice)."
    So one could hope that at least after Brexit the quality and ethical rigour of products made and sold in Britain might still be protected - although of course there are no guarantees.
So, no, this is certainly "more of an afterthought" or "something I forget to check" according to the quiz's possible responses. The point is, you don't have to think about it. The law has already thought about it for you. But most UK consumers still don't know this.
"Always [looking] for the Leaping Bunny logo" would be equally silly. Using and licensing the Leaping Bunny logo (even if certification is free) attracts a cost and many smaller brands simply can't afford it. Not having the logo therefore doesn't mean that a brand fails to meet Leaping Bunny criteria for ethical standards.

Q4: How natural are your beauty products?
I use the full range. Some pure unadulterated, others bulked by artificial agents. To my mind it would be foolish to rely on an over-simplistic 'natural = good, artificial = bad" dichotomy. I talk about this at length here.

Q5: What do you do with your products when you've used them up?
This is dependent on your answer to Q1. Naturally, if you've already chosen a brand with reusable or recyclable packaging, it's far easier to pick an ethical answer to this question.

Q6: How important is it for your beauty brands to have a cause?
Plenty of beauty brands - Lush, for one - have actually been criticised for "having a cause", so it seems they can't win! For me, it depends if having ethical ingredients/packaging counts as a cause *in itself*, or if this question means something different. So the wording and definition could be clearer. For many - perhaps including myself - if the brand *does* have ethical ingredients/packaging, does anything else matter? Is, say, a charity donation essential, nice to have, or just posturing and superfluous? For me, product quality will always be paramount.

So while I feel that my quiz answers are to a degree justifiable, they also illuminate areas where I could generally be more responsible. Probably true of most of us!