Summer Make-Up

Just before summer, I treated myself to some new makeup. Most days I’m not wearing make up as I’m just at home in lockdown but when I do, I prefer to keep things quite natural.

My new natural look:

What I used:

Madara Organic Makeup

I got the Madara Age Defying Sunscreen (SPF30) in a Natrismo box last summer showcasing different suncare products. It was my favourite in the box and I wanted to try more by the brand.

When I saw Naturismo doing a 50% off all Madara deal, I couldn’t resist trying some new products.

I’m finding the foundation a bit drying for my skin type. I think when it’s time to replace, I’ll get the sunscreen instead.

Skin Equal – Soft Glow Foundation (shade 10): RRP £33

The Concealer (shade 15): RRP £20

Vapour Beauty

Usually, I buy Vapour foundation and concealer, and love the soft creamy texture.

Last summer, Vapour were selling minis of their multi use products. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to be doing them this year which is a real shame as I prefer the minis. I used the mini on my lips and cheeks.

Runway Minis – Aura Multi Use (shade Courtesan): N/A (NB: Full size RRP £34)

Lily Lolo

This brand was my first Organic foundation. Their mineral powders are very affordable and worth checking out.

Eye Pallette (Laid Bare): RRP £21

Jane Iredale

This brand has one of the biggest range of shades for foundation colours and types. I’ve tried and loved them all.

I once had a palette that enabled me to try a wide range of lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows. They were all high quality and I meant to buy the full size but never got round to it.

I’ve always been curious to try their lash builder and the minis are a great opportunity to do this. These would also be useful to anyone who rarely wears make up and just wants a small amount for a special occasion.

Mini Pure Lash – Extender & Conditioner: £2.50

Mascara – Longest Lash (shade Black Ice): £2.50

I am going to buy the full-size version. I’ve found the best price is to buy them together from a Salon in Brighton called Skin Maze.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Skin Organic Box (March 2020)

More Organic Treats

Mermaid Theme Makeup

My Everyday Makeup

Why subscribe to The Pip Box (cruelty free beauty)!

I’ve had a total of 10 The Pip Boxes!  At the end of this blog, you will see links to reviews and first impressions of the content.  Each month you are guaranteed 5 full size products from cruelty free brands.

You would be surprised the number of brands that mislead consumers into believing they are cruelty free and are not.  I was heartbroken when I discovered that my makeup bag was full of products by brands that invest in testing on animals.  I had to replace key items and it wasn’t easy.

Once, I started thinking more about the products I was using, I also started taking an interest in organic products, natural ingredients and being chemical free – but that’s another post.  

Leaping Bunny

Cruelty free brands may have a leaping bunny on their product, however, some brands, will posts a ‘rabbit’ style logo next to the ingredients to make it look cruelty free when actually they are not.  If it’s not the trademark leaping bunny, it might not be bunny friendly!

Animal testing by law

Another thing brands do is give a statement like “Our products are cruelty free and never tested on animals, unless required by law.”  This basically means, they do test their products on animals as they are selling in a country that requires them to by law.  China has a law requiring products to be tested on animals before they can be sold, therefore, if a brand is selling in China, they are selling out on being cruelty free.  A lot of well known high street and designer brands are guilty of this.

Parent company ethics

Some cruelty free brands, have parent companies that are not cruelty free.  If you are against animal testing, you are likely to not want to fund a company that is profiting a company that tests on animals.  Sometimes, small cruelty free brands will get bought out to expand their business but at the cost of their ethics.

Why get a The Pip Box subscription?

The Pip Box will only send you products by cruelty free brands – these companies need to be fully compliant in that.  Many popular beauty subscription boxes will include brands that are not cruelty free so if this is something you feel strongly about, cancel those subscriptions and subscribe to pip.

Click here to subscribe.

If you are ethics are not enough, here are some more reasons:

  • Donation to charity – 50p from each box goes to an animal friendly charity
  • Reward points – each subscription or referral earns you reward points which can be traded in for money off your next box
  • And, discovering new and established brands.

Here are the highlights:

Here are links to my first impressions and reviews of The Pip Box when I was a subscriber. I’ve also tried really hard to choose a favourite product each month.

My last Pip Box – July (review published 13 September 2018) 


Review:  The Pip Box – July (review published 2 August 2018)

Most of the items in this box are still waiting to be used (false lashes, tan accelerator, makeup eraser) but I did like the eye pencil by La Ritzy which after a long time not wearing eyeliner it really made an impact.  I didn’t get on with the BB powder which was too dark for me.

Review:  The Pip Box – June (review published 29 June 2018)

I loved the toner by Dermadeli and used it up before the end of the month.  The travel size was small enough to fit in my purse and during the heat wave (and being heavily pregnant), I used it to freshen up and it felt so good.  I also was a fan of the bonus gift – all natural chewing gum by Chewsy.  Bonus gifts are added into boxes in addition to the five items promised.

Review:  The Pip Box – May (review published 1 June 2018)

The Spring edit was probably my least favourite as I was so excited about the nail kit but just didn’t get on with it.  However, I did love the Bloomtown Botanical infused oil. I use it as a perfume and find it very calming.

Review:  The Pip Box – April (review published 4 May 2018)

Again, I loved all the products in this edit but the item that truly stood out was the hand moisturizer by Balade En Provence which came in a pretty apple shaped pot.  It is actually in my daughter’s nursery as I think it looks so pretty.  I’m planning on buying it for my son’s teacher at the end of the school year.

Review:  The Pip Box -March (review published 6 April 2018)

For this month’s edit, I love the Dr Botanicals Tropical Invigorating Cream.  This cream not only smelt lush but also came in a truly beautiful tube.  I was also really pleased with the other products and began wearing the lipstick every day.   It also got me to try a foot balm stick which I never would have thought of buying but really loved.

Review: The Pip Box – February (review published 5 March 2018)

Oh my, I still crave JOM Organic candy today.  This stuff was lovely and I almost bought a box full when I was pregnant.  It is tricky to buy in the UK unless you want to buy in bulk which is why I’ve not bought this again (yet).  I loved all the products in this box.

Review:  What’s in my Pip Box – January (review published 4 February 2018)

It has to be Medusa’s Make-up mascara that I loved, however, it isn’t an easy brand to buy in the UK.  I loved almost everything in this box – I just wasn’t keen on the body scrub but I’ve never been a major fan of scrubs.

Review:  December’s Pip Box (review published 1 January 2018) 

It’s hard to choose my as I used them all up… except the vegan chocolate.  The Bloomtown lip balm gave a gorgeous red tint and was very hydrating.  I also used the face steam by Freyaluna when I had a cold and it made me feel so much better – I need to repurchase this before flu season hits.

The Pip Box (review published 8 March 2017)

This was my first box and included a green clay mask by one of my top brand’s Akamuti.  I now often buy their body oils too.  I also really liked all the other products in my box and can honestly say there wasn’t one that didn’t get used up.

My last Pip Box (July)

What is The Pip Box?

It’s a cruelty free beauty subscription box and contains a selection of five products – skincare, body care, makeup and occasionally a sweet treat too.  Plus, a 50p donation from the sale of each box goes to an animal friendly charity (Animal Free Research).    In addition, you earn loyalty points for each purchase which can then be used for money off future boxes.

Cost:  £13.50 (+£3.95 P&P) subscription, UK

Refer a friend scheme:  Every time you refer three friends, you get a free The Pip Box.  If you’d like to sign up, use my friend link:


As I am now on maternity leave, I have cancelled my subscription so there is no new box of cruelty free products to reveal.


Reflect on July’s box

This is how I got on using the products from my July box:

Green People: Sun Lotion SPF 15 (sheet lists price as £6)

Although August has been cooler than I expected, I haven’t used this and I forgot to give it to my husband to try.


Make-up Eraser: Mini Travel Cloth (sheet lists price as £5)

I really like the idea of this and the cloth is so soft. I intended to put it in my hospital bag but can’t find it. I’m really disappointed as I was looking forward to trying such a simple idea. I really hope it turns up and I didn’t do something daft like leave it in hospital…


Peony: Matcha BB Powder SPF 15 (sheet lists price as £16.99)

This was not for me. Against my pale skin it gives an orange glow that looks like I have too much makeup on. It may blend in better if you have darker skin but for me it didn’t.


Vintage Cosmetics: Betty false eyelashes (sheet lists price as £6)

I was saving these for our family pic but trying to leave the house with a hungry newborn at 9am was near impossible. My makeup was the bare minimum and I didn’t have time for false lashes. Keeping them in the draw means they’ll be ready for the next special occasion.


La Ritzy: Black eye pencil (she lists price as £15)

I have been using this eye pencil and it is pretty good. It lasts all day, doesn’t give panda eyes and hasn’t irritated my eyes even when I’ve put it on the waterline.


Would I recommend?

If buying cruelty free is important to you then this is a your subscription box. They have enabled me to discover new and established brands. The boxes have a decent mix of products so you don’t get lots of the same type of thing.

I like their reward scheme and knowing my purchase goes towards supporting an animal friendly charity.

I plan to look back over my past boxes and work out what was great or not.

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Ally plus text

NUI Cosmetics Beauty Review

My husband spoilt me and Christmas and bought this foundation and lipstick from my wish list. I’ve used the foundation every day since and I’m now waiting for payday so I can buy some more.

About the brand

Nui cosmetics are from Berlin, Germany. They produce natural and organic beauty products that are cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

My products were purchased from Glow Organic (Brighton, England). This is my go-to online store for organic makeup.

About the foundation

  • Name: Natural liquid foundation
  • Shade: Intense Kanapa
  • Cost: £38

The foundation isn’t the cheapest I’ve bought but it is well worth its price tag.

It is the perfect shade for me and I love how I can build it up where I need it. It goes on easily like a liquid foundation but dries with the longevity of a Matt foundation. It doesn’t sit in creases and looks very natural. It has a sweet scent to it making it a joy to use.

I apply with my fingers or a sponge. I like the little cap (lid) that clicks on to prevent the foundation coming out when not in use.

About the lipstick

  • Name: Natural Lipstick
  • Cost: £23
  • Shade: Aroha

You need to be confident to wear this lipstick every day as it is a daring colour. True red is a tricky colour to find in organic brands but Nui has done it!

It’s quite a nourishing lipstick and feels lovely on your lips, however, this means it doesn’t last long and needs to be reapplied during the day.


The only downside of the foundation is I didn’t know I was about to run out until it did. 😱

As I had already been on a hefty shopping spree this month (probably the biggest in a decade), I had no budget left to repurchase. I had to wait until payday. 😱😱

Surprise:  Luckily, my husband knew it would make me very happy to surprise me with my favourite foundation. Upon seeing me trying to use up samples I had, he ordered it without me knowing. 😍

Ally plus text

Spring clean, Going green

I didn’t grow up with makeup and, traditionally, I would only wear mascara and tinted lip balm at the weekend. At college, I started experimenting with colours and wearing the palest foundation I could afford, but was still a tad orange for me.

A love of make up

I was twenty and in my second job when I visited a Lancome counter for the first time.  The woman did my make-up and I was amazed at the transformation.  I promptly bought as much as I could and vowed to return. Their foundation was the closest match to pale skin and their skincare felt amazing; plus, they had deals giving away free stuff with purchases or big discounts.

For years, Lancome was my counter of choice and occasionally I would try other brands like Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown or YSL.

Changing thoughts

I read an article about an ingredient in lipstick that causes cancer. I checked my tubes of Lancome and discovered it was present. I searched for reassurance that in small amounts it would cause no harm – this was the start of me questioning my products.

The next occasion was a girl at work who was very vocal on raising awareness of animal cruelty. She’d share horrific pictures and stories of what the beauty industry and meat industry does to animals. I started paying attention to whether brands I bought were cruelty-free and discovered many leading brands sell in China – they have a law enforcing products must be tested on animals. Sadly, many of my favourite brands were trading in China and I realized they must have allowed this to happen in order to sell there.

The final change was when I discovered my toddler sitting among a cracked pallet of eyeshadow by Pixi Beauty, finger holes in my Bobbi Brown foundation and a red-smeared face covered in Benefit’s Benetint (I suspect he had tried eating it). I was in a blind panic that he could be poisoned by my make up. I cleaned him up and realised it was time to clean up my beauty choices.

Hanging onto the baddies

Changing to clean beauty products wasn’t going to be an overnight transformation. On maternity pay (then returning to work on part-time hours), I didn’t have the funds to overhaul my makeup or skincare in one go. It was a slow gradual process.

To start, I held onto all my products. There was some trial and error in finding what worked for me as many brands are online so ordering them was a gamble. More brands are now offering affordable samples making it more cost effective to experiment. With my successes, my old brands started to get replace and the old products relocated to a box for emergencies – I was still scared to throw them out.

Fresh start

We recently got our bathroom refitted. I had to clear everything out for the workmen to rip out our old suite and put in our new bathroom.

This finally gave me the push to say goodbye to my baddies that we’re gathering dust and out of date. I only put back the products I use that are cruelty-free and most are chemical free too.

Now, I open my bathroom cabinet and smile…