Carley’s Clear and Smooth Mineral Foundation

It’s so hard to find good cruelty-free make-up! This is the first review of make-up on my blog because natural/cruelty-free make-up is (1) so hard to find, (2) so hit or miss, and (3) SO expensive. I have a hard time forking over the money to test products that may not be very good and that I may not be able to find again.

But trying this mineral foundation from Carley’s Clear and Smooth was a happy no-brainer. Everything I’ve tried from Carley’s Clear and Smooth has been perfection, so I was happy to try it. But most importantly, the company sent me a free sample of the foundation with my last order. 🙂 (You should know that the fact that it was free has not influenced my review of the product! It really is just great mineral foundation.)

I had been using Bare Minerals foundation for several years, and, as a result, I’m addicted to mineral make-up. I won’t go near that liquid stuff anymore. The natural mineral powder is so great for my sensitive, acne-prone skin because it doesn’t clog pores and absorbs oil really well. But Bare Minerals goes for over $25 per compact (8 grams of powder)! Carley’s Clear and Smooth mineral foundation is $19 per compact (10 grams of powder). And it works just as well: good, even coverage; good oil absorption; nice selection of shades. On top that, it’s the only mineral foundation I could find that’s cruelty free. Which, really, is worth almost any amount of money.

Best of all, you can buy $3 sample sizes to give it a try and to find the best color match. (And you could probably return the product if you chose the wrong shade–Carley’s is good about returns). When I run out of my other products, I plan to buy its blush and bronzer to round out my cruelty-free make-up collection.

International Chemical Companies Develop Animal Testing Alternative


BASF, a leading international chemical company, and Promega Corporation, an innovative services and solutions provider in the life sciences industry, have developed a test that can reveal a substance’s allergenic potential using a cell line that lives entirely in test tubes. This test requires NO living animals! From Dr. Robert Landsiedel, head of the short-term Toxicology unit at BASF:

Combining the new method with two additional alternative methods to investigate skin sensitization allows us not only to significantly reduce the number of animal studies, but also to predict a possible allergic potential more reliably than before

The method has been submitted to the European Committee for approval as a standard method for toxicological studies in Europe. Read more here.

Yes To Blueberries Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

Yes To Blueberries, the age-fighting line of all natural skin care products from the Yes To brand (more commonly known by Yes To Carrots), is the most robust plant-based cruelty-free anti-aging line I’ve come across. The blueberry line offers more than 10 skin products for your face, eyes, and lips that target wrinkles, dullness, and discoloration (to name a few). Its other lines focus on different skin concerns:

This Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is great stuff. It only takes one pump from the dispenser to cover your whole face, and it’s got a silky feel. It doesn’t feel greasy and absorbs well (but it does take a couple minutes to absorb–it might take less time if you use less of it). The best part, though, is that when I wake up in the morning, my skin is not an oil slick. For anyone who has oily skin with acne, you know that some moisturizers seem to send your pores into oil-producing overdrive. This cream does not, and, even better, it does not cause my face to break out. I haven’t noticed much of a difference in terms of wrinkles, but I’m in my early thirties and don’t have many wrinkles to begin with (prevention is my goal!).

Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment

Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment is a little tin pot of heaven. I use it on all kinds of bumps and scrapes, and it really does the trick. It soothes itchy spots (like the poison ivy I’ve got on my arm!) and covers and protects ouchy spots (like the scratches I got from pruning my trees!). It seems to also be reducing the swelling on my poison ivy bumps. I bet it would also be good on mosquito bites.

One drawback is that it’s made with beeswax, which gives it a sticky consistency. That’s a good thing because it really coats and clings to your skin, but it’s a bad thing because it doesn’t get absorbed. So, for example, if you’re typing on your keyboard and rest your forearms that are covered in poison ivy and Res-Q Ointment on the table, you’re going to leave behind a little smear. I guess you could use band-aids to prevent that–I’d rather just wipe off the table when I’m done. 🙂

It’s 100% natural, made in the USA, and, of course, cruelty free. Check out the Burt’s Bees site for more information.


Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry Antiperspirant

Tom’s of Maine makes natural health and beauty aids like toothpaste, floss, and deodorant. And until recently, deodorant was your only option for underarm sweat detail from Tom’s. But (happily for all of us who want to fight both the stink AND the wetness of underarm sweat) it has just released an antiperspirant: Naturally Dry Antiperspirant. This stuff really is all natural, including the active ingredient of aluminum chlorohydrate, which is

made from recycled aluminum (which was originally derived from natural mineral bauxite ore)

That’s good enough reasoning for me! I am thrilled to find a cruelty-free antiperspirant that actually works. I’ve been using it for about two weeks, and I have absolutely no complaints. It comes in stick form and goes on smoothly. I haven’t noticed it balling into little clumps or leaving residue on my clothes. The powder smell is very pleasant but not overpowering. And it seems to wash away completely in the shower (which is important to me despite evidence that there’s no causal link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s).

Granted, it hasn’t gotten above 70 degrees yet, so I haven’t tested it in the heat of summer. But even if it falters (like most antiperspirants do), I think I’ll be a lifelong user.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

Mario Badescu makes amazing (plant-based and cruelty-free) products that treat acne. I’ve had positive results from every Mario Badescu product I’ve tried. But I actually didn’t expect to like this acne facial cleanser when I bought it. It’s got salicylic acid, which I’ve tried before to combat acne and found to be ineffective (I’ve found that benzoyl peroxide works much better for me). Luckily for me, I was wrong about this cleanser. It’s probably because I use it in combination with a benzoyl peroxide cleanser (Carley’s Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment).

What this cleanser does for my skin is wonderful. It’s thick and gel-like out of the bottle, so you don’t have to use much to make a good lather on your face (unlike some cleansers that are like water and you end up using tons of it to feel like it’s doing anything). That gel-like consistency is from the aloe vera gel it’s made with (the third ingredient on the list). The aloe vera is really soothing to acne-inflamed skin, and the salicylic acid smoothes rough patches. After I’ve used this product, my skin feels soft and looks less ruddy. I follow up with Mario Badescu’s Special Cleansing Lotion “C”, which also treats acne (I’ll devote a post to that later).

LabSkin Further Endorsed for Cosmetics Testing



LabSkin, the skin equivalent model developed by Evocutis, has recently been endorsed by a leading expert in the field of dermatology. Dr. Majella Lane, a senior lecturer at the University College London’s School of Pharmacy, performed clinical trials using LabSkin and, as a result of the findings, advocated the technology. Read more about it here. And learn more about LabSkin and the company that created it here. Or watch its video here.