Au Naturale Pomegranate Blush

Besides spreading good tidings and cheer, the holidays are also all about giving and receiving, right? And they’re about feeling good and looking good, too. What better way to spruce up your own, or a close friend’s, face – and frame of mind – than to buy bath and beauty items that are not only fantastic, but also wholly ethical? I can’t think of anything more gorgeous than being beautiful on the inside and out.

I’ve rounded up what I believe to be the best of the best brands bringing smiles to people and animals alike. By this I mean, these companies are cruelty-free, at the very least, and also oftentimes vegan. Which of course I adore and encourage. No cut corners. As many of you know, animal experimentation is by and large unnecessary and actually not required, with the majority of studies conducted not even remotely related to preserving human health and safety. I could go on, but would rather get to the fun stuff and invite you to learn more about everyday products that somehow hurt animals (think Aveeno, Coppertone, Crest, Dial, Dove, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Neutrogena, Pantene, Purell, Softsoap, among myriad others…) here.

Instead of clamming up with sadness, just stop supporting sinister brands and move on to compassionate pastures. Easy as putting your money where your morals are. Refer to this guide and this guide for simple assistance in deciphering between good and evil, respectively.

Oh! I almost forgot. Comment below for a chance to win a complimentary gift from Modern Minerals. Simply like them on and explain why cruelty-free is the way to be. Good luck, ladies! And dudes getting gifts for ladies…

And, please feel free to pass this along to fellow friends and family. Share on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Au Naturale is all about eco-friendly, organic and pure cosmetics in an industry dominated by unhealthy ingredients, chemicals and animal products. Their ultimate goal? To help discerning women wear makeup that embodies their core values and promotes their health – allowing all to live the life to which they aspire. Including, of course, innocent animals.

This fresh-faced company (it launched no more than

Au Naturale Highlighters

a month or so ago) offers the usual makeup necessities, my favorite being theircream eyeshadow in noir and their blusher in pomegranate. Of course, they’ve got lip gloss, powder foundations, cream concealers and more, but I had to narrow down a couple to highlight. Speaking of which, they also offer highlighters, designed to provide a radiant illumination and soft glow on the face and décolletage. Perfect for an evening out. Think, once again, New Years Eve.

When Au Naturale says they manufacture “Meaningful Makeup,” they aren’t kidding! While their primary mission is to create cosmetics that don’t compromise one’s health or the environment, philanthropic efforts add dimension and meaning. They believe that, through female empowerment, everyone benefits, by making our local and global communities a better place for all. Au Naturale’s vision to empower women and girls the world over is evident through their partnership with Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS). The sub-Saharan country of Zambia cannot afford to provide its children public education. Costly private institutions do exist in the region, but few can afford admission. Sadly, girls and orphans are too often the last in line, and thus go without an education. But they are given priority access to ZOCS. 10% of Au Naturale’s sales help fund ZOCS. Keep an eye out for more good works down the road. As they grow, so too will their generous contributions to positive causes.

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. Enter VeganLuv at checkout for 25% off your order through January 1st.

Shop here!

Hurraw Assorted Balms


Based out of a Montana ski town, this lip balm brand is scrumptious. I’ve tried my fair share of menders, definers, protectors and highlighters and, when it comes to a simple stroke of the stick, Hurraw! takes the vegan cake. Regardless your lifestyle or eating habits, this balm makes a great addition to any daily routine. Oh, and FYI, Chapstick tests on animals. Sorry, Mom! : (

Moving on. Made from premium raw, organic and fair trade ingredients, Hurraw! is, basically, the bomb. It’s gluten free, contains no GMOs and is certified Kosher Parve. It’s also super smooth and long lasting, which is what matters in practice. I cannot speak highly enough of this brilliant balm! They even offer two specialized balms formulated exclusively for day (Sun) and night (Moon). For daytime, there’s an amazing Sun Protection Balm (SPF 15), perfect for the slopes, beach bumming or just strolling the streets. And, for nighttime, there’s a repairing Night Treatment Balm, which I personally apply religiously before bed.

The Hurraw! team truly cares about the quality and integrity

Hurraw Balm in Coconut

of their product, which becomes evident the minute you first try this stuff. They hand mix and individually pour each tube and source honest, fair trade, organic, vegan and raw ingredients from reputable suppliers. Hurraw! is a Certified Vegan product! (Meaning no beeswax!) Also, they are CCIC approved, which guarantees their cruelty-free standards (no animals are used / harmed / tested on in any stage of the manufacture of their product, including their suppliers).

Here’s a fun fact: did you know the shine in many lipsticks and glosses come from petroleum jelly, a bi-product of oil drilling linked to many health problems, including cancer? Hurraw! doesn’t get down with that. No petroleum, preservatives or artificial flavors and colors.

Now, onto making the investment. Buy any balm today through December 24th and receive $3 off. That’s $3 off each stick, except the Sun and Moon balms, which become $3.40. Just enter POMP at checkout. Save some green while being green; what could be better? Oh, and how clever is this? Hurraw! sends their balms wrapped in a cute cotton tea bag and offers gift messages at no extra charge. Plus, the pouch is reusable, so feel free to fill with herbs and steep some tea!

Shop here!

LUSH Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder


It’s official. I’m head over heels in love with LUSH. I’ve tried a number of their products and thus far am most enamored with their solid shampoo (Trichomania) and their talc (Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder). The former works up the hands down best lather I’ve ever had. No joke. I dare you to take the lather challenge with this stuff. As for the latter, it smells like heaven. I put it on for no logical reason at all sometimes. It’s soft and silky and leaves me feeling the same. Sigh. It’s nice.

In case you were wondering, LUSH is for everyone, including dudes. Visit my third gift guide to see my rave review of the men’s Dirty line. Yum.

As for the brand on the grand scale, LUSH products are 100% vegetarian, 81% vegan (look for the green when browsing their extensive site), 69% preservative free, 44% free of wasteful packaging and never is any single ingredient or composite product tested on animals. Period. Prices are already fairly affordable, so we suggest stocking up. Speaking of stockings…

Shop here!

Assorted Lip Tar from OCC Makeup


I’m lucky because there’s a brick-and-mortar store here in New York. But that doesn’t mean Manhattanites need be the only folks benefitting from this pristine – and addictive – cosmetic shop. No way. Fortunately, you can get a fantastic feel for OCC’s eclectic selection simply by perusing their site. From eyeshadow to nail polish to their oh-so-infamous Lip Tar™, this brand doesn’t skip a beat, offering up the crème de la crème for beauty aficionados the globe over.

While their color range is drool-worthy and the accompanying names are nuanced, I am most taken by a particular product: their Lip Tar™. This stuff has been cropping up all over the city and receiving widespread praise. I scored some in a gala gift bag, which was my first tap on the shoulder that this kick butt brand even existed.

If you’re seeking dramatic glam in a host of unconventional colors, you have to check out the collection. Traffic, Feathered, Tarred and Rx, among others, are sure to turn heads. Just apply in moderation.

I must say, I am also a massive fan of their nail polishes,

"Spanglemaker" & "Cruising" by OCC Makeup

particularly Cruising and Spanglemaker, which are, to my mind, holiday season essentials. Both are tasteful and sparkle-laden shades, the former gold, the latter silver. Think New Years Eve, ladies.

Beyond just looking chic, company founder David Klasfeld has the right idea. In a time when many cosmetic companies make the claim that their products are “cruelty-free,” simply because animal testing has become unfashionable and less cost-effective, OCC raises the bar on this issue. OCC pledges never to use animal-derived ingredients (including lanolin, beeswax, carmine and more) in their products and accessories. Beyond any personal convictions, OCC simply believes it’s unnecessary, especially when there are alternatives as readily available and equally effective. Further, you need not necessarily be aligned with animal rights issues to reap the benefits of a vegan cosmetic line: animal ingredients can be amongst the most allergenic and skin reactive, and prevent makeup from being considered Kosher, Halal or otherwise compliant with various dietary (and sanitary!) regulations.

So, go get your good on!

Shop here!

Sprout Sampler Set


If nothing else, Sprout sports the best logo, typography and label design of any brand featured here or anywhere else. Period. This is some seriously slick packaging. Also, every product comes in the most adorable glass jars, which are both display-worthy, as well as reusable. I absolutely adore these added details.

Okay, now onto the “meat” of the matter: the bottle contents. At Sprout, skincare products are made from scratch in small doses using only the most absolutely essential, truly all-natural ingredients – no petrochemicals, synthetic preservatives or expensive fillers. Sprout also supports small, local farms and sustainable practices as much as possible.

What you get? The most natural, grassroots products around. It’s like a garden for your face. Sort of. I love the makeup remover, which works wonders. And I feel safe using it all over, near my eyes and all. Perhaps because it’s comprised of sweet almond oil, extra-virgin olive oil and jojoba oil. All organic.

The cleanseris also special, made with a traditional

Sprout Makeup Remover

organic rosewater-and-glycerin base and a tiny bit of organic tea tree oil. No soap, no alcohol, just clean, clear and the closest thing to water you’re apt to find. The toner’s a little more intense in scent, but I like it. It reminds me of salad dressing, in a good way. (Probably because it’s made with raw organic apple cider vinegar.) It evens skin tone and neutralizes pH, meaning you wake up both less oily and less dry.

There’s also a face scrub, which you could almost eat, and I’ve been tempted, and a thick cream. This is the mother of all Sprout products. You know how lots of lotions and moisturizers leave you needing more, like ten minutes after you put them on? That’s because they use water as a base. When it evaporates, you dry out all over again. Sprout Cream starts with wild-harvested shea butter from a Fair Trade women’s cooperative in Ghana. There’s also organic extra-virgin coconut oil and organic extra-virgin olive oil in there. So, it’s extremely rich, sinking deep into the skin and staying there. But, since all the ingredients are totally noncomedogenic, it won’t clog your pores. Meaning it’s suitable for your face, too. Score!

There’s more, but I’ll let you explore their site and discover for yourself. My recommendation? Give the Mini Kit. They also sell individual sample/travel jars, which are also swell, but I dig the cute Farragio cosmetics bag Mini Kits come in. Gift wrapping also available.

That’s not all. Receive FREE SHIPPING when you place your order before Sunday at midnight EST. Just enter HOLIDAYSHIP at checkout. Woot!

Shop here!

Limited Edition Set From Modern Minerals


I love Modern Minerals. From their quality products to their serene website, MM makes me feel clean and natural, despite their sometimes crazy color offerings. But, what’s new nowadays, right? Gotta keep it hip!

Modern Minerals makeup is based on two principles: truth and beauty. “Truth” about living life the best you can and being true to your beliefs. “Beauty” that is conscious of the Earth and compassionate towards animals.

MM is made up of minerals sourced from the earth without unnatural fillers or parabens. 100% cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, none of their products are tested on animals and none use carmine. MM utilizes recyclable glass and plastic containers for their products, too, which is always a boon.

MM offers an assortment of everyday neutrals as well as, as said, big and bold eyeshadows. There are mineral powder foundations, for every skin tone, and natural bronzers and blushes that will get you glowing. I know, because I’ve tried ’em.

Perhaps my favorite thing they’ve got going right now

Modern Minerals "Dream" Eyeshadow

is their Special Edition Holiday Gift Set. It contains Modern Minerals’ classic luxe lip balm, packaged in a petite jar, which is handcrafted and created with natural ingredients. Lusciously scented with a special blend of essential oils and natural extracts, my personal favorite is the lavender. The set also includes a vanilla bean sugar lip polish and a signature eco-friendly tote bag. And, boy oh boy, can I attest to this tote. I bring it with me every time I hit the farmer’s market. You wouldn’t believe what it can carry. As for the polish, well, it’s delicious. Good enough to eat. Safe enough, too. But, I’d use it for exfoliating only. Waste not, want not!

Now for the fun stuff: enter to win a FREE gift from Modern Minerals. All you have to do it “Like” Modern Minerals on and comment below as to why you believe cruelty-free is the way to be. We’ll handpick one lucky winner to receive a trio of MM’s current winter bestseller shadows (Dream, Vixen and Burlesque) and that tote bag I was raving about.

Also, shop today through December 25th and receive 15% off by entering the code HOLIDAY11 at checkout.

Shop here!

Priti NYC "Stemless Gentian" Nail Polish


Priti NYC is by far the most comprehensive eco, vegan nail polish company around. And I’ve only just discovered them. No matter; now I know, so now you do, too! Priti is available in over 100 different shades, including metallics, mattes, bright neons, rich darks, classic nudes and everything in between. You’ve gotta see this selection! They even offer pint sized bottles for your wee ones. My favorite shade is Stemless Gentian.

So, what prompted this polish launch? In 2005,  Kim D’Amato founded Priti NYC with one simple mission: to support organic farmers and to decrease the amount of chemicals poisoning the Earth – and its inhabitants – one manicure at a time. Priti polishes are completely nontoxic and made without toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DHB) and formaldehyde – all known carcinogenic ingredients. They’re fast drying, chip resistant, contain a UV inhibitor and are extremely durable and glossy.

Priti offers soy nail polish remover as well, of which I am a fan, and, in addition to a bottle, it comes in convenient little travel-sized wipes. I’m smitten. Man oh man, the magic of soy. From tofu to wool alternatives, candles to polish remover. And it works, too. My favorite remover on the market.

Shop here!


First of all, Too Facedloves animals. It’s obvious on

Too Faced Teddy Bear Hair Professional 5-Piece Brush Set

their site, given all the dog adoration. But, beyond showcasing canines, their products genuinely are cruelty-free. And their brushes, which I am here to endorse, are made with the softest and gentlest teddy-bear hair. I should know, as I’ve applied bronzer, blush and eyeshadow with these lovely little tools.

The Teddy Bear Hair Professional 5-Piece Brush Set is the perfect gift for any girl. The package includes all the essential brushes necessary to achieve whatever look you want. There’s a powder brush, blending fluff brush, angled eye shadow brush, small crease brush and an angled liner/brow brush. Created using luxurious “Teddy Bear Hair,” the bristles feel identical to the soft and silky fur from real animals, without the evil involved in making traditional “animal hair” brushes. Note: always beware when buying brushes, as they could come from badgers or other defenseless fellow earthlings.

Onward with good news, the set comes in a fun makeup bag, conveniently fashioned with a slot for each brush and extra room for a few other things. The pink and gold stripes are super girlie, ideal for a beginner beauty or a veteran with a youthful spirit. I’m of the latter camp.

Now, while not all their products are vegan, many of them are. If you write, they will gladly you send you a list, which I also have on hand for future purchasing purposes. If you have an inquiry, feel free to reach out.

Now nab some rodent-respecting brushes!

Shop here!

Rahua Shampoo & Conditioner from B-Glowing.com


Now, first things first. B-Glowing.com is not a strictly vegan, strictly cruelty-free online outlet for cosmetics. That said, I applaud them for recognizing those companies that are, and offering a section outlining Globally Conscious Brands. You see, the folks behind B-Glowing realize that, more and more, consumers demand kind and quality products, for human health, animal life and Planet Earth. So they cater to this ever-increasing shift towards responsible products by making it easy for shoppers of their site to differentiate among the myriad options. They break the greater label into three sections: Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly and No Cruelty. It’s no surprise that many of the brands fall under all three categories, such as Rahua by Amazon Beauty and Duchess Marden.

The former, which BTW has the sleekest little gold logo, manufactures a really yummy shampoo and conditioner duo, as well as a hairspray that, deliberately or not, smells like the best ever key lime pie. Seriously, I die. It’s sooo good. Plus, the company is earth-friendly and sustainable, operating in partnership with women from Amazonian nations such as Waorani, Achuar, Quichua, Quechua and Shuar. Amazon Beauty shares the natives’ reverence for the rainforest and its indigenous cultures and works in support of, rather than against, the Amazon. (You know who works against it? Big Beef, that’s who…)

As for the latter, this company takes itself seriously

BECCA "Lost Weekend Palette" from B-Glowing.com

when it comes to being conscientious. Every product is free of petrochemicals, parabens, stearates, chemical preservatives and artificial ingredients. They work at the point of origin, rewarding the workers who supply every one of their ingredients, such as their unprocessed shea butter, supplied by a matriarchal community in Uganda. They scrutinize the companies from whom they source their ingredients, to ensure that they are sustainable, ecologically minded and preserve the land. They also guarantee no animal testing and promise to deliver an all-vegan, GMO-free product. Win! Their Damascena Travel Set is perfect for gift giving…

Given all you’ve read about these two super brands, information they’re proud to voluntarily share, imagine what average brands you’ve been slave to for all these years are putting in your products? What types of chemicals are entering not only your pores, but also the ozone, air, water, etc. On which animals might they be tested? And what kind of runoff might their unnatural concoctions create? It’s high time to find a better way to be beautiful. Starting with companies like these.

One last thing. B-Glowing also sells a cosmetic brand called BECCA. One word: obsessed. Their Lost Weekend Palette is absolutely lovely. This eyeshadow set offers earthy tones of heather, chocolate and mauve rose, in a combination of velvet matte and soft shimmer formulas. Plus, BECCA condemns the testing of any cosmetic products, or any cosmetic ingredients, on animals. They actively participate in collaborative research to prove that other methods are in fact more relevant and reliable. Bravo!

Shop B-Glowing’s conscientious brands here!

Evie Evan Purity Masque


You needn’t be based in downtown Austin to experience the benefits of Evie Evan. Though this is where they opened their brick-and-mortar in July 2010, you can enjoy their PETA-approved selection of products right where you are. While they offer a modest range of facial makeup, it’s their trio of skincare items with which I am most enamored. My personal preference, if I had to pick? Their Purity Masque. My goodness, this thick, velvety clay concoction smells so good. Essential oils of orange and lavender, they say. And it’s a dream to apply. Ten minutes once a week and you’re set. It comes in two sizes, a Mini Purity Masque the sweetest size to try one time or to give as a stocking stuffer. It’s also airport-friendly, which is a must during the heavy-travel holiday season, no? Their moisture cream is also awesome, great for all over and a wonder in the winter when skin tends to get super dry. Also available in miniature, but I’d go with the big guy. Why not?

And, though I neglected to mention this in the guys’ guide, Evie Evan also offers some specifically dude-driven products; a face wash, a face scrub and a face moisturizer. This particular line goes simply by Evan. Check it out here.

So, go forth and feel free to stock up on quality, natural, lightweight, breathable skincare products for him or her or yourself. Bunny and puppy approved.

Shop here!


A bit of background: Considered one of the most sought-after cosmetic brands in Great Britain, Beauty Without Cruelty is perhaps the oldest brand in the business of cosmetics-meets-compassion. What began as the philosophy of one small company eventually effected every major cosmetic house worldwide and set a new standard for consumers and manufacturers alike.

In 1963, Beauty Without Cruelty was founded in England by the trustees of BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization. Its goal was to manufacture and distribute natural color cosmetics that were not tested on animals (as was the norm) and did not contain any animal ingredients.

In 1989, Beauty Without Cruelty was introduced in the US.

BWC SPF 15 Daily Facial Lotion

Based on the principles of high quality, fair pricing, and environmental sensitivity, BWC cosmetics quickly became one of the industry’s leading brands. Later that year, a natural skincare line was developed to compliment the color line from England. Its cruelty-free, vegetarian ethic was embraced by American consumers, making it one of the most respected and recognized lines in the marketplace.

Today, Beauty Without Cruelty has a full line of cruelty-free, vegetarian skin, body and hair care products made with the finest natural ingredients and aroma-therapeutic essential oils and a full line of color cosmetics to meet the needs of every woman.

Quite a history! I haven’t had the pleasure of sampling all their offerings, but from what I have tried, the product lives up to its glowing reputation. I especially enjoy the Fragrance Free Daily Facial Lotion with SPF 15. Can you tell I’m into protecting my complexion from the sun’s damaging UV rays? I also like their Extra Gentle Cleansing Milk. It’s the ideal wind-down from a punishing day of hard work and animal activism. Just kidding, but seriously. Also, and this is important, BWC is one of the few companies I’ve found that offers beeswax-free mascara. I’ve searched high and low for synthetic beeswax and, finally, I’ve found it. Not even Christopher Drummond can say the same.

I highly recommend exploring their extensive selection of offerings, which truly do run the gamut. There are few things you won’t find on their site. They’ve even got gluten-free!

Shop here!



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