Beautiful as bunnies

So here it is.  The dreaded “beauty” post.  Even though I am incredibly thrifty when it comes to my clothes, I never, ever want to appear as cheap.  Those two words have a world of difference between them and while I am happy to save on price, I am never willing to compromise on quality.

With makeup, I was an early adopter – interested in it at a young age and probably unrelenting in my demands to my parents.  My mom took me to Clinique when I was 13 (I think – my age-related memory is not great) and the ladies there showed me how to put on makeup so it didn’t look like I was wearing makeup and I got to go home with some powder and a little tube of lipstick.  Smart move on my mom’s part because it kept me out of all the crazy black eyeliner and other more aggressive forms of makeup-ing my teenage counterparts began later after secret buying trips at the drug store.  Past that introduction, I feel like I never “progressed” into the land of makeup or beauty.  I don’t really wear much of it but mainly because I don’t really know what I’m doing.

Moving down to Arizona and starting a new phase in my life, I decided it might be time to learn what this stuff is all about.  You know, step up my game or whatever.  I put out a request for Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s book, How to Look Expensive, and my sister graciously gifted it to me for Christmas.


It has been a real game-changer – I have learned so much from this book!  I still don’t wear a ton of makeup – that’s just not really my style but I have learned some new tricks with what makeup I do have and also garnered many ideas for hair color and a beauty regimen.  I love that she breaks it down, step-by-step for us clueless ladies and has diagrams and instructions on specific ingredients to look for.  She also has a (super) high-end product recommendation along with affordable drug store options and sometimes a natural option sometimes as well.


One thing I had been thinking about springing for was one of those Clarisonic face buffer-things.  The book recommends them and I have heard from other bloggers I follow that they’re really great.  As I am just dipping my toe into the water, I thought I would start out with my own version of a nightly buffing – just me, my face cleanser and a wash cloth.


Above is my nightly routine.  Just by taking the time to have a nightly routine has made my skin so much happier, softer and clearer.  The Alba night cream (I got it at Target) is so moisturizing that JT even uses it on the backs of his hands which would otherwise crack and bleed in this dry desert environment we live in.  If he misses a night, his hands look red and burn-victim-ish the next day.  I highly recommend it.


One way How to Look Expensive appeals to my thrifty side is it suggests homemade options for some of the products – I scooped up these $1 travel bottles from Target and one contains grapeseed oil for my hair and the other is three parts olive oil to one part castor oil that I use to cleanse my face in the shower.  I use solid coconut oil as an eye makeup remover (which is nice because it moisturizes a little too) and this tip (found via Pinterest and self-tested!)  for a homemade shave cream is amazing.

My “Vegucation” and lifestyle transition to a vegan has impacted my beauty routine and purchases as well.  (Warning soapbox ahead.)  I went looking for images for this blog post and wound up almost in tears instead.  See Peta’s Animal Testing 101.  Or if you’re brave do a Google Image search for animal testing.  Animals suffer so much for our cosmetic industry.  They use bunnies, beagles, mice and so on to test dyes and fragrances before we put them on our skin – they’ll open up a part of their brain to apply the chemical to or put it directly on their eyeballs (it’s called vivisection and happens at vivariums all around the country.  This is sometimes where litters of puppies or kittens posted for “free to a good home” on the internet end up.)   I can understand animal testing for disease-fighting drugs that might save someone’s life but I can’t understand it for a new scented shampoo.  If something needs to be tested on an animal before I can apply it on my hair, I think I just don’t want it on my hair.


So.  What to do?  Look for the above Leaping Bunny logo on your products – it means they are cruelty-free.  I downloaded the Leaping Bunny app (it’s free) and I have become super selective about which products I buy.  Typically, yes, they cost more but to me it’s worth it.  To think of another creature really, truly suffering for something so superficial as shiny hair or extra-thick eyelashes to me is heartbreaking.

Luckily a lot of items are available at the local drug stores, grocery stores and big box chains.   Here are a few I’ve picked up and am liking so far.


I also look to My Beauty Bunny for ideas and thanks to the power of the internet, I’ve been doing a lot of research prior to purchasing.  It’s a little more time-consuming but I believe in being an educated consumer and using my shopping dollars with purpose.


If you’re still reading this, thank you for bearing with me.  I don’t want this blog to turn into rant-ville but this just kept building up inside of me and I had kind of a “be the change” moment or whatever.  Last year the EU banned the sale of cosmetics tested on animals and even China (which requires everything to be animal tested) is showing progress.  It’s time for the U.S. to get out there and be somebody already and hopefully by educating ourselves and maybe even spreading the word, we can see a positive change.  Cheers – CT

(PS – Back to regularly scheduled programming – coming up for you I have a $3 thrift find (hint – it’s marble) and its mini transformation.  Thanks again for putting up with me.)

11 responses to “Beautiful as bunnies

  1. I changed almost all the beauty products I used when I got pregnant for the first time so they were natural/organic/paraben free and not tested on animals. I justified the expense by saying I’d only do it while I was pregnant, but I haven’t gone back at all. There are so many fabulous options out there, and they aren’t THAT much more expensive.

    Once my Clinique eye make up remover runs out, I’m totally doing the coconut oil thing!

    • Yes, I’ve been trying to use up a lot of the other products I had, which has given me a chance to do research on the ones I want to take their place. It’s a nice benefit that a company that cares enough to not test on animals usually also makes healthier products for people – paraben and sulfate free and etc. There are a lot of great options now, I feel like it has increased exponentially in the last few years. Cheers – CT

  2. Like you, I can justify animal testing for life-saving drugs, but the idea of animal testing cosmetics is repugnant to me. It shows just how skewed our values are and how much we overvalue beauty.

    I started my daughter out at the Clinique counter too, and she’s always applied her makeup very tastefully and sparingly. Of course, she did go through the maroon hair phase. haha!

    I’ve used an olive oil based facial cleaner for years. At first, I couldn’t imagine that it wouldn’t make my face break out, but just the opposite was true. I recommend it to people all the time. How cool that you mix your own. I’m going to try that.

    • Dana – I don’t know if it was just the influence of My So-Called Life or what, but I too had a clown red hair phase along with many other hair coloring experiments in my younger days. That’s kind of the fun of being a woman – you can just show up with a totally different hair color one day and that is completely acceptable. I was surprised by the olive oil face wash at first too – I thought it would add to my break-outs but it actually helps and gives my skin that nice dewy moisturized look too. I suppose you could add a little essential oils if you wanted a scent. Cheers – CT

  3. Loving the new lifestyle posts, sis-in-law! Keep them coming!

  4. My daughter is 35, and when she was a teenager, she did quite a bit of hair experimenting. I remember the maroon because it matched her favorite pair of Doc Martens. As I recall, those were her Mother Love Bone/Pearl Jam days too. Kinda puts it all into perspective. 🙂

    And you’re right. It’s just hair. It grows back and color grows off. I’ve done my share of experimenting over the years too.

  5. I don’t mind these posts at all. I’m finding more and more how much I really appreciate opinions of people I can trust – even those I’ve never met in person. It’s too overwhelming – thinking about knowing everything about everything.

    • I agree – if a blogger I read regularly recommends something, it’s almost guaranteed I will like it. But sponsored posts don’t work on me. It’s a conundrum the marketing magnates of the world are trying to conquer! Cheers – CT

  6. This is very helpful. I am going to look into those $1 bottles at Target for sure! 🙂

    • Glad to be of use while I’m ranting! I need to pick up a few more bottles as well – cornstarch and baby powder for dry shampoo and maybe some kind of jojoba oil concoction . . . Cheers – CT

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