How to Shop Cruelty Free: A Guide For Beginners

Wanna make the transition into a cruelty free lifestyle but don’t know where to start? Have no fear, this blog post is for you! Whether you’re considering going cruelty free or have already made the decision but you’re feeling a bit lost, this post is geared towards cruelty free beginners.

The Body Shop, Milani, and Physician’s Formula are 3 examples of some popular brands that are also cruelty free!

The Body Shop, Milani, and Physician’s Formula are 3 examples of some popular brands that are also cruelty free!

Why Shopping Cruelty Free Is Important

Before we get started, I want to briefly discuss the gravity of the situation. Big corporations like to sweep happens behind  the scenes under the rug, and the majority of people out there are unwittingly purchasing from them, therefore, helping them fund the animal torture that they perform. I’m not going to get too much into it, but terrible things happen in these laboratories. Animals are blinded, poisoned, forced to inhale toxic fumes, injected or force fed toxic substances to see if it causes things like paralysis or seizures, and are confined in cages, only released when they are being tested on. These animals never see the light of day, never experience fresh air or sunlight, and ultimately lose their lives after years of torture in a laboratory. Hundreds of thousands of animals EACH YEAR lose their lives to animal testing. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, amongst many other animals. This is what’s happening, right under our own noses, yet few people stop to consider this issue before making their skincare, cosmetics, nail polish, hair care, and toothpaste purchases. By purchasing from non cruelty free companies such as Rimmel, L’Oréal, Bath and Body Works, Maybelline, Chanel, Dior, Makeup Forever, Garnier, Neutrogena, MAC, Colgate, Crest (and many many more), you are second handedly funding animal cruelty. 

This is Echo, who was saved from an animal testing lab in China. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of animals each year don’t get so lucky. 

Follow Echo on Instagram @one_eyed_echo

Follow Echo on Instagram @one_eyed_echo

Here is a common argument that you may hear from someone who is uneducated on the topic: “we need animal testing because it would mean that humans would have to be poisoned and burned instead!” Actually, with modern science, computer based analysis and laboratory produced skin allows companies to produce safety checks that don’t harm anyone.

Yes, we do have a cruelty free alternative to animal testing. Yes, this means that all this torture and the loss of innocent lives are for nothing.

So why do companies continue to test on animals? I don’t know too much about that part in particular, but I assume that they continue to do it because it’s what's always been done. In some cases, they are not cruelty free because they sell to China, and any company that sells to China is automatically not cruelty free because they require animal testing by law there. These companies don’t wanna give up that $$$ they could make from sales in China, so they allow animal testing on their products.

Want to start shopping ethically but don’t know where to start? Here are my cruelty free tips!

So many people say that they would love to go cruelty free, but don’t know how to because they just can’t bring themselves to memorize all those brands. Memorizing which brands are cruelty free and which aren’t does come (pretty effortlessly) in time, but it is completely unnecessary to memorize any info to be cruelty free. It’s a common misconception to feel like you have to know all this info off the top of your head every time you go shopping. If you find yourself at the supermarket, holding a product you’re unsure about, here is what to do:

  • Look for the leaping bunny

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This bunny photo on the packaging means that this company/product is leaping bunny certified. If you see this logo on the back of a product, it means that it is you can be certain that it is certified cruelty free, and no further research is needed!

Side note: just because a product is not leaping bunny certified doesn’t mean it automatically isn’t cruelty free. Being certified is done on a voluntary basis, therefore, there are some ethical companies that have not been certified.

  • Don’t see the leaping bunny? Do some quick research!

Can’t find the bunny? Have no fear, your product may still be cruelty free. Pull out your phone and do some quick research of that product before purchasing it, right in the drugstore aisle if you need to. It literally takes a few seconds to plug the brand into a reliable resource, and you’ll be saving lives with just that little bit of effort! I personally use Cruelty Free Kitty, because it’s so easy to navigate and I know it’s trustworthy. You type your brand into the search bar and you get a yes or no answer instantly. It’s that easy and fast! 

Cruelty Free Kitty: my personal favorite resource to use!

Cruelty Free Kitty: my personal favorite resource to use!

  • MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SOURCE IS TRUSTWORTHY

This is in all caps because it’s important. Don’t trust what you see on google, and do not trust the website of the company that makes the product. Often times, they’ll claim their products are cruelty free on their website and on their packaging, but are lying by not telling the whole truth (which I’ll get more into later). Best solution to this is to use a trustworthy third party source. You can use Cruelty Free Kitty as mentioned before, or another third party resource, as long as you know it’s trustworthy! If you would like to see a comprehensive list of cruelty free brands, my friend Stephanie has comprised an ultimate guide to cruelty free makeup over on her blog, so feel free to browse through this list to see if any companies you frequently shop at is cruelty free. There are some amazing cruelty free blogs who spend hours reaching out to companies, so they essentially do all the research for you so you don’t have to! 

Additional Things to Know:

It is super important to be aware that many companies lie about their cruelty free status on their packaging. How often have you seen a shower gel or lotion then flipped it over, saw on the back “not tested on animals” then rejoiced because the product is “cruelty free?” NEVER ASSUME. Some examples of companies that partake in this deception are Bath and Body Works, Bodycology, and Dove, amongst many others. All these companies have “not tested on animals” on their packaging, yet NONE OF THEM ARE ACTUALLY CRUELTY FREE. Dove has even gone as far as to acquire a PETA certified cruelty free label that will be plastered on all their products in 2019 (FYI, only trust leaping bunny certification, not anything that PETA claims. In the words of my best friend, “why would anyone trust a cruelty free list from PETA?” She knows what’s up). Dove is deceiving a lot of people with this PETA business, and people are now flocking towards their products because they are now “ethical”. They really are milking this marketing scam, huh? The Dove situation in particular is a bit tricky to explain, so if you’d like to know more about why Dove ISN’T cruelty free despite their claims about not selling to China, I’d like to point you to this post where the lovely Cruelty Free Kitty explains it better than I ever could.

You may be wondering, why do these products say “not tested on animals” if they do test on animals? Here’s the tricky part: they aren’t completely lying, but they aren’t telling the whole truth either. By saying “we don’t test on animals”, what they really mean is, “we don’t test on animals but our ingredients suppliers do” or “we don’t test on animals except where required by law”. In the first case, sometimes the finished product produced by the brand is not tested on animals, however, the ingredients that the brand has purchased to make this product HAVE been tested on animals. It doesn’t matter if they haven’t done the testing themselves, they have purchased and used ingredients that have. As for the required by law part, again, any company that sells to China automatically is not cruelty free because animal testing is required by law there.

To sum everything up, don’t trust what companies claim on their packaging or on their website because they often can very conveniently leave out details. Always use a reliable third party source. 

Conclusion:

There you have it, going cruelty free for beginners! I tried to sum up the most important information to the best I could, and I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming. If all this is too overwhelming, just stick to the three main bullet points above and you’ll be just fine!

To sum up the key points:

  • Keep in mind that many companies lie about their cruelty free status, so do not blindly trust any cruelty free claims on the packaging

  • Research the company from a reliable third party source before purchasing rather than the company’s own website (Cruelty Free Kitty is my preferred resource)

  • Leaping bunny picture on the product is a shortcut that tells you that product is certified cruelty free, no further research necessary

  • Don’t trust any PETA “cruelty free” certifications on product packaging; only trust leaping bunny logo

  • Companies that sell to China are automatically NOT cruelty free regardless of their testing practices in the USA 

I hope that this article is a resource that will help you on your cruelty free journey. Don’t be overwhelmed; I know it’s a lot to take in at first, but trust me, it becomes second nature quicker than you think. Until our society decides to become more ethical, these are the steps we have to take to be a voice for the animals. And trust me, it’s so worth it! I’m forever against animal testing, what about you?

Winter Beauty Essentials

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Winter is finally upon us! Though it is technically fall for all of November and most of December, in my mind, once it hits late November, it’s already winter. Cozy pjs, lit candles, chilly weather, and hot tea. What could be better? With the coming of winter, I like to use this season as inspiration for my makeup looks. I tend to utilize lots of whites and silvers, bright and glittery eyeshadows, and lots of highlighter and blush. This time of year, my mindset with makeup is usually glitter, glitter, and more glitter! With all the holiday activities and festivities going on, what better way to celebrate this time of year than by using beauty products inspired by the season? Here are some of my winter beauty essentials, all cruelty free as always of course! 

Eyes:

Too Faced Sugar Cookie Palette

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If you didn’t know, Too Faced releases new limited edition holiday makeup each year. Every year, the products and packaging are different, and each are discontinued at the year’s end. Of course, this means that some years are hit or miss. The best holiday collection was from a couple years ago, when Too Faced packaged their products in a giant pink chateau (for those of you who have been asking me where I got it from, it was from a previous Too Faced holiday collection!). This year’s collection admittedly didn’t impress me as much as years past, but I did snag the sugar cookie palette. It’s nothing revolutionary compared to palettes that I already have, but the colors are super shimmery and perfect for a holiday look! The silver and gold shadows will especially come in handy.

Colourpop Jelly Much Eyeshadow in Ventura 

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A tip to remember is to always use a base before applying a glitter pigment to your lids. Some people use concealer on their eyelids for a base, which also works great, but this Colourpop alternative would make your glitter shine even more. This is a super bright, wintry color that is perfect for the season, even without any glitter pigment layered on top. The best part about these jelly eyeshadows is that they are extremely pigmented (especially if you apply with your fingers instead of a brush) and they do not budge or crease! Pop this on the center of your lids with some silver glitter liner and long, fluttery falsies and you’ve got yourself an eye makeup look that’s perfect for winter! 

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Liquid Eyeliner in “Glam Rock” or “Pryo”

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To pair with your sparkly eyeshadows, you’ll need a glitter liner of course! My personal favorite glitter liners are the Urban Decay heavy metal products. I prefer to use this liner to draw a glittery line underneath my eyeliner wing, but you can also draw a line of glitter above your cateye if you have more lid space. You could also top your inner corner highlight with this product for a bit of a sparkly touch! The colors I selected were “Glam Rock”, which is a subtle silver glitter, and “Pyro”, which is lighter, iridescent silver glitter. These two shades would be perfect for any glittery, holiday makeup look!

Stila Glitter On The Go Liquid Eyeshadow Set

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These are the glitteriest liquid eyeshadows I know! They are also super pigmented and are perfect to pop in the center of the lid, with a darker color in your outer corner to really make your eyes pop. I think any of the shades would work since they’re all quite similar, but my personal favorite is the rose gold. The bright, silvery “kitten karma” shade would also be perfect for a wintery makeup look! 

Lips:

Too Faced: The Sweet Smell of Christmas

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I think that Too Faced’s melted mattes are my favorite lip products ever! If you haven’t tried them before, they’re a lip stain product that is as pigmented as a lipstick, but has a bit of a glossy shine too. This year, they released a holiday themed melted matte collection. The colors are as follows:

  • Pumpkin Spice

  • Sugar Cookie

  • Cinnamon Bear

  • Hot Buttered Rum

This collection sells out very quickly with each restock, so I suggest getting on the mailing list for this product if you’re interested in it!

I Heart Revolution Metallic Angel Heart Lipgloss

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If you’re reading this post because you’re looking for some super shiny and glittery products, then this product is your dream come true. I can genuinely say that I have never, ever tried a lip product that is shinier than this one! You can practically see my lips shine in the distance when I have this on, almost like highlighter but on your lips. It’s also super glittery, and makes your lips stand out like no other. Any of the four shades would work, but my personal favorite is “Cherub”.

Face:

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder 

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If you want to achieve silky, soft, flawless looking skin, this product is exactly what you need! This is a loose powder that when applied over your foundation, actually makes your skin look like it’s glowing from within (an actual compliment someone gave me when I was wearing this!) The only downside is that at $33, this is a pretty pricey product, which is why I save it for special occasions rather than for everyday use. If you’re in the mood to splurge, I recommend saving this for special occasions when you really want our skin to glow and look especially flawless, but for everyday use, stick to a basic pressed powder. Since this is a loose powder, it’s also great for baking your face if you choose to do so! 

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in “Flexitarian” 

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When I think of holiday season makeup, I think of bright, highlighted cheekbones and rosy cheeks. This Colourpop creme highlighter is my favorite highlighter of all time (and yes, this product is glittery too). It’s wild because this highlighter cost me $8, and I reach for it more often than the ones that I’ve paid $20-$30 for. It’s just so pigmented, and the subtle glitter is perfect for winter. This product is a best seller for a reason!

Revolution Liquid Highlighter in Liquid Starlight

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This whole liquid highlighter line is great, but I chose the liquid starlight shade because it’s got a subtle pink undertone, which will give you a rosy look, as if you’ve been out in the snow all day. These liquid highlighters are pretty subtle compared to creme or powder highlighters, so you can actually mix it with your foundation and apply all over your face. This will give your face an all over glow! If you use this only on your cheekbones, you’ll probably have to layer another highlighter on top of it since it’s subtle on its own.

Milani Baked Blush in Red Vino

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Looking to mimic those chilly weather rosy cheeks? This is the absolute best blush shade for the rosiest cheeks ever! This blush is very pigmented and is an actual red shade, so apply with a light hand. Don’t load up that brush too much either, or your cheeks will look like two huge red spots. Keep in mind that because this product is darker than most blushes and very pigmented, use a lighter hand than you would with a light pink shaded blush.

There you have it, some of my favorite makeup products for the winter season! As you can see, I take the phrase “Merry and Bright” to heart when it comes to makeup, and tend to gravitate more towards super rosy and bright products. What are your winter beauty essentials?

Disney Princess Starbucks Orders

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Ever wondered what the Disney Princesses would order at Starbucks? This blog post will answer all your questions! When thinking of what blog post to do next, I wanted to do something light and fun, so I’ve decided to combine two of my favorite things: Starbucks and Disney! As a self proclaimed Disney Princess fanatic, I know their personalities quite well, so I’ve created this list based on what I know about them from their films. In this post, I’ll discuss what I think each Disney Princess would order from Starbucks and why. Hope you enjoy!

*all drinks cater to a grande size; adjust the amount of syrup if you’re getting a tall or venti

Snow White

Iced White Tea with 3 Pumps Raspberry and a Splash of Apple Juice/Caramel Apple Spice

For Snow White, I couldn’t decide between an iced white tea or a hot apple drink, so I’ve included both! First, I definitely see Snow as more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker. White tea has a very pure, crisp flavor that Snow would enjoy, and white tea is also symbolic to her innocence. The raspberry syrup adds much needed sweetness sweetness (if you’ve never ordered the white tea before, it claims to be sweetened but the amount of sugar is so light that it tastes unsweetened) and the splash of apple juice represents Snow conquering her fear of the poison apple.

During the fall and winter months, I can also see Snow ordering the caramel apple spice, which basically consists of steamed apple juice with cinnamon dolce syrup. I can see her whipping up a big batch of this apple cider for her and the Dwarfs to sip on during the chillier months. Also, cider is the perfect autumn drink, and autumn happens to be Snow’s favorite season (according to a Disney Princess book I picked up once).

Cinderella

Blonde Roast with Half and Half and Classic Syrup/Pumpkin Spice Latte

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I did not select blonde roast just because Cinderella is blond! I actually selected blonde roast because it is stronger than dark roasted coffees. For those of you who don’t know, the lighter the roast, the stronger the coffee. Cinderella will need the strongest possible coffee to get through the day with her stepfamily without losing her mind. You got this Cindy!

Obviously, the pumpkin spice latte came to mind too! I think Cinderella would find this drink nostalgic because it would remind her of the adventures that got her to her happy ending. Think of the blonde roast as her pre-happily ever order and the pumpkin spice as her post-happily ever after order!

Aurora

Pink Drink

Not only is pink Aurora’s signature color, this drink is girly, sweet, and feminine, just like her. It also has a subtle, almost floral taste to it, which I think she would appreciate. It’s fruity, creamy, and pink; perfect for Aurora! I can definitely see her ordering this a lot.

Belle

Cappuccino with 2 Pumps Toffee Nut, 2 Pumps Vanilla (makes a French Vanilla flavor)

Belle just seems like a cappuccino sort of girl, and I can see her sipping this frothy beverage in a Starbucks, book in hand. Toffee nut and vanilla together make a French vanilla flavor, which is fitting because belle is French, obviously. Give this one a try next time you want to channel your inner Belle and tackle a big stack of books!

Jasmine

Iced Chai Latte

When I was brainstorming for this post, Jasmine’s order was a no brainer! Chai is spicy and bold, fitting for Jasmine’s feisty personality. Jasmine would appreciate the spicy, bold flavor of this drink. She would probably get this iced instead of hot, because who could handle a hot drink in Agrabah’s heat?

Ariel

Iced Salted Caramel Mocha

The salted caramel mocha is reminiscent of the salty ocean water that Ariel came from, so I  imagine the taste would be nostalgic for her. Plus, this drink is a super sweet one, perfect for new coffee drinkers like Ariel, since I doubt they had coffee under the sea. Also, Ariel just seems like an iced coffee kind of girl; I don’t really see her preferring hot coffee over iced coffee. Though the salted caramel mocha is seasonal (during the fall season) you can still order it all year round by asking for a latte with equal parts mocha and toffee nut syrups. It’s the exact same drink, just without the salt. Now, you can order Ariel’s drink all year round!

Mulan 

Iced Green Tea Latte with Almond Milk

As someone who grew up in a Chinese household, I can attest to the fact that Chinese people love their green tea. I chose to make this iced because I personally think the Starbucks green tea latte tastes MUCH better iced than hot, but you can get it hot if you prefer. I also chose almond milk instead of regular milk because it makes this drink taste creamier, which makes it taste a lot like Asian bubble tea (without the bubbles). I don’t recommend getting almond milk if you’re getting this drink hot though; Starbucks’ almond milk tastes really gross in hot drinks, from my experience at least!

Pocahontas

Flat White

Pocahontas is a no fuss and frills kind of girl and the flat white is a simple way to get your caffeine fix without overloading on added sugars. Optional: this drink comes unsweetened if you order it off the menu, but if you like your drinks sweeter, I can also see Pocahontas adding a couple pumps of hazelnut to this, but no more than 2-3 pumps. The subtle hazelnut would add an earthiness to it that she would like.

Tiana

Pike Place Roast

Tiana doesn’t have time to sit and enjoy her coffee; she needs something caffeinated and she needs it fast. She’s a no fuss or frills kind of girl, and this medium roast is the quick and to the point caffeine fix that she needs. Also, this is the perfect drink to complement her famous beignets! At first, I tried to brainstorm Starbucks drinks that taste like beignets (no luck) but then I realized, Tiana will already be sampling her beignets pretty often to make sure that each batch is perfect for her restaurant customers. The last thing she’d need is a super sugary dessert flavored drink that would throw off the flavor of her famous beignets. If Tiana orders a plain Pike Place Roast, she can put in her own desired amount of cream and sugar, or skip both if she prefers.

Rapunzel

Iced Raspberry Mocha

The iced raspberry mocha just screams Rapunzel! She would love the sweetness of the chocolate mixed with the fruitiness of the raspberry. Some people may think that mixing raspberries and chocolate is gross, but I promise, it’s so good! When I told a friend about this drink, she ordered it and loved it so much that it’s now her go-to order, so I promise it’s a good one!  Chocolate and raspberries just seems like a very Rapunzel combination.

Merida

Vanilla Bean Frap with Java Chips

Merida doesn't seem like someone who would be a huge coffee drinker (I just picture her as someone who would think that coffee is bitter and gross) but she would still probably want a caffeine boost for her morning adventures. With this drink, she can still get a subtle caffeine kick from the java chips while drinking what tastes like a chocolate chip milkshake. This is a good one if you but don’t like the taste of coffee!

Anna

Double Chocolatey Chip Frap with 2 Pumps of Vanilla

Anna loves chocolate obviously, and adding vanilla to the chocolate frap makes it taste like a frozen hot chocolate. If you didn’t know, Starbucks makes their hot chocolates by combining mocha and vanilla syrups, so this would be the frozen version of their hot chocolate recipe. Anna would approve.

Elsa

Iced White Mocha with 2 Pumps of Peppermint

I had to add another mocha for Elsa because she likes chocolate (almost) as much as Anna does! I made this a white mocha instead of regular mocha because it's reminiscent of her snow and ice powers, and the peppermint syrup adds an extra wintry kick to it. You can also get this as a Frap if you prefer that!

Moana

Passion Tango Tea with Lemonade

Moana seems like someone who would prefer tea over coffee. The passion tango tea is floral, tropical and refreshing; fitting for an island girl like Moana. As the most tropical drink on the Starbucks menu, the passion tango tea would make her feel right at home! 

I hope you enjoyed reading this Disney Princess Starbucks orders posts, and that you give some of these drinks a try! Which one of these drinks would you want to order? Let me know in the comments!

Affordable Drugstore Cruelty Free Makeup Guide

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The people that know me well know that my three trademarks are the color pink, fairytales, and animal rights. The first two are pretty apparent on this blog, but animal rights is something that I have not discussed yet. We all have that one cause that sticks out and really gets us going, and for me, it’s always been animal rights. Animals have been taken advantage of for too long, just because they are innocent, trusting, and easy to take advantage of. Animal testing has become out of control, and it’s horrific how the majority of companies (and not just makeup companies, companies in general) conduct animal torture. Unfortunately, by purchasing from these companies, we are inadvertently funding animal cruelty by supporting these companies. Last year, over 200,000 animals lost their lives as a result of animal testing. With today’s modern advancements and technology, animal testing is not even necessary anymore, so why are we allowing the continuation of torture and loss of life of these innocents, for no reason at all? If animal testing is something you haven’t thought much about before reading this post, I highly recommend educating yourself on the ethics of the brands that you commonly purchase from; the first step is becoming aware of the issue!

Sadly, you’ll find that the majority of companies, including ones that are most commonly purchased from, still take part in this barbaric practice.

And not just makeup, research everything from skincare, to laundry detergent, to toothpaste. You’d be surprised to find how unethical most companies are!

Before we get into the cruelty free brands, here are some commonly seen companies, both drugstore and high end, that are NOT cruelty free and should be avoided:

Covergirl

L’Oréal

Maybelline

Revlon

Rimmel

MAC (the company that I despise the most for several reasons, animal testing being only one of them) 

Benefit

Make Up For Ever

Clinique

Estée Lauder

Benefit

NARS (was cruelty free up until recently, because they’ve now started selling to China. A company who sells their products in China automatically makes them NOT cruelty free because animal testing is required by law there) 

Chanel

Bobbi Brown

Clinique  

And let’s not forget common shampoo/skincare/toothpaste brands that are NOT cruelty free: 

Garnier 

Neutrogena  

Almay  

Aussie (anything Proctor and Gamble is a no no) 

Any Johnson and Johnson’s product  

Colgate (Proctor and Gamble) 

Crest  (Proctor and Gamble)

Origins  

Chanel  

Dior  

Febreeze  

Tresemme  

I could go on for ages;  that is just the tip of the iceberg (if I named all of them, we’d be here all day). I know, it’s a lot to take in, since the most commonly known and commonly purchased from companies are all on this list. It can be overwhelming at first, and you may be wondering what companies you even can purchase from. Going fully cruelty free can be a big transition for that reason, so I recommend taking small steps as you start to become more aware of ethical brands. Start with a certain category, like makeup for example! Start by making all your makeup cruelty free first, then wean yourself off everything else one by one. Makeup is what I will be discussing in this post, so let’s get started! 

e.l.f cosmetics

I often hear the excuse, “I can’t go cruelty free because I can’t afford it”. Contrary to what some people think, going cruelty free does not equal spending more. Did you know that e.l.f. cosmetics, a company that is known for being one of the most affordable, is a cruelty free and vegan brand?

If you are familiar with e.l.f., then you know that their trademark is offering professional quality makeup at affordable prices. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen an e.l.f. product that cost more than $10, eyeshadow palettes included. They offer everything from primers, brushes, to skincare. I admittedly am a bit of a high end fiend when it comes to makeup so I haven’t purchased from e.l.f. in a few years, but I browsed their website and found some great options.

High Definition Powder

$6.00

Click Here To Purchase

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I was shocked to find a loose powder that cost only 6 dollars. 6 dollars you guys! That’s unheard of for loose powder! With high end, I’ve paid anywhere from 25 to 50 dollars for loose powder; the price comparison is insane! Looks like I need to hop onto the e.l.f. bandwagon again! Unsurprisingly, this loose powder is currently sold out on their website. I will most definitely be making a purchase when they restock! 

Makeup Mist & Set (Large)

$6.00 

Click Here To Purchase

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Something else that caught my attention was this setting spray. I’ve only ever purchased high end setting sprays, so I was shocked to find that this setting spray is only $6! The Too Faced spray I recently purchased was $24, if that’s any indication of how affordable this product is in comparison.

E.l.f. offers a wide spectrum of products, so you honestly could only ever purchase makeup from this company and you’d be set.

Makeup Revolution

If you’re from the States like me, you may not have heard of this British drugstore brand. If you love fairytales and fantasy, you’ll love their mermaid, unicorn, and dragon themed makeup products. I have showcased some of their products on my Instagram flatlays before (namely their unicorns heart highlighter) but this company is still relatively new to me. This brand is gaining traction, and I suspect it won’t be long until it’s a household name in the States as well!

I Heart Revolution Unicorns Heart/Dragon’s Heart Highlighters

$7 each 

Click Here To Purchase Unicorns Heart

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If you’re looking for a unique, instagrammable highlighter, these are perfect! I have yet to try the Dragon’s Heart highlighter but I have previously reviewed the Unicorns Heart Highlighter in my unicorn themed makeup review

I Heart Revolution Unicorns Heart Eyeshadow Palette

$10

Click Here to Purchase

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You can not only get Unicorns Heart as a highlighter, you can now get it as an eyeshadow product! This palette has a wide array of colors, including pinks, purples, blues, and silvers. A Dragon’s Heart version of this palette is also available.

I Heart Revolution I Heart Chocolate- Pink Fizz

$15

Click Here To Purchase

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If you’re looking for a drugstore dupe of the Too Faced chocolate bar line, check out the Makeup Revolution I Heart Chocolate collection! They offer different variations of palettes in their I Heart Chocolate collection, from nude shades, rose golds, to this pink fizz palette.

Ardell

Switching gears, let’s move onto a company that focuses primarily on one type of product. Ardell is mainly known for their line of false eyelashes; you’ve probably heard of their infamous demi wispies. I was thrilled when I found out that Ardell was cruelty free because I had already been using their falsies for years, even before I became conscious of which companies were cruelty free and which weren’t. Ardell lashes are probably the highest quality eyelashes you can get that are in the “affordable” category. I exclusively use Ardell for eyelashes because I just can’t get behind spending $15 or more on a pair of falsies that I’ll chuck right after I use them (eyelashes are one thing that I won’t go high end for). I’m going to continue to stick to Ardell exclusively for my falsies, which is just fine with me!

Demi Wispies

$7.69 at Target

Click Here To Purchase

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Wet N Wild

Yet another extremely affordable brand! I personally have never tried Wet N Wild (again, I’m a high end fiend when it comes to makeup) but I am very familiar with this company! I browsed through the Wet N Wild website and found that their prices are almost identical to e.l.f.’s prices, some even cheaper! Check this out: this eyeshadow palette has 10 shades and is only $4.99!

Color Icon Eyeshadow 10 Pan Palette

$4.99

Click Here To Purchase 

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And don’t think that cheap equates low quality either. According to the high reviews, these eyeshadows are extremely pigmented and smooth. For that price, it’s worth giving it a try!

Color Icon Pigment Bundle

$6.00

Click Here To Purchase

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Something else that caught my attention was this loose pigment. A couple months ago, I purchased the Too Faced Pure Gold Loose Glitter for $17, and that was for that one gold glitter pigment. This Wet N Wild pigment set is $6, so you get 4 different colors for a fraction of the price! 

Color Icon Metallic Liquid Eyeshadow in Mysterious Nights

Currently on sale for $2.49, normal price $4.99

Click Here To Purchase

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Yet another product that instantly caught my eye: this gorgeous liquid eyeshadow. The color is insanely gorgeous, and is comparable to the Stila Magnificent Metals eyeshadows that costs $24 (which is a product that I also love, but is pretty pricey). This is a far more affordable option!

Physicians Formula

One of my go to drugstore brands! I don’t shop drugstore as often as I should but when I do, my two staples are Physicians Formula and Milani (which will be mentioned later in this post). You may have heard about one of their most popular products, the Butter Bronzer.

Butter Bronzer

$14.95

Click Here To Purchase

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I have yet to try this bronzer because I rarely wear bronzer, and I don’t think I’ll be getting through my Too Faced Chocolate Soleil anytime soon because I hardly use bronzer. However, I have heard nothing but good things about this product. If I ever need a new bronzer, this is what I’ll probably go for!  

#InstaReady Full Coverage Concealer SPF 30

Price varies from $8-$10

Click Here To Purchase

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I can’t rave about this concealer enough! I like this even more than the high end concealers I’ve paid double the price for! Some things are worth going high end for but I don’t think concealer is one of them. This product is proof that paying a high amount for concealer is unnecessary; drugstore products (if you buy from the right brand) can be high coverage too! I didn’t like the pink foam applicator that came with this though (which I pretty much expected), so I tossed it and used a Real Techniques beauty blender instead. This product is currently sold out on the Physicians Formula website, but you may be able to find it in drugstores (which is where I purchased mine).

My second favorite Physicians Formula product is the Happy Booster Blush:

Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Rose

$11.95

Click Here to Purchase

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Not gonna lie, I bought this product because the packaging was cute. However, I quite enjoyed this cute little product! The blush adds a pretty color to your cheeks that is just the shade that I like for my blushes. This product is infused with natural plant extracts that supposedly should promote happiness from endorphins upon application, but I didn’t really notice a difference (but then again, I wasn’t paying attention or thinking of my mood when I last applied this). Nonetheless, this is a super pretty shade with adorable packaging!

Pixi

I went back and forth about whether or not I should include Pixi, because though it is technically drug store, the prices are more on the high end spectrum. In the end I decided to include it because Pixi is one of my favorite companies of all time. These products are more expensive than what you would normally consider drugstore, but this also means that the quality will be more on a high end level as well. Have you ever heard the term, you get what you pay for? This isn’t always true in every case, but from my experience with makeup, I find that this phrase is often true. Not to say that cheap products won’t do the job, but don’t expect an $8 product to be on the same level as a $24 Pixi product. With Pixi, you aren’t just paying more for no reason, you are getting all natural, higher quality products. Fun fact: Pixi is my favorite company for skin care! My morning and night routine now consists of almost exclusively Pixi products, and once I use some other products up, I plan to transition my skincare routine to 100% Pixi products.

Though this is a makeup post, my experience with Pixi’s makeup is limited, so I will be showcasing their skin care products rather than makeup.

Glow Tonic

$29

Click Here To Purchase

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If you haven’t tried this miracle product yet, then you are truly missing out. I have been raving about this product for as long as I can remember, and it’s finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. Hands down, this is the best toner I’ve ever used! The only thing I don’t like is the packaging, because I prefer to spritz my toner onto my face. My solution was to take the empty spritzer bottle of a Lush toner (which I didn’t like, no offense to Lush) and fill it with this Pixi toner instead. 

Glow Mud Mask

$22

Click Here To Purchase

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This is probably the third time I’ve mentioned this product on this blog, but I couldn’t do a post about Pixi without including it! This is genuinely my favorite face mask ever, and the best that I have ever tried (and I’ve tried many different face masks). 

Rose Oil Blend

$24

Click Here To Purchase

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This product is so luxurious and smells amazing! I love using this in place of moisturizer in the morning because it’s much nicer to apply and smells amazing! The scent alone is great aromatherapy to get your day started. 

Milani

Milani is a fairly well known drugstore brand that you probably have seen around, and it’s another cruelty free option! Milani has some great eye and face makeup products, which I’ll be showcasing today.

Conceal + Perfect 2 in 1 Foundation

$10

Click Here To Purchase

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I’m going to be honest, I don’t like drugstore foundations at all. Foundation is one thing that I think is completely worth going high end for. I’ve found that no matter what drugstore brand I use, it sits heavily on my skin and feels like I’m wearing a layer of paint on my face all day. I could practically hear my pores crying! However, I did try this foundation on a whim and it isn’t as bad as the other drugstore foundations I’ve tried. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good product exactly, but in my opinion, no drugstore foundation is ever going to be all that great. Foundation is something I always recommend going high end for, but if you still want to stick to drugstore, this product is probably your best bet for foundation. It isn’t amazing but it does the trick for the most part! Plus, it’s much better than that Maybelline or Revlon garbage I used before I went cruelty free. I’m convinced that stuff is made from straight up paint! 

Prep + Set + Go Transparent Face Powder

$10

Click Here To Purchase

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This pressed powder does the trick, and costs less than half of the Tarte pressed powder that works almost exactly the same. Top your foundation with this powder to hold it in place all day, and to keep your face from getting that uncomfortable, sticky feeling that it gets when you don’t powder.

Fierce Foil Eyeshine

$11

Click Here To Purchase

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Fancy something super shimmery and metallic? Look no further! These eyeshadows have a metallic foil finish and will make your eyelids super shimmery, perfect for girls night out! To make this extra shimmery, apply a primer or concealer as a base, then apply the foil shadow with your fingers instead of a brush. Just blend it out, and you’re good to go!

Gilded Desires Eye & Face Palette

$20

Click Here To Purchase

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Of all the eyeshadow palettes Milani offers, this one is my favorite. Some of the shades remind me of my favorite Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette, but for a fraction of the price. This palette has a gorgeous merlot wine shade, a metallic rose gold, and a sparkly champagne, which are my three favorites! It also contains both metallic and matte shades. For $20, it’s absolutely worth it.

Hard Candy

Hard Candy is another prime example of how going cruelty free does not equal spending more on makeup! This notoriously affordable makeup company is cruelty free and vegan. This is a company that I have been familiar with for a long time, but have never actually tried. I browsed through their website and picked out some products that looked promising. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of products that they offer, especially their eye makeup products!

Glamoflauge Concealer

$6

Click Here to Purchase

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As I mentioned before, concealer is one of those items that I think is unnecessary to go high end for. It’s one of those makeup products that’s hard to mess up; either it covers your under eye circles or it doesn’t.  According to the description, this will conceal both under eye circles and blemishes, so I’ll have to give this a try sometime!

Shadowspheres Eye Shadow Palette 

$8

Click Here to Purchase

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I was completed floored when I saw this on the Hard Candy website. An eyeshadow palette of this caliber for only $8? No way! This palette includes a variety of satin, matte, and shimmer shades. It’s currently sold out, so keep an eye out on their website if you would like to purchase this!

Look Pro! Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette

$10

Click Here to Purchase

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This palette includes 15 different shades, all for only $10! There is a nice mixture of both shimmer and matte shades, so there’s plenty of variety. The colors look absolutely gorgeous; from the looks of it, you’d never guess that this palette isn’t high end!

EcoTools

With drugstore eyeshadow palettes, you’ll notice that they often include a flat applicator. However, these are notoriously bad and will not apply your eyeshadow well at all (you’re honestly better off just using your fingers), so I highly recommend tossing those applicators and buying your own makeup brushes. That’s where EcoTools comes in! They offer a variety of makeup brushes, beauty blenders, brush cleansers, and even hair brushes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have an adequate makeup brush collection! 

Ultimate Shade Duo 

$4.99

Click Here to Purchase

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This set includes a flat shader brush and a blending brush; both are necessities for eye makeup application!

Brow Shaping Duo 

$4.99

Click Here to Purchase

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Ladies, don’t skimp on the brows! Good brows will help shape your face, so they should definitely be part of your makeup routine. Having a spoolie is especially important, because no matter what eyebrow product you are using (pencil, gel, shadow, etc.), you will need to blend it out.

Sheer Powder

$5.99

Click Here to Purchase

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Powder brushes are usually the most expensive of all the makeup brushes (along with certain foundation brushes). This brush will do the trick for just a fraction of the price!

Real Techniques

Going cruelty free doesn’t mean you will have to stick to one company for certain things. Real Techniques is yet another cruelty free makeup brush company, so you’ll be able to take your pick between this and EcoTools! It is a bit pricier that EcoTools but still affordable, and I actually prefer Real Techniques because of one product in particular: 

Miracle Complexion Sponge

$11 (2 pack)

Click Here to Purchase

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This product is how most people, myself included, know of this company. This is the best beauty blender you will ever use; and works even better than the Sephora beauty blender (or so I hear, since I have never tried the Sephora blender). While the Sephora beauty blender itself is cruelty free (beauty accessories are not required to be tested on animals in China), the Sephora line itself is not. Therefore, I cannot and will not support anything from the Sephora line, beauty blenders included. Also, the Sephora beauty blender is a whopping $20 for that little piece of sponge, and I’ve heard it isn’t even as good of a product as the far cheaper Real Techniques product. Why would you pay more than double for a less effective product? Ditch the Sephora blender and give this one a try! I have been using this Real Techniques product to apply my foundation for a long time, and I rarely use face brushes anymore! 

Brush Cleansing Gel

$9

Click Here to Purchase

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If you haven’t invested in a makeup brush cleanser yet, I recommend having one on hand. While it is still best to deep clean your makeup brushes with soap and water, who has the time to deep clean an eyeshadow brush everytime you need to use a different color? Having a cleanser is great to have for in between those deep cleanses, especially when you’re switching between different eyeshadow shades and need a clean brush to do so.

There you have it, 10 different affordable cruelty free companies! If you haven’t previously considered purchasing exclusively from cruelty free brands yet, I highly recommend stopping your support of any cosmetic companies that are causing the unnecessary loss of life of innocent animals. As you can see from this post, going cruelty free is easy, and there are no lack of options! All it takes is a little research to figure out which companies you can and can’t purchase from. It’s a bit tough at first, but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. 

If you want to join me in the fight to ban animal testing, click here to sign The Body Shop’s petition; they need 10 million signatures to take this cause to the UN. 

If you have made the decision to shop exclusively cruelty free, or if you have any questions about how to transition, leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, if you would like another one of these posts but with high end makeup brands, or a cruelty free skincare/hair product guide next, let me know! What is your favorite cruelty free makeup brand? 

Once Upon A Dream: The Princess Relaxes

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 Once Upon a Dream is a nighttime pamper routine series where each post will center around a different theme/location. For some posts, we may will escape to a dreamy night in Paris, others, a quiet evening walk through an woodland forest. My goal for this series is to give you different ways to relax and wind down while feeling like you've traveled without even having to leave your bedroom. Thanks for checking out this edition of Once Upon a Dream!

Welcome to Once Upon a Dream, fairytale edition! Since I have centered an entire blog around my love for fairytales, you’ve probably already guessed that a fairytale themedpost would eventually surface in this series. This edition of Once Upon a Dream is called “The Princess Relaxes”, and I hope it gives you some ideas on how to have a night of luxurious pampering and relaxation, all while envisioning being pampered in your very own palace (a girl can dream, right?). Now, let’s embrace our inner princess, shall we?

Step One: Set the Mood, Fairytale Edition

If you’ve read the two other posts in the Once Upon a Dream series, you’ve probably figured out by now that step one will almost always begin with a candle recommendation of some sort. Nothing sets the mood better than a scented candle that matches the theme of the night! There are actually many fairytale themed candle options if you know where to look. You won’t be able to find them in stores though, and it’ll take a little digging. But no worries, I’ve found them for you so that you don’t have to! For a fairytale theme, these are the candles that I recommend:

Briarwick Candles: Fairytale Castle

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 Click Here To Purchase

I found this candle on Etsy when I was browsing for fairytale themed candles, and knew instantly that I must order this one. Not only is it fairytale themed, it’s even pink! It’s scented with rose (my favorite scent!) and honeysuckles, and is inspired by fairytales.

Spireside Candles: Beauty Sleep

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 Click Here To Purchase

When will Fifi ever stop talking about Spireside Candles? Never! You guys know how much I love fairytales and anything unique, and you just can’t get candles like these anywhere else. This candle is inspired by Sleeping Beauty and smells like sweet berries and french lavender. It’s a very sweet, feminine scent that I think you’ll enjoy!

Half Oak Candles: Enchanted Rose

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 Click Here To Purchase

If uniquely themed candles are what you’re looking for, then Etsy is the place to go. This is yet another Etsy find, this time, with a candle inspired by the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast.

Wit and Wicks: The Princess

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 Click Here To Purchase

Another candle found on Etsy! This candle is inspired by a strong, heroic princess and her fantasy world, with scents of green tea, bergamot, and Lily of the Valley.

Step Two: Pamper Like A Princess

There is nothing more comforting than a luxurious evening skincare routine. Take this time to pamper yourself with face masks and aromatherapy shower gels. If you’ve been saving an expensive skincare product for a special pamper night, now is the time to pull those out! Here are my recommendations for a luxurious, princessy pamper routine:

Shower Gels

Avalon Organics Bath & Shower Gel in Nourishing Lavender

Roughly $20

Click Here To Purchase

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When I think of luxurious scents, one of the first things I think of is lavender. This product uses vitamins and essential oils to leave your skin soft and luscious. The lavender scent alone is great aromatherapy and is incredibly calming. Best of all, this product is cruelty free and vegan, and is free of chemicals and preservatives. This shower gel is on the pricier side in comparison to other shower gels, so my recommendation is to save this shower gel for a special treat, reserved for exclusive nights of relaxation. That way, your body will associate this scent with “it’s time to relax” if you only use it on nights when you plan to relax and pamper. This will also make the product last longer before you need to repurchase!

Love Beauty and Planet in Murumuru Butter and Rose

$6.99

Click Here To Purchase

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Though I have just professed my love for lavender, my all time favorite scent is actually rose! I find the scent of rose very soothing, so I just had to incorporate a rose scented shower gel into this post. The best way that I can describe this scent is “feminine”, and you guys know that I’m most definitely a girly girl! This shower gel is scented with murumuru butter and rose, and costs a fraction of the price of the Avalon shower gel. Love Beauty and Planet does not conduct animal testing, all products are vegan, ethically sourced, paraben free, and safe for sensitive skin.

Face Masks

Pixi Glow Mud Mask

$24

Click Here To Purchase

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I only have one product recommendation for face masks, because this is the face mask that I use exclusively. This product is legitimately the best face mask I have ever purchased. I have tried numerous face masks, both low end and high end, and everything pales in comparison (Lush products included, in my opinion). When it dries, it doesn’t become too uncomfortable, and when you wash it off, it feels like you have new skin. No other face mask I have ever tried had left my skin feeling so fresh! This face mask goes deep into your pores and removes dirt and toxins for a deep clean that you can definitely feel. Your skin will feel incredible after this mask! I have yet to purchase another face mask after trying this one, and I don’t know I ever will, because nothing else has worked as well! 

Moisturizers

Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream

$24

Click Here To Purchase

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You’ve probably figured out by now that Pixi is my favorite company for skincare! I exclusively use Pixi for my morning and nighttime skincare routine now, using their rose oil in the morning and this Beauty Sleep Cream at night. This product is super moisturizing and hydrating, and how perfect is the name of the product? This is my absolute favorite night cream, and is my favorite part of my night routine. A must have for every princess!

Step Three: Dress Like Royalty 

I personally love wearing nightgowns to bed because they’re so light and flowy. Best of all, they really do make you feel like you’re a princess in a fairytale. To go to bed feeling like a princess, a nightgown or chemise is a must! I’ve found that vintage nightgowns look the most similar to something you would find in a fairytale, but vintage is much pricier and there is also the issue of cleanliness (since the clothing is very old and has been who knows where). A way around this is buying nightgowns that have the appearance of vintage, but are actually brand new!

Here is a great one from Sweet Fairy Shop that you can purchase in either white or light pink: 

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Instagram: afairytaledream

Instagram: afairytaledream

This nightgown is as cute as any vintage nightgown you could ever find! I also think that the price is very reasonable, especially compared to the price of most of the vintage nightgowns you’ll see on Etsy. This is the only order that I have ever placed from Sweet Fairy, but I definitely plan to order from them again. Their clothes selection is limited, but very feminine and pretty. The only downside is that it takes a very long time for your order to arrive (mine didn’t arrive for almost a month) but it is absolutely worth it because the nightgown is even prettier in person, and is unbelievably soft! 

Click Here To Purchase (available in both pink and white) 

What goes perfectly with a fancy nightgown? A satin kimono robe of course! Victoria’s Secret has some great ones but if you are looking for something more affordable, places like H&M and Forever 21 sell them for a fraction of the price. I suggest looking there first! 

Step Four: The Princess Takes Tea

You can’t have a night of relaxation without tea! I’ve compiled a list of teas that give off a “storybook princess” sort of vibe. I tried to think of types of tea that are commonly mentioned in fairytales, and here is what I have come up with:

Harney & Sons Royal Wedding Tea

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This one is an obvious choice! Harney & Sons is my favorite tea company, but this is a tea that I actually haven’t tried yet. When I was browsing through their tea selection, I thought that this was just too perfect not to include! This green and white tea is infused with rose petals and has flavors of almond, coconut, and vanilla. I’m looking forward to trying this one! It’s constantly sold out, so keep an eye out! 

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Honey

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When I think of a hot, calming drink, I usually think of honey being incorporated in some way. That’s why I thought that this tea would be perfect! It’s a blend of chamomile and spearmint, along with natural honey flavors.

Harney & Sons Yellow & Blue

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I have tried different varieties of chamomile tea from various companies, and this Harney & Sons mixture of chamomile and lavender is my favorite so far. I absolutely adore lavender so I love that this tea incorporates that in. It’s incredibly calming, and when you brew it for a long time, the flavor becomes quite strong!

Step Five: Watch Movies Starring Other Princesses You Admire

A great way to escape to a fairytale dream world is through watching fairytale films. Don’t know which fairytale films to watch? I’ve got you covered! Check out my previous blog post where I list some of my favorite live action fairytale films.

Step Six: Read About The Adventures Of Other Princesses, Near and Far

If you have read some of my other posts, then you will already know that I am a major bookworm! I’m not usually a big fan of tv shows or movies, because I prefer books. Why? Because with books, I can travel in a way that I can’t with movies (also because I find movies less engaging and harder to get into). The majority of my free time is spent reading, tracking new book releases, and reading book reviews, so I am especially excited about this portion of the blog post. My absolute favorite genre to read is, you guessed it, fairytales.     

How many fairytale novels have I read over the course of my life? Literally hundreds. Don’t worry, I won’t be listing hundreds of books here, but I have arranged a selection of some of my favorites. This next part could be its own blog post in itself, but I’ve decided to include it into this edition of Once Upon a Dream instead. These are just the tip of the iceberg in the fairytale genre, but here are my recommendations:

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses

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Premise: Princess Rose and her twelve sisters are cursed to dance for the evil King Under Stone each night in a dark, otherworldly land. With the help of a young soldier and a little bit of magic, they just might be able to free themselves from this dark curse.

When people ask me what my favorite book is, this book is usually the answer that I give. I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this book, because it was one of the first fairytale novels that I felt attached to. I remember reading this book (and the second book Princess of Glass) over and over again. I have read many fairytales since this book but this one will always be a standout. 

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses

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Premise: Princess Azalea struggles with the loss of her mother and feels trapped in the palace with her family falling apart. She encounters a secret passage where she finds The Keeper, who is confined within the walls of the palace. She and her eleven sisters escape through the secret passage to dance in his silver forest, but things quickly take a dark turn.

If you couldn’t tell by now, The Twelve Dancing Princesses is one of my favorite fairytales, and I’ve found that the absolute best fairytale retellings are usually of this fairytale in particular. There’s just so much you can do with this premise, especially if you want the story to take a dark and creepy turn. This book involves a dark dance with a creepy history, and one of the disturbing villains I have ever read in a fairytale. This is definitely the darkest of the bunch, and also one of the most memorable.

The Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

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Premise: In this fractured fairytale, Princess Annie’s older sister is none other than the infamous Sleeping Beauty. When Gwen pricks her finger and the entire castle falls asleep, Annie is the only one left awake because she is the only one not affected by magic. She goes on a journey to find Gwen’s true love, who can break the curse with true love’s kiss. Along the way, she encounters other fairytale characters and gets caught up in their fairytale stories.

If you want something light and adorable, look no further! This sweet, middle grade, fractured fairytale is one of the cutest things you will ever read. This story isn’t a retelling of any fairytale in particular; instead, it blends together all the fairytale characters that you know and love, all into one whimsical story filled with magic.

Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguiè

Retelling of The Princess and the Pea

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Premise: Prince Richard stumbles upon Violet’s family farm to seek refuge from the storm, and as she nurses him back to health, they fall in love. However, Richard is not permitted to marry a peasant girl, and the King and Queen have devised a contest amongst the princesses to compete for Richard’s hand in marriage. Violet manages to trick her way into the competition, but can she beat the other princesses to win the hand of her prince? 

If you’re in the mood for a classic fairytale retelling, this is exactly what you’re looking for! Though it has been a while since I’ve read this book, I’ve reread it several times because I loved it so much. A girl who is competing against other princesses in a competition to win the heart of a prince; what’s not to love?

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

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Premise: Emmeline, who was born with a defect, was left to die in the forest after her birth. However, she is protected and cared for by the local cows, who deliver her home safely. Emmeline’s life doesn’t get any easier from there because she is scorned in her village, seen as unlucky and strange. However, Emmeline’s life completely changes when she acquires the ability to make chocolate and becomes the only person in the kingdom with this ability. With this highly desirable new talent, she may just be able to save the kingdom, and meet the Prince himself!

This book wins the award for one of the most underrated fairytales on this list. It took me a while to pick this one up because the plot sounded strange (a girl with a special connection to cows who is gifted the ability to make chocolate isn’t exactly a plot you’d normally see) but a fairytale is a fairytale, so I gave it a try. I’m so glad that I did, because this is genuinely one of the best fairytales I have ever read. The synopsis seems strange at first, but this book is super engaging and original. Trust me, give this one a try! Make sure you have chocolate on hand before starting this book, because you’ll be getting some serious cravings!

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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Premise: In Medieval Europe, Sophie is a scullery maid for the cruel Duchess of Hohendorf. When a man named Gabe from Hagenheim Castle arrives and announces that Sophie is betrothed to his older brother, her life completely changes. The jealous Duchess throws Gabe in the dungeons and has Sophie sent to the forest to be killed. They both manage to escape into the wilderness and find refuge in the Cottage of the Seven. Can the pair make it to Hagenheim safely with a murderous duchess after them, while battling their growing feelings for each other?

If you like your fairytales with a bit of a historical feel to them, Melanie Dickerson is your girl! Melanie is the only author I know of who writes fairytales within the Christian Fiction genre, so this was a nice surprise! This is the third book in the Hagenheim series, but the books all work as standalones and can be read in any order. This is the first Melanie Dickerson book I had ever read and I’ve been a fan ever since. The fourth book in this series, The Captive Maiden (retelling of Cinderella), I also highly recommend.

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

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Premise: Christian is far from a prince. In fact, he lives in a cave with the troll who raised him. However, Christian is absolutely infatuated with Princess Marigold and often spies on her outside her palace. He uncovers a plot by the evil Queen Olympia to take over the kingdom, and she’s willing to bump off her own daughter to do it. Will Christopher be able to save Marigold from her evil mother’s plot?

Gosh, it’s probably been over a decade since I’ve read this one! Nonetheless, when I think of my favorite fairytales, this one always comes to mind. If you want something funny, whimsical, and light, this book is for you! This is the cutest, most adorable little fairytale series you will ever read! I recommend this or the previously mentioned Wide Awake Princess if you want something light and adorable to read.

The Firethorn Crown by Lea Douè

Retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses

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Premise: Princess Lily is the oldest of her sisters and therefore, the heir to the kingdom. Sick of having suitors pushed upon her, Lily escapes and stumbles upon a secret underground kingdom with her sisters. There, they encounter a sorcerer and become entangled in a curse that threatens the entire kingdom.

Yet another Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling! This is the first indie book on this list, so if you’re looking for a cheaper fairytale read, give this one a go; it’s included in the Kindle Unlimited program if you have it! This book is quite similar to Princess of the Midnight Ball in certain aspects, so if you enjoyed that one, you’ll love this too! This book solidified Lea Douè as an author that I officially keep up with.

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup

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Premise: Princess Adela harbors a love for horticulture so she can’t resist tagging along to a garden party hosted by the infamous Lady Hortensia. However, as soon as she arrives, she instantly notices that the garden seems a little “off”. Not only that, there is a talking magpie flitting around and stealing the guest’s jewels. Is it possible that Lady Hortensia is a witch, harboring a secret within her garden?

This book is unique to the others on this list because it gives off a different sort of vibe. It’s still a fairytale, but with the way it’s written, it’s more so reminiscent of classic fiction (think A Little Princess or The Secret Garden). This book actually would’ve been perfect to mention in my previous installment of Once Upon A Dream as well. This one is great if you’re in the mood for something lovely and light to read!

The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs

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Premise: The King offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to the prince who can rid the kingdom of its evils, namely a witch, dragon, and bandits. Princess Margaret, “Meg”, isn’t having it, and decides to escape from her tower to win the contest herself. Who else is going to save the three targets from those pesky princes?

If you’re looking for a book about an untraditional, rebellious princess looking for adventure, this book is for you! Rather than waiting for a prince to save her, she escapes from her tower to win the contest that the king has set. This one is great if you want to read about adventures and bold, spunky princesses!

A Posse of Princesses Sherwood Smith

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Premise: Princess Rhis is one of many princesses who are invited to the coming of age party for the Prince of Vesarja in the most central of the kingdoms. When Princess Iardith is abducted, Rhis and the other princesses must join together to rescue her.

Last, but certainly not least! You guys, I absolutely adore this book. In this book, all the princesses from various kingdoms journey to Vesarja, the largest and most important of all the kingdoms in the realm. Reading about all the fun kingdom festivities really did make me feel like I was living in a fairytale!

I hope that you enjoyed this edition of Once Upon a Dream; I think that this just might be my favorite post in this series so far! What else would you like to see in this series? Let me know your ideas in the comments below!

“All women are princesses, it is our right.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Once Upon a Dream: A Parisian Night In

 Once Upon a Dream is a nighttime pamper routine series where each post will center around a different theme/location. For some posts, we may will escape to a dreamy night in Paris, others, a quiet evening walk through an woodland forest. My goal for this series is to give you different ways to relax and wind down while feeling like you've traveled without even having to leave your bedroom. Thanks for checking out this edition of Once Upon a Dream! 

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I am very excited to launch the first post in my new series called Once Upon a Dream! In this post, I will teach you how to have a Parisian themed night of relaxation. The inaugural post of this new series is for those of you who daydream about living in beautiful Paris. I don’t know about you guys but I can’t help but romanticize Paris in my mind. I love everything about Paris, from the architecture, to the Parisian fashion, to the French music. Who says you need to physically travel to Paris to have a dreamy, relaxing, Parisian themed night? Yes, you can travel to beautiful Paris for the night, from the comfort of your very own bedroom. Keep reading to find out how to have a relaxing night in Paris! View of the Eiffel Tower from your window recommended but not required.

Step One: Set the Mood: Light french themed scented candles

Before our Parisian night of relaxation can begin, we have to set the mood of course! I like to use different scented candles or sprays to transport me to far away places. For a dreamy night in Paris, any French themed candle will do! They don’t have to be candles that are actually from France, but if you prefer those, World Market sells French candles that you can order from their website. They offer a variety of scents such as provence lavender, french citrus, and verbena french.

Click here for the World Market french candle page

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If you prefer to shop for candles at your local store, you can still set the mood with a French inspired scent, regardless of whether or not the candle company selling it is a French company. For example, Yankee Candle has a great one called French Countryside, which has a lovely, floral scent.

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If you are looking for something a bit different, then I recommend trying Spireside Candles. I found them on Instagram and they are my current obsession. They sell these amazing fairytale and fantasy themed candles, with scents inspired by Sleeping Beauty, Narnia, Camelot, and even a scent inspired by a haunted castle! I love any candle that will make you feel like you are being transported somewhere else. I think that their Cinderella inspired candle “Sew Clean” would be fitting for a Parisian themed night in, because who wouldn’t want to purchase a candle inspired by everyone’s favorite French princess?

Credit to Spireside Candles on Instagram

Credit to Spireside Candles on Instagram

Step Two: Parisian Themed Tea

No Parisian themed night of relaxation is complete without tea! While coffee is my favorite way to start the day, tea is my favorite way to end the day (any other caffeine addicts out there?). When I was thinking back to my favorite teas for this post, one in particular stood out. This tea, by Harney & Sons, is quite literally called, “Paris”. How perfect is that? I bought this tea for my Beauty and the Beast loving friend, because I thought that it would be a fitting purchase. When she raved about it, I went back and ordered it for myself. I can safely say that Paris is one of the best black teas that I have ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Harney & Sons and I prett much exclusively drink their jasmine and oolong teas, but I was wary because I’ve had some bad experiences with Harney & Sons black teas in the past (their earl grey is atrocious). However, this tea was smooth, comforting, and creamy, with a hint of vanilla to it, which I’ve never had in a tea before! I didn’t think that I would like a creamy, vanilla tea (I prefer floral flavors) but this tea is one of the best I’ve ever had. This would be perfect for a relaxing night in!

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Step Three: Transport Yourself to Paris Through Film

I don’t know about you guys, but some of my absolute favorite films take place in Paris. Here are some of my personal favorite movies that take place in France:

Cinderella (Live Action 2015)

If I could live inside the world of any movie in the world, it would be this one. Everything about this film is stunning, from the scenery, to the locations, to the costumes. Disney outdid themselves! This movie tops the rest just from the scenery and atmosphere alone. This movie transports you to a fairy tale kingdom in France unlike any other, and would be my top recommendation of all the movies on this list. Also, the score is one of the best I’ve ever heard in any film, period.

Sabrina (1954)

Who doesn’t love a good Audrey Hepburn movie? In this film, Audrey plays the glamorous and sophisticated Sabrina Fairchild who returns home from culinary school in Paris. Upon her return, two wealthy men vie for her affection. This is also the film where she sings the classic song “La Vie en Rose”.

Midnight in Paris

I haven’t seen this one yet, but obviously it came to mind when thinking of movies that take place in France. This is a romantic comedy that takes place in Paris, which is perfect for a relaxing, Parisian themed night in. If any of you have seen this movie, let me know how it is in the comments!

Ratatouille

This Pixar film admittedly isn’t a favorite of mine, but it’s still a really cute film. The movie is adorable and you get to learn about some authentic French dishes! I was inspired to make ratatouille after watching this film; it probably didn’t turn out as well as Remy’s but I tried!

Anastasia (1997 animated film)

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am aware that Anastasia is Russian, not French. However, if you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know that not only does Paris hold the secret to her past, parts of this movie take place in Paris too. This movie is a childhood favorite of mine and is fun to go back to. 

Step Four: Eat French Pastries

Chocolate croissants anyone? A Parisian themed night wouldn’t be complete without French treats! My favorite foods mostly consist of French pastries, so I’ll take any excuse to buy some macarons! My personal favorites are French macarons and madeleine cakes. If you’ve never had either of these, you’re really missing out! French macarons are actually my all time favorite food; I don’t know what it is but I just find the texture of it so satisfying! Madeliene cakes are these little shell shaped butter cakes and they’re the yummiest things ever! These treats are perfect to pair with the Paris tea mentioned before, and now you’ll have something to nibble on while settling in for your movie.

Credit to Ladureeus on Instagram

Credit to Ladureeus on Instagram

Step Five: French Music and Face Masks

Now that you’ve had your tea, treats, and a film (or several!) you’re probably tired and ready to start winding down. The perfect way to end your Parisian themed night is relaxing with some music. This is your time to put on a face mask, play your favorite French songs, and lie back and meditate for a while. Take this time to imagine you’re relaxing in your penthouse in Paris with French music lightly floating through the open windows and a view of the Eiffel Tower.  If you don’t know what to listen to, I’ve got you covered! I’ve made a Spotify playlist that features not only French music, but other light and dreamy songs that give off a similar Parisian or dreamy vibe.

Click Here for my Spotify Playlist

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Step Six: Settle in With a Book 

If you’re like me, you can’t fall asleep without some sort of activity first, usually reading. I tend to read myself to sleep because it makes me feel tired. I recommend picking up a French fashion magazine or novel! If you want to combine this step with the previous step, you can still settle in with your French music and face mask, but flip through the pages of your favorite fashion magazine as you’re doing it. Parisian fashion is simply the best! My favorite illustrated guide to Parisian fashion is “Paris Through a Fashion Eye” by Megan Hess.

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I hope that this post has helped give you some ideas on how to have a relaxing Parisian themed night. I have a few ideas planned, but let me know in the comments any requests you may have for future posts in this series. Bonne Nuit, lovelies!