I have been hyped to try some of our American pals’ more advanced beauty products since taking cruelty-free/vegan makeup more seriously; they’re definitely ahead in formulas and range of products across the board, and I’ve been itching for someone I know to visit the US so I could slyly get in a Sephora order.
After watching several US cruelty-free/vegan YouTubers (Tashina and Rhian are the best) and doing extensive research i.e. am I really going to need 3 shampoos and is this lipstick too pink?, I finally narrowed it down to specific OG products as you’d call them from 3 of the best brands Sephora has to offer.
We’ve got skincare, makeup, and haircare covered, so grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy the review (and also all the photos, because throwing glitter around was really fun).
MILK MAKEUP is probably one of the biggest vegan friendly makeup brands to hit Sephora in the last few years, with more people heading to their counter for fun and eye-catching products such as their glitter sticks and holographic highlighters, plus handy solid products such as solid cleansers and toners which are all airline approved (fab for that 100ml limit!) I’ve been following them for a while and taking notes of other products people I know have used, and because they sadly don’t ship to the UK yet, it was with much restraint that I settled on three of their best-selling products (because all good things come in threes right?)
Firstly is the Blur Matte Foundation, which surprisingly isn’t too matte but has nailed down the comfortable formula/natural skin-finish look. I did a first impressions of the products I bought on my Instagram Stories (which I’ve saved as a highlight so go watch that), and found my shade Golden Light a little warm toned, and when used with a damp beauty blender it wasn’t as full coverage; but after a week or so of play I’ve made some decisions that are thankfully all positive – first off, Golden Light may not be my perfect hand-to-neck-to-face shade, but it does suit my summer skin-tone and gives me necessary warmth that a lighter shade would make me appear…let’s say, washed out.
Aside from getting a lighter shade to mix in, I have found that in different lights the foundation balances and matches my face perfectly, and also it somehow mellows out over time rather than oxidizing orange, seemingly getting lighter and settling to match my true shade which is pretty cool.
In terms of formula, it’s best applied with fingers or a silicone applicator for full coverage, and has a very lightweight powder finish which is amazing; it feels as though there is nothing on your skin and even after many hours it still feels comfortable.
I tested the foundation for 8 hours at a time in three scenarios – at home, going in and out of natural environments and central heating, and a whole day commuting around London. In all three, my makeup stayed and looked really fresh; granted after London there were marks from my glasses and some loss of product around the chin from my scarf, but the rest of my face looked covered and uncreased. Obviously the cooler the conditions the better it sticks to the skin, but even in humidity it passed the ‘I want to scratch my face off’ test.
You only need the teeniest amount for application as a little goes more than a long way, and for best results you should be exfoliating 2-3 times a week to keep skin smooth and prevent any cling. I would suggest more shades to make it easier to select, or minis so that if you are a UK buyer like me and can’t pick a shade or want a small travel option, you can buy two and mix/test before getting a full size. Plus, who doesn’t love minis?
Another rated product is the Flex Concealer, which I’d say is closest to Urban Decay’s concealer in terms of formula, but with less coverage and slightly thicker. It is lightweight but again the colours are where it let me down – the shade Light which I assumed would be lighter than Golden Light was actually darker, and not great under the eyes unless mixed with another product. It does however balance out and I prefer it on my nose and forehead, and does give me a slight ‘I caught the sun across my face’ glow, but it’s not doing the overall job I want.
I would 100% purchase again in a paler shade, and whilst the foundation does most of the concealing, Flex Concealer is a great refresher almost and subtly hydrates through the day. If you’re having a good skin day, then this would be enough to conceal under-eyes and spots, so a nice summer option for no-makeup days.
Finally we have OG Red Lip Colour which I am absolutely in love with – a demi-matte crayon packed with butters and oils, and in a bold classic red which you can’t go wrong with. When I first tried it I freaked out over much transferrable product there was after application, and even with a blot or 3 the product still looks really good albeit more drying, so I went sans-blot one day and found that it passed all eating/drinking/teeth staining tests. Truly a lipstick of the future.
I love the formula and pointed nib for precise application, and the shade range is fabulous too so definitely one to drop in your basket on your next Sephora shop.
Now something to get excited about – IGK is coming to the UK in a few weeks time and you better be ready for the hype! Their products have been recommended to me so often, and I’m glad I only picked up one product as they’ll be within easy delivery access in no time!
So let’s talk Jet Lag Dry Shampoo, a truly invisible product which finally answers every heavy-duty product loather/dark haired lady’s prayers. I’m really not into feeling product in my hair, nor sleeping on a pillow with gunk smooshing into the fabric and onto my skin, so I tend to skip; but IGK has really nailed a rather weightless and hair-oomphing shampoo that I’ve quickly fallen in love with.
You get a very decent amount of product which is great, and the smell is very pleasant too, but the main pull is how well it works – for someone who has fine hair that gets greasy at the roots easily, this transforms an oil slick into a Hollywood slick, somehow absorbing oil and grease and making it look refreshed and textured. Whilst you can’t feel product, you can see how it thickens the hair and it’s easy to comb through too.
Overall, you cannot go wrong, it’s worth every bit of hype and you’d be crazy not to pick up a can when it comes to Space NK in February – next on my list is the Beach Club Texture Spray, because we always need more texture!
Now for some Skincare and I tried not to go overboard as I really like my routine at the moment, and just wanted to try or repurchase brands I’d been researching for a long time.
Obviously I repurchased Sunday Riley Saturn which is a zinc and sulpher based mask that makes all your blackheads dry up and disappear; it’s strong but works a treat, and I have mentioned it here before so won’t go into too much detail, but using this twice a week has really helped calm breakouts, but also keep my pores clear and smooth which in turn stops me picking – result!
The brand I really wanted to try though was Herbivore, which I’ve been pining to try since 2015 and have watched it boom and grow since. I love brands that are natural and of course V/CF, so I’ve been keeping my hopes up on trying it and now I can safely say it is worth every penny (it’s also coming to the UK later this year which is HUGE HOORAY!)
There were two products both from the same range I wanted most and opted to get the mini duo before splashing the cash so I could make sure I liked/didn’t react to the products (spoiler I love them and all is great) – first the Blue Tansy Mask which is an AHA and BHA based exfoliating mask that resurfaces the skin and helps dry up and wave bye bye to blemishes, whilst calming redness and balancing oil with added willow bark.
I’ve been a huge fan of REN for years, but I think this mask may just overtake it thanks to the additional BHA acids too which work deeper under the surface to get rid of spots – from the quite fresh (almost dental) scent to the cool blue colour, it’s an almost rubbery gloop that applies like a jelly and sets down to a very thin layer you could almost peel off, but is best removed in gentle circles and leaves skin so smooth, so fresh, and super clear too. it really does decongest and my skin hasn’t looked so calm and fresh from a mask so quickly – add to the list immediately.
The Lapis Balancing Facial Oil also contains Blue Tansy, and I’d describe it as Sunday Riley Luna without the retinol – a very calming yet skin renewing (and plumping) oil that again smells fresh and also helps balance the skin without clogging pores. I prefer to use this in the morning as it is retinol free and lightweight, meaning makeup is less likely to slide, plus it calms redness during the day and allows my drier chin to get extra moisture whilst keeping my nose and cheeks oil free.
I do think it’s one of the best oils I’ve tried, and I love the mini size of the bottle so I would absolutely repurchase a full size when they come to the UK, and it’s fab to find an oil that is light yet isn’t too dry nor overly oily – it’s perfect!
And breathe! I think I typed so much and so fast at one point my fingers set ablaze, but I hope you found this review a helpful guide if buying from Sephora for the first time in the US, or if you’re looking for more info on the products before their UK releases later this year – please MILK come to the UK or at least ship over via Sephora!
I absolutely love each product, even if some have some flaws because I know that it’s small matters of colour and such so it’s not enough to stop me using completely. Overall, best foundation ever tried, you can’t beat a bold lip, and I might have fallen in love with a face mask and dry shampoo and need to elope quickly. Happy shopping!
Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.