Minimalist & Cruelty-Free Makeup Routine

I know I can't be alone in that when Summer rolls around, after what always seems like the longest Canadian Winter ever, I want to spend as little time as possible on my beauty routine. This not only allows me to spend more time wine tasting, sitting on patios & heading to the beach, but it also keeps my face from becoming a disaster in the Summer heat. The best part about this routine is that it can easily be taken into night with a swipe of bronze cream shadow & a bright, festive lip! I find the key to a minimal routine is to focus heavily on skincare in the Summer (which I do during my night routine), so that you can get away with less coverage during the day... & besides, I prefer imperfections peaking through over wearing heavy layers of product regardless. 

Minimalist & Cruelty-Free Makeup Routine - Stellar Cosmetics & Hourglass Cosmetics

Disclaimer: This is my version of a minimalist routine, as a makeup artist who is expected to wear a full face daily. I understand that this may not seem minimal to some & may also seem too minimal to others. 

1) Cleanse, Tone, Hydrate
I generally skip eye cream year round, which I've discussed before. I've spent hundreds of dollars testing countless eye creams & honestly I find the best age prevention is classic SPF. I also do not deal with puffiness, but do have hereditary dark circles, which no eye cream can touch.
I vary my cleansers quite often, but recommend something gentle so as not to strip the skin (yes, even if you're oily!). 
For toner, I'm currently using Mario Badescu's Glycolic Acid & for hydration I'm using The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid.

For more details on my current skincare routine you can also take a look at this post... 
Easy Summer Routine for Event-Ready Skin (Cruelty-Free Edition!)

2) BB Cream
The Tarte BB cream replaces my Winter moisturizer & SPF, though I still use a separate sunscreen for my body (& especially hands!) everyday.. Yes, everyday. If I am not using BB cream, I'll use Juice Beauty's moisturizer with SPF 30.

Stellar Cosmetics Powder in "Haze"

Stellar Cosmetics Powder in "Haze"

3) Concealer & Translucent Powder
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer was my previous go to, but as the brand is no longer cruelty-free I have a number of other concealers in my rotation that I will be switching to, including Tarte's Shape Tape & Urban Decay's Naked Skin.

In terms of translucent powder, I've been loving Stellar's translucent powder in "Haze" lately for its blurring effects, but it must be used lightly so as not to lead to the dreaded flashback.

4) Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders
I use my favourite shade, Dim Light, for a quick bronze around the perimeter of my face & down my neck/chest. I also double this as an eyeshadow for a cohesive, bronzed look if I'm feeling extra fancy.

5) Blush
I also tend to favour Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush for its soft-focus finish & I'm a sucker for Tarte's "Exposed" shade as well because of its neutrality & longevity. Blush has to be my favourite step for faking that healthy flush we're all after.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in "Radiant Magenta"

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in "Radiant Magenta"

6) Highlight
When I travel, I take Urban Decay's trio, which includes a blush, bronzer & highlight, to combine this & the above two steps! Otherwise I've been loving Anastasia's Glow Kits because they can be applied surprisingly subtle, with no visible glitter. The Glow Kit pans are also easily removable, sans broken powder.

7) Mascara
I usually don't fall for expensive mascaras because I toss them after two to three months, but Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir is the one exception. I layer this over Essence's I LOVE Extreme mascara in the waterproof version to hold my curl. Most importantly, never underestimate the power of a great eyelash curler!

8) Waterline
I try not to skip my upper waterline & Urban Decay's pencil in "Rail" is my current favourite. The difference this makes in terms of a lush, thick lash line is mind-blowing!

Essence Make Me Brow in "03"

Essence Make Me Brow in "03"

9) Brow Mascara
I can't be bothered filling in my brows during the Summer months, though I know some of you are probably cringing reading this. Luckily (or not) my brows are quite thick as is, so I just brush through them with Essence's Make Me Brow, the cruelty-free dupe for my old love, Benefit's Gimme Brow.

10) Tinted Lip Balm
My lips are consistently dry so if I'm using lip balm at all it's usually tinted, with SPF if possible. This is the easiest way to wear colour in the Summer, is fuss-free & looks quite fresh. Becca's Beach Tints & Ilia's Tinted Lip Conditioners are my current go tos.

Cruelty-free suncare's up next!

Easy Summer Routine for Event-Ready Skin (Cruelty-Free Edition!)

Your skincare may seem like the most daunting task to take care of before an event, which is why it's often put on the back burner in favour of a quick fix (like makeup). But the faster you establish a basic, no-fuss routine, the less makeup you have to wear (essential in the warm Summer months) & the better you age! Win-win. At the end of the day, skincare doesn't have to be complicated. Just remember that ingredients & formulations are key & should always take precedence over marketing hype.

Before I begin listing steps, I'd also like to add that lifestyle is absolutely key to achieving healthy, glowing skin. It took me years to fully accept this & as soon as I did I've noticed more of a difference in my skin than any product has ever made. I now eat a fully vegan diet, drink plenty of water, avoid excess caffeine (still struggling here though!), limit alcohol, don't smoke, exercise regularly & stay out of the sun at any cost. I'm also a huge believer in daily supplements & so take a high-quality multi-vitamin, zinc & B12 daily, but of course your supplements should be tailored to your lifestyle & dietary needs. Discussing these with your doctor or naturopath is always the best plan of action! Lastly, don't get me wrong, I still enjoy lounging on the beach & drinking wine with dinner, but I now do so in moderation. Okay, on to the steps already!

Juice Beauty Moisturize SPF 30 & The Ordinary Eye Caffeine Solution

Juice Beauty Moisturize SPF 30 & The Ordinary Eye Caffeine Solution

1) Cleanse 
Choose a non-foaming, gentle cleanser for AM & PM. If you are battling acne, avoid an overly-abrasive cleanser, which will only irritate matters further.

2) Tone
I'm currently using a toner with a low percentage of glycolic acid in it for anti-aging & brightening purposes, but because I also use prescription Retin-A & do not need further surface exfoliation, I will be switching to a more gentle, essence-like toner when my bottle is gone. 

Tatcha Polished Enzyme Powder (Cleanser)

Tatcha Polished Enzyme Powder (Cleanser)

3) Hydrate/Vitamin C
I'm a firm believer in hyaluronic acid for plumping my skin, as it tends to be quite dry from my night treatments. If you do not need the extra hydration, I highly recommend investing in a stable form of Vitamin C instead, which is a powerful antioxidant & aid to collagen building. Of course you can use both, but I find using either one or the other is best for under makeup.

4) Moisturize + SPF
I combine these two steps for ease & recommend NEVER skipping SPF. It is our greatest anti-aging tool & absolutely necessary if you are using any type of exfoliation, period. Don't forget your ears, hands & lips, as well as the rest of your body of course!

Previously Listed + Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner & The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Previously Listed + Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner & The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum

5) Eye Cream (Optional)
I regularly try out various eye creams from both ends of the spectrum (drugstore to luxury) & have never found an eye cream that could do what my serums & moisturizer could not. For reference, I have hereditary dark circles & no puffiness. So I'll leave this step up to your own discretion. 

I alternate Retin-A with benzoyl peroxide on a nightly basis for anti-aging & acne purposes. I also highly recommend pre-cleansing with an oil cleanser at night if you wear makeup or SPF. Lastly, I'll never go a Sunday night without doing a stronger lactic or glycolic acid peel followed by a hydrating mask, though tread lightly in peel territory! 

What are your favourite cruelty-free skincare items?

Building a Cruelty-Free Professional Makeup Kit

My kit has evolved over the years, but these are my tried & true favourite products for bridal, commercial & editorial makeup. I also included extras, which while optional, can turn you into the saving grace on set or in the bridal suite. I generally keep my kit quite compact & therefore these product recommendations are all options as opposed to requirements! I'm a huge fan of decanting products into clear tubes or containers, depotting palettes & taking advantage of travel sizes.

I keep all my products in two hard clear cases in a carry-on sized suitcase. I favour multi-use products which can be repurposed for a variety of uses.. & if you take anything from this, let it be that the one area you absolutely need to invest in is your skin prep & base items. Without a perfect canvas, any look you do will not reach its full potential!

Please note that brands with an asterisk (*) have a parent company which is NOT cruelty-free. 

Building a Cruelty-Free Professional Makeup Kit: Extras

Skin Prep:
Micellar Water - Boots, Marcelle (Canadian!)
Exfoliant/Toner - Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Pads, Heritage Rosewater
Moisturizer - First Aid Beauty Mattifying Gel for Oily/Combo, Drunk Elephant Whipped Cream for Dry
Oil - Tarte Maracuja Oil
Eye Cream - Optional; The Ordinary Caffeine Solution (Canadian!)
Eye Makeup Remover - Boots, Marcelle

Primer - Optional; The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
Foundation - Graftobian HD Palettes, RCMA VK Palettes
Concealer/Corrector - Kryolan Dermacolor Palettes, Makeup Atelier Fluid Concealer, Yaby Correctors
Powder (Setting & Finishing) - Graftobian Powder Foundation, RCMA No Color, Cover FX Perfect Setting Powder, Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Powders (finishing)
Bronzer - Hourglass Cosmetics, Nars
Contour - RCMA Cream Contour Palette, Kat Von D Shade & Light (powder foundations also make great contour & bronzer!)
Blush - La Femme Cosmetics, Nars
Highlighter - Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits, Ofra
Setting Spray - Skindinavia Bridal, Blue Marble, Ben Nye Final Seal

Building a Cruelty-Free Professional Makeup Kit: Blush

Eye Primer - Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Nars Pro Prime
Eyeshadow - Anastasia Beverly Hills, Stila Cosmetics, Kat Von D Shade & Light, Urban Decay (pressed pans, not palettes!)
Glitter/Pigments - Lit Cosmetics, Sugarpill
Cream Shadows/Gel Liner - Inglot
Eyeliner - Urban Decay 24/7, Marc Jacobs Highliners
Mascara - Urban Decay Perversion, Essence I Love Extreme Waterproof
Eyebrow Products - Essence Make Me Brows (dupe for Benefit Gimme Brow)
Fake Eyelashes & Glue - Look for human hair varieties & latex-free lash glue.

Lip Balm - Farmacy Lip Bloom, Dr. Bronner's
Lipstick - Bite Beauty, Nars Audacious & Satin Lip Pencils
Lip Gloss - Milk Makeup Face Gloss (multi-purpose)
Lip Stain - Stila Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks, OCC Lip Tars
Lip Pencils - Essence, Urban Decay

Building a Cruelty-Free Professional Makeup Kit: Eyes

Makeup Brushes
 - Morphe, Ecotools, Real Techniques (look for synthetics)
Cotton Pads
Disposable Applicators
Hand Sanitizer

Sponges - Latex-free
Sharpener - NYX
Empty Palettes
Brush Cleaner
 - Cinema Secrets

Mehron Skin Prep Pro
(for sweat!)
Bobby Pins/Hair Clips/Elastics
Eye Drops
Hairspray & Brush
Body Oil
- Kopari Beauty
Oil Blotting Papers
Razors/Shaving Cream
Baby Wipes
Fake Tan
Nail Polish
(clear, baby pink, nude, red, black)
Hydrocortisone Cream
Brush Cups/Belt
Clear Cosmetic Bags
Hand Mirror
(for product decanting)

Don't forget to let me know your cruelty-free favourites in the comments!

Top 5 Cruelty-Free Products: Makeup Edition

As you may already know, I only stock cruelty-free products in my kit & in my personal collection. I firmly believe that beauty does not have to equal pain, ever. So below are five of my favourite hidden (or not-so hidden) makeup gems!


#1: Nars Blush
An absolute dream to work with, long-lasting with a wide shade selection & if you're lucky enough you can score a gorgeous palette in the right season! My personal favourite colours include Exhibit A (vibrant red), Sin (golden plum) & Desire (hot pink). Of course the cult favourite shade, Orgasm, deserves attention as well! It's perfect for beach babes & glowing brides alike.

Artistry by Jacquie - Top 5 Cruelty-Free Products: Makeup Edition, #1: Nars Blushes

#2: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders
I especially love these as finishing powders for dull or dry skin & for under eyes, as they provide a smooth, almost blurred finish to the skin. Just be sure to use a setting powder underneath for ample long-wearing capabilities. These powders can also be used as bronzers & highlighters as well, but apply sparingly to prevent flashback!

Pro Tip: The shade Dim Light is especially perfect for pale-skinned beauties in place of bronzer.

Artistry by Jacquie - Top 5 Cruelty-Free Products: Makeup Edition, #2: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

#3: The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer
I just discovered this beauty & am even happier to say that Deciem is a Toronto-based company. Everything from The Ordinary range delivers results with little fuss & this primer is no exception. Incredible for softening fine lines, texture & pores. It is one of the few primers that I've used that I actually believe helps rather than hinders the end result. Less is more with this guy too!

Artistry by Jacquie - Top 5 Cruelty-Free Products: Makeup Edition, #3: The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

#4: Nars Audacious & Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks
Excuse my well-loved lip palette! Lipsticks from Nars & Bite Beauty are among my favourites because they provide pigmentation & are long-lasting, without being overly drying. As an added bonus, Bite Beauty is also Canadian!

Favourite Bite Shades: Pepper, Honeycomb & Thistle.
Favourite Nars Shades: Claudia, Anna & Michiyo.

Artistry by Jacquie - Top 5 Cruelty-Free Products: Makeup Edition, #4: Nars & Bite Beauty Lipsticks

#5: Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Palettes
(Shown Here: Artist, Self-Made & Modern Renaissance)
I have an excessive amount of eyeshadows depotted for my kit, but somehow always end up grabbing these too! From sheer shades to pigmented & from matte to shine, you're covered. They're incredibly blendable & can be easily built up for drama.

Favourite Shades: Pink Champagne, Warm Taupe, Dusty Rose & Metallic Plum.

Artistry by Jacquie - Top 5 Cruelty-Free Products: Makeup Edition, #5: Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Palettes

For the most up-to-date list of cruelty-free brands, I trust Cruelty-Free Kitty! Skincare's up next.