My Cruelty Free Journey by Amanda at The Burnished Bee

My Natural Beauty Journey

Hey there! Hope you enjoyed the first blog post in the #MyNaturalBeautyJourney blog series by Lizz from Ethical Evolution.

I have received great feedback already on the series, and there are plenty more posts to come from some great green beauty bloggers and natural skin care enthusiasts. As most of you are aware, i'm currently 38 weeks pregnant so I will get the posts on the blog as soon as I can, in between packing boxes and chasing Jaxon around the house, then in between feeds, nappy changes and afternoon snoozes!! 

Next up in the series is the lovely Amanda who blogs over at the The Burnished Bee (formerly Beauty and the Bee). She blogs about ethical, sustainable choices, waste reduction, ethical, slow fashion, supporting green initiatives and creating environmental awareness. This is her cruelty-free beauty journey....  

Amanda from The Burnished Bee

Where it all began….

Surprisingly, my natural/ cruelty-free beauty journey began when I became a Younique presenter in early 2016! I left after three months, once the push for recruitment intensified and once I investigated their animal testing policy. When I emailed them last year they stated that they had not conducted an in-depth review into the sources of their ingredients: which seems vague and evasive, not to mention unethical that a company should hold no details on the origins of their raw materials. Unfortunately a lot of Younique presenters continue to claim the company is cruelty-free with no reliable evidence. This year a portion of Younique was sold to Coty, who tests on animals where required by law.

I’m ashamed to admit that I had never considered what animal testing involved before this, but now that I know more about toxicity and draize testing, (I still can’t bring myself to research the horrors of it in great depth as animal cruelty has always upset and disgusted me), I think animal-testing in the name of beauty shows how truly ugly humans can be. With information gathered through historical animal-testing of cosmetic ingredients, we have enough ‘safe’ chemicals to make all the beauty products we could ever need, rendering continued animal testing completely unnecessary and sickeningly cruel.

As a future pharmacist, I also struggle with animal testing for medicine/drugs; I would love to see the day when animals are no longer used for medical research. Although Alzheimer’s is a horrific disease, it saddens me that monkeys are ‘given’ a form of the disease, restrained in labs and then subjected to painful brain experiments.  Alzheimer’s is a complex human disease which doesn’t occur naturally in animals, so how can we be sure that any treatment successful in preventing, halting or curing the man-made animal variety will have the same effect on the human form of the disease? This is my main reason for choosing to run the Great North Run this September for ‘Animal Free Research UK’ (formerly known as the Dr Hadwen Trust). I’m currently working on a blog post outlining the projects they fund and some of the alternatives to animal testing currently in development.

Animal Free Research UK

I started blogging after leaving Younique to make more people aware of animal testing companies and to share my experience of cruelty-free alternatives. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’m doing my best to learn as much as I can. It’s also been a bit of downtime and a welcome distraction during my pharmacy degree, as I originally studied English at university and have always loved writing.

Current skincare routine

In addition to switching to cruelty-free, I’m also starting to lean more towards natural/organic skincare as often the ethics of cruelty-free and natural/organic go hand in hand. As a result, I think my skin has improved massively over the past 6 months as I’ve simplified my skincare routine. I’ve had acne for 17 years, been on every antibiotic possible (back in the days when no one was concerned about resistance!) and endured 4 courses of roaccutane (isotretinoin), the most hardcore of all acne drugs.

I reached a turning point this year was when I signed up to the Fresh Start Challenge, organised by Little Green Dot. I still use honey in nearly everything, I make my own masks with kaolin, green, and bentonite clays and I’ve learned that scrubs are so easy to make! From personal experience my skin reacts better to simple ingredients and you feel such a sense of achievement when you make your own!

Some of my favourite scrubs are:

Jasmine and Matcha Green Tea (Repair) Salt and Sulphur Scrub by The Salt Parlour which I received in February’s Natural Beauty Box.

Jasmine & Matcha Green Tea (Repair) Body Scrub

Potent Peppermint: The Hungover Coffee Scrub by Optiat

Optiat Hungover Coffee Scrub

Favourite brands

Everything by Terre Verdi is just beautifully designed and made…… I received the FranChouliPom Facial Serum in the January’s Natural Beauty Box - it was the first serum I’d ever tried and it’s still my favourite.

Terre Verdi's FranChouliPom Facial Serum

For toner,  I love Balm Balm floral waters. So far I’ve tried Rose, and Chamomile. Or if you’re Northern Irish support Daisy and Mallow (made in Enniskillen); I love the Frankincense toner and lip balms.

Daisy & Mallow Frankincense Toner

I’m visiting Herb Farmacy in Herefordshire at the beginning of August: I can’t wait to see the farm and find out more about their processes and products. I’m also hoping to book Voya Seaweed Baths in Sligo when I go home to visit family in September.

So far, finding effective natural make-up has been more challenging..…I’ve most recently tried Vapour Organic Beauty but my search for the perfect natural foundation continues.

Advice for transitioning to cruelty-free

Finding cruelty-free alternatives can be daunting at first, but resources and advice from Cruelty-Free Kitty, Logical Harmony and Ethical Elephant makes starting the switch easier. Once you find your feet, my advice is to get stuck in and do your own research. It doesn’t need to be too in-depth, a simple google search will usually give you the answer and in my experience, if you have questions, companies often respond better to queries from genuine customers rather than blogging giants. When you first read animal testing policies, it takes a little while to adjust to reading between the lines: look for key phrases like “Our products are not tested on animals” – what about the ingredients? , or try to look for the Leaping Bunny:  the strictest certification as it’s the only one which carries out audits/inspections of company facilities. Companies are getting even smarter at wording their cruelty-free policies- if you look at L’Oréal’s, you’d think they were leading a cruelty-free revolution! Get on Facebook and Instagram and find out about the experiences of other cruelty-free advocates. If there’s anything I can help you with, please do get in touch.

To finish with, here is my number 1 reason for choosing natural/cruelty-free:

Roo, Amanda’s 3 year old Cairnwestie cross

Roo, my 3 year old Cairnwestie cross. You may have seen him already, as he features a lot on my Instagram feed!

Thanks for reading, can’t wait to hear about your natural beauty journey!

Amanda xx


Thanks Amanda - the Fresh Start challenge certainly sounds interesting. Can anyone recommend any natural makeup brands for Amanda? Benecos is great if your on a budget. I currently use Mossa BB Nude Tinting Moisturier which is fantastic.

If you would like to feature your story in the #MyNaturalBeautyJourney blog series, email ; I'd love to hear from you. Have a great evening, Emma x 

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