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2018 Cruelty Free Beauty Favourites


It’s the start of 2019 so that means I get to share all of my favourite cruelty free beauty products with you. I have made 4 separate blog posts to make it easier for you to read. Today I have the complexion based products, then I will have three more blog posts going up soon on eye makeup, lip and nail products and then skin care. Some of these products have been listed in my previous yearly favourites, which means I have tried other things, but I didn’t like any of them as much as I liked these products. I would prefer to do it this way rather than telling you products I have just tried in this year, when I may not actually like them that much.

2018 cruelty free beauty favourites - polish and paws blog
2018 cruelty free beauty favourites


The primers I always reach for are from Hourglass Cosmetics. I use the Veil Mineral Primer on my t-zone, and anywhere I have larger pores or texture, and I use the more hydrating No 28 Primer Serum over my whole face. I own a lot of primers including the Too Faced Hangover Primer (which I occasionally use), but the vast majority of the time, it’s an Hourglass primer that I’m reaching for.

2018 cruelty free beauty favourites - Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder - Polish and Paws blog
Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Translucent Setting Powder

Foundation and Powder

The stand out foundation for me during the year was the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Stick Foundation, which is the only foundation that I have in a shade light enough to match my skin tone (blanc), and that doesn’t make my skin look like a desert. The Vanish Stick can be built up to full coverage but I tend to use a smaller amount and sheer it out so that it’s a low-medium coverage. Hourglass have just announced that they are launching a liquid version of the stick foundation called Vanish Liquid Foundation – it might take a while to get to Australia, but I will get it as soon as it is here to review. I have also used the Chi Chi Super CC Cream a lot this year, but I have to mix the shade fair with a lot of the white Colourpop Concealer to get it light enough. Ulta3 also make lightening drops which I will use sometimes too. The CC Cream has a great finish but it contains things like caviar extract and snail slime, so I am constantly on the lookout for a vegan replacement that has the same finish and a better colour match. The only other foundation I used was Born This Way from Too Faced but the shades are so yellow that even when I add white, they still look weird. I really want Too Faced to fix this as I would also love to use their Born This Way Concealer as well.

I really hated the Colourpop No Filter Natural Matte Foundation, but after hearing some reviews, I bought the Colourpop No Filter Foundation Stick and I’ll start testing that soon. I also have the Revolution Beauty Fast Base Stick Foundation on hand to try out (as well as the Conceal & Define Concealer and and Fast Base Concealer). If you want to know what I think of them, let me know in the comments. Designer Brands have just expanded their foundation shade range, so I will try to pick up one of their shades soon.

I focused on trying mineral powder foundations from smaller brands this year. You can go through my blog archive and read all the reviews, but the stand out to me was the Eco Minerals Perfection Mineral Foundation. I use Vanilla but a mix of Light Vanilla and Vanilla would possibly be better. I don’t notice the difference once applied though, so it doesn’t really matter. It works so well on my dry skin and I love supporting a small Aussie brand that’s animal friendly and environmentally conscious. You can check out my full review here.

My favourite loose setting powder this year was the new Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder. It is such a good setting powder, I wouldn’t want to go without it now. It is light enough for very fair skin (which many “translucent” powders aren’t), it helps to blur texture and it doesn’t look powdery or cakey. Before that I was using the Models Prefer (Priceline’s home brand) Professional Mineral Finishing Veil Powder which is worth trying if you can’t afford the Hourglass one.

I didn’t use pressed coloured face powders a lot, but if I did I would use either the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Fair or the Australis Fresh and Flawless Pressed Powder in Light Beige. See a comparison below of the colours of my mineral powder foundations and pressed face powders.

Powder comparison - Australis Cosmetics Light Beige, Charlotte Tilbury Fair, Aura Makeup Shell, La Mav Light, Eco Minerals Vanilla, Ere Perez Light and Elate Cosmetics Ivory  - polish and paws cruelty free beauty blog
Powder comparison – Australis Cosmetics Light Beige, Charlotte Tilbury Fair, Aura Makeup Shell, La Mav Light, Eco Minerals Vanilla, Ere Perez Light and Elate Cosmetics Ivory

Corrector and Concealer

My skin is so fair that any discoloration really shows up, therefore I like to use a green corrector to cover up redness and peach/salmon to cover up purple tones, like under eye circles and melasma. My favourite correctors are the Becca Cosmetics ones, as they are hydrating and don’t make the skin look dry. I use the Under Eye Brightening Corrector in Light to Medium and the Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector in Pistachio. I have the Peach Backlight Corrector too, but it’s too vibrant for really fair skin. If you have oily skin then you might like the Urban Decay Naked Skin Colour Correcting Fluid as it dries down quickly and to a matte finish.

For most of the year I didn’t have a concealer that I really liked. That changed when I won a a giveaway from Elate Cosmetics. I didn’t know anything about this concealer beforehand, so chances are I wouldn’t have bought it, but I’m so glad I have it now. It’s a creamy pot concealer that only comes in 5 shades, but the lightest shade, Porcelain, is a great colour for me. It’s hydrating, so it doesn’t emphasise fine lines and the brand is all about being sustainable. It is a medium coverage concealer, which is good for me because I prefer to use a hydrating corrector and concealer together instead of using a full coverage, drying concealer like Tarte Shape Tape. The only other concealer that comes in my shade is the Colourpop No Filter Concealer in Fair 06, see my full review. It is higher coverage the the Elate one, but also much more drying. If I prep my skin really well, then I can use this concealer, and I tend to use it for special occasions as it lasts longer, but I normally use the Elate instead. I use the white Colourpop Concealer a lot to make other products lighter. Fenty Beauty is about to launch a concealer in 50 shades, so I’m hoping the formula is more dry skin friendly than the Fenty Pro Filt’r Foundation is (reviews aren’t looking too positive though).

2018 Cruelty Free bBeauty Favourites - Concealer colour comparison - Urban Decay Fair Neutral, Tarte Fair Beige, Colourpop Cosmetics Fair 06, Ere Perez Latte and Elate Cosmetics Porcelain - polish and paws cruelty free beauty blog
Concealer colour comparison – Urban Decay Fair Neutral, Tarte Fair Beige, Colourpop Cosmetics Fair 06, Ere Perez Latte and Elate Cosmetics Porcelain


I love playing with foundations, concealers, and blush to make it look like I have no makeup on and just naturally flawless skin. My most used blush last year was the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow which is a light cool pink, perfect for fair skin. I also use Mood Exposure, which is a soft plum and suits all skin tones. I would love to get more of the Ambient Lighting Blush shades to add to my collection. If I wasn’t using an Hourglass blush, then I would be using a blush from theBalm Cosmetics. The main colours I use are Down Boy, Frat Boy and Balm Beach, but I love all of their blushes. I’m on the hunt for a good cream blush, I have been meaning to buy the Ere Perez Carrot Colour Pot in Harmony, but I just haven’t done so yet. I’m always on the look out for new blushes as they’re my favourite product.


I am not a big fan of super glittery or over-the-top highlighters. My favourite highlighter is actually a balm highlight that just gives the skin a subtle glow. It’s the Elate Universal Creme Highlight in Lucent. I also really like the Elate Illuminator Pressed Powder in Opal, which is has a light pink highlight that looks amazing on the skin. They are the two highlighters I will grab first, and they come with the cutest bamboo compacts or in a the pan by itself that can be put in a magnetic palette. Before I found Lucent I had played around with Mecca Cosmetica’s Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm and Becca Cosmetica’s Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter in Pearl but I always go for the Elate one now. Flora and Fauna (affiliate link) are the exclusive stockist of Elate in Australia.

Other powder highlighters I use are Makeup Geek Glitz (may get discontinued soon), Anastasia Beverly Hills Starlight Illuminator (discontinued), Hourglass Ambient Strobe Powder in Incandescent Stobe light and surprisingly, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Prismatic Amethyst. I’m not into the coloured highlighting trend but Prismatic Amethyst has a subtle pink/violet shift so it is really wearable. Vanilla Quartz and Pearl, from Becca, are also nice highlighters on fair skin. I have been wanting to get my hands on Becca’s Berlin Girl Glow, but it has been sold out on Beautylish for ages, and the Becca website doesn’t ship worldwide. They also just released a new highlight for 2019, the year of the pig, called Lunar New Year, which looks pretty but there’s no way of knowing what the formula is like until reviews come out – if it is the same formula as Berlin Glow Girl, then I will be on it.

2018 cruelty free beauty favourites - Highlighter Comparison - Anastasia Beverly Hills Starlight, Hourglass Incandescent Strobe Light, Elate Opal, Makeup Geek Glitz, Becca Prismatic Amethyst, Becca Pearl and Becca Vanilla Quartz - polish and paws blog
Highlighter Comparison – (top to bottom) Anastasia Beverly Hills Starlight, Hourglass Incandescent Strobe Light, Elate Opal, Makeup Geek Glitz, Becca Prismatic Amethyst, Becca Pearl and Becca Vanilla Quartz.

Bronzer and Contour

Bronzers and contours are really hard to find for my very fair pink skin. I actually had more luck with bronzer last year, which was a pleasant surprise. When theBalm released the Take Home The Bronze range, I was really excited the shade Oliver was fair skin friendly. I did a full review on it, with swatches next to other popular bronzers. Towards the end of the year, I caved in and bought the Bare Minerals Invisible Bronze Powder Bronzer in Fair to Light. It is more luminous than theBalm’s one and less pigmented so it will be easier to learn with for those who are new to bronzer. Mecca are discontinuing this product, but it will still be available from Bare Minerals. I was also considering the Hourglass Nude Bronze Light bronzer and The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in 01, but the two bronzers I have will work for any situation, so I don’t need any more.

I didn’t have as much luck with contour colours last year. I got the Jordana Sculpt n Go Cream Contour stick early in the year and that’s really all I’ve used. It could be a bit cooler in tone, but it blends out easily so I don’t end up with a stripe. I haven’t been using a powder contour regularly though as I’m not in love with any particular one. I have 4 that I can use and that work fine, but I would love to find one that is perfect this year. The four I own that can be used on fair skin are – Makeup Geek Contour Powder in Break Up, La Girl Just Blushing Blush in Just Because, and the old and new versions of the NYX Taupe Blush. The old NYX Taupe Blush is no longer around, but that’s the colour I use most as it’s the least pigmented one that I have. The new NYX HD Taupe blush is a slightly different shade and more pigmented but it can still work. The LA girl blush in Just Because is labelled as a blush but it’s actually a lovely contour colour, it is pigmented so it can be over done easily, but it works well if used lightly.

2018 cruelty free beauty favourites - theBalm Take Home The Bronze Oliver Bronzer - polish and paws blog
theBalm Take Home The Bronze Oliver Bronzer

Setting Spray

For the first half of the year, I was using the Innoxa Anti-Ageing Makeup Setting Spray but I got the Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray for my birthday and have been using that since. Both do a good job of taking any powderiness away from the skin. On a normal day, I don’t need a setting spray to help make my makeup last longer but for events I will use the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray or the Skindinavia Bridal Makeup Finishing Spray (Skidinavia actually make Urban Decay’s setting sprays).

2018 cruelty free beauty favourites - polish and paws blog
2018 cruelty free beauty favourites


My favourite brushes are still my Furless ones. I love the couture black brushes, they are so soft and versatile but I use all my Furless brushes. The two brushes I can’t live without are the Couture Foundation Buffing Brush (CB4) and the Black Beauty Blending Crease Brush (ME3). ‘It’s Likely Makeup’ launched a collaboration brush set with Furless which is very pretty with the pink handles and rose gold ferrules, but they’re pretty much the same as the blue and gold brushes in the normal Professional Makeup Brush Set, so you don’t need both. All the brushes are great quality and super soft, and the travel brush sets are so handy. I also use Real Techniques brushes for my face, but their eye brushes aren’t as good. Makeup Geek have some good little brushes for precision work and I want to try some of the newer Eco Tools brushes to see what they’re like.

I also use the my Beauty Blender for complexion products. I like applying makeup with a brush and then pushing it further in to the skin with my Beauty Blender. Beauty Blender say that all of their makeup sponge colours are the same, but they’re not. I prefer the newer shades to the original pink blender. None of the other sponges I have tried are the same quality, but I have used the Real Techniques sponges and they work for me too.

On My Radar

I don’t have the money to try everything that I would want to try so these are some brands and cruelty free beauty products I want to try in 2019. Flower Beauty is launching in Chemist Warehouse in Australia soon, so I will finally be able to try their powder blushes, cream blushes and makeup sponge – I really hope they stock them all. The Flower Beauty Light Illusions Foundation sounds like it’s good for dry skin, but the shade range is terrible. I have wanted to try Thrive Causemetics for a while now, I’m waiting to see if they launch a lighter BB Cream shade as that would be perfect for me. I have been focusing more on brands that are environmentally conscious and use more sustainable packaging, and Antonym Cosmetics seems to be one of those brands with their bamboo packaging, they’re not particularly affordable so it’s a brand I will have to save for. RMS is another brand I need to save up for to try, but people seem to love the RMS cream highlighters and cream blushes, so they’re something I really want to try. I’ve never tried anything from Jane Iredale or Au Naturale, but they both have cream blushes in their ranges, so they might end up in my collection some time this year. Lilah B is another brand with cream products I would like to try but they’re very pricey, so I don’t know that I will be getting those. As for powder blushes, I’ve had my eyes on the ELF Powder Infused Blush but new ELF products haven’t been released in Aus in a very long time – so if you’re an Australian wanting to try the new ELF primer, don’t hold your breath. The Bare Minerals Gen Nude Powder Blushes have received some good reviews, but I want to see them in person before spending that money on a blush.

I hope brands start to change in 2019 with how they release products. I hope that they do less releases and focus on the quality of each product, like Hourglass Cosmetics does. I would prefer quality over quantity any day. I also hope that we see a big shift in the beauty community in general this year. I want to see more honesty and integrity from both brands and influencers. There is too much deception at play right now, and I hope that changes.

What do you think of my favourite complexion products? Don’t forget to check back for the rest of my 2018 cruelty free beauty favourites blog posts. My favourite eye makeup products will be up next. You can sign up to email updates to get to get my blog posts sent to your inbox. You can also find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

What were your favourite cruelty free beauty products, especially complexion products, for 2018? If you have any blush recommendations, let me know.

Love, Alinta


  • Tracey 08/01/2019 at 7:25 am

    You know I have a draw full of new Makeup that I treated myself to, yet never tried any of it yet! All I apply is my Loreal face creams. The paw swatches are super cute ♡

    • Alinta McMurdo 08/01/2019 at 12:40 pm

      Lol I’m the same with nail polish. I would love to use it all though, just no energy to. The paw swatches are so much effort but they look cute at least

  • paintedfingertips 08/01/2019 at 11:17 am

    These look like some great products!

  • glamorousnails23 09/01/2019 at 8:23 am

    The paw swatches are adorable!

  • Ehmkay Nails 09/01/2019 at 3:07 pm

    Such a helpful post for makeup! Adorable swatches too!

  • Polished Hippy 11/01/2019 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for the thorough and interesting post! I loved seeing your picks!

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    I’m Alinta, an animal lover who writes reviews about cruelty free products as a distraction from my chronic illnesses. Read more…

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