I’m Alinta, an animal lover who writes in-depth reviews about cruelty free products as a distraction from my chronic illnesses. I live in Melbourne Australia with my three little rescue dogs named Pickles (9), Kobi (8) and Bonsai (6).
I started Love Alinta, originally Polish and Paws, in 2014. It started as a way of documenting my nail painting and nail art skills. Meeting people through this blog led me to find Aussie Indie nail polish brands, and then on to cruelty free cosmetics. When I found out about the horrors of animal testing, I immediately started to transition all my products to cruelty free alternatives, and in turn, started sharing those products here. I have now done extensive research on animal testing, and I email brands frequently to determine their cruelty free status. I want to promote cruelty free brands, but I also don’t want my readers wasting money on products that aren’t worth it, so all my reviews are honest and I will tell you if a product isn’t worth your time or money.
I like to write in-depth and honest reviews, as that is what I want to read before buying a product. Honesty and integrity are core beliefs of mine, so you will always find truthful reviews here, even if that makes the brand unhappy. In saying that, every product can work differently on different skin tones and types. I have very fair, pinked toned skin, which is often not catered to by brands – which is why I’m still looking for my holy grail concealer and foundation.
My favourite makeup products are base products like foundation and blush, as I really love the look of skin that has that “glow from within”. I do still love to play with all sorts of makeup though, as long as its cruelty free. I spend a lot of time trying to get colour accurate swatches of the products for my reviews, so that you have a point of reference other than just the brands website. I have been caught out many times by buying a product that looked right from the brands website, only to find that it is ten shades too dark in person. I also write a lot about what goes into the product and how it works for me. At the end of the day, I need to enjoy using the product, and it needs to look good, for me to want to spend money on it in future.
My skin is dry, but with a good quality, consistent skin care regime, I can get it to sit around normal. On top of dryness, I am also prone to dehydration, and I have facial eczema and rosacea, so my skin care routine has to be suitable for sensitive skin. I know the difference that a good skincare regime can make, so I really enjoy putting new skincare products to the test, to see if they live up to my high standards. Every skincare product I review goes through at least 6 weeks of testing, sometimes more, before I write the review. That way I know I can actually write about the product claims, and not just tell you about how it looks.
I do a lot of research about ingredients that are put into beauty products, and because of that, there are some ingredients that I avoid. I don’t use any products with SLS or Methylisothiazolinone. SLS cause peri-oral dermatitis for me and Methylisothiazolinone caused scalp wounds and significant hair loss for me. I also stay away from silicones in hair products as my natural hair has a wavy texture, and the removal of silicones really helped with hair health. Other than that, I am open to most ingredients, even though I do have some favourites. However, ingredients can interact very differently when combined with other ingredients, so I test everything thoroughly to ensure I know how the product performs before writing my review.
I also write posts about my health, dogs and eco-friendly products. During the month of May, you will see blog posts about tick-borne illness awareness, as well as other health posts now and then. If I find any good dog products, I like to share them so that other dog owners can use the products too, and I have written some posts about dog rescue and dogs in general. I have only just started to include eco-friendly product reviews, but I hope to do many more of them in future.
I have been an animal lover my entire life. When I was a child, my mum worked at the Melbourne Zoo, so I had access to animals most people dream about. Because of that, I have looked after various animals including ring tail possums, frogs, lizards, various birds, including a well trained Rainbow Lorikeet, and a Sugar Glider (that I named Bahloo) – which is on top of the ‘typical’ pets I’ve had like dogs, cats, mice and rabbits.
Now, I just have my three rescue dogs; but my dogs are my world. Pickles is a timid Dachshund cross Chihuahua, who has a deformed leg from trauma as a puppy. Her nickname is pig or piggy as she will eat anything and loves to roll in mud – this is an endearing name, not an insult, as I always wanted a pig since I was a kid. She was fearful of everything when I first adopted her, but with lots of training, love and care, she came out of her shell. She is now the happiest little dog, and knows that she rules the house. After adopting Pickles, I started foster caring dogs that would otherwise be put down in pounds. Many of them had medical or behavioural problems, which could take a lot of work, but the end result was always worth it. Through foster caring, I adopted my other two dogs, which I refer to as ‘foster fails’. Kobi (Lhasa Apso cross Shih Tzu) came into care straight from the pound at three months of age. He was such happy-go-lucky dog, and really helped Pickles to gain more confidence, so I knew we couldn’t part with him. Pickles and Kobi are still the best of friends today. Last but not least, is Bonsai a Chihuahua cross Papillon. Bonsai came in to care at just 6 weeks of age, with his two brothers. Bonsai has some behavioural and medical issues, so I decided to adopt him, after I found homes for his two brothers. He is a very weird little dog, with some odd quirks, but I still love him dearly. I ended up fostering high-needs dogs for 7 years, but I had to give it up when I became too ill to continue, I may get back to it one day though.
Given my childhood, it’s not surprising that I ended up studying Science in Zoology/Conservation at university. I actually did it as a double degree with Arts where I studied International Development. I got to the very last semester of my double degree when I became too sick to complete it, but I am determined to get some health back so I can complete it. I am very interested in the link between the environment and poverty as well as how we can build a sustainable future for the planet.
At the age of 10, I was bitten by a tick, and my health was never the same again. The Australian government spent many years denying the existence of a Lyme-like disease, which meant that I didn’t get diagnosed for a very long time. In 2018, during a senate enquiry, the government finally admitted that there is something infection patients, and called it Multi Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MSIDS), but treatment still isn’t available for those who are sick. Because I went so long without treatment, the infections are now wide-spread and affecting every organ in my body. I have many symptoms and diagnoses now. I listed many of my symptoms in my post, but some of my diagnoses include the tick-borne infections, Bartonella and Borrelia (I explained some tick-borne diseases in this post) , chronic fatigue syndrome, connective tissue disorder (hEDS), Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and most recently I found out that I’m immuno-compromised, so I have to wear a mask when in crowds.
The impact of all of this on my health and quality of life is huge. I spend most of my time at home alone (with the dogs), or at hospital seeing specialists. When I have the energy, I write blog posts. This blog, and my social media pages are often my only link to the outside world, so I really appreciate the people I have met because of them.
I love hearing everyone’s point of view, as long as it is said in a respectful manner. So please comment on my blog posts with anything you have to add. I hope you find something interesting to read on my blog. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates to get new blog posts delivered to your inbox. I’m always happy to answer questions here, via my contact page, or on social media – Instagram, Facebook. Pinterest and Twitter.