The Cruelty-Free Review

A review of compassionate products, foods, and recipes

Thoughts on Aurora Shooting and Acure Facial Cleanser Review

Before I get to this week’s review I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on the theatre shootings last Friday in Aurora, Colorado. I was shaken, as everyone else was, to hear of the horror that occurred. All day Friday at work we were glued to the television waiting for any additional information about the victims and the suspect. I was especially apprehensive as the names of the victims trickled out; I grew up in Aurora and many of my friends and acquaintances from school still live there. I feared seeing a name I recognized. I thought about all the movies I had seen at that very same theatre and even though it’s been many years since I’ve been there, it still hurt to see what had happened. Thankfully I didn’t know anyone who was there but that doesn’t make the losses any less tragic.

In the days following the shooting I watched a lot of the national news coverage. One reaction from someone outside of the US commented that America doesn’t have a monopoly on terrorism and tragedy. That’s very true; it difficult for Americans to think that people in other countries live in constant fear because that’s not the norm for us. So when something like the theatre shootings happen it consumes our media coverage and we expect the whole world to react with the same sadness and anger that we feel. In the US  terror and tragedy in other countries rarely gets headline coverage.  Dozens of people are killed daily in Syria and Iraq. A flood in Beijing, China killed 37 last week. I don’t recall seeing the names of any of the victims of those incidents. It is important as humans to understand that violence and disasters happen everywhere and every life lost is sad. No one countries’ tragedy is more important than anothers’.

Last night I was at Red Rocks watching Florence and the Machine. After she came out for an encore, she asked everyone to observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims. I’ve never been so moved by the stillness of almost 10,000 people and I realized I wascrying. The next song performed, Never Let Me Go, was made that much more poignant given the recent events.  Here are the lyrics if you’ve never heard this song before:

I think it was a beautifully appropriate way to honor the victims.

Now on to a lighter subject.  This week I have chosen Acure Facial Cleansing Cream with Argan Oil and Mint. I like light cleansers. I used to use foams but I found them to be too drying. This cleanser works wonderfully without over-drying. It contains olive oil, argan oil, and coca butter to smooth and moisturize, blackberry and rosehip to provide antioxidants, and mint to cleanse.

I love how it smells; the mint is mild but refreshing and the oils lend a soothing component. It is perfect for sensitive skin and works well on normal to dry skin. It rinses off cleanly and doesn’t leave behind residue. I was especially surprised at how smooth my skin felt after washing it off.  Another bonus is that a small amount goes a long way. I use about a jellybean size amount and that’s more than enough to get the job done.

I really like Acure products because they contain quality, all natural ingredients and are very reasonably priced. The cleanser I use is $14.99, which considering how long it lasts is a great value. All of Acure’s products are vegan, except their lip balm and line eraser (they contain beeswax).  The company also donates 5% of their proceeds to provide free mammograms to at-risk women. On their website you can shop for products based on your skin type so it’s easy to create the perfect skin care regimen. I found them in Whole Foods but you can order online as well.


Clearly Vegan: Cajun Rice & Beans with Vegan Sausage

Always on the lookout for convenience meals, I came across this in the refigerated section fo Whole Foods:

I love rice. I love beans. I am ambivalent towards vegan sausage (I haven’t found one that I really love).  With only 370 calories and 9 grams of fat, I decided it was worth trying.

I have to say I was very surprised. I expected it to kind of taste the same and be bland. But everything had its own flavor and tasted fresh. I could actually see chunks of tomatoes and onions in the beans and they had a nice bit of heat. They were also still a bit firm, so I didn’t feel like I was eating mush. The rice was mild but had distinctly different spices than the beans, as did the sausage. I was not a huge fan of the sausage, it was a little too mushy for me, but the flavor was good and reminded me of the meat version of Andouille sausage. It made for a tasty, filling lunch.

I think that the reason it had such good flavor was because it wasn’t frozen; unfortunately this means that it has a shelf life and you can’t forget about it in the fridge like you can with frozen foods in the freezer. Still if you happen to be wandering around a Whole Foods at lunchtime looking for something to eat and come across this, I highly suggest it. Unfortunately I don’t know if they can be found in all Whole Foods or if they are a Colorado exclusive. I say that because it is a product of Udi’s, a Colorado bakery and catering company. I don’t even know if Udi’s products can be found outside of Colorado, but if you have had any of their products you know that they make very high quality foods, which probably explains why the meal I had was so good. I have also seen two other meals besides the one I had but they weren’t vegan so I didn’t pay any attention to them 🙂 I wanted to link to the Clearly Food website to offer more info but it just says ‘Coming Soon’. I hope they become more popular and come out with more vegan options. It’s a welcome change from frozen meals and still a quick, easy lunch option.  In Whole Foods they are in the cooler where you can find sandwiches and salads.  I’d be curious to know if anyone outside of Colorado sees them!


In the Lap of Luxury


I love LUSH products as evidenced by my previous reviews of the henna hair dye and fresh face masks. It really is a shame that I live so close to one of their stores because I have a hard time staying away. I’m not lying when I say I’ve spent a small chunk of my paycheck there in the past. I’ve been more responsible lately but one of my purchases about 2 months ago was Crème Anglaise which is their most expensive product. Before I get to just how much I dropped on this lotion let me explain why it costs so much and why I think it is worth splurging on.

Crème Angliase is a body lotion that includes some of the most decadent and exotic ingredients to smooth and soften skin. These ingredients include almond oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, extra virgin coconut oil, myrrh, vanilla, sweet orange oil, and the world’s most expensive spice, saffron. When I tried it in the store I was overcome with just how delicious it smelled. It is kind of hard to describe; the vanilla is warm but not overpowering, there is just a hint of the buttery scent of cocoa butter, and a little sweetness from the almond oil. Some reviews on the LUSH site said it is an ‘odd’ smell but I find it comforting and relaxing.  The saffron adds a light yellow color to complete the dessert effect. Sure the saffron may be a superfluous ingredient, but how often do you get to say you’ve used it in a lotion?

I didn’t think it would really be that different from other lotions I use but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first time I used it I put it on after my shower using a little more on my elbows which tend to be the driest area of my body. Despite all the oils and butters used in the formula this lotion is extremely light and fast-absorbing.  This is fantastic during the summer because I didn’t feel like I was sweating it off as soon as I put it on, but I also didn’t have that sticky, tacky feeling that some thick lotions have.  When I woke up the next morning (I shower at night, just so no one thinks I took a shower in the morning then went back to bed and slept until the next day) my skin was silky-smooth. I’ve never used a lotion that provided such great moisture. Part of this is because there is no water, which is the main culprit that causes dry skin and is often the first ingredient found in lotion. But with Crème Anglaise every ingredient is geared towards providing moisture to the skin and water has no part in that equation.

So, just how much is it going to set you back? A 7.9 oz jar is $44.95. BUT a little goes a long, long way.  I only use it once a week as a treat and after exfoliating, which ensures it will not sit on top of dead skin. I bought my jar almost 2 months ago and I still have about a fifth of it left. This is absolutely a splurge item unless you can afford to use it every day, in which case will you buy me some and send it to me? Seriously though, you have to treat yourself sometimes and you can’t go wrong with a product that provides the kind of quality results that Crème Anglaise does. If you’ve got some extra cash to burn head over to LUSH’s website and pick some up.


Good News, Everyone!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Urban Decay cosmetics had turned their backs on lab animals by deciding to sell their products in China. Well I’m happy to say that after a huge outpouring of concern from their fans that they have reversed this decision and will not sell in China! They are now back on the Leaping Bunny list. This speaks volumes about the power of the cruelty-free community. We have a voice and we will not stand idly by if a company choses to abandon their principals. UD made the right move by choosing compassion over profit and hopefully this will serve as a warning to any other company that might be considering a similar move.

On another note, I went to VegFest today and it was awesome! Robert agreed to be dragged tag along and while I know it wasn’t his preference on how to spend Saturday, I love that he was willing to go. VegFest is a convention of veg and vegan food vendors, companies, and animal rights groups. It was great to see so many local veg and vegan companies and there was lots of yummy foods to sample. I stocked up on Denver Seitan (I’m giving the Sicilian a go this time and I got another log of Chickenesque) and I got to see a preview of the goods that will be sold at Nooch, Denver’s first all vegan store that’s set to open in a few weeks. I nearly shit a brick when I saw packs of The Vegg at their booth and I couldn’t buy one fast enough. I can not wait to give this a try but I’m having trouble deciding how I want to use it. French Toast? A tofu scramble? Hollandaise sauce? Agh, the choices! Well whatever I decide I will have a review soon!

I also met Dan and Mike, The Gay Vegans and founders of Cruelty Free World. CFW sells vegan accessories and books at markets and festivals and 100% of proceeds goes to animal and human rights groups. It takes special people to create a company that donates all profits and it was a pleasure meeting Dan and Mike. I have to say it took a lot of restraint for me to not buy one of the gorgeous purses they had on display; if I weren’t on a budget I would have walked out one cruelty-free purse richer! Dan did share with me his favorite French Toast recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Vegan Brunch, which I will be purchasing soon.

So I’d say I had a productive and informative day. I wish I had enough money to buy one of everything I saw and donate to every animal cause but we signed some important petitions; one was to propose that cages used at puppy mills have to have at least a solid surface on half the cage bottom; the other was to drastically increase the size of battery cages used for egg-laying hens. It’s a small, but important step. I can’t wait until next year’s VegFest and in the meantime I have plenty of new ideas for products to review so stay tuned!



Happy 4th…and a signifigant milestone!


Happy 4th of July tomorrow! And to my international readers Happy Wednesday 🙂 I will be working, part of the fun about being in healthcare, but it’s only an 8 hour shift instead of 12, so I get a semi-holiday. I hope everyone has fun and stays safe!

On another note, this Saturday marks my One Year Vegetarian Anniversary!! Like how I put it in all caps to make it loads more important? And while I haven’t quite met my goal of being vegan by this time, I have come a long way. I think a lot of credit goes to starting this blog because it has put me in touch with so many other like-minded people and I’m not nearly as overwhelmed at the idea of how to live, nay, thrive, as a vegetarian. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and dropped words of encouragement!

Another huge thanks to Charlie at The Adventures of Vegan Charlie for nominating me for my 3rd One Lovely Blog award in the last 3 weeks! Charlie wears her heart on her sleeve, as evidenced in her recent posts about her struggle to stay true to her beliefs, and I love the honesty she brings to her posts. She certainly deserves the honor of the title of One Lovely Blog. I am still overwhelmed at how many people stop by my little blog and I greatly appreciate the thought that goes into these awards. I must admit I wasn’t sure that anyone would be interested in what I had to say about cruelty-free products but if you all keep visiting, I’ll just have to keep the reviews coming! I won’t bore you with any more facts about me, at least not for a while, so please check out my previous One Lovely Blog and Kreative Blogger posts to find some of my favorite sites to visit.

Again, everyone have a safe and happy 4th and I’ll see you next week for more reviews!