REVIEW - Vegan and Paraben Free Beauty from CODE Beautiful
15th December 2019
Since revamping my make up bag several years ago to ensure there’s nothing in there that’s been tested on animals, and is as non-toxic as possible, I haven’t deviated much beyond the staples I chose on those merits. Another reason is that finding products which don’t crease, smudge, cake, flake, all-but-vanish within hours, or worse *congeal* (yuck), could be a challenge; so when I found one that worked well enough, I stuck with it!
Even just a few years ago, there really wasn’t a lot of choice. Now, however, there are so many more eco and ethical beauty brands about that I got curious about trying some of them out. But even a product a friend had sworn by would often not work for me - mascara in particular - and while I appreciate that the make up (pun intended) of everyone’s skin is different, and how a product responds is very subjective, it would still be disappointing. So I suppose you might say that I entered this process with an open mind, but without great expectations!
I came across CODE Beautiful, and their mascara products (i.e. my nemesis) had caught my eye. They are a cruelty free and vegan brand, with accreditation from PETA, and work to ensure that through every step of their manufacturing process, they are mindful of protecting the environment. They very generously gifted me not only their Volumising Lengthening Mascara (CODE VLM) and their Forget Fake Lashes Primer (CODE FFL), but also their Soft Smooth Lip Liner (CODE SLL) and their Lip Intense Plumper (CODE LIP).
My goal for reviewing the products was to see if they would be of value to a wedding day make up bag for the bridal party. They arrived in minimal but sufficient recycled and recyclable packaging - great start! So, armed with all these goodies, I set about trialing each one - would the reality live up to the hype?
Pulling the wands from each bottle resulted in no excess of product, so no wastage. I’ve not used a mascara primer before - CODE FFL is a light brown colour and I wondered if it would cover well (I need not have worried, as it turned out). Its job is to provide extra thickness and volume to the lashes, and is packed with vitamins and waxes to encourage lash growth.
30 seconds after applying the primer, I applied the mascara using their recommended Roots, Wiggle, Roll technique. CODE Beautiful claim that this is ‘the only mascara you’ll ever need’ thanks to its volumising, lengthening, thickening, curling, no-clumping, and no-smudging… Time would tell!
CODE Beautiful’s mascara gave a volumising effect (without clumping) and lengthened look (without looking unnatural), with a lovely curl. Their lash primer did indeed boost the effect, so one may indeed forget the need for fake lashes! Applied at 8am in the morning - still going strong at 11pm with no flaking or smudging! Despite being waterproof, it came off with ease using a micellar water make up remover.
WEDDING DAY READY?
How perfect would these be for a bride and her bridesmaids - natural enhancement and all day wear, even through the emotion of the ceremony and the tears of laughter (hopefully) during the speeches?
I have to confess to never having worn lip liner before. I know, I’m a beauty heathen. Undeterred, I applied the neutral rose-toned liner in short strokes, as recommended. Not too dark, not too light - so far, so good! I love multifunctional products, and this liner also serves as a lipstick for an all-over colour effect (apply with vertical strokes and gently rub your lips together to blend), and it even contains plumping ingredients that stimulate collagen production when you fill in your lips with it. It's a nice touch that when you screw on the lid (yep, I tried pulling it off with no luck for a second there!), it automatically reshapes the point so it’s ready to go next time.
To complete the look, I added a slick of the CODE LIP lip plumper. I have used a lip plumping product before, so was prepared for a tingly sensation - this one lasted only briefly and was enough to feel like it was working, but not so much that it was in any way uncomfortable. What’s different about this lip plumper to ones you might have tried before, is that it doesn’t rely on irritating your lips to cause temporary swelling (anyone else found that after using conventional ones your lips would get extra dry and uncomfortable?). Instead, this hyaluronic acid-infused product boosts hydration to create a sculpted look, which improves with continued use. This minty-flavoured plumper has a slight pink tint, which blended nicely with the liner. I really liked the colour as it was, but you could of course add some of your favourite lippy over the top once it’s had time to do its thing.
Now for the test - food, drink, and time!
I’d recently come home from a few end-of-wedding-season days away, and my lips were feeling a little dry as a result (I never drink enough when I’m travelling…my bad), and the plumper absolutely sorted that out in just a few applications. I’m now a couple of weeks in to using it and do see a significant improvement in the 40-something fine lines!
Over a period of 5 hours, through lunch and a couple of coffees, the liner/plumper combination held out well. And none of the dreaded *congealing*.
WEDDING DAY READY?
Between all the toasts and food of a wedding day (not to forget the kissing!), a bride may need a touch up or two, but it’s a quick fix for a long-lasting effect.
I was genuinely impressed with the quality and longevity of all CODE Beautiful’s products, which are represented genuinely in the images above. They have 5 star reviews across the board online and before trying the products, I wondered if they were all a little too good to be true - but I can wholeheartedly add my own 5 star reviews to all the others. Check them out for yourself!
I'm no 20-something beauty blogger, so I won't inflict my selfies on you - but that's what 16 year old daughters are for!
Left to right - primer and mascare, liner and plumper, liner used as lipstick and plumper.
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