Beauty Without Cruelty – Why Wouldn’t You?


She’s a sucker for a good lip gloss and has a make-up bag crammed with cruelty-free goodies. Here, Yeotown co founder Mercedes shares her Six of the Best cosmetic brands that don’t harm your face, the environment or animals.

If we have a choice – and we do – then surely it’s a no brainer that where we can, we would choose to buy cruelty-free products. As consumers, we all vote with our purses and I believe we really can make a difference with what we are choosing to put in our shopping baskets, on our dinner plates and on our faces.

Of course when it comes to trying to avoid the toxic ‘nasties’ like parabens and other preservatives that lurk in everyday cosmetics, you will need to do your homework. Did you know, for instance, that polyethylene glycol – which is used in lots of face creams and moisturisers – is also used in oven cleaners? Or that Mineral Oil, which sounds natural and therefore oh-so-good-for-you and your skin, is actually a petrochemical derivative of crude oil?

Even lanolin – a substance used in lots of cosmetics which comes from sheep skins where it provides a waterproof coating – can cause rashes and allergies, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s not the lanolin itself that’s the problem – it’s the fact that sheep (before they are sheared) get dipped in organophosphate insecticides.

I’d suggest as a good rule of thumb, if something sounds like a nasty chemical that will damage your skin it probably is and you probably would be better off finding a kinder alternative.

When we started researching the bathroom products we would supply in our guest rooms at our Yeotown healthy living retreat in Devon, we knew at the outset we wanted to make sure our products were organic (and chemical-free) and soon found ourselves at the door of London-based cosmetic designer and facialist Alexandra Soveral ( who runs a skin aromatherapy practice. Our shampoos and conditioners are part of Alexandra’s organic range.

I’ve also spent time researching alternatives to mainstream cosmetics which even if they don’t admit to testing on animals, will be using ingredients that others have tested this way. This is outrageously cruel and my best advice for making sure you avoid supporting this barbaric practice is to only buy cruelty-free cosmetics that publicly state they do not and will never test on animals.

I’ve just had a sift through my make-up bag to see which, currently, are my own favourite Cruelty-Free brands and so, in no particular order, here are my top six:


Great for smudgy eye liners & discreet concealers; certified organic


Great for lip gloss & eyeshadows and 100% vegan


Great for lip gloss, eyeshadows & kind-to-your-skin natural sunscreens


Great for blusher, the whole make up range is free from chemical ‘nasties’


Great for cute very affordable lip balms with fantastic natural flavours like honey or mango


Great for make up brushes and the basics and does what it says on the box by NOT testing on animals. Ever.




Mercedes N Sieff

About Mercedes N Sieff

Perfectly imperfect Yogini in stilettos, Mercedes Ngoh Sieff is Co-Founder of the award winning Yeotown Health retreat. A long time Vinyasa Flow Yoga instructor and one of the UK's happiest and most creative teachers, Mercedes divides her time between London and Devon. Flow Yoga Mama to two baby girls and wife to an awesome guy, Mercedes is a lifestyle blogger for the Huffington Post and frequently contributes articles to popular wellbeing websites such as MindBodyGreen and Elephant Journal. She is an ambassador for Lululemon Athletica and Manduka and features regularly on ITV1, BBC Radio and in publications such as Tatler, The Sunday Times , Conde Nast Traveler, OM Magazine, Harpers Bazaar and Yoga Magazine. Mercedes is also a Positive Psychology Coach and holds a Diploma in Coaching from Cambridge University. For more on Mercedes, visit her website linked below.

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