Products That Work

Now, I wasn’t meant to be doing any beauty or health posts, as all the blogging books I’ve read advise to find one genre and stick to it. Apparently that’s what all the ‘best bloggers’ do. But I can’t – I love writing about ALL the things I love – whether its fashion, art, travel, food or beauty – and my whole purpose for writing this blog is to share things I’m passionate about. So when I recently tried and tested some fantastic cruelty free hair and beauty products, that made a difference and really delivered what they promised they would, I wanted to share them…

First up is Maria Nila, a Swedish brand offering hair care and colouring to salons and retail. What drew me to them (apart from their beautiful Scandinavian packaging) is their brilliant credentials – completely cruelty free, no evil sulphates and parabens, 100% vegan ingredients and Leaping Bunny accredited (I try and buy all my healthcare products from Leaping Bunny registered brands these days) plus 40 years experience in the hair care industry and an immense knowledge of hair health.

I like to change my hair products every few months anyway – my hair reacts really well to new shampoos and conditioners and I’ve always been advised that products can build up on the hair over prolonged use and cause dullness, which none of us want.

Maria Nila has a wide range of products for different hair types – healing, repairing, softening, volumising, protecting, silver enhancing. I opted for the Volume shampoo and Colour conditioner. The products smell amazing, really fresh and clean, but not too overwhelming. The shampoo lathers up brilliantly, especially on the second shampoo, and the conditioner felt light but rich on the hair at the same time.

I am a bit lazy (especially on school run mornings), so I let my hair dry naturally before putting some waves through with GHD tongs. After using the Maria Nila products, my hair doesn’t feel flyaway or fluffy (which it can with some other brands), and just looks healthy and nourished. I like this brand a lot! Its rare to find a good ethical brand that really delivers and looks good on the shelf too…

Maria Nila’s temporary pigment colour range is really impressive, with brilliant names such as Vivid Violet and Pink Pop (if you have blonde hair, then check out this pink colour – it looks amazing!).

Maria Nila products are available from Sallys  and start at around £12 for a shampoo.


The next two products are brilliant alternatives to what most of us use daily in our bathrooms. They are both utterly amazing and I love them. Again, cruelty free, vegan, but both offering very different benefits.

First Schmidt’s Ylang-Ylang Calendula deodorant cream. I’ve never come across a deodorant this good. Having read some scary stories about the use of ALUMINIUM in most roll on deodorants I tried a few more natural alternatives – and ended up smelling a little more, ahem, ‘natural’ than usual…. But then I found this one. It comes in a little pot with a spatula. The idea is you scoop out some of the wax/ crème, warm it between your fingers and then apply. It melts straight into the skin and theres no residue to leave marks on clothes. And the best thing is it lasts ALL DAY. Seriously, it’s brilliant. Ingredients are Shea butter, baking power, arrowroot, vitamin E and essential oils. No gluten, parabens etc. Its changed my life – I don’t worry about it wearing off throughout the day and I’m happy in the knowledge its completely natural and cruelty free. Available in different fragrances, approx £7.50 from Lucky Vitamin.

Lastly is an Activated Charcoal powder by Laila of London. This is a teeth whitening product, made in London with organic ingredients including clay, charcoal, myrrh, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, Himalayan pink salt and peppermint. I use it twice a day before my normal brushing regime – again it takes a little getting used to, especially if you are used to a foaming synthetic toothpaste – but I love how it leaves my mouth feeling fresh and clean, but not full of mint. My teeth have gradually brightened. Its not a chemical process that will leave your teeth TOWIE white, it just lifts your natural colour a little. I’m really pleased with it – if I’ve been drinking coffee or red wine I always feel its brightened up my smile. Its now available in Boots or you can buy direct. They have lots of other skincare products (and also candles) on their website that I haven’t tried yet but will let you know when I do!

Buy direct from Laila, £10, lasts 6 months.

I mentioned earlier how important it is to me that products I put on my skin and body are natural, organic and cruelty free. In this day and age there is no reason for a beauty brand to be testing on animals or using animal ingredients. I was surprised when I last edited my bathroom products, to find that many brands are connected to larger companies that do still test. I learned that it’s a compulsory requirement for any beauty brand selling in China to pass their statutory tests which includes animal tests – so my rule of thumb now, is not to buy from the big brands who sell in China. 300,000 animals each year are bred, tested on, then euthanized. All in the name of European sales to China’s beauty industry. Hopefully this will change soon. I do think today’s consumers are wising up to the beauty industry and showing their preference for natural products.

Anyway… if you’re interested in brilliant cruelty free products, I highly recommend the ones in this blog post; they’ve worked for me and I am very picky (and have tried lots and LOTS of products…) x


  1. tinkertailoronline

    I was hugely disappointed by Bobbi Brown recently who do test on animals because it’s a requirement for s Chinese market, it’s hard to escape. I’m really keen to test these products! Does the deodorant leave a greasy residue? I assume it doesn’t stain your clothes, right? This is a fantastic post Kate, thank you for sharing x


    1. katejones1

      Ah thank you Antonia! The deodorant is one of the best products I have ever come across, no greasy marks, no white streaks… All deodorant should be like this! A lot of the brands that we perceive to be cruelty free have connections to brands that aren’t 😡 it’s really disappointing. Luckily there are some brilliant, small, independent brands that are slowly gaining the market 👍🏻☺️ X


  2. Vikki Selkus

    This is enlightening – naively I thought many companies didn’t test on animals anymore. I will be looking into this brand to use! Fab post xx


  3. camsieb

    Nice review. I am also someone who likes to blog about anything and everything; travel, makeup, food etc. I think it’s awesome and you should just be yourself because there is always someone out there your blog will appeal to. Keep it up!


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