My Favorite Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands

In the world of cosmetics, we have SO many brands to choose from. When I purchase makeup or receive it in PR, it is a necessity for me to use cruelty-free. I strongly believe that there is NO reason to test cosmetics on animals. Below are the three certified cruelty-free logos to look for when buying cruelty-free makeup.


  Here’s a list of some cruelty-free brands, separated by mid -high end and drugstore.. (I will do a separate blog post for vegan cosmetic brands.)


 Mid -High End Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands:

 Urban Decay, Too Faced, Tarte, Bare Minerals, Buxom, IT Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, TheBalm, Bite, Becca, Cover FX, Hourglass, Pur Minerals, Smashbox, OFRA, Jeffree Star, Lime Crime, Dose of Colours, Sigma, Lorac, Ben Nye, Beauty Blender, KKW, Kylie Cosmetics, Glossier, & Coloured Raine.


Drugstore Cruelty-Free Makeup Brands:

  E.l.f, Milani, NYX, bh Cosmetics, Physician’s Formula, Pixi, Wet n’ Wild, Colourpop, Jordana, Essence, L.A. Girl, Hard Candy, Flower, Sonia Cashuk, Ardell, Real Techniques, Catrice, Eco Tools,  & Makeup Geek.


All of my favorite makeup products come from these cruelty free brands. I am so thankful that Anastasia, Tarte, and Urban Decay are cruelty free, or else I wouldn’t have any of my favorite makeup products.

Earlier this year, NARS made the decision to leave the cruelty-free list. I absolutely love NARS products and I intend on finishing the bottles of foundation I have already purchased and used. But after that, I won’t be repurchasing any NARS products.

  I’ll update this list as more are added. Let me know in the comments if I missed any of your favorites. There are so many options out there in the cruelty-free cosmetic world, and you’re saving precious animals when you try them out! 

3 Mistakes I made as a Beginning Photographer

Entering the world of photography can be very intimidating. I felt like I was entering a cutthroat competition for the best pictures constantly. But I’ve learned it only feels that way if you make it that way. I’ve got a list of some mistakes I made early on that I have fixed, and have improved my photography tremendously.


1. Not raising my exposure

This might seem common sense to most, but to me, raising your exposure in post-editing was BAD. I would throw out an entire set of pictures because I thought they were “too dark and unsalvageable.” Raise your exposure and adjust your settings accordingly. I’ve learned now to raise the ISO one level because it is easier to lower exposure than it is to raise exposure without ruining a photo.


2. Over-saturating colors (particularly greens)

  This is one of my biggest mistakes. I thought I would stand out if I over-saturated the crap out of the colors in all my photos. Having bright colors distracts from your subject and makes your photograph appear too busy. Subtle colors bring more attention to the details of the photo and are more appealing to the eye. I’ve learned that toned down colors looks much better, and de-saturated skin tones look so much better as well. This is just my personal preference though.


3. Trying to be Like Other Photographers

  The last big mistake I made was trying to hard to be like other photographers. I looked at my work and felt it was inferior to theirs. I’ve learned that every photographer has a different style and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I tried so hard to replicate other photographers editing styles and poses and it was such a disaster. Always push yourself to be better, but down feel like your photos have to look like someone else’s!


❋ S O C I A L  M E D I  A ❋
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5 Tips to Improve Your Photography

 1: Shoot in manual mode and with RAW files.

 When I first started photography, I never shot in auto mode. I immediately started in aperture mode, and it was awesome to learn how the camera adjusts to the aperture I chose. After shooting in aperture for a few months, I switched to manual and my life was forever changed.

If you don’t know how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO interact with each other, that is definitely something you will need to know before graduating to manual mode. In manual, you set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed all by yourself. This is the best way to get the exact settings, and it is the only way I shoot now.

A RAW file is the image as seen by the camera’s sensor. It’s like unprocessed film. Instead of  letting the camera process the image for you and turning it into a JPEG file, the RAW file allows you to have complete control over the editing of your image. RAW files are a definite must for me.


2: Sense of Depth

 When I first started photography, this is one of the concepts I just couldn’t get down. You want to use sense of depth on your scenery photos. To create a sense of depth, you’re going to need a wide angle lens, and some scenery (obviously). Wide angle lenses emphasize linear perspective by allowing the distance between the foreground and the background of the scene to expand, thus emphasizing the appearance of converging lines.

Converging lines are a great way to show distance. Converging lines get smaller the farther away they get, eventually disappearing at the horizon. When shooting to create a sense of depth, position your scenery to create a depth of field and use a smaller aperture.


3: Rule of Thirds

 The rule of thirds says an image should be divided into nine equal squares by two evenly spaced vertical and two equally spaced horizontal lines. Important elements of the photo should be along these lines. This rule is said to make photos more appealing to the human eyes. It’s a great tip to help you position your subjects into the scene. Example:

JATomlinson Photography Rule of Thirds 2


4: Don’t take photos at eye level

 This is a tip I learned from Jessica Whitaker. Photos straight on are almost always an unflattering angle. Jessica says that standing slightly on your tip toes and angling your camera downward slightly onto the subject is more flattering, and I totally agree with her! Jessica takes a lot of fashion photos and angling her camera like this allows for more of the model to be seen as well.


5: Scenery

 It’s hard to find places to shoot sometimes, but be open minded. Old buildings, college campuses, open fields, city streets. You can shoot almost anywhere! You really only need a small chunk of a red brick wall to take some great portrait photos.

Some of the most beautiful photographs I  have seen were taken on the sides of the roads in some flower bushes. Be open to trying weird locations. Your best photos will come when your creativity is flowing!

“How do I book my first clients?”

 This is one of the most commonly asked questions I receive. I’m speaking in terms of photography, but this also applies to any other service, such as: cosmetology, musicians, etc.

 The first step is to set up your business. Make business cards, make logos, anything that will make your brand stand out. Have a reliable email or phone number. No one will take a chance on a new business if it looks untrustworthy/sloppy, or they can’t get in contact with you.

Family and friends are always the best people to go to as first clients. They will help get your name out and help you get some experience in the customer service side of your business. Your family and friends know you the best. They’ll know for sure whether to take a chance on you or not, whereas a client who doesn’t know you won’t. For instance, my sister was my first client, and I took her maternity photos for her. I had showed her pictures I had taken of my husky, but I didn’t have many portrait photos.

PhotoNov08,63640PM_preview.jpeg  Your friends and family are basically free, walking advertisement and experience. Give them a discounted service price in return for their social media posts! This is the easiest way to get your business going.

Another awesome way is hashtags. I’ve said this before in a previous blog post, but hashtags are your friend! Always hashtag a photo with anything relevant to it. For this maternity shot above, I would hashtag the following: #photography #Nikon #maternityshoot #texasphotographer . You can put as many, or as little as you want. The more hashtags, the farther your reach on social media.

 Stay active on social media, engage your audience, do giveaways!

 If you follow all these steps, you will see your follower count start to rise. I’ve followed these steps for a few years now and have recently hit 25k+ on my Instagram page. You can do it too!