What’s the difference between Cruelty-Free and Vegan Products?

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In the beauty and lifestyle industry “Vegan and Cruelty- Free” are definite buzz words that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Here on Beauty by Buffy, I aim to educate and encourage you all to make the best decisions for your specific needs. Whatever fits your lifestyle needs that will lead to a healthy and happy life. In order to properly do that we need to first identify & define these terms and determine how they best fit into our life.

(If you want to learn even more each of the Logos presented will be linked at the bottom of the page)

What is a Cruelty- Free Product?

For a product to be considered Cruelty-Free, the entire development process of the products (from the early production process to distribution) must not have any association to animal testing AT ALL. Pay close attention to the companies that say things like “we only test when Required by Law”! In the past I personally thought it was okay, but then I quickly learned that companies that engage in this practice probably test their finished products on animals. They use a third-party in order to get away with claiming their Cruelty-Free status and to comply with various regional laws around the world… this makes them not so Cruelty-Free if you ask me. Tashina and Justin from logicalharmony.net do a really great job on updating the lists of companies you can trust so be sure to check it out!

A great example of a company that develops products that are cruelty-free but NOT strictly vegan, is Shea Moisture. Although they do have a variety of products that are vegan their focus is on Non-Toxic products and advocating for great causes such as inclusion, diversity, women empowerment, etc… (you can see why I lalalove this brand!). They have a strict NO animal testing policy and they are certified cruelty-free by both Leaping Bunny and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program, however, most of their products contain animal-derived ingredients like milk, lanolin, honey, royal jelly, and carmine.

So the choice really comes down to what you value and what you can realistically commit to on a day to day basis. I personally aim for non-toxic and ethical brands, I certainly do not condone animal testing as I truly believe it is an unnecessary evil.

What is a Vegan Product?

In order for a product to qualify as Vegan, it shouldn’t have animal or animal part ingredients. Some examples we see on a day to day basis are  animal fats, or any ingredient derived from an animal, ( for example: honey, beeswax, yogurt, etc.) Many products may seem Vegan at first, because many times they are marketed as a non-toxic or natural product and these all fall under the ethical and health & wellness umbrella.

For example, a beauty product that contains beeswax can be Cruelty- Free but NOT Vegan. This is where your judgment comes in and it is up to you to decide if you are strictly Vegan, Cruelty- Free, Organic, etc.  This touches upon a personal choice that can only be made through experience and research.

So how can you tell which products are Vegan? Well, some great organizations have provided our community with Cruelty-Free Logos that help identify trusted products & brands. The Vegan Society and Vegan Action (click on names for more info) have provided us with logos to demonstrate that a product has no animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients so that we can shop our little hearts out, guilt free.

Is There Such a Thing as Vegetarian Cosmetics?

You might’ve noticed on one of my previous the Think Dirty August Subscription Box (click here to read) I mentioned various different ‘labels’. They offered Vegan, Cruelty-Free, AND Vegetarian products. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of my favorite beauty brands, like 100% Pure carried all three labels on their products.

This is an image of a logo you may see on beauty products, toiletries, cleaning products and even food for Vegetarian Products:

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So down to the nitty gritty, the difference between vegan and vegetarian cosmetics is basically the same as the difference between vegan and vegetarian foodie lifestyles. A vegan doesn’t eat animals (including meat, fish, seafood, etc.) and doesn’t eat anything produced by an animal (including eggs, milk, butter, cheese, etc.) and a vegetarian doesn’t eat animals but does eat products made by animals… that’s a lot to take in I know but re-read it a couple of times and you’ll get it, hehe.

So essentially the major difference between vegan and vegetarian cosmetics is that products labeled vegetarian will probably have natural animal-made ingredients (you will see quite often honey & beeswax). Ultimately I encourage you to ALWAYS do your own research and ask questions! It is our right to know.

What Can You Do to Help?

  1. Start supporting Cruelty-Free companies! Unfortunately the only way many companies will take action and listen is through their sales. So when you buy Vegan or Cruelty-Free you are speaking with your money!
  2. Check out all of the organizations mentioned that make these logos possible:
  3. Support fellow Cruelty-Free and Vegan beauty Bloggers
    • Some of my favorite Vegan & Cruelty Free Instagram accounts to follow are:
      • @Rihan
      • @Logicalharmony
      • @Crueltyfreekitty
      • @FashionVeggie

CertClean’s Clean Beauty Award Winners & My Personal Favorites GIVEAWAY!

I want to help empower YOU to become eco- friendly and ingredient conscious beauty lovers! How am I going to do that? By introducing you to some amazing brands and resources out there that will make this transition easy and enjoyable. That is why I am hosting a giveaway with the amazing CertClean & PurPicks where you can win safe and super effective green beauty products!  Keep reading below to discover some amazing non-toxic skincare to try that didn’t make the cut in the awards.


I personally judged the categories of Face Care (which were hydration focused) and Eye Liner. I was in major need of trying new products in both areas so I definitely lucked out. Although all of the winners are worthy in my eyes of holding the tile, I have a few more products that I was SUPER IMPRESSED with and I feel you guys NEED to know about and now you will have a chance to try some of them yourselves!


My personal favorites from the group I trialed go as follows:


From Molly With Love: Sea Kelp Bioferment Essence

The moment I picked up this product I was instantly intrigued with it. The Sea Kelp Bioferment Essence is a mix of a mist and a hydrating liquid serum in one. It has an interesting deep brown ocean like color, which resembles it’s main ingredient ‘sea kelp’!

The From Molly With Love Sea Kelp Bioferment Essence takes the effectiveness of Korean beauty and the luxury of high-end brands like La Mer for instance, but applies it’s own green beauty principals within each and every product.

The ingredients include the nutritive active Sea Kelp Bioferment, it is an effective and powerful ingredient that penetrates the skin with a high concentration of vitamins and minerals without harmful additives.


Retails for 47.99$

ACNE DR. 1st Control Tonic:

The Acni Dr. 1st Control Tonic is part of a 4 step skin care regimen, it falls 3rd on the line. This product also falls under the new trend of ‘essence’ Korean products. They seem to be the core of their skincare routine providing light yet hydrating and penetrating products.

This particular tonic has a super sleek, light and gel like texture. With the change of seasons here in Vegas (hot to hotter) my skin began to produce excess oil causing breakouts. I have dry to combination skin which is also sensitive so I weary about trying this out. But I was SO IMPRESSED by how it made my skin feel! It dried out the excess oil my face was producing but helped to balance and soothe the dry/irritated patches around my cheeks. *Warning* if you have super dry skin I would try one of their other products or introduce it to your regimen slowly.

I admire iSoi (I’m so intelligent) their philosophy as well, below is an image of what ingredients they provide as opposed to toxic filled ‘luxury’ options out on the market.

image provided by the ISOI website


I was a bit skeptical before trying out these exfoliating peel pads. As I mentioned before my skin is sensitive and can react to harsh products that may work for others. However I was so pleasantly surprised by how soothing they were on my skin! It cleared out most of my texture and has commenced the process of removing my infamous dark spots on my cheek area.

The peels contain a blend of AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids) plus BHA (salicylic acid) which penetrate any pesty pimples or blackheads surfacing. The ingredients in these pads clear blemishes, hyperpigmentation, scarring, and fine lines and wrinkles! They are great for all skin issues, but you may want to start with the original strength if you are not sure of your skin’s sensitivity.

* This product was not part of the Clean Beauty Awards but it’s among my personal favorites.  *


A 5 day package retails for: 17$


Now that you know why I absolutely loved these products you will have a chance to try them out yourself! CLICK BELOW TO ENTER!

KEEP IN MIND THE GIVEAWAY HAD NOT STARTED YET. Click below TOMORROW @10 AM EST tomorrow and ends at 11.59 PM on June 19th!

Head over to my Instagram post and get a head start! Special thank you to PurPicks and CertClean for collaborating with me on helping to spread the word on the power of non-toxic beauty!

By Buffy’s Personal Favourites from the Clean Beauty Awards!


Clean Beauty Awards- CertClean & Pur Picks- Proud Judge

Hello fellow green beauties! I am super excited about this next blog-post as this is when I finally share the news that I have the inside scoop on the Cert Clean and Pur Picks Clean Beauty Awards!

I was lucky enough to be selected as one of last years judges and learning more about the founder and the mission behind Cert Clean, I am beyond honored to collaborate with them and share with you this years winners and the amazing mission behind the company. I personally tested face care and eyeliner and was elated to find some of my tried and true favorites! Brands like 100% Pure and Zuii Organics made the list.

This will be the first of a series of posts about the company and brands involved, the product winners, and my personal favorites.

Out of 311 entries made from all over the world the products were filtered down to the top 15 products under the categories of:

Be sure to visit www.cleanbeautyawards.com/2018-finalists for the complete list of Finalists under each category. Finalists were determined by the average scores of over 80 judges in twelve countries, which I really appreciate because you get truly get an unbiased approach that considers a persons geography, culture, climate, etc.

The mission is to promote the excellence and performance of “free from” beauty products to accelerate the growth of the clean beauty movement. 
For more information: www.cleanbeautyawards.co

Who is Cert Clean?

Cert Clean is a respected Certification system that helps facilitate the shopping process when it comes to finding clean, nontoxic products you can trust. They specifically assess products to ensure they are not formulated with harmful ingredients. CertClean is North America’s leading certification for safer skincare products – over 1000 products carry the CertClean seal of approval.

“CertClean assesses, approves and certifies clean beauty products – look for 1000+ products proudly bearing the CertClean mark.” 

CertClean Team

CertClean partnered up with PurPicks on this Awards to promote and educate people on the cleanest products out there, in order to avoid the use on conventional toxic filled products. There is no reason to compromise on what makes us look and feel good, so CertClean makes it easy for us to choose the best of the best.

Who is PurPicks?

PurPicks is a start-up company, they are total trail blazers in the green beauty industry. They have created the world’s biggest database of certified organic and no-toxic products.

For those unfamiliar with CertClean — it is a certification for safer skincare; it isn’t about how organic or how natural the formulation is but whether or not it contains harmful chemicals.

Why Should You Care?

When buying new products or trying to figure out what would work best for your body, finding the time and putting together all of the information can be overwhelming. Figuring out all of the ins and outs of products can be time consuming. Supporting movements like the CertClean Awards and spreading the word about efforts made to make this world a safer and cleaner place makes all of the difference. I believe change starts with discourse and education. So let’s help spread the word and change the world together!


I Sat Inside a Himalayan Salt Cave and this is What Happened— What is it and is it Worth the Hype?

Being Salty Might Actually be a Good Thing…

As a wellness blogger I am always in search of the next #selfcare treatment that is going to leave me better than it found me. I’ve heard about Salt Caves through my co-workers and friends, their raves about it intrigued me, but also left me wondering in speculation. Living in NYC with so much pollution and then working in the casinos when I first moved to Vegas  a few years back, I thought my lungs could give it a try. You know I HAD to see for myself if it was as good as they say, because I am always down to try something in honor of seeking health and wellness. So when the lovely owner invited me to her beautiful Himalayan Salt Room here in Vegas, I jumped at the opportunity.

To give you a little background history on Himalayan salt caves, the modern dry salt therapy is inspired by the the salt mines and caves in Europe and Russia. As the workers were mining the salt (chiseling, grinding and hammering at the salt), tiny salt particles were being disbursed into the air. Working in conditions below the Earth’s surface where air pressure, circulation, humidity and temperature affected the quality of the environment the miners were getting Spa treatment and they didn’t even know it! (I kid, I kid).

Considering that mining jobs were usually recognized as dangerous to life and health, salt miners seemed to thrive on good health. They rarely had any respiratory issues and also looked younger due to great skin appearance.

What is it like?

You are sitting in a room with literally tons of crystal salt rock, a dim glow provided by rock lamps, reclining chairs and soothing instrumental background music. Meanwhile, during your session, a machine outside the room (called a halo-generator) grinds dry salt and pumps micro particles of it into the air providing the healing experience of Halo-therapy. Bacteria and fungus cannot survive in these conditions.

Benefits of Himalayan Salt Caves

People have reported relief from respiratory ailments such as:

♥ Asthma



♥Pulmonary diseases

♥Colds, cystic fibrosis

♥Ear infections and sinusitis


♥Eczema, psoriasis etc.

A recent study  shows that children with mild asthma who went for two sessions per week for seven weeks gained greater improvements in their bronchial hyper-reactivity (constrictions and spasms that cause asthma symptoms) than the control group did.

When fine salt particles are inhaled, they will fall on the airway linings and draw water into the airway, thinning the mucous and making it easier to raise, thus making people feel better. The rooms are allergen free so spending consistent amount of time in a clean environment produces relief to any known symptoms.

Just spending 45 minutes at a time in a quite, safe, uninterrupted space can do so much good for the mind body and soul.

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Final Thoughts…

So what are the overall benefits of going to a modern day Salt Cave? Well after visiting my local Salt Cave a couple of times I have some insight I can share with you guys. I ended up really liking it, and this may be TMI but the next morning I while brushing my teeth I spit out blood with additional mucus.. Which coincides with the reported benefits of Himalayan salt which is reduction of inflammation and mucus in the body. My body was already detoxing after just one session.

After conducting this research and experiencing it once myself, it inspired me to create a little challenge for myself and review Salt Therapy more in depth for you guys. I will be going twice a week and reporting any differences in how I feel. I have suffered years of  second hand smoke in both NYC and Las Vegas. So I am pumped and ready to detox my lungs and breathe life into my body.


Save Green While Going Green: Honey REVIEW

There is a myth that “Going Green” and living a healthy lifestyle is very expensive. I have made it my mission to not compromise on quality without sacrificing my savings as well. If you’re anything like me, you consider saving money a sport. Of course, to get good at the game of shopping, you need the right tools. Which brings me to this awesome browser extension my boyfriend introduced me to called Honey.

Honey is a super convenient tool that automatically searches and applies coupon codes for thousands of online stores. It saves you money while you shop on virtually any website.

I used to manually search for online promo codes and waste so much time only to get that dreadful “invalid code” message… So to save time and cash (that I probably shouldn’t be spending in the first place), I installed Honey and it actually worked on one of my favorite organic shopping sites for everything from food, beauty, bath & kitchen supplies. As you can see in the image above there were 29 coupons found on Thrive!

The Honey icon will then light up with the available coupons it found on the site you are on. You can click on the button to see what is available before you actually start shopping or you can wait until checkout and let Honey work its magic.


It doesn’t just stop there! Honey has another amazing feature for Amazon shoppers! Honey has your back and will let you know if you are getting the lowest price {shipping and tax included}, directly on Amazon.


I tested it out on a higher end organic shampoo. I rarely buy it (due to its price) but will splurge on from time to time. You see that orange badge on top of the Amazon price? Honey says that I can save $2.50 through another seller.

It’s important to note that Honey takes seller ratings and reviews into place before making any suggestions.

I really do love this Honey extension! It’s a very subtle extension that won’t get in your way while shopping, instead it will help you. I honestly forget it is even running in the background until it pops up saying that I could save some cash when checking out. Don’t worry, Honey works on most major browsers.

I hope I have that proven that myth wrong and you can continue on your green journey without compromising your budget.


There are so many opportunities to go green and live a healthier lifestyle and still remain on budget. So go on now:

  • Click here to get Honey.
  • Remember to sign up so you can earn rewards as you shop online.
  • Go Green!