Cruelty Free

Kiko Milano

This Italian cosmetics brand has caught the attention of fashionistas throughout Glasgow where they have their Scotland flagship store (with an Aberdeen branch opening soon!). I’m really late to the Kiko Milano train, but better late than never. 

What really appealed to me, as a supporter of cruelty-free beauty, was that none of their products are tested on animals, and also, as a skint student, the prices are unbelievably affordable. They actually had a sale on some of the make-up, so I came home with more than a few bargains, including the Universal Fit Hydrating Foundation, Radiant Fusion Baked Powder, Unlimited Stylo Lipstick and the Full Coverage Concealer.



Aptly named universal fit because its a good basic liquid foundation that works for everyday use. Not too thick or oily, but needs topping up throughout the day if you want better coverage.



Amazing coverage on even really stubborn spots and blemishes, plus brightens around the eye area while acting a a great base for eyeshadow when you want a strong pigment. One of my favourite concealers I’ve yet sampled, only coming second to Bobbi Brown!



This illuminating pressed powder  has become my go-to for a glowy highlight all over the face. With a gentle shimmer, its suitable for everyday use, but can easily be built up for night.



I chose a super bright orangey-coral shade (number 05) as I’ve been told it contrasts well with blue hair and blue eyes! The formula is nice and moisturising and the colour translates to lips as well as it does on a swatch. Not very long-lasting.


Whats on my wishlist:

Mineral Brush Cleanser

Water Eyeshadow- Wet and dry

Cosmic Startlets Brush Kit

Neo Muse Eyeshadow Pallette

Have you tried Kiko yet?

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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Charlie Feist: Minimalist Vegan Backpacks

Here I chat with Emma Smith, founder of brand new vegan, minimalist backpack brand Charlie Feist. You can check out the stylish range here!

1.) What is minimalism to you?

To be honest, I don’t like minimalism as it’s quite drab. What I like are “details” either in terms of materials or construction. For example, the Shiro backpack in the opening collection is constructed with neoprene – a material not associated with backpacks. However for this detail to be perceived by the eye of the customer, the backpack should be devoid any other distraction. For me minimalism is an essential empty canvas for my love for details to come through.

2.) Why is Veganism important for fashion as well as food? (your views on veganism, cruelty free fashion etc)

As lovers of animals (especially puppies), we think it was not right to use animal products in our collection. To be honest, in 2016, with the number of animal substitutes that exist, it doesn’t make sense to use animal products.

3.) What is your opinion on unisex fashion? (androgyny, a-gender style, menswear and womenswear shows etc)

In 2016, are more women wearing bomber jackets and joggers? Yes. In 2016, Are men wearing heels? Definitely not. 

Unlike what mainstream fashion editor would have you believe, I don’t think unisex fashion is yet in play. Yes, you could have the odd brand such as J W Anderson or Gucci trying differentiate themselves by being more gender neutral but on the high street, I don’t scale of impact as the editors would want you to believe.

I think womenswear has moved more towards menswear but I don’t see it on the menswear side of things. But what I do see is men have started to become more aware of grooming and nattily dressed but they are still using the traditional products to get there.

4.) What is the Charlie Feist ethos? (your brand values)

To make beautiful products for the masses.

5.) Is vegan leather as good as traditional leather?

I hate to say it but there is no straight answer to that question, but I won’t dodge it.

Both materials have positives and negatives but is the net score of the good and the bad of these materials higher than the other? This completely depends on you. 

Vegan leather is not as sturdy as animal leather; it does not have weight and structure as animal leather so it can’t be used as reinforcement; vegan leather does not have the life of animal leather so it won’t last you a lifetime. 

But is vegan leather won’t lose it’s colour over time; vegan leather is cheaper than animal leather; and if it matters to you (it does to me) vegan leather is safer for the environment and wildlife. 

6. What kind of person is your target customer/who is the Charlie Feist muse? (who inspires you, who do you design for, what kind of lifestyle do customers have)

This is a great question!

We have two types of customers in mind – Hallie who studies literature at the University of Manchester; she is a tattoo-enthusiast; wears Doc Martens; loves her cat, Sally and chooses only vegan food.

Our second muse would be Natasha (not famous yet) who is a computer programmer and skate enthusiast with a penchant for black and white decks that have “Give Me Head” printed across it showing a girl being decapitated by her lover. Natasha loves collecting urban vinyl toys and has started her clothing brand called Vortex on (free account)

7. How would you style a Charlie Feist backpack?

This is back to question 1. Our design process always starts from creating distinctive silhouettes with a striking detail that will stop you from scrolling your Instagram feed. 

9. Do you have any grand plans or ambitions for the future of Charlie Feist?

At the moment, we are focusing 100% on making beautiful backpacks!

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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Arbonne Cruelty-Free Skincare

On Saturday 22nd October, I hosted a Fashion and Beauty event at The Scottish Design Exchange to promote our local fashion designers with special offers, mini makeovers by Cait Owens MUA, styling advice by Kimberley Grahame of Wardrobe Conversations and contemporary portraits by Deryck Henley. We also had Iona May, brand ambassador for cruelty-free beauty brand Arbonne, with lots of lovely product samples. I took some of the all natural, botanical vegan skincare products home to try out, and thought I’d do a little review!

Calm Gentle Daily Moisturiser

I really loved the cooling formula of this light face cream, which I am told is perfect for sensitive skin. After using a face scrub to cleanse my pores, this moisturiser gently softens and calms the skin.


This smooth formula created a really smooth surface before make-up; I would definitely recommend it as an alternative to the thick, oily primers from other brands.

Facial Oil

I only needed a minuscule amount of this ‘nourishing’ facial oil, and I immediately felt my drying winter skin drink it up, without feeling greasy. It contains omega 3 and 6, which is great for vegetarians and vegans who may be deficient.

CC Cream

This is a lovely alternative to foundation on those rare good skin days! Its much like a tinted moisturiser but with added benefits, like brightening and smoothing the skin.

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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The Secret to Lasting Pink Hair

Having been a true blonde, a grey granny, a bleach blonde, a silver fox and a lilac violet, I have finally settled on pink hair. After years of admiring stunning bloggers like Honey Pop Kisses (hair goals!) and trawling through Tumblr and Pinterest for inspiration, I bit the bullet and got my hair dyed a dusty rose shade at cult Glasgow salon, Blow (read about my experience here!), but unfortunately this kind of ‘fashion colour’ never lasts more than a few weeks, and is generally quite high maintenance.

However, I am proud to claim I have discovered the answer to (semi) permanent pastel pink hair! Read on to find out the two miracle products you will need to stay pretty in pink for months after your salon treatment! The best part? You can do it all for under £10! Perfect for my new student budget!

So the first of the two solutions I’ve discovered for anyone looking to maintain that baby pink glow is by cruelty-free, fun loving hair care brand Lee Stafford. The product is called Kiss of Colour: Playful Pink and is available at Boots for just £5.99, and currently on a 3 for 2 offer, from their ‘Bleach Blondes’ range.

It’s essentially a shampoo that temporarily tops up your hair with pink dye, lasting for a few washes. Personally, I’ve been using it every time I wash my hair, only leaving it in for a few seconds, as otherwise it comes out really bright, and I prefer a paler shade. 

The results are totally instant, and it keeps your colour vibrant and hair healthy when followed with any conditioner (I tend to use Aussie, Lee Stafford or Herbal Essences). The 150ml bottle has lasted me about a month, so its definately got great value for money. A miracle product in my eyes!

Next up, we have cult New York fashion colour brand , Manic Panic. I have been using the shade ‘Fleurs Du Mal’ (French for Flowers of Evil!) in the ‘Creamtone Perfect Pastel’ range, which is specially designed for subtle muted tones. 

I bought this from Blow, the aforementioned Glasgow hair salon, and you can shop online at as well for about £10.

Instead of applying this hair colour cream as a traditional semi-permanent dye, I have been mixing a dollop (about how much ketchup you would put on a plate of chips!) of the product into my normal conditioner, or if my hair is feeling a little dry, I combine it with a deep conditioning treatment or hair mask. I leave it in for about 5 or 10 minutes and it works perfectly to even out all the pink tones and correct any areas that have faded or become brassy.

Remember, pastel pink will not work unless you have light blonde hair as a blank canvas to begin with. You can bleach using shop-bought peroxide kits, but I would definately recommend getting it done professionally to avoid hair damaged and ensure you don’t end up with yellow or orange locks!

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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A Fast Fashion Realisation

Here’s a wee story for you. Whilst shopping in Glasgow I found myself in the infamous low quality fast fashion superstore Primark , after a frustrating lack of affordable metallic pleated skirts (I really want one after falling in love with this Christopher Kane one) in other shops in the city. I found a decent one that fit, for £13 and on my way to the till picked up a couple of packs of tights and socks, a basic stripy t-shirt and a black playsuit on sale for £5. The queue was typically long, so I took some time to examine my garments. All of them were made in Mongolia, Bangladesh or China. All of them had at least one flaw in the seam or finish. All of them were made of thin, flimsy synthetic fabrics, and all of them were so cheap it would be impossible for a basic living wage to be paid. I suddenly realised that by supporting this company I am contributing to the very problem I advocate against in my work.

This wonderful photo of Sarah Ewen is from the #Edfashion Drink and Draw event last year. 

On a personal level, I feel very strongly about ethical fashion, both from a vegetarian viewpoint, and from my work at SDX doing everything we can to support local designers, makers and retailers. I think sustainable clothing has this horrible taboo surrounding it, either with the public thinking its only hippies wearing ponchos and hemp shoes, or with brands jumping on the bandwagon/trend and ‘greenwashing’ over the real issues. I hope that my blog  reflects my ethics, but I know deep down that I am far from perfect in this area. I still buy my basics from Primark, I still purchase cheap, breakable jewellery and I regularly use non-vegan products. Most of my clothes are not made in Scotland or even Britain,  and most  of them I haven’t got the famous 30 wears out of.

I realise now that ‘cruelty-free’ stands for more than just avoiding fur and leather, or products tested on animals.  It means shopping with the purpose to boycott cruelty to humans, and the environment too. It means dressing in clothing that creates minimal damage to all life on earth, from the design process, to manufacturing and retail, and finally to it’s obsolescence and disposal. Unfortunately, mass-produced fast fashion is generally a result of the abuse of basic human rights, irreversible environmental damage and horrific treatment of animals. Even more unfortunately, it has become the majority of what we wear, due to the high costs of luxury or tailor made clothing, the perceived inaccessibility and ‘uncool’ aesthetics of sustainable fashion, the cheapness and ease of shopping on the high street, and the bucketload of advertising pushed upon our consciousness daily through magazines, TV, billboards, and above all, social media.

For more information about Fast Fashion, and how to be an antidote to that, check out one of my favourite Scottish Bloggers, Jen Brownlie over at Tartan Brunette. On the 31st of August we will be co-hosting the #ScotlandHour twitter chat about the Scottish fashion industry, so hop over to @urbanityblog to get involved! I also really recommend watching the documentary True Cost on Netflix, all about the ugly side of the fashion manufacturing industry- child labour, horrendous pay, abuse and unsafe work conditions.

Ruth @ Urbanity xxx

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