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Sustainable beauty

Veganuary is over, but Holly White tells us how to keep a cruelty-free beauty regime

Beauty with a conscious.

THIS PAST YEAR marked a substantial shift in consumer’s minds when it came to what they put into and onto their bodies. Holly White, as a vegan food and conscious beauty blogger, became the go-to authority for many looking for authentic advice.  

With 2 per cent of the population in Ireland now vegan, and a further 8 per cent vegetarian (with many more ‘flexitarian’ meaning they consciously try to make veggie choices) it’s clear that more consumers will be searching for beauty purchases that reflect their health-conscious concerns and environmental ethics.

If you’ve become increasingly aware of the array of chemicals in your beauty products but are overwhelmed by the information out there, then Holly’s natural recommendations could set you up for a gentle introduction to getting onto a more eco-friendly path.

Holly’s foray into conscious beauty began when she became vegan four years ago.

Initially like most people it took a year to get a handle on the lifestyle adjustments. I did different food courses, training in vegan cooking in London, Ireland and LA. I really developed a passion for eating this way and then it moved on to my make up bags and I began to eliminate products.

And has it been been difficult to know which products to discard?

It’s quite hard because it’s quite hidden. If you’re eating chicken – you’re eating chicken. But you don’t always realise with your beauty products… 

She cites the fact that many people don’t know that red nail polish contains crushed beetles. Although Holly is a fan of independent websites like Cruelty Free Kitty and Irish-based Flawless and Pawless, she ultimately believes that consumers shouldn’t have to go to so much effort to know whether a brand is cruelty-free.

Holly wants consumers to be empowered to make their own choices.   

The loudest voice you have is how and where you spend your money.

“People think the products have to premium, but it doesn’t have to be more expensive. Wet n Wild is cruelty-free and cheap. Penneys is cruelty-free entirely and certified independently by CFI [Cruelty-Free International]. 

Cruelty-Free2 Cruelty Free International Cruelty Free International

Holly explains that products, after they have been verified as cruelty-free, have the distinctive CFI ‘leaping bunny’ logo on packaging

So say I was in Toyko, I’d see the logo and know it’s globally certified. 

“People can say a product are vegan but if the product overall tests on animals, then it’s not really. What does an entire brand stand for? A lot of people were sad with NARS when they began testing on animals so they could export into the Chinese market. In China, the regulations say you have to test on animals so they [NARS] are okaying that as a process.”  

holly w Instagram / hollywhite Instagram / hollywhite / hollywhite

Holly strives for authenticity in her recommendations in order to be credible to those who look to her for advice. She says the brands she gets most excited about are the ones that are contributing positively to society.

Working as a blogger, I want to know are ingredients ethical or is packaging recyclable? What am I supporting or recommending?  

Body and Skin Care

  • Emma Hardie Prep and Prime with SPF 30.  

UK200015401_EMMA_HARD_1 Emma Hardie Emma Hardie

Holly cites this as the perfect base for make up. Bonus factor: it’s got an SPF of 30. 

I’ve noticed now how strong the smell of chemicals are in standard products now. Even during the summer, I borrowed someone’s sunscreen and it went near my eyes and really stung.  

£46.00 for 50ml


Whilst Irish-made Pit Putty is a go-to for many, Holly prefers Modern Botany, another Irish business, that specialises in natural and cruelty-free products. Holly says it’s a little pricey but that it lasts forever. 

deodrant modern botany Modern Botany Modern Botany

€25.00 for 100ml 

Make up

Holly recommends three make up brands that are cruelty free: Irish-owned Fuschia, Bare Minerals and Charlotte Tilbury. 

1. Fuschia

This Irish brand from Drogheda Co.Louth, might not be on your radar but is stocked in salons and pharmacies across Ireland. 


2. Bare Minerals  

Holly thinks that with celebrity endorsements and Brand Ambassadors like Hailey Bieber and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, vegan and cruelty free make-up is proving that it can be glamorous.     

hailey bieber

3. Charlotte Tilbury 

If you’re time poor (or maybe don’t have the skills of a 14 year old youtuber), Holly recommends Charlotte Tilbury: “She’s so clever: it’s make-up by numbers. You can buy an eyeshadow and the make up artists will tell you that ‘If you buy this eye-shadow, you can this lipstick goes with eyes shadows, so you can put together a full face with minimal effort’. 


Holly says her hair was the last thing she was able to change.

I found with lots of brands, they had things that you could make up in your kitchen, but it wasn’t as stylish or glamorous and didn’t keep and maintain my hair to a standard I wanted. I didn’t want to compromise on that.

Holly says that two cruelty-free hair brands stick out for her as being the strongest on the market: Aveda and Natulique.  

shampoo Aveda / Natulique Aveda / Natulique / Natulique

Donna in DaveyDavey who takes care of my hair is into this [natural] lifestyle. It does take more work, as you have to go out of the way. Natulique is nationwide in salons, and it’s a little bit more expensive than standard dye.   

But Holly explains that not only is the quality of the colour phenomenal but that the styling products too: “Recently, I wanted an up-style and I don’t think that people think that it can work as well as synthetic products, but it does.” 

The quality of the colour is ‘phenomenal’ and wears the distance, according to Holly. 

I’m really particular about [hair] colour looking natural and here you can see all the baby fine lighter pieces through the ends. Not only is it cruelty free it’s also Ammonia-Free, Lauryl Sulfate Free 100% Parabens Free and  98.02% derived from natural sources.  People often assume natural products aren’t glamorous and thankfully from what I’ve seen that’s not true in any way.

Ammonia is one of the worst offenders for damaging hair, but it’s put into nearly all hair dye as it cuts through the hair cuticle in order to deposit the colour so eventually the structure of the hair is weakened and you have brittle and dry looking hair. Likewise Lauryl Sulfates strip away the natural oils and proteins of your hair. So if you’re looking for healthy looking hair, it might be more expensive but worth it to try natural products. 

Holly’s authenticity shines through when I ask her about home dyes, saying that she’s never used them so she can’t recommend any. 

So what’s ahead for Holly this year? 

Well in mid-January The Merrion Hotel launched a Vegan menu created by Holly.

merrion Instagram / hollywhite Instagram / hollywhite / hollywhite

It looks divine, and with three courses (including a side dish) for €39.00.

vegan Instagram / HollyWhite Instagram / HollyWhite / HollyWhite

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