I was very kindly sent some sample Elave products by the Gardiner Family Apothecary recently, and for a number of reasons I believe a lot of you may like their products. They were founded in 1934 in Ireland, and have been since creating skincare products which combine their expertise in traditional formulations with latest (cruelty free!) dermatological advances.

They are certified Cruelty Free and Vegan by PETA. In terms of the Mainland China market, they get around the mandatory animal testing by selling directly to customers online. Their products are not in any shops, so they avoid the mandatory testing law this way, which is great.

Their range of Elave Sensitive products offers everything from shampoo, hand wash, hand sanitiser, to a range of face creams and coconut oil. Check out their website, linked below, for a full list of their available products. All but 4 of their products are certified as Vegan, as seen below;

Elave sensitive skincare is committed to being vegan friendly. 38 of our 42 elave products are certified by PETA as Vegan and are free from all animal products and by-products.The 4 elave products which are not certified as Vegan contain either Beeswax or Honey, natural ingredients that have been used for centuries to help maintain good skin health.
Elave baby nappy cream 100g (beeswax)
Elave dermo renew daily lip defence SPF 20 15ml (beeswax)
Elave dermo renew skin balancing moisturiser 50ml (honey)
Elave dermo renew skin balancing cleansing gel 200ml (honey)

Elave sensitive skincare Vegan products are clearly labelled with the PETA Cruelty-Free and Vegan logo under the Ingredients tab on each product page.

Their Elave range contains no sulfates SLES/SLS, no parabens, no perfume, no formaldehyde, no methylisothiazolinone (MI), no alcohol, no soap, no colours & more. They basically contain what is needed to do the job, sensitively, and without anything harmful. ‘Absolute purity’ is the term they use for this, and you can see more details of what they leave out and why here: https://gardinerfamilyapothecary.com/pages/what-do-we-mean-by-absolute-purity

A lot of their products are suitable for children also which may be great news for some of you, please check out their website for full details of this.

I’m sure a lot of us are in the same boat when it comes to our hands – my hands are so, so dry all the time at the moment from using hand sanitiser in shops – the sensitive hand wash has been great. They also offer their own sensitive hand sanitising gel, which is great for keeping in your handbag or in your car.

Another great note to mention about the Gardiner Family Apothecary – they are very focused in terms of sustainability – they have lithium free solar panels at their manufacturing plant, they minimise the use of toxic chemicals which reduces harmful waste, and all of their packaging is recyclable.

Our skin is the largest organ we have – let’s look after it 😊

Stay safe x




What it means to be a ‘Cruelty Free’ brand

In summary, for a brand to be Cruelty Free (CF), they must comply with the following 4 points;

1. They don’t test finished products on animals at any point during production.
2. Their suppliers don’t test raw materials, ingredients, or products on animals.
3. They don’t test on animals where there is a law requiring testing, such as Mainland China.

4. No third-party tests on animals on their behalf.
* The reason we state ‘Mainland China’ is because Hong Kong doesn’t have a law for mandatory animal testing. A brand can sell in Hong Kong and still be Cruelty Free.

These are the important questions to ask when seeking CF status of a company or brand. You will find that a lot of companies ‘green wash’ themselves in order to appear Cruelty Free.

An example of this is MAC;


M·A·C does not test on animals. We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, M·A·C has never tested on animals and we continue to be a leader in the movement to end animal testing globally.  To this end, we are proud to partner with IIVS (INSTITUTE FOR IN VITRO SCIENCES) to expand the use and acceptance of non-animal testing methods worldwide.

Convincing enough. However, as you scroll further down the page under FAQ, you come across this;

Which countries require animal testing?
China tests on animals as part of its safety assessment of cosmetic products. We love our fans and we never want to exclude them anywhere.”

So they are not CF, as they allow third parties in China to test their products in order to be allowed onto the Chinese market.


Another ‘green washing’ point to note is that a company/brand can claim to be ‘vegan’, while they don’t even hold a CF status. Garnier is one of these.

They offer a range of ‘vegan’ products, but they have a spot in the market in Mainland China to sell their products, where they know their products can be pulled for testing on animals at any stage. This is their statement on their CF status – note how they don’t mention third party testing.

There is so much to be aware of when searching for CF products, however, I hope that my blog can help you become aware of the status of different brands.

It is important to remember not to be too hard on yourself – if you buy something that you discover after, isn’t CF, it happens. It can be very hard to distinguish at times, as so many brands work so hard to cover their true status. The main thing is to be conscious of what you buy and to do your best to ‘vote with your money’. There are some fantastic CF brands out there, and it’s just a matter of finding which products suit your needs and work for you best.

There are a couple of ‘Beauty Boxes’ which you can try, which will arrive to you monthly with samples of various products, usually valued a lot higher than what you pay. It is a good way to try out different brands and see what you like, without paying too much;

Evanna Lynch has co-founded Kinder Beauty Box with Daniella Monet – https://kinderbeauty.com/

Another very popular option – https://www.thevegankind.com/beauty-box/

Here is an article with several other options – https://urbantastebud.com/best-vegan-cruelty-free-makeup-beauty-box-subscriptions/

I hope you will find my blog useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or know of any brands that I am missing!