Happy Mother’s Day! To celebrate the day this year, I was lucky enough to treat my Mum to a few beauty products* from Debenhams and their Mother’s Day picks. When I was a little girl, my mum used to take me and my sister around her favourite Great British high street stores like Debenhams, but it had been a while since I’d been in and looked at their range, and I was pleased to find cruelty-free and natural options making their way onto the shelves.
When on our mother-daughter shopping spree, mum and I discussed our approaches to beauty products, skincare, and my mum’s favourite makeup. We laughed looking back; growing up, I’d always been a bit nervous about beauty, and mum had liked keeping my skin clear of all makeup for as long as possible. In that way, I’d had to be sneaky, hiding a pair of tweezers so I could pluck my wolfy eyebrows (a BIG mistake) and blushing furiously the day I asked mum for a razor after realising the rest of my peers had shiny hairless legs in gym class.
Even now, we differ in our picks. I got excited at spotting Korres products, and picked up a Chamomile Soap Bar and a few bottles of their haircare, while Mum went straight for Urban Decay mascara, and Too Faced makeup (both cruelty-free brands, I assure you).
Gen X vs. Gen Y
When we got to purchasing, I had to ask my mum what drove her makeup choices. She told me that she’d always been quite frugal with makeup, going for store-own products when possible, and had grown into a loyal customer of brands such as No. 7, Simple, and Dove. It’s not surprising, when you start to understand the heritage of these brands and their multi-million pound advertising campaigns that talk to the “real woman”.
It’s always made me feel quite conflicted actually. Having learnt to look at the ingredients of all the products I buy, I know that Simple isn’t all that simple… despite being perfume-free and colour-free, they are big culprits of green washing, stating they use the “purest of ingredients” while continuing to use lots of mineral-oil based ingredients, glycols and parabens (none of which are highlighted on their website, but you can find ingredients lists on Boots).
Simple and Dove are also owned by Unilever, who tests on animals in order to sell in the Chinese market and also on ‘novel’ ingredients (taken from their alternatives to animal testing page).
When I told my mum this, she was surprised. A loyal fan for many years, I doubt she’ll change her routine to cleaner products straight away, but I’ve encouraged her to look for alternatives and try to avoid these 25 beauty ingredients I advocate against.
On top of that, I bought her a new bottle of Crabtree & Evelyn hand cream as an extra gift, and suggested she call me if she ever has a question (or just give the blog a read!) Last year I taught her how to cook quinoa, this year, to look for cruelty-free beauty. I feel like I’m slowly repaying her for all the lessons she’s taught me over the years, and it feels good.