Clearing out my chemical closet – Why I am going ORGANIC!

Did you know…?  The Environmental Working Group estimated that 4 lbs (1.8kg) of lipstick is absorbed into the body over the lifetime of the average lipstick wearer!


It is absolutely horrific to think that our skin, the largest organ that protects our body, can also absorb the ingredients and chemicals it comes into contact with. Can you think about the amount of products you use daily? Let’s look at my average beauty routine:

  1. Face wash (morning)
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Eye cream
  4. Moisturiser
  5. Primer
  6. Concealer
  7. Foundation
  8. Bronzer
  9. Blush
  10. Eyeshadow
  11. Mascara
  12. Lipstick / lip balm
  13. Perfume
  14. Hand cream / cuticle oil
  15. Face wash (evening)
  16. Shampoo
  17. Conditioner
  18. Bodywash
  19. Toothpaste
  20. Eye cream
  21. Moisturiser
  22. Body cream

That’s already 22 items (and hundreds of harmful ingredients), which excludes the daily household products we use such as dishwashing liquid, wood polish, fabric softener – and the list goes on.

So you might think to yourself, so what? Well, have you ever thought about what these chemicals are doing to your organs? Imagine using hair removal cream on your legs – a product that literally BURNS body hair in order to remove it. While you are sitting back waiting for the thick layer of horribly-smelling cream to do its job, these active ingredients are absorbed through your skin, burning its way into your organs. Pretty scary, huh? And we haven’t even gotten into what these products are doing to our environment once we flush it down the drain.

It is already quite difficult for South African vegans to find decent cruelty-free products on the market, now the task deems itself even more challenging. Luckily more and more companies are recognising the issue at hand and are going back to the garden to bring consumers the freshest, safest products made from natural, pure and organic ingredients. I am personally taking on the task to discovering and reviewing these chemically-free alternatives in order to live the healthiest life possible. Keep your eyes peeled to CTVeganista as I bring you latest, safest products from various industries.

In the interim I suggest you educate yourself by starting to read the ingredients breakdown on your favourite products, and learning all you can about harmful chemicals. Also, keep up to date with the latest finding by subscribing to the Environmental Working Group’s website and following them on social media:

This article on Top Tips for safer products is a great start!

Stay fabulous, and safe dear vegans!


{Review} Tastes Beautiful – natural beauty event

Society often sees vegans as hairy-legged hippies who wouldn’t reach for as much as a moisturizer, never mind a lip-gloss. This stereotyping is nothing new to us, yet absolutely absurd. I am very much vegan and very much beauty-conscious, so you can imagine my excitement when I received an invitation to the Wellness Warehouse’s Tastes Beautiful Event.

Now ladies, if you were unable to attend this event, you certainly missed out. I nearly missed the event myself, which would have resulted in the worst case of FOMO imaginable. For some ridiculous reason I thought the event started at 11am and nearly spilled the diary-free latte all over myself realizing (at 08:45) that the event starts at 9am. Luckily the lovely marketing team had no problem with me arriving (very) fashionably late.

– The beautiful brands

The event was held on Women’s day and celebrated the fact that good-for-you is beautiful with Wellness. Four premium beauty brands showcased skincare ranges so delicious, you want to taste it! I was pleasantly surprised seeing my good friend Phoebie representing Hey Gorgeous at the event. I have been a die-hard Hey Gorgeous girl for over a year and thrilled to hear that they are now retailing at my favourite wellness store.  Seriously, who else makes natural Strawberry shampoo!? Another familiar brand was Esse, which I recently became familiar with after winning the Live Life Well competition.  Esse performed a hydration test on my skin and I am almost too embarrassed to admit that my skin’s hydration level was only 26% – luckily I received a fab goodie bag at the event that would resolve this situation in no time. The two less-familiar, but equally brilliant brands present at the event were Dr Hauschka and Secuvie. I love the fact that Dr Hauschka offers a Rose Day Cream and a Rose Day Cream Light – depending on the sensitivity levels of your skin. Their range is probably the most extensive of the four. Secuvie, on the other hand, offers the most perfect range for ladies like my mom who prefers one product to do it all. Their repair cleansing gel is a makeup remover, cleanser and toner all-in-one and their moisturizer acts as both a day and night cream.

– Wouldn’t you just love a bag filled with goodies like these?

It was fascinating to learn how each brand approaches natural skin care and how 100% natural, earthly ingredients can treat and maintain specific skin types. What was really wonderful is the fact that I had not one, but four skin specialist analyzing my skin in one morning – testing and recommending products suited for my extremely dry, sensitive skin. Every range had at least one hero product that I am dying to try and I promise to give you feedback as soon as I do.

The event, which cost a mere R100 per person, offered even more! As I mentioned before, each guest received a fabulous goodie bag filled with products from the participating skin care brands, as well as a full size sample of the best beauty product in the world – Coconut Oil! You can read more about the uses of coconut oil in the August issue of the Wellness Magazine here. We also received a Tastes Beautiful smoothie voucher and a Sexy Foods Bun-less Burger from the Wellness Café! Now Viviane (my guest for the event) and I are both reasonably petite-looking girls, but those smoothies and bun-less burgers were so delightful that we finished every delicious drop of it!  That, and the fact that we missed breakfast while rushing to get to the event of course 😉

– Seriously sexy!

Thank you Wellness Warehouse, Hey Gorgeous, Esse, Dr Hauschka and Secuvie for a morning filled with spoils; making each and every lady feel (and taste) beautiful from the inside out. Vegan-beauties, if you are out and about in the Mother City, keep your eyes peeled to the upcoming events happening at the Wellness Warehouse in Kloof Street – you don’t want to miss out again!

{Review} Vegan VANDA! Complete Make-up Foundation Review

I am very privileged to have a friend who is not only a qualified Medical Aesthetics Therapist but also has her own salon, Sherilee’s Beauty Box, just around the corner from my house. Part of my bestie-benefits is that I … Continue reading

Creamy vegan onion risotto

The Beauty Without Cruelty cookbook ‘Living Without Cruelty’ is one of my best buys since I have converted to veganism – I call it my little book of magic spells for vegan cooking. The book might not be big or thick in size, but it is filled with tried and tested, uncomplicated, homey recipes that you can prepare for your whole family and the recipes are also interspersed with loads of helpful tips, tricks and nutritional information.  It serves as a guide for everyday eating  and ultimately is the perfect first cookbook for someone who just converted to veganism.

Tonight I tried the risotto, described in the book as the most satisfying dish in the world – I have to agree. I was always a bit weary of making risotto as I have seen the disasters on Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen, but when you follow this recipe to the T it is fool proof.  Tonight I opted to make the mushroom risotto, but sadly discovered that I had neither dried nor fresh mushrooms in the pantry – so I decided on a creamy onion risotto instead. I amended the recipe ever so slightly to make it oniony by added additional onion powder and a little bit more liquid than recommended. I served it to my family with steamed veggies on the side and they absolutely adored it.  Give this recipe a go and make sure you get your hands on this book – it is available for purchase on the BWC SA website here.


  • 1 ½ litres vegetable stock (I used Ina Paarman vegetable stock powder which works out 12 teaspoons stock to 1 ½ litres water)
  • ½ white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 300 grams raw Risotto (make sure it is Arboria rice – I used Tastic)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup nutritional yeasr flakes (I used Health Connection Wholefoods)
  • Salt to taste (preferably Himalayan salt)



  1. In a large pot, bring the vegetable stock to simmer.
  2. In a large pan, sauté the chopped onions until translucent.
  3.  Add the raw risotto rice to the onion pan and sauté until the rice is well coated.
  4. Start adding the stock to the risotto – about 150 ml at a time.
  5. NB stir the mixture only in one direction ( The reason, explained Toni, is so as to not bring out too much of the starch and make the rice stodgy).
  6. Keep stirring the mixture while adding the hot stock little bit by little bit as the rice absorbs the stock.
  7. This is a VERY patient procedure, but don’t rush it – you don’t want to drown the rice and the rice is not supposed to boil in a pot of water like normal rice. Just keep adding stock while gently stirring. Mine took about 30 minutes or so.
  8. When you have added the last spoonful of stock, add the onion powder, nutritional yeast flakes and salt and mix well (still stirring only in one direction).
  9. When all the liquid is absorbed, taste to see whether your risotto is soft enough. If not, add another spoonful of pure water.

{REVIEW} Woolworths cruelty-free cosmetics

Ever since I discovered that most of my favourite makeup brands are sadly being tested on animals, I have been on the hunt for cruelty-free cosmetics. Initially I thought that I had an impossible task ahead of me, but luckily … Continue reading