Listen up. Here are the secrets to a totally smooth shave.
The first is using high
quality products like organic shaving soap and perfectly sharp blades for a closer shave. The
second trick is knowing how to properly use these products. For instance,
knowing how to use shaving soap can mean the difference between a rough, uneven
shave and soft, smooth skin.
Let’s break it down. Ever since the 1800s, shaving soap came in
the form of solid bars. Fast forward to 1949 and the first aerosol shaving
cream was made. I’m sure you’re familiar with those pressurized shaving foam
cans. Press a button and out comes a thick foam ready for use.
This can of wonders is very convenient. Sadly, an aerosol can is also extremely wasteful.
If I may say so, sometimes all you need to do to achieve desirable results is to go back to basics. For bump-free skin, learning how to use shaving soap is as simple as it gets.
So here it goes.
Wet the solid soap bar and make a lather in your hands.
Apply the lather onto your skin (legs, face, etc.).
Wet your razor and shave.
Rinse off hair and shaving soap.
Wash with your regular soap to eliminate extra dead skin and prevent razor bumps.
Oh, and one last thing—don’t forget to moisturize
afterwards! It’s also best to use this product (and most shaving products)
in the shower for easier clean-up.
Keep in mind that when you shop for shaving soaps online, you’ll
most likely come across circular solid soaps labeled, “refill puck.” Beyond the obvious puck shape, what this means is
they’re meant to be used in shaving bowls and applied with a shaving brush.
So exactly what is a
shaving bowl and a shaving brush? Traditionally, barbers used shaving bowls
and brushes to apply the lather onto men’s faces.
On one hand, you might find a shaving brush and a shaving bowl
helpful if you have thick hair. A shaving brush helps create a richer lather
and lets you control how much you apply with precision.
But honestly, along with a trustworthy shaving soap, your hands
are good enough. Shaving bowls and brushes are usually reserved for people with
thicker facial hair or for people who might use a straight razor. Think barbers
or people with beards.
Really, it’s just a matter of how invested you are in shaving.
Yes it’s true, there are shaving aficionados who would scoff at
us using our bare hands and no shaving brush, but hey, it works either way.
For what it’s worth, if you want to dabble in traditional
shaving, here are simple instructions on how
to use a shaving bowl and brush.
Soak your brush in the bowl with hot water for up to two minutes.
Massage the soap with your brush in a circular motion for up to 20 seconds.
Take your shaving bowl (with a few drops of water left in it) and swirl your brush inside.
Swirl brush around the bowl up to a minute, depending on how thick you want the lather to be.
Apply the foam onto your skin.
Rinse off excess soap and hair.
Apply after-shave or moisturizer.
You’re probably wondering how much shaving bowls and brushes
cost. Well, it depends on the quality of the products, but expect to spend
around $20 for a decent set. Unsurprisingly, higher quality sets will cost
Of course, you can use a regular shallow and wide bowl if you
aren’t fully ready to commit.
Furthermore, pay attention to what the bristles and handles are
made of. More often than not, the brushes will be made of synthetic fibers like
nylon. Unfortunately, these plastic fibers are usually non-recyclable.
Other natural alternatives are not 100% vegan either–many
brushes are made of hair from animals like boars or badgers. They do last a
long time, and if the company you buy from is using sustainable practices, then
go for it! Needless to say, you will need to do further research if you want to
be shaving buff. Moreover, you’ll need to do more research to be an
eco-friendly shaving buff.
But let’s get back to the main point. Now that you’ve figured
out how to use shaving soap, let’s move onto which shaving soaps are worth
I know a lot of shaving soap for women have vague scents like “Feminine Mist” or “Fresh Ocean,” which does sound good in theory. However, EcoRoots’ shaving soap is infused with natural scents from essential oils. Expect to smell and experience the soothing effects of citrus notes and lavender thanks to lemon, litsea cubeba, rosemary, lime, bergamot, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils.
Basically, this soap contains zero synthetic fragrances or artificial ingredients like aerosol cans or liquid shaving creams do.
Need one last reason to try out this soap? It comes naked as a solid bar–completely zero waste. I tell you what. Even if some aerosol cans are recyclable, they are usually topped with plastic dispensers and caps.
The Marketing Behind
Shaving Soap for Women
Don’t be fooled by shaving marketing. Here’s what I mean. Shaving is a matter of preference–not everyone does it. A lot of women think it’s anti-feminist. Some people go as far as saying we should all just stop shaving altogether.
Hear me out. I’m not saying that the history of shaving is not
tainted with a sexist agenda. Yes, women are unfairly targeted when it comes to
looking “clean” and “smooth.
Teenage girls feel pressured to figure out how to use shaving
soap as early as middle school. What’s more, the average woman feels the need
to be hair-free, usually on special occasions like romantic dates or in
professional settings like the workplace.
Listen: I get that these pressures exist.
However, some people, like me, still shave for themselves. I
don’t do it to appease men or anybody else but for myself. It’s an aesthetic
choice, and I stand by it. Beyond that, it’s a matter of comfort. I can’t stand
underarm hair in the summer. I am already uncomfortable and sweating, I don’t
want to deal with sticky, hairy underarms too.
But one of my issues with shaving beyond environmentally-unfriendly
habits isn’t with the social oppression. It’s the unfair price differences.
Here’s the catch with shaving soap for women. A lot of women-targeted shaving products like razors, soaps, and moisturizers are more expensive than men’s products. Razors are razors. Although all blades are not made equally, the average women’s razor should not cost more than the average men’s razor.
This so-called pink tax applies to everything from earplugs to helmets and even car insurance. Now, I’m going to stop right here because this is a whole another discussion.
But you get the point. Women’s shaving products are more expensive than men’s but they essentially perform the same functions. So don’t be fooled by products labeled shaving soap for women or razors for women.
Unless the soap is specifically for facial shaving with a
shaving brush, then any product is fair game. What’s my point? Shopping for
zero-waste shaving soap for women might be tricky and time-consuming.
Good news: I’ve curated a short list of shaving soaps below that are eco-friendly, natural, and most importantly, budget-friendly.
Ethique’s company mission is to eliminate plastic waste,
starting with personal care products. For starters, this dual shampoo and
shaving bar alone saves three plastic
bottles. Think of all the plastic-packaged shampoos and shaving creams
you’re saving! Moreover, the paper packaging is completely compostable.
The vegan ingredients include cocoa butter, coconut oil, yellow
clay, coconut milk, lime, orange, and peppermint essential oils.
Aspen Kay Naturals offers high quality hand-made products that
use zero waste packaging. This means
compostable and recycled materials, and vegetable-based
What else? Their body and shaving soap contain all organic ingredients. Your skin will
benefit from shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and castor
oil. Additionally, the soap contains calendula-, chamomile-, and turmeric root
extracts. Kaolin clay helps remove dead skin cells and reveal smooth skin
underneath. Last but not least, aloe vera helps seal in skin moisture.
Beauty by Earth offers natural products like shaving soap and
facial masks to ensure your skin glows without
using harmful chemicals. In addition to that, their shaving soap is
packaged in recyclable paper.
Their soap creates an extra rich lather using only organic ingredients like sunflower
seed-, coconut-, and safflower oil. Cocoa seed butter and shea butter add an
extra layer of moisture even after you leave the shower. They also add
delightful natural fragrances like
ylang ylang, vetiver, lavender, and rosemary.
Lastly, Balade en Provence is an artisan soap company based in France. They use zero waste ingredients and packaging to deliver vegan and organic
products like this shaving soap. Moreover, the packaging is recyclable and printed with vegetable ink.
If you love citrus scents–specifically a sweet orangey lemon scent–this bar is worth trying out. The soap
itself is made of 20% shea butter,
so say goodbye to dry skin. The other 80% is made of vegan ingredients like coconut oil, and lavender and citrus
This soap weighs about 1.8
ounces. I admit, this one is smaller than the average soap bar, but it
lasts a while and the superior ingredients are worth it.
Alternatives to shaving
If you think shaving is not right for you, there are other options you can try. Depending on your skin and hair type and your core values, there are different advantages and disadvantages with each hair removal method.
1. Laser hair removal
Pros: Semi-permanent, relatively painless
Cons: Requires several sessions, costly
Pros: Natural, less frequent than shaving
Cons: May be painful for sensitive skin, can be expensive*
3. Depilatory creams (hair removal creams)
Pros: Easy to use, smooth results
Cons: Chemical-based, may cause a reaction
4. Epilators (hand-held electric tweezers)
Pros: Last longer than disposable razors (Read: eco-friendly section below), semi-permanent
Cons: May be painful, possibly high upfront cost
These methods of hair removal are not created equally. Not all
are eco-friendly. For example, depilatory creams often come in plastic tubes,
and epilators still use power and batteries. Nevertheless, if you’re in a
special situation where shaving with a razor isn’t feasible, these other
methods might prove useful.
*Note that you can also try waxing at home to reduce costs.
However, be prepared for less-than-perfect results at first. I would say
consult a friend who’s an expert at waxing or do thorough research online. In
other words, watch lots of videos and investigate as many wax brands as
You’ve learned how to
use shaving soap–here are other ways to go green
Besides zero waste solid bar shaving soaps, here other ways you can make your shaving routine more environmentally-friendly.
For starters, you can switch to a reusable safety razor. The disposable razor market is valued at over $34 billion dollars. Just imagine how many people are using plastic handle razors and throwing them every day.
What’s worse, the metal parts are usually not recycled–nobody
bothers to separate the blades from the handle. Sadly, when something is
inconvenient, the environmentally-friendly option gets overlooked.
So instead of buying those disposable pink packs of plastic razors, try a high-quality razor with replaceable blades. Yes, safety razors might make you think of barbershops and bleeding cuts. But trust me–they’re actually so easy to use, not to mention much more eco-friendly.
Remember when I said don’t forget to moisturize after shaving?
It’s true! Having smooth skin isn’t just
about knowing how to use shaving soap. To prevent annoying bumps, an
after-shave moisturizer can make a world of difference. Nevertheless, be
careful not to fall for unrecyclable plastic-packaged moisturizers.
Additionally, make sure the ingredients themselves don’t contain
plastic–or worse, chemicals that harm your skin.
Many lotions have additives that either preserve the product,
keep the product from sticking to the container, or make sure the product
applies on smoothly.
Don’t worry. This natural oil-based moisturizer doesn’t need any of these additives to work well. It’s made of certified organic sunflower seed-, hemp seed-, jojoba seed-, and coconut oil for true hydration. Additionally, it contains vitamin E and lavender and lemongrass oil for a natural scent.
What’s better than the fact that these ingredients are organic?
They’re harvested and processed with fair trade practices. This means the
suppliers and producers are paid a fair wage. Moreover, the ingredients are
harvested with sustainable farming practices.
Well, we’ve reached the
Can you believe you clicked on this article looking to learn how to use shaving soap and learned so much more than you bargained for?
If you’ve stuck around for the whole spiel, I’m impressed.
But I hope you learned a thing or two about shaving beyond soaps.
The shaving industry is filled with contradictions and issues, but you, the
consumer, are the key to helping change it.
We’ve covered how to use shaving soap, but we’ve also covered how to step back and recognize where we can make moreenvironmentally-friendly changes in our skin care routine. Whether you opt for a zero waste shaving soap or switch to reusable safety razors, the choice to do better is always yours.
Aluminum based antiperspirants eliminate moisture from the equation to prevent odor, but this means clogging up your pores and preventing normal perspiration.
Magnesium hydroxide and zinc oxide don’t stop you from sweating.
Instead, they fight against the bacteria that feed on your sweat and create odor.
This lets your sweat do what it was meant to do, cool you off, while avoiding the subsequent stink.
The other concern that comes up regarding these ingredients is the issue of Nano particles and the possibility that the structure of these small particles may allow them to permeate our skin.
Not only are many producers of natural deodorants moving toward non-nano versions—say that five times fast—but there isn’t much evidence that points to this being an actual danger to people who use these products.
This is a baking soda formula, which if you aren’t sensitive to it, can be great!
Baking soda is famous for its odor fighting power after all!
One thing I love about this deodorant is that there is no false advertising here in calling these coconut sticks.
Organic Virgin Coconut oil is the first ingredient!
With the addition of shea butter in second place this deodorant will definitely pack a moisturizing punch.
This formula uses cornstarch to help absorb excess moisture and gets an antioxidant boost from Rosemary Oil Extract(ROE).
Virgin Coconut oil has a much stronger aroma than the more refined versions, meaning this deodorant comes with natural tropical twist.
You can either enjoy the simple subtle scent that comes along with the coconut oil itself or try out the Lemongrass & Tea Tree scent which will have the added benefit of those oils’ antibacterial properties.
One good tip for this product is to make sure you allow it to get warm against your skin for a moment before applying it.
Shea butter tends to be solid at room temperature so make sure to give this one a second and your patience will be rewarded with a smoother application.
You’re probably aware at this point of the concept of there being “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut, the balance of which can really impact your digestion and health.
Often, though, we forget about the variety of bacteria that make their home all over our bodies. Remember our equation from earlier?
Don’t get grossed out yet, stick with me.
We have a neutral, sometimes even beneficial, relationship with many of the bacteria that call our skin home. However, a few trouble makers like to make their home in the warm wet environment under our arms.
Here’s the part you’re allowed to get grossed out about:
It’s these guys who eat our dead skin cells, sweat, and sebum—pumping out stinky waste products as a result.
More commonly we just call this B.O.
But what if you could balance your armpit flora just like you do with your gut flora?
That’s where this next plastic free deodorant comes in:
Their probiotic formula reduces odor by encouraging the growth of good bacteria in order to reduce numbers of their smelly counterparts.
Dirty Hippie is also the first line on this list so far that has both baking soda and baking soda free offerings.
With a number of different scent options including Non-scents (unscented), Sexy Hippie (Ylang Ylang and Neroli), Don’t Worry Be Hippie (Lavender, Lemon, Patchouli & Bergamot), and more there is bound to be something for everyone here.
You can also choose between the softer jarred formula, or the firmer push pop applicator.
If all those options are a bit much—and you are indecisive like me—Dirty Hippie offers sample sizes!
So far, we’ve seen push pops and pastes, but this last plastic free option may be the most interesting one so far. Ethique’s deodorant bar is just that, a bar.
That’s not the only thing that makes this deodorant a unique one.
While many of the past formulas used arrowroot or cornstarch to absorb moisture, Ethique’s bar uses bamboo.
I know what you’re thinking:
What? How? Why?
Truth is, I don’t have all of the answers, but bamboo apparently has some super absorbent properties
Which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me, they do make pretty awesome paper towels.
Ethique claims that bamboo can hold up to 200% its own weight in sweat and oils.
On top of that, this formula has zinc oxide and magnesium hydroxide fighting back against those odor causing nasties.
Moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba and sweet almond oil will leave you moisturized and smooth.
Plus, the solid bar form means a no mess no fuss application!
This bar is another great option for those with sensitive skin as its baking soda free!
Choose from Lavender Vanilla, Rustic (Lime, Cedar and Eucalyptus) and Unscented options.
Natural Deo Tips
Since all of these plastic free deodorant are also non-traditional natural formulations there are a couple of things to be aware of.
If, like me, you have been using clinical strength deodorants or—deodorant with a lot of aluminum in the formula—for some time, you may notice when you switch to a natural product that your deo seems to be inconsistent.
Some days you won’t notice a whiff and other days you’ll realize you stink to the high heavens.
Let me let you in on a secret it took me way too long to discover.
It may be your clothes. Not your deodorant.
The waxy build up from aluminum deodorants you find under your arms in the shower also has a bad habit of getting embedded in the fabric of your clothes. Unfortunately, bacteria also find themselves stuck in this goop in your shirts.
Did you know pit stains have little to do with sweat and a lot to do with antiperspirants?
A bit on the ironic side if you ask me.
It’s pretty easy to find out if this is the issue. Often clothes that have this build up are visibly stained and will smell when you get them wet.
This is because the dormant bacteria in the shirt start their stinky work again once they come into contact with your sweat and body heat.
Depending on how old the garment is and how long the buildup has been there the problem may be able to be resolved through an enzyme cleaner.
You may notice that with each of these descriptions I stated whether or not the deodorant contained baking soda.
That’s because it’s a crucial detail for some of us.
Many natural deodorants use baking soda as a method for controlling bacterial growth.
While this works well for many people with zero issues, for those few of us with sensitive skin baking soda can cause a painful bumpy rash.
This may seem an obvious thing to say but it needs to be said:
Do not try to grin and bare it through the rash and continue using the deodorant if this happens to you.
As much as it may hurt your zero waste heart to abandon an unfinished product, your health always come first!
Cosmetic companies have long sold consumers an idealized life. Every part of personal style can be customized. With pretty colors and a shiny coat, nails are a commoditized body part ringing in money. Behind big name nail polishes are cruel animal practices going unregulated. Some countries require animal testing on all imported products. Many cosmetic companies will conform to animal testing, in order to turn a profit abroad. These tests prove to be outright chilling and completely unnecessary.
Commercial nail polishes contain ingredients harmful to animals and humans. Now conscious beauty brands are carving out a place in the cosmetic industry with vegan nail polish.
Scroll down to read reviews of 15 cruelty-free nail polish options.
Cruelty-Free Nail Polish – Not!
The cosmetic industry is committing some absolute atrocities to animals. PETA reports, “more than 100 million animals suffer and die in the U.S. every year in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests as well as in medical training exercises and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities.” Cosmetic brands keep these trials mum, to maintain a sanitary reputation.
Let’s deep dive into some of the major animal tests, specifically for nail polish. In the name of safety this noxious paint is tested on a many types of animals: bunnies, mice, rats, dogs, and/or monkey’s. They are kept in cages for their entire lifespan, and killed once experiments conclude. They receive limited interaction while enduring torture.
Lab techs will drop measured amounts of nail polish directly into the eyes of animals. They do skin patch tests, where an area on the head is shaved and the product is smeared on their bare skin. The most horrific is the forced ingestion of toxic chemicals. The tests are performed for a length of time, leaving the animals isolated, abused and deformed. Regularly they develop neurotic tendencies like pulling out their hair, spinning in circles, etc. At the end of experimentation, the animals are killed. Check this link for more info about animal testing.
What is the point?
All of these experiments are performed on animals to ensure safe products for humans. This reasoning contradicts reality. Animals and humans are not the same. What may be true in the lab is not a good standard to follow. In other words, just because the product has no effect on an animal, does not ensure a nontoxic product for a human.
Hope on the Horizon
Many countries have banned animal testing, with due justice. But, China still requires animal testing on all imported cosmetics. This means cosmetic companies have to submit tests in order sell products in the country. Not to name drop but key figures that rhyme with Poe-Pee-Eye and Nessie who claim to be cruelty-free nail polish brands, sell nail polish in China. These brands, along with others, permit tests under the radar to avoid bad publicity. Mercifully, in the summer of 2019 new regulations were proposed in China to ban animal testing. It is the hope of many that this legislation will pass to end this futile exercise.
Alternative Testing Methods Work
Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the former director of the U.S National Institute of Health stated, “We have moved away from studying human disease in humans…We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included…The problem is that animal testing hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem…We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.” He is right. Animal testing is a silly practice since it does not provide conclusive evidence relative to humans.
Vegan nail polish can utilize alternative methods that are far more relevant. The most successful studies include in vitro tests with human cells; in silica methods that utilize computer models; and human volunteer testers.
How to be sure about cruelty-free nail polish labels?
Some brands label their cosmetics with “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” but the U.S Food and Drug Administration does not monitor labels. It is always good to research which brands are telling the truth. Check out who makes the list here.
Car Paints’ Baby Sister—Nail Polish
Humans should not come in contact with many of the chemicals in nail polish. A lot of these ingredients are in car paint. Yes it’s true, nail polish is the baby sister to car paint. When the car was invented so was a long lasting, shiny, car coating. Companies like Revlon took notice and developed a formula for nails. So it isn’t hard to see why most nail polish formulas contain the harsh products you would find at a local hardware or paint store.
Ever walked into a nail salon where all the nail techs are wearing masks and/or gloves? Or one where the smell is so pungent an instant headache follows? With dust flying, fumes swirling, these are hubs of dangerous poisons. Solvents, gels, shellac, lacquers, polishes, chemicals, etc cause major damage when the body soaks them in. This is especially true for prolonged exposure. Masks and gloves suddenly make a lot of sense.
Thu Quach, a research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, works to make nail salons safer for workers and visitors. Her focus has been on ridding the “toxic trio” from nail polishes. The trio consists of formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. Calling out to all manicurists, nail techs, cosmetologists. Do not breathe! Her investigative work has led a movement away from these and other toxic additives in nail polish. Read more about her findings here.
Pick a chemical any chemical
Until recently the compounds below were found in most nail polish formulas. There is little regulation from the FDA about what goes into such formulas. They only judge the effect of the final product. Continued research has proven that these chemicals are poisonous to humans and animals. It is totally senseless to include them in nail polish.
However, many cosmetic nail companies still use them. Find out exactly what is in that pretty little glass bottle, more importantly what is being painted on our fingernails. Read on to see what each chemicals’ purpose in nail polish is and the health risks they pose.
Formaldehyde – Allows the polish to bond to the keratin in your nails, used for longer wear. It often causes skin irritations and allergic reactions.
Formaldehyde Resin – This is a film-forming plasticizer, also used to reduce chipping but the resin gives polish a shiny finish. Causes skin and eye irritation. Can also cause allergic reactions.
Toluene – Is a solvent in nail polishes creating a distinct chemical odor. When inhaled it can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Prolonged exposure is harmful to reproductive organs.
Camphor – Gives polish flexibility and smoothness. Use is restricted to 11% in the U.S. If ingested it may cause liver damage. In large doses it is lethal.
Triphenyl Phosphate (THPH) – Prevents chipping. Makes a mess of the reproductive and endocrine system. At a high concentration this is a neurotoxin. Not to mention it is extremely dangerous to aquatic life.
Ethyl Tosylamide – It is a nail polish leveler, allowing the polish to smooth over nails evenly. Banned in the EU because it can aid in antibiotic resistant bacteria (superbugs).
Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – Helps with flexibility and preventing nail polish from becoming brittle. This chemical can enhance the ability for genetic mutations within the body. DBP causes liver and kidney failure, in children, from exposure over long periods of time. It is also toxic to marine life.
Xylene – Another smelly solvent with fast evaporation that helps nail polishes dry quickly. Can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
Mequinol Hydroquinone (MEHQ) – This is a chemical used to maintain the texture of the polish as it hardens. Can cause skin sensitivity and is carcinogenic.
Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) – Also used for texture of the polish. May cause contact dermatitis.
Parabens – These are preservatives that extend the life of nail polish. Studies have linked these to breast cancer, skin irritations, and sensitivity to UV radiation.
15 Cruelty-Free Nail Polishes
Given all this information about brutal animal testing and deadly chemicals, it is hard to rationalize using nail polish again.
Thankfully, there are many cruelty-free nail polish brands out there.
Here are some to consider. For each brand these qualities are highlighted:
Self-acclaimed cruelty-free and/or vegan;
PETA certified logo cruelty-free and/or vegan – please note: as mentioned before, just because a brand says they are cruelty-free/vegan on the label does not mean they actually are. PETA offers brands a certified logo after thorough vetting;
Cruelty-Free Kitty brand – please note: this is a blog turned all in one resource for cruelty-free nail polish and other cosmetics. These brands may or may not have a PETA stamp. They are a little less official but backed by extensive research. You can see them all here.
Which nasty chemicals from the above list NOT included in the formula;
A short synopsis of likes and dislikes of the each vegan nail polish.
This polish makes the list with cute mommy and me bottles. Now your little princess has her own personal bottle to paint her fingers (or yours!) on manicure day.
Major plus—this polish is safe for kids. I love this polish. It dries quick, and is chip resistant. It is a nice deep red color when applied with a couple coats. The brush is similar to what you would find on Essie. I am not a fan of the brush handle it is small; I prefer longer handles for gripping. More than one coat is needed. With one coat it is streaky, I definitely like the color with multiple coats.
This brand also steers clear from animal/insect-derived pigments. The sparkles are festive, and really give a punch to my party dresses. The polish goes on smooth and comes off easily. One thing that is hard to find is whether glitter is included in the polish.
The company was so helpful with my inquiry, and got back to me fast with great news. It is confirmed, they do not use plastic glitter in any of their products. It is a synthetic mica that gives the polish sparkles. ILNP nail polish is far from being compostable. Though, it is nice to know that plastic was not used in the making.
5-Free: Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Camphor, and Dibutyl Phthalate
It is hard to find information on this brand but the polishes are affordable and PETA certified, which is very reassuring.
This brand comes in a variety of colors. This is my go to neutral. It is very opaque. It does not dry as quickly as I would like. The color grew on me. At first I didn’t think it went with my skin tone. Now I find that it presents a modern look.
Karma is 100% organic nail polish line, meaning all of their ingredients are sourced ethically. Like a fresh record right out of the sleeve this nail polish woke my inner punk. When I take it off my nails don’t feel like they are withering away. They enrich this formula with calcium and coffee. That being said, they list all ingredients online. I love that I know what is going into this polish! It doesn’t have that harsh odor smell during application.
But it does go on a bit thick, so do this when you have drying time! Some notable bonus features: they offer recyclable packaging and [some] Whole Foods locations do carry this line. Check the website to see if there is a participating store near you.
They have transparent ingredient listings on their website. My favorite thing about this line is the sizing. They offer a smaller bottle for colors you want to sample. A larger bottle is available for tried and true coloring. Deco Miami’s mission is simple, and eco-friendly at heart. The founder came to the realization that she had never finished a bottle of nail polish. They often lost their appeal after a season. The bottles wind up collecting dust in a shoebox and eventually dry out.
She decided to develop a smaller bottle, with a design that was worth showing off. This is a great nude pink that gives my nails just a pop of color when I need a neutral coat. A natural option for French tips. Apply three coats for a cream finish.
5-Free: Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Camphor, and Dibutyl Phthalate – (The specific “Free” chemicals are an estimated guess as the Obsessive Compulsive cosmetic company is no longer around. Generally these are the “5-Free.”)
Unfortunately, this company closed abruptly—it is speculated, due to a gnarly legal battle with Sephora. There is no first hand info about what is in the product. We have to rely on information given from third party vendors. Obsessive Compulsive was the brainchild of a former Body Shop and MAC employee, who dreamt of pure pigmented make-up.
An early entrepreneur of cruelty-free nail polish, they have been in circulation since 2004. This bottle made the list because it is an opaque white that does not yellow. It is ideal for my classic French tips. I am sure this will become your go-to white. Fair warning! I suggest you buy a lot, and fast. What is on the market is all that is left. Are you curious about Obssesive Compulsive Cosmetics? Read about them here.
What better way to ring in fall than with pumpkin spice nails! NCLA has just the latte. Their site displays their ingredient list and is intuitive to navigate. I love the colors available with this brand. Their palette is hip and crisp.
Thiscruelty-free nail polish is homegrown in California, USA. And with so many celebrity endorsements it is hard to say no. PSL went on shiny and smooth. While the site does recommend two coats, I find there is good coverage with one! My only complaint is after a couple days it chipped. I did not use a top coat though…will do that next time.
6-Free: Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Camphor, and Dibutyl Phthalate
This polish differs a little from the rest on the list. It is a base coat. When I applied this as an undercoat it protected my nails from the color layer. It does a wonderful job preventing stains. So if you have to succumb to a toxic polish, throw a coat of this on as a base. Then you won’t run the risk of absorbing toxic chemicals. The nail Perfecter allows me to go nude, and simultaneously corrects discoloration or irregularities on my nail bed. Keep it simple with Lauren B.
Fun fact about Zoya, they were the first company to go 3-free, ridding themselves of the “toxic trio” revealed earlier. They have leveled up over the years. I think if you want a safe vegan nail polish at the best price point this is it. Also, because they have been around for so long they are available in many nail salons. While they do not have a certified logo by PETA, they firmly state they do not sell to countries that require animal testing.
With Zanna, Caresse, Lauren, and Jill you are sure to find a color that fits. Caresse and Lauren are shimmers. Zanna and Jill are a cream finish. I can coordinate year round with the warm and cool colors, as my skin tone changes. Con, these colors appear neutral but are actually more pink/mauve. With that frame of mind however they are versatile. Grab a dose of natural pink.
Thiscruelty-free nail polish is easy to access, no need to order online. Pop into Nordstrom or Nike to pick one up. Veque has a patented technology that mimics gel nails in the salon. With this polish I feel like I just had a nail appointment without the fumes. The high shine garners a lot of attention. I get so many compliments. I really did not need to use much for full coverage. The brush makes application a breeze. My only grievance, they need to make more colors!
3-Free: Formaldehyde, Toluene, and Dibutyl Phthalate
This particular polish is very similar to the consistency of ILNP nail polish. Goes on smooth. It is a durable holographic silver polish. I had it on for a full week before it started chipping. I found myself at odds morally using this polish. Color Club has been around since 1979, attaining an extensive inventory. On one hand they are female owned and operated. They also donate to numerous charities. However there is a clear lack of transparency when it comes to the nail polish itself.
This company does not have the most informative site. Ingredients are not listed. They have an international distributor option on the site that is troubling. It is hard to justify using this over some of the more credible options on the list. While “Harp On It” is beautiful in the bottle, it takes on a greyish color under low light. The polish is a bit smelly to boot. Another downside, I am not sure whether plastic glitter is used. The company never got back to my inquiry.
Tenoverten blossomed out of a female owned nail salon. Founders saw a clear deficiency in healthy nail products in nail salons. Their mission is spot on and the polish will not disappoint. As a conscious company they provide fair pay and the health of their staff is a top priority. They make certain this polish is safe to use and performs.
I love this brand!! Everything I buy from them is amazing.
They have a recycling program that is hard to match. They will take back ANY old nail polish bottles and recycle them—cap, brush, handle, and all that nasty old polish. This is commendable for a company to take on, considering nail polish is a hazardous material. The polish itself is a beautiful deep brick color. It goes on pretty thin so I did need a couple extra coats. It also chipped quickly so a topcoat is recommended.
This is a hyped 14-Free cruelty-free nail polish. Orosa goes as far as to avoid gluten so that customers with celiacs disease can enjoy fashionable phalanges. In addition palm oil and animal products are excluded because both are devastating to the environment and natural surroundings. Everything excluded from their polishes is termed “the Nope List.”
The website is plain about their formula and brand ideals. Not only do I align with their values this is a luxury nail experience. The brush conforms to the nail creating a smooth paint with no streaks. “Rose Quartz” is another great bottle for French manicures or as a sweet summer pink. I wish these were sold in more shops, because purchasing nail polish online can be a bit tricky.
Been to the French Riviera? Well now you can wear it. This is a classy polish. Made with wholesome ingredients in the U.S. It was extremely chip resistant, lasted for a week. The shine is what really sets them apart. I wash my hands a lot, and nothing broke the shine. This line has my favorite brush out of the bunch. It is wide and makes the strokes quick and easy.
My only complaint, Cote is a little on the expensive side, but they have some great perks. One being they offer 10% off if you participate in their recycling program. Check here to see if a location offers Cote near you.
Made in the US with globally sourced ingredients. They list their ingredients and I don’t know what half of stuff they have in there is. What I do know is that they list Mica flakes. That is always a good sign, that it is glitter-less! Goes on smooth and the color makes me feel like a mystic mermaid.
This is another brand that can be found at the local nail shop. Pacifica is a main stream cruelty-free nail polish. They are available in some grocery and drug stores.
What is your favorite eco-friendly, sustainable and cruelty free nail polish brand?
Zero Waste Sunscreen : better for your skin, better for the environment.
Let’s talk about zero waste sunscreen.
Sunscreen protects your skin and cells from the sun. It helps prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Most importantly, it helps prevent skin cancer. Good news is we researched countless different sunscreen options and curated this list of the top 15 options for you to check out.
I graded the sunscreens based on these criteria:
Zero waste packaging (No disposable plastic bottles or tubes)
Safe for skin (No harmful chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate)
Environmentally-friendly (No water pollution or chemicals, safe for coral reefs)
Note: I’ve tried out some of these products, but the other ones have only been recommended to me by personal friends or through social media. (You’ll have to let me know if you try any of these, we’d love to hear from you!)
But first–let’s get familiar with why choosing a great sunscreen matters.
Sunscreen and sun damage
Sadly, most people think sun damage only happens when you get a bad sunburn. You’ve probably been there. You stayed out in the pool for too long during a hot summer day, and hours later, your skin’s red and painful to the touch. The top of your shoulders and tip of your nose start to peel a few days later. Ouch!
If you’re lucky, you’re one of those people who can stay out in the sun as long as you want without burning.
The fact is, even if you don’t burn or see immediate damage, the sun is still hurting your skin.
Look at it this way: we think wrinkles and lines on our skin is part of growing older, but most of it is actually because of sun damage. This is because the sun shoots out radiation other than the sunlight we can see with our naked eye. To put it simply, we call these stronger, skin-damaging rays ultraviolet radiation.
Sounds serious, right? It is!
So why should you be worried about ultraviolet radiation? Well, ultraviolet radiation exposure changes and harms your skin cells’ DNA forever. This is terrifying if you really think about it.
You wouldn’t want to go near a radioactive spill site, so you should take every precaution against sun damage. Yes, we need some sun exposure to make vitamin D, but we should always be careful even when soaking in our daily sunshine.
Now, what’s the deal with UV radiation and why does it matter?
Listen up: There are two types of UV radiation you should know about.
The first is Ultraviolet A (UVA). Although UVA is weaker than the other type of radiation, it’s what causes skin tanning and aging. It is the type of radiation that we’re exposed to the most. Think about it. We’re exposed to UVA all day and all year long, but we only put on sunscreen when it’s 90 degrees outside. Obviously, we should think and do differently.
UVA reaches our deeper skin layers. Amazingly, it can even penetrate glass and clouds. So if you work in an office or space that faces the sun, you should also put on sunscreen indoors.
And that golden color people covet from tanning beds? It’s actually a defense mechanism your body uses against sun exposure. Here’s how it works. When the sun hits your skin, it damages your skin cells’ DNA. In response, your body tans itself to prevent further harm.
The second type is Ultraviolet B (UVB). Just one percent of ultraviolet radiation on Earth comes from UVB. Luckily, our ozone layer filters out most of UVB, which is stronger than UVA. Nevertheless, this type of radiation causes the most damage to the top layer of skin.
Typically, UVB rays are strongest from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon. Try to limit your time in direct sunlight during these hours. Of course, we don’t experience much UVB, but this type of radiation is known to cause skin cancer in the long term.
Speaking of skin cancer, there are type main types. Melanoma is more serious and is usually fatal. Non-melanoma is less fatal, especially if detected early.
But there is hope even with all this bleak information. When you use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher everyday, you reduce your risk of non-melanoma and melanoma cancer by 40 and 50 percent, respectively.
Let’s back up.What exactly does SPF mean, anyway? We know that a higher number offers more protection, but how does it work?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It measures how long the sunscreen can protect you from UVB rays based on your skin type.
Put it this way. If your skin starts to burn after 5 minutes in the sun without protection, an SPF 30 zero waste sunscreen will protect you for 150 minutes, or two and a half hours. Whew, I bet you didn’t expect to do math today, but it’s simple enough, right?
Here is the calculation: 5 minutes x SPF 30 = 150 minutes
Note:ahigher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stronger or better at protecting your skin. Up to a certain number, a higher SPF will only provide a little bit more protection. By this logic, you don’t really need SPF 70 or higher, especially if you’re on a budget.
Moving on. It’s also important to find sunscreen that’s labeled broad spectrum. This means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
So we’ve covered ultraviolet radiation and SPF, but what about ingredients?
Safe sunscreen ingredients–what to look for
There are two main types of zero waste sunscreens. The first is mineral-based. Almost all sunscreens contain some form of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which absorb UV rays. These minerals provide a protective layer on the skin. Remember: mineral-based equals safe.
The second type is chemical-based. More traditional sunscreens use chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb radiation under the skin. Ever wonder what the big deal is with chemical-based sunscreen? There are considerable reasons why most people are against them–including myself.
The first problem with chemical-based sunscreen is that they enter your body and disrupt various systems like your hormone system. Negative effects include lower fertility and even lower birth rates for babies exposed to these chemicals in the womb.
Want to hear something even more unbelievable? These chemicals can even be found in breast milk, which just shows how easily we absorb them. This is especially concerning to vulnerable groups like expecting mothers and children, but it affects everyone.
The second problem with chemical-based sunscreens is that they harm coral reefs. I’m sure by now you’ve seen a documentary or news report on dying coral reefs. The cool thing is, coral reefs live in harmony with algae that help them stay healthy. Algae gives corals their different lively colors and protects them from various diseases.
Unfortunately, sunscreen chemicals in the ocean break this relationship. This leaves corals vulnerable and white in a process called coral bleaching. When sunscreen chemicals are in oceans, coral reefs ingest these tiny chemicals (nanoparticles) and lead to coral death.
The point is, within mineral-based sunscreens, you should look for sunscreens that list “Non-Nano Zinc Oxide” as the main ingredient. This means the particles are big enough that corals can’t eat them.
Here’s another reason why non-nano mineral sunscreens are better than chemical-based sunscreens. UVR encourages free radicals to form, leading to cancer and other negative health effects. It’s thought that when sunlight reacts with nanoparticles in traditional sunscreen ingredients, they create free radicals.
In case you need a reminder, free radicals are single rogue oxygen atoms looking for partners. Just imagine that they’re one half of a heart looking for another half. The scary part is, they might grab a partner from a whole heart, which starts a chain reaction of atoms ripping apart whole cells, tissues, and even organs.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of diseases like cancer are caused by this chain reaction. However, free radicals seem to be a natural part of life. Free radicals come from food, chemical reactions, and other things we put into our bodies. Our job then is to discourage them from forming in our bodies by making better choices like choosing mineral sunscreen with non-nano particles.
Another thing to look out for is if the zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in your sunscreen is coated. Companies might do this to make the sunscreen more easy to spread. The big catch is the chemicals in the coating pollute oceans, contribute to coral bleaching, and harm other fish.
Besides the environmental impact, there are other factors you should consider when buying sunscreen–or any product, really.
It’s your money, so why not support sustainable businesses? If you’re deciding whether or not to buy from a certain company, you might want to check out their company partners and/or where they source their ingredients.
I looked at how the different sunscreen companies fared on ethical sourcing standards. Ethical sourcing partly means the ingredients are carefully selected for quality. More importantly, the ingredients must come from businesses that utilize environmentally-friendly practices such as organic farming. These businesses should also treat employees with dignity through fair wages, good working conditions, and workers’ benefits.
It’s no surprise that small producers usually can’t compete with big companies who sell much more at a lower price globally. With fairtrade, small producers are connected with companies/countries/businesses that will pay them a fair wage. Bottom line is, small producers usually create products using sustainable processes. By contrast, big companies typically use environmentally-damaging methods to maximize profit.
My point is, when you support fair-trade products, you support sustainable production and small businesses.
So let’s recap.
When looking for the best sunscreen for you and the environment, here is what to look for. I carefully reviewed 15 zero waste sunscreen choices and checked how they fared based on these characteristics:
Raw Elements Zero Waste Sunscreen is available on EcoRoots. It provides broad spectrum coverage up to SPF 30. The sunscreen comes in a 3-ounce (85 grams) reusable tin can with a biodegradable paper label. As always, we ship with zero waste packaging.
All the inactive ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, and mango butter are either natural or certified organic. This makes it safe for the environment and for all skin types–even children’s. What I love about it are the natural antioxidant ingredients like sunflower oil and green and black tea. I mean, how often do you come across sunscreen with tea or sunflower oil? My skin feels great after using this sunscreen–much better than greasy, chemical-based sunscreen.
In terms of the environmental impact, the sunscreen is labeled reef safe. The active ingredient is non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide.
I support Raw Elements as a company because they donate to nonprofits that help preserve ocean health. They are a socially-conscious company who are serious about providing products that are safe for humans and the Earth–something EcoRoots also stands for.
If you’re about holistic healing, but also need a strong sunscreen that’s been tested by pro surfers, check out EiR NYC. Their Surf Mud Pro facial sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection of up to SPF 50. It’s packaged in a compostable 1.5-ounce cardboard stick.
It features cocoa powder, which naturally protects from ultraviolet radiation. This sunscreen is based on a Mayan chocolate mask, which has beneficial antioxidant properties. Bonus!
The active ingredients are non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Furthermore, the all-natural ingredients coconut oil and cocoa butter hydrate and soothe skin.
Their short ingredient list leaves out harmful chemicals, making this sunscreen safe for the environment.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much on their website about social impact, but their environmental rating gets an A!
All Good’s organic zero waste sunscreen butter comes in SPF 50+ in a 1-ounce (28 grams) recyclable tin container. Admittedly, one ounce might be a little too small for an everyday sunscreen, but it’s great for travel.
On the bright side, it’s broad spectrum and uses non-nano zinc oxide among six organic ingredients like calendula flowers and jojoba oil. Don’t believe me? This sunscreen was deemed safe by the Environmental Working Group, which is a nonprofit that brings awareness to issues like chemicals in consumer products.
Lastly, this sunscreen is coral reef safe, but works even in harsh conditions. Note that if you have dry skin, the sunscreen will work best if you apply moisturizer under. Otherwise, it’s a little harder to apply the sunscreen on smoothly.
All Good is a responsible company. For example, they partner with nonprofits to tackle environmental issues. To top it off, they recently added workers’ benefits throughout their company.
Balm! Baby is made by Taylor’s–a family-owned business. I resonate with their story because they started out by making their own plastic-free alternative soap. Today, they make all-natural products from cosmetics to postpartum care. How awesome is that?
Let’s look at their zero waste sunscreen a little closer. Their natural SPF 30 sunscreen is available in either a 2-ounce (57 grams) glass container with a tin lid or a 2-ounce biodegradable cardboard stick. Honestly, I have too many reusable jars at home, so I prefer the stick.
Moving onto their ingredients. Their ingredients are GMO-free and safe even for the lips and face. Parents, take note! You can use this as a diaper rash cream–it’s safe enough for the gentlest skin.
Frankly, a lot of smaller companies like Taylor’s don’t have the funds to get certified for broad spectrum. Nonetheless, they use similar ingredients that companies who are certified use for sunscreens. The owners claim that by the Environmental Working Group standards, this sunscreen is safe. Personally, I don’t doubt them at all.
The active ingredient in this sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide with all-natural parts like extra virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil, candelilla wax, coconut oil, and macadamia oil. If you’re allergic to any of these oils, don’t worry! The cool thing about Balm! Baby is that they can customize every order to fit your exact needs. Yes, supporting small business has its perks! Just think: mass-produced chemical sunscreens doesn’t really cater specifically to your skin.
As for responsible sourcing, this zero waste sunscreen is made in the USA from sustainably-sourced, local ingredients like Hawaiian coconut oil. Finally, Taylor’s is a family-owned business that supports others companies who treat employees and the Earth with respect.
Say goodbye to chalky sunscreen! A lot of people would say sunscreen turns them off because it leaves a white residue that makes them look ghostly. Thankfully, Avasol seems to have solved this problem. One common praise I hear about Avasol is how their sunscreen comes in three skin color shades–light, tan, or dark.
The broad spectrum and all-weather sunscreen is available in SPF 30 or 50+ in recycled paper sticks. The solid stick weighs only 1 ounce (28 grams), but you can buy the sunscreen in cream form which comes in a refillable packet.
The active ingredient is non-nano, non-coated zinc oxide, along with high-quality herbs and oils. Avasol prides themselves in using safe ingredients that also serve a higher purpose besides just using exotic ingredients for no reason. For instance, most of their ingredients are unrefined because they are most potent in that form.
If you see “wildcrafted” on their ingredients list, this simply means that that specific ingredient was picked straight from the Earth. What better way to make sure a product is safe for you and the environment than supporting natural and sustainable farming practices?
Avasol is part of 1% FOR THE PLANET. If you’ve never heard of this organization, you’re in for a treat! Most socially conscious business are part of their membership program. Here’s how it works. Businesses join the 1% for the Planet membership program so they have access to a network of eco-friendly peers that they can learn from. Each company donates 1% of their proceeds to nonprofit organizations within the community. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, this is just one way Avasol keeps their promises on sustainability and innovation. From production to disposal, they pay attention to their environmental footprint and social impact.
This is another great product from Taylor’s--a family who started their own business to provide plastic-free products for families. This SPF 30 zero waste sunscreen comes in a 2-ounce (56 grams) glass jar with a tin lid.
As I mentioned, small companies don’t often get certified for things like broad spectrum or organic because it costs too much money. But this doesn’t mean the products aren’t organic or broad spectrum. In fact, this sunscreen is rated safe on the Environmental Working Group website. Now’s a good time to say that certified “organic” products may not be fully organic, so take certifications with a grain of salt. It’s also a good idea to really do your own research and be informed about the industry.
Let’s jump back to the Elevated Sun! sunscreen.
Aside from the plastic-free packaging, this zero waste sunscreen is safe for the environment with natural ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, raw macadamia nut oil, and lavender essential oil. It uses non-nano zinc oxide and includes vitamin E for extra skin nourishment.
Above all, Taylor’s supports other companies who share their same values of high-quality, environmentally-friendly products.
Suntribe’s all-natural sunscreen is available in a 1.5-ounce (42 grams) aluminum tin with a recycled paper label. In fact, they’ve perfected their label-making process and work with a company that’s near their production site. They recycle paper for labels to reduce waste as much as possible.
As for the sunscreen itself, it is broad-spectrum and SPF 30. It’s safe for your face, neck, lips, and even your ears.
Shockingly, there are only three ingredients: non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide, beeswax, and coconut oil. This product was made with sports like skiing, surfing, and running in mind. Consequently, it’s perfect for being outdoors during peak sun intensity. It’s a no-frill, heavy-duty sunscreen that’s safe for you and the environment.
There isn’t much information on Suntribe’s social impact, but they are certified by the New Generation Natural Cosmetics. Suntribe passes three key principles: no toxic chemicals, little environmental impact, and meet cosmetics industry standards. The organization also checks for sustainability all the way from production to recycling. Good thing Suntribe is meticulous about sustainability–they pass the test with flying colors.
The Little Hands sunscreen is available in a 3.4-ounce (96 grams) recyclable tin with biodegradable labels. You can choose plain white or tan. If you’re wondering how they achieve the tan color, the answer is simple. They use iron oxide minerals which also help protect from ultraviolet rays.
Non-nano zinc oxide is the active ingredient with organic coconut and jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E oil, beeswax, and frankincense essential oil. Not familiar with frankincense? Me neither, but here’s what I found out! It’s an oil that goes all the way back to Egypt. It helps smooth skin and impurities like scars. It revives skin cells and promotes new skin growth–all good things!
Overall, this formula is skin- and environmentally-friendly.
It’s no wonder that Little Hands highlights so many natural ingredients–they were founded in Hawaii. Even today, they produce and source local products as much as possible. For example, they use free range Hawaiian bees for the beeswax in the sunscreen. When they do source out-of-town, it’s for natural and high-quality ingredients like their African Karite shea butter or Ethiopian frankincense.
Laguna Herbals’ hypoallergenic, SPF 50 zero waste sunscreen is available in 1-ounce (28 grams) metal tins.
Their broad spectrum tear-free formula won’t drip into eyes, and is light enough to use as a primer under makeup. It is also paraben-, GMO-, and gluten free, so rest assured that this works no matter what your skin type is.
Furthermore, this biodegradable sunscreen is primarily made of non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide. There are only five other organic ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, calendula, vitamin E, and jojoba oil. The verdict? These natural ingredients are safe for the environment.
Let’s learn more about the company itself. Laguna Herbals is a woman-owned and operated business in Laguna Beach, California. They focus on high-quality, natural ingredients that are safe for everybody.
I couldn’t find much information on their social impact programs or practices, but I found that all of their products are produced in the USA. If you’re from the US (or better yet, California), then Laguna Herbals is a great option.
Inactive ingredients include coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, polyhydroxystearic acid, and sunflower vitamin E. Don’t freak out when you see polyhydroxystearic acid–it simply helps keep the zinc oxide together for smoother coverage and maximum efficiency. It’s plant-based and safe for skin.
Beyond that, the broad spectrum sunscreen is made of uncoated, non-nano pure zinc oxide. Which means? It’s safe for coral reefs! If you don’t believe me, I’ll leave this here: this sunscreen is one of the top rated sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group.
When it comes to Butterbean Organics’ social policies, I’m impressed. Their coconut oil and shea butter are fairtrade. I’m delighted to see this Florida-based, mother-owned business bring awareness to sunscreen safety with responsibly-sourced ingredients.
When it comes to zero waste sunscreen, don’t limit yourself to drugstores or Target. Smaller businesses on websites like Etsy offer far superior products.
Take Little Tree Naturals sunscreen for instance. Their raspberry seed sunscreen comes in a reusable glass 4-ounce (113 grams) jar. The sunscreen is estimated to be between 30 to 50 SPF. (Again, certification costs can be high for small businesses!)
Their products are handmade with all-natural, organic ingredients. For this sunscreen, Little Tree Naturals uses non-nano zinc oxide, raw shea butter, organic coconut oil, and grapeseed oil. What’s more, this sunscreen features oils you don’t usually see (but should!) on other sunscreens–carrot seed and red raspberry seed oil. Talk about natural.
These oils don’t just sound good on paper. Carrot seed oil is full of antioxidants to help keep free radicals in check. Red raspberry seed oil is a natural broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF between 28 to 50!
Since all the ingredients are natural and GMO-free, this sunscreen is safe for the environment. I really enjoy this sunscreen. It’s oil-based, but it isn’t greasy and spreads onto the skin easily. Although four ounces sounds so little, this product has surprisingly lasted a long time. Even though it hasn’t been tested for a true SPF, I trust this family-owned business.
If you’re looking for other natural products, Little Tree Naturals also makes other natural products like toothpaste and deodorant. The only catch is some of their packaging is plastic, so keep that in mind if you really want zero waste products. But if you’re looking for an organic, trustworthy sunscreen that fits easily into your purse, try this one out.
This oil-based, SPF 30 sunscreen is available in these sizes: 15 grams (0.5 ounces), 50 grams (1.7 ounces), 100 grams (3.5 ounces), or 150 grams (5.3 ounces). The sunscreen comes in a reusable tin container and a paper label.
It’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t clog pores. What about ingredients? This sunscreen uses organic raw shea butter, babassu oil, and arrowroot powder. You’re probably wondering, so I’ll let you know that babassu oil and arrowroot powder both soothe dry or itchy skin–perfect for rashes and sunburns. If you happen to be allergic to any of the oils in the original formula, you can easily substitute another one that’s best for you. Amazing!
Think it doesn’t get any better than this? Think again. This sunscreen contains no chemicals, so it poses no environmental risk. It is labeled reef safe.
However, note that sunscreens in the US contain only up to 25% zinc oxide because of FDA regulations. This sunscreen is made and shipped from the UK and contains 30% zinc oxide. This isn’t dangerous per se, just something to keep in mind.
Sol de Luna Crafts does not have any specific social impact initiatives, but they are a small, individual-operated company. It’s enough that they market natural products that are human- and earth-friendly.
This SPF 30 coconut sunscreen balm is available various sizes: 14 grams (about 0.5 ounces), 80 grams (2.8 ounces), and 90 grams (3.2 ounces). The smaller sizes come in paper tubes and the largest size comes in a refillable tin container. (Note that you can only refill the container if you currently live in Australia.)
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics really embraces zero waste packaging–their tape, padding, and boxes are all recycled or reused from local businesses.
As for the ingredients, they use virgin coconut oil, shea liquid and butter, candelilla wax, carrot seed, raspberry seed and wheatgerm oils, vitamin E, and lime essential oil for scent. Aside from carrot seed and non-nano zinc oxide, all the ingredients are certified organic.
This zero waste sunscreen was designed for sensitive skin, so I have no doubt that it’s safe for skin. What’s more, you can choose the formula that alsorepels bugs–ideal for hikes or summer nights outdoors. It hasn’t been officially tested for SPF, but the company is well-known and loved.
Some of our more outdoorsy friends have tried the bug repellent blend and I heard no complaints about it. The added ingredients are neem oil, cedarwood, pine, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and rose essential oils. The only slight inconvenience is that the sunscreen sometimes catches on the tube. What I mean is, the stick itself might not easily push up. I’ve had this happen with other products, and it’s not that big a deal.
Hint: if it’s really stuck, try warming it in the microwave for five seconds or so.
All in all, the ingredients are safe for coral reefs. Like I mentioned above, their packaging is sourced from local businesses. Part of being a socially conscious company is creating communities of eco-friendly humans. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics leads this community in many ways.
Are you ready for something completely different? Here we go. Anakiel’s handmade serum contains no zinc oxide and is made entirely of pure plant oils and extracts.
From the product photograph, the 0.9-ounce (25 grams) container seems to be made of glass with a wooden cap and plastic pump. Needless to say, it might not be entirely zero waste unless the parts are recyclable or if the container is refillable.
The serum itself is the epitome of skin pampering with nourishing oils like jojoba, sesame, and lavender. There is no specific SPF rating, but key ingredients like karanja and red raspberry seed oil absorb UVA and UVB rays.
Before we continue, let me clarify what karanja oil is. It’s made from the karanja tree seeds, which is found in various parts of Asia. It helps repair sun damage and prevent skin aging. Since this oil-based sunscreen contains no known harmful chemicals, it is safe for the environment.
Anakiel is based in Canada, but I found no information on their ingredient sourcing or social impact.
Last but not least, let’s look at Savonnerie des Diligences’ mineral butter sunscreen. This handmade sunscreen is available in 119 grams (4.2 ounces) or 240 grams (8.45 ounces) packaged in glass jars and tin lids.
Savonnerie des Diligences uses shea butter, non-nano zinc oxide, vitamin E, and various essential oils. The simple ingredients list makes this gentle for skin and safe for the environment.
The all-natural ingredients are sourced from fairtrade practices. Additionally, they make plastic-free soaps and moisturizers.
Aside from the high quality products, I love their artsy, colorful paper labels. I’ve gifted their products to friends and family who wanted to try natural products that were still effective.
So there you have it.
I’ve covered 15 different zero waste sunscreen options and judged them based on how they’re packaged, how gentle they are on the skin, how they safe they are for the environment, and how the company contributes to society.
How to protect yourself without using sunscreen
Did you know that each year, over 14,000 tons of sunscreen make their way to oceans? This isn’t just from swimming on beaches, but when you wash off sunscreen in the shower.
Let’s review what to look for when choosing a safe sunscreen.
Avoid chemical-based sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone or octinoxate. Chemical-based sunscreens are not safe for coral reefs like mineral-based sunscreens.
Another key factor in sunscreens is non-nano zinc oxide (or titanium oxide) with no coatings. These are the safest ingredients for humans and oceans.
Thorough research takes a long time. Luckily, you have 15 great options above based on your skin type and the kind of coverage you’re looking for. But you know what else?
The most important things you can do to reduce sun damage has nothing to do with sunscreen. You should try staying out of the sun during peak hours, especially if you have fair or sensitive skin. When you’re outdoors, wear hats and long sleeves. This won’t stop UV rays from hitting your skin completely, but it will reduce significant damage.
During summer months, try fabrics that breathe like cotton and linen, so you can still wear long sleeves and long pants. Break out that sun hat and make sun protection fashionable.
This guide is just a starting point for great zero waste sunscreen alternatives. Let me know about any great companies you come across that use zero waste packaging, use ingredients that are environmentally-friendly and gentle on the skin, and promote positive social impact values.
I love to support companies who create natural and safe products that work.
Most of these toothbrushes, if not all, are currently made from plastic. The production of plastic releases harmful toxins into our air and waterways. Plastic is generally a polluting material that takes forever to break down.
There is more:
You may be justifying your plastic toothbrush by saying, “Hey! It is recyclable.” Well, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but more often times than not, your toothbrush actually can not be recycled. Here is why:
Many toothbrushes are designed with
the human hand in mind. This means that they are ergonomic and have soft
plastics where you hold it and hard plastic where you do not. This also means
that it is composed of many different plastics that the recycling facility can
Luckily, there are sustainable toothbrushes out there. By simply swapping out your plastic toothbrush for an alternative made from sustainable materials, you can do your part in fighting climate change.
It may seem too good to be true, but
it really is that simple. Join me and check out these amazing sustainable products:
My Favorite Sustainable Toothbrush
Okay, my favorite toothbrush by far has to be Eco Roots Natural Toothbrush Set. With a bamboo handle and a minimalist design, this toothbrush has quickly become one of my favorites.
First off, I love the functionality of this zero waste toothbrush.
The bristles are so soft and it always does a great job at cleaning my teeth everyday. The handle is also very light and easy to hold. It works just as good, if not better than my old plastic toothbrush!
I love that it is made of bamboo. Bamboo is a great sustainable material. It is quickly regenerative, meaning it grows super fast. The production of bamboo also does not require a lot of irrigation or any pesticides.
There is more:
This renewing resource is also anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. It makes perfect sense to have this as a toothbrush material because it will stay fresh and clean. It also biodegrades!
Listen to this:
Once your toothbrush become old and worn, do not throw it into the trash! Instead, remove the nylon bristles by cutting them off and throw the handle into your compost bin. It will biodegrade within just a few months.
Think about it:
Compare this breakdown time to the centuries a plastic toothbrush will take to break down in the landfill! It is so much faster!
The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months, and this toothbrush is no exception. We are all for reusing things, but a toothbrush is one of those things that just has to be replaced every now and then.
Not only are the materials of this toothbrush sustainable, they are also ethically sourced. Thissustainable toothbrush is also vegan, plastic-free, BPA-free, and non-toxic. I love it!
The toothbrushes are packaged in a cardboard box which can either be recycled or composted. This is a true zero waste toothbrush!
No sneaky plastic packaging here.
I really love that this product is sold in a pack of four. If you are buying it for yourself, you are basically set for a year. It also is great for an entire household, so you and your family can make the sustainable toothbrush switch together.
By being a bulk set, it ends up being so affordable! Each toothbrush comes out to be a little less than $4, which really is not that bad. This price is comparable to the toothbrushes you would find in your local convenience store.
I also think that buying repeat buys in bulk help saves on transportation emissions.
Think about it:
If you try this toothbrush and love
it, you will keep ordering it. Instead of using the resources and energy to
send you one each time, you can bulk up with a set of four. It just makes more
sense in my head.
While we are on the topic of transportation, let me talk a little about Eco Root’s amazing shipping promises.
Let’s get into it:
Eco Roots will not use any plastic while shipping your order. All shipping materials are recyclable or compostable. This includes using cardboard boxes, craft paper tape, and recycled paper.
Once you open your order, be sure to properly sort and dispose of your packing materials. Please do not send anything to the landfill!
This sustainable toothbrush is such an easy swap. I always recommend it to anyone who is just hopping on to the zero waste train or simply wants to live more sustainable. It is such a zero waste staple.
Since there is no color or anything
that is very stylistic about this toothbrush, it is really universal. I think
everyone would love it no matter who they are! It’s minimal, classic design
really speaks for itself.
The bamboo toothbrush also makes a great gift. If you want your family or friends to adopt more sustainable living practices, this would be a great starting point for them. I think the bamboo toothbrush craze is just beginning. We need to spread the word!
All in all, I love this sustainable toothbrush because it is eco-friendly, ergonomic, affordable, and stylish. This is one of my staples in my zero waste daily kit. Try it out for yourself!
A sustainable toothbrush is just the start when it comes to your zero waste dental care. There are various sustainable flosses, mouthwashes, and toothpastes, too!
Zero Waste Floss Alternative
We have already established that brushing your teeth is integral, but do not forget to floss either! Majority of the flosses on the market are made from plastic and have plastic packaging. That is a thing from the past!
This floss is made from biodegradable bamboo fiber! That means that after use, the strands of floss can go straight into your compost bin or be buried into the soil. It will break down within 60-90 days.
Isn’t that cool?
Unlike some other sustainable flosses that I have seen out there that are made from silk, this one is plant-fiber based, so it is vegan and cruelty-free. The bamboo fibers that are used are certified organic and infused with activated charcoal.
It gets better:
The packaging is also plastic-free. The floss is housed in a glass container with a metal lid. This packaging can be recycled, but there’s an even better option out there: it is reusable!
Eco Roots also carries refill packs so you can easily pop a new floss into the container. This completely eliminates the need for single-use plastic packaging. It is great!
The glass container of floss comes packaged in a recycled cardboard box. It can either be recycled or composted. See? Zero waste flossing made easy!
There also are no preservatives or
colorings added to this floss. Tea Tree and Peppermint oils are added to make
the product antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. It works so great
on my teeth and I’m sure you will love it, too!
You use it just like any other floss.
Wrap it around your fingers and floss it in between your teeth in order to
I hope you think about trying this lovely zero waste floss!
Coming Together to Stop the Plastic
If everyone in this country swapped their plastic toothbrush with a compostable one, we would save50 million pounds of plastic waste from going to landfill annually. That is extremely significant!
Landfill waste has a direct correlation to climate change. Decomposing waste in a landfill creates greenhouse gases since it is not the right environment for matter to break down. These gases are responsible for melting the ice caps, causing extreme weather events, and mass extinctions.
If you care about the future of this planet for generations to come, I urge you to take action. By making conscious decisions about our consumption habits, we all can be stewards of the Earth and make a difference.
A toothbrush may seem like an insignificant, cheap product, but when you really think about it, they are ubiquitous. It is such an easy thing that we can change that can have a large positive impact on fighting waste.
I urge you to try this amazing product
and if you like it, tell others! We need everyone we can get to spread
awareness around these issues. Maybe a sustainable toothbrush is just the start
of the journey.
Next it could be zero waste floss, mouthwash, or toothpaste! Once you have your dental care down, you can move onto shampoo bars.
The list of swaps to make and work to do is endless, but obtainable.
We will move towards a zero waste society by coming together and taking small actions. These actions will domino effect each other and sooner or later, we will all be living sustainably!
So naturally, I thought, what better way to be sure than making my own?
Here’s my take on an easy-to-make and natural homemade dish soap.
Homemade Dish Soap
Note: I made this recipe in bulk, but you can adjust the ingredients as needed. Feel free to make alterations too based on what ingredients you have at home.
6 tbs bar soap, grated
2 tsp of washing soda (See instructions below for making your own washing soda.)
20 drops essential oil (for scent)
4 cups water
Before we get to making the actual dish soap, let’s check off our ingredients list.
First, the grated soap. Most people use castile soap. It’s an olive oil-based soap that’s proven safe for cleaning around the house. It’s available in bulk soap bars and liquid form. The catch is, liquid soaps usually come in plastic containers. Of course, you can always recycle these containers, but when there’s a plastic-free alternative, the choice is easy.
Second, the washing soda. Making your own washing soda is actually surprisingly easy. First, shake out a thick layer of baking soda onto a baking sheet. Set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the soda for one hour and stir several times. Once the mixture has cooled off, put away what you don’t need in a safe container like a lidded glass jar.
I’ll tell you, it’s nice to have a ready-made container of washing soda. I have a glass jar container for different homemade cleaner recipes. I’ve used it to take out stains from dishes and clothes. What can I say, I love multipurpose products–they save me time, money, and effort.
The thing about washing soda is it will give your soap a little more kick. You can also use regular baking soda, but you might need a little more product to tackle the same amount of dirt. And remember, the more washing soda you add, the thicker your soap will be.
Tip: you can purchase washing soda from the store if you want to make the recipe ASAP.
Third, the essential oils. This part is optional, but essential oils are a nice add-in if you want a specific oil either for scent or another purpose. For instance, you could add rosehip oil for extra skin hydration. On the other hand, you can infuse your soap with lavender oil to make a vegan dish soap that’s soothing for your skin and mind.
Now, let’s get on with the magic formula:
Pour water into a pot and heat until hot.
Mix in the grated soap until melted, then take the pot off the stove.
Next, mix in the washing soda and let the mixture sit out until the next morning.
Then stir in the essential oil drops and transfer the mixture into a soap dispenser. Save the rest for refills.
This is a great opportunity to buy a reusable dispenser like a glass jar with a steel pump. (Try a secondhand shop before buying brand-new.)
Cutting out another plastic item? Yes, please!
It’s also helpful to mention that the texture comes out to a thick liquid soap, but if you prefer a more watery mixture, simply add more water. On the more extreme side, if the soap turns into a solid or really thick liquid, add warm water or blend it in a machine if possible.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve turned out some thick batches when I’ve made this recipe. That’s the thing about homemade soaps–they won’t always be perfect because the ingredients aren’t held together by synthetic chemicals to keep it smooth at all times.
It’s a small tradeoff for natural ingredients though, right? One trick I’ve learned is to leave a little room in the dispenser for warm soap so I can just shake up the soap if it gets too thick.
Premade dish soaps you can buy today
Admittedly, DIY dish soaps aren’t for everyone. If you prefer to support green businesses instead, I highly recommend two great products below.
Check out Fillaree’s dish soap, which is made of natural ingredients like coconut oil and a plant-based thickener instead of sulfates. It’s available in citrus and unscented options, but either way, this soap made my hands feel so soft.
Beyond that, the best thing about this company is their refill subscription program.
How does it work? First try out a small 16-ounce glass bottle sample to see if you like it. Then you can join their subscription program online.
Fillaree offers dish soap, body wash, and multipurpose spray. For this instance, you’d choose their Clean Plate Club Dish Soap first. If you’re satisfied, then you order a 32-ounce jug to refill the original bottle every one, two, three, or six months.
Once that refill is done, you send it back, (they pay for shipping and label!), they clean and refill it, and send it back to you. To top it off, their plastic-free packaging is compostable.
Yes, it’s true! I admire their commitment to a green approach as much as I enjoy their vegan dish soap. If you’re concerned about the carbon costs of shipping, you can visit any one of their retailers instead.
I haven’t participated in their mail-in subscription program, but I have gone to some of their retail partners to refill my bottle. I thought it would be messy and awkward, but all the staff are very helpful and most of them personally use the product too.
It’s super simple, and hassle-free. I would say one 16-ounce bottle will probably last the average family a few weeks. This means it’s even more worth it to subscribe if you have a large family.
You don’t have to keep buying soap in disposable plastic bottles anymore. Lastly,you can enjoy spotless dishes without worrying about water pollution or skin irritating chemicals.
I know what you’re thinking, a solid bar dish soap? At first, it sounds like it wouldn’t be very good for washing dishes. I thought the same thing, but this dish soap bar proved me wrong.
The best thing about the No Tox Life washing block is you can use it for other cleaning purposes besides dishes.
It also lasts a long time–mine lasted a couple months. I’ve used it to clean my kitchen countertops and oven range. They recommend that you use warm water for best results, and I’ve found that that’s true. Warm water made it easier for me to rub a cloth onto the bar and make suds.
What’s more, it’s fragrance-free, so it won’t leave you dizzy even if you use it to clean your whole kitchen. It’s also gentle enough to use on clothes for stains. Trust me when I say you’ll prefer using this soap bar on clothes instead of industrial cleaners that dry out your hands and wear out your clothes quicker.
The secret to making this soap bar last even longer is using a soft cloth sponge or something similar. I use a soft plant-based loofah, an wooden dish brush and a scrubber to clean dishes and a cloth sponge for cleaning surfaces.
I’ve heard that rough sponges tend to scrape off too much at once and can waste more soap than you need.
Why would you want to waste your money?
Another step you can take to extend the soap bar’s life is investing in a woodensoap dish that lets water escape. I’m sure you’re familiar with soap dishes that collect water and melt your soap. Not to mention hoard tons of bacteria!
Bottom line is, you can maximize a solid dish soap using the right tools without buying extra strength detergent.
Honestly, it’s strong enough dish soap and for a 7.5-ounce bar, it will go a long way.
Before I started making my own dish soap, these two were my go-tos. They were very effective and to top it off, the companies that supplied them were dedicated to making truly environmentally-friendly products.
A zero waste dish soap reduces water pollution and protects your skin.
Obviously, the biggest flaw with traditional dish soaps is the plastic containers they come in.
What about what they’re made of?
You might already know that mainstream dish soap companies use chemicals to create foamy products.
The only problem?
These chemicals aren’t gentle on your skin. Moreover, they contaminate waterways like rivers and oceans. What’s worse, the polluted waterways poison fish and other organisms.
Once upon a time, companies used phosphates generously. What’s the big deal with phosphates?
Basically, this mineral strengthens traditional dish soaps through various chemical reactions with water. Its main purpose is to eliminate hard minerals from your water source so the rest of the ingredients can do their jobs more efficiently. It’s helpful, but phosphates have big consequences.
Fact: when algae suddenly have too much to eat, they take over bodies of water. Typically, algae aren’t used to having so much food available. And what’s worse? This massive algae growth kills off other organisms like fish and plants.
Luckily, companies have been phasing out phosphates for the past few decades. But other chemicals in common dish soap brands remain problematic. They hurt the natural environment and your body.
Here’s a relevant example. You can find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS in a lot of dish soap ingredient lists. Essentially, it makes soaps foam up. People are split on SLS but fact is, it irritates your skin by stripping away natural oils. This means if you already have sensitive skin, products with SLS can make it worse.
The movie was a brilliant exposé on how the fashion industry is wreaking havoc on earth. Since I awoke to the horrors of the fast fashion, I altered my mentality about shopping. No longer do I feel the need to keep up with the latest trends.
With this change of mind, I am a conscious consumer.
In my quest for sustainable apparel I found Everlane! They are a slow fashion brand that makes my purchase easy and ethical.
I stumbled upon some great finds that I simply must share in my Everlane Jeans Review below.
Fast Fashion Waste
I’ll be the first to admit that fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, and Target were a simple solution for my personal style. They offered a robust inventory of up-to-the-minute items I had to have.
Cheap too—that is how they reel you in. Big brands like these fail at sustainability in so many ways.
A report states the fashion industry is the 1/6th largest contributor to climate change. The factory workers suffer because of a massive increase in the amount of clothes being purchase and quickly tossed.
20% of global watergoes down the drain from clothing manufacturing.
Water is used to make jeans and dye textiles. Pollution is rampant from toxic dyes and the clothing fibers that permeate into the water system.
The amount of water wastedcould service entire populations. In many cases drinking water is diverted from communities to serve factories.
Plants are grown in the agricultural sector to make fabric.
Genetically modified seeds are favored due to high yields and a resistance to pests.
High yields contribute to over farming soil of vital nutrients, leading to unusable land. Pest resistant seed forces something unnatural to grow in our world.
Pests form intolerance to the plants and become super bugs, having a long-term effect on farming.
These plants are then harvested and shipped off to textile manufacturing companies who weave it into clothing fiber, adding synthetic plastic fibers for durability.
Artificial fibers are petroleum-based.
The end game is an article of clothing raping the ecosystem and is near impossible to recycle.
The Human Factor
Aside from the environmental factors, labor is an issue. The bottom line is pressured to make clothing at an alarmingly high rate. This is to feed incessant fashion seasons and new collections.
Major fast fashion chains sell clothing at a low cost to the consumer while expecting high company profits. They often pay mere pennies to the people making clothes. In order to make this business model work, fast fashion brands outsource to third world countries.
Buildings are unsuitable, hours are long, and pay is low. The practice is just shy of being slave labor.
My Everlane Jeans Review
Empowerment comes from having a personal style that is eco-friendly.
No more guilt, just appreciation for everything I own.
I delight in finding closet staples that tell a story before they reach my hands. Better than having blood on my hands. I like to follow a couple self-guidelines.
I ask myself these three questions when shopping:
Is it sustainable and ethical? Who made it? How long will it last?
Their mission is simple: ethical clothing, made from premium materials, and radical transparency.
What does this mean?
Customers can rest at night knowing their fashion choices are made in vetted factories. Each item in their store lists a factory of origin.
The clothing is meant to last, decades in fact. They want to curb customers from fast fashion. Each item comes with a cost/profit breakdown for shoppers.
Ethical factories really get all the shine at Everlane.
They perform stringent audits and require factories to score 90+ to be part of the family. Accountability is the main priority.
The brand is sure that each factory provides fair wages, reasonable hours, and good working conditions. These are basic labor rights the U.S. passed dating back to the 1930’s. Why wouldn’t we expect the same rights for the people who make our clothes?
Since this is an Everlane jeans review, I wanted to dig up some dirt on the production line.
The bad news, no dirt, the great news, this brand has some amazing partnerships.
I was able to go directly to the denim source.
Their jeans are made at Saitex International in Bien Ho Vietnam. This factory is leading the way for sustainable apparel manufacturing.
How they reduce, reuse, and recycle water during their entire process is revolutionary.
By collecting rainwater they are able to get water with limited impact on neighboring waterways. The machines they use to wash the jeans are atypical in the industry. It is normal to see “Belly” machines in the denim industry that waste 1500 liters per pair of jeans.
Saitex machines are a closed water system where only .4 liters of water are lost.
After use, they filter out jean fiber sludge and any other pollutants. The clean water is sent back into the community. The jean sludge is given to a nearby brick company used to construct homes. This is just one example of the Everlane sponsored factories.
If you want to learn about each factory in their registrar go here.
There is more
Everlane is people-centric. Here is why I made this Everlane Jeans Review.
The models are all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, etc.
Currently, they are working towards greater web accessibility. They want to ensure that all people can search and find their products. By 2020 the site will be available to those with disabilities, so everyone can join the fashion party.
Much much more
Everlane is encouraging slow fashion and high morale. Black Friday is a day that fast fashion brands thrive on. On one side of the spectrum slow fashion companies are banning Black Friday sales, opting for a closed store. Everlane decided there is a lot of money to be made here.
Why not put it to good use?
They donate ALL profits from Black Friday directly to factory workers. They initiated the Black Friday Fund to improve the lives of the people that make this company so great.
I was in need of something thicker than jeans. Rocky mountain winters can freeze a girl. So when the weatherman calls for bone chilling winds, I shimmy these on.
They are high-rise and cropped. I feel like I popped out of a movie with Audrey Hepburn. I like to pair them with flats, or tennis, and a sweater for a casual look. Or I can dress them up with ankle boots and a button up top. They are so soft in feel and color.
Oh my! The neutral white allows me to mix and match light or rich hues. The coolest feature, their transparent pricing.
These corduroys cost $25 to make. Customer pricing is set at $78.
I feel satisfied knowing that the people making the pants aren’t getting a raw deal.
Be aware they are a slim fit, but my booty looks so good.
For $68 these jeans contour my lumps and bumps. I feel glorious in white. I break the rules and wear them year round. I bring these jeans with me when I travel because they are so versatile.
They can be dressed up or down. A little game I like to play with myself (and I always win) is transitioning these jeans from coffee to cocktails. With quick changes during the day, I create stress-free outfits.
The denim has a quality thickness to it. I am so excited to have these in my closet for the years to come.
This brings me to my third purchase. I went out on a whim and bought a style I do not normally go for. Wide leg crop pants.
I was worried they would be unflattering. Not at all the case. The pants are just the right touch for meetings.
They give off an effortless yet sophisticated vibe in the office. I glide through the day, something that is needed for stressful deadlines. These pants remind me to let loose, and go with the flow. Every girl has a little sailor in her.
Everlane for life
They set the bar when it comes to ethical factories.
They are a slow fashion brand focused on clothing meant to last. Their radical transparency method tells their truth.
Vapour Organic Beauty – my full review on this brand!
Have you ever thought about the sustainability of your beauty regime?
Ever looked at the powder you are ready to dust on your face and asked, “What is this?” If you have great! If not, don’t be down about it. Ideally, cosmetics should not have to be something we question.
However the beauty industry has some really nasty habits beneath the glam. Fortunately there are many clean beauty companies coming into view.
Vapour Organic Beauty is the one I am buzzing about. They turned my world green, with an all-natural, organic beauty line. The products are top notch.
120 billion—with a B—units of packaging are created in the cosmetic industry each year.
A third of the plastic in the landfill is credited to the beauty industry!
Why? Package design holds one clue. Intriguing branding has a role in cosmetic sales.
Consumers often make purchases based on the outside vs. the inside.
Not to mention, mechanics are a factor. Many products are portioned into tiny devices.
Single-use plastics or mixed component containers are usually the go-to.
A large majority, are not recycled.
There is plastic in products as well, micro beads and glitter dominate the beauty industry. Often these tiny pieces infiltrate our water systems and sadly the ocean.
Thankfully legislation to ban their use is gaining speed.
Read here to know more about plastic waste in the beauty industry.
The Big Blue
There is a problem of water. Water is the number one ingredient in products.
After World War II, products were designed to be drain friendly. Water is used throughout the entire process of production from harnessing ingredients to texture purposes.
The demand for water could soon outweigh the supply.
This is especially true in drought prone nations where many ingredients are sourced.
In case you are not aware, the beauty industry likes to scent products artificially. Perfume ingredients are highly toxic and have been known to be the underlying cause for a variety of diseases.
It is nice to smell good, but do not kill yourself for it. Scented products pollute our air with toxic VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).
A recent study discovered chemicals used for fragrance, are just as detrimental to air quality as car emissions.
Beauty products are used on our bodies, absorbed into our system. It is startling to know that some of the most popular ingredients are toxic. To name a few: phthalates, lead, parabens, peg compounds, butylated compounds, carbon black, siloxanes, etc.
Do you know what they do?
These ingredients take no issue in penetrating your skin and wreaking havoc. Many mess with hormones, cause allergies and affect organ development.
I go out the door with this one. In the event that I wake up late, with no time to put my face on, this foundation is a life-saver.
It makes my skin feel soft, like a babies bum.
Probably because of the array of oils: Desert Date, Macadamia, Sweet Almond, and Jojoba. I swear it is not oily!
Some magic happens during application because it is a matte finish. A little goes a long way.
My beauty regime requires some layering and Velvet Glow is buildable without feeling cakey. The line has inclusive skin tones for all beauties. The website has high quality pictures, to find the right match.
The mineral pigments highlight my natural undertones. I never feel like I am wearing a mask, it is all me.
This stick makes me shine so bright. Conditioning with avocado and jojoba oils. Orange peel wax makes it last all day.
Which is good because I like to highlight like I am fresh out of a moon bath. I bet that is why they named it Moonlight. It is a nice light gold with the perfect iridescence that says, “pardon me, forest tree nymph dancing through.” Best part, NO GLITTER!
It is startling to think there are so many artificial colors in lipstick. Once I realized everything I was putting on my mouth, I started to think less of myself.
Those intense pigments can be addicting, but I refuse to put my health at risk for lip shade. For my vogue statements during the week, I decided to give these eco-friendly lipsticks a try. Blaze is the perfect desert red.
A poppy color, with a matte finish. It conveys all the punch with no added muck.
Beauty that makes you truly feel good
The beauty industry is part of the environmental crises. They are at a crossroads and a drastic change is needed.
Awareness and integration of better living practices have a grand effect on the current state of affairs.
Kristine Keheleyfrom Vapour put it wonderfully “…if each of us finds our own small way to contribute to making the world a little cleaner and more conscious, then all of those small acts move the needle and the world is made better.”
With Vapour Organic BeautyI know that what I am using is made from the earth. When I wash it off, it is going back without any injury.
If you do not have a bulk store in your neighborhood or perhaps are just really busy and do not have time to go food shopping, consider trying a bulk online store! It is very easy and convenient to do.
Luckily, I have tried three different online bulk stores and I am excited to share my experiences from each of them.
Although these 3 stores do pretty much all of the same thing, they all have their differences.
I will be sharing the pros and cons of each of them.
Let’s get into it:
My Guide to Bulk Food
One disclaimer before we begin is that none of these stores focus on plastic-free packaging.
Although bulk buying is more eco-friendly, these brands make the economic advantage more of their marketing pitch, rather than the environmental benefits.
Although there was plastic packaging in all of the orders I received, I do think these companies are on the right track when it comes to online bulk shopping.
We all have to start somewhere and there will always be room for improvement.
Okay, now really, let’s get into it:
1. Azure Market
Okay, I would have to say that Azure Market probably is my favorite from this list, but don’t completely disregard the others! Again, they all have their differences.
Here’s why I love Azure Market:
Their success story really begins in 1971 when
their family decided to stop using chemical fertilizers on their farm. In the 1950s, it became the norm
to use these toxic chemicals, but it eventually led to soil degradation, so
this family decided to quit “cold turkey.”
They decided to change their ways in order to be better to the planet and get this:
Their food became healthier and more nutritious by doing so. It was a win-win situation! Today, they are carrying on that tradition by providing people with organic, non-GMO, delicious, and healthy food.
Their tagline is “Standard of Healthy and Abundant Living” and boy! That’s the truth.
Here’s what they offer:
The list seems endless, but I’ll share the top categories with you.
That’s not even the whole list! In addition to food products, Azure Market offers household products, nutritional supplements, and gardening supplies. It’s really your one-stop-shop to healthy, organiconline bulk shopping!
I personally find their website extremely easy to navigate. They show all the different categories and it’s all laid out pretty intuitively.
You can spend hours shopping on here because they really have everything you would ever need and more.
As far as getting your goods, there are two different options:
The first would be to find your local “Drop.” Drops are locations throughout the United States where they regularly deliver. Think of them as local hubs that receive your goods. They include churches, parking lots, fields, or malls.
They basically are a centralized location to get your products. Drops are unfortunately located everywhere in the United States except the northeast because of the far distance from their Oregon headquarters, but don’t worry:
Luckily, as long as you don’t live too remotely, you can ship products directly to your house via UPS or USPS. That’s what I did!I ordered some dry roasted peanuts from Azure Market via USPS shipping.
Here’s how it went:
I loved how easy it was to buy these peanuts and they tasted great, however, I was not that excited that they came in plastic. I would have loved in they came in a paper bag or some other material that could either be recycled, composted, or reused.
Mostly every product on their site comes in size variations.
For examples, the options for peanuts are 2LB, 5LB, and 30LB. I like this because it allows you to try the product before committing to the bulk size. It also allows you to get the amount that is best suited for your needs.
Although I wish the packaging was a bit more sustainable, I understand that plastic is unfortunately the standard for packaging in the food industry, and I do not blame them for this.
If you read over Azure Market’s core values, you would understand that they are dedicated to clean, healthy, and sustainable living.
Inspiring healthy & abundant living, quality service, building relationships, embracing change, pursuing learning & innovations, support family-owned ventures, keep it sustainable, promote healthy food from healthy soil, exemplify transparency, create joy, and do more with less.
Think about it:
By reading those, I get the sense that if there was a better solution for packaging, they definitely would be open to trying it.
Hopefully, they will move towards that in the future.
All in all, I really enjoyed my experience online bulk shopping from Azure Market and I hope you try it out, too!
Bulkfoods is less of a health food store and more of a general distributer of bulk food items. Not everything on their website is committed to being non-GMO or organic.
They do not even have any information about their values, mission, or goals.
Bulkfoods does not offer as many products as Azure Markets.
They sellnuts, dried fruits, snacks, baking products, beans, cereals, grains, seeds, spices, and candy. You will not find on their website any fresh produce, dairy, or meats.
Azure Markets is best for dried, non-perishable goods.
I do enjoy that again, there are choices in quantity. You can order 1LB of something or 50LB of it. I really like this because it allows you to buy bulk food online in whatever quantity makes the most sense for you.
At first glance, I would say that their website is underwhelming. It seems to be outdated and the categories of products is not that clear.
The site looks like it has not been updated since the 90s.
There also is a lack of information. There is no pages for FAQ’s, general information about the company, or shipping information. Hmmmm….
I was a little hesitant to order from this website because it sort of seemed a little sketchy, but I tried it anyway.
The service was good and the prices are hard to beat. They came quick and tasted great.
Plastic packaging! It really seems unavoidable with online bulk shopping, which really stinks if you care about minimizing waste, like me. It sort of seems counterintuitive to order bulk food online to try to be more sustainable, and then receive it wrapped in plastic.
After trying to search the internet for some more information about this company, I came across some negative reviews.
Some people complained about receiving stale product and others said that many of their products come from countries that use toxic chemicals in production.
I also came across many great reviews. Some people said that they have been buying from this shop for over a decade and that they always get amazing quality, prices, and customer service.
It seems like there is a bit of mystery around bulkfoods.com, but hey! Maybe that’s part of the experience.
I would recommend this storeif you are looking for cheap, dried bulk foods, but I also do not fully trust this brand and feel left in the dark when it comes to the quality of their product.
I also have read that they sometimes make shipping mistakes and are bad at issuing refunds.
It’s quite strange how cryptic this company appears to be. When searching online for bulk food stores, it was one of the first to come up, but I guess it may be due to their generic and relevant domain name.
Here are my concluding thoughts:
This is a great lesson of “you get what you pay for.”
Cheap foods usually equate to cheap quality and that is sort of how I feel about this company.
Even though I enjoyed my oats, I probably will not order from them again.
3. Kauffman’s Fruit Farms
Kauffman’s Fruit Farms is a family-owned farm and orchard located in rural Pennsylvania. They planted their first apple tree in 1911 and have been serving their community high-quality food ever since.
This business was built on three principles:be fair, be kind, and be visionary.
This vision has carried on in the family for generations. It’s still run by the same family over 100 years later! I think that’s pretty impressive.
They have a local farm market where they sell home-grown fruits, but there’s good news if you are not local:
You can bulk shop with them online!
They sell their jams, ciders, and fruits online, but those are mostly in smaller quantities.
Their bulk section includes beans, rice, cereal, granola, chocolate, baking ingredients, flour, grains, soup mixes, nuts, seeds, and pasta.
It gets even better:
This company is extremely transparent. Right on their site, they explain how they source all of their bulk foods from local companies and they name their top distributors.
Here’s the breakdown:
Kauffman’s might not have as large of a selection as Azure Market, but they definitely are a lot more honest and straightforwardthan bulkfoods.com.I also ordered oats from this site.
Overall, it was really easy to order. Their site is intuitive and simple. My oats shipped via USPS and only took a few days. They also are organic!
You guessed it:
My only problem with purchasing these oats was that they were packaged in plastic. It is a common occurrence with bulk food online.
Unfortunately, it seems nearly unavoidable. Ugh!
Where does a girl got to go for some zero waste online food stores?
One other interesting thing about receiving the package was that it included the Gospel according to John in the box. I guess the company is religious.
It didn’t really affect my opinion on them, but I figured it would be worth mentioning.
All in all, I enjoyed this little online bulk food shopping experiment. It just made me realize how it’s an area of the zero waste world that totally needs improving upon. There literally is not currently such a thing as waste-free online bulk grocery shopping.
It’s always best to shop local if you can. If you have a local bulk store or farm market, that most definitely is your best option.
Here’s the deal:
Shopping local stimulates the local economy and also is more eco-friendly because there is less greenhouse gases being emitted from transportation. However, some people simply can not bulk shop locally because it is not accessible to them.
If you do not have a bulk store near you, consider one of the shops I mentioned today, but recognize that the systems are not perfect. There still is waste being created and a footprint being created due to transportation.
Here’s a thought:
We need to dismantle this “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to zero waste. Sure, we should always be thinking of ways we can improve or better ourselves, but we also need to give ourselves and others credit for any small efforts being done.
Bulk shopping is great. I hope it becomes more accessible to people and I also hope that there is more innovation in the future regarding shopping bulk online.
One day, I think that zero waste bulk shopping can become a norm for society.
Until then, we just have to make due with what we have, what we are capable of doing, and what works best with our current lifestyle.
I hope you consider trying bulk shopping if you have not already!
Zero waste grocery shopping – thesustainable way of buying food.
We’ve all done it.
We’ve bought packaged fruit and vegetables because it’s convenient.
We go for plastic bags because we forgot to bring one of the twenty reusable tote bags we’ve got at home.
Is this sounding familiar?
Here’s another one. We’ve driven ten extra
minutes to the store across town that sells our favorite chocolate chip
cookies. Alright, I’ll stop here.
I know the scenarios above make you feel a
little guilty. But trust me when I say you
are not alone.
When it comes to grocery shopping, it’s easy to choose convenience over eco-friendly. This is exactly why we’re experiencing so many environmental problems today.
Reality is, most of us don’t think about the consequences of our actions. Especially not the negative environmental consequences.
But you know what?
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be you!
It’s never too late to change. If you want to be more environmentally-friendly, why not start with something you do every week?
Start with grocery shopping. That’s why you’re here, right?
In this list, I’ll let you in on 7 easy steps to achieve zero waste grocery shopping.
The unofficial first step is deciding you want to be better and if you’re reading this, then you’re already ahead.
Are you ready to take on the green challenge?
Then listen up!Let’s start simple.
1.Avoid packaging when you can!
Fortunately, a lot of grocery stores are ditching plastic to be more eco-friendly. I always say less is more. Especially when it comes to plastic packaging and plastic-covered products.
Now, our goal is to buy zero plastic packaging, but remember: it’s a learning process.
Any progress is still progress.
So let’s get back to the first step.
Say no to plastic-wrapped fruits and veggies. Pay attention to any packaged food you buy. Seek alternatives when you can.
Ask yourself these questions every time you’re at the store.
Is the packaging recyclable or compostable? Is it biodegradable?
Can you somehow repurposethe packaging when you’re done with it?
Be honest. Can you live without this plastic packaged product? If so, then say no! You have a choice.
Make a conscious effort tobuy less plasticevery single time you shop. Every. Single. Time.
until you don’t even have to think about it anymore.
I admit, single-use plastics like water bottles, chip
bags, and foam containers make life easier for a lot of people. We use the item
one time and then throw it away. No need to wash it or store it in the house.
But there’s a not-so-small catch.
All this plastic either ends up polluting waterways, getting incinerated, or filling up landfills. You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but sadly, it’s true.
And I don’t believe
convenience justifies any of these problems.
Yes, we need
single-use plastics in certain situations. For instance, we need things like
syringes, bandages, and gloves for sanitary reasons. But that’s a whole another
The moral of the story is that single-use plastics harm the environment.
So what can we do about it? Well, bear with me through these next six steps and find out how you can make a huge difference.
Let’s recap. You’ve said no to packaging. You’re buying loose products. You’re checking if the containers are recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.
2. Buy in bulk!
This will make you think about what you really need and save you money. Think about it this way: you’re paying less per unit price when you buy in bulk.
Let me show you how easy it is.
When buying something in large quantities like beans or noodles, bring your own container and jot down the price look-up code (PLU). This is the string of numbers you see under the item label on the shelf. It’s usually under or on top of the barcode.
Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems.
When you’re at the
register, give the cashier the PLU code so they can weigh your item(s) and
charge you accordingly. It’s that easy!
Well, I point out to
the cashier how much the bag weighs so I don’t pay extra at check-out. Another
cool thing about these is that I can keep my produce separate instead of
stuffing everything into a tote bag. No more crushed tomatoes!
produce bags, not plastic bags, are
the definition of convenience! Seriously.
Need a bag for fruits and veggies? Check. Need something to hold your knick knacks from the flea market? Check. Need a compact laundry bag? Check. This bag is so versatile, I can’t recommend it enough.
And guess what?
This way, I’m not forced to buy plastic or paper bags when I’m out.
The bags are extremely durable, but if they do break down from wear and tear, they are biodegradable. Bonus!
So we’ve got the produce bags and the reusable bag.
At first it might seem strange, but remember: you’re making a lifestyle change towards zero waste grocery shopping.
Keep your end goal in mind!
Bottom line: you just need to get in the habit of making conscious decisions. Keep doing it until it’s second nature. Most people promise to make changes but don’t stick with their resolutions. Then they end up going back to their old habits.
The secret to breaking these habits? Sometimes
all you need to do is make one change
and the rest will follow.
For example, if you’re buying in bulk, then it’s easier to remember to bring your own containers, and vice versa. What I mean is, bringing your own containers means you’ll be able to buy in bulk without using plastic bags at the store. Everything is ready for you.
But one thing’s for
sure. If you’re not planning out what to buy at the store, then none of these
steps will make a difference.
So stick with me here. I have another secret for you.
5. Before you go to the store, make a shopping list!
It doesn’t have to be old-school on a legal yellow pad, just use the Notes app on your phone. Trust me on this.
Go in with a plan and you won’t come out with unnecessary stuff. Even I’ve bought things because they were on sale or they tasted good in the samples they handed out.
You’re at the store and all of a sudden, you have a gallon of dairy-free almond ice cream and five pounds of spinach pasta in your cart.
The point of the story?
When you have a shopping list, you are more likely to save money.
When you write down
only what you need, you’re saving money
and wasting less to none.
Well, waste doesn’t just mean the actual food, but everything involved in the food industry. This includes everything from production to transportation and disposal.In a nutshell, that’s fossil fuels, human labor, and other resources wasted.
Now this is a huge problem. This waste also includes restaurant and store wastes, but it is still a huge issue.
Imagine for a moment if we all put in more effort to reduce food waste. It would be an enormous first step in tackling environmental problems.
You can help change this. It’s as simple as buying only what you need. No, really.
It is that simple.
A lot of these lifestyle changes are attainable by most people. We just need to be more aware of our actions.
This next step will prove my point.
One big thing that most people overlook is how far they drive to the store.
6. My advice is to drive to and shop at the closest grocery store.
You’re probably asking yourself, what does driving to the store have to do with zero waste grocery shopping?
Let me tell you.
Even if you bring your own bags and containers, you’re still using gas if you’re driving too far to the store. The simple truth is, most people don’t think about this part of grocery shopping. And we should.
Before we go any further, remember when I said make a shopping list before you go to the store? Making a shopping list also means you don’t forget anything and have to drive back to buy it. That’s a lot of driving you can avoid.
Let me remind you of another step that will come in handy now. This is the part where buying in bulkmakes a difference.
Buying in bulk means you’re cutting down on gas with fewer trips to the store.
Luckily, there’s one thing you can try to avoid driving too far. At least when it’s the right season.
7. Shop at your local farmers’ market.
Believe it or not, they have affordable and healthy options. Furthermore, you’re supporting local farming families at the same time.
When you see familiar faces every time you buy produce, you’re building a community. You know where your money is going and who you’re supporting.
It gets better. When you shop at these markets, it means your food didn’t come all the way from another state or country.
Why does this matter? You’re supporting using lessgas for food transportation.
Your fruits and vegetables don’t come from huge trucks that are driven from thousands of miles away. They don’t come from cargo ships or planes that use up massive amounts of fuel. Which means? Less waste!
Another cool thing is that farmers’ markets usually don’t package their products. Ever. By contrast, traditional grocery stores package produce so they’re not damaged during transport. But local farmers’ markets don’t have that problem.
Let me tell you why. They use their own vehicles, (not huge trucks) and they transport way less produce. In turn, they don’t have to worry as much about damage during transport.
Unless it’s honey, eggs, or sauces that need to be in a container, almost everything is sold loose. Amazing, right?
So whip out your produce bags and shop guilt-free!
Personally, I enjoy farmers’ markets because the produce and products are always fresh. They sell fruits and vegetables that are in season.
To top it off, there are organic options that don’t break the bank.
I know in the winter,
there aren’t too many produce choices, but come spring and summer, the farmers’
market is the way to go.
It’s your money, so why not spend it on some eco-conscious products?
Well, this is the point where I wish you luck in your environmentally-friendly journey.
I hope you’ve learned a thing or two and I hope that you’re inspired to take on this zero waste grocery shopping journey.
So go ahead. Start with one step and see just how easy it is to grocery shop with zero waste. Here’s to a new, better, greener you!