Sustainable on the Inside & Out

It is finally July, which means it’s time for Plastic Free July! Do you want to avoid landfill waste, reduce your eco-footprint, protect the ocean and reduce toxin exposure to the environment and yourself? I sure do! There are many tips for reducing the amount of plastic you use, and I hope that this post helps you as well! I purchase most of my lovely sustainable and safe cosmetics and personal care products from Green Tree Beauty! Most of the items I have pictured here are all made sustainably, packaged in safe alternatives and contain natural ingredients that are not toxic, all found at Green Tree Beauty.
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The present consumer lifestyle, fast paced and highly consumptive, seems to have finally caught up with us. Plastic, single-use items and packaging has found its way into every store, every home and now every part of the planet. Plastic is created by using non-renewable products, plasticizers, additives and chemicals. Many of the ingredients in plastic leach out into the product the plastic is containing, which leads to a dangerous toxic effect when we apply the product on to our bodies. Some of the toxins that are within plastic are endocrine disruptors, which negatively impact the health of animals and humans. Animals are prone to eating plastic litter, as it resembles their food. Each year, studies have shown that millions of animals die due to their direct or indirect consumption of plastic. Plastic does not only harm ecosystems and animals, it directly impacts humans as well. If we consume anything that was contained in plastic or apply anything on our skin that was contained in plastic, our risks of toxin absorption increase. Recycling plastic is not a solution to this problem, as most plastics cannot be or won’t be effectively recycled in the first place. The best route for success is to reduce the amount of plastic and unnecessary packaging we purchase and use and discontinue purchasing products that involve plastic. As consumers, we have the biggest impact on the earth. We have the power to change the world for the better, and that is an inspiring thought.

A current statistic is that people, more commonly women, put on an average of 515 synthetic chemicals on to their bodies every single day. These chemicals absorb into our skin, especially if there are additional chemicals in the product that increase the absorption rate. Scientific studies show that these synthetic ingredients found in every-day products can be linked to neurotoxicity, reproductive harm in both men and women and chronic diseases. The reason companies are allowed to create such products with devastating ingredients is because the ingredients are rarely tested or regulated before they are allowed to be sold to the public & the consumer drives the demand. Most of the general public is simply not aware or chooses not to care about this information. I hope that after reading this you are both enlightened and inspired to avoid unnecessary packaging and toxins when it comes to cosmetics and personal care items.
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First things First, the Packaging

What are most of your cosmetics and lotions packaged in? A popular answer is always plastic. Hard plastics, soft plastics, there are actually thousands of different plastics and each plastic has its own composition and characteristics. Plastics are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic as they serve to concentrate and transfer even more toxic chemicals, which end up in the marine food web and ultimately in the human diet (Engler 2012). Various household products including pesticides, cleaning agents, personal care products and plastic, are all listed as toxins in the home (Gilbert 2012). In fact, modern living has introduced more than 17,000 chemicals in the home (Gilbert 2012). Some of these items are acutely toxic and will have an immediate negative impact to your health, however constant contact with plastic results in chronic exposure, leading to chronic effects. Chronic exposures can occur through repeated use of a product. The reason plastic is toxic is because many of the chemicals that make up plastic are endocrine disruptors.

The endocrine system is the body’s communication system, using hormones to communicate instructions to the organs or muscles. Hormones are incredibly important as they regulate and influence almost all functions of life. Endocrine disruptors mimic estrogen, cause decreased fertility, cause changes in brain function and behavior and can impair immune systems. They can cause thyroid dysfunction, endometriosis and cancer. They negatively impact hormone levels, sexual characteristics, reproduction and development in humans and animals. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can interact with the endocrine system at very low levels of exposure (Gilbert 2012). The permanent changes that toxins from plastics are able to do to the body result in adverse health effects and persist continually, as these dioxins bioaccumulate. This means that the dioxins & toxins are able to accumulate in our bodies and be passed down onto the next generation. Over time, the amount of these toxins continually increases if exposure is continued.

The only way to reduce our exposure to these toxins is to choose less-toxic products. Every single day, we are unavoidably exposed to a wide range of synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals – why expose ourselves to even more by using plastic-packaged cosmetics or products full of toxic ingredients? Most sustainable companies are aware of how devastating plastic is to both the environment and to animal and human health, so they have safer packaging options. These options usually include stainless steel, glass and paper products. These products are ideal because they can usually be reused, can be more efficiently recycled and ultimately if they are not recycled, they will not leach nearly as many or any toxins at all into the environment. There are also ways to skip packaging altogether. Replace your regular shampoo and conditioner with bar options and store them in a tin. Replace your hand wash, body wash and face wash with specifically formulated bars of soap as well. Most of these options (should) be package free or nearly package free!
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Within the Packaging

Ah yes, what you usually buy the item for in the first place, the actual product itself. The lotion, the cream, the eyeshadow, the foundation, the list of options goes on and on. The claims that the product promises to deliver may be enticing, but what are those ingredients actually doing to your skin? If you repeatedly expose your skin to synthetic chemicals, the toxins accumulate in your body and can lead to dermatitis, eczema, irritated skin, allergies, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalances and/or infertility. I have switched to a mindset of “If I cannot eat it, it should not go on my skin.” My eyes were opened to how many toxins are in personal care products when I got the app Think Dirty. I highly recommend this app, it allows you to scan your products and it breaks down every single ingredient for you in an easy to read format. They rate your product from dirty to clean. My favourite part is that they also have an “our picks” section that they recommend similar products to which you have scanned and that are very safe to use.

We are faced with a very complex problem, however the message is clear. As consumers, we need to stop buying our products if they are packaged in plastic or in other single-use alternatives. As consumers, if we start to demand more sustainable and long-lived products, companies and industries will be forced to start providing what the consumer wants so that the companies remain successful. Also, investing in products with reusable packaging will help to save the consumer money in the long run as these (glass or steel) containers can be washed and reused without any toxic substances leaching out of them. These containers make great storage options for a multitude of things, even your own DIY cosmetics and personal care products that can be made from ingredients found in your kitchen! It is crucial that as a consumer we remain conscious about purchasing plastic items and our purchasing habits can result in a decrease in the amount of plastic and single-use packaging altogether.
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– Tiara


REFERENCES

Engler, Richard. 2012. The complex interaction between marine debris and toxic chemicals in the ocean. United States: Environmental Science and Technology.

Gilbert, Steven. 2012. A small dose of toxicology: the health effects of common chemicals. United States: Healthy World Press.

Sustainable Skincare Updates

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Hello everyone! In this update on my favourite sustainable skincare products, I am adding in some amazing products that I have added to my collection and that I hope you consider adding to yours (previous favourites can be found herehere & here)! These products are created, formulated and packaged with the environment in mind, and in case you forgot, we ourselves are a part of the environment as well. What we do to the environment, we do to ourselves.

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Living Libations Seabuckthorn • Best Skin Ever Oil 

I use this product either as a facial oil or after washing and steaming my face, I will apply this product and use it as a deep cleansing oil. This oil makes my skin glow, packed with goodies such as seabuckthorn, lavender & grapefruit, this is the perfect pick-me-up for your skin!

Living Libations Frankincense Honey Mask 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Handmade in Canada
  • Animal Friendly
  • Packaged in sustainable packaging that is reusable

This is a lovely facial mask that I will put on my face & neck for up to 20 minutes. This mask calms my skin down and evens my complexion – leaving my skin glowing and soft! I massage it off with a hot, wet face cloth and then apply lotion or facial oil.
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Elate Cosmetics Twinkle Loose Eye Colour 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Packaged in a reusable glass jar (that can be returned to a retailer so the company can reuse it)!
  • Clean & cruelty-free
  • Made in Canada

This loose powder can easily be applied to the eyelid (or anywhere else) with a brush or finger tip. I have the shade Fairy and it is a peachy-coloured shimmer that sparkles so beautifully. You can put on one layer, or build the product up to create a higher intensity. A lot of eyeshadows bother my sensitive eyes, however this eyeshadow does not give me any issues!

Elate Cosmetics Brow Balm 

Elate’s Brow Balm is the world’s first sustainable, vegan non-toxic and cruelty-free brow product!!! I apply this product with an angled brush and comb over it with a clear gel and my eyebrows look amazing all day long! I have the shade Raven.

Elate Cosmetics Illuminator Pressed Powder • Dew

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Packaged in seed paper and fits in the reusable bamboo palettes
  • Clean, vegan & cruelty-free ingredients

Oh.My.God. This product is a MUST BUY!!! I am obsessed with this dewy highlighter and I get so many compliments on my skin because I use it. I apply it last and set it with a setting spray and it lasts all day and makes me look like I have the most healthy, glowing and bright complexion all while maintaining a rather natural look unlike most highlighters. I have never loved a product as much as I love this product.

Pacifica Pink Nudes Mineral Eyeshadows 

  • Purchased from Pacifica (sometimes found at Dad’s Organic Market)
  • Eyeshadows are coconut-infused
  • 100% vegan & cruelty-free
  • packaging is cardboard & can be recycled

These eyeshadows are so soft and blend nicely. I always use an eyeshadow primer and they stay all day. I love this palette because it has colours for a very natural look and for a more dramatic look.

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Sweet Pure Honey Gift Box 

  • Received as a gift from my wonderful cousin
  • Made in Canada
  • All products are fresh, fair trade & organic

These products came packaged in a reusable wooden box and are handmade with ingredients like coconut oil and beeswax. The solid perfume scents are to die for – so relaxing and delicious-smelling. I swear by the lip and salve products for my skin in the winter. The only issue is some of these products themselves are not packaged sustainably as they are in plastic – I hope this company grows and is able to switch over to tin containers for all their products!

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Ash & Thorn Sh!t for Menstrual Pain & Flow Regulation

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Packaged in a reusable tin
  • Only uses medicinal plants that were personally grown, ethically wild harvested or purchased from small organic farms
  • 100% handmade products

So, in my struggle with Endometriosis, I have been trying to find ways of coping with the disease without so many synthetics or chemicals. I came across this product, which contains natural ingredients which have been known to restore normal period cycles, suppress spasms, reduce muscular tension and cramping & relieve depression. This product can also be used for IBS, fibromyalgia and anxiety – all of which are usually parts of Endometriosis as well. I use this at night and I rub it into my scars that resulted from my Endometriosis surgery.

Pacifica French Lilac Spray Perfume 

  • Purchased from Pacifica (can be found at Dad’s Organic Market)
  • 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free
  • Formulated without SLS, sulfates, parabens and petroleum
  • Proprietary perfume blends with natural and essential oils, and natural plant based alcohol

I think my two favourite scents in the whole world are lavender and lilac. When I smelt this perfume, I could not believe how similar smells like the actual flower. I have gone through 5 bottles of this dreamy liquid.

Saje Essential Oil Roll-Ons

  • Purchased from Saje 
  • Roll-ons are made with no animal testing, no synthetics, are plant based and 100% natural & travel friendly
  • Each roll-on is mixed with the carrier oil grapeseed oil so direct application to your skin is safe

I have about 10 different roll-ons from Saje, all I highly recommend. These little guys are my saviours that help me through each day. Could not be happier that I found these products!

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So, that concludes my updates! I hope that you check out these products and love them as much as I do! Also hope you loved my collection of cotton and silk vintage scarves and handkerchiefs!

– Tiara

Natural Makeup Products

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Why not replace products that you use every day with products that are not only safe, but also have multiple benefits for your skin? These natural makeup products are formulated without the usual chemicals and toxins that are found in most makeup. Instead these natural products are packed full of ingredients that work together to nourish and protect your skin. Here are a few of my favourite natural products – which I love to store in my cute makeup bag from True Leaf Collection.
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Powders

Pacifica Eyeshadow Palette 

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market or here
  • Infused with coconut water
  • Long-wearing
  • Gluten & Cruelty-free

This eyeshadow is velvety-soft and creamy. With a primer the shadows remain pigmented and beautiful all day long. The “Skinny Dip” shadow is my favourite as I use it in the corners of my eyes and as a highlight on my cheekbones.

Sweet Leilani Cosmetics Eyeshadow 

This eyeshadow is even more pigmented than the palette mentioned above. This shadow is shimmery, soft and goes on like a dream. This eyeshadow is infused with green tea, grape seed oil and rose hip oil. I really like that this product has minimal plastic and a focus is made on more eco-friendly packaging.

Elate Clean Cosmetics Powders

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made with all natural mineral pigments
  • Made in Canada
  • Products are packaged in seed paper
  • Elate provides a reusable bamboo powder compact which helps to eliminate waste

The pressed powder blush is so pigmented that I only need a quick tap of my brush on  the powder to get enough colour on my cheeks. I know this compact will last me a very long time. I use a darker shade in the pressed powder foundation as a bronzer for contouring. I really love how these products are packaged in seed paper – I put the product packaging in soil and now I have a little herb garden growing!

Sweet Leilani Cosmetics Mineral Powder

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Paraben, gluten, cruelty and fragrance-free
  • 100% vegan
  • Contains anti-inflammatory and calming properties

I have the Hawaiian Highlight Mineral Powder in “sky” and I use this as a foundation. It is very lightweight, however it has great coverage. I have been through 8 different natural powder foundations and this is the only one that plays nice with my oily t-zone and dry cheeks. This product has reflective minerals and looks incredible on and off camera (it is the product I am wearing on my skin in my previous 3 blog posts). This product is amazing for people with sensitive skin and it has never made me break out.

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Lipsticks

Axiology Natural Lipsticks 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Made with organic ingredients
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Sustainably made packaging

I have the shades “The Goodness” and “Infinite”. These are unique shades with a bit of shimmer & they go on very smooth. They definitely need reapplication throughout the day – however I would rather reapply a product that I know I can safely eat, rather than slather toxins and chemicals on my lips, which ultimately ends up in my body.

Sweet Leilani Lipstick

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made in Canada
  • Paraben, lead, gluten, fragrance and cruelty-free
  • the sales of these products help to support cancer & trauma patients

This was the lipstick I was wearing in my Lust for Life post. This shade has an incredible retro vibe to it that I cannot get enough of. It also has better staying power than the lipsticks mentioned above. This lipstick smells incredible because it is formulated with peppermint oil, green tea, rose hip oil and grape seed oil. It also contains a chemical-free sunscreen!

Bite Beauty Lipstick

  • Purchased from Sephora
  • Lipsticks contain nutrients, vitamins and omega oils
  • Paraben, sulfate and phthalate-free

These lipsticks are very smooth and pigmented. They definitely moisturize my lips while wearing them. They are definitely my go-to when I want options without shimmer. Only caution is that they easily transfer and smear.
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Eye Products

Elate Clean Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made in Canada
  • cruelty and gluten-free & vegan
  • Packaging made of bamboo

I have the “Origin Liquid Eyeliner” and it is a great liquid liner. The brush took a while to get used to as it is very flexible, compared to more common applicators. It is also a really wet product so I usually wait longer for it to dry and pat a little black shadow over it. I can achieve a great wing with this liner and it is very pigmented!

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Mascara 

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market or here
  • Gluten & cruelty-free
  • 100% vegan
  • The company is rooted in creating sustainable products 

This mascara is formulated with coconut oil and vitamin B to condition eyelashes. This product is long-lasting – however it runs easily when in contact with water. I am eager to try their water-resistant mascara because whenever I laugh my eyes water a lot and this product tends to run easily. This product layers really well and you can build it up to create well defined lashes. I accidentally bought the “stardust” mascara, which is dark brown instead of black, however I am really enjoying the shade – it is growing on me. Definitely an amazing colour for the lower lashes!
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– Tiara

Natural Facial Skincare Products

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A few months ago I made the switch over to all natural products. I can give most of the credit as to why to the Toxicology class I took in university last term. Every day my jaw would drop to the floor, as I learnt more shocking and horrific facts about what we do to the world we live in today. I realized that if I am a being from nature and a part of nature, why am I smearing lotions and potions full of chemicals and toxins onto my skin hoping for a miracle? Humans evolved from the earth, and we will return into it – that is a natural environment that certainly does not include parabens, synthetic colours or phthalates, to name a few. Also, I was learning just how damaging these products are to the environment – and that enough was a reason for change.

The products I have here today are what I use on my face every day and/or night. I swear by these products, they all smell so incredible and they are much more friendly to the environment and my skin. I have recently had to make a dietary switch over to an Autoimmune Paleo AIP diet due to allergies and finding natural products that are free of allergens is actually a lot easier than I thought. Also, I had always struggled with severe cystic acne and eczema, and no matter how many different creams, or washes or medications I used on my face, my face remained dry and full of stubborn acne. Since I switched over to all natural products I very rarely get cystic acne, and my skin glows!

Skincare that doesn’t cost the earth

Things to look for: when purchasing natural products, I try to only support companies that package their products in glass containers. This is because glass containers are 100% recyclable, and glass can be continually recycled into more glass, maintaining high quality. Creating plastic items, on the other hand, releases toxic emissions into the air, and recycled plastic loses its quality and so new plastic must always be made. Plastic pollution is also devastating to the environment. Also, plastic containers are well known for leaching harmful chemicals (from which they are composed of) into the product they store, which is then absorbed into our skin. Really try to reduce consumption of plastic items, and recycle everything possible!

A lot of these natural products are GMO free! While there is a lot of controversy on GMO’s, I am personally glad to avoid them. Here is a well written article on GMOs for you to read.

I was able to find a lot of amazing natural skincare products at Dad’s Organic Market in Saskatoon, and surprisingly at Winners as well. However I really want to take the time to talk about an incredible company here in Saskatoon that is really taking sustainably sourced products to the next level –  Green Tree Beauty will plant a tree for every product sold. You can purchase products from them online, or at Alchemy Clothing & Salon here in Saskatoon. They source natural, sustainable and cruelty-free cosmetics with a goal of being kinder to the environment and to others. Definitely a company I feel happy about supporting!

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Viva Organics Aromatherapy Facial Toner

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Made in Canada
  • Free of: paraben, phylates, gluten, GMO, artificial fragrances, perfumes and colourant. Is hypoallergenic and cruelty-free.

I use this product as a toner, right after I wash my face. I spray it on and let it dry before adding another product on top of it. This toner brightens skin, and balances pH, and helps with controlling acne.

Viva Organics Concentrated Antioxidant Serum 

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty
  • Made in Canada
  • Free of: paraben, phylates, gluten, GMO, artificial fragrances, perfumes and colourant. Is hypoallergenic and cruelty-free

I immediately smooth on a pump of this after the toner onto my face and neck. This is a great product which adds a highly beneficial layer to my skincare regime. This serum helps to reduce scars and fine lines, and definitely makes my skin more radiant. It is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and organic compounds, which help my skin to repair itself and look its best.

Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market (or here)
  • Made in New Zealand
  • Free of all the nasties – vegetarian society approved

This is an incredible day-time moisturizer. A little goes a long way with this moisturizing product! My skin is dry, and yet very oily and this moisturizer makes my skin feel comfortable! It has an incredible fresh scent, and this company will continue to be one of my favourites due to their high quality products.

Sukin Rose Hip Hydrating Day Cream 

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market (or here)
  • Made in Australia
  • 100% vegan & cruelty free
  • 100% Carbon Neutral
  • Grey Water Safe
  • Free of: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Synthetic fragrances, animal derivatives, harsh detergents, propylene glycol, artificial colours, triethanoamine, mineral oils, EDTA and parabens.

First of all, this cream smells like sugar cookies – I want to eat it. Second of all, how amazing is this sustainable company? This is a very moisturizing cream as kakadu plum, rose hip oil and pomegranate work together to combat early signs of aging and dryness. There is a lot of product here that will also go a long way!

Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen 

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market (or here)
  • Made in Canada
  • 100% Natural
  • Free of: any chemicals, including PEG, BHT, artificial fragrance and colors, DEA, TEA, urea, and propylene glycol. This product is hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and noncomedogenic.

This sunscreen is the best sunscreen I’ve ever used. It has a natural tint to it so it does not have that gross white residue that a lot of sunscreens leave behind. It does not clog up my skin, and it is also not greasy at all! It is water resistant and I mix it with my daily moisturizer then apply to my face and neck.

Andalou Naturals Purple Carrot Luminous Night Cream

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market (or here)
  • Made in the USA
  • Vegan & Cruelty Free
  • Uses Non-GMO, certified organic and fair trade ingredients
  • 98% Nature Derived

I use this cream every night. It is very rich and has a pleasant fruity smell. This stuff ensures my eczema is never here to stay, and I wake up with super clear, bright and glowing skin. This cream is very rich in antioxidants, and helps defend against UV damage, hyper pigmentation and premature aging.

Northlore Rosehip Seed Oil

This oil is my go-to product. I use it under all of my creams, night and day. This oil has multiple uses: as a cleanser or as a moisturizer. This product saves my skin from the typical Saskatchewan climate. I find that layering these products has really benefitted my skin. 1 drop is enough to smooth over my face for the day time (as I don’t want to use too much under my makeup) and 3-4 drops is enough for my face and my neck for bedtime.

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That sums up the products that I use on my face! Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you on the greener side!

– Tiara