Sustainable Gift Guide

Christmas is right around the corner, which means you are probably in the process of purchasing gifts. Finding the right gift can be stressful, however supporting local businesses and purchasing sustainably-made products has never been easier. Since what you spend your money on is essentially the type of world that you support, let’s start supporting a healthier planet. It sounds difficult, however it is really simple! Some key points are to avoid plastic items, resist fads and fast fashion and invest in products that are high quality and will have a long lifespan. Remember to bring reusable bags and avoid plastic bags while shopping!

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Shopping sustainably can be done easily, even here in Saskatoon. There are multiple stores and local businesses that provide many opportunities to shop smart, buy local and minimize your negative impact on the environment. Buying for a beauty lover? Green Tree Beauty offers sustainably made and natural cosmetics! The Farmer’s Market is a gathering of many local businesses which can help you to invest your money back into the province, rather than into large corporations. Locally owned stores like Hazlewood Vintage, Better Off Duds or 33rd Street Vintage Market, for example, are stores that offer high-quality vintage items for sale. These vintage items are very well made and still have many more years of life left in them – not to mention they are uniquely crafted! Second hand does not mean poorer quality. Most vintage items are made from natural fibres, real wood, glass, or metal, meaning that they will all naturally decompose when thrown away or that they can be safely recycled. Also, by purchasing an item second hand, you are saving a perfectly good item from the landfill, and promoting less wasteful manufacturing of new products.

 

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Another great idea is to purchase your friends or family natural products that will replace every day items that are usually made of plastic. This will not only be healthier for them, but for the planet as well.

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Some Christmas gifts do not need to be expensive at all! You can hand make your gifts! If you have some glass jars or little tin containers lying around (and if you don’t, Value Village is a great place to look) and simple ingredients found from the kitchen, DIY body scrubs, lip scrubs, lotions and other natural products are easy to make and give – Pinterest is full of recipes! Another great idea is to sew or knit something! Below, I have a picture of the reusable cotton makeup remover pads that I sewed! A handmade gift shows that the giver put some thoughtful effort into making the gift for the recipient. A promise of spending time with a friend or making special treats for someone is another way to make the season happy and memorable.

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Another important aspect about Christmas is the gift packaging. Most wrapping paper and gift bags cannot be recycled. This ends up with an unnecessarily large input going into the landfill. This can be easily avoided by switching to these following methods. Have extra pillowcases, sheets, scarves or tablecloths lying around your home? Wrap your gifts using the “furoshiki” practice. You can knot the fabric, or secure it with a broach! Fabric can be continually reused to wrap presents over and over! Another way to wrap gifts is with newspapers, paper bags, or old road maps – just insure that they are recycled afterward!

Need a stocking stuffer idea? I keep my hands looking holiday ready using natural lotions from Dad’s Organic Market and the Seche Vive Topcoat from Nail Polish Canada! I apply this topcoat initially and then 2-3 days after as well and it is the only top coat I’ve found that keeps the polish on for a week (and on my hands, that is saying something… usually I chip my nail polish in 2 days). This top coat also keeps my nails very shiny and strong! This polish offers a gel nail look without the need of a lamp. Nail Polish Canada also offers nail polishes that are toxin free, found here!

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I hope that this article helps you to make this Christmas season more sustainable and inspires you to bring that level of sustainability into all the other aspects of your life. After all, we only have one planet.

– Tiara

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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 Leliani 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 Body Skincare Products

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Natural products are more beneficial for our personal use and for the environment – so why not make the switch? I’ve been using natural products for almost a year now and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made. My main focus is purchasing products that are made locally, are not packaged in plastic and are composed of natural ingredients.

Remember that REUSE (from reduce, reuse & recycle) is listed before recycle because reusing is more important and crucial in being more environmentally-friendly! Purchase products that either have no packaging, or that have packaging that can be safely reused for years to come. (Hint: Plastic is not something you want to be reusing – this is why I stress that we need to reduce our purchases of plastic altogether).
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In the Shower:

Lush Solid Shampoo & Conditioner

  • Purchased from LUSH
  • 1 shampoo bar can last up to 80 washes
  • NO plastic! You can also purchase reusable tins!

These bars do not have any packaging and smell so wonderful! I know they are not 100% natural, however I have not had success with any completely natural shampoos and conditioners – I am still experimenting – but the shampoo & conditioner bar pros outweigh their cons. Just make sure to let them completely air-dry before you close the tin lid! There are tons of different options to choose from as well, at a very reasonable price.

Uncle Mike’s Body Scrub

  • Purchased from Uncle Mike’s
  • Made in Saskatoon
  • Comes in a reusable tin container!

This body scrub is completely natural & smells so good! This product slowly dissolves while exfoliating and leaves the skin moisturized.

Assorted Bar Soaps

  • Look for bar soap that has natural ingredients that are sustainably sourced and that does not have any packaging – I personally hate when natural bar soap has plastic packaging all around it – as it is not needed!
  • Ensure that the bar soap you’re purchasing is not made from sneaky chemical ingredients
  • Comparable products, like liquid body washes, contain petroleum-based detergents and added chemicals which are hormone disruptors and also pollute water systems – natural-ingredient bar soaps are safer!

I rub my bar soap into a loofa and wash my body – providing some extra exfoliation. Also, bar soap lasts so much longer than liquid body soap – which is better for the environment and also saves you some cash!

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Body Lotions & Oils:

Northlore Lowlands Body Oil

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty (ps: every time you purchase something from Green Tree Beauty – they plant a tree)!
  • Packaged in reusable glass container
  • Made in Saskatchewan

This body oil has a wonderful smell, it has a light citrus scent which is musky at the same time – so both men and women can happily use it. I apply this all over my body and let it absorb before I put on clothes. I need to reapply this oil daily.

Lush Massage Bars/Body Butters

  • Purchased from LUSH
  • No packaging!
  • Finished product is not tested on animals

I love these lotion bars because there is no packaging which eliminates all the resources and energy that would usually go into creating packaging and there is no garbage! Also there is no waste with these bars, as you can use every last bit of them and not be concerned that any product is going to waste, like when you get lotion in a plastic bottle and you know theres still half a cup lurking in the bottom that you cannot get to!

Avocado Oil/Grape-seed Oil

  • Easy to buy in bulk
  • Easy to find in grocery stores
  • Cheap but great for your skin

Ensure that the container you are purchasing the oil in is not a plastic container! I pour the desired oil into a little glass container and use it in place of a lotion after dry-brushing and after a shower.

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Facial Masks:

Redmond Clay

I mix this clay with water, honey, coconut milk or coconut water and apply it as a face mask. This clay draws-out toxins from the skin and it is safe to use on eczema patches! I am searching for some that I can purchase in a glass container – in the mean time I will make sure to recycle this container.

Northlore Plains Mud 

I mix this mask with either honey, coconut milk, or green tea. This powder mask smells amazing and is really good to use once every 2-3 weeks to help to maintain clear skin!

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Scents:

Uncle Mike’s Natural Deodorant

  • Purchased from Uncle Mike’s
  • This product is 100% natural
  • Made in Saskatoon

On my (long and smelly) journey in finding a natural deodorant that actually works, I always come back to this product. This is the best natural deodorant I’ve used and the smell is great for men and women. 1-2 swipes of this product last the entire day, and any slight oil stain left behind on clothing will easily wash out.

Wood’s Body Goods – Peppermint Breeze Natural Deodorant

  • Purchased from Green Tree Beauty 
  • Made in Canada
  • Cruelty-free, gluten-free, chemical-free
  • Uses simple ingredients from Canadian suppliers

This deodorant smells incredible and works well against body odours. However, I have to be careful to only use one swipe of this product, as it tends to leave a yellow oil stain on my shirts.

Saje Essential Oils & Perfumes

  • Purchased from Saje
  • 100% all natural ingredients
  • Pure essential oils
  • Saje uses ingredients that are derived from safe and renewable resources, and their packaging is reusable or recyclable.

I am obsessed with Saje products, I could spend my entire paycheque in that store. I love their products and I love how their products not only help me to smell great but also help to boost my mood, help with mental illness and my overall health. The chemicals that make up perfume are incredibly toxic to your health – this is why I made the switch to essential oils. You can customize your own personal scent by mixing essential oils as well – the possibilities are endless!

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Everything Else: 

Dr. Dronner’s Pure Castile Soap

  • Purchased from Dad’s Organic Market, and is also easily ordered online!
  • 100% natural ingredients, certified organic, fair trade and vegan
  • Is every concentrated – a little goes a long way!
  • Can replace every toxic cleaner in the household
  • Can be used for dozens of uses

These soaps come in rose, eucalyptus, tea tree, almond, citrus, lavender, peppermint, and baby mild scents. This soap can be used for shaving, shampoo, dental hygiene, body wash, bathing, hand soap, laundry wash, pet wash, fruit and vegetable cleaner, plant pest spray, household cleaner, and so much more! Yes, this stuff is packaged in pesky plastic – but now I buy it in bulk and it lasts me for almost a year, and the container is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, however I’m still waiting for a better alternative!

I hope this helps you to make the switch over to natural products!

    – 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