Second-hand Sustainability

Recently there has been a movement or an understanding that if you buy something second-hand, that it is inherently sustainable or ethical. It’s actually a lot more complicated than that. I am here to shed a little more light onto this complex topic.
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I think one of the most crucial things I would love everyone to understand is that we need to limit the amount of clothing and accessories that we purchase. Just because there is a sale or an opportunity to go and buy things, does not mean that we need to be buying things. We need to decrease the number of things we buy and stop chasing after trendy items. Instead, we need to invest in high-quality timeless items that will remain stylish and intact for decades to come. When it comes to shopping, it needs to be done in moderation and it needs to be well thought out. We need to stop our over-consumptive lifestyles and adhere to a more responsible and environmentally-friendly approach.

Last year I decided to make a pact with myself to never purchase another item of clothing that was composed from synthetic fibres. Included in this pact were these rules: think about the item before I choose to buy it – this includes thinking about if it goes with a lot of other things I already own, if it truly fits well, and if I would actually wear it a lot. This resulted in me being able to cut down on unnecessary purchases, and to build a wardrobe consisting mostly of natural fibres and high-quality garments. Now, in no way am I claiming to be perfect either. I still have garments that are composed from synthetic materials which I had purchased years ago – I am slowly replacing them with more sustainable options, which will be discussed later on in this post.

There is no doubt that buying items second-hand or thrifting is more sustainable than buying new. Thrifting or buying something second-hand is a better option because additional resources are not being used to produce the item, as it has already been created. Giving an item a second life is important. It is also important to know that you can shop at thrift or consignment stores, however shopping at local vintage shops or participating in local clothing swaps is also incredibly important.

However, let’s examine the meaning behind sustainability. Sustainability is the process in which the exploitation of resources, among many other things, is in harmony with and enhances the current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. Sustainability operates on the precept that we need to meet present demands without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The only way in which sustainability can occur, is through healthy ecosystems and environments. Healthy ecosystems and environments can only endure, develop or recover with reduced negative human impact.

Let’s break this down: if a thrifted item is truly sustainable, it must be made of natural materials, it must be high-quality and it must be able to be machine washed/hand washed.


Natural Materials
Whenever clothing that is made from man-made materials or synthetic materials is washed, they release plastic microfibres into the waterways. These synthetic materials include polyester, nylon, elastane, lycra, polyamide, viscose, spandex and acrylic, to name a few. These plastic microfibres pass through filters and sewage treatment plants, and pollute rivers, lakes and oceans. These synthetic or plastic fibres will never decompose.

Now, plastic pollution is not just an aesthetic issue; plastic has the ability to negatively change ecosystems. Also, over 60% of plastic pollution is from plastic microfibres from clothing, and microfibres are responsible for over 85% of shoreline pollution. Plastic microfibres, alongside other plastic waste, is composed of chemicals that significantly increase concentrations of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment (I discussed a little about endocrine disrupting chemicals here). Plastics also have the ability to attract and absorb harmful chemicals, bacteria and persistent pollutants, and when plastic pollution is smaller, the surface area increases and allows it to absorb even more chemicals and bacteria – making plastic microfibres an incredibly devastating pollutant.

Ingestion of microfibre plastic by humans and animals is now virtually unavoidable. What has to be understood about plastic microfibres is because of their size, they are able to enter into the food chain in very early stages and in every stage thereafter. Zooplankton are ingesting plastic microfibres as they mistake them for food, so plastics are continuing to maintain their presence throughout the entire food chain. Sea creatures do not even have to eat chunks of plastic to be affected, as they are continually processing ocean water containing toxic leachates through their gills, stomachs and other membranes. Higher trophic level organisms are exposed to highly enriched concentrations of contaminants due to bioaccumulation. You might be thinking “well I don’t consume sea food, so I don’t have to worry about this”, and this is problematic thinking for multiple reasons. First, you need to consume water to live. Most water that we drink is contaminated with plastic microfibres that are invisible to the naked eye – and no, drinking bottled water is not any safer. Also, more than 3.5 billion other people depend on the ocean for their primary source of food, therefore consuming toxic waste through the consumption of sea creatures. If you aren’t swayed or dismayed enough by the harmful effect on humans, plastic pollution annually kills more than 100,000 marine mammals plus millions of birds and fish.
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It is time we take responsibility for our actions and accept that man-made materials are devastating and harmful. Plastic contamination does not only harm ecosystems and animals, but it also directly harms those who are responsible for it, create it and consume the products made from it.

Another thing about man-made materials or synthetic materials is that they were created through an industrial manufacturing process which uses fossil fuels (a non-renewable resource). I have been very troubled whenever I see a product that is made from recycled plastic, or manmade materials, and is labeled as a sustainable product… this is what is referred to as “greenwashing” a product. Clothing made from recycled plastic releases even more plastic microfibres than non-recycled materials. As you read above, there is absolutely nothing sustainable about man-made fibres or materials, especially when they have to be washed. Therefore, in reflecting upon the definition of sustainability, garments composed of synthetic fibres do not even come close to passing as a sustainable purchase.

So, what are safe materials that are made from natural sources and will not release plastic microfibres? Here are a few of them. I must add that each material in this list is more sustainable than synthetics, but there is no material that is completely sustainable, either in the way it is grown or raised or in the way it is produced into a fibre. Choosing natural materials is a decision that will have less negative impacts on ourselves and on the environment both when it is being worn and when it will eventually have to be disposed of (after having being carefully cared for and donated of course). So, here are some natural plant and animal derived fibres – please note that many of the animal derived fibres listed here can be attained, either by brushing or shaving, with no harm to the animal. The leather options are sustainable if the leather is a byproduct of the food industry and is dyed using vegetable dyes instead of the traditional toxic dye process.
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Better Quality
One of the most important things to understand when thrifting or buying something second-hand is that if it is not high-quality, it is not worth it. Also, if you cannot repair it, restore it, or reimagine it, it probably isn’t worth it either. Focusing on the quality of the item is the most important aspect when shopping. This leads me to fast fashion brands or cheap big label brands. Most clothing produced as a by-product of fast fashion is cheap – both in material and make. Therefore if you purchase a fast fashion brand second hand, it will probably not last as long as a better quality garment would. This will probably lead to the garment having a shorter lifespan, requiring you to replace it relatively soon after purchasing. Therefore this second-hand purchase may end up in the trash quicker and result in even more consumption – which is quite unsustainable.

Also, some big label brands produce poor-quality garments and then slap their logo on it, and in the end you’re basically just paying to wear the logo. Always pay attention to the material the garment is made out of and the quality of the item before purchasing. Don’t let brand names sway you.
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Also, another troublesome factor about buying fast fashion brands or unsustainable big label brands second-hand is if someone likes what you are wearing and sees or asks for the brand name, it no longer matters that you purchased it second hand, as you are basically advertising for the brand and giving it positive exposure. This usually leads to the person who asked, believing that you support that brand, going to the store themselves and purchasing that unsustainable brand, brand new. I think the most important thing here is to take a moment while thrifting, pull out your phone and quickly search “is this brand sustainable” and give yourself the time to find out if your second-hand clothing is sustainable & guilt-free. Just because something is being purchased second-hand, does not magically erase or revert the unsustainable or unethical practices used to make it.

Another critical factor to consider is that many of the most unsustainable and unethical practices of fast fashion brands is that they use slave labour to manufacture the items. A way around this tricky situation is to avoid fast fashion brands as they will probably not last, the quality will be poor and it will encourage the purchasing of new fast fashion garments. Also, very importantly, avoiding the purchase of these items will decrease the demand for them which will certainly decrease the need for the slave labour that is required to manufacture these items for the cheap price they are retailed for.


Machine washable / hand washable Garments
First of all, dry cleaning is expensive. You spend money on the actual garment itself, then you have to pay to have it cleaned as well. Second, dry cleaning involves chemicals which are dangerous to our health and the health of the environment. The chemicals used in dry cleaning have even been classified as carcinogenic, and severely toxic to fish, marine life and plants. Some cities may have “green” dry cleaners, but it might be best to avoid purchasing items that need to be dry cleaned, if possible.
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This being said, it is actually quite possible to hand wash some garments that have “dry clean only” on their label, just ensure that you do your research on the proper technique before thrifting so you can save yourself money and the environment in the long run. Usually only wool, silk, cotton and linen can be washed at home and garments composed of suede, leather, or fur should be taken to a dry cleaner. Washing at home usually includes placing your garment into a laundry bag (use a cotton pillow case if you do not have one), and washing with a mild natural detergent and cold water.


Proper Washing Techniques
I am sure that even if you stop purchasing all clothing that is made from synthetic fibres right now, you will still have some items in your closet made from synthetics. Until you can afford to replace those items with more high-quality & sustainable items, here are some tips and tricks about proper washing techniques.

It is actually unnecessary to wash some of your clothing after only one wear. Items like jeans, cardigans, sweaters, and more, can be worn 2-5 times before being washed. When it is finally time to wash items composed of synthetic fibres, fill up your washing machine to ensure there is less friction between clothing. Make sure to only wash them for a short duration, on a low rev cycle, on a cold water setting. Another factor that helps to cut down on unwanted friction is to make the switch to liquid laundry soap – my favourite is being able to bring a reusable container to bulk stores and fill up with liquid laundry soap (to cut that plastic pollution even more)! Also, always throw dryer lint into the trash and never down the drain. There are even new products emerging to help control the amount of microfibres being lost into the waterways like GuppyFriend! I am going to purchase one and let you all know what I think, either in an upcoming blog or Instagram post. Of course, the takeaway should always be to avoid cheaply-made fast fashion clothes altogether and opt for natural fibres, as plastic fibres will never biodegrade, breakdown, or go away.
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So the next time you are purchasing clothing, keep in mind that a single purchase can have a worldwide impact, and it is up to you if it is a negative or positive impact. We all need to change in order to sustain the only world we have to live in. Consumers have the greatest impact and whether we choose to spend our money on sustainable second-hand goodies, or on new brands that are working hard to be as sustainable and ethical as possible, we will be able to get the message across that we are over the age of plastic pollution and that action is needed now!

Tiara

Sustainability & Wildlife

With being an environmentalist and striving to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I wondered if there were any organizations that exist in Saskatoon which focus on sustainability or the environment. I just completed my fourth year in Renewable Resource Management at the University of Saskatchewan and I am working towards completing a soil science minor and a certificate in sustainability. Being aware of some local organizations that support these values is important to me. Luckily, I was able to meet with two women that run very different, but important charities here in Saskatoon.

Since I started my blog in September of 2013, I have given myself the freedom to present my interests and passions creatively and freely. One of my initial passions was sustainability and caring for the environment. Each year, I researched more, I learned more and challenged the modern way of life, which led to changing my way of life based on what I was learning about sustainability. I have changed multiple ways that I live my life and I keep making changes each month. Slowly but surely, I am working towards living a sustainable life.
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Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Allyson from the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. The Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES) is a non-profit, registered charity located in Saskatoon. They work on projects all across Saskatchewan. The SES concentrates on sustainable energy and climate solutions, water protection, resource conservation, biodiversity preservation and the reduction of toxic substances. Pretty badass, am I right? The goals that this society is working towards are vitally important and their focus on education is crucial. They even have a helpful page called Stuff I Can Do, which outlines some options of how to live more sustainably at home and at work. Their site is packed with useful information and can help aid you in your own personal research, as they provide many scientific publications for you to read. I was very excited to learn about the SES and I am very interested in the work they do.

I also had time to visit with Jan from the Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation Center here in Saskatoon. Animals take precedence over people here, that’s for sure. They provide treatment services that are needed to rehabilitate small birds and mammals. This includes providing a safe place for the injured or orphaned animals to mend until they are returned to their natural habitat (if possible).
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Both of these organizations are charities, which rely mostly on volunteer work. If you want to support either of these charities, they would greatly appreciate it. One of my favourite quotes is by Anna Lappe: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

– Tiara

DIY Zero Waste Car Kit

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The whole “zero waste” concept has been (finally) gaining popularity in 2018. Living zero waste means to live in a way that all things that are consumed or used by you on a daily basis can be reused, so that no trash is created & so the only end products are compostable or items that can be continually reused. Switching to a more zero waste lifestyle is crucial, as it is not only a more sustainable way to live but a more economical & efficient lifestyle. Some argue that living a more zero waste lifestyle is too difficult – so I made a “zero waste car kit” to show & encourage you all that living sustainably is not only quite doable but also easier than it seems. You can also take this idea and make a “zero waste bike kit” or a “zero waste purse kit”!

To create my zero waste car kit, I looked through all of the stuff that I had already and then made a list of what I still needed. Then I visited some local thrift shops to purchase anything else that I needed. Any specific item that I didn’t already have or couldn’t find while thrifting, I then researched companies that pride themselves in making sustainable products & ordered away!
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Almost every outing involves picking up food or drink – and with this we are usually given the item in single-use options (plastic straws, plastic cups, plastic lids, paper cups, plastic utensils, plastic water bottles, styrofoam takeaway containers… the list goes on and on). Most of these single-use items are not recyclable and the ones that are recyclable usually are thrown away or cannot be recycled due to other variables. We need to ditch this throw-away culture that we have come to accept as normal and realize that these single-use items go on to pollute the environment for centuries. When these single-use items are used then disposed of, the toxins from the plastic and other garbage continually leach into the environment. This creates a devastating effect which impacts the entire food chain (plants and animals alike).

So, how can we reduce our dependence and usage of single-use items? Bring reusables that replace them everywhere you go! Using reusables is a lot easier than it may seem, just use them and wash them then return them back into your car kit! When it comes to creating your kit, focus on creating a plastic-free kit that involves stainless steel items, glass items, or products made from natural sources (cotton, bamboo, etc).

Items to include in your kit: 

  • reusable straws (like this or this or this)
    • make sure that the straws you purchase come with a little brush to clean out your straws!
  • cotton/linen cloths (like this or this)
    • use to replace napkins or wrap your clean utensils & glass jars in)
  • large stainless steel water bottle (like this or this
    • use to avoid buying plastic water bottles out of convenience – so many places will fill up your water bottle for you if they don’t already have a water fountain!
  • stainless steel tea/coffee mug (like this or this or this)
    • can also be used for cold beverages
  • glass mason jar (like this)
    • to store left-over food or when purchasing items in bulk
  • stainless steel utensils (thrifted)
    • to replace all throw-away options
  • reusable cotton bags (like this and this)
    • plastic bags kill over 100 MILLION animals each year… it is time that we take responsibility for this and switch to reusable bags.

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Here is the easiest thing to switch to, reusable bags! Reusable bags need to be washed frequently. Since these bags need to be washed so often, choose bags composed of a natural material, so when they are washed they do not release harmful microfibres into our waterways.

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Now, here are some important items to keep in your car that might not be all that zero waste, but safety and health are arguably just as important, so do not deny yourself a first aid kit! Since I live in Saskatchewan and we experience incredibly cold winters, I have a survival candle and matches as well. I also have a multi-tool in case of emergencies.

I hope this posts helps to inspire you to live a cleaner & more sustainable lifestyle!

– Tiara

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

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

Second Hand News

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I am very excited and proud to announce that this entire outfit is all secondhand clothing and accessories. Buying clothes secondhand saves the atmosphere from further carbon pollution and the world from further chemical toxicity that would have been produced to create new clothing. Not only is my entire outfit all secondhand, but it is all made from natural fibres that will break down eventually – unlike synthetic clothing which releases plastic microfibres every time it is washed, which has lead to a massive pollution problem. I also want to mention that this entire outfit costed me around $100 Canadian. You can buy secondhand clothing, save money (and donate/spend it on things that really matter), and still look amazing! I encourage you to scout out your local thrift stores, vintage stores and Value Villages and have fun discovering treasures and embracing your true style through a more earth-friendly alternative.
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Shirt: Hazlewood Vintage / Skirt: Closet Raid / Belt: Value Village /  Shoes: Closet Raid / Bag: Value Village / Ring: vintage / Watch: vintage Gucci /
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Buy Less. Buy Used. Buy Better.

– 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