eco beauty: shampoo bars, for great hair days

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the first time i read about shampoo bars, i was truly intrigued + a little skeptical, kind of the way i felt about dippin' dots when i first laid eyes on those tiny little ice cream pellets as a kid. innovation is always welcome, but i had to wonder: will it yield the same satisfying results?

i've been a dedicated user of shampoo bars for five years now. i love this zero-plastic + minimal waste option, the simple + safe ingredient lists, and the results. in a previous post sharing 5 easy tips to green your bathroom {which includes saying au revoir to plastic soap dispensers + using old-fashioned bar soap as well as trying bottle-less shampoo, aka shampoo bars}, i discussed why this product is one of my favorite bath + beauty products: because it truly works.

whether you have moody hair {straight one day, wavy the next}, reliably frizzy hair, or predictably straight hair, this product is great for nourishing your locks, and it's great for maintaining healthy tresses whether you have dry hair, oily hair or you're somewhere in between. here's how to use a shampoo bar + what to expect from this tiny, yet mighty product:

shampoo bars have a creamy consistency, so they don't quite lather as a liquid shampoo might, but they are super effective, yielding healthy, shiny locks with just enough volume. rub the bar across your head + hair, and then massage away. bars might require conditioning after washing if you're prone to frizzy hair or hair that is naturally wavy; i always rotate my liquid shampoos throughout the months + supplement with a shampoo bar.

i have mercurial hair, sometimes it's wavy, other times it's straight; shampoo bars always define my waves, so this would be the perfect product for gals with curly hair or girls lovin' the beachy waves.

here's a list of my fave vegan + cruelty-free brands offering organic, fair trade ingredients {no chemical preservatives, no synthetic fragrances and no detergents}:

1/ ethically engineered: made with softening camellia oil. chemical free + animal friendly. find it at whole foods in the usa. handmade in the chicago

2/ dr. bronner's: made with hydrating organic coconut oil. fair trade + organic ingredients. find it at walgreens pharmacy or your local grocery stores in the usa. made in the usa

3/ j.r. liggett's: made with conditioning olive oil + argan oil. each bar is hand cut. find it at whole foods or online at vitacost. made in the usa

4/ unearth malee: made with nourishing jojoba oil + argan oil. organic + vegan ingredients. hand made in california.

a heaping serving of natural + handmade shampoo bars can be found on etsy. i'm going to be trying ethique, which has a shampoo bar and a conditioning bar. i'll let you know how that goes. let the good hair days commence. if you're in france, lamazuna offers a vegan shampoo bar which i've used + like beaucoup.

if you're a gal or guy looking for green, clean bottled shampoo in a store near you, here are my fave bottled shampoos, all natural + all vegan of course.

{don't forget the tip} shampoo was named after a popular indian head massage {champ in hindi}. while the indians used oils, the main ingredients in our shampoos today are detergents, water, surfactants {sodium laureth sulfate, SLES, or sodium lauryl sulfate, SLS}, and alcohol.

shampoo bars don't quite lather up like most conventional liquid shampoos, but they're fantastic at nourishing your locks. remember, foaming agents such as lauramide DEA or cocamide DEA + MEA are not our friends, so an easy green tip to remember: lather is not necessary + it's also potentially dangerous to our health because when a product sits on a shelf, the ingredient DEA reacts with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, carcinogens linked to cancer.

when SLES or SLS is ethoxylated, a process meant to soften the harshness of the chemical, it produces a carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane, which does not have to be listed on product labels as an ingredient. surfactants are wetting agents that help trap oil and the dirt stuck to it, allowing the water to rinse it all off. unfortunately, in the process, this also strips hair of its natural oils. this make our hair feel clean, but it also perpetuates a cycle that demands more and more products. * so choose healthy bath products that keep you and your locks healthy. 

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{eco beauty} 4 eco lotions + magic skin potions

when it comes to my beauty + make up routine, my look is decidedly bare. all i ask for is a clear complexion + bright, nourished skin. so my pulse quickens when i hear of new face + body moisturizers made from plant extracts with no artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives. skip down for a quick guide to 4 small wonders, powerful moisturizers for a fresh face + dewy skin {oh, and each + every product comes from an independent + woman-owned enterprise}.

the right moisturizers protect + revitalize skin; they are high in antioxidants + vitamins that help neutralize free radicals + infuse thirsty skin with vital nutrients. they clarify + promote an even skin tone by bringing balance to your skin. i've chosen four remarkable plant-based + cruelty-free beauty brands that do it all:

1// conscious coconut: you've got to love a company with one stellar product that contains just one superb ingredient. this moisturizer is crafted from cold-pressed, USDA organic certified coconuts; it can be used as a daily moisturizer to even skin tone + it smoothe lines like a dream. for every purchase you make, a child is given a meal through a partnership with feeding america food banks. to date, 35,000 children have been fed via donations from purchases of this wonder product. conscious coconut works directly with the growers + farmers to source virgin coconut oil from fair trade farms in both thailand and the philippines. this conscious collaborative helps these farmers build sustainable businesses, which positively influence their communities + ensures that they’re compensated justly. conscious coconut has only one magic ingredient with remarkable antibacterial + anti-fungal properties: the coconut. a woman-owned business led by danielle conte. 

2// tay skincare: this small-batch + artisan-crafted skincare collection has a deliciously warm, floral scent. tay translates the abstract scents of nature into perfect botanical moisturizers that soften + soothe skin. you'll find no parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals in their light, effective lotions; only fair trade + organic ingredients. tay has made it one of their goals to support their sources, as well as the earth's natural resources. in collaboration with the fruit tree planting foundation, tay makes donations to bring fruit + trees back to local + global communities, including public schools, city parks, low-income neighborhoods, international hunger relief sites + animal sanctuaries. planting fruit tree orchards helps combat world hunger + global warming, strengthens communities + improves the surrounding air, soil + water. their magic ingredients include shea butter, mushroom extracts + sea buckthorn. a woman-owned business led by sarah tay. 

3// juice beauty: juice beauty is an organic skincare line that is used by three generations in my family. i love the lightweight texture + subtle fruit notes of these moisturizers, each made of certified organic + antioxidant-rich ingredients. if you're in the u.s.a. you can scoop up a bottle at ulta as well as their online boutique. in my family, the stem cellular neck cream is a fave {we use it everywhere, not just our necks} + the aromatic overnight cream is also a hit {we use it during the daytime too}. their magic ingredients include jojoba, shea butter, a proprietary blend of fruit stems cells + vitamin c, infused with grape formula. a woman-owned business led by karen behnke. 

4// devita natural skincare: i've been using this moisturizer for four years now, and if products could have a personality, i'd say this one is bright, fresh + zesty. just as coffee helps some battle fatigue in the morning, this lotion helps awaken my skin. it absorbs quickly, leaving a non-greasy finish + a beautiful sheen to the skin. devita skin care products are 100 % vegan + paraben free. they never contain GMO's. devita products are never tested on animals {only humans!}. their magic ingredient is organic aloe vera for soft, smooth skin {and it this is a must have if you have sensitive skin}. a woman-owned business led by cherylanne devita {doctor, entrepreneur + ceo/president, this woman does it all, my friends}. 

bonus// athar'a skin essentials: inspired by ancient eastern traditions + ayuverdic knowledge, this organic + vegan cream is made with absolutely no harmful chemicals, fragrances, synthetics or parabens. loaded with antioxidants, protein + vitamin e - this luxurious cream provides intense hydration while reducing wrinkles + dark circles. athar'a helps to provide shelter + food to orphaned children and generously aids in the renewal of our earth's resources by donating a portion of sales to three stellar nonprofits: trees for lifegive light + charity water. their magic ingredient is moroccan argan oil for increased elasticity. a woman-owned business led by sara davoodi. 

for a full body lather// try weleda lotion {at naturalia in france or target in the usa} or andalou organics lotion {at target in the usa or online here}. 

{don't forget the tip} natural products are spectacular multi-taskers; the same oils you use to moisturize your face + body can be used as a face wash, hair conditioner, make-up remover, for treatment of scars + infections, after sun care, itch relief + shaving cream {the perfect product for wanderers + adventurers who like to travel light}. now all you have to do is choose a moisturizer. if you're new to plant oils, find out how i became fast friends with plant-based oils here + learn more about botanical ingredients + their healing properties herethe cosmetic, skincare + haircare industries combined are an $80+ billion per year industry, and have been unregulated for decades. stacy malkan, founder of the campaign for safe cosmetics is a health and environmental activist who has shed light on the issue of toxic ingredients being used to formulate our everyday bath + beauty products by the world’s largest cosmetics companies. she asks the following poignant questions in her book not just a pretty face:

why do companies market themselves as pink ribbon leaders in the fight against breast cancer, yet use hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals that may contribute to that very disease?

why do products used by men and women of childbearing age contain chemicals linked to birth defects and infertility?

stacy shares the following glad tidings, "while the major multinational companies fight for their right to use hazardous chemicals, entrepreneurs are developing safer non-toxic technologies and building businesses on the values of health, justice and personal empowerment." for some of that healthy glow, click on over to any of the indie brands listed above. 

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{feature image via conscious coconut}

{eco view} the human experiment: what every consumer should know

of course we all want products that keep us healthy, and as consumers, we hope that the companies in charge of producing the products we use daily, the products we buy for ourselves, our children + our families would make safety a priority. we want safe products that are not harmful to our environment, to our physical + neurological health and especially the health of our children. learn how conventional household + beauty products impact your health + safety.

knowledge is power, my friends. for green brands, take a look at the ethical brands page here at eco voyage. greener living = happier, healthier you!

{green heart series} meet thara of moss + stone

hurraw! today i'm excited to introduce a new series i’m calling the green heart series, in which an extraordinary sustainable living enthusiast is showcased each week. you'll meet passionate thought leaders, young activists and seasoned environmentalists, all working to disseminate information + create positive change. each is devoted to promoting social justice + human rights, protecting the environment and advocating on behalf of animals.

the people you will meet are compassionate, intelligent, driven, fierce + funny. they come from all walks of life and from all across the globe; they are a world of creators: writers, artists, photographers, singers, sewers, entrepreneurs, makers, dreamers and doers. they have also had a great impact on my life in numerous ways. they make me laugh, they make me think, they stretch my mind to new limits, and certainly, they galvanize me to live a more thoughtful life.

meet our first young eco hero, thara, healthy living aficionado + ardent animal rights advocate. find out which personal quality she would never change about herself, the private part of her life she chose to disclose in her quest to help others and what her parents had to say when she encouraged them to explore a plant-based diet.

i'd just returned home from a long day at work, when i tumbled across thara's food-centric instagram account; those that know me know that cooking is not my forte, so her

simple recipes were exactly what i needed. i follow lots of foodie ig accounts, but my surrealist rendering of their elegant meals, an unintentional dalí painting across my dinner plate, left me craving easy, no-fuss recipes. that night, i decided to peruse thara's youtube channel. i was exhausted, and i was hoping to find uncomplicated recipes + tips for healthy living, as promised by the raven-haired, melbourne-based vlogger and blogger at moss + stone. what i discovered so much more than this.

in one of thara's first videos, "five ways i'm treating anxiety + depression naturally," she shares, with unpretentious poise, honesty + maturity, her personal journey of being bullied, battling depression and how she now manages her anxiety naturally, holistically. 

in a world where speaking of mental health is taboo, i'm always struck by the valor + strength of those that choose to peel back the top lacquered layers of their lives in an earnest effort to aid + comfort others affected by the same conditions. i admire the courage with which thara unveils her symptoms + how she copes using a healthy diet, mindful meditation, mineral supplements, chinese medicine and earthing*. 

thara has been vlogging for over a year now, and whether she's unveiling a new nutrient-dense recipe for a berry smoothie or a plant-based chocolatey dessert, thara offers up healthy living tips that make eating right a snap + getting fit achievable. here, thara, shares a bit about her inspirations + motivations:

live / vivre

1/ what is one action you might encourage others to take to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

the biggest difference someone can make to the environment by way of cutting back greenhouse emissions, saving water, and stopping rain forest destruction is by going vegan. animal agriculture is the number one cause for the destruction of our planet - you can watch a documentary called cowspiracy to understand just how this is so, or check out their fact page here for information and sources. in a nutshell, livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions; it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef  and 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk; and animal agriculture has been found to be the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

2/ what is your favorite eco online retailer or brick + mortar shop? my favorite online retailer is love child - it is a store run by two awesome aussie girls who sell some great ethical brands like her pony and kerol k, while emphasizing the necessity of living compassionate lifestyles in order to sustain our planet's resources and save innocent lives. 

flourish | fleurir

3/ what is one personal quality about yourself that you would never change?

i would have to say my empathy. it is what caused me to turn vegetarian at age 8 after seeing a documentary about meat production and the way animals were treated as commodities. it is what has made me become an animal rights supporter and environmentalist, as i care very deeply about other living beings and for the future of our planet. 

4/ share four things that make you really happy.

my cats (misty and casper); salted caramel coconut ice-cream; making my own herbal tea from the herbs in my garden; and farm animal sanctuaries (the work they do to help animals have a second chance at life is inspirational).

inspired | inspiré

5/ it takes a lot of time + dedication to create engaging videos or content. what motivates you to do so?

what motivates me to work on and plan this content is the fact that my small and humble amount of followers are so beautiful and supportive and really care about what i post. i value their opinions and love working with their suggestions to come up with posts/videos that i know they really want to see.

6/ which person do you most admire and why?

celebrity wise, i would have to say emily deschanel. i've loved her ever since my teen days when i first saw her on bones. In real life she has been a vegan for almost 20 years, and has spoken out about animal rights and environmentalism. she's a beautiful person inside and out, and is a talented actress too. hitting closer to home, i admire my parents a great deal. they worked hard to raise my sister and i in a foreign country, and sacrificed a lot so that we could receive a good education and made sure we were healthy with a roof over our heads. after watching documentaries like earthlings and cowspiracy, they too have become vegan and the amount of delicious food they make ahhhhh - i never want to leave home! 

wear | porter

7/ describe your favorite go-to ensemble from head to toe. do you have any favorite slow or indie fashion brands? 

my favorite go-to ensemble is always a vintage mini-dress (i have a huge collection in my wardrobe, all of them are op-shop finds) with a pair of sandals. if it's slightly chillier, than i opt for my high-waist jeans, op-shop sweater and a pair of comfy sneakers. my favorite brand would have to be her pony - they are melbourne-based and make some beautiful festival-style clothing. they are also vegan and cruelty-free, so i love the fact that they are showing people that you can be stylish and compassionate at the same time. for natural + cruelty-free beauty products in australia, change box is a subscription box that curates amazing products by companies that make a difference in the world for people, animals and the environment. 

interested in learning more about thara? click on over to follow her on twitter, ig, on youtube or at moss + stone.

{don't forget the tip} *every boy + girl should learn how negative ions ward off lethargy + headaches and promote focus while having a pronounced anti-depressant affect. negative ions are your friends: find out where you can stock up on these: watch thara's videos to learn more. 

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{images of thara by michael blamey / emily deschanel via laika magazine / pig via mercy for animals / all other images via moss + stone}

{eco beauty} 4 clean + cruelty-free lip balms: for buttery-soft lips

in putting together this post, i had a vivid memory come flooding back to me. years ago, i was excited to try my very first all-natural lip balm. it arrived via post in a monthly subscription box. tiny tube in hand, i swiped eagerly across my lips, ready for the magic healing to begin. 

it smelled delightful, and it certainly tasted good, but something seemed awry. upon further inspection, i realized i'd mistaken the travel-size deodorant bar for a lip moisturizer. as a deodorant, this product worked wonderfully. but as a lip balm, it was perhaps not the perfect texture for a silky soft pout. 

over the last four years i've tried many a green + clean lip balm: some were a touch gritty, others a bit clumpy, and some were pure bliss. the fours balms listed here are by far my favorites for their buttery soft texture + ultra hydrating qualities; vegan + handmade, all paraben free + sulfate free, petrol free + cruelty free. read on for balms that glide on just like butter: 

1/ mi me tangerine hydrating lip butter: for lasting shine + deep moisture, this balm, which comes in a svelte cylindrical tube, is my top pick. oh-so rejuvenating, with the perfect amount of sheen. ingredients include organic coconut oil, mango butter + avocado butter. the slender tube fits easily in jean pockets + small spaces {aka travel bags + clutches} without creating bulk. handmade in the u.s.a.

2/ the knarly whale: spiced caramel lip balm? don't mind if i do. the knarly whale strives to provide low-impact, minimal-ingredient bath + body products. soothe chapped lips + lock in moisture with these rad little balms. ingredients include candelilla wax, coconut oil, jojoba oil + mango butter. besides a product that delivers, i really dig the name. made from scratch in the u.s.a by a husband + wife team, with 10% of profits donated to a new charity each month. that's the way to do it!

3/ellovi: i love ellovi's no frills site. you'll find just two terrific + intensely hydrating products available to choose from: the body butter + the lip butter {i've tried each + thanked my lucky stars for the restorative effects of both}. created to disrupt the big beauty industry {conventional products filled with synthetic ingredients + tested on animals}, each ellovi product is made using only six wildly harvested ingredients "so pure you can eat them". nutritional ingredients include macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, marula nut oil + hemp seed oil. i'll have what she's having. made in the u.s.a.

4/ hurraw lip balm: extra thick, creamy + rich, hurraw's lip balms promise staying power, and indeed, they work all day to soothe dry, cracked lips. fair trade + organic ingredients include avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil + argan oil. the oval shaped tube is perfect for back pockets or backpacks. made in the u.s.a.

while all natural + clean beauty products are safe enough that you can absolutely glide your deodorant stick across your lips without getting sick, leave lip protection to the experts for shiny, happy lips. click on links above for full ingredient lists.

{don't forget the tip} when friends ask for recommendations for clean + cruelty-free products, i chat openly about parent companies. burt's bees was bought by clorox, a company that still tests on animals; aveda was bought by estee lauder, also a company that currently employs animal testing; and neutrogena is owned by johnson + johnson, a company that continues to use animal testing. hence, i love to support small + indie makers who source their ingredients responsibly + never test on animals.

here's a terrific list of brands that do NOT test on animals that you can find at your local drugstore + target. here's a list of companies that still test on animals. shop cruelty-free + help bring an end to animal testing, my friends.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!