eco beauty: akamai basics for good clean fun

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try as you may, you’ll be hard pressed to find a gal who loves and lauds the benefits of botanical facial oils + natural skin oils more than me. akamai basics is an american, indie + small-batch skincare company, founded by vincent cobb and marni shymkus, and they’re bringing to life clean + green products for boys and girls who love the simple things in life.

akamai makes one of my new favorite vegan, cruelty-free and sustainably sourced face + skin oils, skin fuel.

i’ve learned over the years that oils can seem quite alien as a bath + beauty product; we cook with coconut, avocado and olive oil, but did nature intend for us to use these vitamin + mineral-packed oils on our faces + bodies? the answer is unequivocally yes!

skin and facial oils go beyond the daily duties of a traditional moisturizer, my friends: oils heal, repair and regenerate skin. of course, not all oils are created equal! a well-crafted oil supports the skin’s bicrobiome and the body’s ecology by delivering key nutrients to your cells and body. oils deliver peace and harmony by balancing the pH of your skin. you’ll find only natural, organic + unrefined ingredients at akamais.

weird science

We know far too many people who have died of cancer, or who have battled and won, at great cost to themselves and their family. While a small percentage are genetic, 85% of all cancer is caused by the environment and lifestyle choices.
— Vincent Cobb and Marni Shymkus

here i’m going to hit you with a little science, stay with me: the chemicals and synthetic ingredients that can be found in conventional, big-brand moisturizers have negative effects on our bodies, both short-term effects like psoriasis, and long-term effects like endocrine disruption, immune dysfunction, birth defects and cancer. if you can’t figure out what’s listed on an ingredient label, put the bottle down and step slowly away from the shelf. parabens, pthalates, sulfates {foaming agents, preservatives, dyes and synthetic fragrances}: you don’t need them and you don’t want them. parabens, a preservative found in makeup, shampoo, conditioners and lotions, mimic the hormone estrogen and have been found in breast tumor tissue.

just as ingredients are the starting point for a great meal, they’re also the foundation of a fantastic and effective product. skin fuel has six simple ingredients: coconut, jojoba, argan and olive oil; trace mineral/fulvic acid concentrate {for proper cellular metabolism}; and rosemary essential oil for a soothing and aromatic experience.

the oil

akamai's skin fuel is like a protein smoothie for the skin. it’s the first product i reach for after a shower, and the one i want by my side when i’m traveling because it does it all. i use it to moisturize my face, my hands and legs. fun tip: mix it with your fave lotions for a rich, hydrating experience + for the perfect amount of body glow. just a touch adds a healthy shine to my hair. i also swipe a bit across my lips as a light lip balm.

the toothpaste

i’ve been brushing my pearly whites with the akamai mineral toothpaste. first thing’s first: it’s a natural, clay-based paste; the color of the paste might surprise you. it’s a gray hue. i do not shy away from the new; in fact i was quite intrigued. i love this formula and i offer one small caveat: it’s not as sweet as those you might have used, so keep that in mind. i personally love it. i don’t like to wake up and have a slosh of extra sweet in my mouth. like all products in my green routine, i do rotate for variation. this paste will remain in the mix!

the bar soap

i really do love shampoo bars. i love any company that thinks outside the bottle. this is a 3-in-1 product: a shampoo bar that can also be used as a soap bar, and a shaving oil. i use this as a facial cleanser and shampoo. it’s grrreat for traveling. think no-spill magic. as a gentle reminder, i always use a conditioner along with a soap bar for best results {this combo is best for my parched hair + scalp}. this product adds volume to my hair, which i quite like on dry, winter days. i just ordered these as stocking stuffers because everyone deserves good hair days!

my goal is not to slow down the natural and beautiful results of aging, but rather to look and feel healthy, my very best every day. akamai allows me to feel confident about what i'm putting on my body each day. check out akamai for some of that natural glow.

don’t forget the tip: from no more dirty looks, “awareness about cosmetics [and personal care product] ingredients is on the rise. all of a sudden it’s ‘sulfate-free’ this and ‘paraben-free’ that. as consumers get savvier, so do cosmetics companies. in response to the chatter, many companies are reformulating to omit one or two of the ingredients that have become buzzwords, and then they mount advertising campaigns bragging about it. that is what we call marketing—but leaving out one ingredient and replacing it with a lesser-known or chemically similar substitute is not necessarily what we call clean. neither is boasting about its absence when your products are packed with a dozen other dirty chemicals.”

often healthy skin is a result of what we put in and on our bodies. follow the environmental working group to learn more about the important work that they do to keep citizens healthy and informed. akamai donates 1% of all sales to ewc to support their mission to empower people to live healthier lives.

eco mode: wearing boxy tee made of organic cotton from wildlife works with earrings from fair trade label abel. hair by akamai and facial oil by akamai.

eco beauty: 6 natural products for pearly whites

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i love to brush my teeth. judge me not. i'm a simple girl with simple pleasures. i just love the idea of a mini before and after, the way you feel after you've organized your closet or cleaned your room, you know, that post-laundry, fresh-sheets high. only this is a petite detox party happening in your mouth. less visual, more oral of course.

so why choose green oral care? there are some ingredients you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley and certainly not in your medicine cabinet. the e.p.a has added fluoride to their list of developmental neurotoxins and identified fluoride as an endocrine disruptor. what does all this mean? if you're trying to lead a healthy life - and who isn't? - this is not an ingredient you want in your morning routine where ingredients are absorbed through the walls of your mouth + into your body.

fluoride has an adverse affect on normal function of the thyroid. this means thyroid function is reduced: our thyroid regulates our weight, fertility, optimal brain development + energy levels. that is not the before and after we want, my friends. 97% of western european countries do not fluoridate their water. here is a  brief history of fluoride and how the u.s.a. came to fluoridate their h2o - it follows the same trajectory as lead and asbestos - and a recap of some facts about the hazards of fluoride. another ingredient to steer clear of is triclosan: read why, my friends, and it's not just because it sounds ominous. 

i set out to find a natural + effective toothpaste that would taste great, too. plant-based products contain known adaptogens + healthy ingredients like dead sea salt that are rich in mineral content + can actually restore minerals to your teeth. here today, 6 ways to keep your pearly whites + your gums clean, healthy and strong.

toothpaste

i've tried a lot of toothpastes over the last five years, and i admit that there are a number of flouride-free options today with flavors for miles. dr. brite offers a toothpaste with certified organic ingredients including coconut oil + aloe vera juice. they have a traditional mint flavor for from-the-meadows fresh breath or a soothing coco chai flavor that really makes me happy. i like my toothpastes like i like my teas, not too sweet, and the familiar taste of chai is truly relaxing + calming. is it weird that i look forward to brushing my teeth now? methinks not!

mouthwash

it took me a long time to find a mouthwash that was natural - made sans alcohol, chlorine dioxide, chlorhexidine, cocamidopropyl betaine, parabens, formaldehyde + saccharin, all ingredients that can change the pH of the mouth + throat and are associated with increased risk of mouth and throat cancers. dr. brite provides an organic, plant-based option: a fluoride-free, alcohol-free mouth rinse free of gmo ingredients. conventional mouthwashes - the ones that make your eyes tear as if you were chopping a field of onions - kill bacteria in your mouth without distinguishing between harmful bacteria and the the helpful flora which we need to fight bath breath. this is a gentle alternative; do a little swishing with natural ingredients like aloe vera juice for a squeaky clean mouth. now you can say "happy healthy hippo" within an inch of the nearest bystander + experience only positive repercussions.

dental floss

eco dent provides a vegan waxed floss using vegetable waxes. rice bran for the win. this floss really works and it comes in a paper box so we have a plastic-free option here. i've been using this floss for some time, and if you're a flosser like me, who revels in healthy gums, then you've found a product that works just as well if not better than conventional flosses. unflavored, mint, cinammon + cranberry flavors on the menu.

teeth whitener

smart ash is an all natural + organic teeth whitener that safely lifts stains using activated coconut shell charcoal. it's a very black powdery product that does work, however it's a highly messy process though. you've been warned! my sink looked a little jackson pollock-esque post cleansing, but does it work? it really, truly does! another fantastic option that produced super fast results is dr. brite's teeth cleaning pen. it's a compact product, and i'm hoping they'll introduce refills, because i would absolutely love to continue using these little miracle workers. look no further for polishing teeth and lifting stains.

bamboo toothbrush

choose a biodegradable bkind bamboo toothbrush over plastic toothbrushes. 4.7 plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills and oceans every year. that's per year, boys + girls. bamboo toothbrushes are widely available at local markets and easily available online. they keep hazardous waste out of our oceans and landfills - and away from animals who mistake them for food and digesti them. smile squared is another favorite of mine with a social mission as well. this is an easy and inexpensive switch for a greener + kinder smile!

diy

i admit, i am not a diy-er, as soon as i hear the words tablespoon or teaspoon, i fall into a deep coma. however, this is the first time i decided to try and the ingredient list had only, well, about 3 ingredients listed. use 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda with sea salt + 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. mix it up, brush it up! it's inexpensive, and if you go easy on the sea salt, it's completely palatable! 

i did receive product for review for this post. all views are honest + my own.  

{eco beauty} super natural: a green + cruelty-free morning routine

50 natural, vegan + cruelty-free beauty products

one of my fave fashion icons is diane keaton; i love her la-di-da, screwball persona clad in relaxed chinos, patterned neckties + bowler hats {diane later shared in her autobiography that her wardrobe choices were inspired by real life exploits + the street style of new york: she pieced together her off-beat + brilliant boy-meets-girl ensembles herself that were used in movies she starred in}.

diane keaton is my girl crush. probably because she represents the ultimate form of beauty to me: she exudes joy. i believe her most beautiful physical asset is her joyfulness, her positive energy + her smile {and that laugh!}.

and honestly, i love what she has had to say about beauty + acceptance of self over the years: 

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in a 2014 interview with vogue u/s diane was asked, "do you think there's an age at which you learn to accept the way you look?" her candid response was, "i don't think so. i think the more distracted you are, the better you're off in terms of looking at yourself."

see, self-acceptance, well, there's a secret to it all. and this is what i know about it.

i've been a busy gal for most of my life {with the biggest portion of my life devoted to volunteering + working in the field of education with inner city youth}, and with that, i've often felt that i haven't had time to dwell on any possible physical flaws that might exist. and to be honest, i don't subscribe to the idea of flaws: i believe we're all born innately beautiful, exactly the way we were supposed to come together. because god doesn't make mistakes.

i came to understand long ago that confidence can be equated with beauty. and when we compare ourselves to others, we forget to focus on our own light + innumerable strengths, and all of the beauty we each possess.

in truth, i feel most confident when i'm healthy + happy. and i'm usually feeling most joyous when i'm contributing to the happiness + well-being of those around me. as for my health, this starts from the inside out, and is reflected in my skin. as a plant advocate, i like to eat the plants, and i like to wear the plants.

i love to use products that promote clear + dewy skin. our skin is host to myriad species including bacteria, yeast + fungi. good bacteria informs our skin cells to create our own antibiotics that kill off harmful bacteria, however an imbalance in our skin's microbiome, due to harsh chemicals found in commercial products or an overly sanitized way of life, can disrupt our bodies natural acid mantle + lead to break outs, acne, ecsema or rosacea.

my morning routine consists of the bare minimum: toner {does everyone know about the magic of toners?}, lip balm, plant oils as moisturizers + a little mascara. 

voilà! 

if i'm feeling fancy, i'll put a little bronzer + eyeliner on. for me, confidence comes from feeling good about the way i'm presenting myself to me. i've put together this list of fave products that support your natural beauty + long-term health. i've test driven some great, plant-based brands. each product listed here is made sans fillers, additives, petrochemicals + preservatives, instead each is made with love from active ingredients including fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, flowers + berries.

without further ado, these are my top natural beauty brands {50 distinct eco brands in all} + my fave vegan products from each cruelty-free company: 

{soap bars} s/he studio // scratch goods // dr. bronner's // osmia organics

{facial cleansers + exfoliators} root science // precious skin elixirs // shamanuti // aster + bay

{toner} poppy + someday // herbivore botanicals // french girl organics // kani

{facial oils + moisturizers} kahina // pelle beauty // my skin + bones // mun // poetic blend

{mascara} pacifica // w3ll people // lily lolo // jane iredale 

{eyeliner} w3ll people // bwc 

{blush + bronzer} antonym // devita 

{lip gloss} juice beauty // 100% pure // emani

{lip balm} unearth malee // ellovi // hurraw // mi me

{body moisturizers} forager + this list of 4 fab lotions will keep your skin super nourished + moisturized.

{make up brushes} eco tools // alima pure 

{dry shampoo} lulu organics is tops. here's a list of my 4 fave dry shampoos + how to apply so you don't look like someone threw a snowball at your head. i just tried this dry shampoo by mullein + sparrow from trunk collective; it has a dark hue for the brunettes of the world + is chocolate scented for the cocoa lovers of the world {comes in a teeny tiny container for travelers packing light}.

{wet shampoo + bar shampoo} here's a list of 6 amazing eco shampoos to keep your tresses shiny + strong. 

{leave-in conditioner + hair texturizer} yarok // acure // eco sevi // captain blankenship

{don't forget the tip} when it comes to choosing bath + beauty products that are made with pure, safe + organic ingredients, i turn to my favorite experts {these gals will never lead you astray, from lipstick to foundations, they're the real deal}: andrea at organic beauty lover yenny at eco chic beauty trish at ni hao new york

petit vour remains my numero uno for clean + cruelty-free beauty where you can find most of the goods listed here, yes, all in one place. hop to the right side bar here at finny + dill for a list of more eco apothecaries or scroll down if you're on your phone. and don't forget that knowledge is power, so get some of that good info + learn the truth about conventional beauty products by reading no more dirty looks or not just a pretty faceuntil next time, stay green dear hearts!

{header image + artwork by ev // made in the usa zip pouch by talented designer + artist

chotnelle}

eco beauty: shea brand body butter

i have this visual that used to replay in my head when i first started blogging: it's a western film, the scene: a shadowy saloon, and a thirsty cowboy sits bar-side waiting for his drink; the bartender slides a frosty glass across the bar top. in the movies, the cowboy usually picks up the beverage and downs it, but in my mind, i imagine the drink being slid back across the bar, right back to where it came from.

in my imagination, the cowboy is actually me, and i'm sliding a bath or beauty product back because it wasn't effective. that was years ago when i was still learning which natural skincare brands truly worked wonders, as promised. these days, i have a list of clean + cruelty-free favorites that are tried + true. and i'm adding a new plant-based moisturizer today.

recently, when i ran out of my regular facial oil + body balm by pelle and when my travel bottle of lotion by beauty without cruelty was completely empty, i turned to a new organic + animal-friendly product shea brand whipped organic butter for a little hydrating help. the results? let's just say, i'm one happy cowgirl + i will not be sliding this softening body butter back across my fictional counter. this is shea brand: new to the green beauty scene is this fantastic product, handmade in brooklyn, boasting no chemicals and no palm oil. a cruelty-free product, this regenerative product comes in a petite cylindrical tin that fits easily into your make-up bag or even your pocket. it twists open + shut, so there's no spillage.

i've tried shea-based products before as body moisturizers, and none have had the same powerfully nourishing effect as this little butter. i use oils + butters on my skin, hair and face, and i'm always careful not to apply too liberally because shiny is good, but sticky is not on my agenda. this product has the perfect texture.

from our friends at shea brand

shea is a powerfully nourishing daily moisturizer, and a little bit goes a long way. thick, reliable and protective, yet soft and rapidly nourishing, shea’s fatty acids replenish important lipids and strengthen cell membranes in the skin. regenerate, soften and protect dry, dehydrated, healing, and sensitive skin and hair. use on eczema, to eliminate scars, prevent stretch marks, smooth keratosis pilaris, and heal burned and damaged skin.

distinctive benefits:

  • muscle aches and fatigue
  • mild insect repellent
  • scent provides headache and nausea relief
  • protect skin from toxins and bacteria

as an avid traveler, this product is also tops on my list for being small in stature + easy to pack. ready for silky soft? pop on over here. for more of my fave small batch, organic + vegan lotions, hop on over here

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

green crush: meet yenny of eco chic beauty

yenny dang is known as an upbeat, approachable + authentic critic of organic skincare + beauty products. she is to the world of natural + nontoxic beauty what roger ebert + gene siskel were to the world of film critique. 

over 4 years ago i decided to make the switch to clean beauty products. i walked confidently into a corner pharmacy in america, determined to pluck a healthy alternative off the shelves. no petrochemicals or phthalates for me, thank you. these ingredients may be good enough for vinyl flooring + building materials, but they are not good enough for our faces + bodies. i found a lotion with the letters "organic" scrawled across the top of the bottle in bold letters. i paid + went home with product in hand only to find out that there wasn't a single organic or natural ingredient inside. 

this life lesson is called reading the labels.

i scratched my head. this wasn't as easy as i thought it was going to be. fast forward to 2015; i have finally amassed an array of truly organic + cruelty-free products. but there are experts that exist in our universe: people with knowledge. people with moisturizing lip glosses in their purses that taste like fresh fruit salads + remarkably effective lotions lying resplendent across their nightstands. 

these experts devote their time + energy to spraying, slathering + soaking in myriad green products, then they reveal the results. do you know who benefits? you + i do, my friends.

where are all these experts you may ask? well, right this way. 

yenny caught the attention of the ig community with her pithy posts delivering the things skincare, hair care + beauty. she gives her honest opinion about everything from label design to the efficacy of each product she reviews. she is warm, genuine + so easy to talk to. 

i had the opportunity to ask yenny a few questions about what exactly drives her passion for the perfect green product + what makes this beauty happy. dive in to learn about the one product she thinks every eco girl should own, who she admires most + what book she believe is the "green beauty bible". this is yenny:

f+d: what is one small action you might encourage others to take to live a more sustainable lifestyle {beyond recycling}?

yd: i would encourage people to think for a minute about how every purchase, decision or action they make affects the environment, animals or people.

f+d: what is your favorite eco online retailer or brick + mortar shop? 

yd: ahh, i can only choose one? ;) i love beau.tea.bar and the detox market for both their online retail stores and their brick and mortar shops. i also love follain and cap beauty for their brick and mortar stores. as for the online retailers, integrity botanicalseco diva beauty and safe + chic are great! 

f+d: was there a book/movie/aha! moment which put you on the path to clean beauty/green living? 

yd: yes! no more dirty looks! it's like the green beauty bible!

f+d: what is one personal quality about yourself that you would never change? 

yd: i would have to say my loyalty and my big-heart. i am fiercely loyal, and i genuinely care about people, animals, and the environment. i try to help out wherever, whenever, as much as i can. i'd very much rather give than receive - i'm a huge giver! seeing a smile on someone's face, making someone's day, or doing something impactful in a positive way, means the world to me.

f+d: share four things that make you really happy. 

yd: only 4? lol. i would have to say: my furbabies {i have 2 little chihuahuas}, sunny/beachy weather {that vitamin d though!}, travelling, green beauty, good food, good music, my family and friends... i could go on and on. :)

f+d: it takes a lot of time + dedication to post regularly + create a community around that which inspires you. what motivates you to do so? 

yd: the sense of community and being able to share my passion with like-minded individuals. the admiration, inspiration and respect we have for one another is unreal. i've made so many great friendships through the green beauty + clean living community, some of whom are very close friends of mine now!

f+d: which person do you most admire and why?

yd: wow, this is a hard one, because i truly admire a lot of people, especially in green beauty. since i can't choose just one person, i'll tell you who i admire in the realm of sustainability. i would have to say elon musk and stella mccartney. elon is an innovative + creative genius; and stella makes these gorgeous pret-a-porter / runway-ready clothes. they are proof that you can make ethical, conscious, sustainable products that are both luxurious and good for the environment. conscious, eco-friendly, sustainable products don't always have to be boring or too "granola."

f+d: i'm so curious as to your fave beauty brands. what is one beauty product you would recommend that every woman should have in her purse or medicine cabinet?

yd: oh, this is too hard! there are SO many green beauty products that i absolutely love! but if i were to recommend one product, it would have to be may lindstrom's the problem solver. it was one of the first green beauty products i ever tried and it hasn't let me down since. if you've had a stressful day or have an important day coming up, this mask does wonders for your face and for your psyche! it really is like magic, it makes all of your problems go away! ;)

f+d: one last question, do you have a favorite quote or motto?

yd: do all things with love. :)

follow yenny's eco beauty adventures on instagram!

{header image + center image c/o jen jar photography// skincare imges c/o eco chic beauty // elon musk c/o nbc // artwork by ev}