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.  

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}

{eco beauty} smells like green spirit: 4 natural deodorants

it's been quite the journey from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant. first rule: never try a new deo when you're going to a job interview. no sir, don't do it.

honestly, i was built for the heat. i hardly ever sweat.

but on a hot summer day, years ago, i remember sitting in a brightly lit room, smiling politely as i answered question after question, and thinking: this deodorant is definitely not cooperating.

you see, we've come to expect that this little personal care product will do a big job: it should smell fantastic {i prefer a slightly woodsy scent with light citrus notes} + provide long-lasting protection without plugging sweat ducts {aka we want to smell fresh throughout the day}.

today, there are some sensational small-batch, natural deodorants + creams that neutralize odor swimmingly + absorb wetness without any harsh chemicals like triclosan or pthalates

{potential endocrine disruptors that can negatively impact your body's reproductive + developmental hormones}. and aluminum? this is a metal linked to the interference of oestregen action: why wait for research to tell us definitively that it's linked to breast cancer? let's be proactive about our health.

so here it is, eco friends, my absolute fave vegan + indie deodorants that smell delicious + are safe for your entire family, with ingredients so natural they're good enough to eat:

1// north coast organics: lucky us to have so many organic choices right at our fingertips! north coast have a great travel pack with 8 different scents, so you can try all the light, aromatic options. perfect for fellow wanderlusters. {expect fab customer service from the self-proclaimed "deodorant king of chicago" + his team!}.  made with organic coconut oil, carnauba wax, arrowroot powder + shea butter; with essential oils. handmade in my hometown of chicago

2// schmidt's natural deodorant: i've often thought that it would be wonderful if we could send our empties right back to a company: and now we can! schmidt has a great recycling program: empty 5 jars out, send them back, and receive one deo for free {glass only for now, folks}. made with arrowroot powder, coconut oil, candelilla wax, baking soda + shea butter; with essential oils. **note, schmidt's parent company is now unilever, a company that still tests on animals, so if you're looking for more vegan + cruelty-free options, try my fave natural shop for all things animal friendlysticks + jars available. handmade in portland, oregon

3// primal pit paste: a friend gifted a petite jar of this "pit paste" {aka deo cream} to me over a year ago, and it has made it's way into my regular bath + beauty routine as well into my heart for having a truly remarkable mission of keeping chemicals out + keeping the good, organic stuff in. six-pack sampler available; great for your achy, gypsy heart. made with organic shea butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, coconut oil; with essential oils. sticks + jars available. handmade in austin, texas.

4// meow meow tweet: meow meow has a cult following, and for good reason. all cute packaging aside, this product works. you will smell fresh + citrusey all the live-long day {or like a field of lavender flowers if you prefer}. mini sizes available, perfect for carry-on bags. meow meow also donates monthly to a number of organizations working to make the world a better place. made with organic arrowroot powder, coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil + candelilla wax; with essential oils. sticks + jars available. handmade in the catskill mountains of new york.

{don't forget the tip} a woman is most empowered when she's healthy. not sure where to start? pop on over to petit vour, one of my absolute fave online eco apothecaries for the best natural + cruelty-free products. i'm always surprised when i see commercials for major corporations selling products that tout themselves as effective and empowering for women. when a company chooses to keep toxic chemicals linked to cancer on their ingredient list, well that simply is not the route to empowerment. so to all the small companies making big strides in producing safe + truly healthy options for women + men, i thank you. to learn more about ingredients to avoid in your everyday bath + body products, hop on over here. for all the nontoxic + natural goods in one place, simply scroll down if you're on your phone or hop over to the right side bar if you're on your computer for a list of eco apothecaries.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{an eco guide to feminine care products} 4 truly liberating girl products

okay eco boys + girls, today we're celebrating the female body + the "intricate ecosystem" within that brings us new life. here's a little secret i've shared with very few people: i love being a woman. i really do.

marilyn monroe once reflected, "one of the best things that ever happened to me is that i'm a woman." the fact that women can create a human being is truly magnificent, and the only way that can happen is by way of our monthly menstrual cycle. those close to me know that i hold no subject up so that it becomes unmentionable or taboo. so today we tour the feminine hygiene space + the many options available to care for her body via organic and resuable personal care products that are created sans pesticides, insecticides and dioxins: to keep her healthy, confident + empowered. 

healthy bodies + sound minds are entwined with daily decisions that we make + products that we buy. some female products, including tampons + pads, support us in our efforts to remain strong + healthy, while many of the conventional female products lining the shelves of pharmacies + stores contain endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive damage {including reduced sperm count}, cancer + developmental disorders. 

i'm bringing you four natural, nontoxic personal care products; each product is instrumental to remaining proactive in maintaining our reproductive  + neurological health. honestly, these products have simplified my life + given me so much peace of mind. let's explore the options: 

{a brief history, well, semi-brief}

"the female body is an intricate ecosystem. your vaginal tissue is delicate and absorbent—that’s why we regard a woman’s tampon choice as an essential health decision. but the feminine care industry lacks regulation. women don’t get the full picture on the products they use. both the materials and chemicals commonly found in most tampons—and their effects on women’s bodies—are largely hidden from consumers. that’s why women deserve better." molly hayward + morgan newman, cora co-founders

did you know that tampons are classified as "medical devices" by the fda, and as such there are no labeling requirements for ingredients? allergens + chemicals linked to cancer and toxity can be avoided if we know what our options are. *as women, we arm ourselves with information + we make healthy choices. here's the info + here are our choices.

dioxin

dioxin is a harmful by-product of the chlorine-bleaching process used in the wood pulp industry which includes the manufacture of feminine hygiene products such as pads, panty liners and tampons made from rayon or rayon/cotton blends. evidence is growing that even low levels of dioxin exposure may be linked to cancer {including breast cancer}, endometriosis, low sperm counts + immune system suppression. rayon + dioxin exposure over a lifetime of use increases chances of disease.

tampons

for centuries, women around the world have fashioned their own versions of tampons. ancient egyptian women created tampons from papyrus; while in rome, wool was used; in japan, paper; and in parts of africa, rolls of grass. the tampon that is similar to today's product was developed by a male doctor in denver, colorado, in the 1930's. it was composed of 100% cotton. today conventional cotton is grown using pesticides, insecticides + herbicides; exposure to tampon ingredients such as dioxins + furans {from the chlorine bleaching process} as well as pesticide/insecticide residue have a cumulative effect when absorbed by a highly permeable part of a woman's body.

pads + liners

up until the 1920's, external pads were made from cloth + laundered for reuse. nurses using surgical dressings made from a wood pulp derivative called alpha cellulose began using it, and eventually it came to be used to make feminine hygiene pads. disposable pads began to be manufactured to replace the homemade varieties. again, the developments and modifications in pads + liners may not have been in the best interest of the consumer. modern brands use a "dry weave cover" which is actually apertured plastic. women are generally unaware of this fact and are therefore compromising their health via continual exposure over a lifetime {plus, there's the environmental factor of disposing of used pads}.

"we believe every woman on the planet has the right to period products that perform without harming her body" molly + morgan, cora

rayon + dioxin

rayon is a wood pulp derivative that is commonly chlorine bleached and is more absorbent than cotton. dioxin, a byproduct of the bleaching process found in rayon + a toxic chemical compound, collects in the fatty tissues of animals including humans {dioxin is an unintentional byproduct of industrial processes such as waste incineration + fuel combustion; it can also be found in cigarette smoke + car exhaust}. bioaccumulation is a risk factor: considering a woman may use as many 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, she subjects herself to dioxin exposure. *

toxic shock syndrome

rayon itself may pose another risk. results of a study recently published in infectious diseases in obstetrics + gynecology* suggest that the use of all-cotton tampons may reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome when compared with rayon + rayon-blend tampons. the study included 20 varieties of tampons, a polyurethane contraceptive sponge, a latex diaphragm + a polymer menstrual collection cup. all-cotton tampons did not produce the dangerous tss toxin, staphylococcus aureus, while all other varieties of tampons containing rayon amplified production of the toxin tss=t1.

additives

surfactants are used in tampons to increase absorbency. surfactants are also used in consumer + industrial detergents and are considered pollutants. these surfactants, as well as synthetic fragrances, may pose additional health risks, although these additives are commonly used in feminine hygiene products. presently, manufacturers are not required by the fda to list ingredients; consequently, women may not be aware that they are using products containing rayon + other ingredients. 

four healthy alternatives to conventional feminine products:

hesta

honestly, this is where it all changed for me. these are my favorite! remember, forests are being toppled daily to make pads + liners; in a society that embraces disposable products, this is where we can bend our thinking. these super absorbent, organic cotton pads are reusable washable. that means you launder them, then hang them to dry, and then you do it all over again next month. i've not invested in disposable pads since the discovery of these soft, light + breathable options. starter sets + cute travel pouches available on hesta's site too.

natracare

natracare uses chlorine-free, organic cotton for their pads, shields + tampons and sources their raw materials from managed, scandanavian forests {conventional products are still being produced using wood harvested from endangered forests}. leaders in the world of feminine care, this ethical company saw a void in the natural feminine care market in 1989 + decided to create a solution: they offer products that are eco-friendly, biodegradable + provide protection sans irritation. available across the globe.

thinx

thinx are period-proof underwear made with technology built into the underwear that absorbs flow and wicks away moisture from your body, so you feel clean + so comfortable you might actually forget you have your cycle. now that's a great product. these undies are reusable: that means you wash them + keep them for next month {and save lots of money while you're doing so; invest in more than one to make life easier}. my bestie sent me a pair of these underoos for my birthday, and it is one of my fave eco gifts. make your gal pal smile, too: get her her very own pair. learn more about the work thinx does to educate + bring feminine care products to girls around the world here. 

 

cora

cora's aim is to offer women the safest, purest tampons without sacrificing performance. they want every woman + girl on the planet to have a safe + effective way to manage her period. i first learned of the global period crisis at cora's website, where i came to understand that 100 million girls across the world drop out of school when they reach puberty simply because they lack access to adequate menstrual products {with a large number represented in india + africa}. for every month's supply of cora you receive, cora gives a month's supply of sustainable pads to a girl in a developing country. what better way to empower another woman, than by aiding in the completion of her education? i've said it before, and i'll say it again: knowledge is power + education is liberation.

{don't forget the tip} some of you may be wondering: where's the cup?! i've actually never used a menstrual cup, but one of my best gal pal swears by them, so i'll be sure to try + add to the list if all goes well!

until next time, stay green, dear hearts!

{eco boutique} 48 + sea: a fleet of female indie designers

i've been reading about the history of gift giving: a tradition as old as humanity itself. i love to think about the little tokens {and big ones too} of appreciation that have been shared throughout the centuries, a tangible expression of love + affection. 

i truly relish giving gifts. if i like you, then you've probably received a present from me. most likely, you've received a candle {not all candles all created equal} or perhaps a chocolaty treat {fair trade certified}. if i really like you, you've received a bar of soap as well {the kind that smell like you're holding an entire forest in the palms of your hands}. as a minimalist, i believe these tokens of affection can be wonderfully useful. 

enter jennifer meyer, eco entrepreneur + proprietress of 48 + sea, an online boutique focused on goods with purpose + beauty, made by female designers across america. jennifer's shop has a distinct + handsomely poetic point of view; each brand has been carefully vetted, so you know the jewelry, housewares + apothecary products are all made with respect to our planet + to people. all you have to do is click your way through to find charming goods that defy traditional design boundaries. this is 48 + sea: 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 }

bono, prolific musician + philanthropist, shrewd businessman + venture capitalist, once said, "shopping is politics." bono believed that revolution among active citizens began "in their kitchen. it's in their footsteps, in the choices they make to buy this and not that."

where do we go to invest in items that have a positive ripple effect on those who produce them?

if we traveled back in time, we would find breathtaking artisan-made goods being carefully crafted by skilled potters, carpenters + metal smiths. we might find these artworks with their strong provenance at craft bazaars or specialty shops. skip ahead to a time when people like you + me might have to travel far + wide to acquire such winsome pieces. or we might scramble from one website to another piecing together unique wares.

now back to the future: today we can find clever handcrafted goods + cool independent designs in one online boutique. brooklyn-based jennifer meyer has created a space, 

48 + sea, with simple + spare housewares, luxe bath products as well as light + airy jewelry, all in modern incarnations.

jennifer has invested her talents in 48 + sea a singular shop with a mix of elegant + subtle statement pieces. she loves the arresting imperfections of a wheel-thrown mug + plate or hand-dyed tea towels. she also loves aromatic candles that fill your home with soothing scents {think ginger + citrus or cucumber + wild mint}, transforming your space into one of peace + productivity.

i quickly fell in love with the soaps + candles, handmade jewelry + clutches as well as the natural beauty selection that jennifer has curated, including california organic beauty brand s/he studio + pennsylvania candle maker zoet bathlatier. but only order from 48 + sea if you like top notch customer service and goods with compelling diversity inspired by nature + made with love. 

until next time, stay green, dear hearts!