ella + mila nail polish | vegan & eco-chic

Perhaps it’s just me but I really enjoy having a to-go color for my nails. When it comes to shades, I like to stick to the basics: nude, red, & moody colors.

Although polish dries on the nails and isn’t necessarily absorbed through our skin – most nail polishes are still filled with chemicals that aren’t kind when released in the atmosphere. They can pose considerable problems when inhaled over time (as profiled in this NYT report). Nail polish is classified as a household hazardous waste and it’s required to be disposed of in a proper hazardous waste disposal site (don’t trash it! use this guide)

The good news? The rise of non-toxic nail polishes, but not all are created effectively. But many of us want to feel safer and have fewer chemicals in our beauty repertoire. Cue ella + mila nail polishes.

The literal rainbow (and more) can be found on the ella + mila shop. They are a line of eco-friendly nail polishes that come in an array of beautiful colors for any occasion. Most importantly: ella + mila happens to be 7-Free, vegan, palm oil free, and they are made in the United States.

What is 7-Free? It means that these nail polishes do not contain the following: Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, TPHP, Xylene or Camphor. Thus they are a safer alternative to generic polishes.

Onto the shades! Although there are so many choices at ella + mila – I only chose what I would use + genuinely want. These color are great for all seasons + occasions. First up is Lilac Luster, a pretty spring/winter shade that is a light lilac color that is great for everyday wear.

 

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Zero Waste + Minimalist & Palm Oil Free Bath Guide

 
We are a few days away from the year ending and I have my own plans written down and I’ve got my Kleen Kanteen on call. Still I am thinking about the year beginning and perhaps many of us should pass the torch from reflection to decompressing. From the holidays, from the ending of a year, & everything that came with it. 

Bath-rituals are my favorite part of the day (besides coffee). It’s the ritual of cleansing and unwinding from the day and getting ready to rest your head and have sweet dreams. To keep my showers environmentally conscious I time them and I tend to find myself unconsciously meditating through then. Treat yourself with this ethical + zero waste guide on organic & wildcrafted bath & wash products. Part two will come in 2017!



bath

Heal / Acure Organics Dry Body Spray in Marula + Argan | y’all this product smells like a tropical island. Coconut, sea buckthorn and argan oil make this a healing oil that can be used on the ends of your hair or a body spray. It’s vegan and fragrance free with only botanicals making this blend. The bottle is recyclable – a really delicious investment piece because a little goes a long way with oil. You need not too much to soothe with this oil
 
Wash/ Gaia Entrancic Ah, I am proud of myself for finding a palm oil free package-free soap. Its not easy, even if you go to natural health/food stores, its still manages to find its way there. Gaia Entrancic makes vegan & palm oil free soaps that are also organic and packaged sustainably. Several of the ingredients are harvested from shop-owner Kaitlin’s garden and smell wonderful. She offers a variety of scents that rely on essential oils & not fragrance or synthetics.
 
Scent / Aura Aroma: Air, Body & Upholstery Mist | A multipurpose spray that is made with witch hazel and essential oils. I chose Tranquility that is a blend of bergamot, cedar-wood, sage, lavender, and neroli. These come in glass bottles made from recycled materials. I like spraying them in the shower and then after ward when I head to sleep.
 
Cleanse / Toockies Certified Organic “Her” Washcloths | These hand knit washcloths are perfect for washing or dry scrubbing (stimulate circulation). you can also machine-wash them in the dryer when needed, but when their time is up? These cloths are compostableand or can be recycled/reused as you wish. Zero waste and beautiful organic weaving. Even more is the story behind the knitters:  these are fair trade products made by women who earn a living wage through Toockies Project, these women are given a voice – the company adds their photographs a small note on the products they have knit and anyone who wants to know who created the garment can look her up.
 
Soothe / Fat & the Moon All Salve | I have an unfortunate tendency to get dry lips and palms during the winter. The drop in temperature and shift of seasons tends to cause issues. This All Salve is a rescue balm with Calendula, Comfrey and Yerba Mansa infused sunflower oil for applying on my lips, hands and under eye area after a shower or when needed. This is an organic based blend and its plastic-free, it comes in a metal tin which can be reused or up-cycled.

 

Winter Ethical & Minimalist Clean Beauty Guide

Since I started my voyage into zero waste living I sought for ways to incorporate it into most aspects of my life. Naturally this includes beauty. While there are many DIYs and tutorials you could choose from, not everybody will lean towards that route. I wanted to create a guide (or gift guide, hello December!) with ethical and clean ingredient products with minimal impact on the earth. 
An excellent piece I recently read by LITTERLESS  Progress, not Perfection” echoes this point – don’t fight or struggle for perfection. Others can define “Zero-waste” in their own interpretation with the goal of minimizing their trash. While I believe we should reduce our trash & recycle less – I also recognize that everyone’s transition is different. We are all on our own paths and I personally choose to support companies making the effort to create sustainable choices in their products. 
It took me a good while, but striving to find a happy medium I compiled a beauty assembly that is sustainable/organic ingredients based, several of these are multi-tasking (lip/cheek stain), involve packaging that can be recycled or upcycled and all of these clean beauty treasures with companies providing sustainable practices. I will end up using these products well into 2017 before i need to make any new purchased. Make investments in well-made and ethical products and it’ll pay off! Do you have any zero waste beauty items you like? Let me know!


Axiology Lipstick in Bad & (c/o) Elusive (V/GF) | These lipsticks are hands down the goldmine of cruelty free lipstick. Free of palm-oil and full of botanical ingredients like avocado oil, elderberry, and neem seed oil. Axiology’s principles to use pure plant based creations without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, and sourcing organic whenever possible. 
Bad is a matte chestnut 90’s brown and Elusive is a dreamy true brick red. They go on smooth and nourish and heal. Axiology doesn’t use synthetics dyes and chose to go with mineral pigments. These are truly high quality investments.

WasteWhen you order off Axiology they do come with sample that are in plastic cases so let them know you’d like to omit the samples – stick the full products. Axiology lipstick packaging are not made of plastic and it can be recycled. Although I didn’t snap the paper packaging that the lipsticks come in, Axiology’s outer packaging is collected from an island and is taken to a small factory where goes from trash to recycled packaging. Sweet!


Pacifica Natural Eyeliner in Jet (V/GF) | I was using liquid eyeliner prior to discovering Pacifica’s eye pencils. Though the liquid eyeliner’s plastic cover was recyclable I thought there were better options. Pacifica’s eyeliners are vegan, gluten free and formulated with jojoba oil, shea butter for senesitve skin. The color glides on smoothly and I

Waste: The plastic cover on the pencil generates some waste. However the packaging it comes with is completely recyclable. Company-wise, Pacifica aims to have a zero waste in their manufacturing, they recycles and use post-consumer materials.
Pacifica Mystical Supernatural Eye Shadow Palette (V/GF) | These luscious vegan palettes are made with coconut, ginseng, and kelp extracts.  I love that these are botanical based and come in a variety of colors – although I also own Power of Love, the Supernatural packet has the best winter colors.
Waste: A representative for Pacifica told me that the eye shadow palettes are also recyclable. Simply remove the aluminum tin that holds the shadows themselves then put the palette in your recycling bin for safe disposal. The outer packaging is recyclable as well.
Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish (V/GF) in London Tomboy & Luxe Interior | What is 7-Free? These nail polishes are made without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals. I love the emerald color and that these polishes are very matte and lasted quite a long time than other non toxic nail polishes I’ve used. (I don’t use top coats or any other primer). These nail polishes contain vegan brush applicators as well.
Waste: Conventional nail polishes contain chemicals that are bad for the environment. Pacifica’s brand omits these but imagine how many generic nail polishes get trashed? Imagine those nail polish chemicals making their way into water systems or released into the air via incinerators. The US EPA considers nail polish to be household hazardous waste. So what to do? Check out Earth 911’s guide on properly disposing and recycling your nail polishes when they have run out. In the meantime I stick to 2-3 nail polishes per season. After than I rotate and only support recyclable and earth-friendly brands.
Fat & The Moon Dusk Lip Paint  (GF) c/o | Made up sunflower oil, beeswax, and minerals this is a hazy mauve medium-pink that can be used on the cheeks as well.
Fat & The Moon Hecate Lip Paint – (GF) c/o | Made with the same ingredients as Dusk this is a dark brick-wine color that is a semi-matte to full matte depending on how much you apply.
Fat & The Moon Eye Coal (GF) c/o | to round out the dreamy and intense color spectrum of Fat & The Moon, the pure midnight black eye coal is the non-vegan (contains beeswax) answer to clean beauty eyeliner. Since its in pot form, you can use an eyeliner brush (I recommend Eco-Tools) or clean fingers to smudge. Skip any cotton q-tips, these are smooth thanks to the sunflower oil and only contain ingredients found in nature.
Waste: Since these Fat & the Moon products come in tins you can upcycle them. The company create small batched organic & farm grown ingredients while aiming to use little to no plastic and packaging is set up to be recycled or reused.

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Ethical & Sustainable Beauty | Wellness | Pet Holiday Gift Guide

So this Holiday Gift Guide is a little late but better late than never right?! This year I wanted to feature products + shops that are of course natural but also sustainable, cruelty free and in particular no palm-oil use, or little to no use of it. 

The overproduction and unregulated use of palm oil has a led to deforestation + loss of habitat in  Indonesia, however as consumers we can support and shop from amazing brands that do not contribute or use palm and focus on environmentally friendly products! For some of these companies I wrote about why they go above and beyond to create lasting effective products and give back to communities.

But the holidays are meant to be fun, and I like to pick out beautiful Winter gift choices that are thoughtfully crafted and will make any recipient (or yourself…) happy!! All products featured here I have bought & used (with the exception of the True Balm which was sent by my partners at the Detox Market) therefore they have tested and used. Some of these would make great stocking stuffers or little handmade theme gift boxes (which is something I did this season!)

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Pacifica is a wonderful company who is also committing to using no palm-oil in their product. Along with creating vegan & cruelty free beauty & lifestyle products they care about the environment using recyclable materials and incorporating zero-waste standards.

Pacifica Natural Soy Candle in Mexican Hot Chocolate | I remember going into a Whole Foods looking for candles and came across this one, it smells so decadent – exactly like a hot-cocoa with warming spices. I can’t get enough, this is probably my favorite cold-weather candle its perfect for any candle-lover or foodies (because it smells so good!) / Pacifica Island Vanilla Natural Soap | Y’all I am a sucker for vanilla & this soap should have been named Tahitian Vanilla because thats what it smells like, its a beautiful amber color and also has jasmine, it is vegan & cruelty free *A Portion of proceeds from all Island Vanilla sales goes to the Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation organization.

Andalou Naturals is an amazing company who choose ingredients that are Non-GMO, Cruelty-Free, Gluten-Free, Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Vegetarian & Vegan. If they ever use a palm oil (which I haven’t found in any of the products I own or on their site) it must be sustainably sourced. They use fruit-stem cells & work with many charities (read more here) including Vital Voices and SHE CAN.
If you know anyone who loves beauty & would like to introduce them to more natural based products (the skin is the largest organ, treat it well!) These cleansers are is a great start off and would also make a sweet stocking stuffer.

Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser For Normal & Combination Skin. | This is a vegetarian (contains manuka honey) cleanser for those who have surface pigmentation, uneven tone, and dark spots caused by sun damage. Contains lemon, sea buckthorn & white tea. /
Andalou Naturals1000 Roses Cleansing Foam for Delicate & Dry Skin. | This is a magical product that utilizes fruit stem cells along with purely plant based ingredients to cleanse + soothe the skin. Contains hyaluronic acid & aloe vera.

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Copper & Kraft Soy Candle in Pumpkin Chai & Sea Salt Caramel | These candles are made using natural soy wax, lead-free cotton wicks, phthalate free fragrance oils and no dyes. Y’all, no lie I spent most of autumn buying a lot of candles & wax tarts from this shop. These do not have any paraffin wax and if you know someone who likes the Bath & Body Work candles these are a natural alternative that smell amazing and come in a variety of scents. They now come in a variety of sizes!
Eco Tools Kabuki Retractable Brush | This is an amazing cruelty free brush that is so soft, free of parabens & phthalates. It comes with a pouch (I lost mine though!) and its extremely effective + good for travel!

HoneyBee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder in Luminous* | I love this powder, and its the first powder I have used (because the drugstore stuff I used as a preteen doesn’t count) I use it with the eco tools and its not “powdery” which was my initial fear. It covers my light freckles. HoneyBee gardens is cruelty free, gluten free & fragrance free & vegan.

*This product contains a palm oil derivative & I have emailed HoneyBee Gardens on future palm use and I will update this when I know.

Purple Prairie BotanicaSunStick SPF 30 | A friend of mine, Sophie, had posted an article on how many sunscreens contains chemicals such as oxybenzone & parabens contribute to coral reef damage(read more here, here & here) So I began searching for sunblocks that do not contribute to this. This Purple Prairie SunStick SPF sunblock is vegetarian (contains beeswax) natural & moisturizing thanks to shea & cocoa butter,  it must be applied ever 2 hours but it doesnt leave any white residue & its safe for kids. The company maintains rigid standards for sunscreen allowed in the protected coral reef lagoons of Mexico.

True Organic of Sweden All You Need Is Me Lotion | I received this lotion a few months ago through the Detox Market and its been a life saver because L.A. has very, very dry weather and I have felt the circumstances of it through my skin. this vegetarian balm protects the skin against weather & wind, irritation, relieves minor sunburn, whitens and reduces age spots can be used anywhere topically.

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Oh Mimi, you got your Holiday gift a little earlier. for the puppies, I like the Bobby & Bambi  Holiday Shop. The cookies featuring the Gingerbread Man are on Amazon & I got the Holiday Biscuits which I also got are still up for grabs and feature the new apple + kale w/ mint biscuits. My dogs LOVE these treats. Especially Mimi, and their other pet goodies are wonderfully made with organic, human grade, grain free they are & vegetarian!

Though not featured…and not for pets!, another animal friendly company is Grounds & Hounds who make amazing coffee and donate proceeds to no-kill animal shelters & rescues.

Well there you have it! Do you use any of these products? I also have some gift items in my shop and a coupon for 10% with the code READER. I hope everyone has a great winter season no matter how you celebrate. Stay warm!