Skincare That Loves You Back

If you are anything like me, you might have a love-hate relationship with your skin. Overall, I am pretty lucky with the skin I’m in, but it can be sensitive and moody at times. I was also blessed to have relatively clear skin during puberty, but now I’m struggling with minor acne in my 20’s. Great!

My search for excellent products that check all “Three Loves boxes” (Good for You, Good for the Earth, and Good for Others) is not over, but I wanted to share with you a few brands and products that I have found and tried, AND they work!

In the next few blog posts, I will be highlighting my daily facial routine, body soaps and lotions, and even deodorant! But before I get into that I wanted to share about what I look for in products and a few awesome resources!

Just Say No!

What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body. While your body does not absorb EVERYTHING that it comes in contact with (thankfully!), I just don’t like the idea of putting potentially harmful chemicals on or in my body when there are healthy alternatives!

There are quite a few chemicals and product ingredients that are considered “unhealthy.” The list is long and many of the names are even longer. I will highlight here a few of the “No’s” that I check for when looking at new products:

  • Aluminum Powder
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • “Fragrance”
  • Formaldehyde releasers (Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15)
  • Parabens (specifically propyl-, butyl-, isopropyl-, and isobutyl- parabens)
  • Petrolatum and Parrafin
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan and triclocarban
  • Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinol)

For comprehensive ingredient lists and more explanation definitely visit: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/top-tips-for-safer-products/ and https://credobeauty.com/pages/the-credo-clean-standard#dirty

  • Palm Oil

If you don’t know, palm oil is being harvested at crazy rates, which means deforestation and a loss of habitats for many animals, especially orangutans! Avoiding non-sustainable palm oil is much harder than it sounds because palm oil is in so many items, and it can be difficult to ensure sustainability. But it is worth it!

All that might sound a little overwhelming, but don’t stress. Let me share with you a few tips and tricks that I have used to avoid meltdowns in the Target beauty aisle (which have happened).

  1. Do a little research first.

When I know I’m running low on shampoo or foundation and I want to try a new one, I head over to my two favorite websites: Credo Beauty and EWG’s Skin Deep.

Credo Beauty only sells products that are free from the top harmful chemicals. They claim to be the largest clean beauty store on the planet.

EWG (Environmental Working Group) has many resources. Their Skin Deep page has a large database with thousands of health and beauty products. They rank the products based on their ingredients and give them a health score. The lower the score, the safer they are.

I look at both of these sites for ideas and recommendations on products. I can then compare prices online and find the best deal. It saves me a lot of stress in the store.

  1. Look for certifications.

We don’t have the resources to check every company that we buy from. It’s just not possible to research supply chain and how each product is made. Good news: There are organizations out there doing it for us! Look for their logos on the backs of products.

Want to love others by ensuring that animals weren’t harmed in the making of your beauty or health products? Look for the Leaping Bunny.

“The Leaping Bunny Logo is the only internationally recognized symbol guaranteeing consumers that no new animal tests were used in the development of any product displaying it.”

Ethical Pixie

For more explanation on other cruelty free and vegan certifications check out this blog: https://ethicalpixie.com/2019/01/07/understanding-cruelty-free-and-vegan-logos/

Want to love others and the earth? Be sure to support ethical companies. Corporations and businesses can earn the B-Corp certification by making choices that help their community, the environment, and the people they serve.

“Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”

http://www.bcorporation.net

Want to make sure that your products are helping others and made ethically? Look for the Fair Trade logo. This certification means that your purchase is supporting the people who made it, rather than hurting.

“The Fair Trade Certified™ seal represents thousands of products, improving millions of lives, protecting land and waterways in 45 countries and counting.”

http://www.fairtradecertified.org

Hopefully I didn’t overwhelm you with too much info. Before you give up, pick one easy step to focus on. The next time you run out of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc., make the choice to buy something better instead.

Don’t focus on doing it all perfectly. Even I don’t get it right every time. I hope this information empowers you and gives you a few tools for making healthy and positive change in the products you put on your body.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me here or on Instagram @threelovesblog.

Love,

Melissa

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

freewaters 1

Out of everything, finding ethically-made shoes has been the hardest for me. I am slowly finding more and more companies that are sustainably and ethically producing shoes. I also prefer not to buy shoes second-hand because I have heard that it’s not the best for your feet.

Check out these four companies that have given me great results.

Stylish boots, cute sandals, and great shoe options for the workplace. Very classic, quality leather, and ethically made in Peru. The ethics of their company is very important to them, and they make their shoes to last.

I have made several purchases from this company, and a few didn’t work out. Their customer service is excellent, and they even gave me a discount code to put towards my next purchase when they made an error. I definitely recommend this brand for quality shoes you’ll keep for years.

 

For the longest time, I struggled to find an ethically-made tennis shoe that fit my style. Then one day, I came across Allbirds, and I was sold! They are made from trees, and they are sustainable, eco-friendly, and ethically-made.

I had to wait a few days for them to arrive, and then I put them on. I was even more excited! I felt like i was walking on air, and they were so cute! The style I got are made from harvested eucalyptus pulp (what?!), wool, and other recycled material.

My Allbirds feel like a step-up from Vans or Converse, so I often wear them to work. (I’m a teacher.) But I also love pairing them with shorts and a t-shirt. They are also easy-to-clean (which is helpful when you step in a mud puddle).

 

I bought a pair of their leather flip-flops for my trip to Tahiti because they can be dressed-up or dressed-down AND they have great support. Freewaters makes a variety of sandals, and even have boots and tennis shoes. The best part- your purchase helps fund water projects around the world!

I’m currently trying to get my fiancé to purchase a pair of Freewaters for his next flip-flop purchase instead of Rainbows. REI even sell some of their styles online!

This company makes natural rubber and leather flip-flops, as well as slippers. They use conscious materials and work with artisans and cooperatives around the world. The best part- they are very reasonably priced so there is no excuse! I got a pair for my trip to Tahiti, and they worked great!

 

So next time you’re in need of shoes, check out these brands. And as always, if you have had good experiences with another company let me know! My goal is to make conscious buying easier and more fun. I don’t receive any promotions from these brands. I just like supporting companies that are trying to do it the right way.

Love always,

Melissa

 

Your Ethically-Made Clothing Guide

Image result for ethically made clothes symbolMy first ever consciously ethical clothing purchase was a pair of running shorts and a maroon sweater from my friend and fellow heptathlete, Becky. She and her friends had decided to sell all of their unethically made clothes and use the money to purchase only ethically-made clothes. It was their own social experiment called the Lighten Project (which I mentioned in my ‘Clothing’ introduction post). Becky’s decision inspired me to know who made my clothes and were they treated fairly.

I learned that there are over 40 million slaves globally. That’s more than there ever has been before, even during the days of the Atlantic slave trade! “Human trafficking generates $150B annually.”* And much of human trafficking is in the supply chains and factories where our clothes are made. While I never purposely contributed to human trafficking, I quickly realized that my purchases were supporting these companies and the enslavement of people. How could I support that?

So I started looking for brands and clothes that were ethically-conscious. I quickly learned that they tend to be more expensive, but I knew that the people who made them were being treated and paid fairly. To me, it’s worth it. I also quickly learned to buy less!

Check out my clothing guide for some of my favorite brands:

1. Jeans and Pants

One of the hardest things for me to switch over has been jeans, but I really love Prana’s London Jeans. They have the same slim fit that I was used to with American Eagle’s jeans. Their jeans also come in short, regular, and long! The material is very comfortable and stretchy.

I also bought a couple pairs of their other pants for work. I’m a kindergarten teacher so I need to be able to move around, be comfortable, but also look cute and professional. I tried Prana’s Brenna Pant and their Carlotta Crop. I LOVE them both!

Some of their pants are very “outdoorsy,” but many of them are perfect for every day AND you could wear them on your next hiking adventure.

What’s more??? Their clothes are bluesign®Certified (good for the earth), Fair Trade Certified, and they use organic cotton, recycled wool, and recycled down in their products.

 

This is an especially great stop for jeans. They have a wide variety of cuts, styles, and washes. High rise, low rise, straight, skinny, light wash, dark wash, and everything in between- they have it!

Their clothing is great quality and made to last. Plus, its very reasonably priced. They boast ethical factories and radical transparency.

 

 

If you are looking for anything denim, they have it all. I don’t own any of their jeans, but I have heard a lot about them.

They are a locally owned business in Los Angeles, started by a father and a daughter. So cute! If you like designer jeans, this is the place for you. Just know, their prices are closer to designer prices too.

 

2. Tops

This shop whisks you away to the streets of Paris! The few tops I own from Amour Vert are my fancier, nicer tops. I really love the fabrics and prints that they offer. I always shop their sales, and I have been able to find some really unique and cute pieces.

They offer sustainable fashion that is made in the USA. As a bonus, for every shirt sale, they plant a tree! This brand may not be your style, but it is perfectly mine!

 

 

Krochet Kids’ Tees are so soft and are signed by the person who made them. This personal touch fills me with joy when I see it and it makes me feel like I am wearing a piece of unique piece of art. Their prices are very reasonable too!

Krochet Kids employs women and work to break people out of the cycle of poverty. You can even visit their website and learn about the woman who made your exact item of clothing. You can write her a note of thanks or encouragement. How awesome!

 

I have a couple basic v-necks from Prana, and I love how soft and modest they are. They have a little pocket, which I love. And the v-neck is not too low!

Their clothes are bluesign®Certified (good for the earth), Fair Trade Certified, and they use organic cotton, recycled wool, and recycled down in their products.

 

AND THEY’RE HAVING A 60% OFF SALE RIGHT NOW!!!

3. Dresses

Amour Vert is the place to go for fancier dresses and adorable jumpsuits! I have been eyeing several dresses on their websites that would be perfect for all the weddings I am going to. They offer dresses that are more than just the basics.

The fabric is well-made and the prints are both cute and classy. Again, they offer sustainable fashion that is made in the USA.

 

 

The cotton dresses from Fair Indigo are perfect for your everyday classic simplicity. I think a few of them are even party-worthy. I don’t own a dress from them yet (remember, I am trying to buy less)but they have so many different styles that you are bound to find what you are looking for.

They advertise sustainable styles and are Green America Approved (which promotes ethical consumerism for both people and the planet). You can also shop based on your values, whether that’s organic, fair trade, or USA-made.

 

 

  • Thrift Stores

Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good thrift store. I finally found a really great one near my house, and I’m so excited! I found a couple great dresses the last time I went, and I have been really enjoying them. I am very hesitant to get bras or swimsuits at a thrift store (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone), but you can find some great dresses if you look hard enough.

(Prana and Krochet Kids also have nice dresses)

4. Basics and Underwear

This is my stop for my underwear, camis, socks, and other basics. Their cotton is organic and Fair Trade Certified. They are very reasonably priced and they give away free socks! Who doesn’t like FREE SOCKS?!

 

 

They have an eclectic assortment of bras and underwear. This is where you would find the pretty, lacy, and, dare I say, sexy, bras that some other “basics” companies don’t have. They also have some beautiful and elegant matching sets. I bought one of their bras for a lingerie shower, and my friend really liked it.

What’s even better? Their company is eco-conscious, ethically conscious, and empower women by employing women in the slums of Colombia to make lingerie bags that are included in

each purchase. They primarily hire single mothers and head-of-household women to work in their garment factories and make sure they are paid well and given benefits.

 

 

Wondering about activewear, swimwear, and shoes? To avoid a super long post, stay tuned later this week and next week for more ethically-made, eco-friendly guides coming your way.

For the ethically-made clothing guides that inspired me, check out: The Good Trade and Conscious Life and Style.

Lastly, I recognize that the issue of modern day slavery in the clothing industry is extremely complex. Slavery is not just found in the factories where clothes are made, but in the supply chain of the materials. It is very difficult to trace a piece of clothing all the way back to every origin. However, these companies are working against that.

My hope is that we as consumers speak up and tell the top clothing companies that we want change! I love supporting the brands that are making a difference, but I truly believe that the biggest change will happen if the big brands decide to change. They will only change if their consumers speak out.

Lots of love,

Melissa

P.S. If you want more information on slavery in the supply chains, here is a great article:  https://fashionista.com/2018/07/fashion-industry-modern-slavery-report-2018. And here are more stats: https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/

Ethical, Sustainable Brands

I know that shopping ethical and sustainable brands can be daunting. And the price tags scare many people away. I know that shopping this way isn’t for everyone, but I challenge those who are willing to shop at Anthropologie, Lululemon, Nike, Free People, the Gap, etc. These brands cost the same (if not less). Why not use your money to support fair wages and a better environment? My first step was to say “no” to fast fashion. The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothes per year! By buying clothes that are made to last and by buying less, I now see my clothes as an investment rather than a fad. I’m off on a trip to Tahiti with my family so I wanted to share with you my go-to ethical and sustainable brands that I made sure to pack!

Continue reading “Ethical, Sustainable Brands”

Home

“Who makes my sheets?”
“How much plastic do I use and waste in my kitchen?”
“Are these cleaning products actually healthy?”

These are some of the most recent questions I have been asking myself. Let me be clear: becoming a conscious consumer is a process! I have been exploring this lifestyle for a few years, and I am just starting to get to this category.

Continue reading “Home”

Clothing

In 2016, a few friends from Westmont College started a blog called Lighten Project, and I was inspired to think about where my clothes, shoes, necklace, and purse came from. How many people were enslaved in the supply chain to make my shirt? I decided that in order to love others, I needed to not support the companies that were creating unsafe working conditions and paying unfair wages.

Continue reading “Clothing”