Posted in Conscious Consumer Gift Guides

A Mother’s Day Conscious Consumer Gift Guide

Hey all! Springtime is here (well, not really here, here–we are still getting snow in CO). BUT Mother’s Day is upon us, and I always love sharing some gifts that not only make our loved ones feel special, but also make a positive impact in the world. The small makers, sustainable upgrades, fair-trade and female-empowering, and clean and safe options! Especially for the mamas. PLEASE, if you are gifting household, beauty or personal care products, make sure they are safe and healthy for yo momma. xo

Highlighting some current favs below. Reach out with any and all questions and let me know if you purchase one of these ideas for your mama or yourself! -Amber

PS, have an idea for a gift to be added to the Make Simple Happen guide? Contact me!

1. Beautycounter Body Care: Safe and Luxurious Body Care, in newly upgraded sustainable packaging. Give mom the gift of relaxation without harmful chemicals. Favorites include: Luminous Hydration Body Oil in Citrus Rosemary, Melting Body Balm, and the Sugarbuff Body Polish in Lemongrass

Award-winning products, Leaping Bunny Cruelty-free certified, free of 1,800 known toxins and carcinogens, Environmental Working Group (EWG) Certified, and a registered B Corporation that’s women led and owned. Yes please! I’ve been advocating with this amazing company for more than 3 years. And you know what led me to it? Wanting safer products for my momma after a cancer diagnosis. And I can’t stop, wont stop, until all products are safe for us, and we don’t have to watch our loved ones suffer from disease and illness at alarming rates in this country. I know we can do better and I’m so encouraged by the progress made and the shifts in the industry already happening!

2. Hand-poured Terra cotta Tripod Candle:

These Refugee-made wax candles from the nonprofit Preemptive Love, include beautiful terra cotta tripod containers (REFILL them and keep em going!), Soy candles fragranced with phthalate-free essential oils, wooden wicks, and the best part, besides how cute they are–Every candle provides relief and jobs for families fleeing violence around the world.

3. Mama Sweatshirt from Ollie and Penny

Handmade from Ashley in California, order this soft and cute sweetshirt from her Etsy shop and share your support of small female makers. I loved this coloring and font combo so much, and how it can work for a “comfy-at-home” or “out on the town” option.

4. The Eclipse Earrings

I love everything I own from Threads Worldwide–the quality, beauty, and especially the stories behind them. This pair of earrings jumped out to me–made from upcycled bullhorn, bone and wood, each pair is handcrafted from women in Vietnam through a fair-trade workshop that creates jobs and independence.

5. Plant Lady Sun Hat from ModParty on Etsy

Super cute sun hat for your favorite plant lover. Comes in a variety of styles from a female maker on Etsy with 5-star reviews. Double bonus–sun protection! Pair it with your favorite mineral sunscreen (suggestion: Beautycounter’s Daily Sheer Defense).

6. Handwoven Plant Basket

Speaking of PLANTS!

Not only do plants look gorgeous for decorating, but there are several varieties that have been linked to detoxing the air! My favorites are Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, Ferns, and Aloe Vera plants. (and lucky for moms that don’t have a “green thumb”, these varieties are also easy to keep alive!). Read more about how to reduce your toxic load through plants in my post here.

Other ideas:

Buy your flowers from your local Farmer, which promotes seasonality, sustainability, and shopping local (stat: over 80% of all flowers sold in this country were imported–“We can’t possibly care about climate change and global emissions while demanding year-round flower availability”). Shop Local and In-Season Instead: You can locate your local flower farmer here.

Poetry! I am especially into Morgan Harper Nichols, and anxiously awaiting her new book “How Far You Have Come”, which should arrive before Mother’s Day. You can find her work, and really beautiful gifts on the Garden 24.co shop.

The Perpetual Calendar!!! Everyone needs one of these for birthdays and anniversaries!

Product Free Gifts: Foot rubs, hikes together, cooking together, cleaning her house for her, planting a garden for her, HUGS after Hugs (especially after a year of very limited or nonexistent hugs).

BE well, loves!

-Amber

Posted in Clean Swap Your Personal Care Products

Why you need to be your own Personal Care Product Advocate

Consider this an INTRODUCTION for starting a clean swap process. It’s a REALLY big topic, and needs a little context. I will link some articles at the bottom of each post, if you are an information hog (hand raised), and want to continue your research. 🙂

To start off with, it is helpful to know that the United States is VERY FAR behind in its screening and regulations of personal care products. In fact, the last time we passed a comprehensive law governing this $62 billion dollar industry was 1938—81 years ago, people! 😱 Since then thousands of chemicals have been introduced into commerce each year with little, or no, safety data on human use.

If you are like me, I just always assumed that “some larger entity” was screening and regulating the ingredients in our personal care products (lotions, cosmetics, shampoos, baby skin care…), but unfortunately with the exception of a few prohibited substances, personal care companies may use any ingredient or raw material in their products without government review or approval (FDA 2005).

Here’s how we measure up:
• The European Union has banned or restricted over 1,400 ingredients.
• Health Canada has banned or restricted nearly 600 ingredients from personal care products.
• The United States has banned or partially restricted approximately 30 ingredients from personal care products.

👉If you think that number is missing a few extra zeros behind it, it’s time to start making your own personal bans on dangerous ingredients (OR, choose companies who are ethical and transparent and do the work for you). 

I’ll share what I have learned in my research over the past few years since being diagnosed with an ovarian tumor and the rabbit hole (BUT THANK YOU, GOD!) it took me down. Once you know better, you do better, and I am so thankful for the information that has empowered me to be a more educated consumer!💪🏻🙌

START HERE:

  • Arm yourself with information! Download the Environmental Working Group’s “Healthy Living” App (you can also find a full database on their website.

Let’s face it, deciphering labels isn’t easy–and chemicals come in many different forms and names. 🤷‍♀️ This database is so helpful when making decisions about which products to trade for safer items right away, or when deciding between buying one product or another. The Environmental Working Group (EWG’s) Healthy Living App allows you to scan the barcode, or search by the name of your product, and then gives a third-party nonprofit rating, based on the safety of the ingredients.

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The Healthy Living App for your phone will give you the ratings and general info.🚦Think of the ratings like a traffic signal. 1-2’s are ideal (in the green, means “go forth” 💚), 2-6’s contain some questionable or harmful ingredients and should be limited use (in the yellow, proceed with caution ⚠️) and 7-10’s contain really yucky stuff and should be swapped out for safer products ASAP (in the red, STOP now 📛).The full web version of the Skin Deep Database let’s you read about each ingredient in more depth. 

Bear in mind that companies have to willing to DISCLOSE ingredients to begin with for a fair rating, so you aren’t going to find every single brand or product (and I would caution you to rethink your support of a company who isn’t honest and forthcoming about what they put in their products, that you rub over your body each day)–but it is a growing database, and super user-friendly platform. You will find me in the aisles of Target scanning every new lotion or shampoo before I add it to my cart. ❤️

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Additionally, some companies have earned the EWG stamp of approval for safety. Look for “EWG Verified” and you’ll know that this company has been vetted for transparency, and clean, safe ingredient manufacturing! Whoop, Whoop!

  • Knock out the top offenders:

Are there certain ingredients you should ALWAYS try to avoid? Absolutely! Here are some of the worst ingredients in personal care products:

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  • Vote with your $! And, support companies that are working hard to source ethically, provide safe ingredients, and be fully transparent in their labels. 

As you saw in the numbers given earlier, there is still a huge gap between the amount of chemicals other countries have found to have concerning effects and those the U.S. has yet to ban or restrict. There are many good companies starting to pop up, as the demand of consumers increases for healthy personal care products. But here is why I believe Beautycounter stands out as a top mover and shaker in this industry! (plus, the products–OMG. They ROCK).

Amber and Charlotte at Beautycounter store

“At Beautycounter, we’re working to fill that void and taking the necessary steps to protect consumers where possible, by setting our own health and safety standards. To that end, the first step of our Ingredient Selection Process is ban intentionally. We started by eliminating over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, and then added chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. This means approximately 1,500 ingredients are already off the table before we even begin to formulate a product. (You can review the most common harmful ingredients used in the beauty industry in The Never List™).

While the U.S. government has taken action only 30 big-offender ingredients, we continue to go far beyond what is legally asked of us because, quite simply, it’s the right thing to do.”

P.S. If you would like a handy wallet-size reference sheet of “The Never List,” reach out to me. Happy to mail you a copy. 

Never List_MakeSimpleHappen

Reach out with any questions! xo

-Amber

 

Further Research:

Federal Cosmetic Safety Laws Turn 80… Now It’s Time for a Makeover

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2017/09/counteract-coalition-beauty-washington

Myths on cosmetics safety