Fast Fashion and the Destruction of Developing Countries
I was at first reluctant to do a post on makeup, because when it comes to my face, I’m usually au naturel. Like most women, I definitely look better with makeup. So it dawned on me at a young age that if I wore make-up everyday, I’d look “bad” on relaxed, no makeup days. Alternatively, if people were used to seeing my “normal” face, then when I got dressed up, the make-up would really add a punch of glamour. Now at 50 my glamour days are fewer and farther in between. The occasional wedding, holiday or upscale play will bring out the makeup a few times a year.
Two things made me decide to post this short roundup. First, most makeup has been shown to contain toxic heavy metals as well as a host of other toxins and carcinogens. I find that a little crazy. Even if you discount the tiny amounts absorbed through your skin, most of us eat a little lipstick. Second, and the one that tipped the scales for me, I recently read in Veg News Magazine about an organic, plant-based, edible makeup line by Gwyneth Paltrow! Full disclosure, I haven’t tried this brand new line, Juice Beauty, but it’s now on my list and I was really excited to share it. Please leave a comment if you’ve tried it yourself.
If you’re already using a line of makeup that you love, you can check the ingredients in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database. It’s quite comprehensive.
In the meantime, here is my personal very short list of cleaner, more sustainable makeup brands.
No Miss Nail Polish – I started on this brand quite a while ago and particularly like their Almost Natural Polish Remover. Several companies have come out with even cleaner polish formulations (like Honeybee Gardens above), but I paint my nails so rarely that I haven’t needed new polish in forever.
W3ll People – A comprehensive organic makeup line that can be a one-stop shop for everything you need. I personally like their powder foundations and blushes.
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Dr Hauschka Cosmetics. When I was initially doing research on cosmetics, this brand came up again and again as high quality with good ingredients. Alas, my minimalist cosmetics approach never lead me to try it. If you have, please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Hopefully this will provide a good starting point if you’re just looking into eco-friendly, non-toxic cosmetics.
When I first started to look for more sustainable options in body care, I wandered down the aisles of several natural foods stores, and was surprised to find a number of brands touted as “natural” or “organic” that still had some pretty nasty ingredients in them. There are several good resources online to help guide you on what to look for to keep toxins out of our water supplies and off our body. Treehugger.com has a well-rounded list. Terressentials has a comprehensive list that, imho, goes a little too far in some cases, but it’s a good read for purists. Hopefully you can save a little time yourself by taking advantage of my research. Here are some of my personal favorite products and brands.
The maker of my favorite deodorant is also one of my go-to brands for basic moisturizers and skin care. They don’t have an eye cream in their line, so I add 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream to this regime.
I have to admit that despite all the wonderful body washes out there, I still love a good soap. Soap is the “saponification” of an oil with a base, usually lye. Modern soaps that you purchase at a grocery store generally use either petroleum as their base oil or slaughterhouse tallow because both are very inexpensive. In addition to the environmental and animal issues, both of these oils are very drying to your skin. Almost any cold processed, vegetable oil soap scented with essential oils rather than synthetic perfumes is an infinitely better option. Jojoba and Almond Oil soaps are my favorites, though they tend to cost a tad more.
Soap Goddess is hands-down my favorite soap store. Buy 11 bars, get free shipping.
100% Pure has a good collection of scents both online and in stores.
Soap making has become a handmade cottage industry. Check your local farmers market or craft fair for cold-processed soap. This is my favorite way to buy since you can sniff them all to get a scent that speaks to you. It also supports small business and local communities.
Almost all of the brands I’ve linked above have body washes and lotions as well. I also like Nubian Heritage, particularly for their philosophy and work in underdeveloped areas. Click and explore…
Earlier this week, I announced the beginning of a new blog series: A Year of Green Living. I’ll be sharing my personal research and testing of a wide variety of eco-friendly products. We won’t address organic and natural clothing in this series since that’s been the mainstay of the blog to date, and there are already over 100 posts on that topic. OK, let’s get started!
First up in the series is Natural Deodorant. As an athlete who tends to sweat a lot, finding an all-natural deodorant that actually worked was more than frustrating. I tried brand after brand only to find that half way through the day I had developed a noticeable aroma and/or that in the middle of my workout I didn’t want to lift my arms anymore. For almost 6 months, I felt like I had a ripe stench nearly every day. Eventually, I did find a deodorant that works, even for sweaty athletes.
Here are the criteria by which I judged the deodorants I tried:
As it turns out, as part of my turtle approach to greening my whole life, I spent years (literally) doing research and trying new products. In a few cases, I wasted some money trying to find effective natural alternatives to commonly used items. This year, I thought I would share some of that “off-topic” knowledge to my customers and followers. Since my business is organic clothing, not blogging, I don’t have sponsors or get free items from vendors. I am able to provide truly unbiased assessments of products currently on the market that I personally use or have tried.
|New Year Snow – View from the Faerie’s Dance Office|
That said, I’m starting a new blog series called “A Year of Green Living.” I’ll provide everything from tips on natural deodorants to reviews of books and movies. I hope you’ll follow along and let me know what you think and maybe offer up tips of your own along the way. Let me know what topics you’d like to hear more about and we’ll add them in.
Dean’s Beans, as I have come to know the company, carries itself like a man who has just seen his doctor and been given a few months left to live. There is a fundamental focus on the soul of the company, the legacy we are leaving behind, and the quality of the relationships that we are building. No one enters into an unmeaningful relationship in the final moments of their life. They don’t have the time, and every moment must be savored and spent with the people that are as excited about you as you are about them. Dean’s Beans as a company is alive and well, but as a company, they carry themselves as if every move is the defining moment of their legacy. It has to be ethical, it has to build meaningful relationships, and it has to feed the company’s soul.
Now, what does any of this have to do with the mad dash of consumerism that takes place after Thanksgiving?
Having had my soul thoroughly examined by every member of Dean’s team at his beanery in Orange, I was hired and given the title of Chief Media Magnet. As the go-to guy for all things marketing, I immediately extended my brain to the opportunities that the holiday season provides. I even began composing tweets, email blasts, and other social media pieces about the importance of supporting this amazing company in the holiday season- especially during the feeding-frenzy of online shopping at the end of November and beginning of December.
Except that none of it felt right.
Black Friday has reached an almost comical level of chaos in most stores, to the point where REI publicly announced that they aren’t participating this year… ironically the publicity has been a major boon for the company, and others like Nordstrom have followed suit and are making beaucoup bucks. Small Business Saturday is getting a ton of love this year from congress, the president, and small business owners world-wide. BUT IT WAS CREATED AND CONCEIVED BY AMERICAN EXPRESS IN 2010! There is a foul odor emanating from any “selfless” promotion propagated by a huge corporation like American Express.
Now all of this isn’t to say that that these days of shopping are intrinsically evil. Thousands of small, wonderful businesses really benefit from this time of year, and this increased exposure. Heck- we sure do! But to ally ourselves with them? It feels like that’s a dicey defining moment to our legacy, and I now judge all of my actions by that company standard.
Therefore- I propose that you celebrate WTF Wednesday with us this year. It’s a wonderful way for you to plant your tongue firmly in your cheek, all while supporting the stores that you want to support. We are able to engage in meaningful, direct development work all across the coffeelands, partly due to the sales we make this time of year. We are so incredibly grateful that our customers have given us the opportunity to operate in this way- and we know that as we seek out only truly meaningful relationships, you are all a huge part of that.
As the newest member of the Dean’s Beans family, I want to thank you for feeding my soul.
Robin Stewart DeMartino
(the new guy)
We just completed an overhaul of our FAQ. In addition to updating previous answers with new products, links and more detailed information, we’ve also added some new questions that we’ve received quite a lot recently. The question that’s come up most often is “Why don’t bras and panties ever seem to go on sale?” So, here’s why.
We have a very hard time keeping bras and panties in stock. Bra and panty manufacturers seem to go out of business on us every few months. Because of that, we end up taking bigger risks with intimates, buying and stocking more than we normally would on other items and then having to warehouse them.
We put twice as much time and effort into getting the bras and panties in and keeping them stocked than anything else in the store. In addition, most Europeans are used to paying a lot more for bras than we are here in the US. So an $80 or $90 bra is common as is a $30 or $40 pair of underwear. (We’ve tried a few of those, but they just don’t really sell here). So to keep prices reasonable everyday, we take a smaller profit on bras and panties. This is even true of the panties we manufacture in-house. We wanted to keep the price range to $12-$14 per pair regardless of the cost of production.
Please take a look at some of the other US companies selling organic cotton panties – like Blue Canoe or PACT. You’ll find we’re the only company that has a very large selection of organic panties for less than $20 each. And the few brands we carry that are more readily available in the USA are offered at 10% off every single day. (For example, all of our Blue Canoe products are at least 10% off every day without a sale.)
If you’ve made it this far, we can tell you that our Anniversary is in July. We premiered our webstore July 22, 2005. Each July we do a one-week sale that includes every single item in the store – including bras, panties and clearance items – as a celebration of our anniversary. So this is the one time of year to stock up and save.
Be sure you are signed up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement. It’s mailed only once per month, so it’s not an overwhelming amount of e-mail.
I’m so excited to introduce the exclusive, limited edition:
In addition to working with Love Nature in Italy on our exclusive distribution arrangement, we’ve also been working with Occidente in France. Occidente’s line is a bit more whimsical. They have fun, fresh lingerie more suited to special occasions rather than everyday basics.
We fell in love with the outline of this underwire bra with tie straps, and had them design one for us with the lovely butterfly fabric (GOTS certified, of course) from our favorite Forest Faery Dress. (And what better item to wear it with?)
The only downside is that it is a limited edition. So once they’re gone… well, you know.
You’ve just made your first eco-fashion purchase. You’re enamored with your $20 organic cotton
t-shirt and matching $40 shorts. You’re
touting the benefits of your new eco-duds to one of your friends when she whips
out a t-shirt made from organic cotton that she just bought at Big Mart for $5. Ouch!
What just happened?
In February we announced that Love Nature was rethinking their line and might discontinue production. Months later, with a lot of negotiation, I’m extremely excited to announce that FaeriesDance.com will be exclusively selling a limited selection of Love Nature favorites.
Our agreement spans 5 organic cotton bras and 4 panties. We’ll be getting the largest quantity of the all-time favorite Alba line including:
Two pieces from the Princess Line:
One bra from the Fairy Tale Collection:
And a matching bra and panty set:
We specifically tried to focus on bras that had features unique to Love Nature. That’s why 4 of the 5 are their signature organic cotton padded bras with polyester-free, cotton padding. The Alba No Wire bra, our best-selling bra of all time, rounded out the fifth (shown left).
Love Nature is a subsidiary of the Italian lingerie brand Lormar. While Lormar has decided not to move forward with Love Nature, they still have access to the production facilities. The most difficult issue we faced was ensuring that Lormar could still source all of the incredible eco-fabrics that were used in the Love Nature line. So their production team had to check each style for availability of the fabrics, the cotton paddings and the trims. That, combined with the high quantities required to produce each style, forced us to stick with just a few designs.
For a small business like ours, the quantities are staggering. We’re literally getting thousands of bras and hundreds of panties. Even at our most ambitious growth predictions, we should have stock the next 3 years. However, this agreement was a one-time only offer from Lormar. So we don’t expect to be able to restock again once these are gone.
That said, there are a couple of minor negatives.
We hope you’ll appreciate our efforts. The most common complaint we hear is when a favorite staple – be it bras, underwear or socks – becomes unavailable. Of course, we also hope this will bolster our business for the next few years while we scour the planet for more eco-undies.
We expect these items to be available for sale in October, 2014.