It’s Earth Month! And close behind is International Earth Day, celebrated on the 22nd April. While most of us here are probably thinking about the Earth 24/7, I’m still glad to carve out some time to celebrate. I like to spend moments like these wild swimming and outdoors as much as possible; watching Spring change the environment around me, appreciating longer spells of sun, and finding gratitude for the multiple natural systems that keep us alive each day.
But, of course, we are in strange times. Some of us may be headed out into the outside world a little more, some may still be sticking close to home. I know I’ve been indoors a whole lot, so I also thought I’d share some of my favourite sustainable, ethical and interesting things I’ve come across recently. Things I’ve enjoyed, and new favourites found during this last lockdown. Hope you enjoy!
Sustainable beauty brand Davines have been a big love of mine this last lockdown. I started using their haircare back in November, and it kept me feeling somewhat put together despite not having a haircut in many, many months. Their Heart of Glass range is specifically formulated for blonde hair, both natural and dyed, offering a complete routine with shampoo, conditioner, treatment and leave-on protection.
They’re a perfect natural alternative to popular ‘purple’ shampoo brands for blondes. Instead, the shampoo and conditioner feature indigo blue, sourced from a natural extract of Jagua, a fruit sustainably grown in Columbia to preserve biodiversity. The range also utilises a botanical shield sourced from sustainably managed forests, which strengthens the hair against heat while keeping it hydrated, and a botanical alternative to silicones sourced from sustainably grown baobab seeds, which moisturises and keeps hair nimble.
As a company overall, Davines have been B-Corp certified since 2016, meaning they must meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Their ingredients are always high-quality, of natural origin, eco-certified or organic, all packaging is recycled or bio-based, and biodiversity is factored into in all they do. They started decarbonising their energy sources in 2006. Nowadays all their products are made in Parma, Italy, in a village powered completely by renewables, while other emissions for the rest of the product lifecycle are offset through a long-running partnership with EthioTrees. EthioTrees plant native tree and shrub species and specifically focus on soil protection, working to regenerate soil organic matter through reforestation and to reduce erosion and desertification.
Beyond this, Davines also believe in supporting small farmers, traditional farming and agroecological practices, with a long-running partnership with The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. The foundation protects traditional local farming practices that risk extinction, promotes specific territories and rekindles historical professions and processing techniques. As a known lover of soil and agroecological methods, plus a person with blonde hair, it’s been a great match for me!
WE ARE KIN
WE ARE KIN is a sustainable, slow fashion label founded by Ngoni Chikwenengere. Their designs revolve around strong silhouettes, statement pieces and a sense of refinement, making garments that are timeless, beautiful and carefully constructed. They work with end of line and sustainable fabrics, and their pieces are responsibly handmade to order in London.
I became aware of this brand, unfortunately, because they became another small business that fell victim to Danielle Bernstein from @weworewhat ripping off their designs. While the circumstances were awful, I’m glad it helped me come to know WE ARE KIN. Their pieces are beautiful, and I’m more than happy to support small sustainable businesses rather than plagiarism and big unethical corporations. They also have the most beautiful swimsuit, which I of course can’t wait to order one day.
The word ‘feminist’ is now securely in mainstream vernacular, becoming a popular slogan around the world. But feminist isn’t a commodity, it’s a tool against injustice. Lola Olufemi’s incredible writing reclaims feminism from the consumerist lens or cultural gatekeepsers, explorings everything from state violence, transmisogyny, gendered Islamophobia and more. She shows how the struggle for liberation is also one for justice, and how it can transform the world for everybody. With testimonials from Sisters Uncut, migrant groups working for reproductive justice, prison abolitionists and activists involved in the international fight for Kurdish and Palestinian rights, Olufemi emphasises the importance of grassroots organising over neoliberal consumption. Overall, it’s a stunning and educational argument for radical transformative work.
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Founded by Esha Ahmed, Omi Na-Na brings together a uniquely curated collection of fashion and homeware from designers across the world. Each designer champions local artisans and traditional techniques, with many also producing their own fabrics in their studios. These small supply chains result in great transparency and control, combining high quality and unique designs with small production runs and fair pay and working conditions for garment workers. Their clothes are vibrant, colourful and full of personality, proving that ethical fashion doesn’t have to be monochrome.
All packaging is recyclable or biodegradable including the tape and, if you find you’re no longer wearing your garment, you can send it back to be upcycled, extending its life rather than sending it to landfill!
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BYBI have been one of my favourite beauty brands for years. I’ve followed their journey from the very beginning, loving everything from their masks to their moisturisers.
However, I recently joined the BYBI double cleansing gang and, I have to say, it’s a game-changer. Double cleansing involves combining an oil-based product with a secondary water-based cleanser to really get your face clean. The oil product attracts and disintegrates oil-based impurities like waterproof makeup, sunscreen, sebum, environmental aggressors and pollution, allowing the second cleanser to deeply clean pores from trapped grime and remove any leftover impurities from the first round. Double cleansing can be particularly effective to combat excess oil production and remove the bacteria that can contribute to breakouts, but it works for all skin types.
I’ve been using their Swipe Clean, with a combination of antibacterial moringa, jojoba and black cumin oils plus hibiscus and papaya oils which are both high in AHAs. It comes in a bottle that can be recycled or sent back to BYBI and they’ll handle the rest. I follow it with Crystal Clear, a foaming gel cleanser with probiotics, salicylic acid and antimicrobial and antiseptic herbal extracts including rosemary and cypress. It comes in a sugarcane tube that can be kerbside recycled. They both last a really long time, as a little goes a long way, and I’ve never felt so clean.
In a world of sugary, eco-destructive and unadventurous drinks, Punchy wanted something better. They created their own range that features interesting flavours with depth, while also being natural, vegan, plastic-free, gluten-free and low sugar. Their natural punches are all low abv at 0% or 4%, providing a grown-up option for those who aren’t interested in consuming a lot of alcohol. Plus, they’re also a member of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of profits to environmental organisations, and they promote mental health care and a pressure-free drinking culture through a partnership with the Jesey mental health app. I love their blood orange, bitters and cardamom, perfect for a sunny day!
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Run by a mother-daughter duo, Goupie create chocolate that is vegan-friendly and gluten-free. They use fairtrade cocoa and are in direct contact with all suppliers to ensure slavery doesn’t creep into the supply chain, while also pursuing change across the industry. Any other ingredients tend to be sourced as locally as possible, such as lavender and cider from down the road in Kent. All products are made in their SALSA certified factory in Tunbridge Wells, where staff are paid above the living wage, in a safe environment and with flexible work hours to suit their needs. All of their packaging is 100% recyclable, FSC certified or compostable, and they have some great flavours!
Disclaimer: some of these brands have gifted items to me before, and I have had a paid relationship with some of them. All these opinions are my own and genuine, however! These truly are favourites of mine!