As a dark skin Black woman, I have an added challenge in finding green makeup that matches my skin tone. By some kind of magic, Elate Cosmetics manages to be Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Toxin Free, Gluten Free while actually get the job done. I found that using Elate Cosmetics gave me a natural no-makeup look.
Watch my full review here:
I was very impressed with Elate Cosmetic’s packaging. The items were sent in a cardboard box, nestled in compostable packing peanuts.The only amount of waste created was from the label stickers. Elate Cosmetics chose a beautiful bamboo for their brushes and compact cases. I especially loved the fact that the bronzer I got had a magnetic insert that I could switch out and use in the compact case. I was delighted every time I saw the products inside my bag. They were gorgeous to look at.
I loved seeing recognizable ingredients like castor seed oil, jojoba oil, rice bran, coconut, etc. The green ingredients lent themselves to a skin-like finish on the makeup. The mascara is so simple but gives my curly lashes a wide-eyed and natural look. The coverage of the foundation was full and not too heavy, which I liked. I wanted to love the Eco-Brow balm because of it’s beautiful packaging but I wasn’t a huge fan of the way it filled in my brows, rather than sculpting them. For those who want a more natural brow look, the Eco-Brow balm might be perfect.
I give this rating fully acknowledging that Elate Cosmetic has carefully curated collection of makeup products. As I was looking for a suitable shade for my skin tone, I found that there were typically two dark options (a medium and a dark brown). The problem I had was with the undertones of both shades. I once went outside wearing full-tint foundation in the color chestnut, and I noticed it had an orangey-red tone to it once it oxidized. I felt like the deep options needed a little more formulating to fit deeper skin tones. On top of that, there are 3 concealer shades, none of them exactly suitable for people with deeper skin tones. I am not personally replacing my foundations/powders just yet because of the undertone issue but those whose skins tones are offered might not have an issue.
Do you have a favorite green makeup brand? Drop your faves in the comment section!
In this video I share how I gradually transitioned into minimalism and zero waste. It didn’t happen overnight, but with careful consideration along the way. Check out some of the products and things that helped me reduce my waste.
I don’t know about you but when I don’t reflect, I get ungrateful. When I don’t look back on where I started, I miss how much I’ve grown.
A couple days into the 2016 new year, someone asked me how 2015 had been for me. With a labored sigh, I replied “In all honesty, it was a tough year.” I hadn’t told a lie– 2015 was sprinkled with unexpected let-downs and challenges. Social media has a way of compiling a highlight reel of our lives that gives the false impression of a perfect life. While I was winning awards and getting speaking engagements, I was grappling with the reality of a dwindling savings account. One day, when I’m ready, I will tell you all that story. It’s one of true friendship and God’s provision. I’ll save it for another day.
Right now I want to take you back to how I started the year. I wrote down a vision for what I wanted to see in the next 365 day. I included my ambitions, my hopes, and my motivations. I believe that the way you start (with optimism and hope) frames how you’ll approach the year, with all its good and its bad.
“Go. See. Do”
I had purposed in my mind that I wanted to take a solo trip after I graduated with my Masters degree. I was nervous and was constantly checking Google Flight alerts for tickets during my lunch breaks. My destination of choice? Copenhagen, Denmark. I love biking culture and I had heard it’s a safe place for a woman to travel alone. I caught huge a break with a roundtrip ticket for under $600. On my trip, I stayed at the Urban House in Denmark and hopped over to Germany to visit friends and learn about sustainable fashion at H&M Starting House. I’d recommend a solo trip to anyone who’s ever considered it.
Be Happy. Live Well.
Happiness to me consists of spending time with loved ones and being free to be myself. Living far away from my family and friends, the things I cherish the most are unexpected phone calls, care packages, and authentic acts of friendship. In order for me to “live well,” I had to shed dead weight that was not helping me develop as an individual. It can be difficult to let go of relationships and things that used to fit you. Once those things become a hinderance, it’s necessary to remove them from your life. As a recovering people-pleaser, I still struggle with the need to justify my actions but a dear friend challenged me to start living for an audience of one. As long as God is pleased with my actions, I don’t owe anyone anything. I have said many times before that I am fiercely protective of my happiness— as we all should be. Before you invite people, habits, and things into your life, examine them thoroughly. And let them in only if they will make you a better version of yourself.
One day, I was praying and I thought what big and specific thing could I ask of God? I declared, “I want to have 5 speaking engagements this year.” As the months rolled by, I had almost forgotten my prayer. But emails and calls started pouring in and on December 4th, I found myself on stage at an award ceremony, giving remarks about sustainable fashion. It was my fifth and final speaking engagement for the year. Sometimes, I still feel like the nerdy girl who reads articles about textile waste for fun and it’s humbling that people want to hear what I have to say. The Word says, You have not because you do not ask (James 4:2). God is not intimidated by our ambition. Ask Him for what you want and when you do, ASK BIG.
Leaders of the New Cool
I’m not shy about telling people that I want my startup Style Lottery to be the thought-leader in recycling textiles. We’ve been working with the circular economy for a couple of years and we have been changing the way consumers get rid of their old clothes. Sustainable fashion isn’t just the new cool, it’s going to become the new standard. This year, I challenged myself to be true to my convictions. I adjusted my shopping habits and now more than half my closet is second-hand. I enjoy fashion and I recognize its ability to connect and empower communities. I am an outspoken advocate for sustainable fashion. You know what qualifies us as leaders? Our closets, our wallets, and what we chose to use them for.
I dabbled in the zero waste world for a bit and learned some great ways to lower my carbon footprint. I attended SXSW Eco, tried composting, eliminated meat from my diet, and read The Zero Waste Home from cover to cover. At the end of the day, I identified the necessities and the excesses in my life. I focused on getting basic staples and timeless pieces that will last several seasons. I have chosen to adopt a minimal waste lifestyle, where I work to minimize my environmental impact. Ever since I made the switch, I have less stuff and more substance. I’m aware that not everyone can fit all their trash into a mason jar, but if we can all reduce our waste in some way, we can make the world a better place.
Writing this post was therapeutic for me. In retrospect, I can see that I had a fantastic year. Although I didn’t get all the answers I wanted in 2015, I know that God will complete the work He started. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11. It says,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
That promise from God is enough optimism and hope to launch me into 2016. I cannot wait to see how His plans unfold in my life.
Did you make a vision board this year? Or make New Years resolutions? If so, what were your main themes for 2016? Leave a comment below :)
Warning: Before I fully launch into this post, I should let you know that I’ll be talking about periods…as in a woman’s menstruation. The skirmish readers out there can go check out some safer posts here.
The most challenging area of waste for me has always been my period. My cycle typically would last 5 days and I would wear tampons with a safety pad underneath, in case of leaks. I have a pretty light cycle so I like solutions where I only have to do minimal work. When I started hearing horror stories (like a woman who got toxic shock syndrome from a tampon and had to have her leg amputated as a result) I decided tampons weren’t worth the risk. Also, the thought of having my used tampons in a landfill somewhere was a bit nausea-inducing to me. I started looking for alternatives that reduce my carbon footprint and not put me at risk.
There are studies that say “in her 20s alone, a woman will spend over $26,000 on vaginal maintenance (pads/tampons, exams, birth control, etc.” This was a price I had accepted as a result for Adam snitching on Eve for eating the apple being a woman. Someone did the calculation that I would have been happier not knowing of how much having period costs women.
With this high cost in mind, I went out in search for some options. One day a friend of mine (Julia) was telling me about this pad alternative that she’d been using for years. She said it was a little cup that collected the period blood and all she had to do was fish it out and dump it. Naturally, my mind went to a confused and creeped out place. But I was curious. So I did some research on menstrual cups and watched a few explanation videos on YouTube. The videos did a great job of informing me and calming down my fears about using the cups. So about a year ago, I bought the Diva Cup online and decided to give it a try.
A little background info: At the time I was thinking of first trying the cup, I had just had my first pap smear (late, I know, don’t judge me) and I was feeling tough. I thought I could handle anything so I opened up the packaging and read the instructions. Then I looked at the size of the cup and then back at the instructions. I proceeded to have a mini panic attack and text my friend inappropriate questions that were probably beyond our current level of friendship. With the help of her calm voice over the phone and some Youtube videos, I worked up the courage to do it.
Now, a year later I am loving the menstrual cup and the freedom it brings me. I highly recommend you give it a try if you’re tired of your period taking over your life. One of the updates I made to my monthly regimen is that instead of using a pantyliner under my Diva Cup. I’ recently tried a cloth pad from Paditude while I was wearing my Diva Cup. I must disclose that I met the owner, Amy Huffman at DC Green Festival and she gave me a light Paditude liner to try. I’d been hearing a lot about them and I had been very skeptical about trying it. Cloth pads are definitely an experience, but Paditude’s craftmanship is beautiful. It has a colorful design, is hand-sewn for sturdiness, and has an absorbent core made from organic bamboo fleece. I tried out the liner on the last day of my cycle and I didn’t leak onto my clothes. It didn’t move around (it’s secured by snaps) and was actually quite comfortable to sit on. Overall, it wasn’t too bad! Although plenty of people swear by cloth pads, I still prefer the flexibility of the menstrual cup. One of the downfalls is the price of a Paditude set. The way my wallet is set up, I’m not quite there yet. So I made a compromise and started using the Paditude liner instead of the disposable pantiliners. Yay for less menstrual waste in landfills!
Being waste free is not about being a hippie or doing extreme things. It’s about finding eco-friendly options that you’re comfortable with. I use menstrual cups because they make me periods more tolerable. I’m writing this post to give you all options. Take what fits your needs and leave what doesn’t work for you :).
To hear about my full experience with the cup, watch below to see my Periscope recap where I talk about menstrual cups:
Don’t take my word for it. See what these other ladies had to say:
1. Zero Waste Menstrual Products- by Fort Negrita (blog post and video)
Meet Anamarie from the zero-waste blog, Fort Negrita. She is an Earth advocate with passion for zero-waste, traveling, self-reliance, and regenerative energy and waste. I had the chance to interview her about the realities of the zero waste lifestyle. Check out the interview to learn great tips for about living a more minimal lifestyle and creating less waste.
What does zero waste mean to you?
Zero waste is a silent protest and it’s a conscious decision to eliminate waste from your life. You’re voting for the kind of products you want to see on shelves. From the way that you purchase groceries to how you buy clothes, being a conscious consumer lets you put your money where your mouth is. Instead of supporting unsustainable companies you get to support the kind of businesses you’d like to see thrive.
How much power and influence do you think the consumer has?
The power of the consumer is huge. Every dollar spent is a vote. And the more aware customers are of how their money is being used by companies, the more empowered they are. Consumers are letting businesses know what they like and what they want.
Before you started zero waste, what was producing the most waste in your life?
Definitely food. We live in a to-go culture and that to-go lifestyle has a lot of packaging. So it’s very easy to create waste with food. Before I started zero waste, I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. I needed to go buy things like almond milk and I didn’t know how I was going to give up those things. Eventually, I swapped out all of them for zero waste options.
How do you handle grocery shopping if you’re trying to avoid food packaging waste?
I’ve swapped out food packaging for food that comes from the bulk section of stores. Not like Sam’s Club bulk, but bulk that involves a scooper and dried goods. I can get itemslike nuts, grains, rice, and granola in bulk. I go to the grocery with my own canvas bags and mason jars and take home all my dried goods inside of those. So I either buy in bulk or in the produce section.
What about when you go out to eat?
I tend to stick with dine-in restaurants, rather than to-go places. You have to find unique ways to get around making trash. I haven’t been able to get waiters to package up my food in my reusable food container because of food regulations, which I respect. So I order my food “for here” and when I want to take leftovers home I can package them up by myself in my own food container.
Since starting zero waste substitutes that you’ve made and things you’ve given up?
I gave up on toothpaste tubes and started making my own 4-ingredient toothpaste. It has baking soda, coconut oil, tea tree oil and peppermint oil. And I now use a bamboo toothbrush. When I’m done with it, I can use the toothbrush handle as a marker in my garden or toss it into my compost.
I also switched to soap without packaging. I fill up my jars with castile soap and I use it for cleaning my dishes, the floor, and the bathroom.
I buy a big jug of distilled white vinegar and use it for cleaning. When I’m done, I recycle the jug.
I don’t use disposable cups anymore so if I want some coffee or chai tea, I just grab my mason jar or a reusable cup.
What was the biggest challenge for you in your transition to zero waste?
I have been zero waste for over a year so it doesn’t feel weird to me anymore. It was a habit that I had to create to replace old ones. One of the toughest habits to break was using paper towels. I was so used to going into public bathrooms and drying my hands on paper towels that when I started zero waste, I was still doing it. It took me a full month before I stopped pulling paper towels.
How much do you stay ahead of the game?
I always keep 3 things in my bag at all times— a reusable cup, a cloth napkin, and either a spoon, spork or a fork. Preparation is a big thing for me. There were those moments at the beginning where I was out somewhere and really wanted something to eat or drink but was unprepared. Now I can’t leave home without my stuff because if I’m out with it, I risk not being able to eat when I want to. I had to figure out my groove, where I could go and shop. I learned a few tricks. For example, if I wanted some Powerade, I could go to Circle K or 7Eleven and use their machines to refill my reusable cup. It all took some time, but now that I’m doing it every day, it doesn’t feel like work to me.
What kind of progress would you like see in regards to zero waste?
I’d like to see more businesses cater their structure to the zero waste lifestyle. A lot of times, it’s on the individual to do good but it really should be on businesses to create a culture around zero waste. Think about a coffee shop. If they decided to no longer carry paper cups and instead have ceramic cups or let people bring in their reusable cups, we’ll see the culture begin to change to one that is zero waste-friendly.
If people want to try out zero waste, where should they start?
They should start by watching the things they’re throwing away and being more thoughtful about their waste. Think about how your trash is going to be around in landfills for a thousands years even after you’re done with it.
It seems like minimalism and zero waste go hand-in-hand. Would you say going zero waste has made you more of a minimalist?
Definitely. You start thinking Do I need this or do I want this? Sometimes people just buy things because it creates a comfort for them, but it’s not really a need. When you’re zero waste, buying something you don’t need is really just wasteful. I started looking at everything I already owned and it started to bother me. I looked into my closet and thought why do I even have all this stuff? And thinking about getting rid of it, just frustrated me even more. With zero waste, you start wanting less and you replace that consumer “feel-good” you get from buying things. You end up finding happiness in other ways. Zero waste is like an awakening. It makes you a conscious consumer.
Anamarie was also featured on CNN. Click the picture to watch the video:
I once went one a mission trip to Mexico where we visited a very poor slum where people basically lived in a landfill. To this day, I have a very visceral awareness of the impact my consumption has on other people. The idea of producing zero waste has been fascinating to me since I first heard about it a few weeks ago. It’s a interesting challenge that can overwhelm you if you try to do too much at once.
So, what is Zero Waste? A Zero Waste lifestyle encourages individuals to live more sustainably by reducing, reusing, and recycling. It is an extension of minimalism and environmentalism. So of, course we’re all about it here at Style Lottery.
I see Zero Waste as a challenge for us to take a critical look at our consumption. Are our lives filled with things or do we focus on the people we meet and the experiences that we have with them? Sometimes we have to start small in order to lessen our environmental footprint without going insane. Here are some ways to start:
1. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
I recently switched over to bamboo (Brush with Bamboo) toothbrushes and I loved it! Although I did feel like a hipster brushing my teeth with a wood handle, it felt good knowing that my toothbrush was compostable and would be returning to the earth from where it came. I’m so excited about these toothbrushes that I’m putting them in my family’s stockings this year.
2. Toss out plastictupperware
As I was moving, I had to decide whether to keep my mountain of mismatched tupperware. I decided glass was a better option because it was more durable and could be microwaved without melting. I also find that glass containers look more aesthetically pleasing when filled with leftovers in the fridge. The price might be a bit higher than plastic, but at this point, I’m looking for a quality option that will last me for a longer time. Glass is it for me. (Hipster tip: Mason jars can also be a good alternative). If you’re someone who likes their food separated, you might want to go for a stainless steel lunch box with sections.
3. Invest in a reusable water bottle
I am a juice fiend. I don’t drink alcohol but I drink juice like it’s wine after a long day. I realized that I wasn’t getting enough water. At first, I would fish for some change and would buy some from the vending machine at school. Then I decided to invest in a reusable water bottle. I chose the Takeya brand because it was on clearance at Ross and it was glass! I was worried I would break it or chip my tooth on the mouth somehow, but I’ve had no trouble with it. The silicone case keeps it from slipping out of my grip. To help me drink more water and less juice, I got the free Water Your Body app. It’s the most annoying and useful app on my phone. It reminds me to…water my body and keeps track of how much I’m drinking every day. I’m very competitive with myself so I always try to beat my record for how early in the day I can reach my water goal. (Hipster tip: You can use a mason jar for hot and cold beverages).
4. Switch to a reusable shopping bag
My friend Julia got me stuck on reusable shopping bags. My mom had given me one a year ago and I always forgot to bring it with me to the store. Julia always had hers tucked away in a pocket of her purse. I noticed that she always got the right amount of food for one person because when her bag was full, she stopped shopping. I, on the other hand, shopped like I was feeding a family of five. Something else that helps in this area is going to farmers markets. Not only is it a great way to get the appropriate amount of fresh produce and veggies, it’s easier for you to buy what you actually need. If you need 3 apples, buy 3 and not the jumbo bag of 12. (Hipster tip: bring mason jars to fill with granola or nuts).
5. Swap yourclothes
The hardest thing for me to down-size on was my clothing. In trying to fit all my possessions into 4 suitcases for the move, I realized I had too much stuff and most of it was clothes. It was so surprising and frustrating because hello I’m the sustainable fashion girl! I’m not supposed to have excess clothing. (Those of you interested in down-sizing your wardrobes should check out the Unfancy blog’s Capsule Wardrobe. It challenges you to pick 37 articles of clothing to wear for 3 months. Think you can do it? Check it out here.) I looked through my wardrobe one last time and donated clothing items that I knew I wouldn’t and shouldn’t wear anymore. Two huge piles later, I was finally able to fit all my things into my suitcases. Those of you attending the 2015 Style Lottery swaps will thank me later ;). Donating clothing is a great way to make room for clothes that you actually want. Swapping is an even better option because you give and you get. To check out Style Lottery’s past swaps, click here.
FYI: Trash is for Tossers has a great list of Zero Waste Alternatives. See the full list here.
Would you try some of these zero waste tips? Let me know in the comments which ones you like and which ones you’re already doing!