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Filtering by Category: #girlpower

Sustain Makes Safe, Sexy Products For All The Things...

Alexis Krauss

 Sustain will help you feel all the feels while keeping your lady parts healthy and safe in the process. Artwork by  Carlos Bongiovanni .

Sustain will help you feel all the feels while keeping your lady parts healthy and safe in the process. Artwork by Carlos Bongiovanni.

Sustain gets it. What do I mean by that? Basically they understand that as a woman who menstruates and is sexually active, I want products that are not only healthy and environmentally conscious but products that are playful and stimulating. I want products that celebrate female orgasm and products that respect both my vagina and our planet. Sustain pretty much knocks it out of the park when it comes to all those things. 

Sustain Natural was founded in 2014 by Meika Hollender and her father, Jeffrey Hollender, the co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation. A women’s health activist, Meika was recently recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” and Forbes' “30 Under 30” for her mission to enact positive social change and improve reproductive care in the United States. Environmentalists at their core, they create all of their products with the planet in mind. From sourcing Fair Trade latex for their condoms, to using organic ingredients in their personal care products, Sustain believes in building a brand that makes the world a better place. Since its inception, Sustain has always been committed to women with its dedicated fund 10%4Women, in which 10% of profits go to organizations including Planned Parenthood to provide access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services for low-income women in the U.S. 

Sustain also understands the importance of product safety and ingredient transparency. Their condoms, lubes and wipes are now all Made Safe certified, meaning they have passed ingredient screening for known: 

  • Behavioral toxins
  • Carcinogens
  • Developmental toxins
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Fire retardants
  • Heavy metals
  • Neurotoxins
  • High-risk pesticides
  • Reproductive toxins
  • Toxic solvents
  • Harmful VOCs

That's a pretty big deal considering like most personal care products sold here in the United States, the FDA does not require menstrual hygiene product manufacturers to disclose ingredients or conduct testing to determine their products’ long-term effects on women’s bodies. The majority of traditional menstrual products are made of conventional (non-organic) cotton, rayon, wood pulp or blends of all three, and can contain harmful ingredients like chlorine dioxide, dyes and synthetic fragrances. Many of the pesticides and herbicides used on cotton crops can leave a chemical residue in non-organic period products. Chlorine, used to bleach these products, creates a dangerous chemical called dioxin which is released into the environment and/or left in the product as a contaminant. Dioxins, a known carcinogen, are among the most dangerous substances on earth, and have been linked to a host of health issues including reproductive and developmental problems, heart disease, and even organ and genetic damage. 

 Sustain's line of period products. Made with 100% cotton and yes those are bio-plastic, plant-based and biodegradable applicators. WOOHOO!

Sustain's line of period products. Made with 100% cotton and yes those are bio-plastic, plant-based and biodegradable applicators. WOOHOO!

My period can be stressful enough, so knowing that I was using products that are better, safer and more vagina-friendly was a big relief. I mean seriously, who wants to think about about toxins and carcinogens in addition to bleeding, cramping, back-aching, and multiple trips to the restroom-making. NOT ME.

Sustain also takes good care of you on the days your vagina is a bit more relaxed and ready to play. The brand’s line of organic sensual personal care is the first in the U.S. to recognize two often-ignored phases of intimacy: foreplay and post-play. According to co-founder Meika Hollender, “Over 80% of women have faked an orgasm in their life, and we think that’s an issue...Foreplay is essential to orgasm for women, and orgasms tend to correlate with sexual satisfaction." I couldn't agree more. Sustain's products are formulated with your health in mind but are also extremely effective at helping you achieve mind-blowing orgasms on the regular.

I was particularly impressed with their Body + Massage Oil and Personal Lubricant. The Body + Massage Oil is a simple, clean formulation which blends organic almond and jojoba oils with aphrodisiacs like orange, ylang ylang, and ginger. The result is a sultry, slippery and light oil that works wonderfully for naked full body massages. Due to the non-toxic and extremely gently nature of the formulation I felt very comfortable having my partner use it on and around my most intimate parts. It's relatively fast absorbing and doesn't leave you or your sheets too greasy. While I've generally preferred coconut oil as my go to all natural lube, I enjoyed experimenting with Sustain's Personal Lubricant. I'm by no means an expert on lube but this one kept things sexy and slippery. The primary ingredient is Organic Aloe and it's 100% vegan, compatible with latex, free of parabens, glycerin, dyes, silicone, petroleum and gluten. Seriously Sustain, thank you for keeping the petrochemicals out of my pussy!

 Don't be shy. Best when massaged in all the places...

Don't be shy. Best when massaged in all the places...

If you're anything like me and can be prone to urinary tract infections you probably like to pee and wipe post-sex. Plus sometimes things just get messy and it's nice to have something better than toilet paper to do the job. Sustain's PostPlay Wipes are the perfect way to gently clean yourself. I'm not sure if you've ever looked at the average feminine care wipe ingredient list but they're generally pretty gross. Check out the chart below courtesy of Women's Voices For The Earth. You'll often find things like parabens and synthetic fragrance lurking within. Sustain keeps their wipes simple, relying on water, shea butter, aloe, vitamin E, honey and lavender to get you clean, fresh and quickly back to cuddles.

 Bullshit wipes. Image courtesy of  Women's Voices For The Earth .

Bullshit wipes. Image courtesy of Women's Voices For The Earth.

 No bullshit wipes. Ingredients: Purified Water, Sodium Cocoyl, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (and) Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Sorbitol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Tocopherol (natural vitamin E), Organic Honey, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid (PH buffer), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil.

No bullshit wipes. Ingredients: Purified Water, Sodium Cocoyl, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (and) Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Sorbitol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Tocopherol (natural vitamin E), Organic Honey, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid (PH buffer), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil.

Sustain makes it easy and safe to meet all of your feminine care needs. Their prices are reasonable and they offer all sorts of convenient subscription options that allow you to customize personal care and period kits. As a company they continue to raise industry standards for women focused products. “With Sustain, we hope to spark a movement towards full ingredient transparency industry-wide and to encourage an open dialogue about these crucial health issues,” says Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Sustain Natural. “We strive to be a symbol for rising global standards of what is expected of business. We want to change the rules, not just be an exception to them.” 

I'll happily continue to support Sustain and try out any new products. I feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that women now have access to a full line of vagina friendly products. Once again Made Safe has proven they only work with companies that are aligned with our #truthbeauty values. We still have a long way to go in fighting for safety and transparency in the health and beauty industries, but with Made Safe and Sustain leading the way our bodies can stop worrying and start enjoying.

-Alexis

 

The Only Face Oil You'll Ever Need

Alexis Krauss

I'm a big supporter of the work MADE SAFE does everyday to promote transparency, health and safety in the beauty and skincare industries and I've been a lover of True Botanicals' products for years now. You can imagine how excited I was when I learned that True Botanicals recently became the first company to have its entire product line MADE SAFE certified!

In addition to being #truthbeauty pioneers, True Botanicals are producing some of the most effective and enjoyable face oils on the market. At last month's 2017 Indie Beauty Expo I had the honor of hosting a panel with Melisse Gelula on 2017's indie beauty trends. While face oils aren't new, their ubiquity is. Everyday more and more women are discovering the potency and versatility of face oils. Here's why I've fallen in love with True Botanicals' Pure Radiance Oil.

True Botanicals.jpg

When it comes to face oils I'm looking for a product that feels light yet packs a moisturizing punch, especially given all of the time I spend outdoors and in the sun. I'm also looking for a face oil that can gently remove stubborn eye makeup for nights when I'm too lazy to wash my face before bed (yes that happens sometimes). Lastly, I want an oil that smells and feels luxurious. I really relish the daily ritual of delicately dropping oil onto my sleepy skin in the morning and before bed, and if I'm paying a pretty penny for a face oil I want it to feel, smell and perform like a luxury product.

True Botanical's Renew Pure Radiance Oil isn't cheap but you'll definitely notice a difference in performance from other less expensive oils. The formulation includes over 20 carefully selected plant-based oils including some favorites such as red raspberry seed and marula, and others I've never used on my skin before like chia and watermelon seed oil. The great thing about such a meticulously formulated face oil as Renew, is your skin is able to directly absorb the oil into the top layers of the epidermis and replenish the oils your skin is deficient in. According to True Botanicals, "By replenishing the oils you’ve lost due to natural attrition and exposure, you enable your skin to properly do its job: hold moisture in and keep the elements, like sun and wind, out."

This certainly seems to be the case for me. I've been consistently using Renew now for two months, twice a day and my face seems to be rebounding from exposure to the elements better than it has in years. I've also noticed my skin has been more balanced and I'm less prone to breakouts on my chin and excess oil in my t-zone. This could be the work of the chia and kiwi seed oils which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid that help strengthen cell membranes' barriers. Acccording to True Botanicals, "Good barrier protective function means water and nutrients can enter the cells while toxins are kept out."

While there are no shortage of excellent, effective, non-toxic and sustainable face oils on the market, True Botanicals' Pure Radiance Oil is certainly leading the pack. It's definitely an investment but I think it's worth it. The holidays are just around the corner and this is the perfect gift suggestion for those clueless relatives who have no idea what to buy for you. Plus who doesn't want to support a partnership as forward thinking and ahead of the curve as True Botanicals and Made Safe?

 

 

Hairprint Shampoos: Clean, Green, Detoxifying Machines

Alexis Krauss

Choosing a shampoo is complicated. Especially when you are looking for one that works and meets serious #truthbeauty standards. Unfortunately too many clean shampoos can leave your hair feeling oily and limp and require more frequent washes. Additionally many supposedly "natural" shampoos are loaded with secret synthetics like fragrance and irritating foaming agents. I've had some success with the Giovanni line over the past year but they aren't quite as natural or non-toxic as I'd like. While I've been searching for a more effective product, I was admittedly a bit hesitant to try Hairprint's line of hair washes. I have a lot of hair and I tend to go through shampoo bottles quickly and at $22 per 8oz bottle, Hairprint isn't the most affordable of products. But after checking out the formulations and learning that the entire Hairprint line has been awarded the MADE SAFE label, I decided to give them a shot. MADE SAFE only awards their non-toxic seal of approval to select products and they conduct by far the most comprehensive ingredient screenings out there. They continue to raise the bar in health and environmental safety. They take their science seriously and I'm always eager to support products they deem safe.

Over the past two months I used both the Clarifying Shampoo and the Chelating Shampoo. Before I dive into the details of my Hairprint experience I should say that I spent the entire month of March on tour with my band Sleigh Bells. Tour is not exactly easy on my hair. Every night when I perform my hair gets very sweaty and extremely tangled. It then gets doused in dry shampoo so as to avoid daily washing and when it finally gets washed it's on a bus, at a yoga studio, in a venue or in a hotel. Basically there is zero consistency. Considering all of those variables my hair needs a cleanser that is both seriously effective at de-gunking my hair and also very nourishing. Enter Hairprint's Clarifying Shampoo.

First things first, Hairprint's Clarifying Shampoo is 100% plant based. The formulation is impressively clean and compared to other natural shampoos is packed with a much larger percentage of leaves, barks, seeds, roots, oils, petals, berries and fruits. There are no suspect or unnecessary chemicals and it's full of ingredients I love like Sea Buckthorn and Elderberry. It also kind of seems like it was made for someone like me who seriously abuses their hair. The deep-cleansing wash is designed to cut through and remove residue, gunk and build-up left on hair by modern hair products and daily wear and tear. So far so good!

Now for some details on my actual shampooing experience. The first thing I noticed is how little it smelled. I personally don't like fragrance and I really appreciate a scent-free cleanser. I also immediately loved how little suds it generated. Low suds is actually a good thing despite what most mainstream shampoo commercials would have you believe. Low suds basically means that the shampoo is not full of foaming agents. Fewer suds are better not only for you, but for our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. I was also impressed by how little I actually needed to use to get my hair feeling clean. By clean I mean that perfect spot somewhere in between my hair feeling squeaky and slightly oily. Hairprint's Clarifying Shampoo honestly got my hair perfectly clean. After drying and styling my hair was feeling and looking good. My satisfaction with the production remained high over the course of many shampoos. Overall, throughout the month my hair maintained and even gained some shine. I experienced less breakage during brushing and straightening and definitely decreased my number of weekly washes. Impressively I still have one or two washes left in my 8oz bottle. It's obviously up to you to decide whether or not $22 is worth it. Though pricey I think this product is a real stand-out. You're not going to find a better formulation for the price. I personally will happily pay a bit more for a product I know is safe, sustainable and effective.

 All of the ingredients you'll NEVER find in Hairprint's products

All of the ingredients you'll NEVER find in Hairprint's products

In addition to touring and exposing to my hair to a variety of water types I recently purchased a home with well water. I've never lived with hard water before and boy do those vitamins and minerals like to cling to and discolor surfaces, hairs and scalps included! Lucky for me upon returning home from tour I had a fresh bottle of Hairprint's Chelating Shampoo waiting for me. This hair wash is a serious detoxifier designed specifically to remove heavy build-ups of calcium and minerals deposited on the hair by hard water and well water. Once again the plant based formula is packed with clean ingredients such as Green Coffee Bean and Saw Palmetto Berry, that moisturize, enliven and nourish the scalp. My personal conclusion is that the Chelating formula is extremely effective and definitely leaves my hair shiny and soft. My color looks good and I'm not noticing any yellow/orange discoloration from the well water. However after using it several times consecutively I found that my hair was getting a bit frizzy when dry. I decided to switch to using the Chelating formula once a week and returned to the Clarifiying Shampoo as my regular cleanser. The combination of these two products seems to be the perfect balance for my hair type. 

Obviously choosing a shampoo is an extremely personal experience. That being said, I strongly recommend giving Hairprint a try. As a new customer I'm satisfied and very interested in exploring other products in the Hairprint line, especially their True Color Restorer and the Exfoliating Hair and Scalp Wash. The scientists behind Hairprint are pioneers of green chemistry and the brand clearly understands the importance of safety, transparency and sustainability. Their MADE SAFE seal of approval, which is the strictest in the industry, is a true testament to Hairprint's commitment to non-toxic ingredients.

-Alexis

Made Safe: Product Safety Made Simple

Alexis Krauss

Since starting Beauty Lies Truth, Jess and I have been discussing the need for a safety seal that helps consumers quickly and easily spot products that meet a set of rigorous non-toxic safety standards. Finally, thanks to the work of Amy Ziff, Founder and Executive Director of Made Safe, that safety seal is here. Made Safe is America’s first nontoxic certification program that applies widely to products from baby to personal care to household and beyond. They ensure that items we use every day are made with ingredients that aren’t known or suspected to cause human health harm. Made Safe's goal is to change the way products are made in the United States to ultimately eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. Learn more about Made Safe below in our exclusive interview with Amy. Xoxo Alexis

1. The Made Safe seal means that a product is made with safe ingredients. How does Made Safe work with companies to guarantee that ingredients are in fact safe? 

When a brand earns the MADE SAFE™ seal it is a real honor. It's very hard to get to MADE SAFE because our process is so different from what is required in this country.  Most people presume that because a product has been sold on a shelf there has been some sort of governmental or agency approval that would mandate that the product isn't harmful to humans. But alas, that's not the way it works in America. Other countries like Japan, Russia, even China and across Europe do a better job than us. But MADE SAFE sets out to fix that. Our approach presumes ingredients are guilty until proven innocent. We work with brands under NDA in order to have full disclosure about what goes into their products, how they are sourcing ingredients as well as where and how they are made. We use a chemist to model each and every ingredient in a mixture. We screen out known toxicants and don't permit known behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, Endocrine disruptors, fire retardants, GMOs, heavy metals, neurotoxins, pesticides, reproductive toxins, toxic solvents or harmful VOCs in products.  But we go beyond “red lists” and known toxicants to attempt to close data gaps by scientifically screening ingredients that have little to no publicly available data. We follow the Precautionary Principle: in cases where we can’t obtain enough data to determine that an ingredient won’t cause harm to human health, we don’t allow it in certified products. We also evaluate ingredients for concern for bioaccumulation, persistence, as well as general and aquatic toxicity. This is what we call our 360 degree approach which takes into account human health, animals and the environment. 

Our gold-standard MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified is the only certification that lab tests products in totality, testing products to ensure that the mixture as a whole will not cause harm to human health.

2. What are the biggest obstacles to getting more brands Made Safe certified? Time! 

3. Made Safe assesses ingredients based on Biological Accumulation, Environmental Persistence and Aquatic Toxicity. Can you give a few examples of common unregulated cosmetic ingredients that don't meet the Made Safe standards?

You need to be very careful when you take ingredients out of context, without CAS #s and proper support information to simply say they don't work. We look at every ingredient in a product and look at supply chain, sourcing and more when we are putting it through our process so these questions can really confuse people. That said, we don't allow known endocrine disruptors so if you've heard of the toxicant BPA (Bisphenol A) that is totally unregulated and found in products ranging from cosmetics to food can lining to fem care. While it is widely used, we don't allow it. Nor do we allow any of the other bisphenol alternatives that BPA is being replaced with as consumer awareness around the dangers of BPA grow.  The problem is BPS, BPE, BPF (and the list goes on) aren't necessarily any better and they just might be worse. We also wouldn't permit an ingredient such as diazolidinyl urea, a formaldehyde releaser (as formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen according to the EPA), in products we certify. Those are a couple of examples that might seem obvious because there are concerns about each of them and yet they can be widely used. 

4. Do you think the FDA will ever adopt a set of standards as unique and rigorous as Made Safe?

I'd love to see the day it does! Alas, right now, in America, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty which forces every single person to take on the role of toxicologist to try and vet their own products. That's why MADE SAFE was created. To give people a way to vote with their dollars for better, safer products to show that there is demand for these kinds of consciously crafted products.  

5. What is Made Safe most excited about right now? We are so excited that just five months after launch we get emails and inquiries everyday from interested brands who want to become MADE SAFE certified. We are changing the way products are made and that is pretty awesome. 

-Amy

Keep an eye out for the Made Safe seal and see which products you love are made safe here.

 

The Witchy Wonders of The Sphinx and the Priestess

Alexis Krauss

Based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Hayley Elisabeth Kaufman works as a writer by day and an occultist by night. After studying with renowned reader and teacher Ellen Goldberg for several years, Hayley is an intuitive and trained Tarot practitioner and Palmist. Recently, Hayley decided to take her love of all things witchy to the next level and launch The Sphinx and the Priestess with her friend Whitney Huhmann. The Sphinx and the Priestess is a one-of-a-kind luxury occult lifestyle brand featuring handcrafted ritual Tarot candles, accouterments for spiritual reverence and worship, as well as curated vintage and ephemera. I was eager to learn more about Hayley's new company and their enchanting ritual Tarot candles. Each candle is handcrafted in Brooklyn using premium soy wax and natural, evocative scent blends. More than just a typical ritual flame, Hayley's candles align with the phases of the moon, each with a charged quartz crystal and personal handwritten mantra to aid in manifestation. Sounds magical, right? Check out our interview with Hayley below and peep our Instagram to learn more about our exclusive The Sphinx and the Priestess Ritual Kit giveway. Xoxo Alexis

1. Tell us a bit more about the scent blends for each candle and what the process of developing them was like.

So, because each Ritual candle is inspired by an iconic card or symbol of the Tarot’s Major and Minor Arcana, we took scent inspiration from what is called the Table of Correspondence. It’s a link between the cards of the Tarot and things like the Astrological sign, color, musical note, and scent profile it corresponds to. This makes the burning of the candle a really divine experience—whether it’s used for ornamentation and ambiance in your home or for manifestation rituals or meditation. Each scent blend is tailored to the specific Tarot archetype and the essence of the card. For example, The Lovers candle is a lush floral blend with bitter citrus and dark wood and it helps to manifest all facets of love and attraction. All of the scented oils we use are holistic grade and all organic. Crafting all-natural candles was super important to us. We also use natural soy wax and non-toxic wicks!

2. How have your personal discoveries in non-toxic and natural beauty influenced the creation of your ritual tarot candles and other The Sphinx and Priestess products?

I personally first got inspired to completely dump ALL of my toxic beauty products after being introduced to the Beauty Lies #TruthBeauty Bag! Talk about a total game-changer! It was such a revelation to really think about what we as women put on and in our body without really questioning the ingredients. Both my partner Whitney and myself are always on the search for ways to make our candles and products all natural as well as leaving a very small environmental footprint—even our packaging and our mailing materials are recyclable and reusable. 

3. What's next for The Sphinx and Priestess?

Gosh, a lot! The Sphinx and the Priestess headquarters is moving into a new studio space where we’ll be working on a whole new exciting candle concept in addition to some really exciting design collaborations with brands we absolutely love. Until then, you can find me at Jill Lindsey Store in Fort Greene, Brooklyn doing Tarot and Palmistry readings and really exciting events like moon rituals, manifestation events, and an awesome event on Tarot archetypes and female magic! 

-Hayley

Hayley currently does Tarot and Palmistry readings on Sunday afternoons from 1:30 - 5:30 at Jill Lindsey in Brooklyn - 370 Myrtle Av, (347) 987-4538 (@jilllindseystore) and by appointment. 

Introducing Global Beauty Butter

Alexis Krauss

 Big smiles at the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative production facility in Ghana.

Big smiles at the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative production facility in Ghana.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Global Beauty Butter. Global Beauty Butter is much more than just another shea butter based skin care product. It is created by women, for women, with 70% of the sales of each Global Beauty Butter directly empowering the workers who harvest the nuts, process the butter, and package the product.

 The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative working hard to produce their shea butter.

The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative working hard to produce their shea butter.

Global Beauty Butter starts in the hands of the women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative, a group of shea producers in Northern Ghana. The CMA Shea Butter Cooperative has been producing shea butter from wild harvested shea nuts for years, despite numerous obstacles. While they have been able to sell their shea butter at competitive market rates, doing so has meant that they have consistently earned less than Ghana’s minimum wage. As a result, these 25 hard-working women have struggled to pay their children’s school fees, improve the safety and efficiency of their cooperative’s production facility, and raise their families out of poverty. 

 Bethany stirring the shea butter. Just one of many labor intensive steps in creating Global Beauty Butter.

Bethany stirring the shea butter. Just one of many labor intensive steps in creating Global Beauty Butter.

After visiting the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative and meeting with several of the women, Alexis and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, decided they needed to take action and began brainstorming ways they could directly support this hardworking and inspiring community of women. Alexis and Bethany in collaboration with Beauty Lies Truth, partnered with Global Mamas, a fair trade organization working to create prosperity for African women and their families. Global Mamas recognizes that fair wages are the key to creating sustainable livelihoods. They also believe that as consumers we have an obligation not only to LOVE our products, but to KNOW the stories of the women who produce them and to use the power of our purchases to CHANGE their lives. With the support of Ghanaian entrepreneur Comfort Adjahoe-Jennings and her company Ele Agbe, Global Beauty Butter was born.

 Founder of Ele Agbe, Comfort Adjahoe-Jennings.

Founder of Ele Agbe, Comfort Adjahoe-Jennings.

Here’s how it works: Every time you purchase a container of Global Beauty Butter you are ensuring that a living wage is paid to the women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative. To promote transparency and accountability Global Mamas has launched the Shea Helps Empower (SHE) Fund, which supports specific, group-driven projects to improve the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative’s workplace and local community. The SHE Fund sources its funding from the profits of Global Beauty Butter. More than 70% of the retail price of each Global Beauty Butter goes to empowering the women at the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative, in addition to the women of Ele Agbe and Global Mamas.

 Georgina explains how shea nuts are harvested in the bush.

Georgina explains how shea nuts are harvested in the bush.

Global Mamas will administer the fund, leveraging more than a decade of experience as a fair trade nonprofit empowering women in Ghana. The women of CMA have already identified their priorities: improving their shea production center by adding access to electricity, conducting roof repairs, and building a security wall.

 Global Beauty Butter comes in Unscented and Moringa & Lemongrass.

Global Beauty Butter comes in Unscented and Moringa & Lemongrass.

By buying Global Beauty Butter you are also supporting a product that is 100% made in Africa. Once the butter is produced by the women in Northern Ghana it is shipped to Accra, where it is processed and packaged by the women of the Ele Agbe Shea Shop. Global Beauty Butter meets the Beauty Lies Truth standards of clean beauty and is free of chemicals and preservatives. In addition to Unscented Shea Butter we offer a Moringa and Lemongrass Shea Butter that is made with ethically cultivated, sourced and processed True Moringa oil and locally produced lemongrass oil. Our containers of made from plastic produced in Ghana that can be reused and recycled.

 All good stuff. No bad stuff.

All good stuff. No bad stuff.

Global Beauty Butter brings you the moisturizing and healing benefits of shea butter while empowering the hardworking women who have made it. Join us on our journey to create meaningful change in African women’s lives by spreading the word about our product. Every new Global Beauty Butter customer means that the women we work with are producing butter more often and earning fair wages on a more consistent basis. 

 The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative proudly posing with Global Beauty Butter.

The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative proudly posing with Global Beauty Butter.

Visit GlobalMamas.org for more information and watch the Live Nation TV documentary here.

Lots of love! Alexis, Bethany, Renae, Comfort, Georgina, Patience and the entire GBB team.

Not Just Another Beauty Box...

Alexis Krauss

Here at Beauty Lies Truth we love supporting innovative and entrepreneurial women who are changing perceptions about the efficacy and luxury of clean beauty brands. Sandy Siu, founder of EsthoriaBox is determined to spread the word about her favorite products by offering them to women in a new bi-monthly, carefully curated subscription box. We spoke to Sandy about what makes EsthoriaBox stand out and what she hopes to accomplish with her new company. Enjoy! Xoxo Alexis

There are a lot of beauty boxes out there. What makes EsthoriaBox different?

First off, EsthoriaBox is a bi-monthly subscription that offers 2-3 full- size of only natural/organic beauty products. I chose to offer bi-monthly because with 2-3 full size products, it takes some time for you to really discover what the product is doing for your skin, whether your skin is really benefiting from it or the color lipstick or blush you chose might not suit you at first, but later on after a few more applications, it grows on you and you love it! I find the only way you can discover what works for you is with time and full size products. I also want to give subscribers a choice of what products they want in their box. So they get to choose 1 to 2 products that are being featured that month.

EsthoriaBox puts a spotlight on one brand for each box. Celebrating a maker that is dedicated to creating all natural/organic products, green beauty lovers can enjoy the products they love or discover new products. I definitely want to emphasize that green beauty doesn't have to smell earthy or offer mediocre performance, but can be luxurious, high performing, look gorgeous on women, and provide beauty that is better for our health.

Tell us a bit about the process of choosing brands for EsthoriaBox. What clean/green standards must the companies meet?

 I read and follow a handful of very reputable green beauty bloggers, such as, BeautyLiesTruth, The Green Product Junkie, Edible Facial and a few more that review and share to their readers the best in green beauty. Bloggers that will tell you what creators are truly using clean ingredients, have ethical practices and try the best they can to use sustainable packaging. These bloggers are not afraid to expose the ones that are just green washing. That’s why whatever products they recommend, I will trust and go research more about the brand and try out the collection myself.

So when choosing a company to be featured in EsthoriaBox, the ingredients they use must be natural and organic with no hidden toxic chemicals, offer high quality performance and maintain consumer trust.

 Sandy Siu, Founder of EsthoriaBox

Sandy Siu, Founder of EsthoriaBox

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to jump into the world of natural beauty.

 I struggled with acne for years and have very sensitive skin. I tried many different products to help treat my breakouts. From using drug store acne creams and cleansers, to going to beauty clinics to get chemical peels. All those things did work, but only temporarily.

I was fed up with my constant acne break outs, until my mom introduced me to organic coconut oil. It led me to do some research and I couldn’t believe the products I was using had all these harsh and harmful chemicals that could be affecting my health, contributing to my acne and even harming the environment. So I tossed out my conventional beauty products, which were filled with toxic ingredients and slowly started replacing them with all natural, organic products. When I noticed my skin was drastically improving, I then switched all my personal care and household items to all natural.

What's next for EsthoriaBox?

Right now I’m preparing for the next box, which will be shipping out in July, so subscriptions will be open in June. I’m so excited to be collaborating with a very well trusted, luxurious skincare brand that considers themselves the next generation beauty. So look out for that!

-Sandy

Everything You Need to Know About Indie Beauty Expo

Alexis Krauss

A few months back I had the pleasure of meeting Jillian Wright co-Founder of Indie Beauty Expo (iBE), the largest professionally-curated exhibition of independent beauty brands. Jillian and her team have grown iBE into a bi-coastal event that showcases the best of independent beauty with a special focus on companies committed to formulating with safe and sustainable ingredients. Jillian has worked closely with Jeannie Jarnot of Beauty Heroes to ensure that all clean and green beauty brands are easily identifiable and that none of the nasty ingredients listed here are included in their formulations. iBE is taking place in May in LA and in NYC in August. Learn more about attending here. Xoxo Alexis

For our followers who don't know, tell us a bit about how iBE is different from other conventional beauty shows?   

iBE is differentiated in three ways--all of which are designed to make iBE the most well-targeted and efficient platform to discover and experience the best indie brands:

First, instead of trying to do all of “beauty” or all of “natural” products, we are laser-focused on a specific type of company--independent ones--that offer products in a three specific and contiguous categories: beauty, wellness and lifestyle. This makes it a lot easier for brands, buyers, press and consumers to know what they can expect at our event. In that regard, we are super-targeted. You can access the best, all under one roof, in one day. The key advantage of iBE from a buyer standpoint is around choice and efficiency. iBE’s selection is large enough to provide plenty of choice and room for discovery, but manageable enough so that they can cover it in one day.  

Second, we are also one of a very few true multichannel events in that we bring brands, buyers, press and consumers into the same event. While trade and consumer events are held on separate days and have a different agenda and tempo, there is a clear sense of continuity. We think this is key. As an indie brand, it is essential to leverage all channels to build your brand. Consumer advocacy, in particular, is crucial, as indie consumers tend to be highly involved and vocal, and their support can definitely put a brand on the buyer and press radar. By bringing all the key audiences to our exhibitors, we enable them to maximize the opportunities they can generate by exhibiting at iBE.

Third, since we are not solely an “expo company,” we challenge all conventional rules around a show and take a more personalized approach in everything we do. For example, iBE brings our event to major markets where there is a ready and massive concentration of buyers, press and consumers. We want to make it easy for people to discover indie brands. We also spend a lot of time picking the right venues--this is key for us. As any retailer will tell you, how you present your collection makes a huge difference as to how your audience perceives and values your offering. That is why we avoid big “white-box” convention centers and instead pick venues that are historical, naturally beautiful and with an aesthetic that is simple, elegant and authentic.

Do you find that most of the independent beauty brands you work with are prioritizing sustainability and formulating with safer ingredients?

Absolutely.  Take this amazing new cosmetic line launching at iBE LA, A Pinch of Colour.  Linda Treska, an 18 year veteran in the beauty industry and CEO of Vincent Longo, and teacher at FIT, has developed waterless color cosmetics and packaging.  This is the first of it’s kind.  She is taking sustainability one step further. Loli Beauty, also exhibiting in LA, is a monthly subscription DIY box that sources all of her ingredients from sustainable vendors and her ingredients are organic and natural. Jasmina Aganovic, founder of Mother Dirt  who received her degree in chemical and biological engineering from MIT features “good” bacteria and teaches consumers not to be afraid of being “dirty” by educating them on beneficial bacteria which will positively affects our ecosystem. Ashley Prange of Au Naturale Cosmetics is taking her message to Congress through a petition for safer ingredients.  You can sign it here.  INUF Skincare exhibiting in LA and NY, from Hong Kong uses recycled, repurposed and compostable materials in their packaging and all their formulas are green and sustainable.  And finally, Anju Rupal,  founder Abhati is launching a product line that will help educate girls globally. She might be speaking at iBE.  You can see her TEDx here.

Independent brands have a voice and are exercising their freedom to help better the world in their own way whether is is through sustainability, clean ingredients, helping others and changing laws through congress.  

Tell us about some of your favorite trends in clean and/or green beauty right now.

We see a lot of brands using unique ingredients such as cedar nut oil (Lyeska), and in Lalun Naturals, coconut crystals and coconut vinegar in her toners. There are brands that offer products that are skin issue specific for example, Native Atlas has a muscle rub which was inspired by her husband’s native Ghana where she sources her Shea Butter and Emmaus who has a three step solution to hyperkeratosis and rough body skin.  We are also seeing collaborations between brands like Java Skincare and Fit Glow Beauty.

Why should real women who aren't buyers attend iBE? Talk us through what a consumer can expect at iBE LA.

Consumers are very important to indie brands.  We want the public to learn about independent beauty, lifestyle and wellness brands and their commitment to bringing better beauty to every household.  They will be able to meet the founders, learn about their products and their missions which will hopefully bring enlightenment to their personal care routines.  Not only will they be able to shop the brands on sight, we are also offering speakers, demos, panels and workshops including in the entry price, which we lowered from last year.  This year general entry is $30 and VIP (you get a stellar gift bag is $99)  We want consumers to feel a connection to indie beauty brands, learn and take away something real.   We want everyone to have a fantastic time but leave feeling enlightened and that they have learned something to enrich their lives.

In your opinion what are the biggest challenges independent beauty companies face and what is iBE doing to help them overcome those challenges?

It is one thing to have a nice idea and launch a brand.  It is another thing to promote it successfully and execute distribution.  The business landscape has changed dramatically with social media and the competition is fierce.  This is a process that has to be thought through with conviction and seriousness.  If you build it, they will come doesn’t work anymore.  You have to think through why you are doing it and how you are going to distribute your brand.  Where do you fit in?  What is your mission?  Who is your audience?     We are here to help the brands with that entire process from execution, to marketing and distribution through our resources.  So for the brands, we are offering them support from a business standpoint to get their ideas and passion to market.  Distribution is very important to an indie brand and we want to connect buyers with brands so they can successfully bring their products to more people.

-Jillian

Virtuosa Beauty: A Smart Solution For Healthier Hair

Jessica Assaf

The best part of business school is the opportunity to meet smart women creating smart products. I am honored to know Alexandra, Caitlin, and Tamara, the founders of Virtuosa Beauty. These brilliant women have reinvented the shower cap to make it easier to use and better at keeping hair looking good. Below is a guest post by co-founder Alexandra Holtzman. If you are interested in trying a shower cap, use promo code "BEAUTYLIESTRUTH" for a special discount. 

  Tamara, Caitlin and Alexandra, the women behind Virtuosa. 

Tamara, Caitlin and Alexandra, the women behind Virtuosa. 

The key to great hair is surprisingly simple and requires less effort than all other hairstyling tips out there: wash your hair less often.
 
Shampooing your hair (especially with products that have harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate) strips your scalp of its natural oils. Frequent shampooing causes your scalp to overproduce these oils to compensate for the loss – so paradoxically your hair actually feels more oily when it’s washed more often. And if you style your hair with heat (blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron), you probably already know that you’re damaging your tresses every time you use one of these tools. Skipping washes means styling your hair less often, which means less heat damage.
 
Okay, so it’s clear that less frequent washing results in healthier, less damaged hair, and reduces the waste your beauty routine generates (from the use of hair products and electricity for styling). The problem is, you still need to shower.
 
Enter Virtuosa Beauty, a company founded by three of my Harvard Business School classmates. They realized that many women can’t or don’t want to wash their hair every time they take a shower, but there was no good option to keep your hair perfectly dry and your style intact. Because existing shower caps weren’t effective, many women attempted to keep their hair dry in the shower by clipping/tying it up or wrapping it in a towel. These makeshift solutions didn’t work well either.
 
After lots of brainstorming and product testing, they released the Virtuosa shower cap just a few months ago. The (patent pending!) cap goes on like a headband, so it sweeps all your hair back, and it lets you keep your hair down. This is the real key – if you’re trying to not only keep your hair dry, but also keep your style looking perfect, you can’t clip or tie your hair up in the shower. It’s made of a soft, waterproof and breathable fabric that means your hair won’t frizz in steamy showers.
 
Check it out at www.virtuosabeauty.com – it’s the solution that will help you skip washes and do the right thing for your hair and the environment!

The Brilliance Behind Beauty Heroes

Alexis Krauss

I was introduced to Jeannie Jarnot by Jillian Wright, founder of the Indie Beauty Expo. The IBE brings together some of the smartest and most dedicated women in clean beauty and Jeannie Jarnot is one of those women. Her company Beauty Heroes offers women a simple solution to safer skincare by delivering subscribers one non-toxic beauty product each month. Jeannie thoughtfully curates the Beauty Heroes collection and believes that making the transition to safer skincare should be easy and affordable. I'm thrilled to share this exclusive interview with Jeannie and I hope after reading you'll sign up to receive the March Beauty Hero product. Xoxo Alexis

How is Beauty Heroes making the "beauty discovery process" less overwhelming for women looking to clean up their beauty routine?

The idea for our service was came to me over 10 years ago, when I was the Spa Director at The Carneros Inn in Napa.  I knew there were harmful ingredients in beauty and spa products and I wanted to make sure the products we were using on our clients in the treatment room were good for them, not harmful to them.  There was a lot less information than there is today about ingredients, and it was hard to get clear information about what was actually harmful.  As a spa director, I was being a pitched product every day by different brands and every one of them had a different story of what was harmful and what wasn’t.  It was overwhelming and confusing.  

I thought, if this is confusing to me, I couldn’t even imagine how confusing it is for the everyday consumer.  My goal with Beauty Heroes, as a whole, is to be a trusted source or beauty that is more than safe, but healthy for you to use.  So whether you are a member of our monthly beauty discovery service or shop in our online clean beauty store, you know that we have a clearly defined ingredient standard that you can trust.  

In the spa setting, women would tell us about their beauty routine and the vast number of products they had, but that they really no idea how to use them or what was in them. During a service we would talk to them about their primary skincare concern and based on that consider a Hero Product that had the right ingredients to treat their concern and educate them on just one beauty product.  We would earn their trust so they could come back to learn more.  We’d slow it all down a bit.  That is what we do with our subscription service by delivering one, full size healthy face, body, sun or hair care product each month to our members.  For $39/month you can try a top-selling, carefully selected product delivered with ingredient information, details about how the product works, where and how it’s made so you understand what you are putting on your body. You can add this product into your routine, and maybe replace a product that is not clean or hasn’t been as effective.  And if you love the product and the results, you may look into discovering more from that brand, now that you know more about them from all the information we share about them. We only deliver 12 Hero Products a year to our members, so we put a lot of time into selecting them with our members in mind.

How do you choose each month's Beauty Heroes product selections?

Because we feature only one maker and their Hero Product each month, we co-create an intentional and focused experience for our members, together.  Every selection has a different story as to how the product came to us.  For our March, as I wrote in my introduction for the Q+A with March’s brand Founder, I met Annie Tevelin of SkinOwl at last year’s  Indie Beauty Expo  and found her to be magnetic, with an awesome approach ingredients and beauty. In this case we discussed which of her products were her top-seller, and most universally appropriate for our members.  Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM was the Hero Product we settled on, and it was an easy choice.  When I touch, smell and feel a few drops, it just feels pure, fresh and alive.  It is a great example of a Hero Product I want in my routine always and that’s made of the highest quality botanical ingredients that are effective in supporting skin health and vitality.  

Tell us about some of your favorite "Superpower" ingredients.

There’s not enough room on our Ingredient Intelligence Pocket Guide for all the healthy Superpower ingredients, nature is just so abundant with good stuff.  Besides the ultra precious Mangosteen Oil in March’s Hero that is extracted from the skin of this Southeast Asian super-fruit, I also love Tamanu Oil, Honey, Jasmine and the lesser-known, but super-effective Prawn Sage.  

I only discovered Tamanu Oil a few years ago and I love it for its amazing acne-fighting powers. This super-oil has made a huge impact on my skin as it’s in Laurel Whole Plant Organic’s Antioxidant Face Serum and Mahalo Skincare’s Vitality Elixir.  

Honey is one of my very favorite superpowers for skin.  I love products that contain honey and my favorite way to us it is to mix it into my face masks. It adds some texture to the mask, is a great exfoliator, moisturizer and antibacterial. It’s super skin food, no doubt.

Jasmine essential oil is a new ingredient love for me.  It was one of the key Superpowers in our October 2015 Sidekick, In Fiore’s Lustra Illuminating Essence and our December Hero Product Award Winner, Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Face Serum. Besides being a great skin healer, it works to calm the senses and relieve stress, which ultimately shows up in your skin.

I also love a little known herb called Prawn Sage Extract, which was the superpower ingredient in our March 2015 Hero Product from Bottega Organica.  Studied and celebrated for it’s ability to reverse the damage of cancer cells, the doctor advising Bottega Organica decided to study its’ effects on reversing skin damage, and the results were profound. Prawn sage extract is pretty special and we are working with another product from Bottega Organica later this year that will feature it and I’m really excited about that.

Beauty Heroes champions clean beauty brands and helps women discover brands and products they would otherwise never know about. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges facing clean beauty brands? 

The way I see it they have three challenges.  The first is overcoming the belief that truly clean beauty, completely free of toxic ingredients, isn’t as effective as products made in a lab with patented ingredients that have complicated names and have been scientifically studied and on and on.  It’s simply not true.  Not only are natural products more effective, over time, the toxic load from our environment and personal care products is taking a toll on our health which correlates directly to our appearance.  There is so much slick marketing around mainstream beauty, tons of celebrity endorsements and article upon article about how beauty products containing a certain patented ingredient can get us to look a certain way, it’s hard to overcome that.  Getting women to take the long view when considering what they put on their bodies isn’t easy, we want instant gratification.  

The second challenge is changing the expectation that we should have from our products to and re-framing it so that we are taking a realistic view of what products can and should actually do.  Beauty products should support our skin in it’s optimal health, not make it go back in time.  For me I was really focused on products that would support my skin in clearing and healing.  Having suffered from severe acne stemming from an endocrinological disorder, I feel like at 42 my skin is the best it’s ever been and the best it can be.  A lot of times people tell me they can’t tell I had severe acne, and it’s because now my skin is healthy and supported by products that support it in healing itself.  

And the last challenge will be to be able to source quality ingredients at an affordable price.  There is not an infinite supply of botanicals, particularly organic and sustainably harvested botanicals.  Just last year there was a world wide shortage of rosehip oil that left a whole lot of beauty brands scrambling.  I think with the increasing demand for natural actives, this challenge will become more frequent.  If I were to guess, I think that brands will begin growing and harvesting their own botanicals, some already are, and the price will probably increase.  

Tell us a bit more about your mantra "Use less. Love more."


This ‘tag line’ was plucked out of a conversation I was having with one of my colleagues in the very early stages of Beauty Heroes.  I was passionately describing how I hoped Beauty Heroes would impact others and it came out naturally; I want to simplify beauty discovery so we can all use less, and love more.  We wrote it down and it has become the cornerstone of my vision.  It’s a little counter-intuitive because we are selling products and we are operating a business, so people are always asking me how I plan to grow a business by telling people to use and buy less. But, his message is important to me because we are over-consuming. And I know that women, who make the bulk of purchasing decisions in our homes, are the ones who will start to shift our planet and culture from over-consumption to mindful consumption.  And what I mean by this is not that we stop buying or consuming, but that we don’t spend our energy and resources on things that we don’t really want, need or will truly enjoy.  There is a shift in consciousness, I think many of us can feel it, and I just want it to keep on growing.     

What are your thoughts on anti-aging products? Are their natural, safe and effective alternatives to conventional anti-aging formulations?

The short answer is yes, there are a so many Superpower ingredients that repair, protect and enhance skin function, giving it a smoother, softer and healthier appearance from carrot seed oil, prawn sage extract (as described above) and even peptides.  And we can’t discount the importance of eating healthfully and sun protection which both contribute to the appearance of our skin. But in reality, skin care products can only help your skin look its best, they can’t reverse or stop aging.  I don’t mind the term anti-aging, because we all know what it means and we all want to look our best.  But I think as women we will all do ourselves a service to embrace our skin at every age, protect it, take care of it and celebrate it.  Many conventional anti-aging formulations have ingredients that may have adverse affects that can lead to health problems, hormone imbalances and even cancer.  And if you’re not healthy, who cares what your skin looks like.  I believe that at any age, the women who care for their health and embrace their beauty are the most youthful and genuinely gorgeous and attractive.  

Lastly, tell us about March's Beauty Hero Product!

I am so excited about our March Hero Product Award Winner from SkinOwl, Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM, because it is one that I want to have in my life forever. It consists of only two very high quality cold-pressed organic superpower ingredients, Mangosteen Fruit Oil and Baobab Seed Oil.  This face oil is unlike anything I’ve ever put on my skin.  First, the natural sweet scent that comes from the peel of the mangosteen fruit is so enticing.  It smells like you just peeled the fruit and have it fresh in front of you.  And the consistency of the oil is clean and spreads beautifully. I massage it from my chest up to my forehead at night after cleansing.  I usually layer it over a face serum, I’m big on layering product at night before bed.  It’s paired with a Sidekick (every Hero needs a sidekick) of a one or two time use of SkinOwl beauty steam.  Annie Tevelin, the founder and wise woman behind SkinOwl created an exclusive-to Beauty Heroes blend of seasonal herbs called Heroic Helichrysum.  So with our March beauty discovery box our members can enjoy the self-care beauty ritual of creating a face steam followed by using Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM.  Through our collaboration, Annie and I set out to convey the SkinOwl philosophy, that skin care is heroic act of self-care.