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Filtering by Tag: #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.



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.


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. 


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 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 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!


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.


DIY FRIDAY: Flower Power

Alexis Krauss

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Spring than with flowers! Did you know that you can easily incorporate dried flowers into your beauty routine? Guest contributor Kristin Collins Jackson of Bustle teaches us how with these powerful and oh so pretty DIY recipes. Enjoy and Happy Spring! Xoxo Alexis

Up until recently, I had a love/hate relationship with flowers. Flowers served to me as a reminder of pollen, which only leads to itchy skin, puffy eyes, and thousands of sneezes. Now that I've become completely obsessed with using dried flowers in beauty products, those tears from allergies have turned into tears of joy. Of course, before you join me in the throes of DIY flowering, you must makes sure you never use a flower in your beauty products that generally causes an allergic reaction. Once you've narrowed down your flowers of choice, you can get in on all those potent skin benefits.

You may be familiar with the benefits of rose essential oil, calendula oil, or even dried herbs such as basil and skullcap leaves. Those same soothing properties of the oils of flowers can be found in dried flowers as well — or example, the anti-aging properties of roses are also found in the petals. There have been numerous studies on the positive impact that flowers have on our minds and healing our bodies and when you apply those benefits topically, the results will have you feeling AND looking naturally beautiful. Be sure to shop for organic flowers because that label will mean your product meets USDA organic standards ensuring the flowers are grown in healthy soils and are free from toxic pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

You don't have to be a chemist to come up with an amazing flower-based product that you can use on the regular: Here are just a few ways you can incorporate dried flowers in your natural skin routine.

1. Rose Hair Zinger

If you're looking to spoil your scalp and tresses, this flowery hair zinger will do just that. For this recipe, I boiled filtered water and added 1/4 cup of hibiscus, 1/4 cup of skullcap leaves, and 1/3 cup of roses. Strain your tea to remove only the liquid and let cool in a sealable container. Next, add 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar and your essential oils of choice. I like to use clary sage, rosemary, sage, eucalyptus, or lavender essential oils to give my hair extra nutrients and get rid of that vinegary smell. Use on wet hair, massaging into the scalp, and leave on for about 10 minutes before rinsing.

2. Skullcap Rose Coffee Exfoliate

Don't waste your leftover flowers from the hair zinger, because adding these petals to a coffee scrub will give you a perfect AM mask to get rid of puffy eyes and fine lines that creep up on you while you sleep. Use a handful of flowers, 1/3 cup of freshly ground coffee, and 1 tablespoon of raw honey and mix vigorously. Apply on damp, makeup free skin and gently massage into the face and neck.

3. Calendula Body Scrub

This calendula body scrub is the ultimate healing scrub to make you forget about those harsh winter months. Since dried flowers are exfoliating on their own, I used dried calendula flowers, calendula oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, a dash of citric acid and salt. Mix vigorously by hand and add your favorite essential oils. For this healing scrub, I used geranium, frankincense, and ylang ylang essential oils.

4. Rosy Blush

I've written about making your own blush before and truthfully, there isn't one recipe that's going to be perfect for everyone, but there is one ingredient that we all can enjoy regardless of our skin type. Enter dried roses. For my own blush cocktail, I used cocoa powder, acai berry and dried roses to give my cheeks a slightly rosy look sans chemicals.

5. Flower-Herbal Facial Steam

The first time I tried a facial steam, I wanted to spend my entire life steaming because that's how hydrated my skin looked and felt. To make a facial steam, you can use any flower of your choice —I used skullcap leaves, bay leaves, and chamomile flowers. Boil water, add your favorite flowers, and let your steam cool slightly. Next, find a comfy spot in your house and place a towel over your head, creating a tent for your face to capture the steam. Enjoy your steam for about 10 minutes and follow up with your favorite natural cleanser. This is a great way to open up your pores and allow the nutrients of the flowers to penetrate deeply into the skin.


Rethinking Tattoo Aftercare

Alexis Krauss

I had the privilege of being tattooed by Katie Shocrylas a few months back. Not only do I love my tattoo but I LOVE her. She's one of the kindest, most down to earth people I've met and she really cares about her clients and their health. As a result she's done extensive research on the best ways to quickly, safely and effectively heal tattoos. Here at Beauty Lies Truth we aren't crazy about petroleum based lotions and neither is Katie. Turns out that unlike what most tattoo shops would have you believe you don't need to heal your tattoo with Lubriderm or Aquaphor. Some of my easiest and most beautiful heals have been the result of slathering my skin with plant based oils and other natural moisturizers. Lucky for us Katie has broken down how to best heal your freshly tattooed skin using only #TRUTHBEAUTY approved products. We'd love to hear how these products work for you so make sure you tag us in your posts! Xoxo Alexis

Katie doing her thing!

Katie doing her thing!

1. What are your favorite alternative healing balms?

When it comes to tattoo aftercare I try to keep things as simple and natural as possible. I’ve experimented with many different products since I started getting tattooed years ago, and although I’m lucky to have skin that tends to heal quickly and easily, I definitely notice that using natural products yields a much smoother healing process.

When choosing an aftercare product it is important to remember that everyone's skin is different; something that works well for one skin type may not be as effective for another. 

Freshly-tattooed skin needs to be able to breathe and heal the way it's naturally meant to, and any product applied to a new tattoo should simply contribute to the body’s own regeneration process. In general, conventional products tend to contain many chemically-derived ingredients that can clog pores and irritate the skin; I always look for organic, non-gmo, sustainable products that aren’t tested on animals and contain the fewest number of ingredients. Below are some of my favourites:

Anchor & Bliss Bare Bones oil moisturizer

Bare Bones.jpg

Ingredients: Grape seed oil, safflower oil, canola oil, apricot kernel oil, inca omega oil, vitamin E

Vegan and cruelty free, this one is made by a great little Australian skincare company. They also have two other oil moisturizers available (I’ve only tried the unscented version). My favourite all-around tattoo aftercare product. I love this stuff, not only for healing a tattoo, but as an everyday body moisturizer. Feels light on the skin (not too greasy at all) and moisturizes exceptionally well. A little goes a long way!

Escents Skin Repair Moisturizing Butter


Ingredients: Jojoba oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, shea butter, blend of 100% pure essential oils (with geranium, helichrysum & tea tree), vitamin E, carrot oil   

This is my go-to product for troublesome spots that sometimes develop when healing a tattoo (especially near joints/areas that move around a lot and tend to be trickier to heal). Really intensive moisturizer - a little bit greasy, so I use it very sparingly, but it really speeds up the healing process and helps reduce scarring on any scabby spots. Great for any stubborn areas that still have a “milky” appearance after a couple of weeks.

Organic Manuka Honey Skin Cream

Ingredients: Olive oil, beeswax, grapeseed oil, manuka honey, manuka oil extract, filtered water

Organic and cruelty free, this no-frills cream is super smooth and moisturizes really well. Available at Whole Foods in Canada (there are other products with similar ingredients on the market, I just happen to use this one).

Alaffia Shea Butter Blissful Baby Balm

Ingredients: Shea butter, virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil, beeswax, calendula

Fair trade and formulated for sensitive skin, this balm does a great job of moisturizing and protecting a fresh tattoo. Slightly more of an intensive moisturizer, this one might work best on dry skin. A little greasy when first applied, but soaks in quickly.

Redemption Organic Tattoo Lubricant & Aftercare

Ingredients: Organic castor oil, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter, organic coconut oil, organic vegetable glycerin, organic arrowroot powder, organic calendula oil, organic arnica, organic chamomile extract, organic rosemary extract, mixed tocopherols

I use this while I tattoo, and it also doubles as a great aftercare product. Developed specifically for tattooing, the consistency is smooth and easy to apply. A little difficult to get in Canada though, and only available through tattoo supply companies, so you might need to ask your artist.

2. Have you found some all natural ingredients are more conducive to healing than others? For example, Shea Butter, coconut oil, honey, beeswax, certain plant based essential oils, etc.

Yes! Grape seed oil makes an excellent moisturizer for healing a fresh tattoo since it is light, gentle, and easily absorbed. It contains essential fatty acids that aid in skin repair, helps to balance the skin, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Shea butter also moisturizes really well while allowing the skin to breathe. Calendula is used as an herbal remedy to heal wounds so it’s great for tricky heals, as it soothes the skin and helps reduce inflammation (it’s available in higher concentrations as a salve). I’m a big supporter of the antibacterial properties found in Manuka honey and tea tree oil for healing tattoos as well.

3. Have you noticed a difference in the healing process as a result of using natural moisturizers vs. conventional petrolatum/mineral oil based lotions?

My tattoos have healed considerably easier and quicker since switching from conventional moisturizers to natural products. Petrolatum/mineral oil based lotions and ointments smother the skin and introduce a variety of unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals to the body through what is essentially an open wound - this can lead to irritation of the fresh tattoo, which can cause scabbing and ink loss. This is not to say that conventional moisturizers don’t work - but based on research, science, and experience, I personally stand behind the natural healing route 100%.

4. Do you think tattoo artists will ever stop using Vaseline while tattooing?  Have you ever tried Waxelene?

Vaseline is such a traditional part of tattooing that I don’t think it will disappear from the industry any time soon. However, many artists have switched to natural alternatives, and I think the movement to do so is growing - not only for the health benefits for clients, but also for reasons pertaining to sustainability and ecological impact. 

I use a mixture of Waxelene and Redemption while tattooing - personally, I find these products to be more effective and easier to work with than Vaseline.