Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Shopping

Luscious Locks

Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 in Animal Testing, Cosmetics, Palm Oil, Shopping | 14 comments

“Consumers have not been told effectively enough that they have huge power and that purchasing and shopping involve a moral choice” – Anita Roddick

tumblr_mhe4rgym7b1r38hk2o1_1280My hair and hair care regime are fairly simple things. A wash every couple of days, a $25 chop every few months and a touch up of my old biddy grey (or, more accurately, white) roots once a month or so is about the extent of things hair related in my world.

What is not always so simple though is selecting a “kind” shampoo, conditioner and hair dye. Particularly when the majority of choices bombarding us on the supermarket shelves are anything but. A quick inventory / shower stalk at my work place revealed the usual suspects like Dove, Sunsilk, Pantene, Wella Balsam and L’Oreal which I think would accurately reflect the “norm” of shampoo selections out there in the general community. They all score a disappointing C to F with the Ethical Consumer Guide due to criticisms about everything from containing animal ingredients to being tested on animals to use of poorly sourced palm oil to containing micro beads. Not companies I would like to reward with my money !

In my ongoing quest to tread kindly with everything that I buy and do (and to reward the companies who do the right thing by animals and the environment with my patronage) I have been seeking out hair care products which do not contain animal ingredients, have minimal or recyclable packaging, do not contain palm oil or contain only sustain-ably sourced palm oil, are not tested on animals, don’t contaminate the environment (or my head !) with a cocktail of obscure chemicals (after all, it does go straight down the drain) and, ideally, are made in Australia. Luckily, there are quite a few products which tick these boxes (aside from the made in Australia part which is not a deal breaker for me) which I’ve either tried or come highly recommended.

LUSH I am about to set off on some travels and the Lush solid shampoos will fit the bill perfectly. They are compact and fit into a little reusable tin. They smell delightful, the choice is vast and I have tried and tested a few of them now with good results.

ALAFFIA HAIR CARE Their coconut scented shampoo and conditioner gigantic containers are in my shower right now. Their whopping 950ml containers mean that they last seemingly forever. I bought them from my local health food shop at a bargain-ish price of around $20 each. Profits fund poverty fighting community projects in West Africa as well as the planting of 10,000 trees a year to help combat climate change. They also fund maternal care and educational projects in this region. I am a complete sucker for a lovely philanthropic company.

ORGANIC CARE This is probably the most easily sourced and affordable pick from my choices. Their shampoos and conditioners are around the $3-$4 mark / 400 ml and can be found in all big supermarkets.

AESOP Lots of custom made products here (eg for volumising, itchy scalps etc). Gorgeous scents. On the pricey side but worth it for a special treat.

YAROK A US brand (but available in Australia) of hair products which sound divine and and are apparently the saviour to anyone poor soul cursed with limp, fine locks (that would be me !). Not cheap but 3 % of their profits go to protect the Amazon rain forest.

SUKIN This company gets a good rap and they have a nice range of very affordable options.

ECO STORE This lovely company make lots of “eco friendly” products such as cleaning products but also do a hair care range (including anti dandruff shampoo).

GROWN ALCHEMIST A shampoo which promises “damask rose, black pepper and sage” aromas sound almost too tempting for words. David Jones and Myer are stockists.

ETHIKOOL – sell only “palm oil free, cruelty free, chemical free, vegan” products. They sell shampoos Kuush and iRaw which are as close to “natural” as you can get. Not cheap but their ethics are hard to beat. This lovely Australian company raises money to protect the Orangutans and the forests in Indonesia, hence their strong no palm oil stance.

DE LORENZO – score a resounding “A” on the Ethical Consumer Guide. This company would be the pick of the bunch for the “higher end” of the market and are used by many hairdressers. Not just shampoos / conditioners but all the other hair related paraphernalia as well.

AUSTRALIAN BIOLOGIKA – Highly recommended, sits up near the top on the Ethical Consumer Guide and, when my current shampoo runs out, I’m going to give them and their highly affordable, bulk containers (1kg) of alluring scents such as coconut and bush lemon myrtle a try. Zero palm oil content too.

And, one for the fellas, D + T CHAMPION OF MEN

My man………………..

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is blessed with many dashing qualities but a full and lustrous head of hair is not one of them. If he did, I would be buying him some Man Shampoo. For all the men out there with bountiful locks check it out – (also a great range for bearded men). Organic beard oil and balm – who would have known the existence of such substances !

As for do it yourself hair dyes to touch up pesky old roots, I have been using Herbatint for years and pick it up from any health food shop. Not only is it a cruelty free product but you can just use what you need as you go so there is no wastage which was always an issue when I used other hair dyes in the past. Tints of Nature is supposedly good too. And Lush have an interesting array of Henna Hair dyes.

After a hairdresser who does the right thing and uses only cruelty free products in their salon ? Seek out those who use De Lorenzo products via their website. Otherwise, in Sydney, I have spied Organic Hair Culture in Ashbury, nice and close to me who use only vegan / non animal tested hair products so will be paying them a visit next time I need a hair chop. For my Victorian friends, Veg Out Hair in Sommerville looks just perfect.

Or, indubitably, the kindest (and cheapest) option of all would have to be hopping on the”poo free” (often coupled with the bicarb soda and Apple Cider Vinegar rinse regime) wagon. If I was in a position to hide from the world for a couple of weeks, I would give it a go. The results from just letting your natural hair oils just do their thing are meant to be quite transformative. However, my hair resembles an oil slick disaster after a couple of days of non washing so this is one experiment I am just not brave enough to try.

Don’t forget these go to guides to help you choose, not just your perfect, kind shampoo, but all manner of things  :

Ethical Consumer Guide

Choose Cruelty Free

How does your shampoo / conditioner stack up in the kindness stakes ? Any more good ones to recommend ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kind Baby Gifts

Posted by on Apr 5, 2015 in Kind Companies, Shopping | 6 comments

“May you live everyday of your life” – Johnathan Swift

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Maggie and her new goose (from Orangutan Crisis Foundation)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you little Maggie for being the perfect model for my “kind baby gifts” post.

A few friends have been having bubs of late.  I have therefore been on a shopping jaunt, seeking out baby pressies which are not only unique and cute but give back in some way – whether it be to support an organisation which uses your money for good, is environmentally responsible or to support the “little guy”. Here are some examples of what has been catching my eye.

Pebble Toys  – helps women out of poverty in Bangladesh and the toys are quirky and colourful.

Shelter Pups – all the way from the US but worth it, adorable replicas of shelter dogs with their own distinctive stories with the funds going straight to help a real shelter animal.

Pooki Boo shoes – I bought the very cute Easter themed bunny baby shoes which are made from sustainably sourced bamboo fleece and locally made.

Orangutan Crisis Foundation – beautiful goose or elephant toys made from recycled blankets. Funds go straight back to this great charity.

Hamlin Fistula Foundation – by purchasing a toy like this one

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Hand made Zebra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you can help fund this life changing charity. The hand made animals are beautiful.

Animals Australia – I love their range of cuddly toys which send a message about that particular animal’s plight whilst raising money for this wonderful organisation.

Edgar’s Mission – I have re-visited their on line shop many times but, today’s visit took me straight to the animal themed rattles

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(I could not go past the pig). Buying from Edgar’s Mission helps to keep this animal sanctuary do what they do best – rescuing animals in need.

Gus and Ollie – one of my far flung (Germany) blog with pip classmates who’s very individual, hand made cute critters would make a wonderful baby pressie choice.

Ecolosophy – one of my favourite on line shops has eco friendly baby products galore – including little body suits, creams and teething gadgets / pendants.

Are there any kindly sourced baby gifts which you can recommend ?

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The hunt for ethical running shoes

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Shopping | 18 comments

It’s Not Easy Being Green” – Kermit the Frog

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Six decrepit pairs of my old running shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Annette from “I Give You The Verbs”, I have stolen your fabulous Hoist the Hangers ! idea where one displays their hoarder-ish collection of wares – in my case, old running shoes – on their hills hoist. It is that time of year when many people are enthusiastically minimising their belongings. We work at a snail’s pace in our house at any time when unsavoury chores such as decluttering are involved, but there has been SOME movement in recent times. I have diligently and responsibly disposed of 6 old pairs of running shoes from our scary, “stuff” filled back shed. 

As for the dilemma of how to dispose of these shoes in the most environmentally responsible way possible – rather than just turfing them out the front for council pick up day as I would have done probably a year ago, read on. Did you know that running shoes are estimated to take over 1000 years to break down? With the current modern western trend of trading in ones running/walking shoes after clocking up around 500 km, that is a mind boggling number of shoes all going to land fill. So, what are the alternatives?

For the serious runner (not I!) who replaces their shoes regularly, they can be donated to Soles for Souls (most pick up points are in SA and VIC – other States can mail their shoes there) who send these “lightly worn” shoes to disadvantaged people overseas.

Alternatively, for the more worn, hole riddled shoes, like mine, Nike have a Reuse A Shoe program which coverts your old runners into sports surfaces and the like around the world. So, that’s what I did….it was the easiest thing in the world (aside from looking like a bag lady on the train!). There was a deposit bin in the main Sydney Nike store, full of other people’s smelly old running shoes. I just popped them in and away I went.

Now for the hard part….my 5-10km per day walking regime is wearing out my current New Balance joggers after only, frustratingly, about 4 months (I must walk with a very vigorous/enthusiastic stride perhaps?) so I am on the hunt for a new pair but this time they must meet my rigorous tread kindly criteria. For me this means no leather, non sweat shop produced, durable (so I don’t have to replace them so freakin’ often) and made with some kind of recycled material. Hmmmm,  not such an easy feat it seems.

My shopping bible, Shop Ethical has a big black cross (criticising everything from poor working conditions for the people making the shoes to having a low rankabrand rating which calculates many factors towards the brands sustainability) next to all of my previous purchases – Nike, New Balance, Mizuno and Brooks which makes me feel like an environmental, sweat shop supporting vandal. Nike are on my never, ever again list (and why I was happy to give my smelly old shoes to them to deal with) after their continued endorsement of the dreadful New York Jet’s Michael Vick – convicted of being one of the ring leaders in a revolting dog fighting ring in the US. Plus they have a dubious history for child labour etc.  If only Etiko and FYE did athletic shoes – they are highly ethical companies but only do the casual, converse style shoe who’s lack of support does little for my crotchetty ol’ ankles and knees.

I have stalked a few sites such as this diligently researched one (concentrating on vegan athletic shoes and worker’s conditions) and have weighed up all the conflicting and copious amounts of information floating around the internet. I have hardly been spoilt for choice but the most ticks in the boxes important to me goes to :

For running shoes (should I ever decide to take up jogging again) – US brand, Newtons. They are 100 % vegan, use recycled material where possible and seem to have fair and responsible conditions in place for their workers. They come in bright, pretty colours too !

For power walking, my exercise of choice –  my vote had gone to “Long Walk” from Vegan Wares in Melbourne – that was prior to my partner veto-ing this choice on the basis of their decidedly unattractive appearance and the fact that they are man shoes. They had appealed as they are, obviously, vegan, used approved factories in India where the workers are paid fairly and they are custom made for durability for long walks in urban settings (ie on footpaths). I must add that Vegan Wares do have a lot of gorgeous looking shoes in stock but their walking shoes are not one one of them.

So, faced with the threat from my partner of always walking alone if I wore the “Long Walk” shoes, I have decided that Merrell will be the most likely contender for my power walking shoe of choice. They have vegan options and appear to have a good social, philanthropic and environmental rap as outlined in this article (along with Adidas who rate well too) Plus there is an outlet shop close to where I live. 

Who ever envisaged that the hunt for a little pair of running / walking shoes could be a minefield ?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kind Gifts

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Shopping | 5 comments

“Ask yourself : Have you been kind today ? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world” – Annie Lennox.

 

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may be wanting to buy a little something for your beloved. Rather than spending time pondering what to give, cast your eyes over my list of gifts ideas which not only give to the object of your affection but also to one of the fabulous causes out there. Or, if you are Valentine-less, show some self love by treating yourself.

 

JEWELLERY

 

Jewellery For a Cause  donates 20% of each sale of gorgeous jewellery to a number of great causes including The Orangutan Project and Oscar’s Law.

 

Polli Designs – an environmentally responsible jewellery (and home wares) business who donate items to the Jane Goodall Institute of Australia for fundraising.

 

Ethical Jewelsfancy pants, only in my dreams-ish rings made in conjunction with consideration for the environment.

 

A PLETHORA OF GREAT GIFTS FROM ANIMAL ORGANISATIONS. Here are a few examples….

 

The wonderful Animals Asia have recently rescued 6 bears so now would be a perfect time to buy something from their gift shop – scarves, umbrellas, sweet plush bears are all here. You can also befriend or sponsor a bear (this has been the cherished Valentine’s Day gift I have received for the last few years).

 

Animals Australia tirelessly campaign for Australian animals and they too have a great on line gift shop featuring candles, wine, t-shirts and chocolates  amongst many other gifts.

 

Sea Shephard have more man-ly goods for sale in their shop, being the warriors that they are.

 

PERFUME / AFTERSHAVE

Great gift to give / receive but do make sure that it has not been tested on animals. I will be devoting a whole post to this subject in the future but, in the meantime, PETA do provide some good guides. If your desired perfume does not feature in the guides, make enquiries with the company. Company feedback on my favourite perfume, Issey Miyake, is that do not test on animals (nor do they contain any animal ingredients).

 

BOOKSthere are some talented authors out there who are also kind and passionate in their beliefs.

I am a self confessed book nerd worm and these suggestions are ones which I have read and loved.

 

Women of Letters and Yours Truly – entertaining witterings from some well known, funny Australian women. Royalties to Edgar’s Mission.

 

Unconditional Love by Saskia Adams contains gorgeous stories of animal rescues in Australia.

 

Free the Bears by Mary Hutton is one of my inspirational reads of 2013.

 

Christine’s Ark – moving recount of Christine Townend’s work at India’s Help in Suffering.

 

The 2013 Voiceless Anthology – the result of a competition run by Voiceless. Comes as an e-book and hard copy and raises funds through royalties. It is an amazing read too – shows what talent is out there amongst everyday Australians.

 

The coffee book gift for the recipient to flick through if they are having a bad day undoubtedly goes to :

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  Not only do the images make you smile, the photographer Seth Casteel founded the wonderful American charity Second Chance Photos. His photos are used to show shelter dogs in their best light to help them find a home. Underwater Dogs is for sale in all good bookshops, including the ABC Shop.

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ART WORK

 

Tamara Keneally is an animal photographer based in Victoria. She takes stunning photographs of rescued (and other) animals and sells them through her on line shop in the form of laminated prints, calenders and greeting cards. Proceeds support such charities as Animals Australia and Tamara is, herself, an animal rescuer.Her stories and photos individualise animals such as sheep and chickens who are often viewed as a disposable commodities.

 

Lucy Culliton captures the beauty of ordinary farm animals in her paintings. She donated this one to the Humane Society Australia but has others for sale (on my wish list).

 

These Edgar’s Mission Brooches are so sweet.

 

FOR BABIES / KIDS

 

The most adorable toys and rattles ever are produced by the company Pebbles. Octopus rattles, geckos, otters galore. They are fair trade and help improverished women in rural Bangladesh. 

The stuffed animals sold by Animals Australia are mighty cute (I bought the pig for a friend’s baby), educational (they give a little blurb about what problems that particular animal faces) and proceeds go back to helping Animals Australia help the animals.

 

Animal themed bookmarks made by an inspirational 8 year old Australian boy, Jayden. He makes them to raise money for WSPA’s work to end the bear bile trade in Vietnam. 

 

ALCOHOL

 

A bottle of bubbly perhaps ? There is no better place to buy wine than through Goodwill Wines. The company was created in an effort to give something back to the community after the founder, David, lost everything in the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires and was humbled by the help he received in his hour of need. You nominate your charity of choice who will receive 50% of the profits from your purchase. The kindest way I can think of to indulge in your favourite tipple.

 

CHOCOLATES

 

The Cruelty Free Shop in Glebe, Sydney and Vegan On Line both sell sumptuous dairy free chocolate. Keep them in mind for Easter too. They both support Animal Charities too – The Cruelty Free Shop has a charity of the month and the owner’s of Vegan On Line also run an animal sanctuary called Freedom Hill.

 

BATH BOMBS / BODY STUFF

 

I could never have enough bath bombs. Lush have a huge array of these balls of relaxation and serenity. Lush is my new favourite body product shop and I go quite nuts in there. They are responsible with their packaging (pot exchanges for face masks is a perk) and their (mostly vegan) ingredients (never tested on animals). Love their Charity Pots too (100 % of what you pay goes to the nominated charity).

 

ECO FRIENDLY

 

On line shops such as Biome  have original and resourceful gifts and are, obviously, a kind choice for the environment.

 

SUPPORT THE LITTLE GUY (AND BUY AUSTRALIAN)

 

Rather than some ubiquitous, mass produced product why not check out the original and clever things for sale made by small Australian designers / creators. I have bought a few things from Madeit and Down That Little Lane. My most recent purchase was my mug from Zinnia Pea who’s saying (by Ghandi) spurs me along as I sip my coffee and write my blog. Also love the animal themed t-shirts etc from Cumbungi.

 

Fair Trade Gifts

 

Great way of helping out people getting back on their feet overseas. Gorgeous, colourful and unusual gifts can be found through Eternal Creations and The Trading Circle.

 

Reject Consumerism

 

If you get as freaked out as I do about all the never ending STUFF for sale (have you watched The Story of Stuff ?), to physically give nothing is a great and kind option. Have an experience or see a show (with human only participants) instead. We’re off to be dazzled by Empire at the Spiegletent, Moore Park.

 

 

Happy Shopping ! xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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