This is huge. Huge.

The European Union announced last week that they are still on track for a total ban on all personal care products tested on animals. It is something that has been in the works for awhile and the target date is 2013.

The article goes on to explain that cosmetic companies have pleaded for an extension as alternatives to animal testing can be found.

Oh please. This ban is not new news.

Regardless, this is a game changer for the industry. And what companies still test on animals you may be wondering? Prepare yourself.

Companies that still test on animals (and associated brands) include:
  • Alcon Labs
  • Allergan, Inc.
  • Answer
  • Arm & Hammer
  • ArmorAll
  • Arrid
  • Axe
  • Aziza
  • Bain de Soleil
  • Ban Roll-on
  • Banana Boat
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Benckiser
  • BenGay
  • Biotherm
  • Block Drug Co. Inc.
  • Bounty
  • Boyle-Midway
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
  • Cacherel
  • Cargill
  • Carpet Fresh
  • Carter-Wallace
  • Chesebrough-Ponds
  • Church & Dwight
  • Clarion
  • Clairol
  • Clear Choice
  • Clorox
  • Commerce Drug Co.
  • Consumer Value Stores
  • Coppertone
  • Coty
  • Cover Girl
  • Crest
  • Dana Perfumes
  • Dawn
  • Del Laboratories
  • Desitin
  • Dial Corporation
  • Diversey
  • Dove
  • Dow Brands
  • Drackett Products Co.
  • Drano
  • EcoLab
  • Eli Lilly & Co.
  • El Sanofi Inc.
  • Elizabeth Arden
  • Erno Laszlo
  • Faberge
  • Fantastik
  • Fendi
  • Final Net
  • Finesse
  • First Response
  • Flame Glow
  • Garnier
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Givaudan-Roure
  • Glade
  • Glass Plus
  • Helena Rubinstein
  • Helene Curtis Industries
  • Huggies
  • ISO
  • Ivory
  • Jhirmack
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Johnson Products Co.
  • Jovan
  • Kaboom
  • Keri
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp
  • Kiwi Brands
  • Kleenex
  • Lady’s Choice
  • Lancaster
  • Lancome
  • Lava
  • Lever Brothers
  • Lipton
  • Listerine
  • L’Oreal USA
  • Lubriderm
  • Lux
  • Lysol
  • Matrix Essentials
  • Max Factor
  • Maybelline
  • Mead
  • Mop & Glo
  • Nair
  • Naturelle
  • Neutrogena
  • Neutron Industries, Inc.
  • Olean
  • Orange Glo
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • OxiClean
  • Pantene
  • Parfums International
  • Pearl Drops
  • Pennex
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Pine-Sol
  • Plax
  • Playtex Corporation
  • Pledge
  • Polident
  • Ponds
  • Post-It
  • Prestige Brands
  • Prince Matchabelli
  • Proctor & Gamble Co.
  • Quintessence
  • Raid
  • Ralph Lauren Fragrances
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Redken
  • Resolve
  • Richardson-Vicks
  • Sally Beauty Supply
  • Sally Hansen
  • Sanofi
  • SC Johnson & Son
  • Schering-Plough
  • Scotch
  • Scott Paper Co.
  • Scrub Free
  • Sensodyne
  • Signal
  • SmithKline Beecham
  • Snobal
  • SoftSheen
  • S.O.S.
  • Stanhome Inc.
  • Sterling Drug
  • Suave
  • Sun Star
  • Sunsilk
  • TCB Naturals
  • Tegrin
  • 3M
  • Tide
  • Tilex
  • Trojan
  • Truvia
  • Unilever
  • Vaseline
  • Vichy
  • Vidal Sassoon
  • Visine
  • Vivid
  • Warner-Lambert
  • Westwood Pharmaceuticals
  • White Shoulders
  • Whitehall Laboratories
  • Windex
  • Woolite

Huh. Just a wee list. Now if only Canada would follow in these progressive footsteps.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.


Ah – tis that time of year.

True confession – I am a Christmas nut. I love Christmas. Love it! But it is certainly not without its flaws and challenges. One of the biggest being balancing gift giving with conscientious sensibilities.

Fortunately there are many great online resources to help you give green gifts this holiday season.

Bamboo Magazine, a fashion/beauty/lifestyle publication with a conscientious niche. Their gift guides feature sustainable and stylish gifts, as well as ideas for celebrating appreciation without consuming more stuff. Subscribe for free to get more holiday ideas.

 

Inhabitat is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future. Their gift guide offers a host of options for everyone on your list.

If you seek a bricks and mortar retail experience head to your local 10 Thousand Villages for fair trade gifts from around the world. These boutiques carry everything from Christmas ornaments:

Christmas ornament made from recycled posters that have been discarded from a printing company.

…to fair trade coffee and chocolate:

Fair Trade coffee grown, hand-picked and sun-dried by indigenous Aymara farmers in the high altitude jungle region of Los Yungas, Bolivia.

…to living gifts that support projects devoted to health, empowerment, sustainability and education.

Whatever you are giving this holiday season keep gratitude top of mind. Giving comes from a place of abundance. Giving from a full heart feels good and satisfying. Give thoughtfully this season.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

Ok, so this falls under the embarrassing category of, “Well, if Oprah says it, I should pay attention…”  A while back, the daytime diva interviewed Michael Pollan, journalist, activist, professor and author of In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and most recently, Food Rules. The show focused, in part, on the documentary film Food, Inc. which was released in 2008.

It’s not that the concept of examining what we eat is new; it’s more that many of us (me included) are uncomfortable examining it too closely. It’s kind of like knowing that body lice & dust mites exist and just not really wanting to know about them at all. It’s sometimes easier to live in willful ignorance. Well, after cracking the spine on my copy of In Defense of Food and watching parts of Food, Inc. I’m finding it increasingly challenging to ignore the message. The question is what to do about it?

The movie explores (exposes?) the dark side of the American food industry but having a Canadian address doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. The American model of food production is exported and copied all over the world.

Michael Pollan’s message can be summed up in a few key quotes:

“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”
“Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
“Eat only foods that will eventually rot” (He’s looking at you, Twinkie!).

It’s empowering to “vote with our forks”, Pollan says. “We get three votes a day. You don’t need to get every one of them right, but if you do get one right a day (by choosing sustainable or humanely grown food) you will change the food system.”

Pollan articulates one of his central arguments and one I find compelling to use against the “organic food is more expensive” argument: “I think we need to recognize that cheap food has a very high cost, in terms of health and the environment. That cost is getting paid by other people, by the public health system. That’s part of the problem and the disconnect. I think that’s where there’s a disconnect, between what you pay for a cheap, fast-food meal, and the ultimate price of eating that way.”

What can you do now?

  • Get informed & involved (read and view other documentaries on the subject, like the powerful Our Daily Bread).
  • Buy organic or sustainable food
  • Go without meat at least once a week (and when you do eat meat, be picky about finding “grass-fed beef”)
  • Read labels, carefully and know where your food comes from
  • Drink more water, less soda
  • Support companies that treat workers, animals and the environment with respect

The bottom line is that we need to be more conscious of what we’re eating and how it reaches our grocery stores. As well, changes will need to be made at a national level in how we support our farmers. It needs to become a mainstream issue and not just a concern of activists and “foodies”. It’s all about transparency and education. What you don’t know can affect you.

The same attitude can certainly be applied to the beauty industry. Cheap cosmetics are cheap for a reason – generally because the ingredients are cheap (and hence ineffective if not highly questionable) and/or the manufacturing is cheap (and hence employees could be getting the shaft).

It is all connected isn’t it?

Here’s to being mindful of what we put in & on our bodies.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

Sources: oprah.com | Mark Bittman | Michael Pollan | gremolata.com | certifiedhumane.org

Recently, I had the pleasure and privilege to attend Canada’s first Eco Fashion Week (EWF) in Vancouver. It was an amazing week of brilliant designers, compelling speakers and amazing people in general (see coverage of the runway shows at EFW at Bamboo Magazine).

Aveda was the title sponsor. This is Ray and I at the opening night party.

Ray Civello, President of Aveda Canada and Donna

I left really inspired. Well, first I was depressed. I am a self proclaimed clothes horse. I love clothing. Love it. However, the fashion industry is one of the leading (top 10!) producers of water pollutants worldwide. It also generates massive amounts of waste – be it fabric, toxic dyes or clothing that goes unpurchased.

Sigh. How can I satisfy my craving for clothing and shoes while not contributing to the problem (here is where the inspiration came in)?

I am making a Green Beauty Style Pledge.  I pledge that over the next year I will not buy any clothing, shoes, accessories or outerwear for myself unless it is one of the following:

  • Purchased at a consignment or vintage retailer
  • Produced by a designer using sustainable fabrics (such as organic cotton, Tencel, organic hemp, etc.)
  • Produced by a designers using sustainable practices (such as turning old leather coats into handbags, or taking an old dress and transforming it into a more modern version a la Preloved)

And I will share all the juicy details. For example, I have been hot for a pair of cute oxford shoes that are all the rage right now. Seriously, I have been looking for a pair since August, but everything reminds me of jazz dance class. That is, until I was in vintage shop Gadabout yesterday.

Check out these puppies.

Donna's new shoes circa 1930

Awesome heel on these "new to me" oxfords

Aren’t they awesome? And they are super comfortable. And they are clearly well made since they are from the 30s.

Want to take the Green Beauty Style Pledge too? Let me know. I will post whenever I make a purchase.

Here’s to making a difference one fashion choice at a time. Every bit helps.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

What is the big deal about straws you say? Well plenty. 

Our standard plastic drinking straw is a landfill nightmare. They do not biodegrade. They get eaten by animals to tragic results. In North America we throw out hundreds of billions of plastic drinking straws each year. 

Yuck. 

That is why I love the reusable, glass drinking straws from Glass Dharma. It is a stroke of genius really. 

Glass Dharma straws are made of borosilicate glass – the strongest commercially available glass on the market. It’s the same type of glass that your glass coffee pot or your Pyrex® pie plate is made from. It is dishwasher safe and contains no lead. Love that. 

I have been using them for ages and they are amazing. They are extremely durable (I am hard on mine and have yet to break one). 

They are also fantastic because, as a makeup artist, I encourage models and anyone in my chair to use a straw in order to preserve their makeup. So when you sip your bevy out of a Glass Dharma straw you are saving your lipstick and the environment. What is not to like about that? 

Simple Elegance - my favourite

 

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

I have the immense honour of being asked to sit on the cabinet for Environmental Defense’s latest campaign Just Beautiful. I am blushing with excitement and flattery. To sit at the same table as Sarah Harmer (Co-Chair), Ray Civello, Brian Phillips, Lisa Borden and several others is amazing; and to do it for such an important reason is inspiring.

Environmental Defense are the same people who shone the spotlight on BPA and got it banned in baby bottles. Their next step is to test for harmful substances in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc. and publicly report on their findings. Then, they will push the Canadian government to make companies adhere to stricter safety standards and fully disclose what is in their products.

What is not too like about that? And it is about time.

The Europeans have proven that there are better and safer ways of making these products, so there’s a blueprint to follow. The timing is perfect for change –recently, the Canadian government has announced its intention to modernise the Cosmetic Regulations of the Food and Drugs Act. This move provides us with an excellent opportunity to ensure that the government enacts powerful legislation to ban harmful substances and require complete disclosure of all ingredients before these products reach Canadian store shelves.

You can bet you will be hearing a whole lot about this in the weeks and months to come.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

So, you’re checking ingredients. You know parabens are to be avoided. What else is on the hit list? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate often referred to as SLS.

What is the deal with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

Why is it in our products anyway?
We, consumers, have come to expect many of our cleansers and cleansing products to “foam up” and that is one of the main functions of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. They also break down grease. Both ingredients are used across a broad spectrum of products: shampoo, body wash, facial cleansers and dish soap to name a few. In high concentrations it is used in industrial products to clean engines, floors and cars. Nice.

What makes this ingredient so appealing to the companies that use it?
It’s cheap.

What makes it nasty?
Well, it has been linked to a wide spectrum of issues from serious skin irritation to possible cancer.

Seriously? What is the science?
Sodium Laureth Sulfate is an ethoxylated compound. This means that when it’s created, it’s processed with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Traces of ethylene oxide and 1,4-Dioxane (another known carcinogen) can remain in the product. In fact, it is this process that is the culprit for creating a host of other toxic ingredients from polyethylene glycol (also known as PEG) to anything with an “eth” (such as sodium myreth sulfate).

Of course, there is the camp that supports SLS and its relatives claiming that the amount found in products is well within the safe amounts laid out by governing bodies. Again, my take on it is that it’s a matter of accumulation. As well, compounds like sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol are penetration enhancers which break down the protective barrier of skin, making the risk of these ingredients staying in the body even higher.

If you are interested in a deeper understanding of the science behind it all here are some excellent resources. I reference them often:

The bottom line
Products that are labeled SLS and SLES-free are the way to go, in my mind.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

It happens to all of us. Sometimes I am just too tired to wash my face at night. I know. I know. It only takes a couple of minutes and I am the first person to preach never, ever going to bed without removing makeup and cleansing. But some nights – it all seems like too much.

That is when I reach for Kaia Bamboo Cleansing Cloths.

Kaia Bamboo Cleansing Cloths

I adore these!

Kaia Bamboo Cleansing Cloths are a cleanser, toner and makeup remover all in one. Honest. They will remove makeup and the grime from the day in just one cloth. One cloth.

These super soft cleansing cloths are made of bamboo (natch) and are biodegradable. I usually shy away from cleansing cloths because they just create waste, but not these. Love that.

The ingredients in Kaia Bamboo Cleansing Cloths are fantastic: Canadian organic honey : an emollient and nutrient with antioxidant and anti-microbial properties with the ability to absorb and retain moisture; Cetyl Alcohol : a fatty alcohol from plant oils with emulsifying properties, Sunflower Seed Oil: the extract from sunflower seeds, a rich emollient high in linoleic and oleic essential fatty acids and vitamin E, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, extremely mild cleansing agent which is skin friendly and derived from oats, Panthenol: A moisturizer, derived from vitamin B5, with humectant-like properties that aid in skin absorption.

I also love these not just for those nights when I am too tired/ lazy to use water, but they are brilliant for traveling. Kaia Bamboo Cleansing Cloths are a staple in my cosmetic bag. Love them big time.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

A big thank you to Rhonda Rovan and the other amazing people at Best Health Magazine for this wonderful article. Thanks also to Jen Arron, gorgeous photographer extraordinaire.

This issue, on stands now, has lots of great articles on health (natch!), beauty and some yummy recipes.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

If there is one beauty product I have in my handbag or in my pocket at all times it is Hemp Organics Lip Tints. I wear them all the time. All. The. Time.

If I am only going to grab one makeup item it will be lip colour and these are by far one of my ultimate favs. Hemp Organics Lip Tints are perfect for the hottest summer days and coldest winter nights. They are a Green Beauty hero. I could go on and on.

Hemp Organics Lip Tint in Love

The colours offered in Hemp Organics Lip Tints are fantastic.

Wine is a gorgeous merlot red – perfect for gals with olive skin or fairer skin tones who want a pop of warmth for Fall.

Hemp Organics Lip Tint in Wine

Rose is a delicate pink – the ideal shade for the final days of summer.

Hemp Organics Lip Tint in Rose

Berry is a luscious, candy apple red – gorgeous on all skin tones. It adds richness without intense colour.

Hemp Organics Lip Tint in Berry

Kiss is a beautiful tawny pink and creates a perfect neutral lip on those with fair skin tones.

Hemp Organics Lip Tint in Kiss

Terra is a heavenly shade that creates a beautiful neutral lip on those with medium to dark skin tones.

Hemp Organics Lip Tint in Terra

What I love the most about Hemp Organics Lip Tints is that they give a moderate amount of colour while feeling like a lip balm. In fact, they moisturize just like a lip balm with top-notch ingredients like: carnauba wax, certified organic hemp seed oil, certified organic jojoba oil and vitamin E. I also love the thin tube as it goes on like a dream.

Beautiful colour – soft lips – organic ingredients. I bet you can’t have just one. I sure can’t.

Be beautiful. Feel good about it.

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