As consumers we have the power to dictate what the market offers. If we start making more informed decisions about the products we buy (from food to clothing to travel experiences), stop buying certain products that are terrible for the environment, and replace them for smaller, sustainable brands, that’s when things start to change. Even if you make one small change a month it makes a difference, so don’t be afraid to make the move if this is something that’s been on your mind.
There are a million more things I could be doing and I’m still making mistakes (some are conscious, some aren’t), but I give myself some grace because I’m at least trying and learning. Little by little. It’s a process, just like everything else. The important thing is to start.
Never underestimate the power you have as a consumer. What we buy does make a difference in the world. It forces big brands to make changes in order to adapt to the demands of a more conscious market and it creates space for smaller brands with big, innovative ideas to grow.
Another thing I’m trying to do, is to support more women owned brands. I joined this amazing platform called Dough (more on them next week) and it basically gives you access to women owned businesses and products, along with their story. It’s truly amazing and they have so many unique pieces! Make sure to check them out!
Anyways, without further ado, here are some of the products/brands we’ve stopped buying (or using way less in some cases) and also what we are buying instead:
- Make up remover wipes: Oh… these are so convenient right!? But they are not only terrible for your skin, but to the environment too because they are SO wasteful. Just think about it; you use them every day and so does everyone you know. This adds up. Also, add baby wipes here… which I understand you need if you have a baby, but you don’t need the makeup ones, so take one for the team here. You can read more on why they are so bad here. What to buy instead? I use this make up remover towel called the ‘Makeup Eraser’ that you can wash and it’s only $15! (All the better options are linked here). You can also wash your face twice using your favorite cleanser, but I know sometimes that can be more expensive because you use double the amount of product. In my opinion, it’s always convenient to have the Makeup Eraser towel, even though I don’t use it every single day.
- Fast fashion: Brands like Shein, Romwe, Forever21, Wish, Missguided, Zara, Urban Outfitters and the one that hurt me the most… Mango. You guys know I’m so guilty of this. It’s hard to resist because they are cute and so so cheap, but they are so terrible for the environment! Why? Well because they are usually worn a couple of times and that’s it, which generates waste. Since they use a lot of toxic chemicals it also generates water pollution and with prices on these items being so low, they encourage consumers to buy more without thinking too much about our purchases, not to mention most of these brands don’t even pay their employees (from factories to retail) a decent living wage. However, don’t be silly and get rid of the things you already bought to replace it for a more ethical version, that’s wasteful and not ethical in the end! Just think about it twice next time you are going shopping. What to buy instead? Brands that are more responsible like Marine Layer, Everlane, Reformation, United by Blue, Cuyana, Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, Roots, Tom’s, etc. (There are so many with different price points and for every style!). There’s an IG page I follow called ‘Good on You’ (They also have an app and a very resourceful website) that shares brands that are responsible and rates some of the brands out there, so you can make more informed decisions next time you shop. I also wrote a post to help you build a capsule wardrobe little by little. By having less things and being less wasteful you are also helping our planet (it actually has a bigger impact!). Check out the post here.
- Ziploc bags: These plastic bags are terrible for the environment. Any kind of single use plastic is one of the worst things you can do for our planet, which makes it a great way to start doing some changes. Bring your bags to the grocery store, skip the water bottles and plastic straws and reduce or eliminate the use of ziploc bags (I know how convenient they are, but it’s a change worth doing). If you are in the US, Canada, Australia, some places in South America or Europe, this is easier to do. A lot of countries don’t have the option to choose and that’s one of the things that motivates me the most to do something. To be in that position is a privilege. What to buy instead? Ideally, use glass containers, but we all know that’s not always possible. If you must use a bag, then these reusable plastic ones are a great option. They are $15 and are easy to wash and reuse. You can buy a couple of sets like we did. Here are a couple options.
- Regular deodorant: I transitioned to natural deodorant after reading this article. There’s a lot of cancer in my family so I really feel like I have to take extra care of myself. Regular deodorant has been linked to breast cancer (even though there’s no clear evidence) and I’m just not willing to take that risk. Most commercial antiperspirants/deodorants rely on aluminum or antimicrobials to help control sweat and odor. Many also contain parabens as a preservative and some form of a carrier chemical to make it easier to apply to the skin. These can be silicones, such as cyclomethicone, PEG-8 distearate, hydrogenated caster oil and others. What to buy instead? The answer of course, is natural deodorant because they don’t block your pores (antiperspirants do—that’s why you don’t sweat) so that good bacteria keeps working, meaning less odor even when you’re not wearing any deodorant. After trying a million different brands this past year, my favorites are Humankind and Phresh. I have a couple more to try that were gifted, so I’ll keep you posted on how I like those.
- Plastic water bottles: This ties up with the ziploc bags and all single plastic use in general. If you are in a position to do something, that’s a privilege. It’s not that hard to stop using plastic water bottles. What to buy instead? Reusable water bottles (I love the brand Contigo). Here are a few options. I keep mine with me at all times, even to the airport. You just have to make it a habit and get used to it. I believe it makes a huge difference.
- Victoria’s secret. This has been my favorite underwear brand since I can remember, but after I saw it on ‘Good on You’ rated as ‘Not Good Enough’ I knew I had to find a better alternative. This wasn’t a hard change to make because VS is not cheap at all, so finding a better alternative with the same prices wasn’t that hard. What to buy instead? I recently had the opportunity to try a brand called Tommy Johns. They gifted me some product and I was hooked since day 1. This is where I’m buying my underwear from now on (if you have any other suggestions please send them my way!). There are some other options at the end of this post too!
- Converse. A few months ago, G needed to get new white sneakers. He’s been wearing Converse for years, so naturally that was the first thing we looked for. But I remembered seeing an IG ad for this brand called Cariuma and showed it to him and he really liked their stuff, so that’s what we bought instead of Converse and he loves his new sneakers! What to buy instead? Cariuma, Veja, Adidas, etc. I recently learned on ‘Good on You’ that Converse is making small changes towards becoming more sustainable, but there are other brands like the ones I mentioned, that are smaller and are way more sustainable. That’s why we support those instead.
About food brands, beauty and cleaning products:
For food and products in general, I suggest you to check and follow @labels_matter on Instagram. That account is amazing at sharing details on products that are safe to buy and why. I could write more about this, but it would be a very long post on itself. Truth is, not all brands and products are safe for you to use, and I recently find out that some brands that are known for being safe are not so much.. Also brands that are actually safe, have products that are not safe at all despite having products that are… Confusing right? Then add organic, GMO, natural, etc. That’s why I invite you to follow that IG account. She posts almost daily and shares photos of each product, so it’s super easy to understand. It’s been my guide when I’m at the supermarket lately. Start with this list of vegetables and fruits called the dirty dozen and clean fifteen (Read more here) as a guide to know which things you should splurge on and buy organic, and which products are just not worth it:
It’s also recommended to buy organic any animal products like meat, pork and chicken and byproducts like eggs, butter, milk etc. (at least that’s we do around here to be safe). Also, don’t feel bad if you can’t make the switch. All of these alternatives are more expensive and to be honest, I couldn’t afford to do it until 2 years ago. What I do encourage you to do is to eat healthy, not processed foods, organic or not. Eating healthy, natural food will have the bigger impact on how you live your life.
As for beauty brands…
Did you know that each year, more than 100 million animals—including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds—are killed in U.S. laboratories for biology lessons, medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing? I was shocked when I learned that number. I wish I could give you more examples on clean beauty other than the following list, but I haven’t made this transition 100% yet. There are so many products that I love that still test on animals that don’t have the best ingredients, but I haven’t been able to find a replacement that I’m happy with. I’m working on it though. I’m not buying, sharing or accepting products from those dirty brands that test on animals anymore. I just can’t. If you’re brave enough to watch the videos on what they do to these innocent animals, then go to YouTube and do quick search.
Here’s a chart of brands that still test on animals, so you keep in mind for next time. There are many more, but these are like the main ones (Sadly, I still have so many of these brands, most of them were gifted, but still, not buying any of these ever again!):
Here are some of the ‘clean brands’ that don’t do any kind of animal testing:
You can read more on the subject here or do a quick Google search to learn more about it. There’s a lot of information out there. If there are brands that are not listed on either of these lists, you can always Google it. Trust me, there’s information somewhere out there about ANY brand. I trust the Peta website for this kind of stuff.
If you know more on this subject, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, if you’ve replace any product for a more responsible choice, please share too. I’m here to learn from you as well.
To be honest, I still have products and brands at home that are not the best choices, but I’m learning. This by any chance means you have to go and get rid of everything you own and go out there and buy all of these instead. I just hope this post helps you to make a more informed decision next time you need to buy something. That’s really all it is. Remember you have the power to choose.
There are a million other categories and brands I am leaving out, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you. I already feel like this post is long enough as it is. If you would like to see more of these posts, I can make it into a series, but let me know via IG or in the comments below and I’ll take note of it.
Thanks so much for stopping by!