So, the big news is: I’ve just started a new, full-time job. As of next week, I’ll be stepping into the full-time shoes of Digital Editor & Special Projects Magic Maker at Dumbo Feather. Yep, you read right. Dumbo. Feather. This means that I’m going to be writing slightly less frequently here at Superéthique (but I’ll still have my finger 100% on the pulse, trust me).
It’s an incredible new opportunity to help grow an amazing publication, business and community, and it’s buoyed only further by the fact that I work in the same building as a bunch of other amazing businesses whose social and ethical heart is whole and vibrantly beating.
And of course, the other (seriously super) ethical business that lives under this roof that couldn’t be closer to my heart – or should I say, vagina (and yes, I did) – is TOM Organic.Keep reading…
Keeping with the theme of getting so fresh and clean this summer, today’s post is all straight up, simple steps to get detoxin’ yer locks.
The folk at The Purist Company develop the A’kin, Al’chemy and Pure Therapy brands, so they’re pretty serious about ethical haircare. Here, Purist’s Iona Yeung and in-house Botanical Chemist extraordinaire Annabelle Personeni share 4 simple tips on what to look for (and avoid!) when it comes to making the switch to shampoo that’s better for you and far, far easier on the world.
Image attribution to o5com via Flickr
Oh, and I do believe we have an Al’chemy shampoo, conditioner and treatment to giveaway here too! So read on!
1. Cut out the silicones.
Silicones are proverbial fast food to the hair, a quick fix with immediate results. They make your hair nice ‘n shiny – Silicones can be found in most “nourishing” shampoos, and in almost every conditioner and serum. Often found in hair styling serums, silicone based products don’t actually treat or nourish the hair. Used long term, product can build up, weighing hair down. Opt for products that offer nutrients to your hair, so it can shine naturally without the help of silicones.
Good to know: Products containing silicone may also be listed under its synonyms (i.e. Dimeticone and Cyclopentasiloxane). If there is a cone or silane at the end of an ingredient, it is likely to contain silicones.
2. Invest in a quality shampoo and conditioner.
Annabelle says: To nourish the hair and scalp, switch your silicone based conditioner to a natural conditioner. Using a natural conditioner will “re-boost” your hair with the nutrients and proteins it needs to look shiny and healthy. A deep cleansing shampoo will aid in removing product build up.
If it’s too difficult to part with your current styling regime, try reducing the use of silicones by choosing a natural based shampoo and conditioner, but keep your silicone based serum for a while. Then, slowly reduce the use of the serum and switch to a leave-on natural hair conditioner.
We recommend: Al’chemy Lemongrass Shampoo, RRP: $14.95 225ml, $26.95 500ml and Al’chemy Leave in conditioner – and yep, we’ve got these up for grabs!
3. Make good use of the basics
Break the habit of over washing: Wash hair with a gentle shampoo once every few days, as using shampoo daily strips hair of its natural oils while over stimulating the production of sebum. (It’s a vicious, oily cycle.) Those who perspire a lot from physical activity or weather may still rinse hair daily if necessary, as perspiration is freely washed off with pure water.
To get the most out of your conditioner, Annabelle suggests rinsing it out in two steps as it enhances the deposition of natural conditioning ingredients. Apply conditioner as usual and but rinse with only ½ cup of water first, followed by a full rinse. Doing so will break down the emulsions, releasing more nutrients to the hair.
I say: One of the main reasons we’re obviously reluctant to make the switch is because it can be a big splurge to do so. But on the other hand, once you’ve detoxed your hair from its silicone and frequency dependencies, you’ll use far less product. So over time, you’re not only financially breaking even (or doing even better), you’ve also considerably reduced your eco-impact!
Annabelle says: Healthy hair will benefit from products that are free from harsh chemicals like parabens, sulphates, ethoxylated and petrochemical cleansers, silicones, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA and artificial colours. If you come across an unfamiliar ingredient, sites like www.skindeep.org are a great resource for ingredient profiles and safety ratings.
I say: And you’d also be amazed if you heard from water and soil scientists (I used to work with some) how much of a pain in the arse these particular chemicals are to remove from wastewater at the treatment plant. They’re a real concern because they’re ecological disruptors when leaching into waterways and soils, persisting in food chains and ecologies.
And now it’s (drum roll please)….
We have a hair care pack, courtesy of Al’chemy to give away, and we are super-stoked! Valued at least $43.95, this trio of a shampoo, conditioner and leave-in treatment will have you pretty well sorted!
All you gotta do is sign up for our newsletter, and you’ll be in the draw. You’ll have the chance to win something like this – and it should last you for months. I’ve been using my shampoo and conditioner since mid October and feel like I’m only half-way through the bottles. I’m serious.
A word about Al’chemy
Al’chemy products are ingredient-rich, vegan, 100% natural and formulated without parabens, sulfates, ethoxylated and petrochemical cleansers, parabens, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA and artificial colours, animal ingredients or animal testing. www.purist.co
It’s been incredible. The newly-found self-confidence. The sideways glances. The compliments.
Especially since right now it’s pretty hot in Australia and we’re all just that little bit more – well – naked. To feel genuinely comfortable in my skin for the first summer in well over ten years, I can only describe as exhilarating.
The Back Story:
I adopted an almost entirely plant-based diet just under a year ago. I’d been a nutritional vegetarian for two years prior to this exciting new phase in my foodie journey, so it wasn’t a big leap for me to make – either culinarily or psychologically.
After having gotten schooled up on the hows and whys, I splashed out on a juicer (for my greens), swapped a stack of conventional produce for organic, and got my vegan on.
The first few months were all about trying stuff out: discovering new alternatives to the claggy dairy that we had become used to, reading the fine-print on the backs of packets, and over compensating with waaaay too much bread. (Way too much.)
All the while, I was managing to cart my ass to yoga maybe once or twice a week, and squeezing in 20-30 minutes’ walking 5 days a week if I was lucky – punctuating a working lifestyle that had become scarily sedentary.
I was maybe a tiny bit healthier, but hardly the energy-filled spunk-rat I wanted to be.
Then all of a sudden there was an overseas wedding to attend. We jettisoned off to Singapore where the searing heat meant that (for cosseted Melbournians like us) the majority of our waking hours had to be spent poolside, or in the heavily air-conditioned gymnasium. There were noodle dishes, gluten-based meat substitutes, sweet iced coffees, G+Ts, and mirrors everywhere. I felt at total and utter odds with my body, and my – let’s be honest – fairly crappy overall health and fitness.
It was time to overhaul my whole lifestyle. So, when I returned to Melbourne, I started working with a trainer to change and up my exercise. I re-read Crazy Sexy Diet and Skinny Bitch from cover-to-cover (it’s not actually as insanely LA as the title suggests, trust me). I got back on the raw-juice wagon in earnest, and cut out the white bread, the sweetener and the rather hearty soy-based smoothies that had slipped into my daily diet.
I cut my alcohol consumption down to almost nil, and weeded out almost all processed, substitute-style foods. I sought out the purest, organic, cruelty-free products to use on and around my body, too.
At the same time I started eating more raw fruit and vegetables. Stacks more. I embraced salad-creation as a way of life. I drank chilled, filtered water like a muthaf**ker. I learned how to lightly steam. Priceless.
Jump-cut a teeny-tiny two months: From this declaration of newly-found-health-dom to the lead-in to the silly season, I’d lost 7 kilos (that’s about 1.1 stone, or 15.4 pounds depending on where you live). Not Biggest Loser-style masses, but enough for people I hadn’t seen for a while to start to notice the difference. It was about 10kg (1.6st/22lb) short of my ultimate goal. But despite this, I’d gotten to a place where I was happy to take my cardigan off in public – plus my skin was glowing with radiant, veggie-love.
And then the new year hit in full force. Friends and family went on annual leave and flew into Melbourne (or at least just back into our social calendar), apple cider (the alcoholic type), pinot noir and gin and tonics once again became a regular fixture in the schedule; the white-bread creep was inexorable, irresistible, deadly; soy ice-cream visited her havoc upon me.
The scales stopped moving. Sort of. To be honest, they actually started moving in the opposite direction. Mild hangovers and insane heat started making regular exercise something to be avoided and then put off altogether. I have felt the old patterns sinking in.
But this time, instead of conceding to the inert apathy about what I put in my mouth and how much I move my booty, I decided to seize my health by the balls and slam home those last ten (okay, now eleven) kilos with absolute love and commitment.
Enter, Living Clean:
What a great opportunity! To take my fired-up journey to better health and a fitter body via pure, kind and conscious living choices and turn it into a whole resource for Superéthique readers to make healthy and practical changes in their lives and for the planet and its inhabitants.
I started out adopting a plant-based lifestyle for largely ethical and environmental reasons. At the same time, I learned about the significant health benefits (longevity, increased libido, avoidance of serious diseases anyone?). But then… I noticed the tangible changes to the way it made me look and feel.
Living cleanly has been the greatest lifestyle choice I’ve ever made, and certainly the one with the richest (and most holistic) rewards. It’s not a fad, it’s not a diet, it’s not a regimen. It’s a whole-life approach. And whatever it is you’re wanting to achieve in 2012 – be that getting fitter, looking better, losing weight, being more mindful about the choices you make (even changing your job, or earning more money!) this approach will support you 100% of the way, and positively impact your success in both direct and indirect ways.
So, let’s get started! Because today’s post is an introduction to Living Clean, I’ll be posting again on Monday morning with the first “official” installment in the series. From there on in, you’ll hear from me and the Living Clean project every Friday. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the things that you can expect to get:
Lifestyle tips for re-framing your approach to shopping, eating, et cetera.
Recipes, recipes, recipes… delicious and simple, but wildly nutritious.
Tricks that I use to keep myself on the wagon, easily.
Inspiration, motivation and a links to research-reading if you’re interested in it.
Hat-tips to my favourite brands (and businesses) that keep me Living Clean every day.
Lots. Of. Photos. (& maybe even a couple of videos…)
Sound good? Great. Let’s do this! Oh – and don’t forget to sign-up to our eNews: you’re going to want to get access to the awesome 2012 giveaways we’ll be doing regularly – including a few from Living Clean features (cunning plans afoot!).
So, while everyone’s busily setting new year’s resolutions, intentions, goals and words of the year, I’m trying a different approach in 2012: immediate action.
I know that in order to make the change I want to enact last long-term, I’ve gotta stop planning on doing, and to just do.
The awesome thing about this method is that stuff actually gets done – even if it’s only little – and the stuff that’s done creates the momentum and inspiration for further change, more action, etc, etc – until what you have is one giant snowball-effect of great, thrilling newness, rather than a list of things you’d half forgotten you were going to try and do, but that you’d rather sit on the couch eating biscuits from the packet than think about again.
As I say – the changes you make – the things that you do – they don’t have to be big to make a difference.
So here is a easy-peasy list of 5 things that you can do at the counter to change the world – right now:
1. Count the ingredients – if you’re buying stuff to put on, in or around your body the rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. And I’m talking ingredients whose names you can pronounce. If it sounds like it was made in a lab, it probably was. I’m not suggesting you avoid these all together (difficult, and probably unwise in this day and age), but becoming more conscious of purer options is never a bad idea.
2. Pay attention to GM & Organics – organic is good. Certified organic is even better. Biodynamic is great. GM free is also an advantage. If you’re unclear on the distinctions between these and you give a damn, it’s worth doing a Wiki-round and schooling up on their finer points and how they influence our domestic buying decisions. Bon chance – we’re with you all the way on this – because once you make the choice to start to consume more organics, your life really will change.
3. Go vegan-friendly. Even if you’re not vegan or vego, you will start to notice a difference (for the better) in your buying habits when you become conscious about what animals have gone into a product to bring it to your dining or dressing table. And not just by-products of sacrificed animals, either – but living ones, too – they all make a significant impact on the environmental state of the planet, and aside from it being an act of compassion, cutting back on your animal-product purchases is the one big change you can make in your lifetime to your carbon footprint.
4. Ask where it’s made. This is a no-brainer, really. Just beyond the elementary step of becoming more aware of how the products you consume and use every day are made, is asking the question (not just of people, but of packaging, marketing and presentation) where the product and its ingredients come from. It’s a manifold process of course – where the ingredients are grown or manufactured, where the product is put together, and where it’s packaged. Bonus points if it’s made by a business which is locally owned.
5. Pay a little bit more. Come on, you know it’s worth it. 2012 is the year of no compromise. And you know what? You’ll start to find that if you invest a little bit more seriously in the buying choices you make, that you will start to be remunerated through a strengthened local economy, and more (and therefore cheaper) local, ethical options. It’s all part of the great cycle of sustainable economics, and you’re a key cog in the wheel, baby.
Of course you’re not going to be able to do all of these things all of the time (I certainly don’t, and I don’t pretend to), but making an effort to go that little bit further when you do have choices at the checkout will end up making a real difference – especially if you get a bunch of like-minded friends and family on board with you.
And if you act on only a couple of these 5 things each time you go shopping, you’ll have made a great, super-ethical kick-start to the new year!
4. A Shade of Turquoise handmade rug made from custom-dyed recycled cotton t-shirts. Made to order, from Green at Heart on Etsy – with a minimum 3 month wait…but soooo worth it! 5.Recycled timber flower mat. Designed and made in Melbourne by Bonnie Ashley and Neil Downie of Bonnie and Neil, and available via State of Green.
… Of course, we’re just getting our hint-hints out early. Next week, we’ll share our picks on gift ideas for friends and fam. Can’t wait! Have a great weekend!
My name is Ming-Zhu Hii - I'm an actor, artist, and content curator. Superéthique is an outlet for my obsession with wellbeing, good living and bleeding-edge green style. Alongside some fabulous friends, this is where I share super-ethical inspiration for life.