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GREEN BEAUTY IS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE


There is a danger in feeling like nothing you do matters. Why recycle? It’s barely a drop in the bucket. Why vote? The other guy will win anyway. Why be kind? No one is being kind to me.

And there is a danger in feeling like EVERYTHING you do matters— obsessively going over the things you said to someone hours later in your head, stressing over what you ate or didn’t eat, feeling like any decision you made is probably wrong. Neither of these options is healthy, nor are they fun.

In our current world, where facts aren’t facts and politics are divisive, where twitter trolls abound, where wellness is revered but achieving it can lead to more stress, where science is ignored, and where human rights are unjustly questioned and often trampled, it can be hard to find the blessed middle ground between “nothing matters” and “everything matters.” It can feel exhausting to find meaningful ways to contribute without succumbing to the negative.

But I offer hope— what you do does matter. Kindness can change someone’s day, which can then change someone’s life. There are more and more ways out there for your voice to be heard. And, most importantly, you have power.

As a Green Beauty advocate, I often feel like I’m either preaching to the choir or screaming into the void, as if people who get it get it, and those who don’t never will. So what’s a science-loving, truth-speaking, kind-hearted person to do? Resist.

Acts of resistance - to the noise, to the lies, to the anger - are easier than you think. Resisting is voting with your wallet. Resisting is acting with your conscience. Resisting is being you, even when it’s not easy or popular. Resisting is doing what you know is right. Resisting is continuing to hold your vision for the future, even when you can’t see the path clearly. And when you buy Green Beauty, you are participating in one of the most beautiful acts of resistance.

I know, you’re wondering what buying non-toxic products or clean makeup has to do with resisting. Well, when you buy a product that was made by someone who cares about the earth, it matters. When you buy something made in small batches, by people paid fairly for their labor, it makes a difference. When you buy a product that says, “Hey big cosmetics, keep carcinogens off my skin!” the message is sent. When you support a company that is run by women, people of color, or other minorities in the world of business, you’re helping them flourish. You’re making it possible for more and more healthy, safe products to be made sustainably by people who care about the earth and your health. You’re voting every time you buy something.

This is why I love Green Beauty. I love knowing that my products were made by hand, with love, by people who are trying to make the world a better place. So I interviewed some of those very people, the ones making your beloved products with their hands and hearts, to ask how buying their products is an act of resistance. And the answers were almost as beautiful as the products they create.

“Green beauty is about making good decisions,” says Naa-Sakle Akuete, CEO & Founder of Eu'Genia Shea. “Buying green means resisting calls for ethereal and amorphous positivity and focusing your dollars on change you can see (both in the mirror and in the world around you).” I first discovered Eu’Genia Shea at Anthropologie, where the little tins of ethically sourced shea butter tempted me by the cash wrap. The more I researched the brand, the more I fell in love with their top-to-bottom sustainable business model, plus the lovely shea butter balms they produce. “Eu’Genia Shea provides organic and quality training to our 5000 pickers in northern Ghana, purchases nuts from them at fair prices, manufactures shea butter in-house according to the methods my mother developed as President of the Global Shea Alliance, and then fills each of our tins by hand,” says Akuete. “In this way, we can guarantee the quality every step of the way and make sure that each of our highly concentrated balms soothes everything it touches. Plus, we donate 15% of our profits back to our processors -- real women from northern Ghana who tackle the patriarchy daily.”

Kahina Giving Beauty has a similar approach to making sure the ingredients they use are sourced fairly and that they leave the world better than they found it. Founder Katharine L’Heureux has created an independent, woman-owned company sourcing the highest quality natural and organic ingredients from small family farms and cooperatives around the world, paying a fair wage to the people who grow and extract them. She says, “our core ingredients, Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil, are sourced directly from impoverished Berber women in a remote Moroccan village. We empower these women by providing a market and fair wage for their labor, running water and electricity for the village, and donate additional funds to support educational programs for the girls in the community.  At the same time we provide healthy alternatives to traditional skincare for women around the world, packaged in environmentally friendly recyclable bottles and boxes made from recycled paper.”  Every detail is thought through with Kahina Giving Beauty, no stone left unturned. I love knowing that I’m using a product that’s gone through so many loving hands, that every aspect of it was constructed so thoughtfully. 

Other brands choose to make change closer to home, with farms they can almost see from their studio windows. “We are committed to finding, creating and nurturing organic artisan sources as local to our production facility as possible,” Laurel Shaffer, owner/formulator of Laurel Whole Plant Organics, tells me. “For us, this isn’t only to ensure the purity and efficacy of our ingredients, it also enables us to truly know the ethics and sustainability of each and every ingredient we use in our products. In addition, choosing to source locally supports the local community, small family-owned businesses, and people we know and love.” Shaffer’s company echos the idea that every purchase you make sends a message. “By choosing our products, you are helping to change the way the beauty industry does ingredient sourcing, encouraging more local and ethically responsible botanical sourcing with the smallest carbon footprint possible,” she says. Based in California, Laurel Whole Plant Organics harnesses the beauty of the west coast and shares it all over the world. 

Suzanne LeRoux, President of One Love Organics, Inc., expresses her idea of Green Beauty as an act of resistance in a simple, uplifting phrase: Say Yes. “The idea of ‘resistance’ is all about saying NO. But at One Love Organics, we say an emphatic YES every single day. Morning and night, we indulge in an irresistibly beautiful act of resistance when we say YES to natural, organic skincare that makes not just our complexions, but our whole selves more radiant with love. Through impeccably-sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging and manufacturing practices, we say YES to an ethical, cruelty-free world. Most of all, we say YES to the women who want to feel happy knowing they’re shopping for beauty products that are not only clean but wildly, gloriously effective. We say YES to joy, to positivity, to happiness, to choices, to glowing from the inside and from the outside, to LOVE! Say it with us: YES.” That positive energy is infused into all the products made in LeRoux’s Georgia facility. From every ingredient used to every person hired, Suzanne oversees a mission full of integrity and joy, with products that are as effective as they are fun.

And I couldn’t possibly write about the beautiful, brave women leading these acts of resistance without sharing wise words from our most wonderful Osmia Organics founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco. “Choosing Osmia is an act of delicious resistance. By prioritizing quality over false promises and gimmicks, you’re refusing to accept the old story that beauty is about looking young and perfect. Instead, you’re returning to your senses: you’re asking yourself what will make you FEEL beautiful in your daily routines, and inspire you to ACT beautiful in your own life. You know what’s behind our brand: honesty, integrity, and meticulously ethical sourcing of the highest quality ingredients available from nature. You are becoming exactly the kind of consumer the world needs - a truly educated one. By choosing Osmia, you're supporting a conscious company that promotes other conscious companies, you’re promoting organic farming and sustainable harvesting, AND you’re planting a tree every time you place an order with us. Even if you’ve only purchased a single bar of our soap, you’ve taken the first step on a path that leads to extraordinary change.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, dear reader, do not despair. Recycle with reckless abandon. Vote, and your voice will be heard. Organize, protest, and shout when necessary. Meditate, soothe, and relax when you can. But during all of that, know that when you buy a product made with conscious choices and beautiful intent, you’re spreading love and goodness into the world. That is beauty. It’s not the makeup we wear or the wrinkles we smooth with serums. It’s our energy, our life force, the choices we make. Keep making the best choices you can. And when you find yourself obsessing over them in the middle of the night, wondering if you made the right choice, rest assured. If you bought something made with love, it was a good choice.

With love and hope from us to you, 

 

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