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  • Can New Sustainability Regulations Hold Their Own

    the unwash: trending

    While most consumer industries are beginning to lean into the push for sustainability, brands across the globe are no strangers to altering their course to meet the demand. Indie companies especially have been putting out products with sustainability at the forefront for over a decade. Still, now the industry as a whole is playing a game of catch-up as consumer values have shifted. Demand for sustainable products is consistently growing, and brands new and old are looking to meet the changing needs. 2023 marked a stark shift as new EU legislation around greenwashing, sustainability commitments, and transparency were passed and are now taking shape. In the past brands have been able to get away with loaded promises, lack of reporting, the uptick in greenwashing, or setting the bar too high for what is in reach when creating sustainability initiatives. 2024 seems to be the year to start putting together quantifiable, measurable changes to keep brands and suppliers in check. Lifestyle industries such as fashion and textiles have been a large target for the new legislation as fast-fashion brands like Shien and Boohoo continue to be major polluters offering little solutions to a massive problem. Innovations such as Pact, a recycling company formed in partnership with Credo to properly recycle beauty packaging are ushering in the new standard with consumers wanting hands-on change. Over the past few years, brands have zeroed in on the need for sustainable change and are now met with a crackdown on transparency, production, and marketing to make it happen.

    Over the past few years, we’ve majorly seen the commercialization of sustainability spiral out of control. As the sustainability movement grows and gains mainstream attention, larger corporations follow suit but not necessarily in a good way. Consumers can’t become susceptible to mega corporations cashing in on their supposed sustainability scams. Mainstream brands coming out with sustainability collections and collaborations are only going to grow but as watchful consumers, we know better than to believe the hype. The trouble that begins from this is that the majority of shoppers don’t know what to look out for when making sustainable choices. Someone could wholeheartedly believe they’re making a great product swap but are ultimately just buying into some tactful marketing. If you recall, it’s like the Sephora ‘clean & planet positive’ sticker that most of the time is only selling people plastic. When it comes to the commercialization of sustainability there are a few ways I look at it. Glass half full perspective is that consumers are demanding better environmentally conscious alternatives that it’s catching the eye of mega-corporations. Glass half empty is that we’re catching the eye of mega-corporations that can then profit off of people’s good intentions. Regardless of the execution we should celebrate people that want to lean into sustainability and that we use this as an opportunity to educate and empower.

    “We waited a really long time for the industry to regulate itself, but it’s so unregulated, and we have a climate crisis looming. As a result there is an urgency and policymakers have stepped up.”  – Maeve Galvin, Global Policy Director at Fashion Revolution

    New regulations in the EU that were approved by parliament in the spring of 2023 took aim at greenwashing claims and subsequently would penalize brands capitalizing on false or deceptive narratives. Using words such as ‘eco-friendly’, ‘green’, or ‘climate-neutral’ is prohibited under the new regulations unless the company shows sufficient evidence behind these claims. In March of this year, France put their foot down against fast-fashion retailers such as Shien. The brand argued against the bill stating that this takes purchasing power away from consumers especially at a time of economic crisis yet seemingly ignored the large implications the brand has on the global economy through their waste production. Concern about reducing clothing access for people who cannot afford ethically made products is completely valid and opens up further conversations about the resale market and the need to create ethically made products available for all economic demographics. The proposal of this law doesn’t come without mixed intentions. Many researchers and political analysts speculate that this is a mode of anti-Chani legislation hidden in sheep’s clothing especially as the bill comes from right-winged French politicians. Some also question if this is a way to further ostracize parts of the population that need fast fashion whether that be for size inclusivity or economic disparity. Despite this, it is important to note that fast fashion’s biggest purchasers are women around the age of 35 years old making $65,000 annually. The news around creating clearer expectations for sustainability in the market space has been loud but makes you wonder what the follow-through will look like, especially on a global scale.

    Lots is coming down the pipe demanding change and much-needed transparency which the European Union is taking the lead on. Major things to watch coming out of the EU are new regulations around sustainability reporting, the green claims initiative, requirements for product design and circularity, and supply claim due diligence. The United States has long been lagging behind the European Union and other global entities in creating comprehensive sustainability initiatives but the new requirements in the EU could create a shift in the US manufacturing process to comply. Part of an issue plaguing the US is the misnomer between federal and state-level policies therefore leaving us with nothing comparable to ESG or CSRD. The SEC and DOL are slowly rolling out policies around financial disclosures for sustainability practices as well as disclosure of risks related to greenhouse gas emissions. Large-scale product or marketing reform has yet to hit the US but the EU’s new policies especially around greenwashing could cause US-based companies to follow suit.

    01

    Organic Basics

    Copenhagen-based brand, Organic Basics hit the scene in 2015 to make sustainable and affordable everyday basics. From the start the brand is in the business of providing an honest, sustainable, and ethical product, putting their values at the forefront. Sustainability means something different to everyone which rings true for Organic Basics as they work to be values-driven across a wide spectrum. 

    02

    MOB Beauty

    MOB Beauty reinvisioned what it means to be an. an eco-conscious beauty brand. They are constantly reinventing the wheel and finding new ways to hone in on the best sustainable practices. Currently, the brand offers a wide range of packaging from refillable compacts to biodegradable packaging. Their RePurpose series has introduced a compostable refillable compact that will turn into nutrient-rich soil at the end of its life.

    03

    Completedworks

    Completedworks uses reclaimed, recycled, and ethically sourced materials such as marble, glass, bio-resin, and silver. The brand proves you don’t have to compromise design and style for sustainable practices but rather that the two can work in harmony to create timeless, wearable pieces. Sustainability is at the core of the brand’s ethos and the brand is committed to ensuring there is little to no negative environmental impact resulting from its products or shipping process.

    MOB Beauty is Putting No-Frills Sustainability at the Forefront

    the unwash review

    If you’re an avid makeup video scroller you’ve probably seen MOB Beauty come across your feed as of late. Much of the recent popularity the brand has seen is because of the way they have reimagined 90’s MAC Cosmetic products, with a sustainable twist. CEO of MOB, Victor Casale is the former Chief Chemist at MAC and is the brains behind some of your favorite 90’s products. He’s no stranger to the makeup industry as he previously founded CoverFX but is now zeroed in on sustainability as the future of beauty. MOB is paving its own path in the industry with hopes of other brands rising to the occasion alongside them. 

    MOB Beauty reinvisioned what it means to be an. an eco-conscious beauty brand. They are constantly reinventing the wheel and finding new ways to hone in on the best sustainable practices. Currently, the brand offers a wide range of packaging from refillable compacts to biodegradable packaging. Their RePurpose series has introduced a compostable refillable compact that will turn into nutrient-rich soil at the end of its life. Currently, the brand is working on implementing their compostable packaging for all of their products starting this year. Sustainability begins from within at MOB as all of their products are vegan and cruelty-free, certified by Leaping Bunny. Their motto is “beauty in progress” to embrace formulas and packaging that may change as better innovation is created. MOB was also behind the Credo Beauty collaboration to create the beauty recycling system, Pact. You’ve probably seen these recycling boxes as Credo, Sephora, or other beauty and personal care retailers. These recycling boxes cut out the middleman and constantly questioning if your products will be recycled. Pact specializes in recycling hard-to-recycle small plastics that are especially prevalent in the beauty industry.

    “I want to make a better lipstick that is made in a better way, sold in a better way and discarded and reused in a better way.” – Victor Casale, MOB Beauty Founder 

    The brand has been having a viral resurgence the past few months as they launched a product reminiscent of MAC Cosmetics’ iconic but now discontinued ‘Spice’ lip liner thanks to founder Victor Casale’s background with the brand. MOB is bringing beloved favorites back with more sustainable ingredients and Earth-friendly packaging. Casale set off to create MOB as he wanted to leave the Earth and the industry better than he found it. The brand was founded completely from scratch, without suppliers or large-scale manufacturing as they aimed to create a high quality sustainable product that wasn’t being offered yet. Casale and the team behind the brand aren’t interested in trends but rather are committed to only launching a product that offers some sort of sustainable solution. Every aspect of their products and shopping experience is tailored to minimize waste, there are no premade palettes and everything is customizable, leaving less waste from colors that consumers may not want. 

    Sustainability is constantly evolving and changing with new technologies frequently coming out. Much of a key to success when it comes to brands focused on waste reduction is being able to evolve with advances that are being made. MOB has been honest about this journey and its dedication to finding the newest sustainability advancements. This commitment is unsurprising as they are part of the team that came together to create Pact which is revolutionizing beauty recycling and giving consumers peace of mind in the process. The brand is your one-stop shop for all things zero-waste beauty. Whether you want to try a new foundation, blush, cream eyeshadow, lip liner, or even more, they have you covered making choosing a sustainable beauty option easier than ever.

    01

    Noto Botanics

    Noto Botanics is an inclusive skincare and beauty brand that is focused on making an impact, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community. The brand is multi-use for an array of skincare needs with its minimalist, streamlined product line. Their line includes moisturizers, serums, cleansers, and lip and cheek tints. Noto Botanics is just as much about its products as they are about its mission. The brand’s DNA is rooted in inclusivity, community, and giving back.

    02

    Kjaer Weis

    Beauty products create an extra level of difficulty as it can be hard to ditch plastic components or find packaging options that won’t disrupt formulations. The brand debuted in 2010 with a focus on environmental consciousness including all of its products being certified organic, hence their commitment to the ‘Sustainable Since Day One’ slogan. They launched with refillable compacts that have evolved into the beloved packaging we see over ten years later.

    03

    Submission Beauty

    If there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that there’s way too much plastic in the beauty industry. When we think of zero-plastic makeup, thoughts of minimalist routines and skin-like finishes come to mind. Submission Beauty is a completely plastic-free beauty brand that embraces maximalism with its biodegradable glitter. Traditional glitter products are not completely body safe and do not completely disintegrate even years after disposal. Submission Beauty is changing this by making a body-safe, plastic-free, biodegradable, luxury glitter.

    Recreation Brand Halfdays Wants to Get You Outdoors

    the unwash review

    Outerwear brands have often been at the forefront of pushing for more sustainable practices in the industry for years. Brands that have a goal to get people outdoors see the impact of the climate crisis firsthand and feel the pull to make a difference. When it comes to outerwear there isn’t much variation as function is the top priority. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado-based outerwear brand Halfdays came on the scene putting form at the forefront while keeping the functional integrity needed for outdoor activities. The brand offers chic, multi-use apparel that was missing from the male-dominated industry.

    How their apparel looks was only a small piece of the puzzle for founders Ariana Ferwerda and Kiley McKinnon but rather were looking to create ski gear that fit more feminine bodies. The brand was originally focused on ski gear with the two friends-turned-founders being avid skiers with similar frustrations about clothing options. Kiley McKinnon competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in sponsor-provided gear, made only for men. This was a stark realization that things had to change for recreational skiers to professionals alike. The brand offers innovative styles including jackets, ski pants, base layers, and cold-weather accessories that come in a variety of colorways. All of their sizing goes up to 3XL, ensuring that sizing is not a limitation for people who want to get outdoors. The brand has expanded into clothing for warmer outdoor activities such as hiking with leggings, sports bras, and cargo pants. Halfdays is committed to more than just providing fun outdoor wear styles but also cultivates community through ski classes, hiking groups, rock climbing excursions, and beach clean-ups.

    “Minimizing our impact on the environment is so important to us, especially as an outdoor brand. At every step of our production process, we seek out sustainable, recycled, and humane materials.” – Kiley McKinnon, Halfdays Co-Founder

    The brand has grown massively in popularity over the past couple of years and the founders have been open about the challenges of keeping a slow fashion business true to its core amid the demand. Halfdays uses primarily recycled materials and partners with Bluesign for certification of their materials. The brand tries to stay true to its small-batch roots by focusing on quality over quantity including limiting collections. In terms of transparency on their sustainability practices, the brand is lacking but it’s not lost on us that this is a good middle-ground option for those needing to buy new, size-friendly gear. Halfdays is reminiscent of the growth of Girlfriend Collective and Reformation but doesn’t lead with facts and figures in the same way, something that would only further their growth if they were to implement. As the brand continues to gain a substantial audience, we can only hope it expands its reporting and transparency methods regarding its manufacturing practices, allowing for better accountability and accessibility from consumers. We reached out to Halfdays and they confirmed that their sustainability initiatives are a work in progress they are planning on committing more effort.

    A lot of materials used in outerwear apparel aren’t outdoor-friendly. Though many brands in the industry have paved the way for sustainable practices others fall to the wayside with the use of wasteful fabrics. Reaching for recycled options when purchasing new clothing is a great way to cut down on unnecessary waste. Halfdays not only focus on making sustainable outdoor clothing more accessible for all but also hones on an aesthetic to appeal to a larger audience. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors for the first time or are a seasoned professional, Halfdays brings everyone together to get outside more often.

    01

    Everyday Oil

    Everyday Oil is exactly as it sounds, an oil for every day, for every use. Formulated for a variety of uses to embrace a minimalist self-care routine, Everyday Oil is a unique powerhouse product. The oil blend is certified-organic, cold-pressed, containing distilled botanicals. The simple yet effective, high-quality product works as a multi-faceted hydrator for all of your skin, body, and hair needs. The brand’s core embraces simplicity and quality, making an easy-to-use, no-fuss oil.

    02

    Underprotection

    Underprotection makes sustainability sexy with its environmentally conscious lingerie line. The brand came into the industry with hopes of sparking change as they were one of few sustainable options on the market. Underprotection is transparent about everything from material sourcing, and factory conditions to shipping materials – putting a large value on consumer trust. Underprotection has made sustainability look better than ever before.

    03

    Davids Toothpaste

    Davids Toothpaste has performed thousands of hours of research to define the best natural and clean ingredients for removing plaque, whitening teeth, and freshening your breath. I feel clean and fresh after using the sensitive+whitening peppermint toothpaste, tongue scraper, and bamboo toothbrush, and the low-waste products serve as my morning reminder to make sustainable choices throughout the day.

    Experiment Beauty is Ushering in a New Wave of Skincare

    the unwash review

    You probably know them from their iconic green reusable sheet masks that give an alien-chic vibe that you’ve seen while scrolling social media. After the success of their usable sheet mask, science-focused brand Experiment Beauty launched an array of skincare products all to keep your skin hydrated, healed, and protected. Their products are focused on the science behind their formulations to better streamline the products we use, no gimmicky marketing is needed – Experiment relies completely on what’s in the bottle. Although a small brand they’ve caught our eye with their commitment to sustainability metrics and transparency, something many smaller and new brands don’t have the bandwidth for. It’s clear sustainability wasn’t an afterthought for the new brand but rather part of its entirety through the development process. Sustainability is proven to be fun and takes on a new look with Experiment.

    Founded by Lisa Guerra and Emmy Ketcham to launch a brand that leads with science rather than marketing ploys. The brand goes against the gain in comparison to other sustainability products on the market that lean into ‘clean’ claims. Sustainability doesn’t always have to be sexy, hence the founders pushing the facts behind their ingredients – particularly glycerin. When the brand went live they started with only $8,500 and one product, the infamous green reusable sheet mask. The product cut the need for single-use sheet masks and rather allowed users to customize their experience by yielding a greater result of the products they already use when paired with the mask. The brand has added three products to its lineup that coincide with the goal of hydrated skin. Founders Lisa and Emmy put science on the forefront with products that work and are transparent about what’s inside.

    “Aside from those, the conscious consumer of the future cares deeply about authenticity and transparency. We live in a world filled with BS, and the younger generation is looking for brands they feel live up to their brand promises. Conscious consumers are looking for brands that show up authentically.” – Lisa Guerrera, Experiment Beauty Co-Founder

    All of their products are designed with recyclability and reusability in mind. All of the packaging for their products are made from recycled materials or have elements that can be reused and refilled such as their serum pump. The brand also partnered with Bluebird to accurately measure all of its sustainability claims and to provide better transparency for consumers. Every product on their website has an easy-to-access sustainability report, powered by Bluebird. Each report includes information on materials used, carbon emissions, supply chain design,  and waste impact. The report even breaks down each segment of a product’s packaging to show waste generated from the cap, bottle, pump, and exterior packaging. This allows consumers to see which of their products are most sustainable which could influence purchasing decisions to find the product that is best for them.

    Experiment makes science fun and feels very Gen-Z inspired. The brand leads with what’s in their products rather than trying to sell you on how something looks or give lofty goals of what a product can do. They keep it real with their sustainability goals, acknowledging that they’re not perfect but that they’re working to make a more concerted effort than other big-name brands. The brand shows up authentically which is what consumers currently want and is a driving factor in the excitement surrounding the brand.

    01

    Submission

    If there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that there’s way too much plastic in the beauty industry. When we think of zero-plastic makeup, thoughts of minimalist routines and skin-like finishes come to mind. Submission Beauty is a completely plastic-free beauty brand that embraces maximalism with its biodegradable glitter. Traditional glitter products are not completely body safe and do not completely disintegrate even years after disposal. Submission Beauty is changing this by making a body-safe, plastic-free, biodegradable, luxury glitter.

    02

    Dieux

    The founders keep it real with their consumers and have no interest in marketing gimmicks but are determined to sell high-quality products that pack a punch. Their concise yet impactful product line focuses on protecting the skin barrier and locking moisture in. The brand’s founders aimed to create products that truly do what they claim because they’re putting science at the forefront. Dieux is helping consumers buy less because their products are ‘dieux-ing’ more.

    03

    DedCool

    The founders keep it real with their consumers and have no interest in marketing gimmicks but are determined to sell high-quality products that pack a punch. Their concise yet impactful product line focuses on protecting the skin barrier and locking moisture in. The brand’s founders aimed to create products that truly do what they claim because they’re putting science at the forefront. Dieux is helping consumers buy less because their products are ‘dieux-ing’ more.

    Cheekbone Beauty is Bringing Indigenous Representation to the Industry

    the unwash review

    Rather than using makeup as a tool to cover up, Cheekbone Beauty embraces being seen. The brand has created space for Indigenous people in an industry that all too often favors Eurocentric beauty standards. Beauty brands aren’t the only industry that overlooks the Indigenous population but Cheekbone Beauty is working to change this narrative and bring Indigenous-owned businesses to the forefront across all industries. Originally launched with only a lip gloss, over the years the brand has expanded to lipsticks, eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, brow gels, face palettes, and a variety of makeup tools. Beauty is only one part of the brand’s identity as much of their work revolves around creating educational opportunities for Indigenous youth. 

    Founded by Jenn Harper in 2016, after a battle with alcoholism stemming from the generational trauma of her Grandmother surviving Canada’s residential schools. Cheekbone Beauty came to Jenn as an epiphany moment while at the beginning of her sobriety journey. Many people have similar stories to Jenn and the creation of Cheekbone Beauty not only has allowed for cultivating community but also established the opportunity to give back. 100% of the profits from their highlighter shade ‘Biskane’, meaning ignite, go towards the Cheekbone Beauty Scholarship Fund which provides Indigenous students the opportunity to experience a post-secondary education journey. The brand has also donated over $250,000 to organizations including the Navajo Water Project and the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society. Jenn sees success for the brand not as a metric from sales but rather through the ability to give back to the community.

    “We as Indigenous people have an innate connection to the land, earth, and water. Paying attention to brands that have experience in sustainability is going to be really important for the world going forward.” – Jenn Harper Cheekbone Beauty Founder

    The brand is rooted in Jenn’s Anishinaabe culture and centers environmental conservation in its ethos. Over 80% of the world’s biodiversity is protected by Indigenous people, a fact that is often left out of the conversation when it comes to sustainability, especially in the West. The B-Corp-certified beauty brand is hoping to spark larger interest and concern for the environment and set a precedent for sustainability practices in the beauty industry. The majority of their packaging uses biodegradable papers, recyclable tin, and refillable packaging options, cutting its plastic use down by 85% in comparison to conventional brands. To minimize excess waste the brand has a ‘perfectly imperfect’ collection, selling products that may have had a packaging or manufacturing error at a lower cost. Cheekbone Beauty puts transparency at the forefront making it easy for consumers to find information about their manufacturing process, sustainability goals, and yearly sustainability reports. 

    Cheekbone Beauty goes beyond being just a beauty brand by their deep dedication to giving back to the community and the environment, honoring the founder’s roots. Sustainable packaging and ingredients are only one part of the brand’s mission. The brand is creating an inclusive space where all people, especially Indigenous youth feel represented, seen, and beautiful. Cheekbone Beauty has been paving the way for the longtime-needed representation of Indigenous people in the beauty industry. All things the brand does are led with intention and integrity, sparking inspiration for customers, the community, and the industry.

    01

    Ceremonia

    Ceremonia is a brand inspired by the traditions of Baba’s childhood and the larger Latinx community focusing on hair. Her father being a hairdresser in Chile, had a large inspiration for the brand’s foundation. The brand’s product range focuses on nourishing and strengthening hair with people- and planet-friendly ingredients. The Aceite de Moska Scalp Oil and Guava Leave-In Conditioner are consumer favorites that leave your hair feeling soft, shiny, and restored.

    02

    Submission Beauty

    If there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that there’s way too much plastic in the beauty industry. When we think of zero-plastic makeup, thoughts of minimalist routines and skin-like finishes come to mind. Submission Beauty is a completely plastic-free beauty brand that embraces maximalism with its biodegradable glitter. Traditional glitter products are not completely body safe and do not completely disintegrate even years after disposal. Submission Beauty is changing this by making a body-safe, plastic-free, biodegradable, luxury glitter.

    03

    Rif Care

    Val Emanuel and Rebecca Caputo launched the first-ever hemp-fiber pads in 2022, promising their customers natural ingredients, responsibly made products, and regenerative agricultural practices. Their 100% plant-based and biodegradable menstrual pads are carbon neutral by design. The brand uses leftover fibers from hemp oil production to create its premium product line.

    EcoBirdy is Making the Most Out of Plastic Waste

    the unwash review

    Belgium-based brand EcoBirdy is giving new life to tossed and unused plastic children’s toys. The brand repurposes plastic waste to create thoughtful design furniture, with a collection dedicated to kids. EcoBirdy is B-Corporation certified and has created its own system for sustainably recycling plastic toys. All of their furniture is completely made from recycled plastic which includes kids-sized pieces and artful lounge furniture. Ensuring proper education around upcycling and the circularity of our products is part of the brand’s mission which is incorporated through education elements alongside their furniture sales. Their furniture and recycling process gives kids and adults alike a glimpse into how to repurpose items.

    The plastic used for their furniture pieces is gathered and recycled in Europe ensuring fair practices. The brand promotes circularity and social responsibility. The furniture line launched in 2018 and originally was solely children’s furniture but has expanded into versatile pieces that could be used for any room in your home, even outdoors. EcoBirdy is focused on a circular economy and introduces children to this concept at a young age. Being able to show children that their toys can be recycled into something purposeful hopefully will create a better understanding not only about the items we purchase but also their environmental impact. Along with their large furniture pieces the brand also manufactures small storage bins in unique animal shapes. The bins are shaped like Kiwi birds and Rhinos to create awareness for these endangered animals.

    “By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact.” – Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel, EcoBirdy Founders

    The brand’s founders come from diverse backgrounds in the fashion and design industries, and their drive to create solutions to environmental problems brought them together for the creation of EcoBirdy. Together they spent two years researching the most effective and sustainable ways to recycle children’s toys which are notoriously hard to recycle. Plastic waste is a problem that continues to grow and is especially prevalent in toys that EcoBirdy is working to create solutions for. Beautiful furniture pieces aren’t all that this brand offers. The founders are vigilant about bringing things full circle and adding an educational component to their business. They launched a fun children’s book that follows the life of a plastic scooter that doesn’t want to end up in a landfill or as waste in the ocean so it finds its way to EcoBirdy’s recycling center. This inspires children to learn about upcycling and eventually make their own contributions. 

    Everything EcoBirdy aims at creating an educational experience on top of its functional designs. Their designs spark conversation about important topics such as sustainability and circularity with people of all ages and interests. Something beautiful, unique, and artful can come from waste, the extra effort to utilize recycling in the furniture industry creates a truly one-of-a-kind product. An element that stands out in EcoBirdy’s designs is the multi-color specs seen from different plastic pieces, giving a second life to what was once trash.

    01

    Great Wrap

    Composting is a simple and enjoyable way to minimize your environmental footprint. If you’re curious about exploring the best composting solution for your lifestyle and living space, Great Wrap’s website is a great place to start. The rapidly changing world of packaging may be intimidating, but Great Wrap makes it easy to end your reliance on traditional plastics by promoting circularity in your kitchen.

    02

    Davids Toothpaste

    Davids Toothpaste has performed thousands of hours of research to define the best natural and clean ingredients for removing plaque, whitening teeth, and freshening your breath. I feel clean and fresh after using the sensitive+whitening peppermint toothpaste, tongue scraper, and bamboo toothbrush, and the low-waste products serve as my morning reminder to make sustainable choices throughout the day.

    03

    Wilde House Paper

    Wilde House Paper creates stationary with the mission of cultivating connection. We first came across the brand through their popular Cultivating Conversations card deck which offers a series of questions to play with others or reflect inward on topics of self-discovery, emotions, and goals. Wilde House Paper puts clear intention into all of their products but also offering a sustainable option in a space with more limited sustainable choices. 

    Sustainable Home Organization with Sort Joy

    the unwash review

    Finding sustainable everyday home products can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Most organizing solutions whether it be for home organization or on-the-go are made of virgin plastic and aren’t built to last. Sort Joy saw the need to fill the lack of sustainable options for storage products and chose to take their own approach by leaning into intention-led design. Their products offer high-quality, design-driven storage solutions that are multifunctional for all areas of life, all at a reasonable price point. Organizers are often meant to be hidden but Sort Joy’s bins, trays, and bags are a beautiful accessory to any room in your home. 

    Founders Stefani and Alexa have organizing and interior design backgrounds, seeing firsthand the need for better organizing product options. Sort Joy is focused on function and gives a more elevated feel than traditional plastic alternatives. Their products are designed with every room of your home in mind. Whether you’re looking for storage for your closet, pantry, or even playroom, they’ve thought of it. Their storage solutions come in different shapes, sizes, and colors all made with durability at the forefront, including top-handle felt bins, sculpted recycled plastic bins, foldable felt bins, and trays. Their felt bins are made from recycled felt material and their sturdy plastic bins and trays are composed of recycled plastic materials. Instead of plastic or sticker labels, you can purchase stainless steel labels that are built to last and recyclable.

    “Alexa, and I were certain that we wanted to bring to life a company that cared about the well-being of our clients as well as that of the earth. We are a purpose-forward and earth-friendly source for home goods, providing sustainable alternatives to our competitors.” – Stefani Herr, Sort Joy Co-Founder

    All of Sort Joy’s products are made from recycled materials including PET plastics and stainless steel. All of their products are manufactured to minimize waste which includes creating smaller batches of material to rescue access waste creation. The brand is on the path towards being plastic-neutral and works in collaboration with CleanHub to fund the recovery of ocean-bound plastics and to create local jobs in the sustainability field. During the brand’s inception, founders Stefani and Alexa wanted their product to have an impact on their community by not only creating a brand that would have a positive impact on their customers’ lives and the environment but also going past that. This is engrained in the brand’s ethos of intentionality, joy, and mindfulness. 

    Organizing products is often overlooked when searching for sustainable alternatives, leaving people to opt for DIY solutions or the dreaded plastic bins. Sort Joy eliminates the need to reach for plastic bins and bags, offering elevated materials and design that prioritizes sustainability. All of the brand’s products have a multi-use aspect and don’t need to be confined solely to home organization, also adding to the product lifespan rather than tossing it when it seems like you may not need it anymore. Innovating daily-use products that we regularly use is a continued need in the sustainability space, making it more accessible especially for those just beginning to choose sustainable swaps. Sort Joy puts their focus on the consumer to ensure a positive experience that also gives back to the environment.

    01

    Ries

    Ries is a line of TSA-size approved refillable containers retailing at $18. The bottles are crafted from post-consumer recycled plastic and created with the purpose of consistent reuse. Graham saw the plastic problem in the beauty industry and wanted to innovate how we reuse plastics. Being a new brand, this is just the beginning for Ries. The brand continues to test different materials for use to be as conscious of its sustainability as possible. Ries puts value on the circularity of their product and hopes choices like using up-cycled materials will become more of a norm in the beauty industry.

    02

    EcoBirdy

    Belgium-based brand EcoBirdy is giving new life to tossed and unused plastic children’s toys. The brand repurposes plastic waste to create thoughtful design furniture, with a collection dedicated to kids. EcoBirdy is B-Corporation certified and has created its own system for sustainably recycling plastic toys. All of their furniture is completely made from recycled plastic which includes kids-sized pieces and artful lounge furniture

    03

    Wilde House Paper

    Wilde House Paper creates stationary with the mission of cultivating connection. We first came across the brand through their popular Cultivating Conversations card deck which offers a series of questions to play with others or reflect inward on topics of self-discovery, emotions, and goals. When it comes to buying things for our everyday life, such as the notepad we write our grocery list on or the yearly planner we buy, there’s typically not much thought that goes into it.

    The Only Holiday Gift Guide You Need

    the unwash: guide

    Ah, it’s that time of year again when gift-giving is upon us. This is maybe one of the hardest times of the year to continue the plight of choosing sustainable living. It’s the season of one and done. Gift wrap, ribbon, and tape will find their way to the trash. Gifts that might not be used and the endless packaging that comes with them. When combating waste around gift giving you should choose from three categories, keeping gifts practical, taking a less is more approach, or opting for experiences all of which are keys to a more sustainable holiday season. One of the biggest goals that should be in mind is ensuring that the gifts you give will be used and won’t end up in the trash or sitting in the back of a closet for the year. Explore zero or minimal-waste brands, thrifted finds, or experiences to share with a friend this holiday season.

    For the personal care lover:

    Corpus Body Creme in the scent ‘Green’

    Somehow it’s only recently that we came across ‘Green’ by Corpus. Wow. That’s all we have to say. We’ve smelled the Rose and Santal scents by Corpus but for some reason never their signature Green fragrance. Truly, it’s indescribable. It’s fresh, clean, and has the right amount of citrus but is truly incomparable to anything else. The body creme is perfectly luxurious and hydrating, great for the person in your life who loves a luxury body care moment. Body lotions can seem like a bit of a throwaway gift but this right here is what you want to get. One thing that stood out to me when smelling this is that it’s very mysterious and almost indescribable. 

    Everyday Oil

    If there is a product that can do it all this is it. This oil blend is the ideal consistency, not too thin, and amazingly hydrating. You can use this product for just about everything, freshening up your hair, an all-over body or face oil, and even a cleansing oil. This might take the cake for a top sustainable product because of its multi-use capabilities making it a go-to pick for a minimalist routine. Aside from being a sustainable product, the scent is reminiscent of a spa day leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

    For the most fashionable people in your life: 

    Completedworks Pearl Earrings 

    Bows are all the rage right now but these bow-inspired earrings will stand the test of time not just be a trend. Completedworks is a fan favorite at The Unwash. A theme on this list is brands that embody sustainability, transparency, and ethical consumption which is a large part of our draw towards Completedworks. Anna Jewsbury is such a master of her craft which is emulated in every piece she creates. These earrings could be dressed up for a special occasion or be a statement piece for an everyday look. All of Completedworks products are made of recycled metal, the Loop-the-Loop earrings are made of recycled gold vermeil. 

    Attire the Studio Wool Trench Coat 

    You really can’t go wrong with a good coat. But ditch the fast fashion…obviously. We appreciate Attire’s commitment to transparency while committing to high-end staples that are built to last, unlike something you’d buy at Revolve or Zara. Their Wool Trench Coat is a great gift because it has a cool, more unique tailoring than what you typically see. In the winter your coat does most of the talking and a good coat is the perfect statement piece. This coat is great for every occasion and will keep you warm whether it’s in the fall or a freezing winter evening. If you’re going to buy a new piece of clothing rather than second-hand, brands like Attire are the best option to ensure your money supports safe work environments, sustainability, and quality pieces. 

    Vestiaire Collective Gift Card

    This is where the practical comes in. If you want to shop not only sustainable but also price-conscious, go secondhand. Whether you’ve taken the plunge or not to get into secondhand shopping this is a great way to start or even give a friendly nudge to someone else. Why spend full price on a new pair of shoes or bag when you can get the exact same ones just lightly worn or even new with tags, the options are seemingly endless. Vestiaire Collective is our personal favorite for online second-hand and vintage shopping but you can also opt for a local vintage store to support a small business. Plus, we love that Vestiaire Collective has banned the sale of fast fashion brands on their platform.

    Hosts, parents, or even a work colleague:

    Wilde House Paper Cultivate Conversations Card Deck

    Wild House Paper is a great brand that makes sustainable stationary items. But, their piece de resistance is their Cultivating Conversation card game. A conversation-based card game that’s sustainable? Count us in! These cards can be used with others or yourself to reflect and get curious. The primary topics are present, future, soul, self, inspiration, and emotions. This is a great time to connect with others or connect inward during hectic times.

    Henry Rose Candle in Torn

    A lot of Henry Rose scents are not the safest for a blind buy as many of them are unique and unexpected. Torn is one of their best-selling fragrances and it’s worthy of that. The scent is warm, vanilla-based, and has a bit of spice. This fragrance will warm up any house and would be loved by the person in your life who loves to host, parents, or even someone that you aren’t sure what you should get them. Candles can be a bit of a generic gift but Henry Rose scents are fantastic, plus this is a wonderful way to introduce someone to the brand. We apologize in advance if this turns them into a Henry Rose devotee, it definitely happened to us. 

    The person who loves a clean and tidy space: 

    Dedcool Detergent

    Getting someone household goods or cleaning supplies could seem like a pretty weird holiday gift but bear with us. Similar to the Henry Rose candle, Dedcool’s detergent is an awesome gift for someone who is already a fan of the brand and wants to match their fragrance to their laundry or an opportunity to show it off to someone new. This doesn’t look like typical detergent in its sleek aluminum container, you could always add in a fragrance, room spray, or their new pet shampoo to create an entire gifting experience. Our go-to scent for the detergent is ‘Taunt’ but you can’t go wrong with any of the options. 

    Biom Refillable Wipes

    Another sleek yet practical gift. Biom’s wipes come in a gorgeous refillable container that deserves a spot on the counter. Plus, they are compostable and biodegradable. No more plastic containers or throwing all your cleaning supplies under the sink. Once again, this could seem like a silly gift but we all have that person that loves a clean house and would be thrilled to upgrade their cleaning game. These come in a variety of purposes including hand sanitizing and all-purpose. Whether you want something fresh, citrusy, or woodsy, they have a scent for you but their recent collaboration with Corpus could be a great gift before it sells out.

    Makeup gurus: 

    Noto Botanics x Curran Defy Highlighter

    All of the makeup products from Noto Botanics really embrace the ‘your skin but better’ motto. The brand is committed to inclusion, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community, and gives a portion of its proceeds back to various non-profits in the community. Recently they partnered with Curran, a space for queer and trans creativity founded by Tommy Dorfman. The collaboration is a beautiful duo-chrome highlighter that transitions from a pearlescence glow to a purple shimmer. 

    Saie Beauty Glossy Bounce

    A tried and true. Gloss is everything right now. It’s on the lids, and the lips, the glossy look is here to stay for a while. It’s very reminiscent of when the Bath & Body Works lip balms were all the rage in the early 2000s. Glossy Bounce is a gloss lip oil hybrid that delivers long-lasting hydration and pigmented color payoff. This product gives a natural-looking shine and plumpness but without the stickiness that can come with a traditional gloss. To tie in with the holiday vibe we would reach for the shades Dream, a soft berry, and Push, a soft brown. You’ll be ready for a kiss under the mistletoe. 

    Half Magic Compostable Eye Shadow

    Half Magic has been on our radar for a while now but their eyeshadow singles in compostable packaging is beyond awesome. Don’t quote us on this, but this could be one of the first times true compostable packaging was used in makeup. Half Magic is the brainchild of Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy, her line gives high pigment in bright colors and lots of sparkle. The brand’s eyeshadow singles are sold singularly in completely compostable packaging. You can either choose to stick with buying singles which are great for on-the-go or if you don’t need a ton of shades or you can opt for their forever palette which allows you to build your own shade range.

    For your kids, nieces and nephews, or any kiddos:

    Shore Buddies

    This brand has been making adorable stuffed animals made from recycled ocean plastics since 2014. Their lineup features primarily ocean animals that are the most impacted by the plastic crisis such as turtles and whales. Their ‘Sammy the Seal’ stuffed animal stole our hearts with how cute it is. We love that Shore Buddies teaches children about the importance of environmental preservation from a young age. 

    Ecobirdy Art Corner Set

    Want to splurge on sustainable furniture? Then EcoBirdy is for you. The brand’s kids line is made from trashed children’s toys and turned into furniture that’s built to last. Their kids sets include a children-sized table and chairs coming in various color options including pink, blue, white, and yellow. The art corner set is a mix of their colorways and a perfect art station for your kiddos. They also make high-end furniture pieces for anywhere in your home. 

    Francis River Clothing

    Australian brand, Francis River is crafting adorable kids’ clothing with transparency at the helm. All of their pieces are created using deadstock fabric to help combat overproduction in the fashion industry. The brand partnered with TTK Collective to ensure an ethical manufacturing process including guaranteed livable wages and safe working environments Their current line features basics such as tops and sweatshirts made to fit oversized for growing kids in sizes ranging from 6 months to 5 years.

    Fair and Green Toys

    Finding sustainable toys that don’t fall into the dreaded beige aesthetic can be a little difficult. Fair and Green puts a sustainable spin on classic children’s toys such as stacking games, rattles, and cars. All of their products are crafted from sustainably sourced wood and natural, locally sourced dyes. Fair and Green is committed to keeping the art of toy making alive and takes deep pride in their quality craftsmanship. The brand gives back to their local community and is Fair Trade certified. 

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    Noto Botanics

    Noto Botanics is an inclusive skincare and beauty brand that is focused on making an impact, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community. The brand is multi-use for an array of skincare needs with its minimalist, streamlined product line. Their line includes moisturizers, serums, cleansers, and lip and cheek tints. Noto Botanics is just as much about its products as they are about its mission. The brand’s DNA is rooted in inclusivity, community, and giving back.

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    Organic Basics

    Organic Basics was focused on organic boxer briefs but due to their success and a market need, they’ve since expanded into a wide range of basics for everyone. From the start the brand is in the business of providing an honest, sustainable, and ethical product, putting their values at the forefront. The brand is B Corporation certified and carbon neutral certified from One Carbon World, along with various other certifications including earning PETA’s stamp of approval. Sustainability means something different to everyone which rings true for Organic Basics as they work to be values-driven across a wide spectrum. 

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    Wilde House Paper

    Wilde House Paper creates stationary with the mission of cultivating connection. When it comes to buying things for our everyday life, such as the notepad we write our grocery list on or the yearly planner we buy, there’s typically not much thought that goes into it. Wilde House Paper changes this by not only putting clear intention into all of their products but also offering a sustainable option in a space with more limited sustainable choices.

    Sustainable Stationary That’s Cultivating Connection

    the unwash review

    When it comes to sustainable swaps it can be easy to first focus on the bigger items. Beauty, clothing, personal care. But what about the things that we don’t realize need a more sustainable upgrade? Or the items we use every day and might not even think about the environmental impact of. Wilde House Paper creates stationary with the mission of cultivating connection. We first came across the brand through their popular Cultivating Conversations card deck which offers a series of questions to play with others or reflect inward on topics of self-discovery, emotions, and goals. When it comes to buying things for our everyday life, such as the notepad we write our grocery list on or the yearly planner we buy, there’s typically not much thought that goes into it. Wilde House Paper changes this by not only putting clear intention into all of their products but also offering a sustainable option in a space with more limited sustainable choices.

    The brand has a diverse product range including calendars, planners, to-do list pads, and guided journals. They also have more niche products such as their balance bingo and self-reflection pad which aim to help us find balance in our hectic lives. Wilde House Paper takes a more focused approach to items that people are already reaching for and adds a nuanced touch that keeps consumers coming back for more. It’s not just about buying a journal or getting a cute card game to play with friends, these are products made with the intent of fostering connection and reflection for the user. Outside of their more traditional stationary line, the brand sells contemporary-esque-style framed art prints that go along with the brand’s grounded feel.

    “I find sustainability the most impactful when you are able to personally relate it to your daily consumption and everyday decisions. Being a company that primarily uses paper as our medium, our sustainable efforts are easy to envision as everyone is surrounded by what paper is made from: trees.” – Megan Heddinger, Wilde House Paper Founder

    All of their products are made from recycled paper sourced from various paper mills across the United States and upcycled cotton fibers gathered from fashion industry waste. All of the prints are done in California with printing facilities that are focused on greater sustainability efforts. Being a California-based brand they first hand see the impact the climate crisis is having on coastal communities and want their products to be part of a solution. Wilde House Paper is a member of One Tree Planted and ensures that one tree is planted in its home state for every order received. They’re almost 100% plastic-free and opt for packing options such as dissolvable packing peanuts, recycled tissue paper, and paper tape to create an easier recycling process for consumers.

    Wilde House Paper is a great option for sustainable stationery that can be utilized every day and shared with our friends or community. These products are also an easy way to introduce a friend to more sustainable brands and show a different side of what being environmentally conscious means. We love how stationery allows for moments of reprieve away from our screens that we’re constantly glued to, opening us up for the ability to further connect with what is going on outside us and with the environment. Wilde House Paper is all about leading with intention and carried out through every aspect of the brand. The paper industry definitely isn’t a sustainability leader but Wilde House Paper and those that follow suit are bringing greater options for consumers to be able to enjoy paper goods in a way we can feel good about.

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    Organic Basics

    Copenhagen-based brand, Organic Basics hit the scene in 2015 to make sustainable and affordable everyday basics. The founders, a group of friends, were frustrated with the limited options for quality underwear. Originally Organic Basics was focused on organic boxer briefs but due to their success and a market need, they’ve since expanded into a wide range of basics for everyone. From the start the brand is in the business of providing an honest, sustainable, and ethical product, putting their values at the forefront.

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    Everyday Oil

    Everyday Oil is exactly as it sounds, an oil for every day, for every use. Formulated for a variety of uses to embrace a minimalist self-care routine, Everyday Oil is a unique powerhouse product. The oil blend is certified-organic, cold-pressed, containing distilled botanicals. The simple yet effective, high-quality product works as a multi-faceted hydrator for all of your skin, body, and hair needs. The brand’s core embraces simplicity and quality, making an easy-to-use, no-fuss oil.

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    The Dirt Company

    The Dirt Company is on a mission to clean up the planet while cleaning your clothes. This small Australian team began working in 2013 to create a zero-waste laundry system using recycled and refillable products. With their Refill, Return System, customers replace bulky plastic jugs with sleek, durable glass dispenser bottles. The bottles come pre-filled with their top-rated, highly concentrated, plant-based laundry detergent. Their biodegradable concentrates deliver more loads per bottle and contain better-quality natural ingredients, such as high-performing enzymes.

    Clean Beauty Doesn’t Mean Sustainable

    the unwash: sustainability

    Clean beauty has become almost synonymous with sustainability to consumers who are none the wiser, primarily in part due to misleading marketing tactics that muddle both of the terms. Green or brown labels, the use of leaves or foliage in logos, and the dreaded plain cardboard packaging easily decepts consumers. Most of these are used by brands claiming ‘clean’ status, not those using these for solely sustainability purposes. Major companies such as Sephora tag their ‘clean-certified’ products with a green leaf logo which isn’t something that makes it abundantly clear to a shopper that this does not equate to a sustainable product. There’s a fine line between deception and truth leaving consumers to their own devices, hoping their purchase is what it seems to be.

    Clean isn’t a term that backs any sustainability claims. ‘Clean’ ingredients or sourcing does not mean it is sustainable. It’s easy to think that less processed or un-dyed ingredients could have a positive environmental impact but there isn’t any correlation between the two. A dig around the internet brought us to a Harpers Bazaar article that classified clean as being safe for “people and the planet” and that the ingredients used account for “human and environmental health”. If this were the case, these products wouldn’t be sold at mass retailers, packaged in plastic, or ending up in landfills all of which are reductive to this claim. So what does clean even mean? This typically refers to products that use natural ingredients. Well, what is a natural ingredient? Isn’t everything technically…natural? Here’s the thing, just about everything is natural or naturally occurring, all chemicals are natural (the horror!) and are needed to create everything including the air we breathe but we can put that aside for now. Most of these brands opt for plant-based products and ditch ingredients such as formaldehyde, phthalates, or hydroquinone. Clean is a term that is completely unregulated and unsubstantiated whether you like it or not. There’s an opportunity for regulation and serious claims but this just hasn’t happened yet. Unlike opting for stating clean ingredients are being used, many brands use organic ingredients that follow strict regulations and guidelines but not all brands are created equal.

    “As I walked around the store, different brands across all categories, from makeup to hair, had these “clean beauty” markers. Some carried the label because they used clean ingredients, others because they are cruelty-free, while some brands had the tag because of sustainable packaging. I couldn’t find one brand that met all of the retailer’s criteria for their “clean beauty” standard: clean ingredients, cruelty-free, vegan, sustainable packaging, and a positive environmental impact.” – Sophia Li, Refinery29 Contributor

    Now, does the use of plant-based ingredients yield a better outcome for environmental impact? In short, no. At the end of the day, everything biodegrates whether it be in 10 days or 10,000 years. What we can do is better understand what happens in the process. Are microplastics being released? Are certain ingredients able to biodegrade at a faster rate than others? All of these questions can paint a better picture of what the lifecycle of a product looks like but a clean brand versus a sustainable but not ‘clean’ brand could have identical outcomes regardless of ingredients. Many brands are leaning into biochemistry to assess this exact issue.

    The lack of regulations for sustainable products and the abundance of greenwashing often cause actual sustainable brands to have little differentiation from one that is greenwashing to the general consumer. Brands that are at the forefront of creating sustainable innovation back their claims with lifecycle analysis, supply chain transparency, quarterly reports, and more to ensure trust with buyers. If you’re shopping from a retailer online or in-store this information isn’t readily available, making it hard to comprehend the difference between all of the different claims, certifications, and jargon being thrown around in the beauty aisle. To make it as simple as possible, a sustainable brand is working towards creating as little waste as possible. This doesn’t mean that the only goal is that the product you take home will be zero-waste and that’s it. These brands are looking at the entirety of a product from the sourcing and manufacturing process to years after you recycle, compost, or throw it away. This is where the term clean gets lumped into this. Brands that are hoping to create more sustainable options for everyday consumers also have to look at what’s inside the packaging. Zero-waste or recyclable packaging is great but understanding how the formula interacts with the environment is of importance.

    Let’s look at how two different brands approach this. Dieux is an ever-popular skincare brand that rejects the term clean or natural and rather embraces science. On their social media, they often dive into their ingredients by explaining the pros of components such as lactic acid, glycerin, and petrolatum. They go on to explain their packaging such as why they opt for aluminum as much as possible and when plastic might be a need. Corpus is a body care brand that uses both natural and clean terminology and prefers for its formulas to be powered by plant-based ingredients. Lots of plant oils and extracts such as grape seed oil, cocoa butter, and rosemary leaf extract are used. Both brands use various modes of sustainable packaging including glass or aluminum and are transparent about their practices and goals. Despite one leaning into the clean branding, it doesn’t mean one has inherently better outcomes than the other or that they are even remotely similar to each other. Both are very different in practice but could be classified under the same umbrella in the beauty aisle because of how marketing has encroached on these topics. When purchasing clean beauty products consumers need to understand that if they’re hoping this automatically means sustainable, it doesn’t, and that there is much need for clarity in the beauty industry.

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    Dieux

    The brand and its founders have been refreshingly honest about their takes on sustainability and ‘clean beauty’ rather than limiting themselves to any category or relying on such categorization for marketing purposes. They focus on being up-front with their consumers and working outside the box – Dieux is truly an impact-driven brand. Dieux uses sustainable packaging when available and is dedicated to helping people cut down their skincare routine to avoid buying more unnecessary products but utilizing fewer products that make a larger impact.

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    Submission Beauty

    Submission Beauty is a completely plastic-free beauty brand that embraces maximalism with its biodegradable glitter. Traditional glitter products are not completely body safe and do not completely disintegrate even years after disposal. Submission Beauty is changing this by making a body-safe, plastic-free, biodegradable, luxury glitter.

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    Common Heir

    Common Heir saw an opportunity to create a gateway into using more sustainable products, without only catering to an audience that solely sought after zero-waste products. The company shows that there’s more to a sustainable lifestyle than just the term ‘zero-waste’. Their product line is both vegan and cruelty-free. Their current product line can build the perfect, streamlined skincare routine to tackle all your skincare needs including brightness, resurfacing, and hydration.