June 18, 2009
Staying Fly and Eco-Friendly P. 1
(Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series on fashion and sustainable living techniques. Today's post deals with getting rid of ecologically unsustainable fashion habbits. Part two will appear on Monday, June 22 and offer eco-friendly alternatives.)
Being fly and living sustainably have become polar opposites. We do painful, unhealthy things to ourselves in the effort to follow in line with racist, sexist, basically unrealistic and boring beauty standards. We put chemicals in our hair, powder pigments onto our skin, silicone balloons into our bodies, then clean ourselves with cancer-causing suds after a long day's work.
Our ancestors had it right but what is a young Miss Boss to do in a world where being environmentally-friendly is portrayed as not showering regularly and smelling like Patchouli? (Sorry, some people enjoy the smell of Patchouli and I do not.) We've all got to start somewhere. Here are a couple things to cut out of your beauty regimen, and some incredibe organic, natural, cheap things to add.
Apologies to the beloved Kid Sister, but these were the first to go. Not only are they expensive to maintain, but they also contribute to toxic landfills. All your nasty used plastic fingernails eventually start piling up in our oceans or, even worse, hiding in the soil where we grow our good. Besides if we know it's deadly to eat and drink out of plastic containers, what’s more deadly than having plastic on our fingertips, which touché our food? Not to mention the toxic paints.
Kicks and Stilettos:
Discipline. You can do this. You have to stop buying all those damn shoes. Aside from the terrible labor practices we all know about, they uses up valuable water, rubber, energy, and of course supports the production of more plastics. When you do buy shoes you can of course try to buy straight from the source, respectable companies, maybe even cop some shoes made from recycled rubber tires.
But honestly recycling is not going to save the world. You need to stop consuming more than you actually need to survive -- which means all those Air Force Ones, leather pumps, leave them be. By no means do I think you should throw all your shoes away and walk barefoot, unless you live in a place where that's considered safe. Rep your steez and wear your damn shoes, just don't buy any more.
It will take you awhile to do this. In the meantime, keeping your shoes clean keeps the fresh. For kicks get different colored laces as they can totally change a shoe up. You can paint them, but most paints that will work on shoes are pretty toxic. There are also a number of fun alternative options to shopping which you can use to build community and slowly get yourself off to bandwagon: Thrift stores, Switch & Bitch Parties, scavenging, and of course making your own clothes.
Simple Skin and Hair Care:
My grandma always told me that the more simple my skin care, the better. Of course I never listened. Like most other young adolescents, I was bombarded by advertisements to buy fancy facial washes and creams that promised me flawless skin. Most of those products weren't even created for my tropical skin type. The majority of skin products on the market are not biodegradable, contain a number of artificial astringents and acids, and leave you with a landfill of empty containers. If the product isn't good for nature, trust it probably isn't very good for your complexion.
There are plenty (too many) of natural options now, but again stay simple. Cop natural herbal, olive oil, or cocoa butter-based soaps from African, Arab, or South Asian markets. Use warm water and a washcloth. It's cheap and you're supporting local businesses of color. You don't need all that nonsense. Dr. Bronner's is a ride or die product. I use it all over my home and on my body as well. The bottles are made from 100 percent post-consumer plastic, its organic goodness and the oceans won't be sad after you shower.