Handmade Beauty || A Simple Switch

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A few weeks ago, the girls and I did a little “nail polish detox”, where we sat down, went through each of my polishes in my (already small) collection and threw out the ones that weren’t at least “5 Free”. Although they didn’t necessarily understand the difference between the “bad and good colors”, they always ask each time we sit down for a little girl time if the polish is safe for their fingers.

As low maintenance as my beauty routine is, especially lately with my past two months of straight morning sickness (if you missed something, catch a little announcement here), I’ve dedicated the past few years to intentionally whittling down the contents of my beauty collection until I’m confident that each item in it is safe for my skin and, of course, my girl’s skin, lungs, eyes, and everything else, as well.

I shared a few of my favorite skincare brands several months ago but today I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the world of nail polish (admittedly not my strong suit, but one I’m learning more about) and share about a brand I’m honored to partner with for the next few months.

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What’s the trouble with conventional polishes?

Not surprisingly, most nail polishes, be they salon-worthy or purchased in the aisles of a dollar store, are laden with shockingly terrible chemicals. In fact, studies (and anyone with a sense of smell) show that even the air in most nail salons is harmful to breathe, let alone the polish they’re putting on your body.

Although I won’t pretend to be an expert, a quick Google search of “toxins in nail polish” is a little terrifying. Chemicals like triphenyl phosphate (or TPHP) are known endocrine disrupters, and are found inside the bodies of women who use polish containing it. Formaldehyde, a substance used to preserve dead bodies and a carcinogen, is also another guilty party inside most nail polishes. These, along with toluene and dibutyl phthalate are commonly cited as the other more harmful chemicals inside almost all nail polish brands.

Beauty products in America are notoriously unregulated and it’s hard to know who to trust, when brands who claim to be all-natural are actually laden with chemicals.

What is 7-Free Polish?

3-Free polishes were first to the scene, with 5-free close on its tail. Some brands, however, have cut the chemicals even more by offering 7-free options (a friend even told me that Target now sells a line that’s 10-free and I’ve even heard of 13-free). But what exactly are these polishes “free” from?

7-free specifcally, since that’s the polish I have experience using, is free from the 5 most common chemicals found in nail polishes with an addition of other 2 chemicals (Toluene, Dibutyl Pthalate, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) and Xylene). I can’t even pronounce most of those words…why would I choose to put them on my fingers?

Why Handmade Beauty?

Handmade Beauty hails from Madrid, a culture not subjected to the US’s loose standards when it comes to beauty products. They use only organic ingredients, even for their nail polishes, and have opened up several salons in Spain. All of their ingredients are listed on their website and they’re wonderfully transparent about their commitment to producing better, safer products.

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I’m not someone who constantly needs a color on my nails, but when I do decide to get fancy, it’s wonderful to know that I can do so without worrying about myself, my kiddos, and my growing babe in the process.


*This post is part of an ongoing partnership with Handmade Beauty. All opinions and photographs are my own*

Phillip Adam || Organic Bathtime

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Bath time has always been my girls' most cherished rituals. They'd stay in the bath for hours if I let them, pretending to be fish or dinosaurs or puppies. Now that they're older and are starting to take charge of their "self-care" more often, the products I trust in their care are even more important. 

They love washing their own hair, making bubbles, and letting the conditioner "rest for a few minutes" in their hair just like mama does, and usually, splashing most of the contents of the bathtub onto the floor. 

In my quest for ethically made, organic, and kid-approved shampoo brands, I stumbled across Phillip Adam and they were sweet enough to send over some products for us all to enjoy. 

Although I originally intended to use Phillip Adam's apple cider vinegar shampoo and conditioner on myself, I was excited to find out that it's perfect for kids and has had amazing results on both of my girls' (very different) hair. 

Phillip Adam is a Canadian brand that uses only natural ingredients. Their products are all vegan, cruelty free, gluten free and free of parabens, SLS's and GMO's. Their apple cider vinegar products are their best selling and it's not surprising - they smell incredible, work amazing on all types of hair, and give your hair/scalp all of the benefits of ACV with a few added ingredients for a boost.

I've never been one to splurge on body products - even when my kids were younger I had a hard time justifying buying pricey, ultra-healthy shampoos and body products. Although they're definitely a bit more than your drugstore or supermarket products, Phillip Adam is a brand making high quality, ethical and healthy products at an approachable price-point. Safe and ethical isn't the case for the majority of products on the shelves, so finding brands I can trust for my whole family is something worth sharing about. 

What ethical skincare brands do you love for your family (or yourself)? I'm always on the hunt for more!


*This post is in partnership with Phillip Adam. All photos and opinions are my own.* 

Self Care with Curie || Everyday Elegance

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The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.
— Audrey Hepburn

Self-care isn't a one-size-fits all event. For some, it's making space for a long, quiet run in the morning before the rest of the world is awake. For others, it's spending an afternoon alone in a cozy cafe people watching or catching up with a friend. Caring for your self doesn't have to look a certain way, it doesn't have to be planned, take a long time, or even be expensive. Self care is simply whatever makes you feel like you. Whatever helps you feel refreshed after a long day. Rejuvenated. Revived. 

As a mom of two toddlers and a self-proclaimed lover of solitude, self care usually involves alone time and something that feels "extravagant", be it a pour over at my favorite coffee shop or a mini-spa night at home. True extravagance (involving spending a lot of money) is rare, but luckily, it doesn't take much for me to feel refreshed - although entire days dedicated to self care are definitely appreciated and recommended ;) 

Lately, I've been staying home with my girls for the majority of the day, so true moments of peace and quiet are few and far between. When I do get those treasured moments of silence though, I'm dead set on creating the perfect ambiance, whether I'm taking a bath or writing a blog post. When it's the former "self care event" I've been relying on the help of a good candle, some essential oils, maybe a glass of wine, and my favorite Curie products to help set the mood. Whether it's ten minutes or an hour, creating the ambiance with things I love and products that make me feel "pampered" is a surefire way to help me feel more like "me" and less like hot mess mom of two never-tiring toddlers.

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If you've followed along for the past few months, you've heard about Curie several times. I've been using their Bella Flor perfume and lotion for the majority of this year and love that their brand focuses on small batch, organic, artisan created fragrance, instead of chemical-laden, mass produced scents.

After acquainting myself with Curie, I decided to broaden my relationship with their beautiful line of products and try their shower kit. If it smelled anything like their Bella Flor perfume did I knew I'd be hooked. 

Not surprisingly, their shampoo/conditioner/body wash trio is just as impressive, fragrant, and effective as their other products I've tried. Something about Curie exudes simple elegance and I love how just opening a bottle of their body wash feels like a quick moment of indulgence. The rest of my "beauty routine" is fairly minimal and sometimes non-existent, but when it comes to what I use to wash my hair and body, I'm oddly picky. To find something that checks boxes in everything from effectiveness, to ethics, to gorgeous branding makes me feel pretty cared for. 

Other than the occasional semi-extravagant DIY spa evening at home, I feel cared for and refreshed when I'm taking in the sights and drinking slowly brewed coffee at a new coffee shop, when I'm writing (not for my job), and when my home and closet feel intentionally organized and beautiful. 

Now you tell me, what's your "self-care style" and how are you making it a priority? Here are some of the responses I got on my Instagram photo from last night (I LOVED reading what makes you feel like YOU.)

  • "I take a walk on the beach or wok on a painting" - @happilyemerson
  • "Drinking a glass of wine on the back patio by myself while I watch the sunset." - @purposefullyminimal
  • "Well, no bathtub in my house, so turning off screens, using all the essential oils, going outside, reading..." - @sb.monhollon
  • "We go on a nightly walk together!" - @the.minimalist.kin
  • "Definitely spending time watering and caring for my plants, diffusing oils, doing a face mask, and probably drinking an iced coffee" - @emmmma_rhodes
  • "I go to gym classes, and push myself hard! I bike to the farmers market, and then bake for the whole day." - @EthicallyKate
  • "I love being alone in bed with a book and a glass of wine. No boyfriend, no family, just me." - @unpetitsourireslowsdown

*This post was part of an ongoing partnership with Curie. All thoughts and photographs are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep SL&Co. running (and make you feel good in the process ;)*

Transition to Clean || Beauty Brands Helping Me Along the Way

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I won't preface this post by saying that I'm not a beauty blogger (if you knew my makeup routine, you'd know how far that is from the truth), but I will say that my approach to skincare, makeup, self-care, and my own appearance overall has changed drastically in the past few years. 

Motherhood, for one, and simply "growing up" have both altered my view of how and why I take care of my body. In my journey towards a slower, simpler, cleaner lifestyle, skincare/beauty out of necessity, has to follow suit. However, much like transitioning from fast fashion to slow fashion, making the trek from conventional beauty products to cleaner ones is no small feat. 

This post has been years in the making, because, much like developing my personal style, it has taken a while to get to know my skin type, self-care style, and the way my body responds to what I put in and on it (thank you, Woman Code). Although it's not a comprehensive list of ethical skincare brands out there (not even close), it will hopefully provide a more in depth look at how and why I've chosen the products I use and an honest review of the brands behind them. 

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Questions to ask before buying: 

1. What is my skin type and what issue am I trying to address? 

2. Can this product be used in more than one way? 

3. How transparent is the brand about their ingredients/sourcing?

4. Is this product worth the investment? 

If a product answers yes to all four of these requirements, then it's an easy choice. 

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The Brands: 

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1. Curie

The story: Curie aims to create perfumes and body care products with zero chemicals and as few ingredients as possible. You might remember my obsessive review of their Bella Flor fragrance (a perfume with only 9 ingredients, as opposed to the industry standard of 70. It's a woman owned company creating artisans passionate about the trade. 

The products: Perfumes, hand soaps, & lotions. 

Why Curie: Curie's fragrances are unparalleled and you can feel 100% safe and confident about putting their products on your skin, knowing they're not created with harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances. 

2. Dulce de Donke

The story: After learning that their daughter had a rare autoimmune disease that attacked her brain (called PANDAS), Saundra and her husband, the owners of Dulce de Donke, were told that their six year old would have to be on antibiotics for the majority of her life. Unable to accept that as the final answer, they turned to history, and ultimately to donkey milk, a substance known for its health benefits in many other cultures, but one that is rare in Western culture. The family has since created a brand aimed at helping other families in similar situations and spreading the word about the benefits of donkey milk. 

The products: Dulce de Donke has a wide range of products, but I tested out the Dulce de Deodorant , Eucalyptus Mint soap bar, and their best selling moisturizer

Why Dulce de Donkee: Aside from their incredible story, Dulce de Donke crafts products that are gentle on the skin and truly work wonders. I use their moisturizer on my razor burn prone legs after shaving and it's so soothing. Furthermore, their deodorant is the first all natural deodorant I've tried that ACTUALLY works. 

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3. Primally Pure

The story: Born out of a love for organic, pastured raised farming, Primally Pure evolved into a skincare brand that  uses only recognizable, natural, effective ingredients. They use expert recommended ingredients in their carefully formulated products that yield noticeable results. 

The products: Primally Pure makes everything from cleansing oils, to bath soaks, to dry shampoo. I've been using their Cleansing Oil, Everything Spray, and Jasmine Body Oil and can't recommend all three more highly. Will DEFINITELY be repurchasing. 

Why Primally Pure: If you're looking for high quality, all natural skin care products, Primally Pure is the perfect starting place. 

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4. Axiology Beauty

The story: Axiology was founded on the principle that women shouldn't have to choose feeling beautiful over feeling ethical. Their products are made with 100% organic and ethically sourced ingredients, are 100% vegan and cruelty free, and (get this) the packaging is even made from paper waste gathered around the island of Bali and then hand decorated, filled with a lipstick, and shipped to your door. 

The products: Lipsticks and lipcrayons in a wide variety of shades. I bought Vibration (the perfect bright red), and then tried out The Goodness, and the Bliss lip crayon for this post. 

Why Axiology: Although $26-$30 may seem expensive for a lipstick, when you consider the high levels of transparency, the longevity of the product, and it's effectiveness, it's well worth the cost. 

5. Berlin Skin

The story: Speaking to my minimalism-obsessed mind, Berlin Skin encourages simplicity, contentment, and a deeply ingrained sense of self-care with their multi-use products. Each product is made with sustainably sourced ingredients, made in small-batches in Portland. 

The products: Body and face oils, masks, creams, toners and more. I've been loving their Matcha Honey mask and their Geranium + Rose Toner

Why Berlin Skin: Perfect for the aspiring minimalist or anyone trying to pare down and simplify their skincare routine, Berlin Skin's products are nourishing and adapt well to all skin types. 

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6. Pouring Out Facial Oil 

The story: After spending time overseas in war torn Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pouring Out's founder wanted to craft a brand that combined their love for serving the marginalized with their passion for simple living and essential oils. Profits from Pouring Out are reinvested into supporting non-profits that restore and heal, much like their facial oils do for the skin. 

The products: A simple selection of a face mask and a face oil, Pouring Out uses all organic oils to hydrate, restore, and heal all skin types. 

Why Pouring Out: If you're looking for a safe, organic facial oil, Pouring Out is your new go-to, regardless of skin type. *Use code "simplyliv20%off" for, you guessed it, 20% off your entire order!*

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*This post was a collaboration between multiple brands and myself, combining purchased goods and gifted product. All opinions and photographs are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

Plaine Products || Zero Waste Products for the Whole Family

Plaine Products || Zero Waste Products for the Whole Family

I've been on my trek towards a more natural, healthy, ethical lifestyle for several years now and when it comes to my hair, I've learned to be picky. I've tried almost every "natural" method for taking care of your hair on the market. Shampoo bars? Yep. Sulfate/paraben/chemical-free? Of course. The "no-poo method" where you let your hair "adjust" to it's natural oils and then cleanse it with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, like, once a month? Oh yes. 

I've been feeling a bit burn out on the whole "healthy hair" thing and wasn't sure there was an actual product on the market that I felt good about. When I said I was picky, I meant it. I wanted all-natural ingredients that would actually help my color treated hair, not damage it. I wanted recycle-packaging that wouldn't end up in a landfill. I wanted to not smell like I walked out of a perfume shop. 

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