How do you know which chemicals to avoid in skincare?
Guest feature by: Yvette Van Schie
It can be incredibly confusing and even daunting when you decide to go chemical free – or at least avoid toxic ingredients in your cosmetics.
The problems many of us find, is that the law is very relaxed in this area, and even if a product says it is organic – it still can contain nasties!
Health issues ranging from skin allergies through to hormonal issues such as infertility and endometriosis, and even cancer have been linked to many of the chemicals in skincare and makeup.
Below are some of the main ingredients that you will commonly find in many skincare and cosmetic products – disguised by long complicated names.
This should help you avoid them!
Pssst! – the Everything Skin Range contains none of these ingredients!
Why do cosmetic and skincare companies add synthetic fragrances to their products, why not use natural scents that also double up as a treatment?
Our sense of smell is a powerful thing. Linked to both our taste buds and our memory, a delightful fragrance can move you to purchase one product over another, based on your own personal taste, and a wonderful memory of a past experience.
The thoughts and memories that we associate with a scent can be very influential, so the more a product can influence you to purchase it, the better! So many skincare companies use scents which are similar to perfumes we might wear.
But in general, synthetic fragrances are not something that you want in your skincare if you can avoid it. They are often mixtures of various chemicals which come from petroleum or crude oil that produce a desired scent.
Often the ingredients for synthetic fragrances are not listed in the ingredients list of products, yet they include harsh toxins like benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene and phthalates.
They can cause a range of not so nice reactions, such as skin irritation, allergies, asthma, eczema, headaches, hives, nausea, psoriasis, wheezing and contact dermatitis.
Natural fragrance sources such as essential oils do not only smell divine, but they also treat the skin – and ensure that you don’t have any nasty reactions.
Silicones come under an umbrella of a multitude of names, which makes them hard to identify and avoid, especially when they are so widely used. So why do cosmetic and skincare companies like to use silicones?
They give products a silky smooth, spreadable, and luxurious texture. They fill crevices in your skin, to give a temporary, smooth surface look and feel. Hydrophobic silicones are also water-resistant, creating a seal over your skin, so that companies can claim hydration effects.
Why should you avoid them?
- Silicones trap debris in your pores as they form a seal over your skin.
- This can lead to acne and breakouts.
- Your skin can become dry and dehydrated, as your skins natural barrier becomes impaired, and is less able to shed dead layers of skin cells
- Silicones are difficult to remove. The most common silicone, dimethicone, is extremely heavy and leaves a coating on the skin unless it is carefully removed. This is often why people see such a difference from nightly double cleansing, because it’s properly removing the silicones from your skin—a single pass with a regular face wash simply isn’t enough!
- They block other active ingredients from absorbing and doing their job.
What to look for? Words that end in one of these:
-Cones: For example, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, methicone, trimethicone, trimethylsilylamodimethicone.
-Conols: For example, dimethiconol.
-Silanes: For example, bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, triethoxycaprylylsilane, triethoxycaprylylsilane crosspolymer.
-Siloxanes: For example, cyclopentasiloxane, polydimethylsiloxane, siloxane.
This one is a big no no – a definite one to avoid.
These silicone-based compounds are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. They make hair products dry more quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. They are also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments.
Siloxanes are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. It has also been classified as an endocrine disruptor, interfering with human hormone function and a possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility.
In high doses, siloxanes have been shown to cause uterine tumours and harm to the reproductive and immune systems, and influence neurotransmitters in the nervous system.
Sounds scary, right!
But many popular skincare and makeup companies still use some form of siloxanes in their products, so it’s always a good idea to read your product label or just stick to completely natural skincare products like the Everything Skin Range.
Parabens are a group of chemicals used as preservatives to stop bacteria growing in food, cosmetics (from shampoo to toothpaste to foundation).
You don’t want bacteria in your skincare, right? Of course not, but there are natural alternatives you can use.
Parabens can disrupt hormone function by mimicking oestrogen. Too much oestrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumours, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
As well as these scary effects on humans, parabens have been found to for the first time in marine mammals, likely accumulating there when the products we use are washed into the water system and into the environment.
With so many preservative-free options available these days, there really is no reason to be using products containing parabens.
Look for anything with “paraben” on the end, like methylparaben and ethylparaben.
Now, you may know that formaldehyde as a natural preservative, which is why it is used in skincare and cosmetic products. It is actually a naturally occurring chemical, that nearly every living animal and plant produces at various levels throughout their life.
While exposure to low levels of formaldehyde is not dangerous, high exposure to the chemical is not so great.
High levels of exposure to formaldehyde, particularly in cosmetic products, can cause:
- sensory irritation
- skin sensitisation
- breathing difficulties
- cancer, in circumstances where there is chronic high exposure.
Any skincare which contains water will need a preservative which is why the Everything Skin Range is oil based.
Look out for formaldehyde labelled as DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium 15, bronopol, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3 dioxane, and hydroxymethylglycinate.
Many artificial colours are made by using coal tar, petroleum or heavy metals salts like arsenic and lead. When absorbed on our skin, these can increase the risk of irritation, blocked pores, breakouts and sensitivity. Some have even been linked to carcinogenic effects. When shopping for skincare, there is really no need for artificial colour in your product, as long as the product itself is effective!
Cosmetics are a different story. Many of them, such as lipstick and blush, are primarily for their colour.
However, there are plenty of natural alternatives to create beautiful colours in without relying on synthetic substances. Foods like coffee and molasses, seaweed powder, clays and spices or for primary colours, ingredients like turmeric powder (yellow), beet root powder (red), and woad powder (blue) can create beautiful shades without putting your health at risk.
I hope you enjoyed this pos! If you would like more posts like this one- please subscribe via the website!
I look forward to helping you on your healthy ethical skincare journey!
Connect here: Ethical Beauty Expert
Swishing some coconut oil around your mouth for 10-20mins to kill nasty bacteria? Really? Oh yes indeed and it’s something that I religiously do every morning after scraping the gunk off my tongue with the back of a spoon… more on that later.
It involves swishing oil all around your mouth to kill bacteria which has built up during the night and encourages overall oral hygiene improving the health of your teeth and gums. It literally sucks the toxins out of your mouth and creates a clean, antiseptic oral environmentally friendly to prevent cavities and disease.
Oil pulling is an ancient ritual and used primarily in India’s Ayurvedic medicine, also known as gandusha. They believe that it can purify the entire system as each section of the tongue is connected to different organs such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology.
Introducing Essential oils into your routine for some extra punch!
Put a smaller container with organic coconut oil into your bathroom – easy access, no excuses
Put a large spoon ( I use a dessert spoon) into your toothbrush cup – again, easy access, no excuses
In the morning you wake up, go to the toilet. I then rinse my mouth to moisture things a little.
Take your spoon and scrape your tongue. You will be surprised at what comes off. Make sure to go from back to front & also down the sides. Clean spoon and rinse your mouth.
Using the same spoon get a generous spoonful of coconut oil out of the tub/jar. At this point you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil ( see suggestions below)
Place this in your mouth. Be patient. It is a strange sensation as often the oil is hard and needs to be broken down by the warmth of your mouth. Move it slowly around your mouth and it will become liquid. The rule is to use an amount that you can tolerate and increase as you go.
Have a shower, do what you need to. Anything but talking! Swish the oil in your mouth as you would a mouthwash for at least 20 minutes as is the required amount to penetrate bacterias
When finished make sure you dont dispose of the oil down the sink as it will block the drains when it hardens. Dispose of in the garbage bin or compost
Thoroughly rinse your mouth using warm water
Clean your teeth with eco toothbrush to ensure all bacteria are gone
Enjoy the freshness!
- For everyday use: Add 3 drops of wild orange, lemon and peppermint with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- When battling an infection or sickness: Change it up a bit and mix clove oil, cinnamon oil or tea tree oil as a homeopathic remedy.
Coconut Oil Pulling with Young Living Essential Oils Suggestions:
- Peppermint: Peppermint is good for giving you an energy boost both mental and physical, give you lovely fresh breath, and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Orange: Orange is very uplifting and tastes amazing.
- Grapefruit: Grapefruit is fresh, invigorating and tasty.
- Lemon: Lemon is good for so many things including cleansing, detoxing, uplifting, supporting a healthy immune system and easing everyday stresses.
- Oregano: Oregano is traditionally used to help cleanse the mouth so it’s a good oil to be used with oil pulling.
- Rosemary: Rosemary supports a healthy lifestyle regimen and smells and tastes wonderful.
Read more about US + THE EARTH HERE
Justin from ‘Coconutsy’ shows us how easy it is to make coconut bowls from raw coconut shells!
It’s super easy to make your own coconut bowl. All you need is a coconut shell and a few simple tools to make your own rustic bowls!
If you purchase a coconut shell from the market or supermarket you can cut the coconut shell in half using a saw. Or you can purchase one here from ‘Coconutsy’ that is ready to go.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Coconut Shell
- Sandpaper – course and medium grit.
- Coconut Oil.
- Linseed Oil – or any food-safe lacquer (optional)
- Use sandpaper to sand the entire outside surface of the coconut shell until you get the desired effect.
- Work lightly if you don’t want to remove too much of the natural texture.
- Using a cloth, rub the inside and outside of the bowl with coconut oil. Coconut oil will seal and bring out the natural shine of the coconut bowl.
Note: The coconut shell will look darker after you apply coconut oil.
- Let the coconut shell dry for 1 hour and apply coconut oil again.
- Optional – After your bowl is dry, brush some linseed oil on the outside of the bowl. You will need to repeat this step drying in between to 100% seal your coconut bowl.
Connect here with ‘Coconutsy’
Do you have a special birthday coming up that you would love to make super fun for the kids and also eco-friendly for our planet? That was my wish for Noah’s recent reptile themed 5th birthday party and our little earth loving warrior had an awesome day! I wanted to share with you what we were most conscious of for this eco-party and how and who helped make it happen. I hope it gives you some inspiration on alternative ways to celebrate, whether it’s incorporating just one of these idea’s or all at your next party.
PLASTIC FREE PARTY SET UP
We started our eco-party planning with e-invites, this can be a little tricky if you don’t know the parents but luckily it worked well for us. If you can’t do e-invites try using recycled paper card or craft paper invites as most glossy printed invites can’t be recycled.
Kids parties can be big consumers of single use plastics and non-recyclable items like party poppers, plastic decor, favours and balloons. I was lucky to already be in contact with eco-party planner ‘My Little Party Hire’ through the Family Eco Life directory and knew that what I had in mind for Noah’s special day was exactly what this business specialises in doing – making eco-friendly parties easy, magical and stress-free!
Jasmin Lance is the owner, creative director and party co-ordinator for ‘My Little Party Hire’ here on the Sunshine Coast. This business offers an extensive range of party decor and individual items for hire as well as fully inclusive ‘party packages’ which include all activities, styling, set up and decor, so you have the option to just relax and enjoy the experience. We chose to do the ‘delightful little party’ package and then added a few extras that we needed. This meant that Jasmin took care of a huge amount of the organising that went into this beautiful occasion for Mr 5.
Our selected package included delivery to our party location and full set-up on the day of all these inclusions listed below. This inclusive package is a wonderful option for busy parents who want something special but don’t have the time to pull it all together on their own.
The wooden tables are custom-made for children’s height and have an overhead arch along with custom made wooden seats, large wooden birthday number 5, hand washing station with soap and towel, wooden party this way sign, full recycling system – including a Bokashi Ninja for composting, recycling bins and waste, gorgeous wooden entry arch with white bunting, wooden gift sign and basket, small drinking glasses decorated by Jasmin with the sweetest edible flowers for the kids, wooden plates to eat from at the centrepiece table, love heart platters, setting up and styling.
I can’t express enough the huge value there is in choosing a package that includes the setting up and styling! Jasmin comes from an interior design background and is just one of those people who has a talent for creating beautiful spaces. Jasmin’s spent 2 hours organising and styling the party area including a tropical greenery canopy over the kids table and eco-friendly place settings and decor, with plants, edible flowers and wooden props. All included in the package price.
If you don’t want to have a full party organised like we did, you can also opt to hire individual items from My Little Party Hire. There’s no minimum to what you can hire which means there’s a eco-friendly prop on the website to suit all budgets. The wooden numbers are an amazing stand alone feature and the wooden plates, cake platters and party signs are perfect for a simple yet beautiful party at home or in the park. These party options provide families here on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane with a quality, plastic free alternative to help reduce waste and create magical moments for their children.
FOOD – Allergy free
We organised this portion ourselves and kept it pretty simple. Noah has an egg allergy and we are also a plant based family so we wanted to make sure we had lots of tasty treats and I wasn’t having to say to the birthday boy…. ‘ah no sorry sweetie you can’t have that as it has egg in it” which is something he is use to hearing at social gatherings. The kids grazed on fresh fruit, delicious raw vegan tarts from ‘Maple & Sage’, Noah’s favourite veggie crudites of cucumber, celery, carrots and capsicum, vegan carrot cake muffins, dips, croissants, hot cross buns and more. We also had an allergy free birthday cake made with a chickpea base and hired 2 large glass water urns from ‘My Little Party Hire’ for refreshments. Our amazing party planner Jasmin had one urn filled with delicious organic blue lavender iced tea which both parents and kids absolutely loved! This was made by Jasmin prior to the party and brought along on the day so I didn’t have to worry about it, now how’s that for some amazing thoughtful service?!
PARTY THEME & ENTERTAINMENT
Our wild child is all about nature, gardening, bees and reptiles at the moment so this was the perfect theme for his outdoor eco-party in a beautiful local park on the Sunshine Coast. We wanted to avoid more traditional party games that would create unnecessary waste and opted for an experience style party for Noah’s special day with real life reptiles and a face painter.
I connected with a local wildlife rescuer, snake handler and animal educator Julie from ‘Critter Catchers’ who came to the party with 2 carpet pythons named Merlin and Bane and a central bearded dragon called Bert. Julie worked and 2 other wildlife handlers spending nearly 2 hours letting the kids interact, pat and learn about the reptiles. Some of the kids were completed memorised by the snakes for the entire time and others a little more cautious but absolutely all of them were fascinated and excited!
We also had Nicole from ‘Hilltop Face Painting’ come along and paint the kids faces as reptiles, insects and animals. We opted to go glitter free to keep the activity as eco-friendly as possible. Nicole is super talented at what she does and I highly recommend getting in touch with her for parties if you live on the Sunshine Coast.
As we decided not to do traditional party games My Little Party Hire also provided lawn games for the kids to play with throughout the morning at their own leisure. Wobble boards, large wooden dominoes, quoits, bubbles along with picnic blankets for parents to sit on while the kids played.
At Family Eco Life we are lucky to work with some amazing eco-friendly Children’s brands that helped me put together eco-party bags for Noah’s friends.
I made up the party bags myself with supplies from the beautiful ‘Behind the Trees Wooden Toys’ and ‘Seeds for Tomorrow’. These included a mix of beautiful crystals, bee friendly seed mix to plant at home, wooden wiggly snakes and a sweet rubber bee. These were a huge hit with the kids and parents loved that these little brown bags weren’t full of lollies for the car ride home.
Behind the Trees Wooden Toys stocks a wonderful variety of sustainably made, mindful, educational and unique toys and gifts and they are our readers 10% off storewide with code ECOPLAY. Seeds for Tomorrow have beautiful growing kits for children with both herb and bee themes along with garden tools and positive affirmations for kids, grab 20% off this eco-friendly range with discount code of FAMILYECO20 .
Between kids and adults we had more than 30 guests and if we weren’t being conscious this could have create a lot of waste. As we didn’t have balloons, streamers or plastic decor and made the most of the reusables organised we managed to avoid having loads of rubbish and waste. My Little Party Hire’s recycling system is such a fantastic idea, everything was disposed of correctly and we mainly just had compostable food waste left that went into the Bokashi Ninja .
It was a wonderful day for Noah who finished off having a fully clothed swim in the river beside the park with some of his buddies! So many special memories created and I really can’t thank Jasmin enough for helping me bring it all together. We are so lucky to have small eco-businesses like these who committed to helping parents create conscious lifestyles and events for families to enjoy.
I also grabbed these 3 great tips from Jasmin for planning your next birthday party for kids and if you mention ‘Family Eco Life’ you can get a $50.00 voucher to go towards booking one of the My Little Party Hire ‘party packages’.
‘Check them out below…
Jasmin, you always seem to have a new and creative theme incorporated into your parties, what’s your advice of choosing a theme?
Mermaids that go glamping! Dinosaurs that wear tutus! There are no rules whatsoever when it comes to themes. Dream up something magical with your child that suits their interests. It can be totally out there, gorgeously cute and fun. Endless ideas and combinations. Start early and let the theme choice start you on your party journey!
Do you have any tips when it comes to picking a location?
Think of a place that is age appropriate, convenient for you and your guests. Keep in mind safety, shade and have a plan B for a surprise rainy day. Gum boots, raincoats and umbrellas might not represent the perfect party weather but it can be so much fun going on an adventures treasure hunt.
What do you suggest when it comes to party activities in avoiding plastic and waste?
We absolutely love planning nature play based activities! DIY fairy garden, mermaid palace, fossil digging and many more. The activity can be started with a treasure hunt to find the key elements that are needed for creating the activity. If you are limited on space, you could play the classic pass the parcel for them to receive the treasures. Our tables are the perfect height for creating their little magic activity on and the activities we arrange in our packages are all plastic free.
I hope this was helpful and inspires you with all the possibilities available for your child’s next birthday.
Find all the contact details for the wonderful suppliers we worked with below:
Making resolutions and goals for the year ahead is a great way to kick start new habits but I personally find starting them on 1st January is way too much pressure. December is just too busy with school events, festive gatherings and visitors, not to mention Christmas itself. Then January continues to be super busy in our home with school holidays, more gatherings and getting ready for the new school year, so this is a time i really want to relax and enjoy with family and friends without complicating the time and putting pressure on myself.
It’s fairly common to hear that many people set goals on New Years Eve and then break them by the end of the first week of January – if this sounds like something you’ve done, you’re not alone, in many ways the words ‘new year’s resolution’ have become cringe worthy in society. One of the best ways to keep your new intentions is to make them achievable and to feel good about the process!
Based on this I encourage everyone who hasn’t started or has given up already to give yourself a break and set your eco-goals and intentions for 2021 with realistic timing. You didn’t need to start them on the 1st day of the new year or even in the first month, set them for a time that works for you, mine will start once Mr. 4 returns to Kindy for February.
After you figure out when you want to start working on your goals don’t go overboard, it’s better to focus on a few that will really make an impact and sustain them instead of creating an unachievable list.
My personal eco-intentions for 2021 are about getting more familiar with ethical brands in fashion (this was also on my list last year), making food go further with more creative recipes that are based on seasonal produce, doing a short course on sustainability in business and finding new ways to reduce waste associated with kids – there is so much more waste with kids, anyone else feel this?
If you’re still setting your intentions these 4 below are great goals to add to your list if you already have the basics like reusables, single use plastic free living, low-tox cleaning, growing herbs and veggies underway. If you’re ready to tackle some more sustainable living practices in 2021 these might be of interest:
CORRECTLY SEPARATING HOME RUBBISH
It might sound simple but often it isn’t done correctly based on your local area, unfortunately different councils have different capabilities in their recycling facilities. Starting to understand your local councils recycling capabilities and sorting your household rubbish correctly will make a positive impact. There is a lot of waste that ends up in landfill even though it can be recycled or composted but it’s often placed in the wrong bin or should have been sent to different organisation. By starting to understand your household rubbish and where it belongs, you can certainly reduce a large amount of landfill.
TIP – A great way to help keep achieve this is to colour code some indoor bins. Having different colours for recycling, organics, soft plastics and residual waste. Make sure you also become familiar with places like Office works, Bunning’s and Terra-cycle who can take items that you can’t put into your roadside bins.
START A COMPOST BIN
A compost bin not only helps to keep the food waste out of landfill but it also gives you great soil for your garden. Setting up a compost bin is fairly simple and you can buy outdoor units from places like Bunnings and gardening stores. If you have limited space don’t let that stop you! Check out the easy indoor composting system ‘Bokashi Ninja’, a fabulous compact in-kitchen system that helps create natural fertiliser in a matter of days and can also compliment bigger outdoor composting bins. We use this system at home and couldn’t do without it now.
Reducing your consumption is one of the best all round things you can for the environment as it can be applied to all area’s of your life – food, water, paper, energy, clothing, consumables. Start with some of the big offenders like paper and energy and then move onto something else once you’re ready.
40% of industrial logging around the world goes into making paper. In landfill paper releases methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide. Even though recycling paper and using recycled paper is better than it going straight to landfill, the best option will always be to reduce consumption.
Here are 10 easy ways to cut down on paper usage:
✔ from the yellow pages phone book.
✔ Unsubscribe to junk mail.
✔ Select digital magazine subscriptions.
✔ Change your banking to e-statements.
✔ Join your local library.
✔ Take paperless notes.
✔ Change to paperless bills.
✔ Select a digital receipt when available.
✔ Choose recycled paper, use it on both sides of paper and only use the amount you need.
Reducing energy use in the home doesn’t just reduce your carbon footprint it also saved you money on those quarterly bills. Here are some energy saving tips to get you started…
✔ Turn the air conditioner up two degrees in summer and down two in winter.
✔ Turn off lights and unplug electronics including your computer when you’re not using it.
✔ Reduce the temperature on your water heater slightly.
✔ Check the seals on your fridge and freezer. If these appliances are not sealed tightly they will need to work harder to maintain the cold temperature.
✔ Hang your clothes outside to dry as much as you can and only use the dryer when completely necessary.
I think the simple act of expanding your knowledge and awareness of sustainability, climate change and green living this is a great intention to have on your goals list as it keeps you motivated and informed. Here is a list of fantastic documentaries worth watching throughout the year. Your intention could be to watch one a week or 1 a month, whatever fits in with your lifestyle.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Based on the predictions of Al Gore nearly 15 years ago about the impact of floods, droughts, hurricanes & climate refugees.
2040: Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau positive vision of the future in 2040 and how we can achieve it.
A PLASTIC OCEAN: International scientist travel to more than 20 locations around the world revealing the cause and consequence of plastic pollution in our oceans.
THE TRUE COST: 2015 documentary that delves into the human and environmental cost of fast fashion in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Cambodia.
BEFORE THE FLOOD: Leonardo Dicaprio’s findings after a 2-year worldwide investigation on the effects of climate change.
RIVERBLUE: This documentary shows the devastating effect of how chemicals used in manufacturing clothing effect the river systems.
COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret. Leonardo DiCarprio presents a film about the environmental impact of meat and why back in 2014 no one was talking about it.
OUR PLANET: Sir David Attenborough’s eight-part Netflix series on how global temperature rises are affecting wildlife around the world.
CHASING CORAL: Photographers, scientists and divers travel the oceans to discover the effects of coral bleaching and what it means for our eco systems.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING: Naomi Klein highlights the connection between our economic systems and the crisis facing our planet.
MISSION BLUE: World-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle mission to explore the dire condition of Earth’s oceans.
New years resolutions or intentions as we like to call them in 2021 can be as little or as big as you like. Remember to think about what you want your goal to be without the pressure of specific start dates and focus on taking little steps to get there.
We would love to hear what you are planning on changing or doing in 2021?
Christmas is fast approaching and although this time of year is about coming together with family and friends, being grateful, showing thanks and enjoying the magic of the season, it’s also a time for gift giving. As someone who is a conscious consumer I like to be mindful of what we buy but as a mother, gift giving at this time of year is just so special, the excitement of Christmas Eve and the joy on my little boys face when he opens his gifts makes my heart melt. I think the important thing for this time of year is to be mindful with the choices you make and try to minimise waste. I’ve got some tips to help you make this process eco-friendly without losing the excitement and fun.
Find gifts that your loved ones are really going to enjoy, not something you just buy for the sake of it. Be mindful by keeping it simple, making it personal and not going overboard. If you can’t find the perfect gift consider an ‘experience’ gift, a voucher or even a donation to their favourite charity.
SECRET SANTA THEMES
If you have a large family circle it’s a good idea to consider doing ‘Secret Santa’. It saves so much packaging, money and is way less stressful. I also love the idea of doing a secret Santa ‘theme’. If your family all has similar interests you could theme it around that. The idea is everyone buys something to a certain value and only within a certain theme. Here are some eco-friendly ideas to give you some inspiration:
- Exclusively hand-made
- Something from your local market
- Edible gifts
- Gifts that grow
- Gifts that educate
- Gifts that showcase the place you live
- Gifts for self-care
- Something you make yourself
GIFTS FOR CHILDREN
When it comes to buying for your children look for quality gifts that won’t break before the new year has come. Look for toys made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials like wooden toys, growing kits, organic cotton pyjamas and clothing, creative play and plastic free items. If you are buying things like beach toys choose those made from silicone and with toy trucks and cars try to get the sturdy metal variety for older kids or recycled plastic options like ‘green toys’ for toddlers and little ones. Find a great range of these types of gifts from the small business children’s brands in our eco-gift guide! Lots of amazing discount codes in there too!
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS
Supporting small Australian businesses not only keeps your money close to home, supports other families and the local community but you can save financially on international shipping costs and avoid the much bigger carbon footprint that it attracts. You can view our small business eco-collective here
CARDS + TAGS
Consider sending out an e-card to your family network or use recycled paper cards instead of the traditional plastic and glitter coated cards. A great alternative to using traditional gifts tags is to use small wooden clothes pegs – these can be reused every year and are super cute and unique! If you’re after something special you can even find cards infused with seeds that can be planted in your garden. Don’t forget to get organised with some compostable sticky tape too.
The amount of paper wrapping waste over Christmas is huge and many people may not realise that most of this paper can’t be recycled due to the dyes, texture, laminates and additives used like glitter. Alternatively why not try something that’s eco-friendly, zero waste and looks beautiful?
My tops picks are:
FABRIC – we did most of our wrapping with fabric last year and it was a great success. You can use pieces of fabric you have at home or check the offcuts bin at your local fabric store or head to the op shop as scarves work great. The best thing is you can use it again next Christmas. The style of fabric wrapping you will want to achieve is a Japanese method called ‘Furoshiki’. There are more than a dozen different ways to wrap gifts this way depending on the shape and size of the item. Check out some ideas and instructions here.
BROWN PAPER – We absolutely love the natural look of recycled paper and it particularly looks beautiful at Christmas under a green tree. Choosing this type of wrapping paper means less waste and less pollution when it’s being made. Just make sure it doesn’t have that waterproof feel, as these ones have a coating and can’t be recycled.
JARS + TERRACOTTA POTS – home-made treats, plants, candles, jams and any small gifts go perfectly in jars and pots. There are so many sizes available and this option means the packaging is completely reusable.
KIDS ARTWORK – Do you have piles of beautiful paintings and drawings that the kids have brought home from school? These masterpieces will make the most thoughtful and personal wrapping paper ideas for your nearest and dearest. This idea is one the grandparents are sure to love!
DECORATING YOUR GIFTS
Skip the plastic bows and junky Christmas merchandise and go on a foraging adventure with your children or friends. Leaves, seedpods, paperbark and berries make stunning decorations for Christmas gifts. Dried flowers and herbs like Rosemary from the garden also add a touch of natural beauty when tied with jute or cotton twine. If you prefer to do some crafts, try making small salt dough ornaments and dehydrated orange slices, these look amazing together with a touch of greenery. Find the recipes for these and lots of amazing discounts from our small business eco-community by signing up below for our free ECO CHRISTMAS GUIDE!
Wishing you a wonderful festive season
TIPS FOR CREATING A ECO-FRIENDLY SPACE FOR KIDS
by Sherri Smith Interiors
Decorating your children’s bedrooms and play areas can be so much fun! A chance to Introduce some soothing and stimulating colours depending on the need of the space. Integrating healthy eco-friendly decorating materials and décor items are a breeze when you know what to look for. Plus when you choose eco friendly products you are not only helping create a healthy home, but you are helping the Earth as well – a double win!
Colour psychology is fascinating and scientifically proven to impact our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Choosing the right colours in the bedroom can significantly impact restful sleep.
- Blues are soothing, calming and peaceful. They evoke a sense of security, stability and a feeling of reliability and make a great choice for boys bedrooms when you want to help your young man feel safe, secure and calm before bedtime.
- Pinks are nurturing and compassionate evoking a feeling of being wrapped up in love and tenderness. If the thought of a pink room is too much, consider a neutral palette with beautiful pink accessories.
- Corals make a great colour for a playroom as they are warm and dynamic, invigorating and outgoing and socialising. Just what you want in a playroom with the space to learn, explore and interact with others.
- Consider teaming blues with corals in the playroom for your children and let these colours work wonders on your young ones. The Corals will stimulate learning and the Blues will help with relaxation after invigorating play.
When decorating with the environmental health of you family in mind, choose low to zero VOC paints rugs and cushions in natural fibres. Choose solid timber furniture over MDF products that are full of VOC’s that release toxins that compromise the air quality and family health. Consider your floor coverings, natural is best. Natural wood floors with natural finishes, tiles with zero VOC sealants, polished concrete flooring.
Introduce kid friendly pot plants into the rooms to assist with cleaning the air, reconnecting with nature and providing a soothing element to the space. Spider-plant, Boston fern, Prater plant, Parlour palms and Christmas cactus are great easy care choices.
You can also find plenty of eco-businesses with beautiful wooden and organic products for your eco-friendly space by checking out our ‘ECO-KIDS’ page HERE.