A Swiss forest gains a sculptural, sustainably minded water purification plant

June 24, 2019 by  
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Most water purification plants are devoid of personality, but that’s not so for the Swiss city of Muttenz’s new water treatment facility. Designed by international architectural firm Oppenheim Architecture , the Muttenz Water Purification Plant rejects the sterile stereotype and adopts a curving and organic form that looks as if the building was naturally sculpted out of the earth. Set within a lush green forest next to the river Rhine, the low-maintenance industrial plant not only sensitively and sustainably adapts to its natural surroundings, but also serves as a new city landmark that includes a public-facing area to educate the population about the facility’s three-phased, state-of-the-art water purification process. The Muttenz Water Purification Plant is encased entirely with shotcrete, also known as sprayed concrete, which was delivered dry to the construction site and then mixed with water just before application. Shotcrete was selected because of the sensitive nature of the construction site in a drinking water protection zone. The expressive and low-maintenance facade appears both soft in appearance yet hard in texture and allows rainwater to flow from the roof across the sides, which will gradually leave a natural patina and encourage the growth of moss over time to blend the building into the landscape. Related: This moss can naturally eliminate arsenic from water “The engineering-driven arrangement of the inner life defines the form and the size of the building,” explained the architects, who noted that the water purification building is set between a protected forest and the nearby industrial parks. “Like a tight dress, the skin presses against it and represents the technical inner life to the outside. Pipelines, filters and apparatuses can be read through the facade in an abstract manner. The result is an expressive building, acting like a ‘objet trouvé’ in its natural context. Reduced to its materiality and form.” To heighten the educational experience for the public, the water purification plant puts parts of its complex and its state-of-the-art technology on display. One example is the open, alcove-like presentation room that is open to the outdoors and allows visitors to experience water from multiple perspectives, from the cooling sensation of the surrounding pool to the sounds and sights of rainwater pouring in from the roof. + Oppenheim Architecture Photography by Bo?rje Mu?ller via Oppenheim Architecture

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A Swiss forest gains a sculptural, sustainably minded water purification plant

Anti-pollution skincare products: Everything you need to know

April 1, 2019 by  
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Anti-pollution skincare products are the latest trend in the skincare industry. As people battle an increasingly toxic atmosphere, these products promise to combat harmful particles associated with pollution in major cities. These products work by cleansing the skin from nanoparticles that are absorbed from the air or by creating a protective barrier that acts as a shield against pollutants. But just how effective are anti-pollution skincare products? The need for pollution protection The call for beauty products that are anti-pollution has significantly increased as city dwellers around the world continue to battle poor air quality . The micro-particles present in pollution have been proven to age skin at a rate similar to the sun, leading many people to look for ways to protect their body. Online searches for skincare products that are anti-pollution have gone up some 73 percent this year alone. This shows how much people are concerned about the aging effects of pollution and how it harms skin. Related: Add this all-in-one natural skincare to your bathroom counter “We’re seeing an increasing global demand for skincare which counters pollution-related skin concerns including dull skin, inflammation, sensitized skin, blemishes, clogged pores and accelerated ageing,” Dr. Anna Persaud, the head of This Works makeup company, explained. Pollution causes skin issues Studies have shown that certain pollutants in the atmosphere can lead to skin-related problems. The University of British Columbia lead a study that connected nitrogen dioxide to dark spots on the skin. Nitrogen dioxide is a result of car exhaust and emissions from power plants. While people are more aware of the harmful effects of pollution, cities continue to battle poor air quality. In fact, the World Health Organization released a study in 2016 that showed how air pollution had increased eight percent over the previous five years. In densely populated cities around the world – such as Delhi and Beijing – the public is often warned about hazardous levels of air pollution. Indoor pollution is also a growing issue Air quality indoors is also something people need to be concerned about when it comes to skincare. Indoor pollution comes from a variety of sources, from cooking and heating to cleaning products that off-gas into the environment, all of which can damage the health of your skin. With people battling pollution at every turn, there is little wonder that the anti-pollution skincare industry has grown so much over the past decade. How does anti-pollution skincare work? Products that are marketed as anti-pollution help shield the skin from harmful dust particles, very similar to how sunscreens work. Other skincare products remove pollutants from the skin after you have been exposed. The most popular of these types of products are beauty masks, which cleanse the skin at a deeper level than traditional masks. Peach and Lilly , for example, offer a series of anti-pollution masks and other products that are aimed at reducing the effects of microparticles. While these products can remove harmful nanoparticles, there are no scientific studies to back up their effectiveness. The lack of data is largely due to the fact that anti-pollution skincare has not been around long. Another factor is that the products are only used once a day, and after the masks are removed the skin is once again open for exposure. Tips for choosing the best anti-pollution skincare products While masks can remove pollutants in the short-term, leave-on products are the best way to combat microparticles in the atmosphere. These types of products will protect you for longer durations of time and prevent your skin from coming into contact with harmful particles in the first place. You can also look for products that contain high levels of probiotics. These chemicals can help build up the skin’s natural defenses and form a barrier against pollution-related skin issues. That is not to say that anti-pollution masks are not beneficial, but they do leave the skin open to future attacks. The science behind anti-pollution skincare A lot of the anti-pollution skincare products feature vitamin C as the main ingredient. Vitamin C can lighten skin tone – which helps combat those dark spots linked to pollution – and decreases discoloration. Another common ingredient in these types of products are antioxidants, many of which are actually backed by science. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of studies that prove barrier products are effective at keeping particles from invading your skin. That does not mean they do not work, but more studies need to be done to prove just how effective they are in creating a pollution barrier. Given the popularity of these types of products , it won’t be long before additional research is completed. Fighting pollution While products that protect the skin are great, the bigger issue is fighting pollution at its source. Many cities are initiating eco-friendly policies to help curb emissions, but more work needs to be done if we are serious about combating the effects pollution has on our health. Unfortunately, companies that manufacture anti-pollution skincare products have little motivation to fight pollution at a large scale, as doing so would ultimately hurt their bottom line. Via The Guardian , Racked Images via Rawpixel , Moose Photos , Stux ,  AdinaVoicu ,  joiseyshowaa

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Anti-pollution skincare products: Everything you need to know

Add this all-in-one natural skincare to your bathroom counter

March 7, 2019 by  
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Imagine having silky smooth, intensely hydrated skin, even in the dead of winter . This dream can be a reality with Lalicious, a brand we discovered earlier this year at the Indie Beauty Expo . We instantly fell in love with the company’s whipped sugar scrubs, body butters and our personal favorite, a magical product known as the “velour body melt.” With a passion for luxurious, cruelty-free skincare at an accessible price point, Lalicious has made a permanent home in our daily skincare routines. Many scrubs and moisturizers on the market come with a host of problems: parabens and other unsavory ingredients, animal testing or animal-derived ingredients, excessive oils or prices that are just out of the question for a majority of people. After coming across these problems, Jessica Kernochan set out to create her own natural beauty products. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo Since then, Lalicious has continued to create dreamy skincare products made from some of our favorite natural ingredients: macadamia nut oil, cucumber, sweet almond oil, honey, shea butter, lavender and so much more. The company is also committed to skipping the typical parabens, sulfates and animal testing found in conventional cosmetics and skincare products. These products are the real deal. We tested the company’s top product — a brown sugar scrub — at IBELA, and we were blown away at how soft it left our skin. After the event, we decided to test the velour body melt at home — it is just as soothing as it sounds. This oil-based moisturizer “melts” right into your skin (we applied it after hopping out of the shower) and leaves it softer than velour for about two days after just one application. The smell lasts, too. We first tested the sugar coconut , which we liked for its beachy scent. Since our tests, our team has collectively bought several sets of the velour body melts (we really are obsessed with this product!) — we highly recommend the lavender, which smells quite similar to fresh laundry. Not to mention this mystical moisturizer can be used for a multitude of purposes, from removing eye makeup to soothing frizzy locks to healing tough cuticles. It’s an all-in-one miracle worker that is likely to work better than all the bottles taking up precious space on your bathroom counter. While the packaging is unfortunately plastic, one jar lasts a long time and can replace several other skincare products. We strongly believe a company should be green to its core, and Lalicious delivers. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles in a former wind tunnel building, which is now a shining example of adaptive reuse done right. Just like the products, the Lalicious HQ is built from natural materials. It also depends primarily on natural light. If you’re looking to add a fortifying natural moisturizer to your skincare routine, take the time to check out the velour body melts as well as the entire Lalicious bath and body products. + Lalicious Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Lalicious. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Add this all-in-one natural skincare to your bathroom counter

Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle

March 7, 2019 by  
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Officially launched in California on Feb. 28, 2019 and targeted to expand to new markets throughout the year, the Cove brand’s 100 percent biodegradable water bottles have become available as a sustainable plastic alternative. Cove offers an eco-friendly solution for water on the go at every phase of production and regardless of the disposal technique used. Single-use plastic water bottles have made the headlines in every fight for sustainability over the years for good reason — they are toxic for the environment. With the amount of plastic in the oceans as well as little hope of any plastic ever truly disappearing, it’s no wonder companies are looking for better ways to package our must-have water. While some companies have invested in plastic alternatives already, they each include metal, plastic or glass that needs to be separated out at the recycling stage. In contrast, the Cove water bottle sidesteps the recycling process altogether. Related: Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles Although it looks, feels and functions like regular plastic, the Cove water bottle is made from naturally occurring biopolymers called PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) that are biodegradable and compostable. These bottles break down into carbon dioxide, water and organic waste after being tossed into the compost or hauled to the landfill. They will even break down in the soil or the ocean with zero toxic byproducts. Construction of this innovative water bottle begins with a paper core. Attached to that is the PHA formed cylinder, cap and top dome. While the bottle might not last forever like its plastic counterparts, it is shelf-stable for six months. During that period, the bottle can also be reused . Currently, the Cove bottles are filled with natural spring water sourced from Palomar Mountain, California, for the initial launch. However, founder Alex Totterman believes that businesses have an environmental responsibility, so rather than shipping water across long distances, the company vows to source locally in each region as sales and availability spread across different markets. The idea behind the Cove water bottle is simple — produce an earth-friendly alternative to single-use plastic while keeping it convenient to the consumer. As we all know, people find it much easier to participate if the process is easy, and there is nothing easier than grabbing a bottle made from PHA instead of petroleum-based plastic. + Cove Via Packaging 360 Photography by Ryan Lowry and Sergiy Barchuk via Cove

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Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle

Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

February 22, 2019 by  
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From its natural ingredients to its carbon-neutral operations and its eco-friendly packaging, you’re going to want to lather up with Lather. First spied by Inhabitat at this year’s Indie Beauty Expo, Lather’s long line of sustainable skincare products have made themselves a new home in our medicine cabinets. Founded in 1999, Lather was started by Emilie Hoyt after she battled with migraines — which were partially caused by the harmful ingredients found in conventional skincare and cosmetics. Hoyt is an “explorer at heart” with a deep appreciation for nature, so she drew upon this passion when creating a wellness brand that emphasizes natural ingredients while also keeping the planet in mind at every stage of production. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo In addition to using ingredients straight from nature, Lather does not test on animals, nor does it work with manufacturers that do. Furthering its commitment to sustainability, Lather is a carbon-neutral company that uses EcoPure, recycled materials and soy-based inks in all of its packaging. As if that wasn’t enough to love, Lather also supports eco-focused charities such as the Baobab Guardians Program, which “employs and empowers women and works hard to ensure the survival of the oldest trees on Earth.” It’s hard to narrow down the products to our favorites, but we must say that the bamboo lemongrass body scrub is one of the most popular Lather products for good reason. The scrub has become an essential part of our showering routine — the scrub suds up to cleanse you while also gently exfoliating skin and emitting a really pleasant, natural fragrance. Follow this up with the matching body lotion for a refreshing scent that invigorates you and a moisturizer that leaves your freshly exfoliated skin at its softest. Along the lines of keeping your skin happy and hydrated, we recommend keeping Lather’s Hand Therapy with you at all times. This restorative lotion is made with shea, oats and olive. The scent is earthy in a pleasant way, and the cream helps relieve cracked hands and dry cuticles. Lather also offers a multitude of face cleansers that target various skin concerns, from dryness to oily textures and sensitivity to blemishes. There are also different formulas, such as gels, creams, oils, and soap bars. We tested the Ultra Mild Face Wash. It’s a powerful cleanser that removes makeup with ease without leaving skin feeling dry or tight. We weren’t in love with the smell, but we didn’t hate it, either. We followed this face wash with the Ultra Light Face Lotion, which doesn’t have much of a scent to it. It was perfect for a daily moisturizer — hydrating enough to banish dryness, but light enough to wear all day without feeling heavy or greasy. Overall wellness is a prime factor behind all of Lather’s products, which is why the company developed a gel based pain reliever for muscle aches and pain. The gel provides temporary pain relief with formulated herbal extracts used by the native tribes of Northern Mexico. The gel is incredibly fast acting once its massaged onto joints or muscles and has a lingering cooling and heating effect that is felt almost instantly thanks to the menthol, camphor and capsaicin in the product. While the scent is powerful, it’s not overbearing and definitely worth it as this gel can quickly alleviate pain. We have made this our go-to pain relieving gel. While Lather is designed to enjoy at home as its own act of self care, the company’s passion for wellness extends in-store, too. From free Pamper Parties for groups to indulge in an afternoon of natural  skincare to relaxation stations with cozy seating and “5-minute stories” from a machine that offers short stories for guests to read, Lather encourages clients to take a moment to breathe and enjoy each passing moment. The brand’s ethos to care about yourself and the environment is evident through and through. + Lather Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Lather. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Lather is the PETA-approved skincare that reminds us all to slow down

Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

February 22, 2019 by  
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In the ongoing dialogue surrounding water consumption and saving water, the length of your shower, how you water your yard and even your toothbrush usage probably come up. But there is another water-thirsty activity that should be added to the discussion — hair washing. Think about it. Daily shampooing by billions of people is destined to strain resources. So taking a moment to consider the ways you can cut back on the suds, the water and the money going down the drain can be the best way to help the environment. Frequency Your hairdresser recommends washing your hair twice daily, often followed by using a conditioner. Between the energy and water consumed, that’s a big hair care footprint. In addition to shorter showers, consider cutting back the frequency of your hair washing to every other day or even a few times each week. Dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner can help provide the look and feel you’re used to in between washings. Specially formulated to omit the use of water altogether, dry shampoo is a quick and easy way to get out the door faster without wasting time and water in the shower. Leave-in conditioner can keep the frizzies at bay with a expedited and no-water-required application. Hot water reduction Heating water is a major household expense and we’re often paying for a service we don’t need, such as washing clothes in hot water that will be just as clean in a cold wash. When it comes to hair washing, consider turning down the heat a bit in favor of cost savings. Of course, slashing your time in the shower will not only save on water-heating costs, but water consumption costs as well. Even better than turning the shower down is turning it off in between wetting your hair and rinsing out the shampoo. For greater results, adopt a less rigid hair-washing schedule altogether. Related: Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity Product consumption While we’re on the conversation of conservation , give a little thought to the amount of hair products you’re using as well. Try cutting back on the amount you apply, since most people use a much larger amount than they need. This not only helps minimize the shampoo that heads down the drain, but offers cost savings too. Water conservation If you’re already cutting back on shower time, think of other ways you can conserve the water you use in your shower. After all, you wouldn’t be the first person to collect your sudsy runoff in a bucket as you bathe. As long as your hair products are earth friendly, the water you collect can be used to water plants , wash animals or irrigate the lawn. Also look into low-flow shower heads that either restrict the flow of water coming out or force air through the shower head so it feels like you’re getting a full stream with only half the water usage. While we’re on the topic of showers, they are almost always a better choice for the planet than baths. An average 10-minute shower uses around 20-25 gallons while a bath averages 35-50 gallons. Outside the home While your morning ritual is likely the culprit for most of your excess hair-washing water consumption, also implement a plan for when you are away from home. Conserving water at the hotel or the gym is still saving water, so keep it up when you’re out. Also, start a dialogue with your hairdresser who’s likely had the conversation before. Ask what he or she is doing to minimize water consumption and resources (think about how many heads get washed each day.) Yes, it might feel like you’re breaking some sort of code to head to the stylist without washing first, but if they are going to do it anyway, there’s no reason to wash twice. Alternately, wash at home and ask them to wet with a spray bottle instead of a full wash during your cut. Types of hair products More and more products are finding their way into the market that aim to satisfy the growing consumer desire for no-water, all-natural solutions to hair care. Remember that all those suds head straight down the drain and into the local water system, so choose non-toxic shampoos and conditioners that are biodegradable. Do it for the fishies and for the purity of the water your family drinks. While biodegradable products are better for the environment , remember that they are also better for you. Your scalp is skin, after all, and skin is the biggest organ in your body. With a high absorption rate, your skin takes in all kinds of chemicals and toxins in daily life. Don’t let your hair products be one of them. In addition to the ingredient list, look at the packaging of your shampoo and conditioner. Use an all-in-one product instead of separate ones to automatically cut plastic waste in half. Better yet, find a refillable option for serious waste-reduction points. There are a host of alternate products that can also aid in the clean-hair goal both in and out of the shower. Many people find success with natural products like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and clay. Baby powder can also work as a dry shampoo in a pinch. Images via Shutterstock

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Saving the environment one hair wash at a time

6 eco-friendly ways to incorporate hemp into your daily routine

February 19, 2019 by  
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After decades of “reefer madness”, the misinformation about Cannabis is finally starting to disappear, and the truth is coming out about the many benefits of the magical plant. However, many still don’t know the difference between cannabis, marijuana and hemp , and continue to believe they are one and the same — but, they are not. So, what are the many uses of hemp? Read on to find out. In a nutshell, cannabis is a family of plants that have two major classifications: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Marijuana, which is what people consume to get the effects of THC, can come from either Indica or Sativa. While hemp only comes from Cannabis Sativa. Because marijuana and hemp come from the Cannabis Sativa plant, they definitely have a lot in common. But, there are significant differences. Without getting too detailed about the differences between plant structure, marijuana has THC — which is what gives it psychoactive properties — and people grow it for recreational and medicinal use. Hemp is grown for industrial purposes because it can be used to produce everything from clothing to biofuel. Hemp has minimal amounts of THC, so it doesn’t get you high. However, like marijuana, it does have CBD which can be used for medicinal purposes. Simply put, hemp is a Cannabis Sativa plant that is not a drug and doesn’t get you high. Instead, this amazing plant is used to make a variety of amazing products. Just last year, President Trump signed a bill legalizing hemp at the federal level, which means the industry is ready to explode. Here are the many uses for hemp. Related: Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport incorporates natural fibers into body design Clothing Not only is hemp fiber absorbent and lightweight, but it is strong, weather resistant, versatile, eco-friendly and extremely cost-effective. Hemp fiber is three times stronger than cotton, and the differences in farming cotton and hemp are extraordinary. Hemp crops require half the water, they don’t need fertilizers or pesticides  and there is almost zero waste because you can use every part of the plant. Hemp plants also absorb more CO2 than trees, and it grows so quickly that it one acre can produce tons of fiber in just four months. Before reefer madness started in the 1920s, “80 percent of clothing was made from hemp textiles .” Oral hygiene Swishing hemp oil around in your mouth for a few minutes every day can strengthen your teeth and gums, heal bleeding gums, prevent gingivitis and help with bad breath. Hemp oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and an antifungal agent. So, it can not only prevent cavities and tooth decay, but also repair damaged teeth . Body oil and lotions Hemp oil and lotions can give you soft skin , but that’s just the beginning. They can moisturize your skin without clogging pores, as they contain essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 to give your skin a healthy glow and the amino acids help prevent wrinkles. Hemp oil and lotion is loaded with anti-aging vitamins and minerals that boost skin elasticity, treat acne and keep the skin hydrated. Hemp products are also effective for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Paper When hemp production was made illegal in the early 20th century, it put an end to the use of hemp paper, which was widely used throughout the 1800s. Hemp paper is high quality because of the high cellulose and low lignin content, and it is more eco-friendly than tree paper because it can be produced faster. In a 20-year cycle, one acre of hemp can produce just as much paper as ten acres of trees because trees take decades to grow, while hemp stalks take just four months. Hair products As good as hemp can be for your skin, it can also do amazing things for your hair. Shampoos and conditioners made from hemp oil will moisturize and nourish your hair and scalp, making it perfect for keeping dandruff away. Hemp oil can also strengthen your hair to prevent breakage and stimulate the production of keratin, which is the protein that makes up the majority of your hair . Wood finish Hemp oil can revive the wood in your home and give it an excellent finish. You can use it on wood floors, furniture, cabinets and molding, and the age of the wood doesn’t matter. It can revive old furniture or give an amazing, dark finish to new wood that is stained or bare. Hemp oil is also an excellent top coat for painted wood furniture. This list is just the beginning. Hemp can also be used for other products like biofuel, food  and even as a plastic alternative. Now that a major legal hurdle has been overcome in the United States, consumers will likely see more hemp-based products than ever before. Images via Shutterstock

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6 eco-friendly ways to incorporate hemp into your daily routine

Spoil your lover with presents from our eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift guide

February 11, 2019 by  
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Valentine’s Day can mean bouquets of cut flowers, chocolate wrapped in cellophane and a cardboard box, a trail of paper cards, gifts jazzed up with polyester bows and maybe even a bottle of wine with a plastic stopper. However, that’s all been done a million times before, and in the age of climate change , it’s time to start thinking outside the box and give your Valentine an intimate, eco-friendly day. This year, start some new traditions with this eco-friendly Valentine’s gift guide. Not all of these Valentine’s gift ideas might be considered traditional, but they are creative, fun and romantic. These are great ways to let your Valentine — and the planet — know that you love them. Fresh and local flowers Cut flowers are often grown in production greenhouses, covered in chemicals and imported from thousands of miles away via cargo planes and gas-guzzling refrigerated trucks. Then, after a few days, they make their way to the trash and eventually end up in a landfill, where they will emit methane as they decay. If your Valentine loves flowers , there are alternatives to conventional cut flowers that are much more environmentally friendly. Websites like bouqs.com sell flower bouquets that are cut to order on eco-friendly farms and designed by local florists. You can also find local growers who are selling in-season flowers at localharvest.org . Another unique option is to buy seeds and a beautiful pot (you can get great ideas at rareseeds.com ), plant them together as a couple and watch them grow (like your love!). You could also visit your local botanical garden together and take a romantic stroll. Fair-trade chocolates Mass-produced chocolate from global companies is often made from cacao that is bought “blind” from importers and brokers that could be using forced child labor. Some cacao farming is also putting wildlife at risk. But  fair-trade chocolate comes from small-scale farm co-ops, where farmers own their own land and invest in their communities. The chocolate is traceable, cuts out the middleman and focuses on quality. You can find fair-trade chocolate at sites like Askinosie , Nuubia  and Dagoba . Jewelry You can find beautiful, conflict-free diamonds and recycled precious metals (wrapped in green packaging) at Brilliant Earth . You can also opt for eco-friendly artistic pieces from around the world at sites like Novica and Ten Thousand Villages . Related: 9 ways to have an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Packed With Purpose This site wants your gifts to have an impact , and it does this by selling high-quality products from “Purposeful Purveyors” — companies that make their employees, communities and the environment top priorities. You can find gift boxes filled with chocolate and nuts, tea, crackers and biscotti or soy candles and artisanal soaps. Natural perfumes or colognes Natural, sustainable perfumes and colognes make perfect Valentine’s gifts. There are plenty of places you can go to find the right scent for your loved one. Sana Jardin is a socially-conscious company that offers luxury fragrances while focusing on sustainability. Clean Reserve manufactures its field-to-fragrance products in a solar-powered factory, and Floral Street uses biodegradable paper packaging that can be repurposed as a seed tray. Cozy organic robes You can’t go wrong with eco-friendly clothing. Of course, clothes might not be the most important part of Valentine’s Day (wink, wink), but a cozy, organic robe could be a great gift. Sorella Organics sells robes, loungewear and sleepwear made from certified organic and fair-trade cotton. Not only will your skin love these products, but so will the environment. For something sexy underneath, you can visit Hanky Panky and find intimate apparel made from organic cotton that is also free of toxic chemicals. The company uses high-quality fabrics to avoid synthetic fiber pollution. It doesn’t use fur, feathers or leather because animal welfare is a priority, and it recycles and repurposes its textile waste. Bath accessories Your organic robe will feel even better after enjoying a romantic bath or shower using luxurious eco-friendly soaps and candles. Heart & Arrow uses a sustainable process to make soaps and candles, plus it uses minimal packaging and makes charitable giving a top priority. You can also turn your bathroom into a spa with sustainable bamboo bath caddies from sites like Royal Craft Wood and sustainable skincare from Lather or milk + honey . Royal Craft Wood specializes in affordable, sustainable, high-quality products made by skilled artists. Lather is a wellness brand that sells natural products that are never tested on animals, and milk + honey uses clean, plant-based ingredients. Romantic, eco-friendly activities Going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day can often mean fighting for a reservation at an over-crowded restaurant. That’s not the most romantic way to spend your time, not to mention the food waste . Instead, consider eco-friendly romantic activities like taking a cooking class for two, visiting a local art gallery, adopting a pet at a local animal shelter, enjoying a picnic in the park, scheduling a wine tasting at a local winery, hiring a personal chef for the evening, cooking a special dinner together or relaxing with a couple’s massage. Images via Annie Spratt , Conger Design , Luisella Planeta Leoni , Packed With Purpose , Silvia Rita , StockSnap , Holger Link , James Riess and RawPixel

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Spoil your lover with presents from our eco-friendly Valentine’s Day gift guide

Atolla combines technology with design to customize sustainable skincare

January 21, 2019 by  
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The skincare market has exploded with so many options that sometimes it feels like you need a PhD just to pick the right moisturizer. Costs seem to be rising right along with the breadth of product lines, so the pressure is on to find the right skincare in order to save yourself from money wasted on products that don’t perform for your skin type, not to mention the enormous amounts of packaging waste left behind from trial-and-error purchases. One entrepreneur feels your pain. Meghan Maupin, MIT grad and CEO of Atolla skincare, has taken a new approach to the entire skincare dilemma by bringing technology into the mix. The process begins with an at-home skin analysis via a kit and phone app. Based on the results, Atolla then formulates a custom serum. Each month, factors such as weather , oil production and changes in your skin during the month are taken into account, and a new serum is formulated. Atolla even evaluates the interaction with other products you use as well as age, diet, skin sensitivities and prior issues such as eczema or psoriasis. Computers evaluate the data based on skin imagery, allowing algorithms to calculate what is working and what is not. Related: Can drinkable sunscreen protect your skin from the inside out? Almost as important as effective skincare  is the customer’s satisfaction with the product they are using, so consumer preferences are also considered in the formula. For example, if the customer prefers a lightweight feel or doesn’t care for a particular scent, Atolla will adapt to those preferences. While working on her thesis, Maupin realized there is an extraordinary amount of waste in the beauty industry. From jars and squeeze tubes to products tossed out after a trial to the ingredients that end up in our waste stream, she feels that the best action we can take toward sustainability is to buy fewer products. She wants to accomplish this by ensuring the customer buys the right product the first time around. Related: Bambu Earth’s responsible soap & skincare is packaged with seeded paper To meet this goal, Atolla takes a different approach to skincare production. Maupin’s philosophy is to use quality ingredients to make fewer products in contrast to mass-producing standardized products that sit on the shelf before ending up in the waste stream. Along with creating effective, personalized products, the company strives to empower their customers with information about their skin, such as what ingredients to watch out for and how to create a skincare system that will help them meet long-term goals at an acceptable price point. Tests start at $10 and systems run up to $50 monthly. Customers report that the system is easy to use, which checks another box off everyone’s skincare goal list. + Atolla Via Core77 Images via Atolla

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Atolla combines technology with design to customize sustainable skincare

Kick your cold to the curb with these natural cold remedies

January 16, 2019 by  
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Have you ever wondered if natural cold remedies really work? When you catch a cold, chances are you are going to be sick for a week or two. But you don’t have to be miserable. There is no cure for the common cold, but there are natural ways to help yourself feel better faster. Here are some of the most common natural cold remedies that actually work, and what they do to help ease those cold symptoms. Vitamin C There is no proof that vitamin C prevents colds, but it does boost your immune system. Studies have shown that vitamin C can reduce a cold’s lifespan. The best way to get vitamin C is in your diet from fruits like oranges, cantaloupe, grapefruit and kiwi. You can also get a high dose of vitamin C from wild rose hips . One hundred grams of wild rose hips has more than 1,250 grams of vitamin C, which is 30 times the amount in citrus fruits. You can make a rose-petal infusion by immersing the plant in hot water and letting it simmer (or steep in a slow cooker), and it will soothe a sore throat and reduce swelling. If you opt for vitamin C supplements, be careful. They can upset your stomach or cause kidney stones. Related: How to make your own herbal tinctures Cinnamon Cinnamon has antifungal and analgesic properties, which makes it a fantastic natural cold remedy. Dr. Patrick Fratellone, a registered herbalist with the American Herbal Guild, said that cinnamon is warming for the body and dilates blood vessels, plus it lowers blood sugar concentration and improves insulin sensitivity. When you get a cold, try making a tea by putting the cinnamon into a mug and pouring boiling water over it. Drink the cinnamon tea two to three times a day. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on your food, or add a little bit to your morning coffee . Water, sleep and an extra pillow The best way to naturally recover from a cold is to drink a lot of water, get plenty of rest and sleep with an extra pillow. When you stay hydrated, it allows your body to naturally flush the germs out of your system, and drinking more water keeps the mucus thin and flowing.  Sleeping gives your body the chance to fight off the infection, and the extra pillow under your head helps your sinuses drain. Oregano Oregano is an antioxidant that is antibacterial and antifungal. The herb is perfect for treating a bad cough. You can take oregano capsules two times a day with a meal, or make an oregano tea. To make the tea, all you have to do is mix 8 ounces of boiling water with a teaspoon of dried oregano and let it stand for about 10 minutes before drinking. To make the tea sweeter, add a little bit of honey. If you can drink two cups a day, it will make a big difference. Related: Make your own simple herbal remedies Garlic Not only does this plant make your food taste way better, but garlic is also antibiotic, antimicrobial and antibacterial. Clinical herbalist Steve Sietos said that the perfect time to reach for garlic is when you have yellow or green phlegm. “It’s highly antiviral, immune stimulating, and it’ll kill any upper respiratory infections,” Sietos said. To make a garlic elixir, press or chop a clove of garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes. The chemical reaction of garlic hitting the air will allow the clove to become a powerful antibiotic. Another recommended remedy? Garlic bread. Spread garlic and olive oil on a piece of bread and enjoy to help ease an upper respiratory infection. Soups and hot liquids Hot soups and liquids will help reduce mucus buildup, and chicken soup in particular has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a natural weapon against colds. According to a study in the Chest medical journal , the ingredients in chicken soup (like onion and garlic) help reduce inflammation and reduce congestion, plus the hot liquid will keep you hydrated. Hot liquids will also relieve nasal congestion and soothe the inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. A hot toddy, which is a cup of hot herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey (a natural cough suppressant) and a shot of whiskey or bourbon, will reduce severe congestion and help you sleep. Just be careful with the alcohol, because too much can inflame the membranes and worsen your symptoms. Nasal irrigation Dry and cracked nasal passages can inhibit the skin’s protective barrier against viruses. Nasal irrigation with a neti pot can help keep those nasal passages hydrated. There are a few things to remember. First, never use tap water; if it is contaminated, it could cause a rare but deadly brain infection. Instead, use a saline solution of 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 8 ounces of warm water (boil it first, then let it cool). Use a neti pot to pour the saline solution into one nostril and out the other. This will clean out your nasal passages and thin the mucus, which will reduce swelling, congestion and nasal irritation. Be sure to talk with your doctor before using the neti pot. Get well soon! Via Reader’s Digest , WebMD and Piedmont Images via Brooke Lark , Ulleo , Sylvie Tittel , Ariesa66 , Public Domain Pictures , Biopresto , Rawpixel and Shutterstock

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Kick your cold to the curb with these natural cold remedies

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