This year the buzz around Earth Day seems to be more than just a caffeine-induced vibration because Starbucks is giving away free coffee to travel mug users. Responsible living has become a way of life, covering all aspects of home, health, beauty and even fashion – not to mention transportation, politics….the list goes on. It’s not enough to recycle and compost. It matters where products are made and what materials are used for everything from mattresses to glassware. Solar power, low- or dual-flow toilets, even rammed earth construction are all being used all over the world to reduce household impact on the environment.
Green design has become a large focus for interior designers, decorators, product developers and retailers alike. From using recycled or sustainable products to maintaining an original structure or design element, everyone has an eye on how to be less wasteful and more responsible. Even furniture designers showcasing at the IMM, Milan’s furniture fair, are stepping up to the challenge of designing with alternative elements. Check out Fast Company’s distilled list of the best 3-Rs of the show.
Another source I love to check often is greenbydesign.com. This site has some of the coolest pieces and all have a responsible story. Branch Home also has a great selection of green decor items. For a more news-y approach to behind-the-scenes product development and branding information, the similarly-named site greenerdesign.com can give you the inside scoop on what companies are doing to layer green into their products and processes.
Our Health Editor is giving away tickets on her blog, Healthwise, to Toronto’s Green Living Show, on this Friday, April 24-Sunday, April 26. If you are looking for ways to green your life, or want to find new alternatives to products and services, this show is the place to find it.
In the August issue I’ll have a round-up of my favourite recycled decor items in Editor’s Picks. Green decor is no longer limited to the burlap-granola-beige of the past.
Most of us blow dry, flat iron, and curl the hell out of our hair. It involves hours of hard work, strain and also electricity. So we talked to the folks at David Babaii for WildAid (the eco-chic hair care line celebrity stylist Babaii created with Kate Hudson) about some tips for saving the planet, one less blow dry at a time.
Babaii suggests going “au naturel.” Kind of scary, I agree. But as the weather warms up and we don’t need to worry about our hair freezing the moment we step outdoors, I think it could be a fun challenge to try this out.
Here are some of Babaii’s suggestions for style without electricity or excess water. (These are also great tips for travellers– if you’ve ever backpacked or gone to a developing country you realize, there’s no way you’re going to shower every day or blow dry.) So, here goes:
Get curls and texture without styling tools
For long hair:
1. Wash hair with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to give hair body. David recommends his Amplifying Shampoo/Conditioner, both $13.
2. Spray your whole head with a beach spray. There are a few out there with salt to help texturize your hair so it will hold that “fresh out of the water look’. Try David Babaii for WildAid Bohemian Beach Spray – it’s a non-aerosol which contains sea salt and rich volcanic ash to give hair texture. $13.
3. Scrunch or twist sections before allowing to air dry.
4. To set it all in place, lightly spray your hair with an eco-friendly spray. Try David Babaii for WildAid Mise en Plis Extra Hold Styling Spray $15.
For short hair:
1. Wash the hair with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner.
2. Spray your head with beach spray.
3. Add in a moulding paste and play around with the texture. Make it messy and easy – trust us, this usually looks really natural on those with a cropped cut.
Get Glam Using Household Items
For loose and wavy curls, use old soda pop cans or water bottles as hair rollers if you’re really resourceful. Or a new toothbrush can be used to back brush, add volume to the roots, or even sweep away those fly-a-ways with a small dab of hair polish or moulding paste.
Fresh hair without shampooing
Use less water and avoid oily hair and buildup. Babaii recommends using baby powder to eliminate oils and leave your hair feeling refreshed. Sprinkle on a tiny amount; work it in with your hands and then brush through. He also suggests dabbing a damp cotton pad around the hairline and roots to eliminate any excess oil.
Wake up with style
Wash you hair with a volumizing shampoo right before bed. Detangle hair with a comb, let it air dry for a few minutes and then braid hair in smaller sections. Tie with an elastic and keep the braids loose (for less texture) or tight (for more texture), says Babaii. Spray your hair with a beach spray once you’ve put in the braids and then sleep tight. In the morning, undo braids and add in some more beach spray to give it some texture.
*This is one of Babaii’s favourite looks!
Find David Babaii for WildAid products on The Shopping Channel at www.theshoppingchannel.com or 1-888-2020-888.
Even though I try to think of every day as Earth Day — one day a year isn’t enough! — today’s as good a day as any to think about our individual efforts towards taking care of the planet. After all, the planet’s health is our own health, right?
For guidance and tips for living a greener daily life, I love Treehugger.com’s How to Go Green guides. Here are a few highlights:
“Sure, you vacuum, dust, and wipe the counters on a daily or weekly basis, but spring is the perfect time to focus on the spaces you generally gloss over—by vacuuming out the refrigerator coils to make the appliance more efficient, deep-cleaning your carpet, and washing your drapes. For the carpet, mix borax and essential oil together, sprinkle over the rug, let it sit, and then vacuum; for curtains and drapes that are machine washable, use an eco-friendly detergent.” –How to Go Green: Spring Cleaning
“Don’t let all your hard work on the stationery bike go to waste; hook it up to a generator or battery and save it to power household appliances from iPods to televisions and laptops. These kits are simple to install and give you an extra motivational push to make sure you don’t skip your daily workout.” –How to Go Green: Workouts
“Sidestep the petrochemicals. Used to make emollients for face cream or found in the form of coal tar for scalp-treatment shampoos, petroleum byproducts can be contaminated by cancer-containing impurities. A nonrenewable and environmentally unfriendly resource, petroleum barely belong in your car, let alone on your skin. Identify it on labels as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin.” –How to Go Green: Natural Skin Care
“Toilet paper is about the only “disposable” product allowed in your green bathroom, so when it comes time to clean up, avoid the temptation to reach for disposable products. That means paper towels and other disposable wipes should be replaced by reusable rags or microfiber towels for mirrors, sinks, and the like; when it comes time to scrub the toilet, don’t even think about those silly disposable one-and-done toilet brushes.” –How to Go Green: In the Bathroom
“Conventional detergents can contain ingredients that aren’t good for you, your clothes, or aquatic ecosystems where the dirty water we wash down the drain can end up. Phosphates in conventional laundry soaps can cause algal blooms that negatively effect ecosystems and marine life. To shop for more eco-friendly detergents, look for labels that indicate a product is readily biodegradable and phosphate-free, and made from plant- and vegetable-based ingredients (instead of petroleum-based).” –How to Go Green: Laundry
And for readers in the Toronto area: Planning to attend the Green Living Show? It’s this Friday to Sunday at the Direct Energy Centre. (I’ll be there!)
I have five pairs of tickets to give away! Email your favourite green tip, along with your full name, phone number and address, to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The first five readers will get two tickets to the show! Happy Earth Day!