Sustainable Beauty Essentials | Rahua, Ellis Brooklyn, Kahina
Sustainable Beauty Essentials | Rahua, Ellis Brooklyn, Kahina

Our Top Sustainable Beauty Essentials for Summer

Words by Jody Hume | 6.6.18
Yes, we carry beauty products now (all new, of course), and it’s a good thing, too. Between swimming, sunning or just plain being hot, summer can require a serious upping of one’s beauty game. Whether you’re moisturizing out of necessity or trying a new fragrance for fun, the shift in seasons is a great time to think about changing up your routine. But thinking about beauty these days isn’t just about a product’s benefits. Much like fashion has become increasingly conscious about its environmental footprint, beauty companies are evolving to ensure their products reduce their impact on the planet’s resources and don’t contain harmful ingredients. From Morocco to the Amazon rainforest to Brooklyn, here are three sustainable companies to turn to for your new summer beauty regimen.

Kahina Giving Beauty

Kahina’s ethos is based on a deep connection to Morocco. The brand carefully sources its core ingredient — organic argan oil — by working closely with local harvesters and producers in the Atlas mountains. This way, they’re able to trace the oil, which is made from the fruit of the argan tree,  from the point of purchasing the crops to the actual pressing. Many of the argan crushers are Berber women in local villages, where previously there were few work opportunities. Not only has the argan crush provided a new source of income and autonomy, Kahina also puts a percentage of purchases back into communities to support eye exams, literacy classes and traditional rug weaving instruction, which provides an additional source of income on top of argan oil production.

Kahina Giving Beauty Argan OilKahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum | Kahina Giving Beuaty Moroccan Rose Water | Kahina Argan Oil

Kahina Giving Beauty’s products are both Ecocert and Leaping Bunny certified (meaning they meet high standards for being ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ and are cruelty-free), but what’s more is that they’ll transport you throughout Morocco’s entrancing cities. Take a trip to Fez with their Body Serum named after the ancient city; it’s a blend of essential oils that evokes the mysterious scents of the souks and can be used as a skin-hydrator and also a body fragrance by applying to pulse points. Kahina’s vitamin E-rich Essaouira Body Serum is inspired by the eclectic seaside city two hours outside of Marrakech. Get a taste of the traditional hammam experience at home with skin-softening Moroccan Beldi Rose Soap made with olive oil and Damask Rose. And these are just a few; there are also eye and face creams, rose water, and of course, travel kits — perfect now that your wanderlust has been sparked.

Ellis Brooklyn

Ellis Brooklyn Natural Fragrance

In Ellis Brooklyn, New York Times beauty columnist and Skin Deep author Bee Shapiro has distilled the kind of wisdom that can only be gleaned from having the world’s best beauty products appear at your desk on a daily basis. When her search for a natural fragrance turned up less-than-inspiring options, she made it her mission to create her own line of high-end, natural scents with sustainability in mind. What does sustainability mean to Shapiro? “I think it’s being thoughtful and responsible in your sourcing of all your components — that’s everything from ingredients to packaging,” she says. “From being a beauty editor all these years, I really came to value something that is thoughtfully made. I love my beauty products as much as the next person but with so much out there now — and I would see them all come across my desk — it’s important to think how this all relates to the environment as well.

Ellis Brooklyn Natural Fragrance | Myth, Rrose, FableEllis Brooklyn Myth Eau De Parfum | Ellis Brooklyn Rrose Excellent Body Milk | Ellis Brooklyn Fable Eau De Parfum

The names of Ellis Brooklyn’s scents are interesting yet familiar, like invitations to rethink traditional scents, which is essentially what the brand is doing. Myth, Fawn and Fabel call archetypes to mind, suggesting you can tell your own new story while wearing them. Sci Fi’s blue-tinged contents suggest something strange, yet its base note is vanilla. Rrose (not a typo) may be a traditional floral, but this one is a tribute to Marcel Duchamp’s female alter ego.
The care with which Shapiro crafts the names and identities of her products extends to the methods by which they are produced and packaged. “Any brand with a sustainability ethos will tell you that it’s definitely not the easiest way to go about things,” says Shapiro. “The truth is that the dominant materials out there for packaging are plastics and that’s a category that we try to avoid as much as possible. You know that saying, it’s the little things that matter? Well, it’s the same in sustainability because each choice you make — for the cap, the paper stock, the glass etc. — adds up and matters. I weigh all this over cost and price because though we’re a luxury brand, I wanted to price our items where they were, yes, luxurious, but still reachable to a broader audience. I wanted to make an impact and it’s tough to do that if the brand was so expensive that only a few could afford it. From a practical standpoint, we also ask for certifications such as FSC certifications, Ecocert and so on.” In addition to being sustainable, vegan and cruelty/phthalate/paraben-free, most scents also come in the form of a body milk, meaning your lotion and fragrance can be one and the same — perfect for a simplified summer beauty routine.


Rahua Sustainable Beauty Oil

While summer brings a welcome warm-weather reprieve, heat and humidity can also mean frizzed-out hair, which is where Rahua comes in. The line’s plant-based hair and body-moisturizing products were developed by NYC-based, Ecuador-born hairstylist Fabian Lliguin after learning of the Amazon beauty rituals of indigenous women of the Quechua-Shuar tribe. The key ingredients are native Rahua oil, whose unique molecular properties allow it to deeply moisturize hair, and the woodsy, otherworldly scent of Palo Santo oil. Rahua’s shampoos are celeb favorites for keeping hair shiny and healthy, and the line’s masks, creams and elixirs provide extra polish without a salon trip.

Rahua Sustainable Hair ProductsRahua Classic Shampoo | Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask | Rahua Body Amazon Oil

Often when we think of the Amazon rainforest, we worry about its vulnerability and destruction. Rahua isn’t just inspired by the Amazon, it also supports it with its commitment to the Quechua-Shuar tribe which harvests Rahua oil using centuries-old traditional and sustainable practices. All products are vegan, organic and cruelty-free, formulated without sulfates, parabens, gluten or phthalates. With your mind at ease about the ingredients and practices behind the beauty essentials in your beach bag, you’re free to relax, unwind and enjoy the summer.
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