The Eco Luxe Life: Q&A with Lauren Rabbitt

Lauren Rabbitt, a co-founder of TheEcoLuxeLife sat down with us to talk about how she became an ecopreneur, her must have eco-friendly beauty products, and why you should care if a product is green or not.

1. Tell us a little about TheEcoLuxeLife.
TheEcoLuxeLife is most easily described as an online eco-superstore.  With so much buzz about green, my business partners and I were amazed that there was no one-stop shop where the best of the eco-market could come together and launch mainstream on a national basis across almost every consumer category.

There are so many myths out there about the green lifestyle: it’s expensive, it’s ineffective, it’s only for political activists or hippies.  Well, green isn’t just for tree huggers anymore. It can be fabulous, accessible, luxurious and available at all price points. From our consumer products, to our educational materials, to our consumer forum (which allows our guests to share ideas and opinions), we’ll show you ways you can help the environment and improve your health, without somehow miraculously transforming into a wholly different person!

2. Have you always been a green girl? When/why did that change?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never thought in a million years I’d end up being an ecopreneur!  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a surprising convert. I did start using eco-makeup two and a half years ago, and have eaten a largely flexitarian diet for about five years.  But outside of some basic household and beauty items, my former practices were actually quite the antithesis of green! My partners and I started this business as three different women, in all different age groups, taking you on our green journey.

Along the way we’ve met some amazing people who have each inspired us to live sustainably in very different ways (we truly believe there’s not one “right” way to do it). We’re not perfect, nor are we expecting you to be.  But if everyone changes at least one thing they do to be more eco-friendly, a huge difference would be made.

3. Ok, let’s talk beauty and skincare. What are your five “can’t live without” products?
In the beauty context, the rule is simple: If something is going on you, it’s actually going in you, which is exactly why it needs to be green! Product choice is so subjective, but these are my favorites:

  • Ambre Blends Perfume: It’s made from essential oils and contains no alcohol or petroleum based fillers. The smell is so good I even roll it in my hair!
  • Tarte Lip Gloss: DC’s own Environmental Working Group has said that a typical woman will ingest 9 lbs. of lipstick over her lifetime! So it better be good for you! This has no parabens, no pthalates and is vegan!
  • Yes to Carrots Body Lotion: Contains organic carrot juice, organic pumpkin, organic sweet potato and organic melon…but somehow you do NOT end up smelling like food!
  • Zoya Nail polish: Formaldehyde-free and non-toxic. Most importantly, does not chip!
  • John Master’s Organics Shampoo: No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or artificial color. Smell is divine!

4. Why should people care about whether a product is green or not?
We really believe that if people are presented with a better option, they will make a better choice. If you can easily buy quality, effective eco-products within the same price point as the commercialized counterpart you are currently using, why wouldn’t you? All the research heads in the same direction: green living is better for your health and better for the environment.  Ultimately, people go green for all different reasons. Some do it for health, others for the environment, others because it’s trendy. But no matter what’s behind your change, we welcome you aboard because we see the effect of your change as positive.

5. What have you done to be more green in the past few years?
My grandfather always told my mother, and my mother always told me: leave things better than you found them. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. As it relates to the products and food I buy, I try to make more conscious consumer decisions, and to vote with my wallet.

Being an informed consumer is important. I’m reading more books about how our food goes from the field to our fork. It’s astonishing. Of course, being eco invariably means finding creative ways to use what you have. This Winter I did a clothes swap with my business partner rather than buying new items. Everything felt new to me, but I didn’t spend a dime!

6. What’s your favorite green thing to do in DC?
Hands down, it’s running on the National Mall. I’ve been doing it for years, now I’m just less likely to trample on the grass.

Relax and Give Back for Earth Day

Feeling stressed out about how to celebrate Earth Day? Nusta Spa has a relaxing solution. Between April 18-24, the country’s first LEED certified spa will donate 10% of all proceeds from spa services and retail sales to Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests throughout the world.

Founder Elizabeth Snowdon opened the spa in May, 2004 after a trip to the Inca city of Machu Picchu. It was in Peru where she found the inspiration to build a luxury “natural” day spa that would honor the principles of environmental responsibility while still catering to Washington’s downtown clientele.

“I was always under the impression that ‘going green’ meant sacrificing the luxuries that we expect at day spas, but after learning more about sustainable building practices, I realized that I could create a warm, healthy environment that still felt luxurious,” says Snowdon.

With the help of a DC architect and sustainable building experts, Snowdon realized her vision with an eco-spa that incorporates virtually all environmentally-friendly materials, including Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood flooring, Energy Star appliances, LED efficient lightening, and more. Nusta even carries its own organic skincare line that is free of allergens and unnatural chemicals.

Farm to Face

herb garden at The StilpointFresh yogurt from Blue Ridge Dairy, organic strawberries from D&S Farm, local honey. Sounds like a delicious breakfast, but those are actually ingredients that esthetician and organic beauty specialist Sara Damelio uses in her customized facials at The Still Point day spa in Takoma Park.

The seasonal treatments are made in-house with organic ingredients from local farms sold at the Takoma Park Farmer’s Market and other farmers markets in the area. The Stillpoint also harvests a few ingredients from its own miniature herb and flower garden.

“The skin is the largest organ and immediately absorbs products that are put on it into the body.  It [the skin] is alive and responds best when fed active vitamins and nutrients from fresh organic whole foods,” says Damelio.

Damelio is currently offering a honey and heirloom basil treatment mask made with unprocessed honey from Patterson Farms in Sabinsville, PA.

lemonandhoney“Unprocessed honey is extremely nourishing for the skin especially during the winter months – it is wonderfully purifying, toning and hydrating and the effects of the treatment are long lasting,” according to Damelio.

Experience your very own farm to face treatment at the Stillpoint. Going Green DC readers get 15% off a facial with Sara if you mention the blog when you book your appointment.

8 Homegrown Beauties

Grapefruit, Lavander, and Coconut Salt Scrub, Perfect Organics
Grapefruit, Lavander, and Coconut Salt Scrub, Perfect Organics

Locavores try not to eat anything that’s produced more than 100 miles away. Can beauty junkies make the same commitment?

We’ve found eight local natural beauty lines so you can get gorgeous and support homegrown companies at the same time. Many of the companies listed here also donate a portion of sales to charity.

8thstreetsoap. With almost-good-enough-to-eat scents like almond joy and sweet tangerine, these soaps are made from scratch with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and fruit peel.

Biggs & Featherbelle. From Charm City, B&F make soaps, lip balms, body butter bars, scrubs, and more–all without synthetic dyes, fragrances, and additives.

For the Love of. Organic and locally sourced ingredients are used to make milk baths, body scrub, and our personal favorite, a 24k gold gilded bath bomb with a blueberry and orange scent. All products are packaged in recyclable, reusable containers.

Herban Lifestyle. The mint chocolate chip lip balm in a recyclable tin reminded us of our tweens, but this one is handcrafted without chemicals, preservatives, synthetics, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, or GMOs. Other goodies from the line include salves, bath oil, bath salts, scrubs, facial masks, soap, and tea.

holeco life. A new line of natural and organic skincare products and cosmetics including organic loose mineral powder inside a retractable dispensing brush made of cruelty free goat hair. Available in six glow-enhancing shades.

Perfect Organics. We love the simple, streamlined approach of these organic, vegan, and multi-use products. Indulge in shea butter lip balm, body glow (for face, body and, hair), scrubs, and more.

Sevi Cosmetics. Based in Baltimore, Sevi features vegan skincare, sulfite-free haircare products, and artisan botanical perfumes made with precious raw materials such as Boronia flowers, Orris, Champaca, and Rose Otto.

Skincando. Known for donating Combat-Ready Balm to our troops, Skincando now also offers a Combat-Ready lip balm and organic rosemary and black tea Combat-Ready soap. All products are made by hand in small batches in Silver Spring.

Hands-On Organic Beauty

For the Love of productsI’ve been slightly obsessed with bath and beauty products from a young age, so when I heard about a class that teaches you how to make delicious organic soaps and other goodies, I was intrigued.  Kristina Libby, owner of For the Love of, a local luxury body product company will come to your home and teach a class on how to make organic skin care products.

The class includes a short talk about organic skin care followed by the opportunity to make your very own scented perfume and bath bomb. The class costs a mere $12, and half of the proceeds are donated to the Susan G. Koman Foundation.

Libby started For the Love of when she left corporate work to follow her passion of creating beautiful feminine bath products. “I make these product because I truly believe that we shouldn’t put anything on our skin that we wouldn’t put in our mouth.” 

Products, such as homemade soap scented with Black Amber honey and Cherry Blossom scrub are made using locally sourced and organic ingredients, and are packaged in recyclable or re-useable containers whenever possible. Five percent of the proceeds from sales go to a variety of women’s causes.