Brand Review: Underprotection

Underprotection is a Danish lingerie, lounge, and swimwear brand. They use materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, and lyocell. The products are made in a Fair Wear Foundation factory in India.

 

I needed a new swim suit and was searching for something cute, that I could actually swim in, with decent coverage (can’t do those super cheeky bottoms). Initially I was looking for a one-piece but wanted a brand I could try on, since I have a long torso and it’s sometimes hard to find swimsuits that fit. This definitely limits options, but I found a local store that carried Underprotection and went to try on suits. Unfortunately, they only had one style and it wasn’t what I was looking for, but I tried it on anyways to at least get a sense of their fit. After looking at their other styles online, I instead decided to get one of their two piece suits and having tried on the other suit, I knew I likely needed a S top and M bottom. It’s the end of the season, so they were having a big sale and getting low on product; the pieces I wanted weren’t available in my size in a matching set but, I’m happy with the top and bottom being different colours.

The fit is pretty good, although the top is a little tight. I probably should have actually gone with a size M top, but the zipper on the front makes the fit more flexible- it’s very comfortable unzipped a little and secure for swimming when zipped up. The material is recycled polyester (from bottles and other plastics), and it’s thin but double-layered and quite soft (no cup inserts though, if that’s something you like). I’ve only worn it once, so I’m not sure how it will hold up over time. However, the construction is not the best; the stitching on the top is wobbly and uneven in areas, and in a couple spots the elastic doesn’t lie flat. It won’t affect the performance, just aesthetically, it isn’t as nice. In comparison, the bras don’t seem to have any sewing issues, so it might just be that the factory isn’t as comfortable working with swimwear materials. I’d be disappointed if I had paid full price, but having gotten both pieces as part of their end-of-season sale, I don’t mind the few sewing issues.

not the best sewing

Since I was ordering the swimsuit and also needed some more underwear, I decided to pick up a few other pieces as well. I ended up getting their Naomi bra and briefs in purple, and the Kira bra in nude. They have some really cute bralettes and soft-cup bras with different materials and styles. The sizing is difficult though, because everything is sized XS-L. Based on their size guide I could be an S or M, but I went with M (In both the bra and briefs) because I can always take pieces in a bit if needed. The size M fits fairly well, the band and straps are both adjustable. I can see maybe needing to take in the bands a bit though as the bras stretch out. The Naomi style does have more coverage with the cups so I probably could have sized down without any issues, but overall the bras are a decent fit and comfortable for such basic sizing. However, because the sizes are so simple I would recommend seeing if you can try their bras on somewhere before ordering.

Naomi bra and briefs
Kira bra

 

The Naomi set is mainly made from lyocell while the Kira bra is recycled polyester lace. Something that was surprising, is both bras have plastic boning on the sides. It’s nicely encased in soft fabric but typically styles like this don’t have boning, and it wasn’t mentioned in the item description. I found the website in general to be lacking in good photos of the pieces to see both sides and the details, and their item descriptions could be a lot better. The material description is just for a base fabric, and they don’t mention things like the elastics, hardware, or boning and casing materials.

inside with boning casing

 

I would repurchase lingerie again from Underprotection. If you’re looking for soft fabric bras and bralettes (no under-wire) they have some really cute styles and nice materials, although the sizing can be challenging especially if you’re ordering online. I don’t think I would get another swimsuit from them, however; because of the sewing issues mentioned above, I’d try a different brand for swimwear.

 

Find more underwear and swimwear brands in the directory, and I also have a video about sustainable underwear.

 

Green Köln

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I’ve lived in Cologne, Germany for the last couple years. It’s not really a big travel destination unless you’re coming to see the Dom or for Karneval but it has some great places for conscious fashion and veg food! Here are some of my favourites:

Shopping

Fairfitters – Lovely store with lots of men’s and women’s clothes and accessories.

Green Guerillas – Selection of men’s and women’s casual wear, lots of tees and basics.

Kiss the Inuit – Another option for men’s and women’s casual wear.

Lanius – Cologne label with a few stories around the city.

ShipSheip – Little boutique carrying some men’s and womanswear from their own line, as well as from Dedicated, Jungle Folk, rentals from Kleiderrebell, and accessories.

ShipSheip
Secondhand

KattaKatta – Consignment store with an often over-stuffed selection of unique pieces.

Polyestershock – Cute vintage boutique with some lovely items – plus they do alternations!

Vintage & Rags – Large selection of men’s and women’s vintage clothes and accessories.

Kleiderei – A clothing rental store where with your monthly membership you can borrow clothes, like a library! (can also buy clothes)

Kleiderrebell – Also a rental store but you pay per item instead of buying a monthly membership. (can also buy clothes)

 

Eating

Bunte Burger

Bunte Burger – Loaded vegan burgers with lots of different combinations. Location in Ehrenfeld, but also have food trucks at events and around the city.

MeiWok – Salad, soup, SE Asian curry, stir-fry, noodle, and rice dishes, but I typically go with the daily special, and haven’t yet been disappointed.

MeiWok

Cafe Hibiskus – Great for afternoon vegan cake and coffee.

485 Grad – Italian pizza place, not totally veg like the others but they have a couple delicious vegan pizzas.

Chum Chay – Vegetarian Vietnamese food, really cute place with an outdoor courtyard and flavourful dishes.

and finally…

Eisfeld – Amazing ice cream with a good selection of vegan options.

Find everything mentioned and more…

 

Menstrual Cups are a Period-Changer

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I’m late to the menstrual cup game; I had heard about them for quite a while before I actually tried one out. It’s too bad I waited so long, though, because I’m never going back!

 

Why I love using a menstrual cup:

1. The biggest personal benefit for me is how long you can leave them in (up to 12 hours!), so I don’t have to worry about changing it during the day.

2. It’s very sustainable – using a menstrual cup means a zero waste period. Every month menstruating women throw away pads, tampons, applicators, plastic and paper packaging. Using a menstrual cup cuts out all this trash.

3. They save money. While menstrual cups are more expensive up front (they seem to range from about $20-$40), you actually save a lot of money if you add up everything you would otherwise spend on other kinds of period products.

4. Tampons may contain toxins. There’s debate and not much research into whether tampons contain things like dioxins or pesticides, so I’d rather play it safe.

5. Less clutter. I love being able to minimize the things I own, so not having boxes in the bathroom or tampons floating around my purse is wonderful.

I decided to get the OrganiCup, both because I love the minimal and recycled paper packaging and organic cotton bag (it’s also certified vegan), and also because based on my research, it seemed like a good firmness and size to try as a beginner.

 

How to choose a menstrual cup

I did a lot of research beforehand and watched/read different cup reviews online. I really recommend the Youtube channel Precious Star Pads; she has a ton of great information and reviews.

Watch her How to choose your first menstrual cup video. (She also did a review of the OrganiCup)

You’ll want to be mindful of:

  • size – the height of your cervix, your flow, and whether or not you’ve given birth can all affect the size you’ll need
  • firmness – firmer cups are easier to open but can be uncomfortable and press on the bladder, while softer cups might get squished and unseal if you have strong pelvic muscles

 

Using a menstrual cup

It can definitely take some practice to get used to inserting and removing a menstrual cup. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work right away; it took me at least a couple cycles before I really felt comfortable using it. To insert the cup, it needs to be folded (most manufacturers recommend a C-fold or “punch down” fold, but there are also others). After the cup is inserted, it should unfold – it’s good to check that it has unfolded properly by running your finger around the outside of it.

Again Precious Star Pads has a helpful video on tips for inserting cups.

Removing the cup can be difficult at first – the first time I used one, I panicked a bit when it wouldn’t easily come out. The trick I found is to use your muscles to help push it down and squeeze it to break the seal. I have high cervix so I also really like the stretchy stem on the OrganiCup.

Finally you’ll want to sanitize your cup between cycles by boiling it. While there has been a confirmed case of TSS with a menstrual cup there is not at all high risk, and you also have a risk using tampons.

 

For me, menstrual cups are the perfect option for a green period. Have you tried them?

 

Following…

Alex van Os – Op Shop to Runway on Instagram

Alex shows all the amazing treasures you can find at the thrift store, and I can’t get enough of her secondhand outfits.

 

 

Lisa from At Least blog and atleastblog on Instagram

A post shared by LISA (@atleastblog) on

I love Lisa’s style, aesthetic, and fair fashion-focused content. I met her in Berlin at the beginning of the year and she is also the sweetest person. 🙂

 

 

Lara Intimates 

A post shared by Lara (@laraintimates) on

A new brand that I’m really excited about is Lara Intimates. They use reclaimed materials, re-purpose their fabric scraps, and make everything in their London factory/studio. The lingerie is not yet for sale, but I love following their production process and seeing their beautiful designs on Instagram.

 

 

Who do you enjoy following?

 

How to Carbon Offset your Travel

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We know that transportation has a large environmental impact, but it can also be very difficult to avoid. Flying is especially bad (although there are ways to fly better) and one way to help compensate for your CO2 emissions is through carbon offsetting.

 

How to Carbon Offset
  1. Find an organization/program you like
  2. Calculate your carbon emissions
  3. Donate to your chosen program

 

Finally another way to help reduce your flight impact is by choosing greener airlines and airplanes, and of course opt for trains or more sustainable transportation where you can.

 

 

What’s in my Beach Bag

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My beach/pool essentials:

Sunscreen is a must. I’m currently using Eco Cosmetics SPF 30, which is an okay sunscreen. But the ingredients aren’t the best compared to other eco-friendly sunscreens, and it I don’t like the feeling of it on – it’s kind of sticky, though I prefer that to a greasy sunscreen – so I want to try some other brands as I still haven’t found one I love.

Hat and sunglasses, again for sun protection. (Both pictured are secondhand)

 A water bottle – my husband and I always bring our S’well (pictured) and Soul bottles on any outdoor adventure. You have to stay hydrated, especially on a hot day!

Snacks are also essential. I like to bring fruit in my bag, and on a hot day, juicy fruit is especially delicious. Veggies and hummus are also great, and although it’s not the healthiest, we’ll usually pick up a bag of chips on the way too.

– Something to read. I love lying outside with a book and am a huge fan of e-readers because of how compact they are. I also always have podcasts on my phone, and on a lazy beach day we might listen to some episodes as well.

– Of course I need a swimsuit. Earlier this summer I was still using a swimsuit that I’ve had for over 5 years but unfortunately, this was its last summer, so I recently ordered a new one from Underprotection and will be reviewing it soon.

Towels are another obvious one. I don’t want to wreck our nice bath towels, so we usually also bring a blanket to lie on. However, I’m getting a Turkish towel for camping/outdoor activities because they are light, easy to pack, quick drying and really versatile – you can also wear them! For examples of these towels check out Coyuchi (US), Ottoloom (NZ), and Karawan (FR) – which I’m ordering from Avocado Store.

– Finally, this is not an essential, but I’ll often throw rose water or a hydrosol into my bag. When it’s really hot out, a mist spray is so refreshing! I particularly like chamomile because it can be calming to the skin, and I’ll usually dilute a chamomile hydrosol with some water in a little spray bottle.

I carry everything in an organic cotton tote bag. 🙂

 

To wear over my swimsuit, I like a loose jersey tunic or dress. My navy tunic is perfect because it’s comfortable, cool, easy to get on and off, and covers my shoulders where I usually burn.

 

5 Seriously Cool Conscious Brands

If you still think that sustainable fashion = crunchy granola clothes, these 5 brands prove that those days are over.

 

Deadwood

The Swedish brand Deadwood makes leather jackets from 100% recycled leather. We know that leather is bad for the environment, and so are a lot of vegan synthetics, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a biker jacket. Re-purposing and up-cycling leather is the perfect way to extend the life of existing materials and avoid supporting the cruelty and harsh impact of leather and synthetic leather production.

 

Zero Waste Daniel

If you associate patchwork with quilts and grandmas, prepare to have your world changed with Daniel Silverstein’s patchwork garments. Using factory scraps, Zero Waste Daniel creates new textiles while producing no fabric waste themselves and fully embracing a zero waste mindset (Daniel is also the co-owner of Package Free Shop with fellow zero-waster Lauren Singer). I Iove this creative approach to waste, design, and textiles, especially with pieces like their Bowie shirt.

 

 

Complexgeometries

The brand I most lust after and wish I could buy every piece from is Complexgeometries. They are Canadian and have beautiful draped garments and unique silhouettes. With fast fashion and brands competing to keep their prices down, we see a lot of the same easy-to-sew cuts and fabric saving shapes, but with Complexgeometries you can see the creative design and pattern-work in each garment. I love their style, and as someone who really enjoys pattern-drafting and draping, I can’t help but geek out over their designs, a lot of which are versatile/transformable and can be worn different ways.

 

Reformation

Sexy skin, flirty dresses, and trendy cuts, Reformation has a huge collection of styles for the weekend, weddings, the office, or a night out. All of their clothes are made in their LA factory – some from vintage and deadstock materials – and they share the C02, water, and waste impact of each garment.

 

Dedicated 

Dedicated rises from the organic t-shirt fog (seriously, how many brands are making organic tees now?) with their graphics and prints. Another Swedish brand, Dedicated does street wear well, especially for men. All my friends that I’ve shown their stuff to who don’t prioritize sustainability love their styles, and that’s the best way to get people into conscious fashion!

 

 

Find more conscious brands in the directory.

100% Pure Lip Product Reviews

(This post contains affiliate links, for more info see disclosure policy)

When switching to more natural beauty products, I think the lips are the best place to start, because you ingest a bit of whatever is on your lips. One of the first natural lip products I tried was a 100% Pure lip glaze, and 100% Pure continues to have some of my favorite lip products- they’re all fruit pigmented, how cool is that!?

 

Lip Glaze

I love the texture of these; they are creamy with build-able colour, and I haven’t had any issues with my lips feeling dry. I’ve used the colours Cabernet (a classic red), Coquette (nude-ish medium pink) – a great everyday colour – and Elderberry (sheer pink/red) which is more sheer than the others, more like a tinted balm.

Coquette
Elderberry

Honestly from these photos it doesn’t look like much of a difference in colour, but Coquette is quite a nude pink compared to Elderberry, which is more of a sheer blue-ish red.

 

 

Pomegranate Oil Anti Aging Lipstick

100% Pure lip stick review - Calendula

I have this in Calendula which is peachier than I was hoping for (my photo looks very orange). The issue I have with ordering lip products online is that a lot of the shades look similar, and it’s very difficult to know what the colour is like from a photo. I try to find different videos and photos of swatches but it can still be difficult. As a lipstick, it’s nice and wears well, although in comparison to the lip glazes, the colour is more matte and I find it a bit drier.

Calendula

 

 

Lip & Cheek Stain in Cherry (only one colour)

This is very different from their other lip products; it’s a build-able stain and can provide a very vibrant pink with a few coats. I really like the colour of it and the control you get with the application, but it’s not moisturizing (although I don’t find it drying either), and putting a balm over it takes some of the product off and makes it so that it doesn’t ‘stick’ anymore. It also has a very bitter taste. I don’t actually mind it, but you definitely realize it when you lick your lips, so I would avoid it if you don’t like lip products with a weird taste. It claims to be a cheek tint as well, although I rarely use it on my cheeks, because it dries quickly and is difficult to blend in.

Lip stain – Cherry

 

 

Lip & Cheek Tint

This I use more as a cheek tint, but it’s also nice on the lips. It’s like a tinted balm and you can build up the colour. I used to have it in Shimmery Strawberry, but when replacing it decided to go with one without shimmer and got Pink Grapefruit Glow instead.

Pink Grapefruit Glow

 

 

Have you tried any 100% Pure lip products?

 

5 Product, 5 Minute Makeup

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(This post contains affiliate links, for more info see disclosure policy)

 

It’s summer so I try to keep my makeup light and natural, also including sun protection. This is the super quick and easy makeup look I’ve been wearing most days using green, versatile products. It also is perfect for travelling and packing light.

5 Product, 5 Minute Makeup - Green Beauty

 

Products used:

1. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer in Creme (I’ve used both Creme and Alpine Rose, both are a little too dark but Alpine Rose is a bit better for my skin tone)

2. Lily Lolo Mineral Concealer in Barely Beige

3. Red Apple Lipstick custom eyeshadow palette (colours I used are Brownie Points for eyebrows and Black Magic for eyeliner)

4. 100% Pure Maracuja Mascara in Blackberry (I would not recommend the blackberry shade if you have blond eyelashes like me as it can be very purple, the black or brown is probably better)

5. 100% Pure Lip and Cheek Tint in Pink Grapefruit Glow (Shimmery Strawberry is also a great shade if you want some shimmer)

 

 

 

Why I No Longer Buy Matt & Nat Bags

I used to be a huge Matt & Nat fan. The first bag I invested in over 10 years ago was from Matt & Nat, and since then, almost all of my bags have been Matt & Nat. But sadly, this is no longer the case.

First of all, I want to say that I love their styles and that they’re vegan, and the bags can be very good quality (I still have that first bag!). I used to recommend them for all these reasons, but have now stopped promoting them and removed them from my directory. Here’s why:

 

They’re not transparent and I can’t get any information about their manufacturing.

About two years ago I was looking for a backpack, and I of course checked out Matt & Nat. Reading through their website, I had some questions about their transparency page and manufacturing process, especially since they moved their production from Canada. I don’t like companies that use vague/general statements like “the conditions of the workers developing it are up to par with our standards” so I sent them an email asking for more information about their ethical/labour standards, whether they worked with a lot of factories or just a few, and asked them to elaborate on their SA8000 certification, because the website only says that “One of our factories operates by the SA8000 standard“. I got a response saying, “I have forwarded your inquiry to the appropriate representative who will be able to give you more information on this“, and then… Nothing. After a few months I sent another email, and again, no response.

I also took part in Fashion Revolution’s #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign asking Matt & Nat “Who made my bag?” which, unsurprisingly at this point, also got no response.

 

I regret buying the backpack from them, even though it’s the perfect size and I love the style because I also learned that:

The majority of their bags are made from PVC.

We know that synthetic vegan leathers are not good for the environment, but PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is significantly worse than the other common material PU (polyurethane), as it has a negative impact throughout its production and life cycle and may also possibly be hazardous to our health. On Matt & Nat’s website they say that “PU is always preferred over PVC, as it is less harmful for the environment“, so I assumed that most of their bags were PU. They also present themselves as being an eco-conscious company, using recycled bottles and cork (and it is awesome they use those materials!), but it turns out a lot of their bags are still PVC. The bag’s outer material is also not included on their website listings, so it’s very difficult to know whether or not a bag is made from PVC.

I checked the tags on my bags, and most of them, including the backpack, are PVC. Currently Matt & Nat’s ‘Dwell’ and ‘Vintage’ collections – which make up the majority of their bags – are made from PVC.

 

Finally, Project Just also recently released a profile on Matt & Nat that confirmed my worries about their transparency; their investigation also found that there is no information about whether or not Matt & Nat monitors any of the environmental impact of their supply chain.

 

So, in conclusion, I think their quality is a big pro, and I like that they’re using materials like cork and recycled PET. But until they offer more information about their manufacturing process and their current and future use of vegan leathers/PVC, I don’t feel comfortable supporting them and can’t help but feel there is some greenwashing going on.

 

 

What are your thoughts on Matt & Nat?

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