Because "self-care" has become such a buzzword in recent years—the kind that has mutated with new and sometimes less impactful meaning—the origins the term are not necessarily well-known. In truth, it was first popularized during the women's and civil rights movements of the 1960s and '70s, when healthcare was considered a privilege mostly afforded to white males. For women and people of color, taking charge of their own health became a form of protest—and more importantly, better allowed them to push back against the systems that failed them at the time (and sadly, in many ways, still do).
Now, of course, "self-care" has taken on more of a "treat yo'self" connotation. But even though there's nothing wrong with a little self-indulgence, choosing brands and products that give back to charitable organizations and the planet at large is a great way to get back to that original definition. Below, we're sharing seven products to try if you want to be a more conscious consumer.
Saks recently partnered with Wear Your Label, a conscious clothing line created to inspire mental health awareness. The result is this Instagrammable tee, the proceeds of which will be donated to Bring Change to Mind, a charity that works to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
"Stigma is the biggest barrier for people seeking treatment," says Wear Your Label founder Kyle MacNevin. "A T-shirt can often represent much more than personal style: It can become a remarkable canvas for starting meaningful communication and relationship building. It is important for retailers, celebrities, and other major influencers to speak up and speak out, as it helps bring all of us together."
Aside from delivering a stylish water bottle that actually keeps your drinks cold for up to 24 hours, S'well is committed to partnerships with charitable organizations like UNICEF, (Red), and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Through its work with UNICEF, the brand has committed $800,000 since 2015 to help bring clean water to vulnerable communities across the globe.
We at Team The/Thirty are huge fans of Girlfriend's monochromatic activewear sets, which are as performance-driven (read: sweat-wicking) as they are flattering. But we're equally drawn to the brand's commitment to sustainability: All of Girlfriend's fabrics are crafted from recycled water bottles, and the label works very closely with the Taiwanese community to ensure that manufacturing conditions are ethical and top-of-the-line. That's not to mention that the brand has also partnered with Econyl in an effort to help clean our oceans.
Lola founders Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman have been committed to a conscious brand from the very beginning. They first launched the feminine healthcare brand as an organic and transparently nontoxic alternative when they learned that no one really knows what's in their tampons. In doing so, they inspired a new (and necessary) conversation around reproductive health and periods, chipping away at any old stigmas and taboos.
But they're not stopping there. Since launch, Lola has donated more than one million tampons to low-income women across the country. "Until recently, women weren't thinking about or discussing their feminine-care habits or products with other women," says Kier. "But we've seen a huge shift and believe we've helped destigmatize periods and start a national conversation, which we're looking forward to continuing."
It's "just water," but the brand doesn't skimp on the details: From the sustainable packaging to ethical sourcing, Just Water is determined to be a positive force for the planet. The company just won B-corporation status, signaling that it passes rigorous environmental and ethical standards. It's an important bar to set in a world where we need to rethink something as simple as water consumption in the face of climate change.
Like Lola, Thinx set out to revolutionalize the conversation around reproductive health with its absorbent period panties. A few years after launch, the brand now offers a wide array of period-related products and is committed to empowering women beyond their buying consumers. The brand partners with organizations across the world to help bring both education and feminine-hygiene products to underserved communities. In our own backyard, Thinx is working to create an education program in schools across the country so that young girls never have to feel like their period is taboo.
We adore this multi-use oil for its plant-based (and sustainably sourced) ingredient list, heady scent and powerful moisturizing abilities. But what makes it particularly special is that 100% of its proceeds benefit rotating environmental, social, and cultural causes, including Planned Parenthood, the DTLA Women's Center, the LGBT Youth Center, and more.