Words: Sophie Henderson
Feature Image: Amanda Lee Tromp
Born and bred in South London, Delphine and Ariane Chui pack a seriously powerful punch. One sister is an award-winning Digital Editor, and the other is a PR and branding consultant with a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation… we’re interested! To top things off, this stylish duo are documenting and sharing their persistent journey to natural and organic living.
The first line of their blog reads ‘You’re probably wondering what we’re like and you’re probably picturing two holistic hippies, right?‘ but Delphine and Ariane certainly challenge that stereotype. After all, Ariane’s Twitter bio guarantees that ‘natural and organic can be sexy & gangsta AF.’
We sat down with these sustainable sisters who gave us ingenious product swaps and ingredients to avoid, before admitting that no one is perfect, even ‘green’ bloggers.
On the blog you say that natural and organic living gets a bad rep. Although clean eating is on trend, people don’t think as much about what they use on their skin, on their hair, or in their homes. Is this slowly shifting, and what change would you like to see in the next 10 years?
Ariane: In an ideal world, the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ wouldn’t have to be used in 10 years time because that would just be the standard, normal quality of both food and cosmetics. That’s what I would like to see but more realistically I just want more and more people to be informed and educated on the products they’re buying, both from an ethical point of view (regarding animal testing etc) and from a health/preventing disease point of view. Every pound you spend is a vote and I hope to see more and more people voting for health. Health for yourself, health for the planet and health for all living creatures.
Delphine: I think there’s an assumption that commercial brands have our best interests at heart which is why some shoppers don’t necessarily concern themselves with natural or organic brands – but sadly shortcuts to make profit can overrule our best interests (us being people, the planet and animals).
I’m definitely still on a long road to truly “living my values” (convenience/fast fashion shopping is something I’m trying to shake!) but I’m trying to be more aware of what I use across my whole life, from the fabrics I wear, to the beauty products I buy, to the food I eat and the cleaning products I use at home. I think things are changing because people are waking up to the origins of their products, and the effects they have on our health and the environment. And there’s way more visibility now on how you can live healthier and more sustainably – but would I love for chemical pesticides to be a thing of the past so the word ‘organic’ doesn’t need to be a specific label anymore? Absolutely!
Which small lifestyle changes would you recommend to a beginner who is interested in a more sustainable way of life? Are there any simple swaps to make?
Ariane: The advice we always give is to simply swap to a cleaner alternative as and when your products run out. Buy an organic nude lipstick when your current one runs out. Swap to reusable silicone sandwich bags when you’re all out of plastic ones.
“It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and inadequate when you see all these ‘perfect’ green bloggers living their lives but we all started out making just one better choice at a time.”
And we still make lazy, earth-unfriendly choices occasionally. It’s okay!
Delphine: Start small, work your way up and enjoy shopping for these sustainable buys because there’s so much cute and inventive stuff out there. Get a reusable water bottle, buy some organic cotton handkerchiefs/napkins (for when you don’t have a crazy cold but just want tissues with you), buy a travel bamboo cutlery set (and bamboo plates/bowls) so you never need plastic cutlery or plates for picnics etc. We try to showcase ideas for sustainable swaps on our Instagram whenever we discover them too!
I’m not sure we had much of a vision for ftoxins when we first started it. Our little blog was born during a time of intense and unimaginable loss. They say that when you’re suffering the most healing thing you can do for yourself is to help others. And this was our way of helping others. ~ With every kind message we’ve received from you guys over the last couple of years, a piece of our hearts has healed. So on this random rainy Thursday afternoon here in London, I just want to say THANK YOU. You helped us smile again ☺️ – A x ~ 📷: @ethiclee_
Looking back at the process, have you naturally made more conscious decisions since starting the blog?
Ariane: Absolutely. I thought I was doing pretty well when we first started the blog but since then I’ve spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time doing research and it’s so clear that we were such green beauty babies! As our journey has continued a lot more things have become important to us like, for example, who owns the organic brand. A few brands we’ve loved in the past have been bought out by huge companies and therefore we can no longer support them. While the product themselves continue to be the same ones we’ve always loved, the fact they are owned by a company that still tests of animals and produces products we believe to be damaging both to people and the environment means that we can no longer buy them with a clean conscience.
Delphine: Definitely! My eyes have opened massively to the details and how to find them. I have been fooled by greenwashing before by thinking some brands who market themselves as “natural” or “cruelty-free” are genuine so I’ve learnt how to become a responsible consumer and how to find out about parent companies, ingredient sources and supply chains. The blog also started as beauty-based before we started getting really into sustainability so that’s been a new journey for us, too.
In terms of skincare, do you recommend certain ingredients to avoid?
We have a list of the top 10 skincare ingredients to avoid but because there is an almost endless list of ingredients out there we use the EWG Skindeep Database to search ingredients. They rate every ingredient from 1(safe) – 10(dangerous) so it’s a really easy tool to use.