• Ariel Green

Low Waste Beauty & How to Become an Eco-Influencer with Jhanneu

Updated: Oct 18, 2020


When I first started my sustainability journey, I noticed that pretty much all of the most popular influencers on YouTube and Instagram were white women.


However, today's featured Sustainable Brown Girl is quickly rising to the top. Jhanneu, an eco-influencer, YouTuber and founder of Low Waste Beauty, creates amazing content sharing sustainable home, beauty, and clothing brands with all of her followers. In this episode, we talk with Jhanneu about how to transition your beauty routine to be more low waste, and she shares some tips on how to build your own eco-influencer brand.


Follow Jhanneu on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jhanneu/

Subscribe to Jhanneu's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNVL2CaO3PUfC_CgjSUqlNA

Check out Low Waste Beauty Blog: https://www.lowwastebeauty.com/

Follow Low Waste Beauty on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lowwastebeauty/


LISTEN HERE: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play

Transcription:

Ariel:

Hello and welcome back to The Sustainable Brown Girl Podcast. This show exists to connect black, brown and indigenous women who are interested in sustainability. Our goal is to inspire, encourage and educate each other. From gardening to thrifting, to minimalism, to veganism and everywhere in between. We're all on a journey to taking care of our bodies and our planet. I'm your host, Ariel Green.


When I first started my sustainability journey, I noticed that pretty much all of the most popular influencers on YouTube and Instagram were white women. However, today's featured Sustainable Brown Girl is quickly rising to the top. Jhanneu is an eco-influencer, YouTuber and founder of Low Waste Beauty. She creates amazing content sharing, sustainable home, beauty and clothing brands with all of her followers. In this episode, we'll talk with Jhanneu about how to transition your beauty routine to be more low waste and she shares some tips on how to build your own eco-influencer brand.


Thanks so much for joining us today, Jhanneu.


Jhanneu:

Thanks for having me, happy to be here.


Ariel:

Can you tell us about your sustainable journey and how you became interested in the low waste movement?


Jhanneu:

Yeah, of course. My background, I am from Chicago. I grew up on the south side of Chicago, so I was always very aware of food deserts and lack of access to healthcare and like disparities between black and brown communities and white communities. Environmental issues were never something I thought about because whenever I would hear people talking about environmental issues, they were white and they were talking about things that I couldn't even fathom. We can't talk about Antarctica melting and the polar bears, if we can't even like figure out ways to get people access to healthy foods. There's always been this disparity between the two topics. But as I got older, I started learning more about environmental issues. I got super into minimalism and I started learning more about our trash and how much trash we're producing, where the trash is going, how we're only recycling 9% or the things that we recycle, only 9% of those things actually get recycled. It's pretty crazy to think that our daily habits really do have a long lasting impact on the planet. And then I started getting more educated on just like environmental racism and how black and brown communities are disproportionately affected by climate change.


I became super passionate about it and just wanted to share my story. I already had a little bit of a following on Instagram, but I switched it to talk more about sustainable living because I thought it just would add more value to the world and then I launched my YouTube channel in January, and there aren't really that many black creators on YouTube talking about sustainable living, so I just wanted to be another face in the movement that could talk about these issues. And I also have a blog called Low Waste Beauty, which focuses on sustainable beauty products, but also inclusive beauty products because, a lot of sustainable beauty products, they'll be shampoo bars for white hair, but what about my hair?


Ariel:

Right.


Jhanneu:

Who's making shampoo bars for me? If we want everyone to be sustainable, we have to make sure we're also creating products for them to be sustainable as well, whether that's a shampoo bar or whether that's just something that's affordable. That's how I started my journey and now I just try to make it known to the world what you can do to make a difference on any level, whether you have a lot of money or you don't.


Ariel:

Yeah. I love that. The way that I started my sustainability journey too, was like, I saw all these white people on YouTube and it's like, yeah, I'm interested in this and we really do need to have more diversity, and so it's great seeing you and Thrift and Tangles and so many more people starting to pop up on YouTube and Instagram talking about it. Totally love the diversity. You mentioned a little bit about Low Waste Beauty, can you tell us more about that platform and what you're hoping to accomplish with it?


Jhanneu:

Of course. I originally had a blog called Low Waste Home, which was just about all things sustainable living and it was a good blog, but I just want it to be different. I feel like there's a million sustainable living blogs, but there's no one that I've seen talking about sustainable beauty, but also with the focus of it being inclusive to all shade ranges. For me, I love beauty products like makeup; I have too many, I try to be as a minimalist as possible when it comes to beauty products, that's not the case, unfortunately. But, I've always loved beauty products but, when I was transitioning to being low waste, there weren't many products that I felt as though catered to me or had me in mind when they were being created.


Low Waste Beauty covers interviews with women who were in the space of sustainability and what their beauty routines are and then also just best shampoo bars for curly hair or best sunscreens for all skin types, because some people have darker skin and the white sunscreen may not work for them. So for me, it's all about making it inclusive and accessible and making sure not to leave anyone out of the conversation.


Ariel:

Yeah. What are some good makeup brands that are inclusive, that have a wide diversity of ranges?


Jhanneu:

All the brands that I've used, I really think that they could be even wider, but I'll give you some that I think are doing an okay job. Right now, I use Pacifica foundation, you can find them at target. What I do like about them, is that they're vegan and they're clean. They come in a glass bottle, but they do also have a return program, so you can send that back, which is pretty cool. That's something that's more on the affordable drugstore side. And then if you want to get a little more expensive, there's a Elate Cosmetics, they have clean products. I've used a bunch of their products before and they have a decent range, but Pacifica definitely has a pretty big range and [inaudible 06:42] I've used, but they're super expensive. They're the luxury brand. It's $68 for their foundation.


Ariel:

Woah!


Jhanneu:

The packaging is beautiful, but I just can't wrap my... I bought it just because I wanted to try it out. But $68 is a lot for foundation. Their shade ranges are decent considering the amount of ranges they have because what I also look at too, if they have 20 shades, I think it needs to be evenly distributed in terms of the shade ranges. If you have 20 shades, I expect you to have a good amount of darker shades versus if you have five shades then okay. Even though, I don't know, I still feel like there should be more shade for people of color. Even when I go on Etsy and I've looked at zero waste makeup, it's like nothing would work for me. So I'm just like, "Well, okay then."


Ariel:

Wow!


Jhanneu:

Those are my three recommendations for three different price points.


Ariel:

Okay. And what about shampoo bars? Because I'm in the market for one.


Jhanneu:

You know what's really funny? My go-to shampoo bar is a Bronner's Castile soap.


Ariel:

Really?


Jhanneu:

Yes! It's less than $5. I use it on my body, I use it on my hair, it lathers super well. I've tried a couple different shampoo bars from HiBar and Lush and like it doesn't compare and those are $15 whereas Bronner's is less than five. I don't know, I love it. It just lathers really well. And I feel like my hair is clean.


Ariel:

Wow!


Jhanneu:

And it's affordable.


Ariel:

I have a couple of bars here, so I'm actually going to try that. Thank you for sharing that. What tips can you offer to someone who's wanting to transition their beauty routine to be more low waste?


Jhanneu:

I would say first and foremost, don't feel the need to throw out your stuff and go buy sustainable products. The most sustainable thing you can do is use what you already have. Once you have already used what you already have and you're looking for a sustainable alternative, you can go on Low Waste Beauty, you can go on my YouTube and Instagram as well. I'm always talking about sustainable beauty products so that I could be a good help. And then there's different marketplaces like EarthHero that carries different low waste makeup and then there's the detox market. They're more on the pricey side, but they do have a lot of clean beauty products that don't come in a ton of plastic. But I think if you just focus on finding sustainable marketplaces that sell makeup, you'll have a pretty good chance of finding something that could work for you.


Ariel:

Perfect. Some of my favorite content on your personal Instagram and YouTube platforms are the low waste home and beauty posts and I've noticed recently in the past few months that you've been collaborating with some companies like Avocado Mattress and Blue Bland and Elate cosmetics like you mentioned earlier, how did you start doing these collaborations and how do you choose what companies you work with?


Jhanneu:

Yeah, for sure. When did I start working with brands? I feel like I really started working with brands probably late last year. I probably had about 20,000 followers on Instagram and it's... I don't know how to explain it. It's kind of like one person sees you working with a brand, other people want to work with you, so sometimes when you're trying to get your foot in the door, you just need one good brand to add notability to you. But for me, a lot of brands reach out to me and when I'm looking for a brand to work with one, it's like, "Are you sustainable?" And sustainable isn't just, do you pay your workers fairly? “But it's, do you feature people of color on your page? Do you ship things to me in plastic? There's so many different levels to, Are you sustainable? Once you pass my sustainability tests I then provide my rates and if they're willing to work with me, with paying me fairly, I think that weeds out a ton of brands because a lot of brands just want to give you product and they want you to post. I've spent thousands of dollars on filming equipment and I'm not going to give you a free post just because you think it doesn't take that long to do, but you're paying for all the years and all the work that I've put into building the following in the first place. But, I said no to a lot of brands just because I just don't think they aligned with what I want to do or whether I get a lot of clean beauty brands that use a ton of plastic packaging. And I'm like, If you haven't been following me long enough, I try to mention brands that don't use any plastic or very minimal plastic. Because for me, sustainability is like, you've got to look at the whole picture and not just like, "Is it clean and vegan?" but what is it also packaged in as well?


Ariel:

Yeah, definitely. What tips would you give listeners who are also wanting to become an eco-influencer?


Jhanneu:

I would say, figure out how you can add value because I feel like if you're just posting photos, it has to mean something. Why does someone want to follow you? You have to understand what that why is and you have to add value to your followers. And so I think when you're providing good information, people will come and when you're providing good content, people will come. I think also focusing on creating shareable content, which I recently talked about in my stories, which basically means creating content that people would want to share, whether that's a quote or whether that's maybe a video. Those will do better on my page than just like a single photo of myself. You want to try to get people to do the work for you. Because if you look at my page for example, the photos... You can't see my shares, I can see my shares obviously, but the photos that are slideshows that have a ton of shares have way more likes. The shares and the likes definitely correlate with each other so it's just figuring out what does well on your page and going with that and then also reaching out to other influencers that have similar followings and doing giveaways with them and collaborating with them and doing takeovers can be really helpful as well. If you have 5,000 followers, maybe you work with someone that has 7,000, you guys do a giveaway and then you guys can cross promote and you can just continue to build together and build a community. And also, just know your worth. I don't believe in doing work for free.


Even if you have a thousand followers, I think you should be charging brands, even if it's a small amount to post, because you're providing them with valuable content that they can also then use on their page so a lot of it's just knowing your worth and your value and investing in yourself and making sure you're learning every day on how you can produce better content. And with YouTube university, you can pretty much learn anything nowadays.


Ariel:

Yes. So true. That's great. Do you think you needs to have...? Well, you just said that even if you have 1,000 followers, but do you think that you should have a specific amount of followers before you can work with brands?


Jhanneu:

I don't think so. I mean, obviously I don't think you should have 10 followers. Right? You have to have something. But I think if you have 1,000 followers, you can still charge brands. Because, if you think about you posting a photo, if a brand needed to create that photo themselves, they would have to hire someone to film, they would have to hire someone to light it, they would have to hire talent. You're saving them so much money and time by creating this photo for them, so you have to think about it in that way. Yeah it's easy to post this photo, but it's still saving a ton of money so you just have to think about it that way and I just also think of myself as a business and not just as an influencer, because I'm trying to grow like a big brand. I at a point where I just don't do anything for free, unless it's something I really believe in. But even if you're small, I think you should know that you are worth something. You should know that your content is valuable and you should just work towards like making it as valuable as possible.


Even for me with my YouTube channel, I put so much work into it, my camera is expensive and you don't have to have an expensive camera to create good content but my point is that, you have to invest in being the best so that people have to come to you. When you're one of the very few YouTubers talking about sustainable living, who's black, who's creating amazing content, people are going to come to you and you can also charge a premium for that. It's all about being the best that you can be and adding the most value to your followers and to brands which I think will really help you in the long run.


Ariel:

Yeah. And I definitely see you creating that space for yourself. I see you and maybe Ashley Renee as some of the top eco-influencers that are black and brown. Speaking of that, do you feel like more brands have reached out to you in the past few weeks or so because you're a woman of color?


Jhanneu:

I've had a ton of brands reach out to me and a lot of them want to put you on their platform because they want to seem more diverse and so, a lot of the times I feel like when I tell a brand my rate, that tells me if they're really interested in actually having me on because I'm black versus they actually care about me as a creator. Because brands will put their money where their mouth... You have to put your money where your mouth is. When brands say, "Oh, we want to work with you," but then they don't want to pay me. And then it's just like, you just want to use me for my knowledge and time. But, it's good. It's good that a lot of people are finding out about me and what I'm doing and that I'm also like helping people who want to be influencers learn how to talk to brands and how to reach out to them. Because, it can be very overwhelming when you're first starting out. I'm probably going to in the future, hopefully in the next month or so start a patron and talk about growing your following and what that looks like and how to create better content.


Ariel:

That would be awesome. I saw that you started Low Waste Home and now you have Low Waste Beauty. Can you tell me about the transition in that?


Jhanneu:

Alright. The Low Waste home was more just about your general sustainable living tips from home to beauty, to whatever. But again, I always think of things in terms as a business and if every single sustainable living blog out there for the most part is about just like a sustainable home, how are you going to be different? And so I was like, "Okay, I need something to stand out." And I didn't see anyone talking about sustainable beauty as the main focus so I just really thought that that would be a great way to build a blog and then also, I would eventually love to create my own sustainable beauty line as well. It's thinking about all these things of, what can you do now that's going to help you in the future? If I built out the whole Low Waste Home I still would have to figure out a way to make that into a business, but I just had to take a step back and think about where do I want this to go and if the if the route is, I want to create my own beauty line then, I should probably create a beauty blog. It's just always thinking two steps ahead; where do I want this to go? so you can make sure you're making the right decisions just now to go in that direction.


Ariel:

Love that, love the business mindset. I was going to ask you too if you wanted to create a beauty line and you just answered that. I think that's amazing.


Jhanneu:

Thank you.


Ariel:

Perfect. One last question Jhanneu, what is one thing that anyone can do to be more sustainable?


Jhanneu:

My biggest tip that I always say is just say no to things that you don't need because those things end up creating a ton of waste in your life. I know we're all at home, but whether you're going to Sephora and they offer you free makeup samples, just say no, because those tiny little pieces of plastic are just going to end up in a landfill. It's just finding ways in your daily life to say no to things that you don't need, whether that's clothing or food or whatever the case may be, just saying no and not bringing the waste into your home in the first place. And that's something anyone can do, no matter what their budget is.


Ariel:

Yes, absolutely. 100% agree. So where can everyone find you on the interwebs?


Jhanneu:

My Instagram is @jhanneu and then the same for my YouTube, you can find me at Jhanneu. And then my blog is lowwastebeauty.com.


Ariel:

Perfect. Thanks so much for joining us. Please go follow her everywhere. I'm really looking forward to your eco-influencer program that you put out there. I think it's going to be really great.


Jhanneu:

Thank you so much for having me.


Ariel:

Thank you so much for listening to The Sustainable Brown Girl Podcast. Be sure to subscribe and share it if you loved it and leave a review. You can find us on Instagram @sustainablebrowngirl and check out our Facebook community, we would love to have you there. Until next time, let's continue to make healthy choices for the health of our planet and the health of our bodies. Thanks for listening.