Armoire Cosmétique developed as an idea. We wondered what environmentally-conscious women had in their cosmetic cabinet. So we started a conversation.
As women, we all sometimes need to feel inspired, and we all sometimes feel insecure about our decisions. Thus, this is an improvised conversation that invites you to participate in the discussion. It does not have to be pitch-perfect. We all sometimes use massively produced products; some of us can sometimes simply not avoid buying a shampoo packaged in plastic. However, the fact that you are here means that you care and want to get better, whether for your own health or environment.
To start the conversation, we have invited Mia Hadrill from Elephant Parade to our first discussion. She runs a blog dedicated to a plastic-free movement and inspires people to use less plastic via her IG account.
‘I lived in South East Asia for nearly four years, which was the tipping point for me. I saw plastic pollution in the rivers, rain forests, and ocean, yet at the same time was making more plastic waste than ever before. I had to change my lifestyle. I decided that I didn’t want to contribute any more to an increasing environmental crisis.’
Mia's Self Care
I am using Herbfarmacy for plastic-free lip balm. “Lip Nurse” is made with 100% organic ingredients; this is important to me, as I often apply lip balm.
I had a terrible experience getting addicted to Vaseline in my teenage years. I had to wean myself off it, and my lips went red! Now I always look for petroleum-free. Herbfarmacy is not addictive but soothing when needed.
I don’t wear makeup the majority of my week, but I enjoy it when I do. I’ve been playing around with what I need, and the following list is the absolute maximum I would put on for an event or modeling. Mostly it’s just under-eye concealer, mascara, and lip balm.
Makeup & Contour
I use ZAO refillable concealer. I noticed in my 30’s that the color under my eyes has changed. It’s no longer the sign of a night out, but there’s a permanent dark/purple tint. I use it under my eyes to make me look a little fresh. The color matches me well and also, despite being a paste, doesn’t sit in the creases. It’s free from talc and parabens. Once the stick is used up, you can refill it and avoid more packaging.
I also use ZAO compact powder. I’m terrible at blushing (nicknamed “tomato” by some boys at school due to it). I rarely use this day-to-day as I prefer to keep my skin bare, but if I have to give a presentation, a shoot, or have a tough meeting, for some reason, it just makes me feel like I can hide my flushed red cheeks. A typical liquid foundation looks awful on my skin, and I’m not a fan of the feel, but somehow, this compact doesn’t dry me out despite being a powder.
I also used Catrice’s’ Baked Blush’ and lipstick and owned a ZAO Duo Shine-Up Powder as my friend gave me a makeover and convinced me of the benefits of a highlighter.
Sadly, my experience with owning the highlighter for the first time this year has been terrible (due to my fault). It smashed and resulted in a glittery bag explosion; I left it behind in a hotel room and forgot to pick it up when packing. Bye-bye.
It was all very upsetting. I spotted a very cheap blusher in a cardboard box and lipstick. I think Catrice was trialing a plastic package free-range, which I support. I can’t endorse the brand overall. It’s a plastic nightmare!
I used Lush mascara. This mascara can be recycled when brought back to the shop. I looked for many different mascara options in Mannheim, Germany. The local refill shop didn’t sell any, and all bio-/eco-cosmetic-stores came in plastic packaging.
I wanted to buy one from Etsy, but the shipping was more than the product’s price. When I read the mascara’s details from “plastic-free” stores that came in a bamboo casing, they still require the inner-tube to be recycled, and I don’t know for sure if the local authority can do it. So this felt like the best solution for now.
I use Logona eyeliner pencil locally made in Germany (where Mia lived until recently before moving back home to the UK). Benwick for an eyebrow pencil. I like that the shelf life is 36 months as I tend to use any pencil makeup until it’s a tiny and laughable stump. I also use Sante’s eyeshadow stick. It’s cute and a little bit shiny for occasions to feel a bit Glam. The creaminess doesn’t get stuck in my eye creases, which is excellent. For any corrections, I use Bamboo Q-Tips to help to tidy makeup once applied.
I own Butterfly Collection in Promise Pomelo. I love to eat Pomelo, it is my favorite fruit, and I miss the Thai ones. While living there, I had some friends visit me, and I took them to this local Thai perfume shop to show them all the funky perfumes like “sticky mango rice.” They gave me the Pomelo perfume as a gift to say thank you for having them. It’s super zingy and fresh. And it reminds me of the beautiful time I had in northern Thailand. Refreshing and vibrant!
I also own Chanel N°5; it was a present from my dad. The smell is a little too powdery for me. I think it’s a little bit of an acquired taste, but I think it’s super cute that my father, who hates everything related to cosmetics, faced the perfume stand, and it makes me smile to think of him with all the samples picking one for me.
I use Essano’s facial mask. It is certified organic and free from parabens, ethoxylates, phthalates, and GMOs. It’s gentle on my sensitive skin. Now and again, I like to put on a turmeric facemask, use my reusable razor and buff my feet while looking like the smiling orange-faced sun emoji.
I also owned Fushi Organic Jojoba Oil; before I discovered the Ex Prūnīs. I used coconut oil in Thailand as it was super easy to acquire, but I have gone off the smell, and in cold climates, it became solid. It makes me miss Thailand!
Now, I own Ex Prūnīs Antioxidant Treatment Oil by Phaedra Botanicals; I like the company’s transparency regarding the product details. I love the smell and feel of their organic Ex Prūnīs. It’s like fresh marzipan. Yet despite this distinct natural scent, it’s deliciously soothing on my sensitive skin. I love to use it on a clean face in the morning when I’m working from home. Otherwise, after the sun goes down to go out with bare skin with a bright, glowing look, and again before bed as it’s super hydrating. It’s a small but powerful bottle of concentrated goodness.
The Niels Yard organic Wild Rose Beauty balm was a birthday gift. It’s a great idea as it’s a multipurpose cleanser, moisturizer, and fixer—ideal for traveling. It’s a bit strong for me but gorgeous in small doses. Sometimes I mix a little bit with the jojoba oil for my legs. Good that it has a long shelf life.
When in Dubai for work on an exhibition, I used the Clarins SPF that I bought to protect my burnt face. I had to take photos and videos outside in the middle of the heat, and I felt sizzling. It was one of the only products I could find in the swanky mall fast in a glass pot as I was in the middle of work. But it came in so much awful packaging and can sting my eyes.
At the moment, I do not use body wash, shampoo, or conditioner, and I do not do full body moisturizes. The reason being is that I am a little bit scared that one day something we apply to the largest organ of the body, skin, we will find out could have adverse effects. There are enough weird chemicals in our clothes. The only exception is when I’m sunburned, then take me to the nearest Aloe Vera plant!
For deodorant, I use WeLove every day. I like the earthy scent. I use WeLove because it is in a metal case; I am always on the move, and often things need to go in my washbag wet. Cardboard packaging does not do well with this. My friend gave me a tried and tested DIY recipe that I can’t wait to try once the tin is empty.
On the occasions I wear makeup, I use Wideye. It’s genuinely one of the best products that I’ve ever found for removing makeup on sensitive skin and eyes. And their recyclable glass refills come without the plastic pump. I love this product.
For my morning and nightly daily face scrub, I use reusable bamboo face pads that I store in a glass jar with just water and drop the used ones into the white mini basket I found for a few cents in a charity shop to wash once they pile up. It’s like a fancy hotel toilet, except it’s me who cleans up.
I also love my tongue scraper, DIY homemade toothpaste, and bamboo brush for excellent oral hygiene.
Clean and responsible beauty is entirely down to the individual’s sustainability-agenda (vegan, organic, cruelty-free, etc.).
To me, waste management is essential. Some of these products I would not buy again and no longer feel I need. But to throw them out is worse. I will use them up to the end, then use the jars for DIY recipes.
I favor beauty brands that source quality organic ingredients and focus on their overall waste impact. Phaedra Botanicals is an excellent example of getting this right.