The latest in green beauty

Today I thought I'd bring you some very interesting green beauty innovations courtesy of one of my favorite design and architecture blogs, Dezeen.  First up is this hairdryer made out of bamboo, which was designed by Samy Rio and won top prize at the 2015 Design Parade competition.  It's sleek, minimal and looks like something you'd find in a high-end eco-friendly salon or spa.  

Bamboo hairdryer

Bamboo hairdryer

Bamboo hairdryer display
(images from

From an aesthetic perspective, the design is fantastic - it would look so pretty sitting on my vanity.  But from a practical perspective, I'm curious to know how a simple material like bamboo stacks up next to our fancy ionic hairdryers made of metal and plastic. Would my hair be as smooth as with a regular dryer?  How loud is it?  How does the drying time compare?  Bamboo is a recyclable, renewable resource and I would love to see it used more in beauty gadgets, but if it doesn't perform well, forget it.  

Next up are these false eyelashes fashioned from blades of grass and pine needles, while the glue is made from eggs and water.  Kingston University student Mary Graham designed these eyelashes to highlight the fact that while many cosmetic companies slap the "natural" label on their products, many of them contain ingredients that have been treated with artificial chemicals.  Plus, only 1% of the product actually has to be natural to be earn the label. 

Natural false eyelashes by Mary Graham

Natural false eyelashes by Mary Graham

Natural false eyelashes by Mary Graham

Natural false eyelashes by Mary Graham
(images from

While I don't think these lashes are practical for most people (especially those of us with grass allergies) and certainly not intended for everyday wear, Graham believes that they would eventually win over cosmetic aficionados.  "With the ever-growing DIY culture infiltrating cosmetics I do believe that these lashes could catch on as a trend...people are now encouraged to go into their gardens and gather plants and mud to make face masks, so why not eyelashes?" Given how time-consuming it must be to make them and the fact that one can't re-use them as they wilt within 24 hours, I'm not sure how the average person would actually construct their own false lashes from plants.  But I could definitely see them working for magazine editorials and couture shows, especially since the materials change with the seasons.  "I want to create these lashes again but in the autumn so that I could use beautiful oranges and reds.  These lashes have seasons and would appear differently depending on the time of year. Almost like fashion trends, they are always changing and never constant," Graham says.  She also hopes to expand beyond lashes to form a full-fledged, all-natural beauty line that would feature lipsticks made from beetroot and mixtures of sand and chalk for a fake tanning solution. 

Would you try out either of these new beauty innovations?  I'd definitely try out the hair dryer but I'm iffy on the eyelashes.  Not because I don't love how they look, but my eyes are super sensitive and might react poorly to the materials, natural though they may be.

Quick post: Clarins The Essentials palette

I really wish more companies would make palettes like this.  Clarins' Essentials palette is both made from all recycled materials and is itself entirely recyclable, complete with a sustainably-sourced birch wood brush.  Oh, and the colors are really pretty too!

Clarins-Essentials Palette-2013
(image from

Additionally, Clarins has partnered with Pur Projet, "an association which aims to preserve ecosystems in partnership with disadvantaged communities."  One of Pur Projet's initiatives is supporting the Kuntanawa people in Brazil, whose Amazonian culture is threatened by deforestation (the Kuntanawa population is under 400.)  Proceeds from the Clarins Essentials palette will go to the company's goal of planting 10,000 trees with medical and cosmetic purposes in the area.  Interestingly, "among these trees is the urucum, which produces a red pigment traditionally used for the community's ritual make-up."  It's a great concept - I love the idea of buying makeup to help an indigenous culture sustain their own makeup.

Will you be partaking in this do-gooder palette?

Allure's Green Campaign and Gobugi

Last week I came across these wonderful illustrations by Korean artist Gobugi, a.k.a. Park Jung Eun, at Design Is Mine.  I went to pin one of them to one of the boards at my non-Makeup-Museum Pinterest account and decided to check out the rest of her work, when this caught my eye:


I immediately said "oooh!" and frantically checked to see if this lovely drawing will be appearing or already appeared on any Clarins products.  While my search did not turn up a collaboration with Clarins, it did reveal a cosmetic connection to the illustration:  Allure's Green Campaign, an annual program launched in 2008 by the Korean version of this beauty magazine.  The campaign aims to "increase public awareness of the importance of the environment." While I couldn't find much info for the 2013 campaign, I imagine it was similar to the one for 2012.

In 2012, ten illustrators contributed original drawings to be used on t-shirts, and Korean celebrities modeled their creations.  All of the proceeds from the t-shirts went to an animal monitoring program run by Green Korea United that has the protection of mountain goats as one of its chief initiatives.  Gobugi was one of the  illustrators selected to create the designs that year as well.  (You can see the other goat-tastic designs here and here).  Nearly $25,000 was raised!


As far as I know the Green Campaign is a Korea-exclusive campaign, which strikes me as very strange - it's a fantastic idea that Allure should implement in other countries.

I'll leave you with this strange but still celebratory image Gobugi created for Allure Korea's 9th anniversary.  If she thoroughly works her Allure connections, maybe we will see a Gobugi collaboration with an actual makeup line rather than magazine/t-shirt illustrations.  While impressive in those formats, I would dearly love to see her designs on a palette.

(images from

What do you think of Gobugi's work?  And do you think Allure's Green Campaign should be worldwide?

A giant reminder of beauty's waste

A former colleague of mine sent this to me.  Artist Agne Kisonaite created this 2.5 meter (roughly 8 feet) tall sculpture made out of over 5,000 used lipstick tubes with the aim of reminding people to be more thoughtful about the waste that is produced as a result of their purchases.




(images from

Here's a short video on the construction of the piece.


While I think the design is spectacular, I'm disappointed with the fact that the Kisonaite's message is addresses to consumers rather than makeup companies.  Beauty aficionados like myself would happily recycle our lipstick tubes and other packaging if companies would make the outer cases out of recyclable material, or if they at least offered refillable packaging for all products instead of just for face powder products.  Or they could all adopt the excellent "Back to MAC" program that MAC offers, which consists of consumers turning in six used containers, including lipstick containers, in exchange for one brand-new, free product. 

One of the artist's blog entries on the scultpure states, "When you realise that there are 4 lipstick tubes being sold every second somewhere in the world, you really become worried. That’s why I want to transform lipstick tubes into an artpiece and to pay people’s attention towards recycling...I want make the society think about consumerism that is growing day by day.  Having a look at an object that is 3 metres high will encourage people to think whether they really need everything they have in their handbags."

But why should the burden of going green be totally on the consumer?  And a woman consumer at that.  At first I thought the lipstick might be a general representation of consumer waste and was in intended for both men and women to think about what they buy - Kisonaite wants to make "society" think about consumerism.  But her mention of "handbags" and the statistic about the sale of lipsticks (the majority to women, presumably) make me think she's targeting women and their beauty purchases specifically.  Why shouldn't men, and women who don't buy makeup, think about all the things they buy too?  Additionally, just because lipsticks sell fast doesn't mean the buyer isn't  thinking about their purchases, especially (and ironically) those of us who have large amounts of makeup.  For my non-collectible makeup, e.g., the stuff I actually use, I always make sure I don't already own the color and that I will actually wear it.  Why do so many beauty blogs even exist?  So that people can see swatches and read detailed reviews and thus make informed decisions about the product before they buy.

I do think we have some responsibility in what we decide to buy, along with other ways of helping the environment like reducing electricity and gas consumption.  However, I think in the case of makeup, most of the responsibility lies with the companies themselves to make more eco-friendly packaging.  As beauty product consumers, perhaps it's our duty to demand that the industry switch to recyclable packaging - our voices have definitely influenced companies before - and to think carefully before we add shiny new things to our beauty arsenal, but we shouldn't have to restrict our purchases until environmentally-friendly packaging is the norm. 

Also, I'd like to point out that the project is sponsored by Avon, who provided some of the used lipstick tubes.  I'm not sure I can take the message "consume responsibly" seriously when a major cosmetics company whose business it is to sell as many lipsticks as possible is backing it.  I also think it's a tad insincere.  Donating used lipstick tubes for an art project to raise awareness about consumerist excess isn't so meaningful when you're one of the companies that sold some of the lipsticks, contributing to the very waste the artist is trying to get people to consider, to begin with. 



Quick post: Happy solstice!

I was hoping to get the summer exhibition up today, but that didn't work out.  *grumble*  Instead I'm honoring the solstice and the longest day of the year with Stila's solar-powered compact.

Stila solar compact
(image from

Isn't this cool?  One side contains a matte powder and the other is a highlighter.  According to the description, the "solar panel lasts approximately five years and can be fully charged up to one thousand times."  Plus the compact is refillable and made from recycled material.  Talk about eco-friendly!

Enjoy all the delicious summer daylight!

Bohemian rhapsody: Makeup Forever La Boheme collection

Happy March!  With spring just a few weeks away it's time to let our hair down with a new palette. 

It's always interesting to see one's take on a bohemian theme, since "bohemian" has no single definition - the term can indicate someone who refuses to live a conventional lifestyle, or simply a free-spirited wandering type.  (For me personally, everytime I hear the word I think of an Anthropologie catalog, as in "bohemian chic").  In the case of the La Boheme collection, Make Up For Ever attempts to represent one of the most historical definitions of the word - gypsy.   A jumble of colorful patchwork adorns the centerpiece of the collection, an eye shadow palette consisting of six bright colors.

Mufe boheme
(image from

Says the company's website, "This Spring, the Bohemian attitude is back. Floral motifs, ethnic and gypsy influences, handmade embroidery, patchwork and prints… MAKE UP FOR EVER draws from this trend and creates a glam gypsy collection. MAKE UP FOR EVER takes a Bohemian approach to life...A collection inspired by nature, to let your beauty desires blossom and give new form to the Bohemian spirit.  This star product is a unique limited-edition palette dressed in an entirely homemade creation made of recyclable cardboard. A bold patchwork of Provençal or floral motifs, with arabesques and refined details. Historical pieces that Dany Sanz brought back from her travels and cleverly selected and coordinated. As if topstitched, the logo looks handmade. Inside this case, which opens with a silky ribbon, an iconic flower of the collection stands out against the black background."

I like this - the patterns on the patches definitely look bohemian, judging by the images that came up when I searched it on Pinterest:



(all image sources available at Pinterest)

But there's also a distinctly hippie feel to the palette which, nowadays, is part and parcel of the notion of bohemianism.  (I also searched Google, and a related search that it prompted when I typed in "bohemian" was "hippie").  The big flower, the fact that the package is recyclable, and that the collection is "inspired by nature" are all very flower-child. 

While bohemian isn't really my thing, I think MUFE did a nice job with this - it definitely captures the Boho/gypsy theme.  What I would have really liked to see were pictures of the actual "historical pieces that Dany Sanz brought back from her travels" that served as the inspiration for the collection and for the palette's design.

What do you think?

Bamboozled: Sonia Kashuk eco-friendly brushes

Last year Sonia Kashuk released a set of brushes made to look like coral.  This year she ups the ante with bamboo-shaped brushes made from, well, bamboo.  They also fit neatly into cork bags. 

Sonia kashuk bamboo
(image from

This is a great concept that I wish more makeup companies would adopt - not only are the brushes unusual looking, they're made from green materials.  I mean they don't have to look like bamboo or be made from it necessarily, but brush design seem to be the main thing cosmetic companies tend to overlook - the handles are always a plain shape and there's very little color (with the exception of Sephora's and Lancome's limited-edition colored brush sets.)  I have to say I'm really digging the cork bag too, although it kind of makes me want to stick push pins in it.  ;)  What do you think?

Friday Fun: authentic retro lip balms

U.K.-based Andrea Garland has created a lovely line of natural skin care and lip balms.  It's great that the products themselves are natural, but the packaging is the real showstopper here - not only is it adorable, it's also recycled!  Garland takes used pill boxes and fills them with her balms (after sterilizing the boxes, of course!) And you can send the boxes back to her for a refill when you've used up the balm. The designs range from retro to glamourous to downright cutesy:

Retro andrea garland

Glam andrea garland

Cute andrea garland

(all photos from

The retro ones in particular remind of on10's cute lip balm tins featuring Hershey's chocolate, 7UP or Schweppes, which I've posted about before.  But Garland's are even better since they're refillable and recycled!

News updates: Green packaging roundup

Cosmetics Design has reported some interesting new developments in eco-friendly packaging and technology. 

  • Taxing new plastic to increase the use of recycled materials.  The cost of using "virgin" plastic is much lower than using recycled materials, so there's little financial incentive for cosmetic companies to use them.  However, if they were taxed companies might be more likely to use recycled plastic.

  • New bioplastic.  Mirel is a new kind of bioplastic superior to the older versions due to its increased resistance to heat and better processability.  This means that it functions as well as traditional plastic containers, but with a much smaller carbon footprint.

  • Dupont packaging award.  The article doesn't mention which company won the award, so I'm assuming this is a brand new development, but in any case I think it's great that a big company will recognize the use of sustainable packaging that doesn't negatively impact the look or protection of the product.

Going against the grain: Smashbox's Mother Earth palette

Smashbox me In honor of Earth Day today I'm looking at Smashbox's new Mother Earth palette.  It rivals Cargo's PlantLove line in that it features both organic products (4 eye shadows and a blush) and packaging made from sustainable materials.  And for every palette purchased a tree will be planted by Trees for the Future, which is also a strategy adopted by Cargo. 
As our planet gets more polluted and global warming increases, let's hope more companies come out with more environmentally-friendly packaging and products.  It's becoming more common now, but it's still not totally mainstream.  I'd love to walk into Sephora and have each and every product be organic and come in recyclable/compostable packaging that also didn't harm the environment during production.  Hopefully this will be a reality in a few years.  In any case, Happy Earth Day! 

(photo from