Real Girls Talk: Sustainable Organization With Beauty Pantry

Staying in has never felt sexier. As someone who loves to go out, the mere thought of having to lock myself at home scared the hell out of me when I first found out about the circuit breaker on April 7th. However, I’ve came to accept that after all, having to stay at home means making the most out of things I never really paid much attention to such as organizing. Given that frequent sales – especially on beauty products – are happening so often, it means having to struggle with organization, which is a weak point for myself.

I decided to get in touch with the girl bosses behind Beauty Pantry, Kimberly Ong, a digital writer, and Sarah Bennett, a design engineer. Ong and I were previously co-interns at Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore two years ago. Since we bonded over our love of being green and beauty products, I have seen her passions blossom into an educational Instagram account/shop, Beauty Pantry, which used to be Beauty Uncovered. While Beauty Uncovered schooled us on the effects of consuming mica to harmful ingredients like SLS, Beauty Pantry is a marketplace where you can shop for unused to lightly used beauty products.

Though sustainable consumption and education are still a priority for the BP team, I decided to check in with Ong and Bennett to talk about organizing beauty products, what clean beauty products to start with, which ingredients to stay away from and solutions to fixing face mask acne.

At this time of the year, I feel that we’ve been slacking off on makeup a lot and it gets to the point where we have more unused beauty products than ever. Since some of us tend to collect one or more similar beauty products, what kind of containers would you recommend using if we have to mix more than one product? 

BP: First off, check if your products can be mixed! We don’t mix our products that often, so we can’t vouch for its efficacy. But if you’re looking for a container, we’d always recommend looking at what you have, and using what you have on hand, which may be an empty beauty container you have lying around. This reduces needless purchases and let’s you reuse your already existing products, so there is less overall waste!

Organization is my weakest point, which leaves me feeling super duper lazy. For anyone who struggles to organize their beauty products, how would you organize your shelf? 

BP: Categorizing your products into sections (i.e. serums, moisturizers, to makeup such as eyeshadows and mascaras) is probably the first step to organization. By doing so, you know where to find what you’re looking for. I like to categorize them in the order of the layers I put on my face, whether it’s my makeup or skincare routine. So for makeup, I start from left to right, from base layers, blush and contours, to eyes, lips, and finally scents! Also never overlook the benefits of a good makeup organiser – it’s really an effective way of tidying up and displaying your products at the same time.

Smaller items go into organisers, while bigger bottles and larger palettes are sorted neatly in boxes. It also helps that I sort based on which products I use more often and which I’m just hoarding and hardly ever (or maybe will never) use – those products end up in Beauty Pantry for someone else to love.

Furthermore, when organizing your beauty shelf neatly, you know where everything is in place, and you can get a better gauge of what you may need to restock, what you are finishing up on, or what you are missing. That way, the next time you shop, you will be less likely to impulse buy.

Clean beauty is now a big part of our lives. Since it’s generally less harmful than most normal makeup products, what type of products should we start with? (Something mask-friendly, please!) 

BP: Having begun on this sustainable beauty journey, we’ve made efforts to not buy makeup as often, so we’re still experimenting with which clean makeup brands we like best (as we have yet to finish our current stash!) However, I adore the MILK Makeup KUSH mascara, the Ambient Lighting range from Hourglass, and their creamy lipsticks.

I also especially like my Kosasport lip balm for a bit of tint, or Burt’s Bees lip balm. Other clean makeup brands we like would be ILIA, Chantecaille, and RMS Beauty.

For those who are new to clean beauty, what ingredients have you stayed away from? 

BP: Just as there is a dirty dozen in food, there is one in skincare too. Common ingredients include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Parabens, synthetic fragrances, siloxanes and more, many of which are known to contain compounds that can make skin irritated or sensitive, or even cancer causing. Another ingredient I avoid is alcohol, as it tends to dry out skin.

It does get tricky as there are still many inconclusive studies over the safety of the ingredient use in skincare, and many misconceptions too – synthetic doesn’t always mean it’s ‘bad’, as is all natural skincare. 

Because of that, I’ve found it easier to stick to brands that are known to be non toxic, minimal and/or clean, where I know clearly what goes into the product, such as The Ordinary, to Bybi Beauty and Tata Harper. (The Inkey List is next on my to try list!) I’ve also included more oils into my skincare routine – currently, I am using Josie Maran’s Hemp Seed Oil and Kora’s Noni Glow Face Oil. When I first found out how much “non clean” ingredients were found in my common skincare products, I freaked out a little, haha, but we’re lucky to have so many clean options in skincare out there today! 

Now that we’re being regulated to wear a mask outside, what are some skin issues you’ve encountered and how would you fix them? 

BP: We go out less often now, so for me, I don’t do my full face of makeup as often anymore! It’s certainly more pared down than what my skin is usually used to. At first, I started breaking out a little, but because I’ve been letting my skin breathe a little more, it’s cleared up.

I also make sure to wash my reusable masks regularly so that the dead skill cells and natural skin oils that transfer naturally from my skin onto my mask doesn’t accumulate, which can lead to clogged pores on duller skin with repeated use.

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Michelle Varinata

Lapis - (n.) a layer Shrek once said that "onions have layers" as he was peeling one. Like an onion, I have layers. Born in Jakarta and raised in Singapore, I grew up being surrounded in a multicultural environment. Then, I moved to the States, where I lived in NYC and L.A. The creativity, hustle, bustle and vibe of those cities inspired me to become a blogger, journalist and influencer. Writing by day and living it up by night, I slay in the streets one OOTD at a time. Full-face makeup included, too. ;)

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