I’ve shared a few cork items on my blog previously because cork is my favourite material, but none of those products were for beauty lovers. Today that changes because I have an awesome cork makeup bag from the brand tsom to share with you. Makeup bags are very handy for any beauty lover, as they allow us to store and carry products with ease. However, most of these bags are either made of leather, which requires the death of an animal and a lot of environmental damage to produce, or are made using a faux leather/vegan leather alternative, which is usually polyurethane (PU) or Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) . Faux Leather doesn’t have the same animal cruelty involved as animal leather, but it is a plastic and so it can take hundreds of years to degrade after you are done using it, and it can also create microplastics in the process. I care about both animals and the environment so neither of these common makeup bag materials really suit my needs, but cork is vegan friendly, sustainable and biodegradable, so it is the perfect material.
tsom is a Melbourne based business specialising in eco-friendly cork leather jewellery and accessories. I originally found tsom when I went searching through lots of cork hashtags on Instagram trying to find any Melbourne based cork brands. I was really excited when I got an email asking if I would like to review one of their products, and even better, it was going to be a makeup bag. I have previously reviewed cork products, because I love this sustainable material, but none of the products have been something for beauty lovers, so I’m really excited to share this product with you.
Nadia, the founder and creative mind behind tsom, was born in Russia, but came to Australia to get a masters degree, and has now made Melbourne home with her family. tsom stands for ‘This Side Of Me’, which is a Savage Garden song that Nadia connects with as she hopes that this business will bring out her outgoing and creative sides. Nadia started tsom in 2016, as she was unable to find a job as a new mum, so she created one herself. tsom has grown and changed during that time. Originally the business focused on polymer clay jewellery which was a success, but Nadia couldn’t “quite make peace with the fact that polymer clay is basically plastic”. Because of that, tsom has now evolved into an eco-friendly cork based business. Nadia loves being a part of the creative community but most of all loves connecting with her customers, particularly in person, which is why she likes doing markets. As a customer, I also love going to handmade markets as I enjoy talking to the small brand owners and hearing about their real passion for the products they make. If you can ever make it down to a market where tsom is at, you will be able to see the whole range of cork products available, which includes earrings, bags, and accessories, like key chains. There are even some homewares ideas in the making which will be great to see in future.
Cork is such a unique material because it comes from a renewable source and is biodegradable when it is no longer needed. Cork, the material, often referred to as cork leather, comes from the Cork Oak Tree (Quercus suber), which is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork leather is made by removing the bark from the main part of the Cork Oak Tree, which leaves the tree unharmed. Cork bark can be harvested from a mature tree approximately every 9 years. Most Cork Oaks live for well over 200 years, so many trees can be harvested 12 times. A Cork Oak will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere throughout its whole lifetime, so cork trees can be used as a sustainable resource while helping the environment at the same time. When a cork product is no longer usable, it can be composted – I do want to note though, that it’s only the cork leather of a product that you can compost so that needs to be separated from any other materials in the product.
Cork is the perfect material for bags and accessories as it’s soft, light, flexible, strong and durable, plus it’s water-resistant, stain resistant and has anti-microbial properties. This natural, sustainable material can be sewn into traditional bag shapes and it comes in a variety of colours to suit lots of peoples preferences.
The tsom cork cosmetics bag that I chose is made of half natural cork and half rainbow flecked cork. The rainbow flecked cork looks like regular cork in some lighting, but then when the light catches it, you can see the rainbow of colours reflecting back at you. I tried to show you how pretty it is with the photos in the blog post, but I think it looks better in person. The inside is lined with a light lilac waterproof fabric and includes an internal slip pocket, to store smaller items in. There are other cork and lining colour options on the tsom website, so you can choose the one that you like the best. Each cork makeup bag has a flat base and wide opening to make it easy to store a lot of products in them. The current bags on the website are 25cm x 15cm x 8cm, so they can easily store a whole face of makeup in them. The zipper is really sturdy, so it’s not going to break after a few uses like so many of my makeup bags have in the past. The quality of the cork joins and stitching is impeccable, it is a very well made product, so I know it will last for many years to come.
I am very happy to have an eco-friendly way of carrying my beauty essentials around now. This tsom makeup bag is big enough that I can store a whole face of makeup in it, and I know if there’s a product leak, that it won’t make it through the layers of this bag and on to everything else. The stitching is really well done, so I know this bag will last a long time, and when I am no longer able to use it, I know that the cork can be composted. I hope to replace more items in my life with cork as it’s such a great material with it being plant based, vegan, sustainable, renewable and biodegradable. I was sceptical about how much I would love cork before I bought my first item, but I am such a convert now. If you haven’t tried a cork bag, I recommended picking one up so that you can see how soft and nice to use this material is. If you’re a beauty lover, then a tsom cork makeup bag is a great place to start. Otherwise there are a whole range of cork products out there that you can try. You can buy one of these cork makeup bags from the tsom website, and check out the other tsom products which includes cork pouches, bags, earrings and accessories. If you like eco-friendly products then check out my eco-friendly posts. I am trying to make more sustainable choices in my life and like sharing some of things when I can. What is your favourite eco-friendly product swap that you have done in your life? Cork is obviously one of mine. If you want my new blog posts sent to your inbox, then sign up to email updates, You can also find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
What do you think of this tsom cork makeup bag? Will you be picking one up to make your makeup bag more sustainable?