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Q&A with classical singer, mother & sustainable dweller, Eva-Maria Ghannam.

by Yasmin Farry |

Tell us about yourself

Marhaba/Kia Ora, I'm Eva-Maria, a Lebanese mum of almost 2 year old, boy Ziad. I'm originally a trained journalist and classical/folk singer and I moved to Aotearoa four years ago to be with my now husband Gareth. When we met, Gareth had just bought a piece of land in Karekare bush (Waitakere Ranges) and just started building a tiny house. This is where we spend most of our time where we try to be as sustainable and ecologically responsible with everyday choices as we can. We catch rainwater, use solar power, use compostable bamboo nappies, compost our food, and use a tiger-worm compost toilet. 


How does your day usually start?

I get to be woken by bird song every morning, or my son's need to start discovering the world around us - or simply the need for some breakfast :)

I couldn't really say that I have a solid beauty routine - as one would expect.


When did you discover natural beauty products?

I became interested in clean beauty a few years back. I always thought of it being too out of reach, expensive or maybe that it wouldn’t work as well as the conventional options. It was just easier to quickly pop into a shop or supermarket and grab whatever I needed at the time: a lipstick, a mascara, shampoo... I never bothered researching ahead and rarely read the ingredients list when shopping. 

However, I started sensing the incongruence between my clean food and healthy habits lifestyle, and my not-so-clean beauty products. This was more accentuated after moving to New Zealand and into the bush. I realised more than ever that I was part of the natural ecosystem and that, as much as I want to make smart and sustainable choices when choosing the right dishwashing liquid for example, my choice of beauty and self-hygiene products should be the same. I was also reminded skin is our largest organ and what we put on it seeps into our bodies, much like the quality of food, water and air going down our throats. However, I didn't know where to start (I just very rarely used any make-up or face products in the meantime) until Biddy & May showed up! 


Can you share any wellness or beauty hacks with us?

Wellness and beauty hacks - alright. 

Tongue scraping in the morning, be gentle, if you're getting the gag reflex then you might be too aggressive. 

I think that when converting from conventional beauty products to clean and natural ones, it might get overwhelming. Just start replacing your favourite and most used items with their clean alternatives as they run out, and slowly build up your beauty kete again.

Also, lots of clean products are versatile, passe-partout kind of ones, like a lip balm that can also be used on the cheeks or the eyelids. The (M)ANASI7 All Over Colour and the new Axiology Balmie are a great example. This is more cost and space-effective - especially when you're limited on the latter - and is also more sustainable and practical. 


What’s the one new clean beauty product you can’t live without?

My one clean beauty combo (cheating, sorry) that is essential to me at the moment, especially when on the go, is my Oat Milk Foundation in Maple in addition to the Natural Mascara from Lily Lolo. The foundation unifies my skin tone in a subtle and natural way, it also feels light on my face and is beautifully complemented by the mascara that is also quite defining. My eyes look awake and are not irritated. This mascara is a winner!


Shop Eva-Maria’s Biddy + May favourites:


Axiology Sheer Balm (Radiance)

Oat Milk Foundation (Maple)

Natural Vegan Mascara