Beauty Brands Walk the Sustainability Talk

Beauty brands and suppliers are ramping up their eco-friendly quotient in a bid to protect the planet and meet consumers' growing desire for sustainable products. Here, a variety of approaches:
Talking trash takes on a new meaning when it comes to the scent I Am Trash, Les Fleurs du Déchet, a fragrance made from waste issuing from the perfume industry. It comes from État Libre d’Orange and Ogilvy Paris, which created a digital campaign using old printed marketing materials from the fragrance house’s archives. The resulting scent, created by Givaudan perfumer Daniela Andrier, includes upcycled apple essence, rose absolute and Atlas cedar wood, plus notes of bitter orange and strawberry Gariguette. “I envisioned this scent as a fertile land,” she said. “My question was therefore: What could be reborn in this land? It is from this reflection that I had the idea to combine the materials from upcycling with notes of strawberry.”
Gotha Cosmetics’ Second Chance Mascara Drops — part of the Lallio, Italy-based makeup supplier’s ASAP, or As Sustainable As Possible, line — are billed to be the first mascara life extender. The drops come in water-based and non-water-based iterations that can be dripped into a mascara bottle to stretch the usage of the product and intensify its black color. The formula is eco-friendly, containing 98 percent natural, organic ingredients, which are biodegradable and have properties to moisturize, nourish and replenish lashes. Gotha said the Second Chance Mascara Drops’ other sustainable characteristics include waste-reduction benefits, such as the drops being made with a cold industrial manufacturing process that has a low environmental impact, plus the fact that people using them need to make fewer mascara purchases.
Paptic material, which is made of sustainably sourced renewable wood and feels like fabric, is being marketed to luxury brands as an environmentally sound alternative to paper and oil-based plastics. Paptic can be recycled with paperboard, and if it winds up in nature, the wood and other bio-based components are biodegradable, according to the Espoo, Finland-based manufacturer. The material has not yet been implemented in the beauty industry but could be used, for instance, in toiletry cases or bags and pouches for fragrances or cosmetics.
Nicolas Gerlier and Ezra Petronio launched La Bouche Rouge in late 2017 to address the plastic waste created by the cosmetics industry. According to the brand, 1 billion lipsticks are thrown away annually. So the duo created La Bouche Rouge’s lipsticks without microplastics in product formulas and with cartridges of stainless steel, which does not create a negative environmental impact, as it does not corrode. These click into a vegetable-tanned calfskin leather holder, making the lipsticks refillable. La Bouche Rouge’s quest to give back to the planet takes numerous guises, including through its charitable tie-in with the Eau Vive Internationale, which involves the brand supplying 100 liters of safe drinking water to children in Togo, West Africa, through the association for every lipstick sold.
Burt’s Bees, maker of the cult beeswax-based lip balm, in March partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to launch the Recycle On Us program in the U.S. People can sign up through Burt’s Bees or TerraCycle’s web sites. Empty Burt’s Bees packaging is put into an envelope on which a prepaid shipping label, provided by one of the companies, is attached. Each shipment that weighs more than one pound earns $1 that can be donated to a chosen nonprofit organization, school or charitable entity. Meanwhile, TerraCycle cleans and melts the items down, so the plastic can have a second life in recycled packaging or products.
In another take on upcycling, Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed last year introduced an eco-friendly line of luxury fragrances called Sana Jardin, which is being used to help female flower harvesters in Morocco build their own separate business. Each of the seven fragrances contains 15 percent to 20 percent essential oils, and is free from artificial colors, parabens and formaldehydes, plus has at least one ingredient grown in Morocco. Si-Ahmed is also working to save the leftover product from the oil- and fragrance-making that generally goes into landfill. So she created the Orange Blossom Project, which has the flower harvesters working year-round — instead of seasonally — transforming the waste into orange blossom water and scented candle wax, which are sold through a cooperative. And the women retain 100 percent of the revenues.
Makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis believes “refillables are the new recyclables,” and is asking customers to keep their Kjaer Weis packaging. Founded in 2012, Weis’ eponymous label aims to change perceptions and merge the gap between sustainability and luxury cosmetics. While parts of her products are completely recyclable, such as the cartridge refills made from paper pulp, Weis’ focus is on promoting multiple-use packaging and refillables. In some cases it's still uncertain whether packaging reaches a recycling facility, and because many facilities are unable to process recyclables at such a high rate, she believes refillables are better for the environment. The brand’s silver cases are marketed as a ”one-off buy” and consumers are encouraged to purchase a new cartridge or use the case to store other goods. Weis recognizes that “it hasn’t been possible to create a completely zero-waste product, but we’re still going to do the most we can, wherever we can.”
Loli Beauty turns food into beauty products, and stores its skin-care products in food-grade glass bottles and yogurt jars to prevent waste and promote reuse. Loli, which stands for “living organic, loving ingredients,” has applied this ethos to its non-GMO ingredients and product packaging. By partnering with Elevate Packaging, Loli uses compostable and biodegradable pouches, labels and boxes. “Sustainable luxury packaging used to be considered an oxymoron, but this is changing rapidly,” said Tina Hedges, founder of Loli Beauty. “In fact, sustainable packaging is the new definition of luxury, and packaging manufacturers are responding accordingly with more high design and sustainable options.”
One Ocean Beauty is making a list and checking it twice. The brand checks its ingredients against fellow beauty brand Credo's "Dirty List" of ingredients that are harmful to the environment, such as BHA, silicones and parabens. One Ocean Beauty’s goal is to harness biotechnology and to use end-to-end solutions that will preserve the environment and the oceans. “We are working towards zero waste from a packaging standpoint,” said Marcella Cacci, the brand's founder. “Both our primary and secondary packaging are recyclable, our shipping materials are from sustainable forestry and we’re proud to be pioneering this new beauty movement.”
Michelle Feeney, founder of Floral Street Fragrances and a former Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. executive, is creating packaging from raw materials. While Floral Street Fragrances candles, diffusers and perfume bottles are not yet made from recyclable materials, the brand’s tube-shaped containers for bath and body products, and all the secondary packaging, are eco-friendly. The tubes are made from 100 percent recyclable sugar cane bioplastic that has the durability of real plastic. Each of the brand’s products is housed in a sleek white box made from pulp carton and recyclable paper packaging. Waste water from the manufacturing process gets cleaned and recycled, while any leftover pulp gets composted.
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