Although we have recently seen an unprecedented industry-wide push to develop green beauty products, true sustainability in skincare is about much more than just pandering to the latest customer trends. It is a wholly different working method, mindset and philosophy. It is a challenge for the beauty industry. Yet if undertaken successfully, it also offers a little spark of hope for the rest of humanity and the planet.
Using less water, up-cycling skin-beneficial by- products from other industries, following ‘zero waste’ policies, reducing the use of plastic as much as possible and avoiding the use of rare ingredients… These are just some of the boxes beauty brands must tick if they want to be truly sustainable. It is NOT a trend, but a necessary change for a better future.
“There are brands who claim to be sustainable because they are “environment-friendly”. This is not enough. The three main pillars of sustainability are respect for the environment, social equality and supporting the local economy”, clarifies Pedro Catalá, pharmacists and founder of Twelve Beauty. “I always recommend checking out a brand’s environmental policy to determine if they are really sustainable or if it is just a marketing strategy.”
Twelve Beauty; The epitome of botany, science and sustainability in skincare
Fusing botanical expertise with clean, skin-safe science. This simple phrase defines the essence of Twelve Beauty. Each product has been carefully and rigorously formulated to bring much-needed relief to stressed, sensitive and reactive skin. And it is this brand philosophy that has won the hearts of even the most demanding of clean beauty clients.
One of their core objectives as a brand is to only use ingredients that have a low environmental impact. Whether it is as a by-product from other industries or nitrophilic plants. (FYI, nitrates generally come from the decomposition of organic substances linked to human activities such as fertilizer, rubbish dumps, etc.) Mallow is a prime example as it grows very quickly in ‘poor’ soils and requires little water. No wonder it is one of the brand’s top twelve ingredients present in many of its formulas.
“We avoid all rare, exotic or low-yielding ingredients in our formulas. For both ecological and business reasons. This approach helps us to avoid ingredient shortages, both for ourselves and our competitors, and avoid globalization, climate change or land-use changes,” reveals Pedro.
Furthermore, on the Twelve Beauty farm, you will find an indigenous olive grove. Planted not only to help reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere but to also improve soil quality, and benefit the local environment and community. They try to source their ingredients from local suppliers with good environmental and social practices or at least from the ones closest to them, to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. The studio and laboratory are powered by 100% renewable energy, with much of it generated on-site by their impressive solar panel installation.
Glass, a great alternative to plastic
“Our formulas are packaged in Miron glass, also known as UV glass because its dark colour protects from radiation. And although glass has higher CO2 emissions, by opting for Miron Glass our products are protected from light and oxidation. They stay fresher for longer without the need for using aggressive synthetic preservatives,” explains Catalá.
“For the outer packaging, we use chlorine-free, FSC certified paper and cardboard. We also avoid plastic coatings or laminates and we use soy-based inks, meaning that it is all easily recyclable,” he concludes.
Up-cycling; An infinite source of powerhouse ingredients
Skincare science has found a use for by-products hailing from other industries, especially from the food sector. These by-products would normally be discarded, generating significant waste and impact on the environment. Yet, it turns out that they are an infinite source of natural, highly skin-beneficial ingredients. This is ‘Up-Cycling’ at its best.
Realising the value of nutrient-rich by-products fits in perfectly with the philosophy of Twelve Beauty, where choosing ingredients based on their low environmental impact is a must. For example, take the spent grain wax present in Jojoba Quench Body Serum. This by-product is generated by the use of malt in breweries. It just so happens that spent grain wax is also very rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, known to improve skin barrier function, soothe and calm irritated skin.
These highly beneficial by-products should be considered valuable, prime raw materials. Real sustainability is not just about following the latest market trends. It is about true present-day business awareness: Producing more with minimal resources.
Recycled aluminium packaging, the material of the future
Despite suffering bad press, aluminium in its recycled form is one of the most sustainable and health-safe options around. It is the easiest packaging material to recycle. It is also an excellent option to protect formulas from degradation. Moreover, it is easy and cost-effective to print directly onto the metal, doing away with the need for paper, plastic or vinyl labels.
Another reason why aluminium should be considered the material of the future is because it also protects against moisture-related oxidation and maintains the temperature of the formula. In the case of Twelve Beauty, container and formula compatibility has been exhaustively tested. In addition, aluminium is a lightweight material meaning it has less impact on transport CO2 emissions.
Every bit helps …
Pedro Catalá also volunteers part of his time to conservation projects, both in the Jardi Botanic at Valencia University and the CCB in the Orto Botanico di Cagliari, Sardinia. In addition to this, he is passionate about the conservation of flora in general (hence starting the Twelve Beauty farm). However, he is quick to add that, “I place a lot of emphasis on employee happiness. This for me is true sustainability.”