The beauty sector is a half-a-trillion-dollar global industry, but it's only recently that beauty brands are finally starting to take part in the sustainability conversation. Largely, this is in response to greater consumer demands for transparency in how beauty does business - all the way from its supply chains to the truth behind its claims.
We've seen this play out on this podcast. Over the past year, sustainability has featured in just about all our episodes in some form. We have covered topics such as circular, net zero, zero waste and climate neutral beauty along with the issues like biodegrability, sustainable retail and skinimalism.
But, there are plenty of brands, from multinationals to indie beauty, who are are out there using sustainability terms as a veneer; green-washing us in other words.
How do we as beauty consumers verify the truth of a beauty brand's claim that their packaging is made of recycled materials? Or that they’ve offset their last year’s carbon emissions? None of us can hold every single beauty brand to account on every single impact.
One ambitious entrepreneur is on a mission to change that by encouraging the beauty industry, as well as many other industries, to verify their claims and turn positive social and environmental impact into brand value; a win-win for brands and consumers.
In this episode, Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier talks to Jessi Baker, MBE, the founder and CEO of Provenance, a software solution verifying sustainability claims and helping empower shoppers to make sustainable, ethical choices at the point of purchase.
Altri episodi di "Green Beauty Conversations by Formula Botanica"
EP91. Does an indie beauty brand's mission matter?
44:37Does an indie beauty founder's mission matter as much as the products they formulate? This is scary territory for formulators who love creating products and dream of one day launching a beauty brand. But decisive answers to questions like this are fundamental to any beauty entrepreneur's journey. What will your brand stand for? What do you as a founder bring to the brand story? What is your philosophy and your brand's purpose? If you thinking of your own journey as an indie beauty founder but are floundering and feeling overwhelmed, this episode with Formula Botanica graduate and new business owner Sandra Velasquez is the inspiration you need. Everyone's backstory is different, however Sandra's mission in building Nopalera - a bath and body line infused with her Mexican heritage - has universal messages relevant to all would-be beauty entrepreneurs. Sandra spent a whole year honing her core philosophy and getting her branding to reflect her vision for Nopalera as an upmarket Latino beauty brand. She bucked perceived norms, plugged a gap in the market, stunned and silenced her critics and grew a community around her mission. And all because she had a clear vision of Nopolera not only as a profitable, successful brand but also as a trailblazer helping Mexican producers be valued and get the credit they deserve. Sandra launched Nopolera as a high-end Mexican bath and body line in 2020. Inspired by the indigenous Nopal cactus, Nopalera, after just one full year of trading, is now in 250 independent retailers across the States including Nordstrom. Sandra has been featured in major media outlets including NBC, Elle, Vogue and Forbes. In this episode of Green Beauty Conversations, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier invites Sandra to take us on her journey. We discover the power of creating an authentic brand with a mission far greater than that of selling skincare.
EP90. Everyone can formulate skincare
7:59Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier starts the year sharing the message that cosmetic formulation is within everyone's reach. In this opinion short, Lorraine says history shows us that homemade cosmetics were in fact the norm from ancient times until the early 20th century. Then, a change happened when marketing, branding and big business took over convincing us that only cosmetics made in industry labs were valid, safe and effective. This is ironic since many now household international cosmetics' brands were in fact started by women pioneers from their kitchens. Now, Formula Botanica and its 14,000-plus community of student formulators and graduates - hundreds already with their own successful indie beauty brands - are busting this industry myth. Everyone can be empowered to formulate their own skincare and has a right to learn formulation and discover what goes on under the lid of mainstream products. The indie beauty movement of skincare entrepreneurs is on the cusp of something big. Listen in to hear how a skill reclaimed is shaking up the mainstream cosmetics' industry. Green Beauty Opinions challenge you to be the voice of change making the beauty industry better, more transparent and sustainable.
EP89. Pioneering talk with Pai Skincare
46:48It is not every day you get the chance to have a refreshingly honest, down-to-earth conversation with the founder of a beauty brand that is taking the world by storm. Sarah Brown, founder of Pai Skincare, joined podcast host and Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier for an epic Green Beauty Conversation that takes us on Pai's journey from garage start-up in 2007 to being voted the 5th most popular skincare brand in the world in 2021 with almost 5 million global online searches. A proudly independent, organic brand and unswerving in its commitment to making products in house, Pai stands out as not only one of the first natural cosmetics brands to arrive on the scene, but also as one that has stayed true to its founding principles. Financially viable, forward thinking and walking the walk on sustainability, Pai is at heart still very much an indie brand and a rarity in a beauty industry rife with greenwashing, buyouts, outsourcing and hype. This episode is a mine of information with behind-the-scenes insights into the daily life of a growing brand, and valuable to any would-be or early-stage beauty entrepreneur. Sarah Brown tells it straight with no fluff. If you want to know just what it takes to build a business born of a personal skincare need and grow it into a brand that has gained customer loyalty and is driven by ethics, passion and purpose, then settle in for 45 unstoppable minutes of beauty industry hard talk. Sarah launched Pai in 2007 as a certified organic skincare line for sensitive skin. Pai formulates and manufactures all its products from its custom-built facility in London. Previously, Sarah was International PR Manager for E&J Gallo Wines. In 2015, she joined the Board of Cosmetic Executive Women.
EP88. Beauty shoppers should vote with their wallets
6:37Welcome to this Green Beauty Opinion in which Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier picks up on an important issue raised in the previous episode on carbon neutral beauty in her interview with the co-founders of BYBI Beauty. BYBI’s Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minorovic said that to date, the time, effort and money spent on developing BYBI as a truly sustainable brand was not making a mark on consumer consciousness as a key reason to choose their brand’s products. Is sustainability not such a big issue for consumers after all? Lorraine quotes several leading opinion polls conducted in the past few years that tell a different story showing consumers are keen to buy from brands that put sustainability at the heart of their business. Lorraine points out that there is a clear mismatch between what consumers say they are doing or wish to do and what they are actually doing at the point of purchase. They are simply not voting with their wallets and choosing brands that embed sustainability in their DNA. Why is this? Some polls show that consumers don’t know how to tell if a brand or product is sustainable. So does the blame lie with the brands or the consumers? This grey area of responsibility blurs the action needed now which is for us all to reduce our consumption and go out of our way to question the brands we buy from. With greenwashing still rife - as we have heard in our episodes on waterless beauty and biodegradablity - we all as consumers need to take the responsibility for sustainability and not lay the blame elsewhere. Listen in for a thought-provoking five minutes that challenges us to be the voice of change and integrity, making the beauty industry better and more sustainable.
EP87. Sinking carbon while selling skincare - is this possible?
41:02Uncontrolled beauty consumerism is inherently not a sustainable economic activity. We’ve said it before on the Formula Botanica podcast but it’s worth stressing again: the entire life cycle of a consumer beauty product from cradle to grave can be a long list of carbon-producing processes. The growing, harvesting, processing and shipping of raw, natural materials coupled with beauty product packaging, distribution, retailing and waste create a complex chain of potentially carbon-emitting steps and unsustainable practices. So, faced with this reality and a sense of overwhelm about the daily news on the climate crisis, what can an indie beauty brand meaningfully do to ensure it doesn’t burden the planet, or do even better by becoming planet positive? With this key question in mind, Green Beauty Conversations’ podcast host and Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier invited the founders of indie brand BYBI to shed light on their mission to become not just a carbon neutral but also a carbon-negative – or planet-positive – beauty brand. In this insightful, no-holes-barred episode, Formula Botanica graduates and BYBI co-founders Dominika Minorovic and Elsie Rutterford prove the sceptics wrong. Listen in for some refreshing honesty in a world of greenwashing and hear how one beauty brand is carrying out sound plans to sink carbon while successfully selling skincare.
EP86. Are we dumbing down sustainable beauty?
6:23Welcome to this Green Beauty Opinion in which Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier shares her opinions on the polarised debate about the sustainability of beauty ingredients that pits naturals vs synthetics - yet again. Lorraine’s interview in the last episode with Emily King of FairWild raised nuanced questions about not just the sustainability of wild-harvested cosmetic ingredients, but also that of natural botanicals and synthetics in general. Sustainability can be seen as a three-legged stool that functions only if each leg - planet, people and profit - is in balance. Should we opt for a synthetic alternative if local communities who gather and trade ethically in the natural ingredient have their livelihoods wiped out? Regulated, sustainable practices may support future generations and keep alive valuable cultural know-how and traditions. As you can see, there is no black and white answer to the sustainability of any cosmetic ingredient, natural or synthetic. We simply don’t know if a synthetic or natural ingredient is more sustainable across all three pillars without meticulous research. Yet, some in the beauty industry, particularly voices on social media, would argue that synthetics are the more sustainable route to take now. This is far too simplistic a viewpoint. It dumbs down the discussion and ignores the complexity inherent in sustainable beauty. Lorraine challenges us to think carefully about the arguments we hear articulated, and urges us as indie beauty advocates to keep an open mind. Listen in for a thought-provoking five minutes that challenges us to be the voice of change and integrity, making the beauty industry better and more sustainable.
EP85. The truth about wild-harvested beauty
25:53Wild harvesting plants as cosmetic ingredients sounds idyllic. It conjures up visions of nature's botanical bounty going straight into beauty product formulations, barely processed or adulterated by human hand, and carefully selected from woodlands, hedgerows, forests, mountains and moors. Wild harvesting is certainly a marketer's dream. You will no doubt have seen beauty products sporting 'wild harvested' labels and brands mentioning on their packaging and websites that their products include wild-harvested botanicals. But harvesting any plant, whether a commercial crop or a wild plant, has an environmental impact. Wild harvesting may sound the ultimate way to source natural beauty ingredients, but how do we as consumers know if the wild harvesting of precious botanicals isn't leaving its own damaging footprint on the planet? Wild harvesting could turn out to be a far cry from the sustainable image it portrays. To help unpack the truth about wild harvesting, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier invited Emily King, business engagement officer in the secretariat of the FairWild Foundation, on the show. FairWild is a non-profit initiative with the mission to secure a fair and sustainable future for wild plant resources and people. Listen in to hear just how wild harvesting can be a real force for sustainable good - for planet, plants and people - if managed the right way.
EP84. The beauty industry is avoiding the elephant in the room
5:59Welcome to this Green Beauty Opinion in which Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier asks if by using trending terms like 'waterless', the beauty industry is shying away from the very real challenges of sustainability. Waterless is on the beauty industry’s lips, and follows on from concepts like carbon neutral and biodegradable beauty, skinimalism, beauty miles and more. But, waterless is a particularly irritating term as behind the scenes every beauty product leaves a water footprint, large or small. Waterless is no doubt used by well-meaning beauty brands keen to do the right thing for the environment. But, as Lorraine argues, by heralding the latest concept as yet another definitive blueprint for sustainability, the beauty industry is glossing over issues and avoiding the elephant in the room: its inherently unsustainable model of rampant economic growth built on finite resources. Latching on to single concepts deflects attention from the far more challenging blueprint for sustainability the industry needs to adopt. Lorraine invites us all to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk in our drive for beauty industry sustainability. Listen in for a thought-provoking five minutes that challenges us to be the voice of change and integrity, making the beauty industry better and more sustainable.
EP83. How waterless beauty greenwashed the beauty world
19:10Waterless beauty is on everyone's lips these days and waterless products are being touted as a key pillar of the beauty industry's drive for sustainability. But, as with most beauty industry buzzwords, the term waterless has the potential to be hype, hot air and just another case of greenwashing. In this episode, Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier, a biologist and chartered environmentalist, is joined by colleague and deputy education manager Ana Green to unpack the waterless beauty trend. Listen in for a reality check on the meaning of waterless. Does it have substance or it is just another beauty industry marketing term that doesn't stand scrutiny? In this episode on waterless beauty, you will hear: How the term waterless has gone from meaning simply anhydrous products and then more concentrated solid products to being equated firmly with sustainability. About the 4 key reasons waterless beauty products have captured consumers' hearts and minds. How a beauty product may have a totally waterless formulation, but will inevitably leave a water footprint throughout its life cycle. Why waterless beauty can be considered window dressing and that the sustainability issues facing the beauty industry are far more nuanced. Key take-outs include: Waterless skincare in the true sense of anhydrous products has plenty to offer beauty consumers. Water plays an important role in skincare products. An optimal beauty routine would involve hydrating the skin topically with water-based products which can also impart water-soluble, active ingredients. It is misleading to use waterless to imply a product is automatically a more sustainable option. Instead, the beauty industry should be talking about 'water-responsible' beauty and practices.
EP82. The beauty industry has a problem with transparency
6:17Welcome to this Green Beauty Opinion in which Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier shares her main takeouts from the previous episode interviewing Jessi Baker, MBE, Founder and CEO, of Provenance, a software solution helping brands build trust and enabling change through transparent communications. Traditionally, the beauty industry and consumers have thought of transparency as relating to ingredients alone, and focused on the near polar debate of natural good, synthetics bad. However, when it comes to transparency about sustainability, the debate is more nuanced. Eradicating greenwashing requires us to ask questions about beauty brands’ commitment to recycling, waste, the climate, their social footprint and far more. And we need transparent, verifiable evidence of any claims they make. Thankfully, with the power of tech solutions, companies like Provenance are independent auditors of claims, helping propel brands to a more sustainable place and in doing so helping consumers make more sustainable choices. Lorraine challenges us to think about what is important to us in the beauty products we buy and to press beauty brands for transparency about more than their ingredients. Listen in for a thought-provoking five minutes that challenge us to be the voice of change and integrity, making the beauty industry better and more sustainable.