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Green Beauty Conversations by Formula Botanica

Apr 28, 2022

Our last podcast episode on the sustainability of using tropical ingredients in our cosmetics raised the issue of transparency in supply chains. 

In this Green Beauty Opinion, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier examines one solution to this lack of transparency; going local.

Should indie formulators seek to source their ingredients as close to their homes and labs as possible? What implications and advantages are there in doing so? Is it more sustainable to go local than shipping ingredients across the world?

Lorraine points out that supply chains are hard to unravel. We have very little information on an ingredient apart from its safety data sheet (SDS), which says nothing about sustainability apart from mentioning the toxicity of a material. We can't know for certain if any ingredient, local or not, is a sustainable option.

For example, a particular seaweed ended up crossing country borders five times as it was shipped in and out during its processing into a cosmetic ingredient. Would it still qualify as a local and more sustainable ingredient?

Going local in your sourcing of ingredients can however hold out hope for indie beauty formulators keen to be sustainable.

Formula Botanica has always stressed indie formulators should build strong relations with reliable suppliers. If they are local, then you can have even greater chance of making this a success. With strong ties, comes a flow of information, insights and advantages, such as greater quality control and brand differentiation.

Lorraine points to her podcast interviews with international beauty brand founders May Lindstrom,  and Sarah Brown of Pai Skincare who both said that that keeping manufacturing in-house and using trusted, mostly local suppliers had given their brands an edge in quality and transparency. By going local you can also infuse your brand with your heritage and with personal meaning.

Every little we can do to help drive sustainability in our formulations and brands is worth it. Going local may not be the complete answer, but by doing so, indie beauty can start to make a sustainable difference and avoid those murky supply chains.