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Green Beauty Conversations by Formula Botanica

Jul 1, 2021

Circular beauty is on the beauty industry’s lips and may seem yet another trend that’s here today and gone tomorrow. However, circular beauty should not be seen as a ‘trend’ at all. It comes under the concept of the circular economy or ‘cradle-to-cradle’ principle, which sees products as having a lifecycle in a loop.

Most of us have heard of the ‘cradle-to-grave’ linear lifecyle in which products see out their useful life to be disposed of sustainably. In the cradle-to-cradle product loop though resources used in and for product manufacture effectively stay in circulation. They are reused, recycled, reclaimed, upcycled and so on. The circular economy has zero tolerance of any waste and byproducts that can’t be recovered and returned to the loop; if not the original product loop, then someone else’s.

While the concept of the circular economy is fairly easy to grasp, the same cannot be said for putting its principles into action. The beauty industry in particular is a newcomer to the concept, which is why circular beauty may seem yet another sector trend.

As beauty products are ultimately washed off, absorbed by the skin, evaporate, are sloughed off with the skin or ditched – responsibly, we hope – it is impossible for the beauty sector to truly conform to the circular economy.

However, there are ways in which beauty product manufacturers, and we include indie beauty here too, can change their outlook and their processes to adopt circular economy practices. They can start to design its principles into their businesses and set their sights on aspiring to its aims.

At Formula Botanica, we have yet to come across a really insightful, practical definition of the term as it applies to beauty, and in particular, indie beauty.

So, in this episode, podcast host and Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier discusses with colleague Ana Green the very challenging concept of circular beauty giving us plenty of encouraging, practical examples of it in action.

The beauty industry has always had its pioneers. Circular beauty needs current and next generations of beauty entrepreneurs to take up its challenges now and not pay lip service to it as a ‘trend’ – for the planet’s sake.

In this episode on circular beauty, you will hear:

  • The 4 key principles of circular beauty and how they differ from and go way beyond the 'do no harm' mantra of most beauty industry efforts to be sustainable.
  • Examples of big and small beauty industry players who are taking practical, meaningful steps to include circular beauty in part of their production processes; and how some indie beauty business are leading the way!
  • A run through some of the barriers facing beauty businesses and a realistic assessment of just how challenging circular beauty is to the industry.
  • The effective and easier to implement ways indie beauty can play its part; for instance, by formulating products that can be used in lower quantities and therefore keep resources out of 'the loop'.

Key take-outs

The key take-outs include the first steps a beauty brand should take if they want to bring circularity into their business model, which are:

  • Digging deep into the supply chain of all your supplies, from ingredients to packaging, which might prove challenging and take resourcefulness and perseverance;
  • Looking at redesigning products to reduce their footprint and keep sourced materials to a minimum;
  • Knowing exactly how much waste your business creates - and include packaging waste you pass on to your customers; and
  • Seeking ways to create environmental net gain, not just mitigating your footprint's damage by, for example, giving to charities.