Innovations from By-Product Beauty to Circular Product Lifecycles to Sustainable Packaging

Cosmetics Business Live offered one of the most thorough, informative, and exciting online events of the season. Each speaker presented on the latest trends and developments in the cosmetics and personal care industry. Aprinnova was a Featured Exhibitor and presented on “How to Join the Sustainable Beauty Renaissance.” From May 10 through 14, experts provided insights into formulations, ingredients, regulations, packaging, and marketing and sales trends. Live Q&A sessions and presentations sparked thoughtful conversations and connections.

From the five days, we compiled some of the sustainable insights from the speakers. Below, we prepared summaries if you missed any sessions. In each section, you’ll also find Aprinnova resources to learn about formulating with sustainable ingredients and how to produce more eco-consciously. Together, we can push the boundaries of clean beauty and personal care.

By-Product Beauty with UpCircle

The co-founder of UpCircle, Anna Brightman, walked the audience through circular beauty and how to change the industry’s perception of waste. Instead of linear waste streams from the food or lumber industries, UpCircle converts the waste products into a circular economy. In 2018, UK (where UpCircle is based) coffee consumption was up to 95M cups per day. With so many cafes creating waste from coffee grounds, UpCircle saw a 95M cup opportunity.

UpCircle sources their coffee grounds for body scrubs from local cafes. Not only is this supporting larger sustainability efforts, but it is also directly impacting the local economies for the UK cafes. UpCircle offers a variety of products, all derived from wastestreams — olive pits from olive oil production, leftover spices from chai makers, fruit waters from juicing companies. UpCircle also embodies sustainability throughout their branding with marketing materials printed on recycled coffee cups.

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The Skinification of Hair Care

Michele Burgess, Executive Director of Product Development at Oribe, discussed trends in the haircare market. Burgess describes beauty practices as rituals for consumers. During these times, consumers increase their happiness themselves with beauty in place of going to the salon. It also aids in creating a distinction from the “work self” to the “home self,” when the lines become increasingly blurrier with work from home situations.

Burgess recommends brands take a holistic approach to haircare. Instead of focusing solely on the hair shaft, products should incorporate benefits for the scalp. Healthy scalp means healthy hair. Consumers are beginning to learn more about the similarities between the scalp and the facial skin — both have sebaceous glands producing oils. With this in mind, brands can develop products that speak to these more informed consumers who appreciate and opt for a holistic approach. The beauty industry has seen that makeup incorporates skincare benefits; haircare can now incorporate similar multifunctional benefits of skincare.

Burgess also pointed out market trends for the beauty industry as a whole. There is a markedly increased trust in science as consumers are becoming more educated, especially given the current global circumstances. There is also the need for distinction between clean, natural, and sustainable. Consumers often confuse the terms, and brands must be clear about the value propositions they offer.

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Phytocannabinoids: CBD and Beyond

Tanja Bagar, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and CEO at ICANNA, the International Institute for Cannabinoids. ICANNA is a non-profit NGO with partners from Slovenia, Germany, and Austria with the goal of raising awareness and advancing cannabinoid research. During Cosmetics Business Live, Dr. Bagar offered insights into the human endocannabinoid system and how brands can leverage CBD and CBG for holistic wellness.

The human body contains 36 trillion cells, each specialized for their own function and attuned to chemical communication through signaling molecules. The cannabinoid receptors did not evolve for phytocannabinoids. Instead, they were selected for as part of the endogenous human endocannabinoid system, regulating functions like eating, sleeping, relaxing, memory formation, and protection via the immune system. The endocannabinoid system regulates the skin’s homeostasis, barrier formation, and regeneration. Brands can leverage these benefits through multiple different cannabinoids — the most commonly known being CBD. The cannabinoid compounds truly are expansive and include differing solubilities and effects. For more information on how to get the most out of your cannabinoid skincare products, read our study comparing five common carrier oils.

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Empowering and Educating Consumers on Ingredients

Colette Laxton (Co-Founder and CEO) & Mark Curry (Co-Founder) from the INKEY LIST highlighted the importance of transparency in a skincare customer’s journey. They founded the INKEY LIST with transparency ingrained in the brand — it was named after INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient, or the systematic names to identify cosmetic ingredients). At the time of founding, many skincare brands did not show their product ingredient lists and relied on marketing to talk about the benefits instead.

The lack of transparency became a difficult obstacle for many consumers, leading them to seek out forums like Reddit to break down various products. Broadly, there were two types of consumers: confused consumers and curious consumers. Confused consumers quickly become paralyzed by the knowledge gap, while curious consumers demand science-backed claims. Transparency is the key to both consumer types. With more educational resources, the INKEY LIST has been able to placate the confused consumers, while speaking to many of the science-backed benefits the curious consumers seek. The educational content can be found throughout their brand: on the box, pronunciation for the ingredients, and a newly launched website with a recipe builder and extensive customer support.

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A Product Lifecycle that Won’t Cost the Earth

Simon Duffy, Founder of Bulldog Skincare & Waken, described the many avenues brands can follow for packaging alternatives. Instead of single-use plastics, brands can adopt sugarcane-based plastic or use post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. Bulldog was the first male skincare brand to use sugarcane as its raw material in packaging. For its moisturizers, emissions have now decreased by 19 percent. Their shower gel and haircare are packaged in 100 percent PCR, and their shave gel is powered by air, further minimizing the contributions to greenhouse gases.

Bulldog also designed their products with sustainability and circularity in mind. Their razor handles come in two formats: the original bamboo handle or a recycled beer bottle glass handle. These razor handles can be reused with a replaceable razor head. For deodorants, Bulldog uses mono-plastics to maximize recyclability, whereas traditional deodorant formats are composed of multiple plastics, creating a recycling problem. Bulldog has also pushed to use more solid formats, such as bar soap, to minimize packaging. With all of their paper or cardboard packaging, Bulldog uses FSC-certified materials. These same sustainability and recyclability efforts are echoed in Duffy’s latest mouthwash brand, Waken.

Related Aprinnova Resource:


Cosmetics Business Live covered many fascinating topics in clean beauty and emerging trends. Brands can work towards successful product launches by incorporating these new topics and catering to the consumers’ needs. Consumers are looking for brands who source sustainably and circularly, offer products with multiple benefits, and incorporate plant-based ingredients such as cannabinoids. To learn more about new market trends and meeting the consumer, read our extensive Future of Clean Report.


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