4 Types of Sustainable Skincare Ingredients Your Beauty Brand Should Try

Eco-conscious consumers are looking for sustainable ingredients. Want to be the brand they’re looking for but not sure where to start? Here are four types of sustainable skincare ingredients your brand can try.

Sustainable skincare is no longer just a trend. It’s a way of life. If your beauty brand wants to be a market leader, sustainability efforts can’t be ignored.

While packaging and good manufacturing practices are just as important for a well-rounded, sustainable beauty brand, sustainability has to start with the very ingredients you use in your formula.

So, what classifies an ingredient as “sustainable?”

There are a lot of terms that beauty brands use to reflect sustainability, including:

  • Clean: non-toxic ingredients
  • Sustainable: renewable raw materials
  • Natural: plant-based source
  • Organic: made using non-GMO farming
  • Eco-friendly: naturally biodegradable and cruelty-free
  • Green: sourced, produced and packaged in a way that won’t harm the planet

The below ingredient ideas check most of these boxes.

#1 — Bio-Engineered Ingredients            

Biotechnology can create unique skincare ingredients that contain microbial and bacterial properties. These ingredients are engineered in a highly regulated laboratory setting. They are a combination of microorganisms and engineered DNA of specific microbes. This very scientific approach to skincare can help the environment while improving your customer’s health and wellness — a big win for everyone.

There are 2 main use cases for biotechnology:

#1 — Replicating animal-derived ingredients without exploiting them

Biotechnology makes it possible for beauty brands to use the beneficial properties of animal-derived ingredients without exploiting animals.

For example, squalene, a popular moisturizer ingredient, is derived from shark liver – clearly a non-eco-friendly ingredient. With biotechnology, scientists can now mass produce squalene in a humane way (known as a-squalene) so beauty brands across the globe can use it in skincare formulas

#2 — Increasing the amount of a naturally derived ingredient

Some beauty brands are also using biotechnology to increase the amount of a naturally-derived ingredient.

For example, a postbiotic complex, IceAwake™, extracted from Swiss glacier soil is, extremely rejuvenating for the skin. Using biotechnology, we can use a small sample of water from the glaciers and recreate its beneficial bacteria without depleting the natural resource.

#2 — Upcycled Ingredients

Upcycling discarded byproducts like fruit pits and plant seeds is a great way to give them a new purpose. The upcycling process reduces enormous waste and also gives beauty brands  a chance to experience the rewards of sustainable ingredients.

Some examples of upcycled ingredients are:

  • Hydralys: a combination of melon fruit extract, citric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. It is known for softening and moisturizing the skin.
  • Liftiss: extracted from baobab tree fruit oil. It has multiple firming and moisturizing properties, making it ideal for radiance serums and eye cream.
  • Date seed extract: has anti-inflammatory benefits. It can visibly reduce skin redness and enhance skin tone for a smooth, even look.
  • Raspberry NECTA®: a raspberry pulp with nourishing and hydrating properties that brighten and soothe the skin.
  • Blueberry NECTA®: created by mechanically crushing blueberry pulp. Similar to raspberry necta, it also has nourishing and hydrating benefits.
  • Barley seed: fermented barley seed with added glycerin to create a soothing, moisturizing ingredient for skin and body care formulas.

#3 — Fermented Ingredients

Fermentation is a great way to raise the concentration of nutrients and antioxidants in certain ingredients. This process uses every element of a plant, so none of it goes to waste. Ingredients that are fermented biodegrade quickly and easily, meaning the products that feature these ingredients won’t add to landfill waste. Some examples of fermented skincare ingredients include:

  • Mushrooms: have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. They can help brighten the skin, heal acne scars and treat hyperpigmentation.
  • Ginseng root: helps slow collagen loss so skin retains its elasticity. It also has high concentrations of vitamin D and B12.
  • Rice powder: raises melanin synthesis and targets dull spots and skin discoloration to naturally soften and clear skin.

#4 —  Powder Ingredients

Many plant elements can be extracted and turned into powder formulations that accomplish a lot of sustainable skincare and wellness goals. Powder formulas just need a small amount of water to activate, and they eliminate additives and artificial fragrance. They are often entirely vegan and made 100% from ingredients of natural origin.

Powder formulas don’t require a lot of packaging, which make them an ideal green product. Plus, they pack a high concentration of antioxidants, which is good for your customer.

To create the powder, scientists use concentrates of bioactive phytochemicals and soak the mixture in a solvent that evaporates later, leaving behind the powder and rich antioxidants.

Some popular powder ingredients are:

  • Arrowroot powder: helps the skin absorb excess oil and promotes healing.
  • Rose petal powder: known for having significant anti-aging benefits to the facial skin.
  • Oat powder: an exfoliant that rubs away dirt and dead skin cells.
  • Matcha green tea: known for reducing acne and retaining skin elasticity.

Final Thoughts

Sustainable ingredients bring invaluable benefits to both consumers and the environment. They make it possible for brands to prioritize the earth without sacrificing performance. If you are curious about adding sustainable ingredients to your skincare line, this list is a great place to start.

Sustainability flows through everything we do – in our culture, at our offices, and through our beauty solutions. Discover our efforts (so far) here. Ready to incorporate sustainable ingredients into your skincare formulations? Start a project with us today.