Eco boost: Five recent developments in sustainable beauty across APAC

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Five most-read stories relating to the sustainable beauty movement in APAC. [Getty Images]
Five most-read stories relating to the sustainable beauty movement in APAC. [Getty Images]

Related tags: eco-conscious, Sustainability

We round-up of our five most-read stories relating to one of the hottest topics in beauty today, featuring innovative solutions to the sustainable beauty movement coming from Asia Pacific.

1 – ‘Responsibility to drive change’: Watsons targets more markets for refill stations after successful Malaysia launch

Health and beauty retailer Watsons will launch Naturals by Watsons refill stations into Hong Kong stores this month​, following a successful pilot in Malaysia.

As part of its company’s sustainability initiatives, Watsons launched the first Naturals by Watsons refill station in Kuala Lumpur in February to reduce the overall impact of its plastic use.

The station, located in Sunway Pyramid, offers six eco-refills for bestselling products from its house brand. According to the firm, the eco-refills use up to 58% less plastic than a regular bottle.

The launch was in line with the company’s target to offset 2,250 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Additionally, the initiative honours Watsons’ support of ClimatePartner’s Forest Protection and Clean Ocean initiatives.

2 – Masking impact: Is the sustainable beauty movement threatening Asia’s sheet mask fixation?

Facial sheet masks are an Asian beauty staple, but consumers are wising up to the waste these single-use products can generate and driving the need for more sustainable solutions to keep the category thriving.

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ at the height of the pandemic last year, specialty fibres company Lenzing expected the market size of facial sheet masks in Asia to grow as consumers began to place self-care and wellness as a top priority.

This was reflected in the growth of Lenzing’s Veocel brand which recorded double-digit growth in Asia last year. Veocel branded lyocell fibres are used as a facial sheet mask material for Asian brands including Watsons, Sensatia Botanicals and Annie’s Way.

While facial sheet masks have been considered ubiquitous in Asia for years now, awareness of environmental damage caused by single-use products – like facial sheet masks – are threatening their place in the Asian beauty routine.

3 – Waste not: Unilever files patent on coloured post-consumer resin beauty packaging

Personal care major Unilever has developed sustainable black packaging​ made from layered post-consumer resin materials, breathing new life into plastic previously treated as waste.

Writing in its international patent, Unilever said it had used a multilayer post-consumer resin design to achieve the sustainable black plastic packaging suitable for personal care, beauty, cosmetic, home care and food products. It said the invention enabled black plastic waste to be re-used in new packaging across these categories – currently complex to do with today’s global recycling streams – and the significant reduction of virgin plastics.

Earlier this year, TerraCycle’s CEO said a robust global recycling market was a long way off and widespread industry innovation was required for true change to happen.

4 – Lip service: Personalised lipstick brand zeroing in on clean and sustainable beauty trend to drive growth

Pandemic-born bespoke beauty start-up Lips Carpenter aims to tap into the interest in clean and sustainable products​ to drive growth after relying on the personalised gifting market to sustain itself during COVID-19.

The Malaysia-based start-up that specialises in personalised lipsticks. It offers more than 30 shades of lipstick that can be paired with over 20 different cases that can in turn be personalised with an engraving.

In addition to the personalised beauty trend, the company is tapping into the interest in clean and sustainable products to drive growth with natural formulations and eco-friendly packaging.

“When we first started the brand, we wanted something people could relate to, so we focused on clean ingredients and the sustainability factor. Of course, there are a thousand similar products on the shelves out there and with a personalised product, everyone can have something they truly love. I think this all together gives us a very good position in the market,”​ said founder Law Yifon.

5 – Beautiful waste? Dutch startup Honestly it’s wants upcycled beauty to move mainstream

Circular beauty startup Honestly it’s has developed a waterless, upcycled coffee scrub​ and is working on an orange peel waste variant to launch next year – products it wants to take mainstream and inspire other brands with.

Launched in June this year, Honestly it’s spent two years developing its first upcycled beauty product – a biodegradable three-in-one body wash, exfoliator and moisturising scrub made from collected coffee grinds. Packaged in compostable 10g sachets designed for sustainable single-use, the ‘My Addiction’ foaming scrub powder needed to be mixed with tap water ahead of use and was certified vegan and cruelty-free.

Muqaddas Rahmonova, founder of Honestly it’s, said the brand had started with coffee waste because of how much ended up in landfill every year.

“When coffee decomposes it becomes acidic and the ground soil changes its pH. If pH changes, it causes a lot of problems. I also found out that when coffee decomposes, it produces another greenhouse gas methane, 20 times stronger than CO2, and just thought ‘oh my god, this is crazy’,” Rahmonova told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

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