Luxury beauty companies that offer innovative packaging, turn waste into valuable products and offer eco-friendly alternatives to traditional active ingredients will be the ones to get ahead, according to a new report from UK-based sustainability consultancy Positive Luxury.
The Future of Beauty and Fragrance report from Positive Luxury argues that the beauty industry of tomorrow will be driven by innovation and simplicity, with sustainability the shared core value. The report, which explores topics including biotech beauty ingredients and packaging made from carbon emissions, has four key takeaways for luxury brands:
- invest in innovation across both formulation and packaging,
- rethink newness with a minimalistic approach,
- be inclusive,
- validate your product claims
“The winners in the future of beauty will not be defined by clever marketing and brand recognition, but by cold, hard science." What will set them apart in what is defined as an "already crowded market"? "Their ability to turn waste into luxury products, to offer sustainable alternatives to active ingredients and to use innovative packaging,” states Diana Verde Nieto, Co-CEO Positive Luxury.
Advances in biotech could help “bridge the gap” between nature and science, says Positive Luxury, pointing to how the food industry has leveraged biotech, notably with cultured meat. “If the beauty industry could follow suit by investing in bio-fermented alternatives to established ingredients, then a lab-powered paradigm shift could be on the horizon,” states the report. Examples cited include Amyris with its squalene alternative, Geltor’s animal-free collagen Collume, and Arcaea’s plans to develop a bio-engineered Keratin.
While Coty is using Lanzatech’s sustainable ethanol produced by carbon capture technology for its fragrances, L'Oréal has partnered with the US-based start-up and Total to create the first cosmetics bottle made of carbon emissions. The first bottles (shampoo and conditioner) to use this material are expected to hit the market by 2024. Positive Luxury also highlights 111SKIN, a brand that is focused on "waterless beauty" and is aiming for minimal, recyclable packaging made of PCR materials. It is also looking to replace its current glass packaging offer with an aluminum alternative. Air Company, meanwhile, which notably commercializes vodka and fragrance, uses carbon conversion technology to create alcohol from carbon dioxide for its products.
The report cautions that making a single adjustment in one category is not sufficient, and it is only when multinationals “implement multiple technologies across their entire portfolio” that real change will come. “With the clock to net zero ticking louder every day, the power is in the hands of smaller, forward-thinking start-ups who can adapt and rethink their manufacturing methods with agility,” says the report.