Beauty Product Houses Focus on Sustainability, Environmental Impact

Historically, consumers have been less concerned with buying sustainable skin care products than they are today. While many men and women have chosen cruelty-free projects over the years – and felt a lot better about their healthy skin knowing that animal testing wasn’t used in bringing the products to market – they didn’t have as many options for being socially responsible about the climate and planet.

That often meant creating their own beauty products from cucumbers, lemons and other organic products at home. Yet with the millennial demographic now representing the lion’s share of skin care consumers, companies are introducing environmentally sound creams and cleanses to attract their next generation customers. Among them is Christian Dior, which launched its new Hydra Life line in March. While currently available at Sephora stores, the skin care collection will have wider availability in April.

While it may seem counterintuitive, the Dior fashion house turned to cutting edge science labs in order to achieve that back-to-basics natural look that millennials seek for two reasons. First, there’s its nearly-no-makeup clean look, but just as important is the statement it makes about choosing socially conscious brands. So Dior partnered with the Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health to better understand and leverage the science of skin, microbial flora and genetic impacts. The project features 200 researchers, includes 250 patents and has published findings in 370 scientific journals.

The results are gentle on the skin, the company says, with products that dramatically reduce the reliance on petrochemicals that impact both the environment and one’s skin health. Also eliminated – or nearly – are silicone and parabens. Parabens are preservatives that are widely used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and have been since the 1950s. According to one cosmetic chemist, about 85 percent of all cosmetic products have them, but many alternatives have cropped up because consumers are more concerned than ever about the risks and their overall wellness. The Aveda line and Burt’s Bees are two familiar brands that also are popular because they are paraben-free.

When companies turn away from parabens, sulfates and other chemicals found in health and beauty products, they usually turn to plant-based alternatives. That’s just what Dior did too. The research team studied the Anjou flower, which has a unique cellular capacity to filter water so that it channels the purest water to its corolla, the collection of petals. The flower also has a biological structure that Dior was interested in for its pleasing textures, so the company incorporated the concepts into Hydra Life.

The science supports skin hydration by boosting a network of aquaporins that share water across the active cells of the skin and redistribute water to where skin signals say it is needed most. The line is meant to attract millennials and their $1.3 trillion purchasing power through use of the sustainable, clean products they can believe in, with daily rituals that are designed to be game-like fun and feels.

Finally, there’s the packaging made from recyclable paper and cardboard products, and natural inks. For many of the 80 million Americans who this year will be between the ages of 20 and 36 years old, the sustainable product – and the ecofriendly company behind it – is a must. It’s a real shift away from the industry messaging that usually focuses on older skin care consumers, while reaching a new generation with the best scientific solutions for both their skin and their sustainable ecosystems.

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