From waterless cleansers to plastic-free tablet toners, these five beauty companies are creating unconventional products that prioritise sustainability while maintaining effectiveness.
It is common knowledge that our modern day beauty routines come at massive cost to the environment, be it from excessive plastic usage, a reliance on toxic chemicals or the industry’s large-scale carbon footprint. But wastage is built into the beauty industry’s business model, and changing that is proving to be a mammoth task.
Large scale brands like Unilever are making commitments to sustainability targets like “ensuring all its plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.” But beyond the targets, businesses need to reposition their products to ensure they are not feeding into the “buy-and-throw-away mentality”—a key driver in the beauty industry’s wastage problem that has now reached 120 billion plastic units per year globally.
We know that finding sustainable and effective beauty alternatives can be hard and sometimes expensive, so we have rounded up five beauty companies who are also prioritising people and the planet, rather than solely profit.
Founded by cosmetic chemist Christal Leung, Skin Need was formulated specifically for Hongkongers. Their range of clean skincare products are equipped to protect your skin in the city’s notoriously humid weather and high temperatures, while also being long lasting enough to suit the fast-paced lifestyle of the city’s residents.
All of their products are produced in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified Hong Kong factory, and the products are also packaged locally—reducing their carbon footprint. Skin Need also promises clean manufacturing processes and the use of contamination-free ingredients and vegan formulas in their products.
Standout product? We recommend Skin Need’s Hydra Smooth Essence, Milky Lotion for Skin. This smooth lotion is ultra-hydrating but isn’t heavy—perfect for humid summer weather.
The name WULT Beauty, an acronym for Woke Up Like This, already screams fun and confident beauty. But, the bonus? The brand is clean too. Founded by two Hong Kong influencers and self-described “cosmetic fanatics”, Tawnia Lai and Jenn Lam, the duo set out to create the brand after realising many traditional beauty products contain hormone disruptors and harmful ingredients.
Their brand has essential basics like sunscreens and lip tints, but also stocks some more unique products like their ‘Lavender Twinkle SPF Sprinkle’, a loose powder that serves as a colour corrector, blotting powder and UV protector all in one. Products are infused with fruit and vegetable extracts, sourced from credible suppliers and are manufactured in an ISO 22716 laboratory—which ensures the brand has met necessary quality and safety requirements for the cosmetics industry.
Newly launched skincare brand, MONO Skincare, is 100 percent natural and relies on the power of prebiotics to keep your skin happy and healthy. The brand is revolutionising the way consumers buy and use beauty products by selling all of their products in bottles that you only purchase once, and instead of buying again, are refilled using plastic-free dissolvable tablets.
The tablets are available for all of their products including a cleanser, toner, moisturising mist, shampoo and deodorant. The founder, Laurie Mias, has had years of experience in the wellness scene, previously starting a cold press juicery called Mr Green Juice and later, a wellness resort named REVĪVŌ. Now, the serial entrepreneur is turning her attention to the beauty industry, and hopes her brand will contribute to a more sustainable future.
Singapore-born beauty brand B Human is at the forefront of waterless beauty products with their 100% plant-based enzyme powder cleanser—a dry face wash activated by a few drops of water. Inspired by ancient Asian wellness remedies and the power of anhydrous formulas used in traditional Chinese medicine, the powder products are FDA-approved, vegan and paraben-free.
The cleanser can be purchased in two recyclable and refillable options: an aluminium bottle or a handmade bamboo bottle. And as the products are powder-based, B Human state that they are also able to include higher concentrations of active ingredients into their products including superfood Acerola Cherries, antibacterial thanaka from Myanmar and Niacinamide Vitamin B3, which helps to reduce fine lines.
Clean hair care brand abyssian prides itself in its ability to make hair care as simple, sustainable and effective as possible. A variety of shampoos, conditioners, masks and sprays make up their product line, all of which have varying purposes and quirky names—like the ‘Anti Pollution Club’. All of their products are clear of toxins, irritants and other additives.
Alongside the cult favourites, abyssian has also brought a few innovative products to the hair care industry like their Sunday Detox Exfoliating Shampoo—a scrub for your hair that helps prevent itchiness while getting rid of buildup residue from chemical-based hair care products. There is also their Revitalizing Rinsing Mist, which harnesses an ancient Japanese ritual of using fermented rice water as a hair rinse, keeping the hair soft but not weighing it down.