“Sustainable by necessity” - How biomimicry makes beauty better, part 2

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

“Sustainable by necessity” - How biomimicry makes beauty better, part 2

Related tags: Personal care industry, Bacteria

Cosmetics Design connected with Mark Dorfman of Biomimicry 3.8 in advance of his presentation at next month’s Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York City to find out how biomimetics can be used to make genuinely sustainable personal care and cosmetic products.

In part 1 of this article ​on how biomimicry makes beauty better Dorfman notes, “chemistry is…a key factor contributing to public and environmental health drawbacks associated with commercial product production, use, and after-life management.” ​Which leads to the question of how chemistry can serve both (the beauty) industry and not be detrimental to human, animal, and environmental health.

Well designed

“After 3.8 billion years of nature’s R&D, living organisms have developed innovative strategies that are not only highly effective but are, by necessity, sustainable,” ​Dorfman tells Cosmetics Design.  

“Chemistry is at the basis of natural products and processes,”​ says Dorfman, “and living organisms have no choice but to do chemistry right where they need to survive, thrive, and raise their young.

“For that reason, biomimetic ingredients and delivery systems modeled after natural processes and designs are less likely to be pollutants or disruptive downstream. However, it is incumbent upon the chemists creating the biomimetic solution to follow nature’s models and not opt for incorporating petrochemical-based materials in their inventions.”

Improving upon nature

“There are real and growing concerns about the public and environmental health consequences related to the products and processes of the personal care industry. The living natural world’s time-tested strategies to achieve the same functionalities as desired by the personal care industry are a rich source of solutions to these problems—solutions that have a high probability of leading to both highly effective and sustainable solutions. Biomimicry is a methodology for systematically tapping into that resource.”

And Dorfman explains why biotech isn’t necessarily as valuable of a solution--mimicry is perhaps the sincerest and safest form of flattery. “From Biomimicry 3.8’s perspective, we strive to exclude biotech from our biomimetic design concepts,”​ he tells Cosmetics Design.

“We do that because there are still too many unknowns about the long term impacts of biotech, particularly transgenic engineering practices. We would probably be less concerned about biotech techniques that only utilize horizontal gene transfer between microorganisms as happens within natural micro biomes.”

To learn more about the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit where Dorfman will speak further on the topic of biomimicry and beauty, click here​.

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