Capsum brings sustainable natural beauty supply chain indoors

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Satephoto)
© Getty Images \ (Satephoto)

Related tags Naturals Sustainability Supply chain

Each year, the formulation technology company hosts pop-up events in Paris, New York, and LA to showcase their unique microfluidic tech as well as a concept-of-the-year. Capsum’s innovation for 2019 is a self-contained facility where botanical ingredients are grown, harvested, processed, and formulated into finished skin care products.

The Capsum team finished up their 3-city tour last week; but their efforts to innovate the future of beauty continue. This year’s concept, called the Tomorrow collection, is just “the first step in making Capsum’s dream of producing cosmetics in a sustainable factory a reality,” ​according to materials shared with Cosmetics Design at the New York City edition of this year’s Capsum pop-up.  

The place

Capsum’s sustainable manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, is on track to open next year. The so-called urban farming venture will benefit from water drawn from an on-site aquafer, energy gathered by solar panels, and in-house capabilities spanning cultivation, harvest, extraction, formulation, and filling.

The Japanese buckwheat seeds that are sprouted to yield the company’s active CMG (Capsum Microgreens) are coming from a farm-based supplier in Japan. Though presumably, those too could eventually be cultivated and harvested within the same LEED Silver Certified facility.  

The product

It’s widely understood in beauty that industrially produced and synthetic inputs have an advantage over wild ingredients in that they are a known quantity, predictably consistent in purity, potency, quality, etc.

And as much as the Capsum team has set out to source ingredients and produce formulations that are sustainable, innovative, and effective; it seems they’re equally determined to make natural beauty as scalable and profitable as conventional beauty has been for generations.

Capsum MicroGreens are of “vegetal origin, pesticide-free, perfectly traceable, with a minimal environmental impact,” ​as company materials about the Tomorrow collection explain. And, the Japanese buckwheat boasts several skin care advantages like anti-inflammatory properties and a collagen-boosting effect. Perhaps most importantly, now that all things microbiome have captured the attention of beauty consumers and industry insiders alike: “buckwheat is known for its prebiotic role. Preserving the cutaneous microbiota offers an individual and singular approach to beauty, in revealing the skin’s natural glow,” ​according to Capsum.

This sustainability and efficacy profile, in combination with Capsum’s distinctive microfluidic tech (a custom mechanism that combines oil and water into bubble-like microcapsules), makes for a very innovative approach to beauty product production.

The plan

Capsum’s annual concepts certainly always draw on cultural trends, consumer insights, and up-to-date luxury cues, but the 2019 Tomorrow concept is exceptionally wide-reaching in both its inspiration and impact.

The company has committed to a no-plastic packaging strategy, instead using only paperboard, metal, and thin glass. “Today’s consumer is more and more conscious of her environmental footprint. She turns to brands that dare to make choices that are more radical and responsible,” ​asserts the Capsum materials, which go on to describe the company’s new no-plastic position as “a simple and radical action, which sends a message to consumers….This new generation of packaging …[is] free of wasteful applicators.”

And Capsum wants to push the boundaries on transparency too, showcasing its tech this year in transparent jars and vials, using the microfluidic tech to create transparent bubbles in transparent product formulas (an essence, a sérum, a gelée, and a crème). This simultaneously literal and figurative take on transparency, in conjunction with their indoor ingredient sourcing strategy, gives Capsum leeway to assert that “the Tomorrow collection is a perfect allegory of transparency.”

The company fully believes that tomorrow’s beauty consumer will adhere to the wisdom of designer Vivienne Westwood; one of the first things visitors to the 2019 Capsum pop-ups saw was the Westwood quote, “Buy less, Choose well, and Make it last.”



Deanna Utroske's reporting on clean, green, and sustainable beauty solutions ranges from coverage of small-batch wildcrafting ventures to industrial scale technologies like the one featured here.​ As Editor of she covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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