Sustainable Beauty strategies for the 2020s

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (AnSyvanych)
© Getty Images \ (AnSyvanych)

Related tags Sustainability Plastic Waste circular economy green beauty

The New Year marked a new decade as well; and over the past two months news of environmentally sustainable cosmetics and personal care products, packaging, and business operations point to a future where green practices are built in rather than added on to the industry.

Already this year, news of sustainable innovations can be found all along the cosmetics and personal care value chain.  Here is a selection of the sustainability issues and approaches that made headlines recently on

Brand innovation

Competitions, awards, and non-profit initiatives that encourage brands and manufacturers to get creative about sustainability are becoming more commonplace.

Late last year, L’Oréal announced a challenge competition for university students around the world, to source creative ways to eliminate plastic from the beauty industry​. And next month, the Blue Beauty Awards from INNOCOS and Beauty Heroes​ will celebrate beauty, wellness, and lifestyle brands that are going beyond sustainability and actually using their businesses to restore the natural environment.   

The move toward a circular economy also has beauty businesses finding novel solutions to sustainability. Industry ingredient makers like BASF, DSM, and Solvay; packaging companies like Aptar; as well as Unilever are working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new Circulytics tool​ to eliminate material and resource waste throughout their operations.

And innovative brand’s like Beauty Kitchen​ and L’Occitane’s new DUOLAB brand​ are helping establish what circular business practices in this industry can look like.

Packaging and design

Recycled and recyclable packaging materials are highly sought after by brands and beauty consumers alike. And product launches like Āether Beauty’s new lip color collection​ go along way toward educating industry insiders, retailers, and consumers about the realities of recycling. As do incentive programs like Luxe Botanics’ #RecycleWithLUXE campaign, which shows consumers how beauty packaging must be prepped for recycling​ and offers the brand’s customers a discount on future purchases when they do disassemble, rinse, and recycle the brand’s product packaging.

In recent months, oral care brands from both Colgate and Unilever have made headlines for their greener packaging and product designs. In late 2019, Colgate launched a new recyclable toothpaste tube for its Tom’s of Maine brand​. And, just this month Unilever introduced a toothbrush made from 100% recycled plastic.

Formulation and science

At Green Beauty Night in Los Angeles, California, this month, chemists and biotech insiders shared information with each other and with beauty consumers in the interest of educating on and advancing the cause of sustainable beauty. And that panel discussion is now available online as an episode of The Eco Well podcast​.

Ingredient makers are showcasing and launching solutions and technologies that make cosmetics and personal care product formulations and production processes more sustainable. Exhibiting at Uplink Live last month, Dow spoke with indie beauty brand leaders about the company’s ACULYN Siltouch Rheology Modifier and how that ingredient makes room-temperature formulation of lotions and creams possible. Without the need for heating and cooling, notes Verna Talcott in her interview with this publication, formulation with ACULYN lowers the carbon footprint of the production process.

While new ingredient launches from suppliers like TRI-K highlight the “eco-friendly” ​aspects of new products. In a recent promotional item posted on​, TRI-K asserts that its new Galguard Trident S preservative facilitates the production of “biodegradable products that create zero waste.”



Deanna Utroske is a leading voice in the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as in the indie beauty movement. As Editor of, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders. Learn more about sustainability in beauty today in this recent #duviews video. ​ 
And CLICK HERE to learn more about Deanna and her work. 

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