30-minute watch – Episode 3

Clean & Ethical Beauty Video Series Episode 3: In The Lab

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

CosmeticsDesign Clean and Ethical Beauty Video Series Episode 3: In The Lab

Related tags clean & ethical beauty clean beauty Biology Sustainability

In this installment of the Clean & Ethical Beauty Video Series from CosmeticsDesign, Editor Deanna Utroske speaks with Luciana Coutinho of luluble and Alison Cutlan of biophile skincare to find out what goes on in the laboratories where clean beauty is made. Scroll down to watch Episode 3.

In the opening remarks to this third episode of the Cosmetics Design Clean & Ethical Beauty Video Series, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor Deanna Utroske notes that “clean beauty has been emerging for some time now, and really picked up momentum over the past 5 years.”

“Still,”​ she says, “consumers, retailers, and brands each have their own unique expectations and requirements for what is, in fact, clean and ethical when it comes to cosmetics, and personal care, and fragrance.” ​And this is where the experts come in.

Reformulating conventional skin care products for the clean beauty marketplace

“What makes a clean and ethical formulation different from a standard formulation?”​ asks Luciana Coutinho, Founder of luluble, at the start of her presentation.

Form there, she proceeds to outline the distinctions between 2 apparently identical skin care formulations, highlighting the variabilities from one product brief to another as well as the important questions that formulators need raw material suppliers to answer in order to make a clean beauty formula into a clean beauty product.

Coutinho’s presentation emphasizes how important is for product developers to understand the product brief, whether the overarching ‘clean’ parameters are coming from a brand client, a retailer, or an in-house marketing team.

“Make sure you talk to raw ingredient suppliers” ​she says, to determine what “extraction methods they are using,”​ if the certifications they provide actually fit the product brief that you are working with, and take time to be sure that both you and your client are comfortable with the purported sustainability of the supply chain.

Reimagining personal care by merging skin biology, microorganisms, and the human microbiome

biophile skincare is a beauty startup that isn’t waiting around for the future to arrive. The biophile brand launched late last year, as Cosmetics Design reported​, and is at its core a clean and sustainable beauty brand “powered by biology,” ​as Co-Founder Alison Cutlan notes in the opening remarks of her presentation.

“From a formulator’s standpoint,” ​she says, “we really have to keep the skin biology in mind; and with the microbiome, we are learning that there needs to be a new paradigm shift.”

By “working with biology as a tool,” ​says Cutlan, formulators can develop products that are simultaneously effective, clean, sustainable, and microbiome friendly.

As she explains this means using materials that are grown, using bacteria, yeast, fungi, algae, etc. rather than inputs that are synthesized from petrochemicals or harvested from cultivated or naturally occurring plants. It means, “using living systems to create sustainable materials, [that are] more symbiotic with our bodies and the environment,” ​says Cutlan.

Watch the full video above, which includes presentations from both Coutinho and Cutlan as well as a question-and-answer discussion about what clean beauty in the lab really looks like. In this portion of the video, Coutinho shares her go-to clean beauty silicone replacement ingredient and Cutlan spotlights the whitespace that still exists in clean beauty packaging today.

You can also take a look back at the first two episodes in our Clean & Ethical Beauty Video Series: Episode 1 digging into why this movement matters​ and Episode 2 looking behind the brands to talk about the opportunities and challenges of innovating in the field.

Clean & Ethical Beauty: The experts

Luciana Coutinho, Founder of luluble


Luciana Coutinho is a Chemical Engineer and Founder of the brand strategy and product development consultancy luluble. Her consulting firm specializes in product dev and prototype formulations for cosmetics, OTC products, and medical devices from concept to counter: with exceptional technical assistance from pre-development, development, pre-commercialization to commercialization.

Alison Cutlan, CO-Founder of biophile skincare


Alison Cutlan is a Biologist and Co-Founder of biophile skin care. The innovative indie beauty brand brings “scientific rigor, creativity, and imagination” ​to skin care product development and formulations in a whole new way. As the brand site notes, biophile “merges the power of bio-fermentation and nature to create sustainable, pro-biome skincare that works. Our breakthrough formulas are made with the help of microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, algae). Whether that be our Biotic Broths or other actives we add to our formulas, these ingredients are more bio-compatible, potent and sustainable.”

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