5 to 5 was co-founded by Nico Yosman and Selvie Jusman, who both have a background in finance.
Launched in June, the Singapore-based brand’s philosophy is that everything it does “from product development to marketing communication” should be “rooted in science”.
Yosman and Jusman believe that the information clean beauty brands tend to market, such as a fear of certain ingredients, is contributing to its downfall.
“The trends have been leaning towards clean beauty in recent years, but we think there’s a shift happening. People are starting to question what clean beauty brands are saying about the ingredients you need to avoid,” said Yosman.
This has been largely driven by the scientific community, which have long questioned the messaging around clean beauty products, he said.
“There are many dermatological experts and cosmetic chemists that are on social media now who are very active and very vocal. These discussions are now gaining traction and I think that’s where the industry is going to be in the next couple of years.
“Consumers are getting smarter, and they are not going to take what you tell them at face value. They can easily do their own research. As more awareness grows people are going to be demanding more robust communication from brands.”
A shrinking market?
Yosman emphasised that he does not think the clean beauty market will disappear overnight as they serve a very specific group of consumers.
“There will also be a certain group of individuals that decide to choose that lifestyle – we see this in diets. There will always be a subset of people who want the cleanest food or skin care – nothing that sounds suspicious at all. If you’re that kind of consumer, I think it would be very hard for a scientist or academic to convince you otherwise.”
However, he is sceptical that the clean beauty market will continue to grow at the same breakneck speed it has been for the past few years.
“Clean beauty brands can still serve those people who want that lifestyle, but will it grow at the pace it did in the last few years? I think that will be very difficult.”
‘We are not a sustainable beauty brand’
The company is also concerned about greenwashing in the beauty industry, where it has observed many brands simplifying a very complex issue to negative effect.
For instance, Yosman pointed out how many brands tout glass as the sustainable option when it can have more “environmental cost” than plastic.
“In my opinion, there is no such thing as sustainable skin care. As long as you consume something you are going to impact the planet. The best thing for the planet is for you to stop buying your products at all. But at the same time, you can also be conscious and cognizant of your intake, and you can try to minimise, or at least improve the condition.”
The brand refrains from positioning itself as a sustainable beauty brand. Instead, it prefers to label itself as an eco-conscious brand.
The company is a member of 1% for the planet, which means it contributes 1% of its annual sales to environmental non-profit organisations to combat climate change.
For its packaging, the company uses monolayer plastics that can be recycled easily.
Yosman admitted that 5 to 5 still needs to improve a lot in this area. For instance, the pumps on its bottles cannot be recycled because it is made from multiple materials that are difficult to separate.
“This is what we have done so far, but we're not going to stop here. Being eco-conscious is really core to our philosophy. We have more plans going forward in the future… The ideal is to become a fully circular skin care brand, but that’s difficult and we will take baby steps to get here.”