Sustainability-focused personal beauty care product brand Clean Circle has recently announced the launch of the first-ever dissolvable undereye mask. The Lights On Dissolvable Undereye Mask is an innovative release in the eco-friendly beauty space, formulated with Niacinamide and 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid at gentle levels for sensitive skin in a fully dissolvable format that completely disintegrates if thrown into the trash.
To learn more about the background behind this product, the development and formulation process, and future plans for further innovation in this space, CosmeticsDesign spoke to Lena Chao, founder of Clean Circle Beauty for her insights.
Overcoming challenges to product development
When Chao set out to expand Clean Circle’s personal beauty care product offerings, she applied her understanding “understand that we can develop products through an interdisciplinary lens, and looked to other industries to see what they were doing and how we could potentially incorporate their technology into beauty products,” she shared. Therefore, to ensure successful product development, she partnered with “a biotechnology food company to develop our one-of-a-kind dissolvable under-eye mask.”
When approaching the product development, Chao focused on utilizing materials that Clean Circle was already familiar with and already used in other product formulations successfully. “Clean Circle formulates with culturally relevant ingredients,” she explained, “and we’ve already worked with the konjac root before, but I felt we hadn’t shown its full benefits.” Thus, to ensure continuity with a base ingredient through its product line, konjac root was again explored as a hero ingredient for the Lights On undereye mask.
The development process, however, was not without significant challenges, which included ingredient sourcing, packaging, and product formulation. For example, she shared, “the first batch had a high percentage of active ingredients that were highly irritating to the skin.” To overcome this issue, “we had to help recalibrate our lab’s food formulation philosophy to a nuanced beauty formulation understanding,” she explained.
Further, “we also had to work collaboratively with our lab to formulate cleanly, as our formulation abides by The Credo Clean Standard, since they are leading the definition of what ‘clean’ means and one of our retail partners.” The balance between business viability and sustainability efforts, she stated further, is always a challenge but an important consideration as Clean Circle “continues to iterate towards our sustainability goals.”
Though challenging, Chao’s efforts to formulate and launch the product have been fruitful, and because of her work, the “product can completely eliminate single-packaged eye masks, which I’m extremely proud to bring to market,” she said. In addition to being fully dissolvable in hot water, she explained, a used eye mask can be thrown into the trash and will disintegrate on its own.
Additionally, she added further, the packaging is completely curbside recyclable, and Clean Circle uses “Novi Connect to continue our due diligence on ingredient transparency,” with this and all the brand’s products.
To remain aligned with the brand’s mission to remain sustainable, Chao “takes ethical manufacturing and sourcing seriously– from factory floors that make our beauty reusables to where our ingredients are coming from.” Further, the brand continues to “try our best to have a 360° understanding of the many touchpoints in our supply chain, as we believe these are the necessary steps to create environmentally sustainable products,” she explained.
Future plans for Clean Circle
Moving forward following the Lights Out Dissolvable Undereye Mask launch, Chao stated that she hopes the product “inspires brand founders, buyers, and consumers to push the boundaries around sustainability in beauty and showcases effective cultural ingredients in a modern way through our products.”
Considering that “there is still so much ingredient exploration to be done where Clean Circle can champion both sustainability and culture,” there is much room for further brand innovation and product development in the coming months and years.
The goal for Clean Circle, Chao concluded, is that the brand will successfully be able to ultimately “bridge the gap for consumers having to choose between sustainability, accessibility, and specific-treatment products.”
To achieve this mission, Chao and Clean Circle will continue to work towards providing consumers with options so that they do not have to choose between those three options when considering purchasing options. Instead, the brand hopes to eventually launch “specialty stores for sustainable, ethical products or outdated mass formulas that don’t address our ever-changing lifestyle and environmental needs.”