Plastic-free stores, low-waste packaging, recycling programme: K-beauty brand Melixir’s multi-pronged approach to sustainability

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Melixir's focus is on developing new products that maintain and protect the skin microbiome. ©Melixir
Melixir's focus is on developing new products that maintain and protect the skin microbiome. ©Melixir

Related tags K-Beauty Asia South korea circular beauty Sephora Skin care

Korean skin care brand Melixir has embarked on a vigorous expansion campaign across Asia via Sephora, while also working on its sustainability initiatives and new products targeting the skin microbiome.

Particularly conscious about its environmental impact, one of Melixir’s goals is to make all products with 50% PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastics and glasses by 2023.

In addition, the firm is investing in R&D to produce single-material containers to steer away from conventional multi-material usage in the cosmetics industry.

To minimise paper consumption, it has stopped including leaflets with its products. Instead, the brand and product information are printed on the packaging itself. It has also done away with plastic or vinyl seals.

As part of its commitment to environment conservation and to spread awareness of an eco-friendly lifestyle in various forms, the firm piloted a “Plastic-Free Store” in November 2020.

The pop-up space in Seoul was designed to eliminate waste that is typically generated from store construction.

For instance, the products were displayed on recycled waste and sustainable materials such as used cardboard packaging and paper boxes. After the event ended, the materials were repurposed and reused for another pop-up store in 2021.

In May this year, the Plastic-Free Store was brought to Malaysia.

“The response has been wonderful. Visitors liked our concept of combining sustainability and minimalist aesthetics with natural lighting of the space, where they could also enjoy a sensory experience of our key ingredients like bamboo and green tea.

“In the future, we hope to translate our vision of connecting people and nature in the design of our flagship store. We want to continue the Plastic-Free Store approach as much as we can. [As for a permanent ‘sustainable store’], we will choose a location where our brand can find like-minded people and community to root ourselves in,” ​Hana Lee, CEO and founder of Melixir, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

Meanwhile, consumers can join the brand’s sustainability initiatives through its MeCycle programme, which creates new products from recycled plastics and glass that are then donated to other businesses.

“Many of our customers are proud to take part in the programme. They send us their empty bottles to be recycled, and read about our efforts in a monthly sustainability report, which tracks the carbon reduction,” ​Lee said.

Vegan Lip Butter ©Melixir

Vigorous expansion

Melixir’s biggest markets at the moment are South Korea and the US, while it is actively working with Sephora to expand to more Asian countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and India.

“From K-drama to fashion and beauty, there is huge interest in Korean culture in South East Asia (SEA). We want to be the first in bringing the latest K-beauty trends to the region. Our Vegan Airfit Sunscreen is the top seller under the sunscreen category at Sephora Korea, and we are happy to introduce it to the SEA markets,” ​Lee added.

Said to be lightweight and provide intensive hydration without being greasy, Melixir’s products appear to be a good fit for consumers in tropical SEA cities.

“We have received positive feedback on how our products suit Asian skin, such as the texture and shades of our Vegan Lip Butter,”​ she added.

In fact, the lip balm became highly sought after appearing in award-winning Korean film Decision To Leave ​last year.


Founded in 2018, Melixir claims to be the pioneer vegan skin care brand in South Korea, which provided it with first-mover advantage.

“We were the first to bring this new notion to the market. We are aware of what consumers of this generation wants — safe and healthy products for humans and the planet. A good brand should keep the promises they made at the very beginning [of their business] because with time, people will see the authenticity of the brand and support it.

“At Melixir, we want to keep our three promises — 1) 100% vegan 2) designed for sensitive skin and 3) sustainably made — to create a bigger impact in the space,” ​Lee said.

With four microbiome-friendly products in its line-up, the brand will continue to focus on developing new products targeting the skin microbiome.

“We think that the maintenance of a healthy skin microbiome is a key area in skin care going forward. Thus, we are putting in effort to formulate safe and gentle products for people suffering from skin sensitivity.”

While the firm believes that consumers’ purchasing decisions are increasingly driven by vegan and sustainable labels, product efficacy is an important factor that should not be neglected.

“At the end of the day, people repurchase high-performance products that are effective. For this reason, we always try to achieve both vegan formulations and clinically proven results,” ​Lee explained.

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