Every year, the global cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging, and the vast majority of them can’t be recycled. As a result, these materials often waste away in landfills for hundreds of years, polluting our oceans and threatening the safety of all plant, animal, and human life. But don’t worry—it’s not all bad news.
Because of the state of our planet, many grooming and cosmetic companies are now becoming more and more sustainable. For example, some are converting to biodegradable products, and others are committing seriously to recycling services. Additionally, refillable packaging options and waterless beauty products are popping up everywhere. Green grooming is (thankfully) taking over the industry and the technology involved in the movement has helped usher in biotech beauty.
What is biotech beauty?
The answer isn’t nearly as hard to understand as it may sound.
Biotech beauty is just as we described above—what happens when natural ingredients and those made in a lab, combined with synthetic chemicals, create alternatives to natural ingredients. Simply put, tech advances are used with natural materials to make an end product that is safer for the environment.
In practice, sustainable ingredients are fused with yeast and bacteria to produce an active that’s similar in its makeup to a natural ingredient. Biotech beauty helps because natural ingredients are endless, thus, are able to be used without causing a negative impact on the Earth.
While vegan and green skincare products claim to be an alternative that saves the planet as well, it’s important to do your research behind these products. A lot of the ingredients used in these products are developed using unsustainable processes, like the mass use of water, energy, and farmland—increasing the companies’ carbon footprint.
Palm oil, used in food and cosmetics, is a great example. The harvesting and production of the ingredient is killing the rainforests and displaces indigenous peoples who live where palm oil is produced.
How biotech beauty helps the environment
Biotech beauty, on the other hand, has a lab-made alternative to palm oil, and makes skincare products safer. For example, the technology used to make them makes natural ingredients susceptible to quality control and greater reliability. Any impurities that might’ve formed due to the farming and mining process are taken out.
Therefore, quality is assured every time and produced in a lab. Without using the land, energy, and water, a biotech company would alternatively use a fermentation process, including tap water and carbon feedstock.
Additionally, it’s cheaper to make biotech products, especially in the long run. Operational costs are more streamlined, and open-sourcing helps companies to work together to revolutionize the current technology in place. So, in tandem with being safer to use, easier on the planet, and costing less to manufacture, biotech really might be the way of the future.
Biotech beauty in the future of the industry
It definitely seems like biotech is here to stay and that can be a positive step in the right direction when it comes to the development and production of the products we use today. Because the cost is lower, they might be easier on our pockets, too. We’re already seeing an increase in brands becoming more invested in the shift.
Not only is it a win-win on their side, but consumers are starting to care about decreasing their carbon footprints in every aspect of their lives, as well as the ingredients they’re using. Companies that don’t follow suit might end up losing business.
Biotech is a great answer to concerns about sustainability, and the ethics of how products are being sourced and developed. The biggest concern here is transparency when it comes to labeling and marketing. More people should educate themselves on biotech to make educated decisions about their grooming choices, and more data is never unhelpful.
As more resources become available to invest in the technology, the vast data and testing will become available. But ultimately, biotech beauty is a great step in the right direction when it comes to consumerism, the Earth, science, and nature.
Photo via Codex Beauty