Skincare Has a Sustainability Problem, Is it Time to #UncomplicateYourShelf?
by Navneet K, Monday 22 Apr, 2021
Skincare is no simple task. We tend to fill our shelves with products in pursuit of good skin, largely because shopping off-the-shelf pushes us into an endless loop of trial-and-error. While the process of experimentation makes it difficult enough for consumers, unfortunately, these consumptions habits also have adverse effects on the environment.
According to a 2019 report by Zero Waste Week, the booming personal care industry produces around 120 billion units of packaging each year, the bulk of which is made up of non-recyclable plastic including complex lids and caps, multi-layered boxes, tape and cellophane. As a result, beauty packaging is now the number one contributor to plastic production in the world, 70% of which ends up in our landfills and oceans.
On top of that, a report by Commercial Waste suggests that the beauty industry also creates an excess of cardboard and paper waste, which contributes to deforestation, increased water consumption (to grow trees) and C02 emissions. Needless to say, skincare has a huge waste problem, owing largely to its packaging.
Trial-and-error is a major waste culprit
Trial-and-error is by far one of the biggest contributors to this problem which is a factor of product development process. Traditionally, brands take a claims-first approach (instead of a customer-first approach) to marketing. This puts the burden on the consumer to figure out what will work for their skin, encouraging them to mix and match and continually try products that claim to 'fix' various skin concerns. This is where trial-and-error comes into the picture. And if you didn't know already, 6 corporate giants own the majority of the skincare and makeup brands that you know and probably use – the things are the way they are for a reason.
Unfortunately, this model keeps you in a never-ending spending loop, leading to overconsumption and thus wasteful consumption. Consider this: almost every product that lands on your shelf will eventually end up in a landfill or the ocean. This is either because the packaging is non-recyclable or reusable, the product simply doesn't work and you don't use it all up, or the packaging is difficult to recycle due to complex materials or leftover product residue sticking to the walls.
Tech evolution is disrupting the industry
While it's not the only solution, technology is quickly becoming key to minimising industry's environmental impact. At Yours, we leverage technology to simplify skincare and eliminate trial-and-error, in turn, tackling wasteful consumption. We do this through selfie analysis powered by computer vision technology, which allows us to accurately analyse your skin needs to create a minimalist routine that would just work for you.
A skincare routine tailored to suit all your skin needs means you’re far more likely to actually use all the products in your routine and finish them, which leads to better product-customer fit. Each product is also expertly formulated with 6-10 active ingredients that target your skin needs, which reduces the number of products you use and eliminates the need for an elaborate routine. On top of that, we've opted for fully recyclable airless pump bottles, which are designed to leave virtually no traces of leftover product residue, making it super easy to recycle – all in all, we're carefully considering the skincare journey from start to finish.
Finally, it's important to consider that your skin needs are constantly changing. Off-the-shelf products can't take into account your environment and lifestyle changes, so one routine or product likely won't work forever. As you age, and as your lifestyle habits and your environment change over time, your skin needs will too, meaning your skincare has to adapt as well. Personalisation through tech means having the flexibility to adapt your skincare routine according to your skin needs.
In an industry that continues to thrive on overconsumption and novelty, it's clear we still have work to do to minimise its impact on the environment. At Yours, we strongly believe technology is a big step in the right direction, and aside from simplifying skincare to reduce wasteful consumption, we are committed to implementing more sustainable practices and solutions every day. Today, we're excited to share our sustainability roadmap, which includes plans to explore refillable packaging and going carbon neutral in the near future!
Yours sustainability roadmap
As a final note, here's some food for thought: do we truly need so many personal care products, or is it time to declutter and #UncomplicateYourShelf?
Founder & CEO, Yours