With the digital world moving at lightning speed, there has been an ever-increasing demand for the next shiny new thing to shout about on social media. As a consequence, companies are obliged to constantly churn out ‘newness’ at pocket money price points; we’ve seen this most blatantly with the rise of ‘fast fashion’ but ‘fast beauty’ is another big culprit. Alongside the fact that 8 million garments a year end up in landfill, more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, the cardboard required contributing to a loss of 18 million acres of forest annually.
Thankfully, the tide is turning with more people making environmentally conscious choices – even if they have to pay a little extra. Recent research showed half of U.K. customers are willing to pay more for products to avoid plastic packaging.
This new movement is precisely what luxury scalp and haircare brand MONPURE aims to embody, offering a results-driven range of products while clearly adhering to a ‘slow beauty’ ethos that is far more mindful of the environment.
“Our product development is driven by innovation and long-term efficacy,” remarks founder and CEO Natanel Bigger. “Everything we manufacture goes through strict, rigorous testing processes to ensure ingredients are both safe for your scalp, but also the environment.”
While the ‘slow beauty’ movement is gaining traction in areas like skincare, Bigger and his team at MONPURE noticed that the world of haircare was lagging far behind. “I feel that the industry is owned by a lot of big players stuck in their rules,” he comments. “In order to increase profit margins, some tend to cut corners when it comes to things like packaging – one of the biggest sustainability issues the beauty industry is currently facing. For example, only 5% of the industry actually use post-consumer recycled plastic, as virgin plastic is cheaper and easier to produce. It’s a Catch 22 situation: low demand for sustainable packaging means a low supply. And what is available is more expensive.”
But thankfully, customers are cottoning on to this and voting with their feet – and wallets – by investing in slow beauty brands like MONPURE. “The whole industry needs a ‘reset’ where sustainability is concerned. And things are slowly changing” Bigger notes. “But given the bureaucracy of these big corporations, they can’t move as quickly as independent companies like us. Every needle you move ever so slightly drives up costs. For example, the post-consumer recycled plastic we use to house our shampoo and conditioner costs around 35% more per bottle to produce. I can’t imagine a large conglomerate making this switch so easily.”
As well as prioritising natural, sustainably sourced ingredients wherever possible, MONPURE is also 100% vegan and cruelty free, no mean feat in the world of haircare where animal-derived ingredients abound. “One of the ingredients we use that we’re particularly proud of is Silkgel – a pioneering new vegan alternative to regular silk peptides,” Bigger explains. “It’s produced via a process of fermenting plant starch that has been clinically proven to not only repair fragile or damaged hair strands, but also protect the hair and scalp from pollution and bacteria.”
Plus, as well as the aforementioned post-consumer recycled plastic (which is also 100% recyclable), their shipping boxes and product packaging are printed using soy ink and their ecommerce orders use 100% biodegradable and compostable packing chips.
But MONPURE’s commitment to ‘slow beauty’ and sustainability doesn’t just stop at their own offices. “We have handpicked our suppliers for having the highest ethical standards; many are often involved in many environmental and social initiatives themselves” notes Bigger. “Our warehouse in Wales has won several social enterprise awards, while several of our manufacturers only work with natural ingredients and substitute toxic chemicals with sustainable alternatives.”
Sticking to your sustainable guns comes with its fair share of challenges, but Bigger is optimistic that consumers will want to invest more in beauty brands that care about making a difference. “Certainly, being sustainable makes it harder to build a brand, but the consumer in 2020 and beyond will expect this,” he says. “In my opinion ‘slow beauty’ should be the norm anyway. Brands should be making sure everything is ethically and sustainably sourced, biodegradable and compostable. These things should be a given, not selling points.”