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The beauty industry is renowned for its wasteful practices. Between all the plastic packaging and questionable chemicals used in production to the constant push for consumerism in marketing, the beauty world has become notorious for being damaging to the environment- and it’s only going to get worse.
Biotechnolgy claims to be the sustainable answer for the cosmetic industry. Brands are researching and experimenting with nature and bio-actives to create cleaner, sustainable beauty. Whether it’s bio-designed collagen or genetically modified protein shampoo; biology is providing new innovative options for our skincare.
Biotechnology uses microorganisms, e.g., fungi, bacteria, as factories for producing compounds that are needed within the creation of products across many indutries, including beauty and skincare.
This process can be used to replace existing compounds that have a significant environmental footprint with a more sustainable alternative. It can also harness microorganisms in new and interesting ways to unlock potential for far more effective solutions.
Biocomstics has not been widely developed idea in beauty because of the high cost of biological engineering. But over the last decade innovation has caused the industry to become more accessible. Covid-19 encouraged customers to look towards a sustainable, clean future.
Arcaea LLC (Ar-kay-uh) is a company launched on the Ginkgo Bioworks platform with the mission to build a new foundation for the beauty industry through expressive biology. Arcaea sees biocosmetics as a valuable creative tool for self-expression.
The company will grow new ingredients and product experiences for beauty through technology, such as DNA sequencing, biological engineering, fermentation, and more. By culturing industry-leading, safe, and sustainable ingredients, Arcaea intends to create a new supply chain for the beauty industry that does not rely on petrochemicals or harvesting and depleting natural resources.
So how does Arcaea hope to add to the sustainability space? Founder Jasmina Aganovic tells us “By harnessing the power of biology, Arcaea is poised to produce highly sustainable products that deliver new functionality and performance across skincare and aesthetics.”
Change is something Arcaea is focused on. For them, change can’t wait anymore. It needs to happen now: “we are not just seeking to create replacements, but that we are seeking to create new ingredients and functionality. And we are doing it by building ourselves from the ground up with a focus on biology.”
As Jasmina continues, biocosmetics has become more than just the science “We want to unlock the power of biology. This enables a new slate of tools for self-expression and shifts the supply chain away from depleting natural resources.”
When looking toward the future, Arcaea is hopeful “We're not going to transition anytime soon to a world where all ingredients in a formula are biotech, but future customers will come to the market where a biotech solution is more readily available and more affordable. This would be far better for the environment and Arcaea's customers will appreciate the positive impact they're making towards sustainability.” – Jasmina says.
The future for Jasmina must be attainable for all: “We are most excited about biology creating unique product experiences that were not previously accessible.” She explained.
Geltor is the conscious biodesign company creating the world’s most advanced protein ingredients for beauty, food and much more. Co-founders Alex Lorestani and Nick Ouzounov met at university and soon realised a common question: why were consumer products based on animal inputs despite advances in biology and technology? They wanted to bring the world and their customers a cleaner, sustainable approach.
Geltor’s Creative Director, Erin Kim explains how sustainability is at the forefront of the company: “Sustainability was a driving force for our co-founders, and it remains an important part of Geltor’s ethos and mission.”
The company’s commitment to sustainability is much more than just an ethos “A third party study conducted in 2020 determined that Geltor’s process uses 73% less water, 49% fewer greenhouse gases, and 40% less land to produce proteins like collagen, compared to conventional sourcing from animals.” Erin explained, continuing: “We continue to refine all aspects of our technology to reduce our environmental footprint even further.”
For the team at Geltor, the future of biocosmetics looks bright: "Most cosmetic science up until this point has been chemistry based. It has brought one of the most exciting consumer markets to life with the global beauty and personal care industry, but we see the toolkit for creating being expanded with biology.” – Erin says.
With biotechnology, the opportunities are endless Erin tells us: “There’s so much you can do with biocosmetics and design - from 'de-extincting molecules' (think: mammoth or dinosaur proteins in an everyday products) to creating animal-free, biomimetic equivalents of ingredients that could otherwise only be sourced from animals.”
“In fact, Geltor has introduced two of the first-ever human protein ingredients for biocosmetics: a human collagen (HumaColl21®), and a human elastin (Elastapure®) - both of which are used in a growing number of products already available to consumers. The idea of manufacturing with biology is relatively new, so the possibilities are truly endless.” – Erin says.
Despite Geltor’s many “industry firsts and awards” as Erin illustrated, the team still has many plans for the future: “we’re really just getting started. We’ve gained a lot of recognition so far through the work we’ve done in collagen - it’s a beloved, best-selling ingredient for many good reasons.”
Geltor wants to truly challenge biocosmetics and design. “That said, biodesign can make much, much more. We have further product launches planned soon to grow our ingredient portfolio in the beauty and personal care industry, but we’re also expanding into food and nutrition with our first animal-free collagen for food and beverage.” Erin says.
Biodesign is the future for cosmetics: “There is so much more of our story to share with the world. What we're doing isn't just the same old biotech that those familiar with biopharma might expect. There are almost infinite possibilities that biodesign can unlock for people, products, and industries; all the tiny miracles that proteins perform around us, constantly; and of course - how we can work with biology to design a kinder, more sustainable, and a more beautiful world.” Erin told us.