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Biotech Beauty: The Future of Sustainable Cosmetics

We’re diving into the science behind synthetic ingredients and why sometimes the most environmentally-responsible beauty products are the ones made in a lab.

Updated August 18, 2021 by Amanda Dixon

Biotech Beauty: A Sustainable Path Forward

It's become habit for us to look for labels like “organic,” “clean”, and “natural” on beauty products. But these labels, and even products that are certified organic, do not necessarily mean they’re sustainable. Plant-derived ingredients are harvested as needed to fulfill demand for botanical-based skincare and beauty products. The truth is—sometimes the most environmentally—responsible beauty ingredients are the ones made in a lab.

What is Biotech Beauty?

So what exactly IS biotech beauty? Biotech beauty refers to laboratory-made ingredients. These lab-made ingredients either fuse natural ingredients with synthetic chemicals or create synthetic alternatives to naturally sourced ingredients.

These synthetic compounds and pure botanical alternatives have the ability to enhance or, in some cases, replace ingredients found in nature. This results in less stress on the environment due to farming or harvesting of ingredients such as vanilla, palm oil, and flower extracts—to name a few.

skincare gels on a dish

Why ‘Natural’ Ingredients Aren’t Always Better

Hear us out—plant-based ingredients have stood the test of time, offering healing benefits for a variety of skincare concerns. But the beauty industry of today requires an impactful amount of farming, mining, and natural resources to fulfill. Today’s science allows experts to grow synthetic and alternative versions of these ingredients in a lab setting—resulting in a much smaller carbon footprint.

And before you cringe at the word “synthetic,” these lab-made ingredients aren’t just better for the environment, they may actually be better for you too! That’s because biotech beauty ingredients are grown in a controlled environment, where their development can be monitored, preventing impurities or irregularities. A benefit naturally sourced ingredients don’t have. This means that beauty products formulated with synthetic ingredients are often more efficacious, safe, and sustainable.

Defining Sustainable Beauty

There’s no distinct criteria for determining whether a beauty brand is sustainable. In fact, many brands are creating their own unique definition of sustainability. This could mean using lab-grown, synthetic ingredients, partnering with local communities to ethically and responsibly source materials, or pledging to protect the environment by using post-consumer recycled materials. It’s all about determining the sustainability efforts that are important to you and supporting beauty brands making a positive impact.

Top Beauty Brands Using Synthetic Ingredients

Augustinus Bader

Augustinus Bader

Augustinus Bader boasts award-winning formulas and clinically proven results driven by over 30 years of research and innovation. The muscle behind these transformative skincare solutions is a patented technology called TFC8®, or Trigger Factor Complex. TFC8® nourishes and protects the skin by supporting the skin’s innate potential for renewal. And the results speak for themselves! Augustinus Bader has received some seriously coveted awards, including WWD Beauty Inc.'s ‘The Greatest Skincare of All Time.’

PCA Skin

PCA Skin

PCA Skin believes science is beautiful. These effective daily-use formulas pair health, beauty, and science to create ultra-effective solutions for healthy, glowing skin. The experts at PCA Skin utilize ingredients that are found naturally in the skin and body for maximum results and compatibility. These ingredients are lab-formulated to be safe, effective, and healthy for you and the environment. Whatever your skincare concerns, PCA Skin has a solution for you.

ReVive Skincare

ReVive Skincare

Renowned plastic surgeon and ReVive Skincare Founder, Dr. Gregory Brown utilized Nobel Prize-winning, bio-engineered ingredients to create this ultra-effective collection of skincare products. Much like Virtue Labs, these lab-made formulas contain proteins that mimic the skin’s bio-renewal process to quickly restore skin to a healthy, youthful state. These skincare solutions are clinically proven to renew skin’s natural radiance and youthful glow. And because these effective ingredients are synthetic, you can rest assured you’ve made a smart choice for the environment.

Virtue Labs

Virtue Labs

Biotech beauty doesn’t stop at skincare. The experts at Virtue have spent decades decoding the science behind healthy beautiful hair. They recognized that the world didn’t need another hair care company—so instead, they created a biotech company focused on repairing hair. Virtues key ingredient? A transformative protein called Alpha Keratin 60ku™. It binds directly to areas of damage and fills them in, revealing hair that’s shinier, stronger, and healthier overall.

Interested in finding more skincare products for clearer, healthy, radiant-looking skin? Shop our entire Skincare Category for hydrating moisturizers, revitalizing masks, corrective serums + more!

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