"Meet the skinfluencers"

“DERMALIST LAUNCHED TO fill a gap in the market for sustainable, “clean,” and cosmeceutical grade skincare. As a dermal specialist passionate about skin and societal wellbeing, I was looking for skincare that delivered powerful results while being sustainable, ethical, and free from common ingredients that cause inflammation. Unfortunately, there was nothing available on the market at that time so I set out to create a range with these attributes at its core. That said, we tend to shy away from the “Clean Beauty” label, we don’t like to imply that other brands are ‘dirty’. We prefer the term ‘conscious beauty’ - it describes our approach, which is making every decision about our products and company in good faith for our customers, communities, and the world around us.

Sustainability was a big driver when we created our brand and has remained a constant guiding principle as we’ve grown. With every product we develop, we consider four key areas:
1. Wellbeing: What are the highest quality and safest ingredients we can use in the product to deliver exceptional results while taking care of our customer’s holistic health?
2. Supply chain: Are the products, ingredients, and packaging sourced and manufactured in an ethical way throughout our suppliers’ supply chain?
3. Environmental impact: How can we protect the integrity of our formulas, and deliver aesthetically beautiful, 100% recyclable packaging to our customers?
4. Manufacturing: How can we work with our manufacturer to avoid wasted resources through the production process?

We recognise we aren’t perfect - sustainability is a continued focus throughout the business. We have achieved 90% recyclable packaging, with the other 10% refillable, this has been particularly difficult to achieve when using airless pump packaging so it’s something we’re really proud of. Offering refills for our serums gives customers the option to keep their outer product and replace the inner cartridge at a reduced price to cut back on packaging waste.

We have encouraged our suppliers to adopt ecologically friendly business practices, by insisting on sustainability at every touchpoint. We’ve made them take a closer look at their business models and where their inputs are sourced - it’s alarming how many suppliers can’t answer this!

Pure vegan formulations have been our greatest challenge. We’ve had to find suitable alternatives to animal-derived skincare ingredients like collagen, milk-based Lactic Acid and honey while delivering the same or better results. Additionally, we’ve experienced issues with ingredients that turn out to contain trace amounts of palm oil or other items on our exclusion list. It is immensely frustrating when we discover through a supply chain audit that they have not been disclosed. It sets back our manufacturing timeframes as we have to search for a new supplier with sustainable and transparent practices.

Our formulations also present a challenge in terms of profit margin. Many of the ingredients we avoid for either ethical or health-related reasons are used as “commercially viable” fillers in skincare products. Not using these ingredients raises our production cost - we believe wearing the ‘clean tax’ is worth it, but it can be difficult as a young brand. In terms of growth areas, we are working towards carbon neutrality with streamlined packaging, logistics and fulfilment processes.

With Dermalist, we hope we can challenge the perception that specialist skincare is exempt from sustainability. We have been delighted to see many cosmeceutical brands becoming more aware of their environmental impact in the last twelve months. The sooner we stop boxing brands into “active” or “clean”, the sooner sustainable, ethical and efficacious cosmeceuticals will become the preferred category for consumers. We can’t wait for that day!” 

First published in Professional Beauty May-June 2021 edition. Click the image below to read the full article.