Beauty rev­o­lu­tion

As global beauty brands pledge to clean up their act by 2025, the founders of Christchurch nat­u­ral skin­care com­pany Au Nat­u­ral Sk­in­food think that’s too long to wait and have come up with an in­no­va­tive re­fill so­lu­tion to re­place sin­gle use plas­tic bot­tles

Good - - BEAUTY - Words Carolyn Ent­ing

Imag­ine ev­ery eight weeks the mois­turiser you’re just about to run out of mag­i­cally turns up at your door. You smile in relief be­cause your skin loves this stuff and so does the en­vi­ron­ment. It’s so sat­is­fy­ing to open the com­postable courier bag and then squeeze the con­tents – a new batch of mois­turiser – from a sug­ar­cane pouch into a re­us­able tin and know that it’s in car­bon credit.

It sounds fu­tur­is­tic, and it is con­sid­er­ing many brands are work­ing to a 2025 dead­line to come up with clever so­lu­tions to a big prob­lem, but thanks to the de­ter­mi­na­tion of Christchurch hus­band-and­wife duo Tracy and Tony Ah­ern, it’s hap­pen­ing now.

In Au­gust, the Ah­erns launched Au Nat­u­ral Sk­in­food and rolled out their sub­scrip­tion model that ticks the beauty and happy planet boxes.

In­stead of en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to just re­cy­cle plas­tic con­tain­ers, they de­cided to make Au Nat­u­ral’s pack­ag­ing re­us­able and re­fill­able via plant-based eco re­fills. The skin­care prod­ucts are pack­aged in re­us­able and re­fill­able alu­minium con­tain­ers. The eco-re­fills use nat­u­ral plant-based prod­ucts such as sug­ar­cane and corn starch, as the raw ma­te­rial – a re­new­able source that re­duces car­bon diox­ide, rather than re­leas­ing it. The stan­dard in­ter­nal card­board pack­ag­ing has been re­placed by re­us­able cot­ton shop­ping bags and or­ders de­liv­ered in a 100 per cent com­postable courier bag. The new sys­tem has also re­duced the tra­di­tional pack­ag­ing size by 75 per cent.

Fifty grams of prod­uct fits into what Tracy de­scribes as “a tin that looks like shoe pol­ish”. She hopes even if peo­ple don’t go on to use the prod­uct con­tin­u­ally that the tins will be reused as stor­age con­tain­ers from pa­per clips to jew­ellery.

Their think­ing-green phi­los­o­phy doesn’t just ap­ply to the pack­ag­ing and de­liv­ery meth­ods but also to the prod­uct for­mu­la­tions. The range is nat­u­ral and made with pure, New Zealand­sourced in­gre­di­ents that are veg­e­tar­ian cer­ti­fied and chem­i­cal free.

A beauty ther­a­pist for more than 30 years, Tracy says it was im­por­tant “to fol­low our hon­esty”.

“We don’t claim to do any­thing but we want peo­ple to find out, re­view and talk about it them­selves. There are no false claims made.”

The AM mois­turiser, suit­able for all skin types, is a com­bi­na­tion of un­pas­teurised ac­tive 16+ manuka honey and pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants that nour­ish and pro­tect the skin’s bar­rier func­tion. The PM night crème is also deeply nour­ish­ing and con­tains pure bee venom which helps sup­port skin cell re­gen­er­a­tion as you sleep. “You need a stim­u­lant to trig­ger a re­sponse in the skin oth­er­wise all you are do­ing is mois­tur­is­ing and hy­drat­ing,” Tracy ex­plains. “If we get blood to the sur­face we get col­la­gen and elastin nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring and re­pair­ing.” The whole range is de­signed to strengthen the skin’s bar­rier func­tion.

While the re­fill­able pouches con­tain­ing the prod­uct are made from corn starch – in­clud­ing the spout and cap – the Aderns’ are work­ing to re­place these with fully com­postable ones.

They are also seek­ing like-minded busi­nesses to see if they can get vol­ume or­ders and get a plant up and run­ning in New Zealand. “Our turn­ing point was once you know there is an al­ter­na­tive to plas­tic, even though it is harder, you know you are in part­ner­ship with the en­vi­ron­ment,” says Tony. “If you know that, how do you un­know it? You can’t.”

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