April 13-14, 2022 THE BREWERY - London Better for the People and the Planet

Is Biotech the future of Clean Beauty?

everything-you-need-to-know - 21/12/2021


In the beauty industry, biotechnology is the process of combining sustainably sourced natural ingredients with bacteria and yeast to produce active ingredients, which are biologically identical to those found in nature (a few popular ones being squalane, hyaluronic acid, collagen or peptides). Using science to create artificial ingredients mimicking nature could appear ironic but the procedure has many appealing outcomes, especially for the Clean Beauty industry.


The core foundation of Clean Beauty is to look into all ingredients and only use those who have been proven to be harmless to the skin and body. It is also, and often, about favoring natural ingredients over chemical ones. However, this choice can be very taxing on natural resources. Many plant extracts and active components require a significant amount of farmland, water, and energy to produce, leaving behind a far greater carbon footprint than one might assume. Producing the same active in a lab can be far more environmental-friendly.


Another misconception about natural ingredients is that they are more affordable than lab-grown ones. It turns out that ingredients formulated through biotechnology can be less expensive to manufacture than their naturally derived counterparts. The expensive phase lies in R&D, but once the formulation is found, production can bring very interesting economies of scale. Some brands even make their discoveries accessible to other brands so that it diminishes the need for them to consume other sources.


Then comes the matter of results. Plants extracts harvested in nature are impacted by various external factors (like climate conditions or diseases) that can have a detrimental effect on their efficiency. Developing lab-controlled components can help create ‘super’ active ingredients, which will have the best quality, consistency and potency. And today, many brands use biotechnology to not only recreate naturally occurring ingredients but also to re-engineer them for even safer and more enhanced results.

Biotechnology is bringing together nature and science to get the best of both worlds. Far from being a niche trend, it seems to have a promising future and could become a real asset in the eyes of Clean Beauty consumers. These latter are growingly worried about sustainability but are not willing to compromise on product potency and price. Biotechnology seems like a positive answer to such concerns.

Monia MERABET, founder of WeOutWow

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