zero-mile beauty

Charting the rise of zero-mile beauty: what are the benefits of a hyperlocal supply chain?

Posted by for Beauty

Here’s why you should consider swapping to zero-mile beauty products this year.

When it comes to eco-beauty we’ve come a long way from ditching the face wipes and scrapping cotton buds. We’re starting to see sustainability as so much more than just a packaging issue and instead, we’re looking at the bigger picture. Yep, we’re entering the age of zero-mile beauty. It’s a trend that taps into the wider conversation about the future of our planet and the nature that lives here. 

“The zero-mile brand story is attracting the sophisticated eco-consumer, who understands that sustainability doesn’t end at packaging, but encompasses the entire production process, from growing the ingredients to harvesting, manufacture, and transportation of the final product,” says Lisa Payne, head of beauty at trends intelligence agency Stylus.

“Zero-mile means zero-guilt for these savvy beauty buyers, but it also means superior quality and a deeper engagement with nature and the land – a big trend we have forecasted for the year ahead,” she adds. 

What is zero-mile beauty?

Taking inspiration from food and fashion, brands across the beauty industry are beginning to make a sustainable standpoint from start to finish – or farm to face as some brands like to call it. Much like the restaurants that grow their own produce or fashion brands that make their own materials, the zero-mile concept is all about bringing every step of the supply chain as local as is physically possible. For beauty brands, this is all about growing, formulating, manufacturing and packaging all in one place.

Of course, there are some limitations to this. Due to climate and weather, it isn’t always possible for brands to grow everything in one location. For conscious businesses, this means sourcing from partners that align with their values and green credentials.  

How is zero-mile beauty better for the planet?

First and foremost, it’s energy-efficient. Doing everything in one place cuts down on transportation costs: brands don’t need to fly palettes of ingredients or products around the world using planet-damaging planes or lorries.

Secondly, it gives them a huge amount of control. When a brand brings its supply chain into one place, it can easily ensure the highest sustainability credentials are being met at every stage.

“By sourcing locally, we are able to be involved from the beginning to the end. We can ensure that the ingredients we use are harvested safely, without damaging local wildlife, while also ensuring we are not exasperating our sources,” Jess Gregory, head of biodesign at Haeckels, explained. The Margate-based brand harvest seaweed directly from the local beach and manufacture their products close by.  

Beyond this, circular production of this kind is better across the board as well. “This method focuses on nature and slows down the pace of conventional agricultural production. It stops impoverishment and pollution and better preserves the land we have inherited,” explains Lorenzo Capecchi, agronomist at hair brand Oway. The Italian brand uses organic, biodynamically grown ingredients from plants and shrubs grown on its Ortofficina site in Bologna.

Working with nature and not against it benefits both ways. “It gives us a deeper connection with the immediate environment as we are able to understand seasonality and local species. This can help drive us towards designing the most sustainable products we can,” Gregory adds.  

What are the benefits of using zero-mile beauty products?

The advantages of shopping from zero-mile brands go further than just doing your bit for the planet: the products are likely to be of better quality, too. Maximising local ingredients and bottling products at the source makes for fresher, more potent ingredients which in turn improve the results you’re likely to see to your skin or hair. 

“Natural processes give us back richer, more concentrated ingredients, harvested at the right time and at their peak,” points out Capecchi.  

The best zero-mile beauty products

  • Oway Glossy Nectar

    Zero Mile Beauty- Oway Glossy Nectar

    This post-wash elixir contains a number of plant-powered actives grown in Bologna including marula, marrubium and black quinoa. An extra layer of nourishment for dry hair, it also calms frizz and boosts shine.

    Shop Oway Glossy Nectar, £20     

  • Haeckels Eco Marine Cream

    Zero Mile Beauty - Haeckels Eco Marine Cream

    The brand’s number one bestselling product contains two types of locally sourced seaweed extract: dulse and bladderwrack. Formulated with a cocktail of natural oils, the result is an easily absorbed and non-greasy cream that delivers long-lasting hydration.  

    Shop Haeckels Eco Marine Cream, £48

  • Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream

    Zero Mile Beauty – Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream

    The German natural skincare brand harvest many plants from their medicinal herb garden located at their HQ at the foot of the Swabian Jura Mountains in Southern Germany. More than 150 different plant species flourish in the garden, and the 2.5-hectare plot is continuously tended to by six gardeners using biodynamic methods. The beautifully scented Rose Day Cream is ideal for dry or sensitive skin in need of nourishing care.

    Shop Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream, £30.50

  • Bioeffect EGF Serum

    Zero Mile Beauty – Bioeffect EGF Serum

    At its hi-tech ecologically-engineered greenhouse in the lava fields of southwest Iceland, Bioeffect nurtures up to 130.000 bioengineered barley plants to produce its key ingredient: Barley EGF. Its cult anti-ageing serum contains just seven ingredients but boosts collagen to reduce the appearance of fine lines and restore glow.  

    Shop Bioeffect EGF Serum, £129

  • Davines Nou Nou Shampoo

    Zero Mile Beauty – Davines Nou Nou Shampoo

    The Davines Village in Parma, Italy, includes spaces dedicated to offices, training, a research and development laboratory, a production plant and a warehouse. For dry, brittle or bleached hair, Nou Nou is a shampoo that offers deep moisturisation and leaves hair feeling super soft.  

    Shop Davines Nou Nou Shampoo, £18.50

  • Lyonsleaf Natural Body Butter

    Zero Mile Beauty – Lyonsleaf Natural Body Butter

    This 100% natural brand grows all of its ingredients on the family farm in Somerset. The hero ingredient? Calendula: a herb that has been used traditionally for hundreds of years to soothe inflammation and promote healing. This rich and creamy water-free body butter is a treat for dry and cracked limbs in these cold winter months.  

    Shop Lyonsleaf Natural Body Butter, £19.99

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