When it comes to sustainable beauty, luxury doesn't always mean expensive. Beauty — Oct 08
To Generation Z, the concept of sustainability isn’t as fresh as it’s simply the right thing to do. But to the rest of us, meaning those slightly older folks who grew up on heritage (read: drugstore) beauty buys, we’re just still not used to it yet. That isn’t stopping a slew of beauty start-ups, however, who are making it their mission to clean up the planet and raise awareness around the art of taking care of oneself. From Glossier, the global phenomenon that wooed millennials with its bare-minimum ingredients and youthful packaging, to Honest Beauty, a celebrity-founded label that lives up to its name, no one sustainable brand is like the other.
But we think we may have found one that does it all. Enter: Dr Jackson's.
At first glance, the UK brand may seem like an aforementioned drugstore find (including the fact that it boasts tea products, as well). But its no-fuss packaging and scientific appearance is intentional — and really, really recycled. (Like, everything down to the ink is ethically sourced and produced.) Its ingredients, however, blur the lines between categorizing it as a luxury label and an affordable innovation.
Founded in 2012, the real Dr. Jackson launched the label after a research career that included King’s College (where he specialized in melanoma), University of London, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. But his time spent with tribal communities in sub-Saharan Africa, the Amazon, and Indonesia proved more influential to what would inspire the myriad ingredients found within the brand’s natural products. And thus, the label based on the principles of pharmacognosy — the study of natural medicines derived from plants and their traditional uses — was born.
Ahead, we spoke to Dr Jackson's chief scientific officer Dr. Lori Bystrom and creative director Mauro Durant to get down to the nitty gritty of what comprises its super natural, earth-sensitive products. Take it from us: Dr Jackson's could be the industry’s most sustainable beauty line yet.
When you say ingredients are "ethically sourced", what are some processes that exemplify that? Who are the rural communities Dr. Jackson's works with to source ingredients?
We are proud to have Soil Association, USDA Organic, and Fair Wild Foundation certifications; these organizations promote organic, ethical, and sustainable farming. Scientific evidence has proven that organic agriculture results in much greater biodiversity (more birds, bees, and animals) and protects the environment through legally binding standards that prevent pollution and ban herbicides and artificial fertilizers.
Organic farming is also playing an increasingly important role in mitigating climate change by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and safely locking it away in the soil. Soil Association, for example, supports over 2,000 forestry, wood, and paper clients. Through these clients, they are protecting 15 million hectares of forest all over the world – as well as the people, plants, and animals that live in them.
The FairWild Foundation is a sustainability framework for the collection and trade in wild plant products. It guides businesses in sustainable collection and resource management, simultaneously ensuring collectors ethical working conditions and fair wage. Holding a FairWild certification is the best way to implement the FairWild Standard – it means that buyers, whether ingredient traders or consumers, know they are dealing with legally and sustainably harvested products.
From supporting rural communities in Harare providing us with baobab to organic farmers in Somerset collecting calendula flowers, we make sure that all our ingredients are ethically sourced, whilst protecting all species.
What is the #DrJacksonsZeroWaste hashtag?
In an era where Gen Z can move the masses and challenge the political space using technology and social media to educate and promote debate, our minimalistic and sustainable packaging has been designed to encourage people to repurpose their Dr Jackson’s empties in every creative way possible and to compost and give back to nature our outer packaging. Our teabags are also biodegradable, made from a heat-sealable plant starch material that is derived from non-GMO sugar cane, making them fully compostable and, even more importantly, do not leach any chemicals into your tea.
Is Dr Jackson's considered a luxury brand? What is the company's stance on so many brands that position sustainability as a luxury?
The luxury of Dr Jackson’s relies in the great quality of the products we develop and the efficacy of the ingredients in our formulations, based on scientific research of powerful botanicals.
It was very difficult for us at the beginning to get many of the beauty buyers from luxury department stores to understand what we were doing and concentrate in the actual products, because in their view, our packaging didn’t represent luxury and wouldn’t sparkle on the shelves to get the customer’s attention. For us, and for an increasing number of customers, “luxury packaging” today more than ever, represents enormous waste and is no longer sustainable. It is great to see luxury brands now moving in our direction.
Believe it or not, producing recycled paper boxes today is more expensive than making colorful or pristine white coated paper boxes, as there isn’t enough demand from luxury brands for sustainable materials. But we feel strongly that is the right thing to do, to give the customer a choice by setting the example and make a difference for future generations.