Welcome to The Green Scene. Every week, we're highlighting the designers and brands working to make the world of fashion and beauty a greener, more sustainable place. The brands to support are the ones making a difference; check back every Tuesday to meet your new favorites.
The past five years has seen a tremendous boom in the eco-friendly beauty industry. The push for environmentally friendly ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, and an overall reduction in the industry's carbon footprint are just a few ways emerging labels and beauty's biggest names are working to make beauty less wasteful and harmful to the planet.
However, rather than just focus on the beginning stages of a product—what goes in it, how it's produced, and in what it's packaged—it's equally as important for a brand to focus on what happens after the product is sold and, more importantly, after it's been used up. Questions about how a product's packaging can be recycled, and how the brand is influencing its customers to ensure the packaging actually ends up being recycled, are important to ask.
And, wouldn't you know, those are the exact questions luxury clean beauty newcomer AYOND wants to answer.
Founded by Shani Van Breukelen and Porter Yates, AYOND began as a means for the couple to research natural oils and actives that would not only optimize skin health but would also effectively help with scarring, inspired, in part, by the fact that Van Breukelen is a burn survivor. Eventually, their research led to the birth of their own label.
AYOND is (currently) comprised of four products: a day cream, a face oil, a face serum, and a cleansing balm, all inspired by the healing serenity of the deserts of Santa Fe and the energy and imagination of New York. Each is formulated with nourishing, calming, and revitalizing ingredients, such as rock rose essence and sacha inchi and prickly pear oils, to name a few.
For AYOND, the focus lies beyond merely creating products with natural, active ingredients that nurture skin's health—conscious packaging and product containers are another integral part of the brand. The two admit that this didn't come easily, but they persisted until they got what they wanted; Yates says, "We've had many issues that could have been solved by using plastic or budging on our no-no list; however, overcoming those challenges is how you move forward as a brand."
Van Breukelen and Yates conducted a life cycle assessment on all of AYOND's products, which helped them understand the sourcing of their materials and, more importantly, how they'll be disposed of, enabling them to maximize their use of eco-friendly materials as much as they could.
Products are encased in bottles and jars made of glass or bakelite resin, which is made from 30 percent plant-based materials. These products are then packaged in 100 percent post-consumer waste paper for their sleeves, boxes, trays, and cards, and finished off in a compostable cellophane. And, maybe best of all, all the packaging is really beautiful and something you'd want to display on your vanity or in your #shelfie, boxed or unboxed.
Of course, creating sustainability-focused packaging doesn't necessarily make the biggest impact on its own. It's more important that said packaging and empty beauty containers (whether sustainably made or not) are recycled or repurposed properly. That's why AYOND has created its own take-back program that collects the not-so-easy to recycle materials, such as the resin jars and liquid crystal polymer caps used for some of its products, to either reuse or properly recycle them. "This allows us to use these materials and still have them disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner," says Van Breukelen.
But Van Breukelen and Yates realized they needed to go beyond just their own brand to truly do their part in creating a more sustainable beauty industry, which is why they opened up the program to brands beyond their own. "We decided to accept pumps, caps, and droppers, not just from AYOND but from any other brand," says Yates. "In reality, if every brand took responsibility for how their materials are disposed of, we wouldn't have such an issue with garbage in our environment. Too often, brands pass the responsibility on the customer, and often customers lack the resources to properly recycle."
Ultimately, they not only want people to be conscious of the impact their choice in beauty products have but to feel encouraged that they can purchase from brands that take responsibility for what they create. That's why they're continuously working to make AYOND more eco-friendly, from working to influence the suppliers and partners they work with to looking into creating a refill program in the future.
Because, while it may be up to consumers to make the conscious choices that shape the future of the industry, without education, accessibility, and encouragement from existing brands, it won't be possible at all.
You can shop AYOND's full offering at AYOND.us.