The beauty industry isn’t always pretty, and there’s no surprise there. With animal testing, negative environmental impacts, unethical supply chains and more, beauty has a long way to go.
That’s why I sought out Conor Riley, CEO of Luxie Beauty, a cruelty-free and vegan beauty company specializing in premium synthetic brushes.
Jumping on a call, we discussed the ins and outs of the beauty industry and what the world of cosmetics will look like in the near future.
Where The Beauty Industry Is Right Now
10 years ago, beauty consumers rarely held a concern for the earth and its creatures. But today, buyers hold a genuine interest in the products they are purchasing.
This is because individuals understand that their buying habits have a direct correlation to the beauty industry’s progression–and they’re right. Beauty brands are noticing what the people want, and to match the needs of their consumers, they are turning “green.”
However, the problem arises when we get stuck in this “green” mindset. What does it mean to be “green,” anyway?
According to Riley, no one really knows because it’s an “unregulated term, so there’s no policing it.”
“It’s really unfortunate,” said Riley, “because there’s such a push to use these terms, but no one’s actually speaking to it.”
Instead of making a real difference in the creation and packaging of beauty products, companies are instead simply jumping on the “green” bandwagon from a marketing standpoint. It’s what sells, and some brands are only looking for a payout.
As Riley puts it, “Companies are always going to be swinging from vine to vine, looking for the next collection of buzzwords.”
And that’s exactly what’s happening.
There’s Hope For Actual Ethical Initiatives
With that said, some companies are actually putting in the work to create a better-for-you-and-the-earth outcome. This can be categorized as ethical practices. Luxie is a perfect example of this, as they put actions behind their words.
Riley explained that the company doesn’t want to label themselves with buzzwords, but wants to set an example for outside brands. Luxie has done this by collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund, working with multiple charities, developing supply chain protocols and ensuring transparency. As Riley said, “It’s imperative that [Luxie] walks the walks and talks the talks.”
If we want to see an authentic shift like this in the rest of the beauty industry, brands must take it upon themselves to put in the tangible work. But for this to happen, a true desire to want change needs to be present.
As for Luxie, it all began underground. The brand didn’t announce their charitable efforts in hopes of publicity or an increase in sales. Rather, they partook in giveback initiatives because “it’s just who [they] were,” said Riley.
Furthermore, the individuals housed within the company possess the same values. Each team member seeks out individual opportunities to do good for the world.
From this eagerness to reinvest in the people and communities around Luxie stemmed a company mission to donate at both the corporate and consumer levels.
In short, for companies to reinvent themselves as true ethical brands, it begins with genuine action. This takes all of the mumbo jumbo out of “green,” and makes the ethical process straight forward and obtainable.
Brands Can’t Sacrifice Quality
However, upon speaking with Riley, he told me that just because a brand moves towards ethical practices doesn’t mean they can neglect quality.
“[Consumers] expect two things that are somewhat diametrically opposed,” said Riley. “They expect top tier performance, and they expect all natural products.”
Because of this, brands will need to be aware of the persistence it takes to create good, quality products that are also good for the environment.
Consequently, the “industry is going to [have] to start developing super high tech enabled formulations that allow for a lot of individuality,” Riley shared. And while Riley doesn’t know what this perfect formulation will be, he does know it’s something that will have to happen in order to meet consumers’ needs.
This can seem like a lot of work to outside brands, but that’s because it is. Ethicality isn’t for the weak.
To create a real shift in the beauty industry, it’s going to take work, but it’s not impossible. Luxie proves that.
“We show that you don’t have to sacrifice luxury or quality,” said Riley. “We’re also going to keep supporting the causes and charities that we’re aligned with. We’re not compromising. We’re delivering on the promises of quality, luxury and [ethical] beauty.”
And when a brand such as Luxie delivers exactly what the people are looking for, an industry that is often written off as superficial transforms.
As Riley puts it, this will “not only… empower [consumers], but empower [consumers] to make the world a better place.”
Brands like Luxie are setting the standard for the future of beauty, showing that neither quality or good practices need to be sacrificed for buyers to be interested. However, to proceed in the right direction, brands need to possess a genuine desire to change and consumers must understand their role in the process.