SBTRCT Skincare: Pioneering Sustainable Beauty with Solid State Innovation and Radical Transparency

Bianca Foley

Discover the groundbreaking journey of SBTRCT Skincare, a true pioneer in sustainable beauty.

In this exclusive interview, Ben, the visionary behind SBTRCT, shares how their commitment to sustainability led to the creation of solid state skincare solutions, tackling plastic pollution, water waste, and palm oil reliance head-on. From innovative formulations to radical transparency, SBTRCT sets a new standard for effective, eco-conscious beauty.

SBTRCT was founded in 2020 based on one guiding principle; less is more. Ben believes that by stripping out the things we don’t need in life, we are more able to love the things we’ve made a conscious choice to keep. Believing this to be the future of consumerism, Ben set SBTRCT’s mission; to create the highest performing expert skincare with the lowest environmental waste.
Ben, SBTRCT skincare has positioned itself as a pioneer in sustainable beauty. Could you share a story or instance that truly embodies your brand’s commitment to sustainability and the environment?
The one thing that truly embodies SBTRCT’s commitment to sustainability and the environment is our choice to be solid state.  When developing SBTRCT as a concept I identified what I believe to be the three biggest environmental challenges facing our industry – plastic pollution, water waste and over-reliance on palm oil.  Of course we could have looked at traditional formulations with refills. We could have looked to focus on “single use plastic” as opposed to all plastic (plastic is plastic by the way). We could have even looked at using “sustainable” palm oil. All of that would have been much much easier. But, it was clear to me that the only way to truly tackle these problems was to create high performing expert formulations in a solid state. Anything else would mean a compromise on our mission to create the highest performing skincare with the lowest environmental impact.
The beauty industry is evolving towards a more eco-conscious approach. How does SBTRCT contribute to this shift, and what unique strategies do you employ to ensure your products are both effective and environmentally friendly?
We see our role as accelerating that evolution through innovation that is either too difficult or too scary for any of the big players to really take on.
Product is the at the heart of everything we do.  We recognise that to achieve our mission and to have a meaningful impact from an environmental perspective, we MUST deliver the co-benefits of sustainability and high performance.  Our contribution to the industry is to show that this is possible without shortcuts or greenwashing, and ultimately this comes down to the product efficacy and performance.  We recognise that people buy skincare to deliver results and a brand experience. We are obsessed with delivering these through our innovation.  We are proud to be the first brand to bring actives such as retinoids and Vitamin C in a plastic free, waterless and palm oil free state to market.  Again, this isn’t easy and innovation of this kind is both expensive and takes time, but there is nothing more rewarding than truly delivering on our mission.
Zero waste beauty is gaining momentum as the next big trend. How does SBTRCT embrace this concept, and what challenges have you encountered in striving to create products that generate minimal waste while maintaining quality and user experience?
As a business we use the term Zero Waste sparingly as it is open to interpretation. Indeed there are some brands out there that use this term freely whilst packaging all their products in plastic tubes and bottles!
On the occasion that we do use it, it is because our customers understand it to mean plastic free , nominal use of water and with domestically compostable packaging.  We see this as the future of our industry and we believe we can create all round better products this way.
The challenges are numerous and always ongoing, whether that is finding the right paper stock that is actually certified domestically compostable, developing a moisturiser that is quick to absorb and promotes skin firmness, or finding a Vitamin C derivative that is stable enough to work in a concentrated solid formulation.  Every day that goes by we are learning and as the “zero waste” trend accelerates so the industry and other industries (we actually source our paper stock from the catering industry) are developing solutions and ingredients that we can integrate into our offering.
Your brand places a strong emphasis on natural ingredients. How do you balance the desire for purity and sustainability with the need to deliver products that meet modern skincare standards and customer expectations?
We view these things as co-benefits that work hand in hand.  We truly believe that the best skincare (in terms of meeting consumer expectation) and the best skincare (in terms of sustainability credentials) can and should be achieved together. The more products we develop, the more incredible reviews we get, the more awards we win and retailers we partner with, the stronger we hold this belief.

SBTRCT’s commitment to transparency is evident through your detailed product information. Could you elaborate on the significance of open communication with your customers, especially in an industry where misinformation and greenwashing can be prevalent?

For SBTRCT openness and transparency is absolutely key.  By misleading customers once too often, our industry has earned a reputation for greenwashing. Consequently as a pioneer in sustainable beauty it is imperative that validate and provide evidence for all our claims.  And when it comes to sustainability claims, no brand should mark their own homework.  That’s why we’ve forged a fantastic partnership with Provenance® to unlock a new level of transparency around SBTRCT’s impact on people and the planet so that our customers can make responsible and intentional choices when they shop.

Using anti-greenwashing technology  Provenance® on our website, we connect our claims to real data and evidence from our supply chain and third-party verifications. You’ll see their interactive “Proof Point” icons on each of our product pages validating each of our claims whether that be our B Corp Certification, our compostable packaging or our Cruelty Free  Vegan skincare certifications. 

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