When a big corporation introduces a range of affordable, ethical, vegan and sustainable range of shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body lotions, it sounds too good to be true.
Miss FQ sends resident eco-warrior Terri Dunn to the media launch of Love Beauty & Planet to see if they could change her mind.
When I first heard about Love Beauty & Planet, I thought ‘okay, well at least they’ve not beaten around the bush on what the brand is about’. I was told it was a supermarket beauty brand operated by Unilever that offered ethical, vegan and sustainable products at an affordable price.
Turns out, the brand has been available in America, England and parts of Asia for more than a year and has been generally well received. In fact, after a quick Google, there wasn’t anything remotely bad I could conjure up about it at all.
Nevertheless, I was still determined to find out how legit this big named brand was. And what it had on our already-abundant local offering.
Putting their money where their mouth is, the Love Beauty & Planet team had designed the entire event around holistic values.
In the heart of Sydney where there are more people than there are in all of New Zealand, I stood at the threshold of a one-acre block of farmland. There were rows of produce growing to one side, market gardens on the other, chicken coops in the distance and a pergola walkway draped in grapevines immediately in front. The decision to host the event in the middle of an ecological urban farm was only the first of many holistic elements of the launch, I would soon discover.
From an entirely plant-based menu – I mean that quite literally, it was made from seed paper* – and prescribed goodie bags with only a curated edit of products that were right for you, to fresh cut blooms populating the tables that were fashioned into posies to take home with you, the Love Beauty & Planet team really had thought of every last detail in order to reduce waste.
*If you popped it in the soil it would sprout carrots. And no, I can’t tell you whether or not it worked, the fate of my menu now rests with the New Zealand customs department. But I hear it’s amazing.
Towards the back of the building, a panel of experts sat atop white wooden stools and promptly launched into talking about Love Beauty & Planet, and how we ought to protect our environment in general. I pressed record on my Voice Memos app and got stuck into my free-range scrambled eggs with green salsa, chilli and spring onion (all grown on site, of course).
We heard from the brand manager, Unilever’s research and development expert David Jones, fragrance expert Roberto Lievano from Givaudan, and two other guests; author of Every Woman’s Guide To Saving The Planet, Natalie Isaacs, and the CEO & founder of Take 3 for the Sea, Tim Silverwood.
It was clear we weren’t just here to learn about beauty products. We were here to begin our journey to looking after our environment better. And at roughly 18 minutes into my Voice Memo, the presentations drew to a close.
Love Beauty & Planet panel (L-R): Elizabeth McLaren, David Jones, Natalie Isaacs, Roberto Lievano and Tim Silverwood. Photo by ©Esteban La Tessa.
Here’s what I learned about Love Beauty & Planet:
- It was created by millennials: Although Unilever technically fund and distribute Love Beauty & Planet, it was millennials like you and me behind the brand and its product’s inception. They were tasked with designing a product range that they would use themselves and thus, the concept of an everyday selection of beauty products that were kind to us and kind to the planet was born.
- It has a practical number of products: Comprising of shampoos, conditioners, body washes and body lotions, Love Beauty & Planet is tackling the products we use most often – and arguably the most of – and making them better for us and better for the planet.
- They’re avoiding waste at every cost: Bottles made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste and fast-rinse conditioners that get to work on your tangles and damage immediately (thus saving water usage while you wait around) are just a couple of the attributes the Love Beauty & Planet range have addressed to close the loop on waste
- It’s high-quality: On the ingredients list you’ll find all of the tried-and-trusted natural ingredients such as responsibly-sourced organic coconut oil and murumuru butter, and high quality ethically-sourced essential oils or absolutes such as Bulgarian rose petals or Moroccan mimosa flower.
- It’s woke: In fact, the only things they’ve skimped on are animal testing, parabens, silicones and dyes. You won’t find these anywhere in the range. And better yet, they’re affordable and accessible; you’ll find Love Beauty & Planet in supermarkets nationwide.
- Fragrance is kind of a big deal: Just like fast-fashion and fishing, fragrance is a dirty industry rife with unethical sourcing. Love Beauty & Planet partnered with Givaudan, fragrance experts who take extreme care when it comes to sourcing. Not only are Givaudan industry-leaders when it comes to working closely with the communities who harvest ethically and responsibly – plus, ensuring their needs are met be it through health, education or otherwise – but are also behind the award-winning fine fragrances Tom Ford Soleil Blanc and Narciso Rodriguez For Her. So you know you’re in good hands in terms of accessing extraordinary, high-quality fragrance.
Uncompromised beauty for your skin and hair, the Love Beauty & Planet range is infused with natural ingredients like organic coconut oil and murumuru butter. They’re committed to sourcing high-quality ingredients but responsibly. They also make their products vegan and never test on animals. They skip the silicones, parabens and dyes too.
But, I still had one question hanging in the back of my mind…
‘With so many local brands in this space back home producing beautiful, organic, and eco-conscious products at supermarket prices, why would we want to support a bigger corporation?’
Following the presentations, I asked this question point blank to one of the experts. In short, it’s just so much bigger than this. It’s not a matter of having skin in the game or a slice of the pie. Everyone is (or should be) working towards one goal: a sustainable future. They’re not looking to take away from our local brands (which we are actually one of the few markets worldwide to have), but rather, take environmental awareness mainstream.
“Some people really do think about their actions. But for the average consumer, they’re just not thinking about it. With Love Beauty & Planet we wanted to make it second nature so they could be having a positive impact on the environment without thinking about it,” explains Unilever’s research and development expert David Jones.
With the range being so accessible across the globe, you’ve got more people choosing recycled bottles, using less water in their showers and the communities across the globe producing the ingredients are being rewarded with better conditions. The flow on effect is bigger because the reach is bigger, and the more people buying the products (and buying into a more sustainable way of life), the better it is for everyone involved. Not to mention, Love Beauty & Planet will now set the benchmark for other Unilever brands.
“You’ll start to see more of our brands using recycled plastic in personal care and homecare – honestly, we have a huge agenda.”
If you wonder why a lot of their bottles aren’t 100% clear, it’s because they’re made with post-consumer recycled plastic. (And the bottles are 100% recyclable too!)
So, what did I think of the product?
In all honesty, it smells divine. I’ve been using the Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver shampoo, conditioner and body wash for the past two weeks, and quite frankly, it’s quite exciting. It smells a wee bit like peppermint and is the perfect purifier after a daily commute, evening run and/or morning pick me up following a not-so-great slumber.
I never thought I’d get this fired up about shower products, but here I am, 25 years old and publicly admitting that I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a highlight in my day.
Words: Terri Dunn
This article was brought to you in partnership with Love Beauty & Planet. However, all opinions expressed are my own.