Arid Environment

Meet the Irish beauty brands on a mission to make the planet feel every bit as good as you

While we all know the importance of practicing self-care, ensuring to care for the environment while using your favorite products is just as important.

From their ingredients, sources, methods and packaging, a number of pioneering Irish-based brands have been putting in the groundwork to ensure we can do both.

Here, we take a look at some of the brands breaking the mold and providing sustainable, local products that are designed to look after our minds, bodies and the planet.

Modern Botany

When they first landed in Schull, people thought that John Murray and Dr Simon Jackson were “mad”, but the West Cork coast has proved to be the perfect setting for their brand that is built on using natural ingredients.

The pair set up Modern Botany in 2016. The idea was to create
a natural product company based on the principles of pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal compounds obtained from plants or other natural sources, as per Dr Jackson’s professional background.

“We’re about plants and the power of plants and the healing power of plants,” explains John, who is both co-founder and Director of Sustainability.

Backed by science and led by nature, Modern Botany offers a range of 100% natural products- from their popular multi-tasking oil to their unisex natural deodorant.

Modern Botany Multi-tasking oil

Sustainability for them means looking at every aspect of the lifecycle of their products.

Their multi-tasking oil can be used for the face, body, hair and nails and is suitable for all skin types including babies and during pregnancy. With refillable packaging, there is no waste with this all-round solution for dry skin.

John and Simon have also been experimenting with growing some of their own ingredients.

“The important thing about being sustainable is we’re constantly reviewing and looking at it and how we can be a bit smarter,” says John.

Their products are packaged in glass and after recently trialling refillable options, this is something they are hoping to incorporate with more products to further reduce waste.

Ground Wellbeing

Peigín Crowley of Ground Wellbeing.
Peigín Crowley of Ground Wellbeing.

Another Cork-based brand, Ground Wellbeing, is all about “how you feel versus how you look”, according to founder Peigín Crowley.

“Our focus on wellbeing is managing everything from burnout to insomnia, to anxiety to gut health, to menopause,” she says.

With over 20 years of experience in the world of spas, Peigín’s concept for Ground Wellbeing was born out of the pandemic and the goal of making wellness more accessible.

Mindfulness and achieving a good night’s sleep are paramount to the brand and its customers with products that nourish, replenish, and encourage self-care rituals.

Their sleep gift sets are their best sellers and include natural body oils, pillow spray and face balms. Their Balancing CBD balm is another favourite.

Ground Wellbeing's Sleep set
Ground Wellbeing’s Sleep set

Ground Wellbeing also incorporates home wellness products and Peigín and the team are currently working on products for people going through cancer treatment.

Everything Peigín has been done through the lens of sustainability and her collection of balms and oils for the face and body are 100% natural with an average of 50% of the ingredients being organic.

They avoid all harmful chemicals, promoting natural and organic living.

100% vegan and cruelty-free, Ground Wellbeing also has a focus on shipping with zero plastic. All their boxes and sleeves are also made from a PEFC (Programme for the Endors of Forest Certification) accredited board, and they are also looking at developing further refill initiatives. Currently, they offer Bath Salt and Pillow Spray Refills, encouraging a saving of 30%.

The Handmade Soap Company

As someone who worked outdoors with his hands every day, Donagh Quigley knew the importance of kind, natural hand soap.

In 2010, he and his wife, Gemma, set up the Handmade Soap Company in their kitchen. Now based in a refurbished old linen mill in Slane, Co Meath, the Handmade Soap Company has sustainability in its DNA.

As their name states, each product is handmade, with each ingredient carefully selected. All their bottles are made from 100% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials, manufactured from recycled products, and can be recycled all over again.

The Handmade Soap Company is all about eco-friendly body care and wellness while also incorporating home fragrance.

They recently launched their most sustainable range to date: ANAM. The product range utilises lifelong glass bottles, to be refilled by the first-ever 100% compostable refill pouch for liquid soap. As soap can be acidic and corrosive over time, this was a tricky design to perfect.

The range includes hand washes and lotions as well as body oils, diffusers, essential oils and candles.

Donagh Quigley of the Handmade Soap Company.
Donagh Quigley of the Handmade Soap Company.

For Donagh and Gemma, the goal is to be the “kindest body care brand in the world” and this concept leads everything they do.

“The way we want to change the world for our customers is to enhance and improve those micro-moments of self-care,” Donagh says.

“Anytime you’re finished doing the dishes and you just want to wash your hands, if you’re using one of our products… you lift your hands up to smell them after washing them under the tap and you just go: ‘that’s nice ‘.”

Seabody

Dr Helena McMahon is one of the co-founders of Seabody, a luxury beauty and wellness brand based in Co Kerry that fuses science and sustainability to create skincare and supplements.

These are powered by high purity organic bioactive marine molecules which Seabody manufactures in-house, using zero waste technologies.

Founded in 2018, Seabody is on a journey to becoming fully circular.

“Our mission really was to create a beauty and wellness brand that sustainably harnessed the amazing health and regenerative powers of algae,” Dr Helena McMahon says.

She describes seaweed as an “amazing resource” with lots of locked molecules up in algae that have incredible health benefits.

Their most popular products include the Glycan Enrich Moisturiser while the Aquasurge Day Serum is also getting rave reviews.

Seabody Aquasurge Day Serum
Seabody Aquasurge Day Serum

From day one, sustainability has been an important part of Seabody. They have a zero-waste manufacturing process where they isolate multiple molecules and compounds from the seaweed and create a variety of products, all of which have particular applications.

But their efforts are not just on the inside, their packaging is glass and uses biodegradable and non-toxic ink while their boxes are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified. This ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests.

Each of the founders is invested in the ocean and ocean health.

“If you’re using a natural resource, you have to make sure that you’re doing that in a sustainable and sensitive way,” Helena says.

“You ultimately want to be positively contributing to the regeneration of the ocean and ocean health. That’s really important to us.”

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