Earth Tu Face: Natural ingredients for great skin care
The beauty industry is continuing to grow on itself year after at about 5-6% annual increase. It is worth an estimated $455 Billion, and in that deep well of value you can see some truly diverse and interesting companies looking to identify new realms in the beauty industry.
One of these companies founded in San Francisco is named Earth Tu Face. I was fortunate to speak to Sarah Buscho, Founder and Herbalist of Earth Tu Face, to speak about her company and new trends within the beauty and skin care industry.
Q: How did the idea for Earth Tu Face originate? And how does sustainability fit into the equation?
Sarah Buscho: The idea for Earth Tu Face didn’t originate with a single moment, but rather more of a natural progression. I had always made my own skincare products because ever since I was a child, my skin was so sensitive to everything from makeup to sunscreen to moisturizer to facewash. As a result, I became accustomed to using products with ingredients from the kitchen that didn’t invoke a reaction. I started exploring things like olive oil, coconut oil, and essential oils.
Back in 2009, I was in the middle of a three year process of becoming a herbalist when a piece of land in California that was previously used to grow produce, became available and the owner asked if I might like to use the land to grow my own herbs. Around the same time, a friend of mine recommended that I start putting labels on the products that I had been making. 2010 was when I created a fully developed line of products but under a different name.
In 2011, I rebranded my product line and took on a business partner and in 2012, we officially launched Earth Tu Face. The first product we released has become Paula’s choice Clear Strength Review Kit for treating acne around the face. In terms of sustainability, we have always and continue to maintain our values of being as zero waste as possible and using ingredients that aren’t endangered, and are sustainably sourced. We only use products that won’t cause issues with overharvesting and are not reactive. For this reason, we stay away completely from ingredients like palm oil and find alternative sourcing from places with plants and ingredients that are not at risk of over-harvesting.
In the photo: Some of the ingredients sourced for Earth Tu Face’s products Credit: Earth Tu Face
Q: How does Earth Tu Face adhere to its values and mission while also staying competitive? Is there a unique business model that you use?
SB: My mentality throughout this whole process has been more of a learn as you go type deal. One thing that we really try to do as part of our business model is focus on educating the customer. Our hope is that we can make luxury synonymous with sustainability, because sustainability truly is the best for our bodies, for the planet, for all animals, and for the future.
Essentially our model strives to make sure that luxury and common sense are at the forefront of the whole experience that the customer is buying. By buying our products, the customer can be at ease that everyone along the supply chain has been paid fairly, all of the ingredients will not hurt the flora and fauna, and that the product does not contain any harsh ingredients or chemicals.
In the photo: Natural face exfoliation cream by Earth Tu Face Credit: Earth Tu Face
Q: Are there any unique challenges for sustainability in the skincare industry? How does Earth Tu Face overcome these challenges?
SB: In this industry there are numerous challenges that we have faced and continue to face. First of all, one major challenge is educating the customer on why products are so costly. We don’t have nearly the same margins as most companies because we are trying to help the customers, but people still believe that the prices are incredibly high.
The second thing is in regards to manufacturing. In the United States, there aren’t many regulations on cosmetic products but there are stringent rules with manufacturing that aren’t necessarily always about safety. As a result of these regulations, sometimes we have to jump through strange hoops or we feel forced to make decisions we don’t necessarily want to make or are costly.
Additionally, when it comes to labeling, there is not 100% honesty in the beauty industry and the only way to really know what you are buying is by reading the ingredients rather than depending on packaging which is essentially all marketing. Also, there are a plethora of “green brands” that are only in the industry to capitalize on this relatively new trend. I’m concerned that these companies will damage the natural beauty space because they don’t completely understand ingredients, so their products are irritating; also, they aren’t making optimal decisions and considerations for things like plant populations. As a result, people may lose faith in and write off the entire beauty sector. Companies need to be making the best decisions that they can, given all of the factors in a situation.
Q: What criteria or things does Earth Tu Face look for when sourcing its products?
SB: In addition to organic and all natural ingredients, we look to use plants that are not at risk of being endangered. So, for example, we would prefer to use plants that grow like a grass or a weed and are easily replaceable rather than something that is a hard wood and might take years to replenish. If we’re going to be growing to scale, we want to stick with ingredients that can be feasibly produced for the long term; not only will our company not have shortages in the supply chain, but also it is better for the plant populations as well.
We absolutely stay away from palm oil because of the damage it causes to both forests and primates. Packaging is another thing that is largely overlooked. Many companies use plastic for their packaging which is understandable because it is lightweight, has huge cost advantages, and doesn’t easily break, making it an excellent option for the short run. However, using plastic is one of the most costly things we can do to the planet because recyclability is questionable at this point and we can’t justify making this compromise, so we avoid plastic packaging.
In the photo: Earth Tu Face’s natural shells as skin care containers Credit: Earth Tu Face
Q: Were there any major milestones in your journey to where you are today? Where do you see the direction of the company headed in the future?
SB: We hope that Earth Tu Face will continue to grow and everyone will start using products with the bigger picture in mind. It’s difficult because we have such a disposable economy right now and people just want to buy whatever is cheap or on sale. My hope is that companies can demand more for their products and consumers can purchase products more thoughtfully and take on an activism attitude so that we can move the world to where we want it.
Editors note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com