Aleph Beauty releases its first Sustainability Report

The ground-breaking high performance cosmetic range that protects people, planet and animals. Good caught up with founder Emma Peters to talk all things Aleph! 

Aleph Beauty turns five in September and in that short window it’s disrupted the beauty industry in the best possible way by proving that you don’t have to compromise on product quality or performance by doing the right thing.

Founder Emma Peters was a sought-after make-up artist for nearly three decades before creating Aleph and Good magazine is proud to say it has been there for the journey.

Peters was working with Good as a make-up artist and when she started Belle & Sage, a beauty platform representing different ethical, vegan and organic brands. The problem and frustration Peters faced when trying to find brands for the platform was that a brand might be organic but it came in plastic packaging, or vegan but was made from ingredients toxic to humans or the earth.

Unable to find what she was looking for in a single brand, she embarked on the journey to create a cosmetic brand that was people-, planet- and animal-friendly.

Aleph (pronounced ahh-lef) was born and takes its name from the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

“It has a vibration of divine oneness and I wanted something that represented people, planet and animals as a whole, bringing all those elements together,” Peters explains. “It’s always baffled me, why would you look after one thing and not the other? I’ve seen brands go plastic-free for their packaging but then their formulation is filled with microplastics and I’m not talking about microbeads because people have moved on from those. There’s a lot of microplastics – liquid plastic polymers – in beauty products, even in many ‘clean beauty’ brands.”

Aleph doesn’t use any plastic in its formulas and has gone to the nth degree to avoid microplastics, which is particularly hard when you’re producing something that needs a film-former like a mascara or gel liner.

“We’ve found an amazing combination of plant polymers that act even better, in my opinion, than a lot of the microplastic-filled products,” says Peters, who develops all the products herself along with her team of cosmetic chemists.

The most common microplastics in skincare and cosmetics are acrylates copolymer and VP copolymer (vinyl) which produce a film on the skin so that product stays there for longer. Many skincare products also contain silicone which Peters prefers to steer clear of “because there are still some unknowns”, plus they don’t do anything for the skin.

In contrast, all Aleph products have been formulated to feed and nourish the skin.

“I’ve coined this phrase ‘proactive ageing’ because I think anti-ageing has become a thing of the past,” she says. “We’re all ageing and we’re going to age. We know this, so why don’t we choose to age in the right direction? That’s why all our products are infused with proactive ageing ingredients that help your skin get better and better over time.”

The planet-friendly formulations are filled with skin-loving ethically sourced ingredients such as jojoba oil, which is balancing for the skin, and cocoa butter, which has a beautiful melt.

Everything has been formulated to work with the skin, says Peters, so when it goes onto the skin, it melts into the skin and doesn’t melt at air temperature. “That means when it’s on it stays on and doesn’t slide when it gets warmer,” she explains.

Active ingredients like CoQ10 can be found in Concealer/Foundation, Cheek/Lip Tint and Radiance Balm, as well as Totorol, a beautiful New Zealand ingredient that is great for acne-prone skin because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Aleph formulations are also biodegradable, free of hormone disruptors or nasty chemicals, fragrance-free, GMO-free, cruelty-free and vegan. And they’re free from fillers, including water.

“We don’t need to use water to create an emulsification and create a 50-60-gram product. We’ve dialled it right back to the condensed ingredients. That means you’ve got less packaging, less waste and less to carry around,” says Peters.

Product performance is also a top criterion for Peters.

“It’s got to work as I would like it to work as a make-up artist and as a fussy make-up wearer,” she says. “I wanted it to feel like you’re not wearing anything, but that it was also nourishing the skin. And that’s where we’ve got to with all of our products. They only get put into manufacture when I’m satisfied that they have the function and feel that they need.”

Using her make-up artistry know-how, Peters has also formulated Aleph products to work cohesively as a system so that you can create a lot more with a lot less. That plays into the sustainability as well as the creativity because you can mix different products together to create something new.

Aleph hybrid eye pigments can be used on brows, as a shadow or eyeliner and have been created to work quite differently to any other product out there, Peters explains. “They sit between a cream powder and a pencil so that you can have all the versatility that you need and want.”

Aleph’s Essentials Edit is a great little bundle to get you started and includes a few key products such as a Serum Primer, Concealer/Foundation and Radiance Balm which you can mix in different ways to create different looks, tones and textures.

You can layer a Cheek/Lip Tint on top of that to create a little more colour and everything can be layered to produce just a touch of colour through to full intensity.

“You’re getting that feeling of newness, without the waste. Then you get to the bottom of your container and you’re able to clean it out and recycle it.

It’s using less resources and creating less waste because when do you ever get to the bottom of a typical lipstick tube or foundation?” she laughs.

The size and shape of Aleph make-up containers, made from glass jars with aluminium lids, ensure no product is left behind, and are reused or recycled through Aleph’s recycling programme. Aleph has developed their own in-house process for recycling or reusing each separate component to ensure a circular system.

Customers can send their empties directly to Aleph, but most drop them at one of Aleph’s 50 retailers which include Smith & Caughey’s, Ballantynes, Skintopia, Sills & Co, and Found.

“I still go and empty the PO Box on occasion and it’s amazing to see how much comes back through from our retailers,” smiles Peters. “Just by the size of our products they can’t be recycled in kerbside recycling currently, so we don’t want to leave anything to chance. This way we know it is actually being recycled.”

Peters’ hope for the future of the cosmetics industry is that the industry can move from “wish-cycling” to a truly circular system.

“We should be able to look and feel like the best version of ourselves without the guilt and angst of over-consumption.”

Since inception Aleph has been part of 1% for the Planet, donating one per cent of all revenue to registered charities, including For the Love of Bees, Sustainable Coastlines, World Wildlife Fund and Whale Tales.

Already well decorated from an eco cert perspective, and with more exciting certifications pending, you can read Aleph’s sustainability report in full at alephbeauty.com.

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