Ever wonder who really makes the products from your favourite organic skincare brands and make-up companies? The majority of the beauty industry buy their formulations off-the-shelf. It is actually rare for a company to create their own base formulations for products from scratch. Many of the brands that grace the shelves of beauty halls today are owned and manufactured by only a handful of parent companies. But where there is conformity there will always be a small group of renegades that take matters into their own hands… and their own factories.
Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere, Paula Tisenkopfa, Zane Tamane, Liene Drāzniece | Factory in Mārupe, Latvia – founders of Mádara
The first Mádara lab was housed within the Riga Technical University Biomaterial Innovation Center, in a small room of 20 sq. meters. And their first production premises? A minuscule 40 sq. meters. Today Mádara employs chemists, pharmacists, technologists all within their 2700 sq. meter premises in Latvia. It has become not only a home of creating formulas but a home for research into organic chemistry and biotechnology. The discoveries of which in turn are developed into new products.
Additionally, the Mádara lab is open for tours, welcoming students from schools and universities to see firsthand the work behind organic skincare brands. It’s this kind of transparency and outreach that we love about Mádara; the principles they hold about the quality of ingredients they use extends to all parts of their business, including being a positive presence in the local Latvian community. Our pick of the range? Try the Brightening AHA Peel Mask.
Tata Harper | Factory in Champlain Valley, Vermont – founder of Tata Harper
In 2003, Tata Harper’s stepfather was diagnosed with cancer. The recommendations from his doctors included, surprisingly, to switch out all his skincare, haircare and body products. Not even the high end items were free of harmful toxins. Tata Harper, originally trained as an engineer, spent the next eight years educating herself on natural ingredients, all the while planting as much as she could on a 1,200-acre farm in Vermont. The farm would become her home and the manufacturing site of her company.
Ingredients and product formulation were the focus from the start: ‘We are obsessed with quality so we can make the best, most effective skincare. It’s more challenging to be totally vertically integrated, but for us, it didn’t make sense to outsource the most important part of our business: the products.’
By establishing her own factory, Tata Harper was able to not compromise on quality or freshness. This independence allows them to be their own inventors and manufacturers. Sustainability is also key for organic skincare brands. Controlling their manufacturing process has allowed them as a company to minimise their carbon footprint, prioritise recycled and recyclable packaging and use water-based inks. The factory is so integrated into the heart of the brand that they have an open lab policy where you can log the batch number of your product to check when it was made. Our pick of the range? Try the Purifying Cleanser.
Sarah Brown | Factory in West London – founder of Pai Skincare
Pai has always prided itself in doing things a bit differently. In the early days, founder Sarah Brown could be found making creams in her parents converted garage with an electric hand whisk. Though now everything is housed at their West London headquarters, every product is still made, packaged and sent from onsite.
Passionate about doing things in-house, Pai keep a close watch on exactly how more delicate ingredients (like their CO2-extracted Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil) are stored and handled. Best known for their meticulous attention for creating products for even the most sensitive of skin types, having a independent factory has also enabled Pai to guarantee product purity. Our pick of the range? Try the Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream.
Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley | Factory in Taos, New Mexico – founders of Vapour
Vapour Beauty’s roots are in natural product design and manufacturing. Creating innovative natural skincare for other brands for over 20 years, founders Krysia Boinis and Kristine Keheley were already experts in sourcing high quality organic ingredients and how to release their highest potential in product formulation. So when it came to starting Vapour, they knew they had to manufacture in-house — outsourcing could never be an option. Manufacturing independence protects product integrity. This attention and care prevents homogenisation that can sometimes occur in a facility that makes many brands.
In addition to setting their own standard that are higher than many natural cosmetic certifying agencies and maintaining their own USDA Organic facility, through a small batch production model, Vapour is also able to offer inclusivity in their wide range of shades. Many contract manufacturers have high minimums that limit a small brand’s ability to offer a more diverse range of shades. Our pick of the range? Try the Siren Lipstick in Bold.
Header Image: Mádara
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