Meet Irish beauty brands on a mission to make the planet feel as good as you do
While we all know the importance of taking care of yourself, it’s just as important to make sure you take care of the environment while using your favorite products.
From their ingredients, sources, methods and packaging, a number of pioneering brands based in Ireland have laid the groundwork to ensure we can do both.
Here we take a look at some of the brands that are breaking the mold and providing sustainable local products that are designed to take care of our minds, our bodies and the planet.
When they first landed in Schull people thought John Murray and Dr Simon Jackson were ‘crazy’ but the west coast of Cork proved to be the perfect setting for their brand which is based on the use of natural ingredients.
The duo created Modern Botany in 2016. The idea was to create
a natural products company based on the principles of pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal compounds obtained from plants or other natural sources, according to Dr. Jackson’s professional background.
“We’re all about plants, the power of plants, and the healing power of plants,” says John, who is both co-founder and chief sustainability officer.
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.
For them, sustainability means looking at all aspects of the life cycle of their products.
Their multi-tasking oil can be used for face, body, hair and nails and is suitable for all skin types, including babies and during pregnancy. With refillable packaging, there’s no waste with this complete solution for dry skin.
John and Simon have also experimented with growing some of their own ingredients.
“The big thing about being sustainable is that we’re constantly reviewing and reviewing it and how we can be a little smarter,” says John.
Their products are packaged in glass and after recently testing refillable options, this is something they hope to incorporate into more products to further reduce waste.
Another Cork-based brand, Ground Wellbeing, focuses on “how you feel about how you look”, according to founder Peigín Crowley.
“Our focus on wellness is to manage everything from burnout to insomnia, from 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 wellbeing more accessible.
Mindfulness and getting a good night’s sleep are paramount for 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 sprays, and face balms. Their Balancing CBD Balm is another favorite.
Ground Wellbeing also incorporates home wellness products and Peigín and the team are currently working on products for people undergoing cancer treatment.
Everything Peigín has done has been done with sustainability in mind, and its collection of face and body balms and oils are 100% natural, with an average of 50% organic ingredients.
They avoid all harmful chemicals, promoting natural and organic living.
100% vegan and cruelty-free, Ground Wellbeing also emphasizes plastic-free shipping. All of their boxes and pouches are also made from a PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) accredited board, and they are planning to develop other refill initiatives as well. Currently, they offer bath salt and pillow spray refills, encouraging a 30% savings.
As someone who worked outdoors with their hands every day, Donagh Quigley knew the importance of natural, caring hand soap.
In 2010, he and his wife, Gemma, started the Handmade Soap Company in their kitchen. Now based in a renovated former linen mill in Slane, County Meath, Handmade Soap Company has sustainability in its DNA.
As their name suggests, each product is handmade, with every ingredient carefully selected. All of their bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials, made from recycled products and can be recycled again.
The Handmade Soap Company focuses on eco-friendly body care and wellness while incorporating home fragrances.
They recently launched their most sustainable line to date: ANAM. The product line uses lifetime glass bottles, to be filled 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 soaps and lotions as well as body oils, diffusers, essential oils and candles.
For Donagh and Gemma, the goal is to be the “kindest body care brand in the world” and this concept guides everything they do.
“The way we want to change the world for our clients is to enhance and enhance those micro-moments of self-care,” says Donagh.
“Every time you’re done doing the dishes and just want to wash your hands, if you’re using one of our products…you raise your hands to smell them after washing them under the tap and you say simply: ‘it’s good’.”
Dr Helena McMahon is one of the co-founders of Seabody, a Co Kerry-based luxury beauty and wellness brand that fuses science and sustainability to create skincare and supplements.
These are powered by high-purity organic bioactive marine molecules that Seabody manufactures in-house, using zero-waste technologies.
Founded in 2018, Seabody is on its way to becoming fully circular.
“Our mission was really to create a beauty and wellness brand that sustainably harnesses the incredible health and regenerative powers of algae,” says Dr. Helena McMahon.
She describes seaweed as an “incredible resource” with many molecules locked away in seaweed that have incredible health benefits.
Their most popular products include the Glycan Enrich Moisturizer while the Aquasurge Day Serum also receives rave reviews.
From day one, sustainability has been an important part of Seabody. They have a zero waste manufacturing process where they isolate several molecules and compounds from algae and create a variety of products, all of which have particular applications.
But their efforts don’t stop on the inside, their packaging is made of glass and uses biodegradable, non-toxic ink while their boxes are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. This guarantees that the products come from responsibly managed forests.
Each of the founders is invested in the ocean and the health of the oceans.
“If you’re using a natural resource, you need to make sure you’re doing it in a sustainable and sensitive way,” says Helena.
“Ultimately, you want to contribute positively to ocean regeneration and ocean health. That’s really important to us.