Foundation of a greener industry

Enterprise: Conserving Beauty

Green Credentials: The less-than-a-year-old start-up is the first global beauty partner of Water Footprint Network and is showing the world how to make cosmetics without wasting so much precious H2O.

Natassia Nicolao founded Conserving Beauty in 2021 with the premise of conserving all beauty – of consumers and of the planet. “I always knew I wanted to create something that could positively impact people, the community, and our planet,” Natassia says.

Having completed her Bachelor of Science, Natassia found herself working in the beauty and wellness industry across ethical sourcing, supply chain, and product development, and later in sales and marketing.

“It was clear to me that the world didn’t need another beauty brand, but it did need a movement for conservation,” Natassia explains. “Starting with the concept of uniting ESG principles with beauty products, I reimagined a standard beauty product’s lifecycle to help conserve our most precious resource – water. I found a way to merge my long-term love for beauty products with my passion for planet impact, using my science background and commercial experience in the beauty industry to start Conserving Beauty.”

Water is a finite resource and we are living in what Natassia describes as a “water action decade”. Determined to persuade the wider public to act as a collective to think seriously about ways to reduce our water footprint, Natassia knew that the beauty industry had become too reliant on freshwater resources – most beauty products contain 70–90 per cent water – not to mention the additional water footprint generated throughout the supply chain to create each product.

The pure ingredients chosen for Conserving Beauty’s powerful formulas aren’t diluted with water, which means they can be delivered directly to the skin. “So, our precious natural resources are never wasted, and your results are never watered down,” Natassia avers. “We are proud to be the first global beauty partner of Water Footprint Network, the leaders in water footprint assessment. Together we are running a custom research project to manage our exact water footprint so we can track and share our savings with our community.”

While starting the business, Natassia focused on educating herself so she could make better-informed decisions. “Sustainability is about considering an entire product lifecycle and a transparent supply chain, rather than focusing on one element, such as packaging,” she says. “True environmental conservation means transparency, traceability, equality, ethical sourcing, conserving natural resources, reinvesting profit back into our ecosystem, human rights, protecting the people with a supply chain, and managing our water footprint, carbon footprint, and waste footprint.”

As a start-up that’s purpose driven, Conserving Beauty thinks about each stage of a product lifecycle to consider how it would affect individuals, the community, and the planet. One of the hardest challenges the company had to overcome was formulating without water, palm-oil, and palm-derived ingredients. “We had to ensure that every raw material dossier didn’t have traces of these ingredients, as they don’t align with our conservation approach,” Natassia explains. “All of our conscious decisions to exclude water, palm oil, fragrances, preservatives, and animal products, and reinvest profit back into our ecosystem via our partnership with SeaTrees, stems from our core mission to conserve all beauty.”

In the short period since the business was launched, Conserving Beauty’s innovative waterless products have secured the business retail partnerships for 2022 and led to Natassia’s nomination as a finalist in the CEO Magazine Executive of the Year Awards. What makes Natassia most proud of these achievements is the fact they have come from working with her incredibly talented team and Conserving Beauty’s investors. “Without them, our waterless movement wouldn’t be possible,” she says.

Natassia is working on her next waterless product development and has partnered with other innovators to create groundbreaking waterless zero-waste solutions. “This collection will launch in 2022 and we can’t wait to share more information with our community when we can,” Natassia enthuses.

This article first appeared in issue 35 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine