We’re savvy when it comes to sustainability and we approach it holistically, which means we’re thinking about how everything has an impact on our planet— from the ingredients inside our products and how they are sourced, to the packaging itself.
While trends might be fun, they’re not so cool when it comes to makeup or to Mother Earth. We want to make it easier to understand what sustainability is and how it touches everything from business practices to shopping habits.
We’re starting with ourselves. We do our best to minimize our waste, water, and energy footprint. We believe that truly sustainable ingredients are ethically sourced and safe for the environment.
Sustainability within the beauty industry is a big issue and there’s no way to solve it overnight. We’re not going to pretend we’ll get it right all the time. We're committed to transparency from product to process— giving you the information you need to make better decisions and to shop responsibly.
Saie is committed to leaving the planet better than we found it. It should be a place our kids feel safe to live in and enjoy, knowing we’re taking responsibility for their playground, Mother Earth. We calculate our environmental footprint in terms of gallons of water, pounds of CO2e, and pounds of waste.
our sustainability practices:
We’re on a mission to eliminate plastic from our packaging as soon as possible. Basically that means it’s either glass packaging, biodegradable packaging, post-consumer recycled plastic packaging, or (where we are now) packaging that is able to be recycled appropriately through Terracycle.
We think good things come in recyclable packages. Our mailer boxes are made with a combination of post-consumer recycled and virgin cardboard sourced from sustainable forests (SFI-certified). Our packaging tape is a paper tape that can be recycled along with our boxes, and we have eliminated the need for filler with our nifty organic cotton ball pouches (our gift to you and your vanity). Your whole shipper goes straight into the recycling bin.
Circularity is the future, which is why each product in our line has unique and specific packaging needs. There is no "one size fits all" model when it comes to sustainable packaging. As of right now, we carefully select the most sustainable option for each product, acknowledging and embracing that this will likely change over time.
Our cartons are produced in a facility that is entirely solar powered, and we minimize our carbon footprint by sourcing packaging locally. We’re using 100% post-consumer recycled resin for our Liquid Lip Balm, which is made possible by the incredible advances that have been achieved in tube production technology.
We use UV ink on our boxes which means that the ink dries when exposed to UV light instead of the air.
Unlike regular inks, UV inks are better for the planet because they don't contain any toxic solvents and they don't release bad gasses and vapors into the air. These inks also require less energy to dry as they dry almost instantaneously when exposed to UV light.
We’re on a mission to go plastic free by 2021, which means you will still need to recycle our products for now. Recycling can be confusing and the rules are different in every city, so we’re streamlining the process minus the stress. Once you have finished your Saie products, send it to us and we will recycle it for you. More good news: our warehouse is super close to the recycling facility, so it minimizes our carbon footprint all around!
Many modern brands are now using bioplastics in their production of their products, and while they can offer an alternative to using plastic, not all bioplastics are compostable -- some act just like regular plastic and take just as long to break down. This means that unless you have access to an industrial composting facility, the whole batch of recycling will get thrown out if you try to recycle your container. Our mission is to build products that make it easy for you to dispose of them when once you're ready.
Bottom line is, we get really excited talking about renewable energy! From our perspective, renewable energy use and carbon offsets work together. We believe that it’s our responsibility to reduce carbon emissions before we offset them. Our warehouse is entirely solar powered, and we work hard to produce things as close to the warehouse as possible to minimize shipping-related emissions. We prioritize working with suppliers who use renewable energy, but when that’s not an option, we ultimately hope to measure our production-related emissions and offset them to become carbon-neutral.
It's not enough just to manufacture sustainably, so we've also invested in programs that replace the resources we've spent, which is where offsets come in.
We’re partnering with Carbon Credit Capital because they enable us to participate in Gold Standard offset projects, which is the highest standard attainable within sustainable development. We’re committed to offsetting all of our travel and shipping related emissions, and we’re also working on measuring the impact of sourcing our ingredients and packaging raw materials so that we can eventually become completely carbon neutral.
By joining with our partner Carbon Credit Capital we intend to fully explore and offset all emissions associated with Saie and our supply chain as we grow. It’s our goal to measure emissions from every single part of our business, including ingredients, sourcing, packaging, energy use, transportation and waste and offset them to achieve carbon neutrality.
While we admit it's not a perfect solution because ultimately we're still the ones responsible for carbon emissions in the first place, we feel confident we're making the most positive impact possible with our investment in offsets. We chose Carbon Credit Capital because aside from giving back to the earth, they also support the local communities they partner with. Click here if you’re curious and want to learn more on the gold standard and the ways you as an individual can get involved in carbon offsetting. We can all do better together!
INGREDIENTS AND SOURCING
People assume that when you say "ingredient sourcing" you’re referring to where that ingredient comes from, but this phrase also refers to how the raw ingredients are combined with one another to create a finished product.
In the beauty industry, there are over 60,000 possible ingredients and combinations that involve breaking up raw materials to compound and react. The simplest way to explain this is that there are two ways to make every ingredient: you can either find it in nature or compound ingredients together in a process known as synthesis.
Synthesis is often done using petroleum, which is why it’s got a bad reputation. Unfortunately, chemists are used to working with petroleum because they know it performs. This is not a sustainable way to work with raw materials, and it’s why we are pushing our labs to consider a newer way of working with ingredients. Though it’s time consuming and involves lots of trial and error, we believe it's the way to create products that are clean and performance-driven.
We’re all about ingredients that are biodegradable and want to make sure that every ingredient we use comes from a responsible supplier. This is a tough job since we have so many ingredients in all of our products! But we're working every day to add ingredients to our blacklist and to find suppliers that prize sustainability as much as we do. We work with the Godmother of beauty ingredients, Gay Timmons, who triple checks every single ingredient in our formulas (painfully so) even if it means reformulating.
Our top priority is to think about whether or not the ingredients are biodegradable, how things wash into the water supply, the way ingredients are grown or processed, and whether they are organic or non-GMO. We are constantly pushing our labs to be as transparent as possible about their raw materials and to use raw material suppliers that are forthright about their practices.
Reducing how much we ship is a huge challenge for us, partly because we partner with people all over the world, and partly because we're an ecommerce business shipping things to consumers all over the world. We’re focused on choosing partners who are close to us. About half of what we produce is made in the New York metro area, within 100 miles of our warehouse, but when our partners are further away, we ship via ocean and ground (instead of air) as much as possible and offset all shipments as well through our partner Carbon Credit Capital.
The unfortunate and simple truth is that as of now, waste occurs when you are producing and manufacturing products.
For example, our factory that making our eyelash curlers insisted on wrapping each individual curler in a plastic bag, which is then wrapped in foam. We think that’s wasteful and unnecessary, so after much negotiation we convinced them to let us reuse those plastic bags for future orders. Even though we are a small company and even though this isn't a perfect solution, we'll seek out the most sustainable alternative until we find what works best for our planet and our production.
Saie operates out of a coworking space, so we don't have a lot of agency in what cleaning supplies are used, the way the lights are used, etc., but we do what we can in the way of keeping things sustainable: we drink from reusable water bottles, reusable coffee cups, we use bamboo fork sets, and we bring our own lunch.
In terms of shipping supplies, we order our tissue paper and compostable mailers from noissue.com. Our pouches and totes are made from either recycled or organic cotton (never plastic). Overall, choosing these methods are more expensive but are well worth it in our eyes in order to have eco-friendly delivery systems.
Our mission is to be as transparent as possible with our supply chain because we want people to know just how much time, energy and hard work goes into making our products.
We recognize there are many things we do that are not perfect, but we want to talk about them so we can find the best alternatives going forward. We believe that by raising awareness and starting authentic conversations around some of the big picture issues within the beauty industry we can push the entire industry to become more sustainable.
This is what gets us out of bed everyday and we’re excited to share what we learn with our community.
We’re always looking for something that is not just innovative in terms of the clean beauty world, but innovative in terms of the beauty world at large. Saie is moving toward better products and increased transparency—all with a focus on common good. We’re aiming to be a symbol for rising global standards of what is expected of product development.
This is the Olympics of product development. We’ve partnered with the top labs in the world to rethink beauty and create the most high-performance nontoxic products on the market. Collaboration is key for the future to be clean, which is why we work hand in hand with our labs to keep toxins out of our shared environment and bodies.
We’re committed to using organic formulas and certified raw materials in every single product we make. We don’t test on animals, and we consider all of the different types of inhabitants sharing our environment as we develop our products. We rely on our beauty expert Gay Timmons to vet our formulas to make sure there are no disguised toxic ingredients in any of our products.
We heard you loud and clear when you said that clean beauty is just way too expensive. We work with luxury ingredients and top labs (because what’s the point of a beauty product if it doesn’t work?), but we cut out the middle man so we could bring our prices down as much as possible to make clean beauty accessible for all.
"My strategy for product development for Saie is combining interesting textures and finishes with clean ingredients. I care about making products that actually work. Overall, clean product development is really hard, it’s not a quick fix. I’m pushing for our labs to learn about what’s really in each of these ingredients and how they are combined. It’s not the way the big labs are used to working- they like using ingredients that they know will perform- but I’m excited to work with them on finding the best clean ingredients available. This means we do a lot of digging through raw materials and documentation to get to the clearest information regarding what's really in each of these products."
our product development practices:
Mascara 101: Approach
Mascara development is unique because there are so many different preferences when it comes to types of brushes and product benefits. Some like a really full brush with lots of long, bristles and a thicker formula to create volume, while others might prefer a skinny molded bristle brush with a thinner formula to create long, separated lashes. But one thing we all agree on is that everyone wants mascara to last and not flake off or create raccoon eyes. We approached our mascara development knowing that there is no one recipe that will suit everyone's needs and preferences, so instead we focused on what everyone in our community likes and agrees on, and and made sure the mascara performed in the way we envisioned it to.
Behind the scenes: formula
We had initially approved a very different brush, but when we sent samples out to our community, they told us they wanted a bigger brush. They were missing a clean mascara that created fuller, fanned-out lashes, and this brush achieves that look perfectly.
Behind the scenes: packaging
As we thought about the packaging for our mascara, we kept coming back to the fact that getting the right amount of product on the brush when you use it is key. It’s important for the brush to be flexible but strong. Currently, we’re working on transition our brush to silicones or another form of rubber soon. While those aren't biodegradable, they're at least not toxic for the ocean so we'd consider that an improvement!
Brow Butter: Approach
In the early stages of Brow Butter’s development, we thought about using a tinted oil but realized it could easily end up all over our faces, so we decided to create a brow butter inspired by the texture of ghee butter. Our Brow Butter boasts a unique quality in that it doesn’t fully dry down or cake like traditional brow gels. We love that our Brow Butter conditions throughout the day, and simply enhances brows that are already there. Overly-tinted, clown-like eyebrows? Not for us. Stay tuned as we launch more shades soon!
Behind the scenes: formula
Product development isn’t always sexy, sometimes it looks like having to reformulate a product multiple times because one of the raw materials was petroleum-derived (yes, this happened with our Brow Butter). Raw material suppliers often disguise the names of petroleum-derived materials which makes our job harder, but it’s why we work with the best of the best ingredients experts to make sure our products are as clean as possible. We reformulated our Brow Butter three days before production so that we could stay true to our brand values.
Don’t worry, we’ll always reformulate even if it’s inconvenient.
Behind the scenes: packaging
We’re working on getting rid of the silicone in the formula and sourcing our ingredients more locally.
Liquid Lip Balm: Approach
We love developing lip products, but we're the first to admit it's really hard to develop with a "no" list that's as stringent as ours. It becomes even more difficult when you factor in petroleum- derived ingredients like hydrogenated polyisobutene, which is in most lip glosses. The reason why so many petroleum chemicals are used in lip products (and all makeup for that matter) is because they create an incredible slip and shine that is very hard to recreate with natural raw materials and safer ingredients. We've done well with our liquid lip balm, considering, but there is still a long way to go when it comes to safer raw material swaps in beauty. We're kindly calling on all raw material suppliers to continue working on this so we can get to a place where both the textures and performance are top notch, and chemists feel comfortable using new materials.
Behind the scenes: formula
When it comes to formulas, product development works around the clock. Our lead product developer spent July 4th at the lab working on this formula directly with our chemist to make sure it was versatile for all skin tones. We tested both versions on models with different skin tones and refined our formula to make sure it looks great on everyone.
Behind the scenes: packaging
We don’t like having to wedge our fingers into jars when it comes to lip balms. We wanted a no-mess application for our liquid lip, which is why we use our recycled resin tube made from 100% recycled HDPE, which basically means we’re repurposing items like old milk jugs to bring you our Liquid Lip balm. Cool, right?
The Lash Curler: Approach
This was initially an ask from Goop, as they thought it would be great to have a lash curler and mascara gift set. We agreed and set out to create a super adorable lash curler that is straightforward and works. We love this one and it comes everywhere with us.
Behind the scenes
Talk to any makeup artist, and they’ll tell you a lash curler is one of the essentials for every makeup kit! We designed our lash curler in our beautiful Saie lilac because we wanted something in your kit to make you smile!
Behind the scenes: packaging
We’re working towards using recycled metal as our main material for the lash curler.
Diversity and Inclusion
We founded Saie as a beauty brand with the mission to provide makeup that is both good for people and good for the planet. It is clear that mission is unattainable as long as our systems remain broken and biased, specifically for the black community. We commit to progress, action, and accountability, to becoming a company that is actively anti-racist. Here is the immediate action we’re taking across 5 different themes.
Growth for us isn’ t just about people, it’ s about expanding our own mindsets and educating ourselves to build a system within the beauty industry that champions the BIPOC community so that they feel seen, heard and accurately represented.
a) Team hires and contractors
While Saie Beauty is still in its infancy phase— with just 2 full time employees—and we can’t hire at the present moment, our commitment moving forward is to measure diversity, equality and inclusivity for all future hires. We’re committed to making sure that all contractors in the meantime from designers and developers to writers and producers, in addition to any future hires for our team reflects 15% Black and 50% BIPOC.
b) Talent / models / photographers / HMU
We work with such a wide range of collaborators on our shoots from photographers, and digital technicians, to models, stylists and makeup artists. We’re committed to ensuring that all representation reflects 15% Black and 50% BIPOC. It’s important for us as a beauty brand that our community sees themselves in the brand and that it accurately reflects diversity and inclusion.
We are focused on long - term change that effectively will alter the DNA of our brand.The Black Lives Matter Movement isn’ t a trendy campaign, nor is it a performative box to check off.There is no end to this work, and we are committed to doing our part to address the deeply rooted systemic problems specifically within the beauty industry. We recognize that we will make mistakes along the way.We welcome the powerful accountability of our community to hold us accountable to our work and transparency.
We are committed to only working with partners and collaborators who have also taken the diversity and inclusion pledge. We will be vetting all partnerships and collaborations moving forward that are committed to dismantling systemic racism in their industry.
We are committed to proactively diversifying our product development to expand the shades of our products to reflect the broad spectrum of skin tones for all BIPOC.
Advertising and Marketing
Our goal is to diversify the representation of our products across marketing, advertising and other media to include the faces of underrepresented audiences. We are seeding our products to 50% BIPOC influencers and media with the goal of amplifying voices that represent our diverse customer base.
The past few weeks we’ve made donations to Color Of Change and Fairfight to support Black Lives Matter and anti-racism. We will continue to research and evaluate the organizations we can engage in and support on a long term basis.