Beauty / Design
Swedish beauty startup explains why its waterless skincare is stored in terracotta sculptures
According to Olga Ringquist, who’s founded Oquist Cosmetics together with her dad, their four multifunctional products replace the need for 20+ products for the face and body.
25 Jan 2022

Ever heard of ”skinterior”? Neither had we. But when Olga Ringquist, with a background in sales and marketing in Swedish fashion and beauty retail, explains that this is the reason why her new beauty brand uses terracotta sculptures instead of the usual plastics for the packaging, it makes more sense.

— From the start, she tells, we knew we wanted to create a packaging that one would want to have out on display instead of hiding it in the bathroom drawer — so-called ”skinterior”. Both dad and I are tea lovers and while drinking tea out of terracotta bowls we wondered why this material wasn’t used for storing cosmetics. We realized it is a perfect material for creating beautiful interior pieces as well as for storing cosmetics. Out of the different clay materials, terracotta is the one without additives which is better for the afterlife of the material. When we compared terracotta to other cosmetic packaging materials we realized it was also better from a sustainability point of view. It takes less CO2 emissions to produce, it’s available in abundance, doesn’t contain any toxins, and doesn’t harm nature in its afterlife. Our designs are made to be repurposed once the product inside is finished. So far, we’ve seen our customers reusing it as a vase, spice dispenser, tea or coffee bowl, incense holder, or just as a piece of interior. What we are very happy to see is the fact that the designs of the products attract not only the conscious consumer but everyone who appreciates a beautiful piece of art, converting them into ”unconsciously conscious” consumers. We will soon also launch our refill program for those who prefer using the vessel for its initial purpose.

A standard cosmetic product contains 70-95 % water. According to Ringquist, this has no function on its own except for diluting the product which leads to unnecessary packaging and shipment weight and volume, causing high numbers of emissions.

— Our brand is waterless and multifunctional skincare and the range consists of four genderless products, such as the 6in1 Serum and 5in1 Butter, that are suitable for all skin types and together replace the need for 20+ products for the face and body, she tells, continuing,

— We call ourselves a ”360 sustainable brand”, putting the sustainability aspect as first priority in all our strategic decisions, and this is also one of the main reasons why we chose to have waterless formulations. While water as such is not bad for our health or our planet, it is very cheap compared to other cosmetic ingredients and therefore most commonly used in cosmetics as a so-called ”filler” in order to be able to produce more volume at a low cost. By excluding water, we also make sure our products last longer and are more potent. Based on our own research, going waterless seems to be the most impactful thing a beauty brand can do from a climate perspective. Another perk with excluding water is that one doesn’t need to add preservatives without compromising on shelf life, since mold and bacteria need water to grow. This is beneficial for those with sensitive skin types as well as for avoiding preservatives ending up in free waters.

Oquist Cosmetics’ waterless formulations.

Going forward, Olga Ringquist believes that consumers will have much more power over what’s happening in the beauty industry, when sharing her predictions.

— I believe the frustration and demand for information will lead to more informed consumers and brands will reply with more transparency. The immediate effects we see of climate change will convert more people into taking this topic more seriously, greenwashing will be seen-through and force brands to step up their sustainability agendas for real. The common beauty routine will be simplified to less steps and consumers will be pickier with how they spend their time and money on beauty products. People will realize that too many man-made ingredients, steps, and products destroy the skin barrier and as a result, they will seek minimalistic and microbiome-friendly formulations. The big corporations will capitalize on these trends as well and as a result, we’ll see even more green or clean brands popping up, backed up by the big corps. The share of waterless beauty will keep increasing but I find it hard to believe that it will rise to any significant level as it’s a total price model disruptor for those who already earn their revenue on water. Overall, I am optimistic about the changes forming the industry in the coming years as it will benefit the environment in one way or another, she concludes.