Sulapac creates cosmetic pencil with plant-based barrel for makeup supplier Schwan Cosmetics
Replacing the virgin plastic that is traditionally required to make lip and eyeliner.
1 Sep 2022

German Schwan Cosmetics is a makeup supplier for over 700 companies in 70 nations around the world including many of the world’s biggest cosmetic companies. The latest partnership is its greenest to date, teaming up with Finnish material innovation startup Sulapac to create lip liner and eyeliner pencils with sustainable barrel material, capable of sustaining the volatile makeup product held within the material. To date, the main challenge of using bio-based materials in cosmetic pencils is that most natural materials are not capable of maintaining the freshness of the makeup inside the pencil which is why most of them are encased in virgin plastic. Sulapac’s new cosmetic pencils for Schwan Cosmetics, called TheBetterBarrel, are not only eco-friendly but also airtight to hold the sensitive ingredients. It’s made with 72% bio-based material, called Sulapac Flow v1.8, which is derived from the sawdust from industrial side-stream wood chips and plant-based binders. While sustainable materials have been implemented in beauty packaging in recent years, this is the first time that Sulapac’s plastic alternative material is being used in colour cosmetic pencils.


The launch, the brands explain, is made in response to market research about the shifting demands of Gen Z and Millennial cosmetics consumers who increasingly value ”nature and sustainability”. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, the importance of reconnecting with nature became apparent during the pandemic when consumers wanted to care for, and feel in touch with, nature. These consumers are also committed to driving positive change in their communities and the world.

— This is a breakthrough for us because we were able to invent a better material to encase our pencils, says Dr. Alexander Doll, Head of Research and Development, Schwan Cosmetics. This replaces virgin plastic with a material that leaves no permanent microplastics. And we don’t have to make any compromises on the quality or performance of our long-lasting, high-pigment shades. This line is suited to come in an endless variety of textures and colours, and the barrel material has to be top-notch to preserve their integrity. Through our collaboration with Sulapac, we aren’t just creating an innovative product, we’re also investing in a more sustainable future for the cosmetics industry.

Since 2016, Sulapac has been collaborating with brands like Chanel, Lumene, and Shiseido and the design principle is to mimic nature. Similar to a piece of wood on the forest floor, the company’s materials can be digested by naturally occurring microorganisms and they break down into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, leaving no traces behind.

— This is a joint cooperation that wouldn’t have been possible without each other’s expertise, we are better together. Schwan is a big international supplier to so many brands around the globe. As an important player in the industry, they have a real impact on the beauty ecosystem and on the environment. Collaboration with industry leaders is so significant because of the huge volume that they produce, says Dr. Suvi Haimi, CEO and co-founder of Sulapac.

TheBetterBarrel product line will be launched officially at the trade show MakeUp in New York on September 14-15.