Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder … but what happens when the quest for our own beauty simultaneously harms the beauty of our planet?
That’s the dilemma beauty industry veterans like Victor Casale and Alisha Gallagher set out to solve on their mission to do beauty better for people and the planet.
A founding chemist at MAC cosmetics in the ‘80s, Casale made his mark early on, creating those famous, long-lasting MAC products that quickly became favored by makeup artists everywhere.
And it wasn’t just Casale’s aptitude for developing incredible products that set him apart — he also launched one of the makeup industry’s first cosmetics recycling programs some 30 years ago, MAC’s “Back to MAC” initiative, which still exists today.
So what does an industry leader that’s essentially written the book on beauty do next? He sets out to disrupt that industry, redefining what beauty is and can become. He commits to doing beauty better.
In his quest to upend the wastefulness that runs rampant within the beauty industry — as well as the historical perception that natural or clean products are somehow subpar to their traditional counterparts — Casale teamed up with another beauty industry force, Alisha Gallagher, to launch MOB Beauty, a line committed to making high-performing, clean products with compostable packaging. Yes, compostable packaging (more on that later).
Gallagher, an artist at her core, started out as a global makeup artist working with Laura Mercier, which would lay the foundation for her brand and business leadership roles for years to come.
When she and Casale created MOB Beauty, Gallagher knew that “making great makeup was a non-negotiable.”
“Doing beauty better for us always means high-performance products first,” Gallagher added.
The MOB Mission
MOB is on a mission to make noise and progress in the beauty industry by disrupting how packaging is done, and debunking the perception that clean beauty compromises performance.
So far, so great. MOB Beauty’s products have already been featured in the likes of Vogue, W Magazine, and Allure. Their cream clay shadows, mascara, and lipsticks are crowd favorites.
Casale, Gallagher, and their team work tirelessly to achieve the vibrant colors without often-harmful traditional beauty industry ingredients like carmine, which comes from a beetle and is the leading ingredient to create red shades.
MOB’s solution to this? They experiment with more natural options, like using potato and beet extracts to create a rich, vibrant, bug-free red hue.
But the biggest hurdle is undoubtedly the packaging. The beauty industry generates an estimated 120 billion packages every year, according to Pact Collective.
All those little tubes, pumps, and plastic parts made from multiple materials are virtually impossible to recycle, meaning a majority of used beauty products end up in landfills.
But impossible isn’t an option for MOB Beauty. Today, their sustainable packaging standards are leading the industry.
Everything MOB currently makes is refillable. All of the brand’s packaging is made from PET and PP resin packaging, the most recyclable plastics currently available, and with at least 50% post-consumer recycled content, which means material that already exists in the waste stream.
And yet, MOB is constantly looking to do more to improve and push the limits of design. In July, the brand launched a pilot of their “New Purpose” packaging, which is fully compostable. The company has committed to 100% fully compostable packaging by 2024.
This innovative solution –– which Casale and Gallagher hope will be a model for the rest of the beauty industry –– was developed in partnership with other innovators in the science, food, and climate spaces.
“We looked across all industries and said, ‘what can we borrow from other industries that we can bring into the beauty industry and make this project work?’” Casale told The Cool Down.
Casale looked to the creators of biodegradable molded iPhone cases, Pela, to see how MOB could use the plant-based bioplastic material in its own compacts. And he tapped into one of the latest technologies in reducing food waste –– a water-resistant, biodegradable protective coating that makes food last longer –– for MOB’s lipstick packaging.
While compostable packaging will be a thing of the future, Casale is also looking at the present. As co-founder of Pact Collective, he helps to educate and to be transparent in sharing sustainable packaging findings across the industry. Most recently, Pact has teamed up with Sephora to broaden its in-store collection program, where consumers drop off clean empties for hard-to-recycle beauty packaging.
As Gallagher notes, “We don’t compete on sustainability with other brands — we share.” Pact Collective currently has 150 organizations as members.
Casale and Gallagher aren’t only doing beauty better, they are also raising the bar for us all to do better and look good in the process.
The dynamic duo is creating solutions that other companies can utilize, leading the way for progress in the industry going forward.
As Gallagher says, “I think when people know better, they do better.”
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