The beauty industry can be full of surprises, and not all of them are pretty: microplastics, hidden toxins, overconsumption… It’s enough to make you grimace, wrinkles and all. These realizations were heavy hitting for Angela Ursem and Cathy Noordwijk-Ursem, but instead of letting the bad news get them down, they used it as motivation to create change in the industry. Now, after two Dutch Beauty Awards for Best Green Brand and Talent of the Year 2021, this sister duo is readier than ever to tackle the lack of transparency in the beauty world with their brand, Food for Skin.
Tell us a little bit about Food for Skin—how was the brand started and what is the philosophy behind it?
Back in 2018, I read about the fact that many cosmetic brands use microplastics and other chemicals in their products. I got upset and asked my sister, Cathy, “Why can’t cosmetic brands be more transparent and not add loads of toxins into their products? Consumers are being held responsible for making the right choices, but how are they to know what to look for when it’s impossible to read the label of a personal care brand?” Cathy replied, “Why don’t we develop the brand that we are looking for ourselves?” We wanted to create premium, vegan, 100% natural products made out of vegetable oils only and no junk that are produced in the Netherlands and look good in your bathroom. Fast forward to November 2021 and FoodforSkin.care was launched!
What problems in the beauty industry does Food for Skin aim to address?
Have you ever put plastic on your face? You probably did this morning!
There are 90,000 particles of microplastic in 1 lick of cream from an average brand. These are super tiny particles of plastic that go down your shower drain and end up in oceans, in fish… and eventually, on your plate.
The beauty industry is not so pretty, full of microplastics and other nasties such as parabens or endocrine disruptors that are not good for you and not good for nature. These cheap raw materials are added to products to make them more spreadable, durable or waterproof. They don’t have to be added and they shouldn’t be added; it can be done differently!
Consumers do not know this, because how on earth can anyone be expected to read an average ingredient label? You have to be a scientist to do so. Food for Skin wants to teach people about what they use and offer an alternative to polluting products so that consumers can learn honestly and transparently about what they use!
Food for Skin is committed to honesty—how has it been to be so transparent, from your advertising to your ingredients?
We want to be as transparent as we can be, since this was the reason why we started Food for Skin in the first place: the ambiguity of many brands, the questionable claims, the Photoshopped visuals and the fact that many brands encourage us to buy more and more. We are transparent about all of our ingredients. On our website, we translate them into ‘normal language’ and explain why we use each one. We avoid marketing claims that are only partially true and we use only real customers of Food for Skin in our pictures—no Photoshop.
Your unisex product offerings are refreshingly streamlined—what are the reasons behind Food for Skin’s minimalistic approach to skincare?
We believe we all should consume less. So, the question became, how can we as consumers avoid buying more products? From the very beginning it became clear that we wanted to make multi-use products and avoid offering products that are not really needed, like a separate eye cream, or a toner. A toner is not needed if your cleanser does not stir up the pH level of your skin. So, if you have a mild oil cleanser, you won’t need a toner to recuperate from the cleanser. With Food for Skin, you only need three products for your basic skincare routine: an oil cleanser, a cream for day and night and a separate serum to be used as a booster at night or in winter time when the skin dehydrates.
What are your personal favourite food-based skincare ingredients and why?
Broccoli seed oil is superfood for the skin! We use it in multiple products. It contains omega fatty acids that soothe and reinforce a healthy skin structure. It has anti-inflammatory effects to help calm irritable skin. It results in soothed, softened and highly nourished skin.
How do you source your ingredients and why did you decide to source them this way?
Our Dutch producer sources ingredients upon our request. We like to use as many ingredients from residual streams as possible, so we can avoid using virgin resources. This usage of residuals is called valorization. For example, residual seeds produced by an Italian pasta sauce factory can be processed into high quality oils by a cosmetic laboratory. But to be honest, we do still have to use a lot of ‘new’ ingredients. However when we do, we try to source them as locally as possible to keep our footprint as small as possible.
We see you have a pending B Corporation certification. What does this certification mean to Food for Skin? What do you think it means to your customers?
This is a very important step for us as it commits us to maintaining a balance between people, planet and profit. Pursuing B Corp certification obligates you to make the right decisions when it comes to these issues, so it’s a big push for us to get things done. We hope to be fully certified in 2022, when we have outgrown our start-up phase. Right now, not many people know about B Corp certification, but inspirational brands like Tony’s Chocolonely, Dopper and Seepje are all certified B Corporations. I think in two years, this certification will become much more widespread because it’s not only about climate or only about people’s rights or only about responsible production; instead, it combines it all. We are intrinsically motivated to become a certified B Corp—we aren’t just doing it to prove something to the outside world. What’s also great about being part of the B Corp community is that you get to learn a lot from your certified peers!
Are there plans to continue growing the product lines? What are some of Food for Skin’s big goals in the future?
To avoid bringing too many products to market, we will focus on delivering some additional, necessary new products, like an SPF or a body product. But, don’t expect too many variants from us because again, we don’t believe that people need them. For now, we want to focus on skincare only. Our big goal for the future is to become a leading sustainable alternative for premium skincare in Europe, and to educate as many people as possible about how to read labels and how to know what’s in their products. We would love to create a consortium with like-minded brands to make an impact, together!
This month we are focused on a theme of celebration. What is Food for Skin celebrating this holiday season?
Food for Skin celebrates her very first birthday this winter! We’ll be sharing this with our followers, so stay tuned! After a long year of Zoom and Teams calls, you might be a bit fed up with looking at your own face, so now is a good time to give it a bit of additional love by taking good care of it during the holiday season 😉
Last but not least, what is your view on cooperating with stakeholders like Fairbee to generate positive impact?
Working with partners like Fairbee is of such huge importance. We know there are so many people out there who would like to choose the better option, but they either can’t find it or don’t have the time to do the homework to find it. Fairbee does the work for you, making it easy to choose the better option. So, no more excuses 😉 We believe in the power of together, because only together can we get things—like cleaning up the beauty industry—done!