A fireside chat with Juni Cosmetics founder Madeleine White


“I refuse to compromise when it comes to sustainability and was adamant that Juni must be 100% plastic free, so we had to innovate our own packaging.”

-Madeleine White, Juni Cosmetics Founder


In this series we talk to inspirational people, amongst them the founders of our wonderful brands, about topics they are passionate about. We are kicking it off with Juni Cosmetics and founder Madeleine White.

Juni cosmetics are leading the way with their luxury, high performing make-up that values the environment and your health. Their expertly crafted award-winning sustainable lipstick bullets are completely plastic-free and 100% recyclable!


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Most, if not all of us inevitably have plastics in our bathroom, and being in the beauty industry we contribute to over 120 billion units of waste a year. The challenge mainly lies in packaging, a significant proportion of which are made up of plastics.


When hearing that only 9% of all plastic waste that has ever been produced has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated and the rest ends up in landfills or dumped into the natural environment, (Statistics source: beatthemicrobead.org) we know that we have a responsibility to do better, be game-changers and work with game-changers.

"The beauty industry produces over 120 billion units of waste a year, and only 9% of all plastic waste that has ever been produced has been recyled."


As a sustainable and conscious retailer, we are the first to say that we aren’t perfect, but we are proud to work with founders and brands who consider their materials and processes in the knowledge of their environmental impact, both up and downstream.

Juni Cosmetics are one of the game-changers of our industry, setting the bar very high with their capsule collection.

We spoke to Madeleine about why she was adamant on creating a plastic free lipstick bullet, any challenges they faced, and ultimately how they managed to overcome them and create a lipstick bullet that has won a Silver award in the Luxury category of the 2020 Pentawards - the world's leading and most prestigious competition for packaging design.
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When you started creating your capsule collection, did you always envisage that your packaging would be plastic free?

 

I first had the idea to start my own brand in 2018, and although I was already making an effort to reduce my personal plastic waste, I had no idea how big the problem really was.

My main priority at the time was to create a lipstick formula that used sustainably-sourced, organic and vegan ingredients. It wasn't until I started talking to packaging manufacturers - and was faced with the daunting fact of having to purchase a minimum of 25 thousand units of packaging - that I really understood the impact this would have on our planet. We began looking at so-called environmentally-friendly plastics but none were good enough.

I spoke with many packaging experts, environmentalist and anti-plastic campaigners to really educate myself on the plastic problem. Once you understand the full effects that plastic waste has on our planet and health, it's impossible to ignore.  In the end, aluminium came out on top.


 

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Why is the fight against plastic so important to you personally and to Juni Cosmetics?

Being a 90's baby, plastic is something that has just always been there in abundance. It's actually a very useful material in many aspects - lightweight, cheap, pliable - but it's also important that we stop and ask ourselves, "what will happen to this plastic once I've finished with it?"

Unfortunately, we just don't have the infrastructure to properly recycle and reuse plastic like the media has led us to believe - only 9% of the plastic created since the 1950s has actually been recycled. Opting for sustainable alternatives is imperative so that we can responsibly use plastic where it's really needed - like single-use medical devices, for example.

Plastic is also present in so many different formats. Lots of make-up formulas are full of microplastics in the form of cheap fillers or to create various 'smoothing' or 'long lasting' effects. Although usually invisible to the naked eye, these types of micro and nano-plastics are detrimental to our oceans. This is why it's so important to opt for products that are plastic-free, both inside and out.

Plastic Soup Foundation created a fantastic app called 'Beat the Microbead' which allows you to scan the ingredients list on your products using a phone to find out whether the product contains any plastic ingredients. 


"It wasn't until I started talking to packaging manufacturers - and was faced with the daunting fact of having to purchase a minimum of 25 thousand units of packaging - that I really understood the impact this would have on our planet."

 

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What were the challenges in creating a plastic free bullet?

Like most cosmetic packaging, lipstick bullets are made up of several components. Plastic has a certain amount of stretch and resistance to it, so you can use a cog-mechanism to create the 'twist-up' motion that we're all familiar with. 

Aluminium, however, can't be used in the same way, so we had to work with our product designers to come up with a solution.

I collect vintage make-up and have a solid-silver lipstick bullet from the 1930s - it's so beautiful and has really stood the test of time. I took this to our product designers and we modelled our Juni bullet on it, complete with a twist-off lid and push-up collar to reveal the lipstick. 


What made you settle on aluminium as your material of choice?

Aluminium is known as "the green metal" due to it being so easily and infinitely recyclable. It's also very hard wearing and is often used in the aerospace industry. Other than that, aluminium simply looks great! We opted for a 'bead-blast' finish on our bullet - I love the way we've embraced and enhanced this natural material. 



Was there anything that surprised you in the creation process, for both the formula and the vessel?

Creating formulas using organic ingredients is certainly trickier than we expected. In fact, most colour cosmetic chemists don't even offer this service as it can be complex and expensive. We're all so accustomed to how synthetic formulas feel that moving to more natural products can be an adjustment for some.

As a make-up artist, I was adamant that our products had to perform just as well, if not better, than the conventional products available on the market. I'm happy to say that we definitely succeeded - many of our customers say that Juni lipsticks are the best they've ever used! 

 

 

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What inspired the shades of your capsule collection?

The Capsule Collection was designed to simplify your lipstick wardrobe. I wanted to create shades that were flattering for all ages and skin tones, and incredibly effortless to wear - each shade really does look great on everyone.

Although we only have 5 shades at the moment, they cover a wide-array of looks from soft, pinky-beige to vampy, decedent red. My personal favourite shade, which is also our best seller, is No.1 Maple. 



Any future plans for Juni Cosmetics that you can share with us?

Yes, we are busy working behind the scenes on lots of new products! I can't give too much away at the moment, but our new products will focus on optimising lip health and adding colour, and will of course always be 100% plastic-free. I'm so excited to expand our range. 

 

 

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And we are so excited to explore more of your range! Thank you so much Madeleine and Juni Cosmetics!

As you can see, at every step of the process, from formulation, to packaging, Madeleine has kept the environment and sustainability at the forefront of her decisions.

The result: The Capsule Collection - Five luxurious intense hydrating lipsticks. Made with organic ingredients, 100% plastic-free, vegan as well as allergen, GM and cruelty-free, their bespoke vegan formula treat the lips using the best organic oils, vitamin e and botanical hyaluronic acid. 

Discover their high-performing collection here.