Change Makers

Shilpa Bhim
Gritty Pretty

Meet the forward-thinking women championing change in the beauty industry.

The beauty industry has experienced some serious growth over the past few years. In Australia, it’s grown 2.3 per cent every year from 2017 to 2022. New and revolutionary products to try out every year? It’s a beauty lover’s dream!

But there’s a slight downside to a growing beauty industry: its impact on sustainability. More beauty brands means more packaging and more waste being produced. Plus, not every brand is committed to safe and sustainable formulas. We want to make sure we’re avoiding toxic ingredients that can adversely impact our health, and the health of our planet.

At the end of the day, we can meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. And that’s exactly what these changemakers are doing.

Gritty Pretty spoke to five Australian and New Zealand-based brand founders who are thinking differently about the beauty industry. The future of your skin, health and our planet are in good hands…



Biode was born out of a challenge—in 2019, founder Vanessa Gray Lyndon had a conversation with a friend about eco-friendly packaging. The conversation “inspired a problem that I was challenged to solve. How do I make everyday products without using ANY plastic,” says Lyndon.

Long story short, #challengeaccepted! Lyndon decided to go one step further and create packaging that was good enough for the earth to eat. “Our products are 100% natural and good enough to eat, and our packaging is 100% home compostable which is good enough for the earth to eat.”

Biode launched with a natural deodorant that actually works! Biode has since expanded to offer a range of award-winning and sustainable body care, hair care and lip products.

The brand takes a holistic approach to sustainability. “For the past two decades I have been educating women on what they put on their skin, and how it directly affects their entire endocrine, neural and health system. This will always be my driving force with any brand or product I formulate,” says Lyndon. “Sustainability is educating our customers that the same thing is required for mother earth. If you wouldn’t put it on your skin, don't put it on Mother Nature's skin.”

Lyndon explains that by the time you get your product, plant the packaging, then use the products, Mother Nature has absorbed the packaging, so there is no trace, waste or landfill. “If you don't have a compost bin, you can literally dig a hole and bury the packaging.”

The journey to an all natural, organic and home compostable and biodegradable skincare range wasn’t without its own challenges. It took London a year to find someone who could manufacture Biode’s packaging that was vegan, without plastics and with food-grade ink.

“We had to educate around the expectations of the consumer and were prepared to explain to our customer that the products won’t look amazing their entire life, but our earth will thank you for it!”



Terra Tonics

Do no harm. That’s the motto of Terra Tonics, which launched in 2020. The brand “pays homage to a holistic lifestyle with nods to Ayurvedic health, aromatherapy and indigenous knowledge,” explains founder, Bhavna Suri.

The idea for Terra Tonics first took root in 2017 when Suri started questioning her impact on the planet. She’d grown up surrounded by nature, which was a constant source of health and wellbeing to her family. Suri had also spent years having her skin prodded and poked while modelling. So she started looking into skincare more. “As I delved deeper into skin care, the ingredients, packaging, sourcing and practices stunned me and I knew this is where I wanted to create change and affirm awareness.”

Suri noticed a lack of information about collagen, and how sustainable it really is. “I wanted a product that provided unparalleled results but at the same time was not harmful in any way to animals and the planet.”

Terra Tonics launched with its multi award winning Clean Collagen. “It arose from necessity and me genuinely wanting a product that encapsulates the wonders of collagen but done purely without any harm and through the ingenuity of plants.”

Sustainability is at the core of Terra Tonics—from sustainable ingredient sourcing to recycled packaging to carbon offset shipping. “Clean beauty and sustainability should not be the exception, it must become the norm.” Suri notes that the products need to be unquestionably effective but also need to be thoroughly sustainable from concept to storefront.

The brand’s aim is to significantly reduce and eventually stop non-renewable resource consumption. Suri is working hard to achieve this aim. She shares that Terra Tonics has something in the works that is the future for sustainable solutions and hasn’t been seen yet in Australia.

“For me Terra Tonics is just not skin care, it's about choosing to do better, feel better and live better.”



Zove Beauty

Adeline Yeak grew up in a family of beauty entrepreneurs, and was always fascinated with the beauty industry. In 2018 she launched Zove Beauty, with a mission to create meaningful products for the industry. “As we all know, the beauty industry is saturated, so I decided to go in with only intentional products that would make a difference in people's lives.”

Zove launched with their best selling Facial Roller & Gua Sha tools—a nod to Yeak’s rich cultural heritage. “I've always been passionate about the merging of both Eastern and Western cultures, so bringing these products to life in Australia and focusing on educating consumers on how to best use them has always been important,” explains Yeak.

Sustainability is always front of mind for Zove. In an effort to minimise waste, Zove sells facial tools with cosmetic defects at a discounted price. “We've heard so much feedback that customers appreciate when we do this—it just goes to show how important sustainability is to the wider community as well.”

Earlier this year, Zove released their Glow Slow Overnight Mask. Yeak proudly shares that the mask has been locally produced, from formulation (using sustainably sourced ingredients), to the 100% recyclable packaging. “While some brands are able to launch products within the year, we took 3 years. It was all down to the intricacies that went behind the product—from the sourcing of the ingredients down to finding solar powered facilities to make our packaging tubes.”

Yeak is on a mission to encourage customers to embrace slow beauty and consume less.

“At Zove, we want to encourage our customers to not fall into trends, but to have skincare products that can stand the test of time. A minimal, curated routine—we only give you what you need and nothing more, so you have more time for yourself and ultimately I believe that that's the true meaning of sustainability.”



Share The Dignity

Share The Dignity was launched in 2015, after Rochelle Courtenay read an article about some women using bundled up toilet paper or newspapers as period products during their cycle. The mission? End period poverty in Australia, and ensure that everyone is afforded the dignity in life that so many of us take for granted.

“I was a personal trainer at the time and asked my clients to bring a packet of pads for every glass of wine they drank. That first month I collected 450 packets of pads and tampons and delivered them to local charities,” says Courtenay.

The charity has since grown to 6000 volunteers and has collected over 3.8 million packets of period products. “Share the Dignity really resonated with people, when they heard about period poverty and what women and girls were going through they just wanted to help.”

In addition to ending the shame and stigma around periods, and helping those in need, Share The Dignity is committed to sustainability. Saving the world, one period at a time!

Through their Dignity Drives, Share The Dignity promotes the donation of reusable period products. Courtenay notes that not only are reusable period products for the environment, but they allow menstruators to have dignity during their period for years to come.

“We always want a woman, girl or person who menstruates to be able to choose the period product that works for their body whether that be pads, tampons, menstrual cups or period undies.”

The charity also receives support from brands that have reusable period products. “Their support means we can fill the gap of reusable period products that are requested by our charities every year.”

Share The Dignity is changing the lives of countless menstruators. But there’s more work to be done. “We believe the Government should be helping ensure the health and wellbeing of 50 per cent of the population by ensuring period products are available to anyone who needs them in a dignified way.”



Emma Lewisham

In 2019, Emma Lewisham launched her namesake sustainable skincare business. Her story of finding her feet in the industry is a poignant one: “Having prioritised my work over my wellness for ten years, after losing my mother to cancer, I began looking closely at my health and making lifestyle changes.” Lewisham learned that a skincare product she was using to combat hyperpigmentation wasn’t safe to continue using during pregnancy, and was even banned in many countries. “This put me on the path to finding a natural alternative and ultimately discovering the gap in the market for scientifically proven, natural and sustainable skincare.”

Emma Lewisham’s founding product, the Skin Reset Serum, quickly became a cult favourite (spoiler alert: as did every product available in the Emma Lewisham range!). The all natural serum reduces hyperpigmentation and brightens the skin. Science backed and results oriented!

From the outset, Lewisham was clear that her business would take a holistic approach to sustainability, and be a force for good. Her products are not only friendly for your skin, but friendly for the planet too. In September 2021, Emma Lewisham became the world’s first Certified Climate Positive Brand with a 100% circular-designed business model.

“The Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle is our complimentary global take-back programme, where we bring back all used packaging to be either refilled or recycled.” The industry-first initiative helps to eliminate waste and has been certified to reduce carbon emissions per product by up to 74%.

Having invested heavily in research and development for circular packaging, Lewisham knows how difficult it can be for smaller brands to become circular. Not one to gate-keep, the blueprint for Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle was shared industry wide and free of charge. The aim? Remove the barriers to entry for other skincare brands to fast-track the transition towards a circular and carbon-positive beauty industry. “I’m a firm believer in collaboration over competition, especially in the circular space, we’re far more powerful working together and will achieve so much more at a faster rate than working in segregation.”