Emma Lewisham changed the natural skincare game. Just don't call it 'clean beauty'.

You Beauty's Better Beauty is a monthly initiative in which Mamamia highlights a brand, product or launch that is making positive changes in the sustainability space.

If you're a person who loves skincare, you know Emma Lewisham. 

In recent years, the brand has single-handedly flipped skincare on its head, re-writing the rules around sustainability and natural skincare that's backed by science.

Because for a very long time - it was always one or the other. 

But then along came Emma.

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Realising there was a gap in the market for natural, science-led skincare that approached sustainability in a holistic, innovative and transparent way, the New Zealander decided to start her own brand. 

And she ending up building an entirely new global benchmark in beauty.


Below, we chat with THE actual Emma Lewisham IRL and take a closer look at the brand and its influence.

What sets the brand apart from other luxury skincare brands?

Since launching, Emma Lewisham has quickly become a cult beauty brand with a massive following.

So, where did it all begin? And what actually sets it apart?

Well, Lewisham said her journey first started when she was told to stop using an ingredient called hydroquinone - which she had been using to fade hyperpigmentation. 

After learning of its questionable attributes, Leiwsham said it put her on a path towards natural skincare.

"I went looking to replace this product with a natural alternative that didn’t compromise on scientific-backed results, only to find it didn't exist," she told Mamamia in an interview.

"I was used to investing in high-performing, luxurious crèmes and serums that were scientifically validated. I wanted the La Mer of natural skincare."


"Through my research, it also struck me how the beauty industry was contributing to many of the environmental issues we are facing today."

"The take-make-dispose model of beauty was worrying to me - seeing billions of units of packaging being sent to landfills and our oceans every year."

"I learnt that in the beauty industry, packaging is the single biggest contributor to carbon emissions. Somewhere along the way, that became an acceptable standard."

So, she decided to be the change she wanted to see in the beauty industry. 

"I took on the challenge to redefine the standards for the beauty industry and prove it was possible to create natural skincare with scientifically validated results and to set a new sustainable standard at every step of the way, which is why I believe people now favour our brand over others."

Rethinking sustainability.

Let's dig a little deeper into all the cool work the company is doing on the sustainability front, shall we? 

This year, the brand announced it was the world’s first carbon-positive beauty brand and its new 100 per cent circular designed product range.  

If you have no idea what that means, let start with the 'carbon positive' bit!

In a world first, Emma Lewisham were certified Climate Positive by Toitu Envirocare, a New Zealand government owned science-led environmental organisation. 


Just FYI - to be able to get this certification is no easy feat. This means the company measured their carbon emissions across its entire supply chain - ingredients, packaging, production, the whole shebang.

It came up with a plan to reduce these carbon emissions by 74 per cent (which gets monitored every few years) with a system called the ‘Beauty Circle’ – where containers are refilled with 'pods' of new product. 

This system also encourages customers to return the empty pods (free of charge) for recycling in partnership with a global waste management group.

As well as this, Emma Lewisham set up a warehouse in Sydney to reduce air freight for Australian orders. 

The brand aims to reduce their remaining emissions to zero and then offset an additional 25 per cent to achieve climate positive certification. 

Pretty cool, right?

When it comes to the 'circular packaging' system, basically the brand works like this: it takes recycled or repurposed resources, designs the products to be reusable or recyclable, retrieves the resources and then circulates them through reusing, recycling or composting.


To give you an idea how game-changing this is, currently 79 per cent of their packaging can be sterilised and refilled. The only thing that can’t be refilled are the pouches - which get recycled.

Meaning? It makes the whole beauty system cleaner and better.

This is significant because the beauty industry obviously produces a TON of waste - there’s an estimated 120 billion units of packaging every year.

Just to put it into perspective, a whopping 95 per cent of that goes straight in the bin - and only a small amount (something like 14 per cent) actually makes its way into recycling.

So it’s a really massive achievement from Emma Lewisham. The brand even received endorsement from iconic environmentalist and UN Messenger of Peace Dr Jane Goodall. 


How does it stack up against other 'clean' beauty brands?

If there's one thing Emma Lewisham doesn't want to be associated with, it's the buzzy 'clean' movement you're seeing crop up everywhere.

"At Emma Lewisham, we don’t follow the ‘clean’ movement. We focus on the science of our products," said Lewisham.

"As a consumer, I would invest in brands that are scientifically validated across their product range, so you know you’re going to see and feel the results marketed. Brands that offer brand-owned recycling initiatives for their product range at a bare minimum."

In such a saturated beauty market, we're becoming more and more conscious of how our choices can wreak havoc on the planet. 

These days consumers know exactly what they want - particularly Gen Z. They wanted to see more innovation in sustainability. They want accountability. They want to know where the ingredients came from.

"I believe consumers are now more clued on about the very real impacts the beauty industry is having on our earth. Information is shared so widely at a rapid pace because of the internet. Consumers want to invest in products that work for their skin but also don’t impact the environment negatively." 

"Consumers don’t want it to be a trade-off anymore and we’re seeing this with a huge growth in the younger generation demanding more sustainable movements from beauty brands."

"Brands are being held responsible and consumers are investing their money in brands that operate in a sustainable manner. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved and offer as a brand."

Have you used Emma Lewisham skincare products before? What are your thoughts on the brand? Share what you think in the comment section below.

Feature image: Instagram; @emmalewisham/Mamamia

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