‘Circular Beauty’ may seem like a trending term that will give way to the next hot concept in the beauty industry, but in fact it is a term seeded in the philosophy of a ‘Circular Economy’ or the ‘cradle-to-cradle’ principle which identifies a product lifecycle as a loop.

Early pioneers of sustainable beauty have been able to achieve cradle-to-grave practices where products are created, processed, distributed and disposed of sustainably, but a cradle-to-cradle model aims to keep as much of the product’s elements in play over and over again for as long as possible; they are reused, recycled, reclaimed, upcycled and so on, hence the term, ‘circular beauty’.


The four key principles of circular beauty

For a truly authentic circular beauty process to exist there are four key principles that need to be engaged. They are:

1.    Work with natural and responsibly sourced or lab-grown ingredients that have minimal impact on the environment or carbon footprint.

2.    Keep natural resources in use as long as possible:  recycle water, and use fruit and vegetable waste like coffee grounds, olive oil waste, and fruit peels.

3.    Avoid waste wherever possible: remove standard outer packaging, encourage refill options and samples, and use biodegradable materials.

4.    Regenerate natural capital: instead of continuously degrading nature, try to rebuild nature by returning good quality waste back to the earth so it can replenish itself.


While these philosophies of circular beauty are easy to grasp, putting them into practice like anything revolutionary, is the real challenge, and none more so than for the beauty industry that has traded heavily on the marketing influence of glamourous packaging, advertising, extravagant claims, and celebrity endorsements. As beauty products are ultimately washed off, absorbed by the skin, evaporated, sloughed off with the skin, or ditched – responsibly, we hope; – it is impossible for the beauty sector to truly conform to the full suite of circular beauty philosophies, but that does not mean we don’t try.


Adorn was founded on an ethos of sustainability. It was created on the conscience of the environment and conservation. Where other beauty brands have had to circle back and refresh their processes, Adorn products and the market’s access to them begin with a simple question, ‘can we produce a product that does A, B or C, that is made, used and disposed of with minimal to no impact on the environment?’ Not an easy feat when the product is also supposed to achieve the beauty results that it claims.


From the outset, Adorn Cosmetics set its vision and processes to adopt circular beauty practices. Over the 15-year journey, some processes were merely wishful thinking, however as they became reality, Adorn was able to adopt them quickly because their foundations were seeded in sustainability.


Return and Recycle


Adorn takes responsibility of its post consumer waste by forwarding any returned recyclable packaging to Terracycle, an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in processing hard-to-recycle materials. Adorn educated its customers to return their empty and recyclable Adorn products that were passed on to Terracycle, who use the recycled waste for products such as playground equipment. As new options for recyclable pots, tubes or bottles have become available, Adorn has been quick to adopt them so that customers could recycle more.




Many Adorn bottles and pots can be refilled. Refills take up less space and the refill sachets can also be returned and recycled. Refills require less packing materials for delivery. This is an all-round win-win, as the customer is also paying less for a refill pouch or sachet than a full-sized product. In economically stressful times, Adorn customers can still access their essential skincare and beauty. Since 2008, Adorn has saved over 145,000 plastic pots and bottles from landfill due to its refill program.




Extending on from refills was the introduction of Adorn product samples. Adorn founder, Briony Kennedy, knew what happened to products that were not right for the consumer; they rotted away in bathroom cabinets or merely got thrown out.  The customer was also left unsatisfied with the brand experience because they wasted money on something that did not meet their needs.  The introduction of product samples in small batches of recyclable sachets and pots has meant that Adorn customers can choose the correct shade or formula that best suits their skin. No costly mistakes, just quality beauty results, and no waste.  




Adorn has invested heavily to strengthen its brand philosophies via industry accreditations. As one of the most heavily accredited cosmetics and skincare companies, Adorn has led the way in standing by its values and not just laying false claims. Adorn is certified Cruelty Free & Vegan, Certified Toxin & Allergen Free, Palm Oil Free, and Certified Australian Made & Owned. Brand integrity has built further customer loyalty and award-winning products.

Biodegradable packaging


Despite the commitment to not use outer packaging and stuffers, Adorn still needed to get its products safely into the hands of its customers. For the delivery process, Adorn uses a biodegradable self-adhesive honeycomb wrap. It is not only sustainable but can be reused because of its natural organic look and feel. Adorn customers often post photos showing how they reuse this biodegradable wrap for everyday uses, including Christmas gift wrap.


The beauty industry has always had its pioneer innovators. Circular beauty needs current and next generations of beauty entrepreneurs to take up its challenges now and not pay lip service to it as a ‘trend’ – for the planet’s sake.