Our virtual exhibit for San Francisco Design Week, “Bay Area Made: Making a Sustainable Future” features 39 of our member companies sharing the sustainable practices they are implementing in their products and business operations. For Earth Tu Face, makers of herbalist-formulated botanical skincare, sustainability is at the core of their business. In the excerpt below from the exhibit, they share their values and passion for creating a pure skincare line in harmony with the body and with the earth. To view the full exhibit on the San Francisco Design Week website, click on the link at the bottom of the page.
In 2010 Earth Tu Face was created out of a desire to forge a direct connection with nature — inspired by the circular quality of ecosystems, and the healing powers of botanicals. We make herbalist-formulated skincare with sustainable packaging and ethically sourced natural ingredients that are free of chemical fillers, fragrances, and toxins. We make use of the best quality medicinal plants for the skin in their most potent form — i.e. bright essential oils and cold pressed virgin oils that are in their purest state to offer as many nutrients and benefits as possible. We believe in the centuries-old legacy of the natural world providing effective treatments. We also believe what is good for the earth is good for us, which is why we make sure all of our products return as gently to the earth as possible to help ensure a better future for our planet.
Materials & Ingredients
We believe in creating products with the utmost forethought, to consider the effects our decisions have on all things – our bodies, each other, plant populations, animal habitats, and our economy. Every ingredient we work with is hand-selected to be good for our bodies, but we also make sure the plants we use have stable populations and aren’t contributing harm. We do not use monocropped plants (like soy), endangered plants (like Indian Sandalwood) or those that are harmful to animal ecosystems (like palm or its derivatives). We look at the life cycle of every product from each hand that touches the product on its way to shelves, how healthy ingredient populations are, raw material efficacy on skin, and also how they go back to the earth. We believe in the natural world’s ability to deliver results, so we do not use chemicals. Our products are herbalist-formulated using natural ingredients only.
“We believe that high design and sustainability should not be mutually exclusive. We think the best designs have an ethos and speak to a bigger purpose. When we created our line, we wanted to make products that were sustainable, but also luxurious. When we started Earth Tu Face, luxury and sustainability were words that were hardly uttered in the same sentence, and we wanted to break that mold.”
Packaging & Delivery
With environmental justice at the heart of our business since its inception, we have emphasized recyclable, reusable, compostable, and zero-waste packaging. Some of our proudest achievements have been creating a 100% biodegradable healing salve — our Skin Stick — which is packaged in a paperboard tube and composts in 3-6 months. We have also created Botanical Perfumes housed in beautiful natural seashell compacts fitted with brass clasps so they have zero plastic components, are easily reusable, and gently return to the earth. The rest of our line is packaged in glass with as minimal an amount of plastic as possible. We are now transitioning away from plastic pumps, caps and spray tops entirely to use only metal caps/closures going forward. Our full-sized best-selling Face Wash is the first product to have made the switch and it is available to purchase now! Where shipping is concerned, we are proud to be partnered with a woman-run fulfillment center in Southern California that handles shipments for all of our retail and wholesale orders. The proprietor has helped us implement sustainable shipping practices — using biodegradable packing peanuts, cardboard wraps, and reused materials from other shippers to cushion our glass packaging and make sure our items arrive safely.
Quality & Value
We believe that high design and sustainability should not be mutually exclusive. We think the best designs have an ethos and speak to a bigger purpose. When we created our line, we wanted to make products that were sustainable, but also luxurious. When we started Earth Tu Face, luxury and sustainability were words that were hardly uttered in the same sentence, and we wanted to break that mold. Most of the products in the “green” space at that time looked unpolished using lots of brown crunchy packaging. We wanted to make products that looked clean, bright, unisex, and that anyone would want to display on their bathroom counter. We also wanted to showcase the beauty of nature — and since we are big nature-lovers ourselves, we came up with ways to highlight the joy of nature and communicate it in a way that felt new. For instance, the colors and scents of our products come from real plants and nothing else. Our Jasmine lotion is dark pink because that is the true color of Jasmine Essential Oil that features prominently in that formulation. We chose beautiful seashell compacts to house our perfumes, which makes anyone who uses them feel like a mermaid, but they also return harmlessly to the earth. Using natural ingredients and packaging has always been a higher quality route to take (and one that comes with a higher price tag), but because branding and design often falls short in the green category, it’s not usually enticing to choose sustainable products on shelves. We wanted to make sustainable skincare a joyful, beautiful, and luxurious choice for our customers to make.
Local Supply Chains
We try to use local supply chains as much as possible. We still grow organic lavender, calendula, and roses to use in our facemasks in our California garden. We hand harvest, dry and powder these beautiful fragrant flowers so they can impart their benefits to the skin. We use lavender essential oil from Oregon and focus working with small local farms based in the U.S. for many of our raw ingredients that we use in the rest of our line.
We make our products in very small batches, which reduces our footprint. Thirteen of our products are made by hand in our apothecary in Concord. Every product in our line with the exception of our Toning Mist (which contains rosewater) is free of water —which means our products are very stable with a minimum 3 year shelf-life, but it also means they are very concentrated because they have not been diluted. Our team consists of four women who care about the quality of each batch of products we make.
Goals & Aspirations
We hope to see the market evolve to head in the direction of responsibility and transparency. We would love to see the sustainable sector become more crowded actually. We hope more companies (especially larger businesses) go beyond what is convenient or inexpensive and into full accountability for what they produce in terms of ingredients and packaging and their effect on our planet. For our part we are always looking to innovate further and bring people products that deliver lasting wellness for all. When we see other companies solving some of the hard hurdles of sustainability (like packaging) we get excited because we are all in this together for our beautiful home planet.
Certifications & Memberships
We are certified cruelty-free and we use many certified organic ingredients, though we also make a point to use smaller local farms that can’t afford to certify. We are also represented on nontoxic databases such as Skin Deep and Leaf’d, and many of our products are “zero-waste” in that they are 100% free of plastic. We are starting an initiative now to use only metal caps (rather than plastic) going forward and have already made the switch with two of our best-selling products.
View the Full SF Design Week Exhibit
Visit the Earth Tu Face profile