New Sustainable Makeup Line Produces Cosmetics From Plants Instead of Fossil Fuels

One entrepreneur has launched a completely green long-wear makeup line that uses plants instead of fossil fuels.

In June, that entrepreneur received $8.2 million from L’Oréal’s venture capital department, then launched Last—and an initial product line of 12 long-lasting liquid eyeshadows, three waterproof mascaras, and three eyebrow mascaras, before following it up in September with 21 lipsticks.

Long-wear makeup represents a quarter of the cosmetics market and is valued at around $12 billion. Its vital ingredient, isododecane, can be synthesized from plants—albeit at around 100x the cost when compared with crude oils.

Fortunately for Marc Delcourt of Global Bioenergies, a company looking to utilize isododecane for greener jet fuel, L’Oréal—the largest cosmetics manufacturer in the world—also had a need for the chemical for their own efforts to reduce fossil fuel use in the makeup industry.

“Cosmetics will lead the environmental transition because it’s the first oil-based sector that will completely get rid of oil,” Delcourt told Bloomberg. “For us, it’s the starting point, for years, people had to choose between products that were of natural origin and products that perform well.”

The products are 90% plant-based and made with vegetable waxes and olive oil derivatives along with isododecane; they come in recycled plastic and cardboard packaging, and in glass and aluminum cases.

While Delcourt still has dreams of green aviation, he plans to expand his production of plant-based isododecane to several dozen tons per year—with the aim of selling it mostly to cosmetic companies.

“Today, choosing naturally sourced products is a radical act of support for the environment,” Delcourt stated, during the launch announcement of the lipstick line. “Our process has found its first application in the cosmetics industry, and its contribution to the environmental transition will only grow in future as it impacts entire segments of the materials and fuels industries.”