Posted in Thoughts — 5. February 2021 — Written by Sophie

At the beginning of this year I came across a new French skincare brand (Where? Well on Instagram of course). Why is this exciting news? Three words: vegan, cruelty-free, natural. 

Yes you heart right. Typology is a vegan, natural skincare and cosmetics brand that was founded in summer 2020 by Ning Li, co-founder of London-based direct-to-consumer interior brand MADE. The brand definitely has an “The Ordinary” feeling to it especially since it is highly affordable, fuss free and results driven.

First off, I feel like I need to address the incredible design and packaging of Typology. With its genderless approach to design it almost reminds me of Aesop’s packaging (again for a quarter of the Aesop pricing). It’s minimalistic with a touch of apothecary-feel to it and looks absolutely beautiful in your beauty shelf – especially if like me yours is visible for anyone entering your bathroom. While we are talking about packaging, let’s talk sustainability. All serums come in small glass bottles, the tubes are made from aluminium (did you know aluminium can be recycled repeatedly without losing quality unlike other materials?). Unfortunately, larger bottles come in plastic and it says “recyclable plastic” on the brand’s website. I really wish Typology would go the extra mile here and find a better solution to plastic – that would be a real innovation. However, in an interview founder Ning Li has said they are working to innovate their process and want to continue to eliminate the use of plastic. Additionally, they are working on a concept to recover all product packaging so it can be disinfected, re-filled and reused. High ambitions for a new brand but this would mean a disruption of the old and frankly tired beauty industry. 

As I ordered some products just recently I can also say that the products don’t come in silly extra packaging – a big plus! There is zero plastic (except for the bottles) to be found when you open the parcel. It’s also packaged really efficiently so you won’t have a huge parcel for let’s say two beauty products. I mean I have seen it all! Let me know if you would like to see a review of the products I ordered recently and I will get started writing!  

All natural skincare?!

Before you all come running telling me that Typology is not actually all natural – yes you are right. In fact, the brand will show on each product site the percentage of natural ingredients in the product. For example the dry skin serum that I ordered is 100% naturally-derived. Whereas the hydrating serum (also purchased by yours truly) is 94% naturally-derived, the other 6% can be found in the detailed ingredient list. From a customer perspective – one that doesn’t want to google each and every component – it would be great to just state which part of it is not naturally-derived and why. That’s the transparency I would like to see but so far so good. 

vegan natural skincare brand typology packaging
vegan natural skincare brand typology sustainable packaging

Company culture – too good to be true?

Let’s dig a little deeper: Typology is currently in the process of getting B Corp certified. What’s that? B Corp certification covers the entire business and spans in five key areas; governance, staff, community, environment and customers. To get the certification brands need to lay open their processes and give evidence in regards to all the responsible practices such as energy supply, waste and water management, staff wellbeing, diversity and transparency. It needs to be stressed, however, so far Typology is still in the process of getting B Corp certified. 

The beauty industry is known for being elitist and well quite often French. All the big houses have their headquarters in Paris and cater their products for predominantly white customers. There is tons wrong with that but I want to try and stay on topic. Since Typology is also based in France – specifically Paris I was interested to look into the company culture of the brand. The only information I could find on the company culture is from summer 2020: “Currently, Typology employs 28 people in its Paris office. According to Li, the team is made up of 14 nationalities, several ethnicities, educational backgrounds, religions, and sexualities.” While these numbers might not be as detailed and current as I had hoped it does seem like the brand puts a genuine emphasis on diversity. Looking at the inclusive images and campaign videos reflects that notion, too. 

My final thoughts…

To finish this up let’s get back to my initial question: Is Typology the answer to our vegan natural skincare prayers? For many people the launch of Typology is a game changer! Vegan, cruelty-free, almost-natural skincare is not necessarily accessible and affordable for everyone. With Typology it is. For me that is the biggest argument for Typology. The brand is definitely not perfect and there are still aspects I would like to know more about and surely they aren’t done innovating and developing the brand, yet. So I am excited to see what Typology has in store for us next.

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