Masks: Why We’re Doing it Differently

Masks: Why We’re Doing it Differently

This week we launch our newest product, Bio Restore Membrane. With this launch we have put together some information about sheet masks, and under-eye masks. Exploring how these products can impact our planet, while also looking at what makes ours different. 

 

Single use skincare products such as under-eye masks have grown in popularity in recent years. These products were commonly used in Korean skincare routines, but have recently become more of a staple in skincare around the world. Each of these products contain different skincare benefits which help target different skin issues, or are used just for relaxation. Masks allow ultimate penetration of product as they sit on the skin, allowing the ingredients to be absorbed by the skin. Eye masks in particular are hugely beneficial as the skin under your eyes is  much thinner and delicate than everywhere else, it also contains fewer oil glands which means there is less natural moisture in the area. All of these together can make this area prone to fine lines, creases, puffiness and dark circles. 

Although these types of products may be beneficial for the skin they can be very damaging to the planet. Due to their single use nature, each mask can have a large environmental footprint for the amount of time it is used for. This comes from their production, materials used, packaging and the products end of life. 

Materials

Each mask’s materials vary, with some being more sustainable than others. One of the common materials used, especially in cheaper masks, is cotton. Cotton is biodegradable but is a huge industrial polluter, especially for such a short use product. This cotton is also usually bleached, which in itself uses harsh chemicals and damages habitats due to water contamination. 

Many masks also contain plastic polymers, which will eventually turn into microplastics, which take at least an estimated 1000 years to decompose. The plastics may be found as plastic microfibers in the material or as an accompanying sheet attached to the mask. These are especially prominent in paper masks, which are also sold in plastic packaging. These are extremely damaging in their production and may also leach into the product. In some cases the ingredients in the liquid itself could contain plastic. 

More eco friendly alternatives have become available. However, many of these are not fully compostable, recyclable or biodegradable. This greenwashing is a common problem in skincare especially, and can be used as a sales tactic. This means that even eco-friendly options could contain non-biodegradable ingredients. Ultimately. it is important to understand the difference between biodegradability and compostability. When something is biodegradable it could mean almost anything at all, as ultimately everything will biodegrade eventually. But if something is compostable it means that it should degrade within a certain timeframe, where it should be broken down completely, without harm. But composting can make things a little confusing. Many compostable products need to be composted in industrial composting facilities, where they have the perfect conditions to allow the product to break down. But this can be difficult for consumers to access, and means that if the product is placed in landfill it will not break down easily. Even if it is compostable, this does not mean that the product is very sustainable. We must look at the materials themselves and the energy/materials that went into producing them, such as pesticides and water use. 

Packaging

Single-use sheet masks and under-eye masks are usually sold individually. This keeps the product moist and allows the serum inside to not dry out. Many of these packets are made from aluminium and plastic. As these materials are found together it not only makes it unsustainable to produce, but it means that the packaging cannot be recycled, and will end up in landfill where it takes a very long time to degrade. Even if the packaging is a singular material, many of the plastics used cannot be recycled with household waste. If a cellulose based packet is used, it can still be hard to degrade as it will have the liquid impregnated in the material, which could contain plastics. 

An important part of the mask is the serum which you will put on your skin. These serums are lightweight to soak into your skin. But most of this liquid is in fact water. This means that when the eye mask is being shipped in its packaging, water is being transported, which ultimately contributes to the carbon footprint due to added weight. The manufacturers also put a large amount of this liquid into the packaging to allow the product to stay moist, a lot of this is then not even used or soaks into the packaging itself. 

Why Are Bio Restore Membrane Masks Different?

Made from agar extracted from the cell walls of seaweed, the Bio Restore Membrane masks encapsulate ingredients that will hydrate, nourish and firm your undereyes. As they’re made from seaweed, and contain all natural ingredients, they are completely compostable and all natural. As many eye-masks are suspended in liquid they become heavy. But as our masks are dried, so they’re super lightweight. The ingredients are still potent, but are instead encapsulated within the eye-mask material itself, instead of the mask being suspended in a diluted liquid. Once you’ve bought their compostable container and hydration dish with your initial purchase, you will be able to buy a refill with no excess packaging thus helping further with the product’s carbon footprint.

 

 

References: 

 

Oyster Beauty

Eugene Shishkin

Robert Swierczynski