When beauty industry veteran Jasmi Bonnén realised the effects of artificially prolonged shelf lives, she decided to start her own business. Her brand NUORI strives for a fresher beauty experience.
Interview JOHAN MAGNUSSON Photography RYAN PLETT
Jasmi Bonnén was born in Turku on the West coast of Finland, and she spent most of her childhood in Africa due to her father’s work and moved to Denmark as a young professional, ending up as Marketing Manager for L’Oréal Paris. That was also when the idea to start her own skincare range came, over ten years ago.
— At the time, we were implementing the new EU rules for labelling of cosmetics. One of the new requirements was that all cosmetic products should have a visible expiry date. But there was an exception to this rule: if a product has a minimum durability of more than 30 months — that is 2.5 years or more — it doesn’t need to have an expiry date. Not surprisingly, products that could last longer than 30 months very quickly became the industry standard for shelf life, she explains.
When aware of this fact, she started looking for information about the effect of time on cosmetics.
— I was surprised to find several studies showing that commonly used active ingredients, such as vitamins, start losing their beneficial properties in just a matter of months — and not years — after blending, because of oxidation. Another downside of long shelf life is the use of synthetic preservatives and other additives, which are needed to preserve and stabilise the formulas over time. I became more and more convinced that there was a need for a fresh skincare alternative on the market. And, six years ago, I finally gathered up the courage to quit my comfortable corporate job and take the frightening leap into entrepreneurship.
”Not surprisingly, products that could last longer than 30 months very quickly became the industry standard for shelf life,”
While Jasmi Bonnén is now based in New York, NUORI (Finnish for ”young”) is headquartered in Copenhagen. They call their philosophy ”Fight for Fresh,” built around the simple fact that freshly blended skincare gives them the unique opportunity to create the purest formulas with the highest level of efficacy.
— Our products can be kept truly pure and highly potent, as no synthetic preservatives or other additives are needed to artificially prolong the stability and shelf life of the products. The efficacy of our formula is higher, since active ingredients are not weakened by time-related breakdown. To ensure this high level of freshness, our products are blended in small batches every 10 to 12 weeks and promptly delivered to our retail partners around the world.
The range consists of 100 % natural face, body, and hair products.
— We’ve had a lot of focus on the face care range since these products demand the most complex and innovative formulas in order to deliver visible results. We recently launched our Infinity line that is based on highly effective, bio-engineered ingredients and the latest innovations in natural science for treating aging skin. It will help improve skin’s overall appearance by making it smoother, younger-looking with a unified tone and a healthy, youthful glow — everything you would wish for in such a line, says Bonnén. She continues:
— Our Shield haircare line is also quite unique since we have applied our expertise from our skincare formulas to develop a line of hair care products that give equal love to the scalp, roots, and hair. Formulated with new and advanced natural-derived active ingredients, it delivers the same performance that we usually only expect from our skincare formulas. Each formula on the range is designed to promote long-lasting change for healthier, stronger hair from roots to ends.
How do you think the beauty industry needs to transform itself?
— First, of course, is the matter of artificially prolonged shelf lives of cosmetics. The reason for this is economies of scale. The larger the number of products a company produces in one run, the lower the unit cost. But the downsides are clear: long shelf lives are made possible through the use of extensive synthetic additives, and we already know the performance of products deteriorates over time.
The economies of scale thinking, Bonnén says, also leads to another problem: overproduction.
— Even if products can last four, five, or six years, it is far from certain that these companies can sell the huge number of products they have produced, and a significant portion end up being scrapped. This is a topic that is very rarely discussed in our industry because it’s generally hidden from consumers. But the truth is that no matter how ”sustainable” your packaging or manufacturing is, overproduction is obviously still extremely unsustainable from a resource waste perspective.
— Second, we will be moving towards radical transparency from brands. Not just ”greenwashing” or ”authentic voices” but true transparency. This is an area that large cosmetic companies still struggle with — probably because there is such a long distance between their consumers and the top management. At NUORI, we’re very fortunate to have customers that are knowledgeable and genuinely curious about production methods, ingredient sourcing, and packaging sustainability.