It was Molly’s lengthy and unique experience that led her to launch HIGHR Collective, a brand that offers ‘radical transparency into our products, processes, and raw materials.’
Hart began her career in the beauty industry at the age of 18, when she worked part-time as a make-up artist at a MAC counter. After, she would work at Estée Lauder’s corporate headquarters based in New York City, as part of the company’s first digital marketing division. Part of her role in the newly established team was to community manage the Facebook pages of several prestigious beauty brands.
“No one ever had to answer questions from customers…at a corporate level before. I was the only person working with this brand at a particular time who would answer these questions, and this started my personal research into clean beauty back then..”
‘I got to see the exchange happening behind the scenes from customers and then trying to get an answer from colleagues in PR or product development. I got to see that the industry, especially in the US, is largely unregulated. Clean beauty has really come from the FDA’s failure to regulate in the states.’
What we spoke about
Lipstick is the most invasive beauty product out there. Whereas some products can be absorbed into your skin, with lipstick – which could be reapplied throughout the day, you’ll undoubtedly and unconsciously ingest it into your body.
When conceptualising the brand, Hart decided that sustainability needed to be a focal point from start to finish, which she would do by creating a clean product and monitoring the supply chain.
She tracks everything, including air travel and accommodation. In doing so, she is able to tell her customers exactly how much one lipstick saves in terms of CO2. In regards to the manufacturing, even the chemists formulating the cosmetics work in a 100% solar-powered factory based in LA.
Overcoming Challenges In The Beauty Industry
In traditional lipsticks, polyethylene – a liquid-like plastic, is used to make the texture smooth. However, by working with suppliers and chemists who shared the same perspectives, Hart was able to create a collection with an impressively smooth texture and rich pigment. Though the founder admits this was achieved by trial and error and was by far, the most challenging part of the process.
Packaging waste is something the whole of the beauty industry is faced with tackling. Hart explains that this is timely and costly, as it can often concern custom tooling and the testing of new materials. However, she has managed to upcycle her packaging from a shoe company based in Italy and made it completely compostable.
The only thing that isn’t sustainable is the lipstick tubes, which are made from aluminum. Though the brand is looking into a refilling system, for now, HIGHR Collective’s lipsticks feature a small mirror inside the cap, with the appeal of it becoming a keepsake for customers.
What does the future hold for HIGHR Collective?
The brand aims to stick to lipsticks for the next future years, but branch out into new shades, lip care, and more!
Molly’s advice for a more sustainable future
Look for transparency (in brands), across websites – if they’re happy to share what’s in their products and how it’s made, why certain ingredients are there.
Check out the EWG website – they rank products in the market and give you transparency through a point system.
In terms of sustainability, look for hard facts – beyond packaging.