Shannon Goldberg knows beauty. With nearly two decades in the cosmetics industry working with luxury brands such as MDNA SKIN and Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care, it's no surprise that Shannon founded Izzy, a high end makeup brand. However, the mission behind Izzy–to be the world's first truly zero waste makeup brand–was unexpected.
While Shannon has always had a passion for the beauty industry, she considered herself a novice in sustainability. That all changed in 2020, when she learned the beauty industry produces 120 billion units of packaging each year–the vast majority of which ends up in landfills or oceans.
"Once you learn the information, you can't unlearn it,” explains Shannon. “That’s when I realized I was in a position to drive meaningful change in the business I love.”
And so Izzy was born.
The State of the Beauty Industry
As it stands, the $500 billion personal care industry relies heavily on plastics. That dependency has grown steadily since the 1960s, increasing by more than 120 times. And while many consumers are committed to rinsing and recycling plastic bottles, only nine percent of the world's plastic has actually been recycled.
Think about it. That very first plastic tube of lip gloss you got when you were a tween still exists on this planet, just like every other plastic cosmetic product you've used since then.
"I did the research, and realized many sustainable options are still falling short,” says Shannon. “In beauty, we talk about post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, but the truth is you can only recycle them once before they're ultimately thrown into landfills or our waterways.
"Then there are refillable makeup solutions where you have a permanent primary component that utilizes single-use plastic refills, which essentially defeats the purpose.
"Another commonly used sustainable material is cardboard. But for me, this is just an obvious fail. Let's plant trees, not destroy them."
Innovating Refillable Makeup for Global Change
Shannon realized she had to look for a whole new material. A trip to the dentist sparked an idea.
"I was curious how doctors and dentists can use the same tools on multiple patients each day,” explains Shannon. “I discovered that medical-grade stainless steel could be washed and reused more than 10,000 times without being compromised. The most sustainable thing any of us can do is create a component once and get endless uses out of it.
"So I worked with my Izzy co-founder Chris Tarling–who happens to be an engineer–to create cosmetic components from medical-grade stainless steel. We then created a patent-pending triple cleansing process that would remove any excess goop and microbial buildup in order to make our components completely reusable, refillable and sanitary.
"We also had to address all the microplastics that are commonly used in cosmetic components,” Shannon points out. “We eventually landed on a plant-based plastic resin called POM ECO-B that allows us to melt down and remold the wands and applicators to make them new again. So what little plastic we use always gets reused. We truly are walking the walk and talking the talk about being a zero waste brand from start to finish."
Zero Waste Shipping
E-commerce sales have been steadily growing over the last 10 years, reaching $870 billion in the US during the pandemic. Shannon is quick to put this phenomenon into an ecological perspective. “When you think about the sheer number of cardboard boxes shipping out every single day along with all the fossil fuels contributing to their transportation, it's the most polluted our earth has ever been."
To avoid contributing to the problem, Izzy took all outer packaging–including cardboard boxes–out of the mix. Instead, all their products are shipped in reusable mailers manufactured from upcycled materials.
For Izzy, sustainability goes well beyond packaging. Their aforementioned antibacterial cleansing process ensures that all water is reused rather than dumped into the ocean.
And by keeping their supply chain within a 400-mile radius, Izzy is able to maintain the lowest carbon footprint in the beauty industry. The stainless steel components are manufactured in New York, assembled in Massachusetts, and cleaned and shipped from New Jersey.
Changing the Game for High End Makeup
While Izzy’s formulas may be clean, no compromises have been made to the quality or efficacy of these zero waste makeup products.
"Clean makeup formulas have a stigma that they won't work or don't perform as well as traditional products,” says Shannon. “For us, quality is just as important as sustainability. We go above and beyond during the formulation phase to replace traditional ingredients with clean swaps that actually work. It’s the only way we can deliver high end products that ensure luxury and efficacy.”
The hard work is paying off. In their glowing review, Forbes claimed Izzy Zero Waste Mascara “delivers the lush lashes of prestige brands, with impressive volume, length and lift, but without the waste."
Small Change, Big Impact
Izzy is committed to helping people make simple, easy changes to the way they consume products that will have a long-term impact on our planet.
Izzy currently offers three products: Zero Waste Mascara, Zero Waste Glossy Lip Butter and Zero Waste Brow Gel. All products are available for one-time purchase, or you can become a member and receive quarterly refills. Every 90 days, members are sent a tube of fresh formula in a Zero Waste Reusable Shipper. The shipper can then be used to send their empty tube back to Izzy, where it will be medically cleaned, refilled and shipped out to the next customer.
All of Izzy's products are clean, vegan and cruelty-free. They're also 100% reusable, 100% recyclable, and certified CarbonNeutral®.
Ready to make a small change with a big impact on our planet? Shop Izzy today.