Your standard shower routine isn't exactly environmentally friendly. The average 8.2-minute lather and rinse routine uses up 17.2 gallons of water, and that's not to mention the countless bottles that wind up in the trash once they've bottomed out (fun fact: a third of all single-use plastic in our landfills and oceans comes directly from personal care). With its new line of truly sustainable body-care products, Uni Beauty is out to change that.
The brand, which launched earlier this month, touts itself as the world's first closed-loop body-care system. The products come in 100 percent recycled aluminum bottles, which twist into reusable dispensers. When they're finished, they can be sent back to Uni to be washed, refilled, and sent out to the next customer. "According to the WEF, if we reuse just 10 percent of our bottles, we can reduce single-use plastic waste by half. Once we knew that, we had to design something that people would want to use and reuse," says Alexandra Keating, the brand's founder and CEO. "That’s why we put so much emphasis on the design and formulations."
The brand's sustainable practices don't just stop with its bottles, though. "I knew I couldn’t build a sustainable brand without looking at it from a holistic perspective," says Keating. "At Uni, we call it 'Uni Cyclability,' [which is] looking at the entire lifecycle of a product from the ingredient sourcing to the packaging design, materials, and closed-loop return system." All of the brand's ingredients are reef safe (a nod to Keating's Sydney roots), and product developers use green chemistry and upcycled ingredients to craft their formulas.
Though the products are geared toward your hair and body (there's a shampoo, a conditioner, a body wash, a body serum, and a hand soap), their ingredients would be right at home in your daily facial care routine. "I worked directly with skin-care chemists to create the formulas," says Keating. "Growing up in Australia, I was taught to give my body the same attention as I did my face. I noticed the lack of performative body options once I moved to The States. I knew this was where I wanted to start." Some star ingredients that you'll find throughout the line include antioxidant-rich kakadu plum, moisturizing aloe vera and olive oil, and strengthening marine algae extracts.
"Transparency" is another beauty buzzword that was top of mind during Uni's development process. On the brand's website, you can hover over any ingredient to learn why it was included in the formula and see its EWG rating. "As a consumer, I was horrified when I learned about some of the ubiquitous practices of the beauty industry—some hide toxic ingredients in their fragrance, others claim to be 100 percent organic when only a few of their ingredients qualify," says Keating. "I hope to create change by leading by example. Consumers should start to demand transparency from everyone."
At prices ranging from $31 to $43 (or $25 to $36 if you opt for only the refill bottles), the products fall squarely between drugstore and department store, but the experience of using them is pure luxury. The packaging was designed by beauty-industry veteran Marc Atlan, who's worked with brands like Prada, Dior, and YSL, among others, and is just about as chic as it gets. The aluminum bottles are poppy and colorful, and the white dispensers they snuggle into will make your shower look like a five-star spa. In an industry where "sustainable" packaging often means natural-looking products housed in earthy-toned products, Uni's minimalist vibe stands apart.
Then, there are the scents, which are truly as "genderless" as the brand intended them to be. You'll find notes of juniper, Roman chamomile, sage, vetiver, and geranium throughout the line, and though each formula smells like an expensive perfume, the fragrance is subtle and won't stay on your skin all day.
Shop Uni's inaugural product line, below.
Subscription price: $36
Lighter-weight than your standard lotion, this full-body serum is meant to drench the skin from your neck down in hydration. It’s made with Australian citric lime acid, which acts as a gentle exfoliant to clear away dead skin cells, plus moisturizing aloe vera, antioxidant-rich kakadu plum, and skin-smoothing seaweed.
Subscription Price: $28
Moisturizing olive oil and strengthening arganine (an amino acid) come together in this hydrating conditioner, along with aloe vera and kakadu plum. It smells like rosemary, lemon, and cassis, which (in the least creepy way possible) will have you trying to sniff your strands all day.
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