In Depth

La Bouche Rouge: sustainable luxury make-up

French luxury beauty brand doesn’t believe in compromise when supporting the environment

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A recent study carried out by London-based sustainable shopping platform, Compare Ethics, found that only 20% of consumers trust brand sustainability claims.

Part of the problem is that the term “sustainable” is an overarching one, used too liberally without the substantiation of long-term thinking plans.

La Bouche Rouge - the luxury beauty brand founded in 2017 by cosmetics business expert Nicolas Gerlier and creative director/photographer Ezra Petronio - is the opposite of abstruse. It is an organisation built on transparency and totally commitment to the cause of reducing our environmental impact thanks to a very simple but focused USP: to produce highly desirable make-up that doesn’s use a single pinch of microplastic in its formulas. These ultra-sleek premium products are never shelled in plastic either - they are feel-good in every way.

Lipsticks (red of course, available in a variety of glossy or matt shades) led the launch three years ago and now the brand has released a complete range of eco-responsible, recyclable and microplastic-free make-up. This includes mascaras housed in glass bottles and brushes composed of castor plant fibres as well as non-plastic refillable lipsticks and gorgeous bronzing powders. Containers are unbranded for good reason: the silicone moulds used for this procedure (amounting to apparently 400 million a year) are simply discarded with no afterlife. La Bouche Rouge also operates from offices with a zero plastic policy.

Prestige-wise, La Bouche Rouge is rather special too: it is supported by LVMH’s Hélios unit – a state-of-the-art cosmetology centre just outside Paris, dedicated to research, creation and innovation for mainstay brands Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain and Parfums Givenchy. As the maiden beauty label to hatch from this high-tech R&D centre, La Bouche Rouge highlights LVMH’s engagement with eco-design and demonstrates a welcome shift towards a circular economy approach.

Aesthetically speaking, the products are beautiful. Lipsticks, mascaras and compacts come in fine leather cases, made from the final metres of the existing leather production from the prestigious Tanneries du Puy in France. These can also be personalised with your initials online.

To mark the completed collection, La Bouche Rouge enlisted Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen to shoot the brand’s latest campaign. Sassen - who has exhibited as an artist all over the world and has collaborated with Le Monde, Miu Miu and Stella McCartney among many others - is known for her sun-drenched images of sculptural poses. Here the model’s face is delicately patterned with nature’s dancing shadows.

The devil is in the detail when it comes to La Bouche Rouge and Sassen’s shoot location is a signifier the company’s wider ethos: the pictures were taken at Marker Wadden, a man-made archipelago on a large freshwater lake in the centre of The Netherlands which is being re-wilded as a nature reserve.

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