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6 Apr

This Beauty Company Made a Sustainable Alternative to Petroleum

Upwell Cosmetics has industry-sized aspirations for its latest microalgae-derived wax base.

Formulated as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based and animal-derived waxes, the wax has the flexibility to be utilized in myriad beauty and private care products including sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, lip products and more.

The important thing ingredient is microalgae isochrysis, which scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute discovered synthesizes a compound called alkenones, which creates a wax-like consistency when extracted.

Upwell cofounders Daniella Zakon and Alexandra Dowling Lari — who occur to be Woods Hole, Massachusetts, natives themselves — licensed the ingredient patent from the Institute, and at the moment are focused on scaling production enough for the wax to be a viable alternative to existing prevalent wax bases, which are sometimes constructed from non-renewable resources, to be used by brands.

“Initially, we’re definitely targeting those more ocean-based, clean and green beauty brands, but we do wish to work with the conglomerates,” said Zakon, an ecologist who enlisted the wonder business expertise of her childhood friend and Fresh veteran, Dowling Lari, to assist jumpstart Upwell. “We would like to decarbonize the cosmetics industry and to be the brand new standard wax within the industry, and we aim to be there inside the subsequent five to seven years.”

Upwell Cosmetics cofounders Alexandra Dowling Lari and Daniella Zakon.

courtesy of Upwell Cosmetics

With full or partial chemical sunscreen bans having been enacted in coastal areas similar to Hawaii, Mexico, Aruba, Florida and other geographies as a consequence of their harm to reef ecosystems, the SPF category particularly provides ripe ground for Upwell’s wax base.

“We’ve already talked to various sunscreen brands who’re racing to make reef-safe sunscreens and may’t use petroleum, for whom our algae wax is ideal, since it comes from the ocean,” said Dowling Lari, adding that while Upwell is specializing in its supply business, a part of its mission can also be to “educate a latest generation of consumers on how the ocean could be a climate solution in all different spaces, but starting with cosmetics.”

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