Linda Thompson, the founder and CEO of Biography, set out to create a “naturals” brand that stood out from others in the marketplace—and used both product and packaging to achieve her goals.
She says, “We know nature to be bold, dramatic, and full of surprises—but saw that ‘natural beauty’ brands were flat, sterile and predictable. With our deliberate use of vibrant color, Art Deco grandeur, and modern graphic elements, we’re revealing what’s really ‘natural’ in beauty—namely, power, intrigue and a bit of whimsy, too.”
Sustainability was a key tenet throughout. Thompson comments:
“Developing Biography with sustainability in mind was incredibly important to us. Ultimately, our customer was at the heart of this business and they trust and expect us to produce products that treat the Earth with kindness. We worked very hard to ensure that our packaging is neither in its first life, nor its last because we could not, in good faith, create something that harmed the natural world. We have a responsibility to keep up with the industry and to continuously push to create more sustainable products and packaging.”
Getting PersonalThe name of the brand also reflects a personal relationship to the products.
Thompson explains, “We realize that the only products you truly love (or need) are the ones that become an integral part of your story—that make for a real change, a meaningful difference, a new chapter in your biography. Thus, the name was born. This is profoundly personal beauty that puts your story first, and looks forward to all the changes ahead.”
Biography’s four oils are: Long June ($85), a dry oil that works to create a primed surface for makeup or sunscreen; Golden Ray ($112), a radiance-boosting moisture lock that stimulates collagen for increased suppleness; Petty Grudges, an overnight treatment oil for suppleness and softening fine lines; Few Words ($52), a man’s multipurpose oil for skin, facial hair and shaving.
Ingredients SelectionThompson says they select all of their ingredients for purity, potency, and integrity, partnering only with small fair-trade suppliers to get the best nature offers while respecting the Earth it comes from.
“While other companies might use stock blends that come off the shelf, we hand-pick fresh ingredients and develop proprietary formulas, which means our oils are like no others on the market,” she explains. Biography also does without “cruelty, parabens, fillers, mineral oil, unfulfilled promises, preservatives, alcohol, water or artificial pretention.”
Reusable & Recyclable MaterialsAs Thompson noted earlier, none of Biography’s materials are in their first life—or their last.
The oils are housed in recyclable 30ml glass bottles that have been sprayed (color and UV coated for protecting the oil and sealing the deco). The tubes are recyclable 5-in. cylinders made with 100% FSC certified paper and soy-based, vegan inks.
The tube top and bottom can be repurposed as a tray or a container. A recyclable 100% cotton pouch prevents spillage and serves as protection for the glass bottle in travel.
Packaging ChallengesArriving at the various packaging elements had its challenges, says Thompson.
She explains: “One issue that we ran into with our sustainable packaging development was with our bottle sitting inside the tube. We had originally scoped a foam insert for the bottle to be secure inside the tube; however, foam is not recyclable and very unsustainable to produce. We went back and forth with different prototypes, ultimately investing in a different, paper insert which was FSC certified and it made the entire tube recyclable.”
Ultimately, Thompson’s packaging supplier played a key role.
“Our relationship with our packaging supplier (Jansy Packaging) was incredibly important when creating Biography because we chose to work with a company who specializes in the most sustainable beauty consumer packaging,” says Thompson.
She adds, “They knew the right factories, sourced the right materials and ensured that we were on track with our goals and company values. In the short term, this decision was much more expensive. However, it is an investment in the future of the business, long-term positioning and values of the brand.”
She explains further, “We believe that nature’s ingredients and sustainable packaging are fundamental expectations for building a beauty brand today. Natural beauty does not need to be green and leafy. Biography is colorful, artful and meant to be displayed and repurposed.”
Biography Golden Ray Glow helps Get Jodie Foster Oscar-ReadyFor the 2021 Golden Globes, makeup artist Brett Freedman used Biography Golden Ray Glow Drops to prep Jodie Foster’s skin.
Freedman says the product is her “secret weapon” to give matte foundations a touch more hydration. “I add a couple drops of Biography’s Active Oil to my foundation brush before swirling on base. For Jodie, I used the slightly luminous Golden Ray oil. This trick is great if you want to take your current fave matte foundation and give it a little hydrating lift.”
Onda Beauty Adds BiographyIn April 2021, upscale “naturals” retailer Onda Beauty announced it will now carry Biography face oils.
According to Larissa Thomson, co-founder of Onda Beauty along with actress Naomi Watts:
“Biography is a brand that caught my attention in a sea of new clean beauty brands flooding the market. Their perspective on skin having its own narrative and being able to change that narrative to improve your skin’s story is a straightforward yet unique approach to skin care. Biography focuses on perfecting one category, face oils, with the clear intention of achieving visible results wrapped up in four beautifully designed and formulated products. This is exactly what they’ve accomplished and we are excited to include them as part of our curation at ONDA.”
Commenting on the inclusion at Onda, Biography’s Thompson comments:
“We all know that active oils have the power to change your skin and delight the senses at once. We were looking for a partner that offers both expert-level experiences along with a specific format to meet our community in key locations. That Onda has selected Biography to sit alongside their world class naturals is extremely validating.”