This Skincare Brand Is Making Plastic-Free Products More Luxurious

Common Heir is proof you don't have to sacrifice performance for sustainability.

One of the biggest misconceptions about making your beauty routine more sustainable is that you'll have to sacrifice performance and sleek packaging when switching to less-wasteful products. But Common Heir is one skincare brand that's proven that plastic-free beauty products can, in fact, be sexy.

Co-founders and beauty industry veterans Cary Lin and Angela Ubias launched the brand in 2021 with the intention of changing this common misconception by creating sustainable products that are just as luxurious to use as conventional ones.

"The inspiration behind the brand is challenging the notion that sustainability has to be granola, Lin says. "Both of us are clean beauty veterans in our own right, and despite working for pioneering brands across our careers, we craved a brand for ourselves that we didn't see on the market; one that combines luxury, sustainability, inclusivity, and high performance, all without the use of plastic."

Lin and Ubias see Common Heir as serving as the gateway brand for people looking to make more sustainable swaps in their daily routine.

"Even though I worked for pioneering indie beauty lab that did a lot to make everything as sustainable and clean as possible, no one was actually tackling the packaging portion of products," says Ubias. "And if they were doing plastic-free, making it still appealing to someone like me who is going to buy conventional products, along with clean ones."

Common Heir's first product is the Vitamin C Serum, which combines 10% tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (a more stable form of vitamin C that's less irritating than L-ascorbic acid), anti-inflammatory marshmallow root, illuminating licorice root, and soothing vitamin E. The serum comes in single-serving plant-based biodegradable capsules that break down in warm water, which are stored in a recyclable paper tube.

Common Heir Vitamin C Serum

To shop: $88/60;

The brand went with the biodegradable capsules so disposing the material is easier to and more accessible to dispose of than compostable options, because let's face it, not everyone has personal or community compost piles.

"We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people and that's why we settled on these dissolvable capsules," says Lin. "The other way is doing it in this very special sludge but no one is going to have access to that."

And while the clean beauty space is continuing to grow with more brands and products entering the chat at dizzying rates, both Lin and Ubias recognize the confusion around terms like "clean" and "sustainable," because each brand has their own definitions for each. That's why the pair have made an effort to get third party certifications and testing for the vitamin C serum (and the brand's future products) to be as transparent as possible. For example, in addition to Leaping Bunny-certified, Common Heir's vitamin C serum is OECD 301F-certified, which means the capsules are determined to degrade quickly without causing harm to the environment.

What's more, the brand focuses on making eco-friendly beauty choices joyful and fun, rather than relying on fear-mongering tactics.

"We don't believe in fear-mongering, and I know that's why there's a lot of uproar in the beauty space about what is clean and what isn't," says Ubias. "Taking a step back, beauty is still supposed to be fun and that's what I hope we are accomplishing with Common Heir: proving that you can have fun, high-performing products that are also clean and sustainable."

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space.

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