Stella McCartney Proves Slow Beauty Is the New Clean Beauty

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I’ll admit it: when I first heard the news that Stella McCartney is launching a clean and sustainable skincare brand, I groaned.

Do we really need another celebrity-backed beauty line in an already oversaturated market? (No.) Isn’t the “clean” beauty movement on its way out, shuttled by our newfound awareness of the fear-mongering and misinformation surrounding parabens, sulfates, and other chemicals? (Yes.)

Would McCartney’s line really be sustainable, or would it be “sustainable,” like Kim Kardashian’s beauty venture SKKN by Kim, slammed for its supposedly refillable bottles?

But as I learned more about McCartney’s brand, the red flags my general wariness raised began to lower.

Stella, created in collaboration with LVMH, will launch on August 29 with a tightly curated product lineup: a cleanser, a serum, and a cream, a minimal range that puts Kardashian’s nine-step routine to shame. (“I want less, and I want it to work,” McCartney told WWD.)

As for those sustainability claims? The designer, a longtime proponent of green fashion, seriously raises the bar for brands in the eco-friendly beauty space. All products arrive in recyclable pouches, made of wood waste, that fit into recycled glass bottles and jars (pumps are made of recycled plastic). Taking a cue from Greta Thunberg, orders are literally shipped — not flown — to the U.S., thereby reducing the brand’s carbon footprint.

The line’s key ingredients including squalene, a byproduct of the olive oil industry, and phytosterols, plant-derived compounds beloved for their moisturizing and soothing effects, were selected for their renewable nature.

This isn’t McCartney’s first stab at beauty. In 2006, she partnered with YSL Beauté to launch Care, a unisex line of organic skincare products. The brand was later paused, perhaps because McCartney’s genderless, eco-conscious approach was so ahead of the curve in the mid-aughts.

While some outlets have characterized Stella as a clean beauty brand, I’d say that “slow beauty” is a more fitting descriptor. Stella’s holistically thoughtful approach, from its bare-bones lineup to its firmly non-expedient shipping, proposes a new standard for responsible brands. As the saying goes: good things come to those who wait.

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