We asked Natalie Hughes, founder of Sacred, the natural, vegan and cruelty-free beauty skincare brand that is actively tackling the huge waste problem in the industry.

Natalie Hughes is the founder and head formulator of luxury circular-economy skincare brand, Sacred. Having worked within growth strategy for over twenty-five years, with a focus often on the beauty space, Natalie realised the full extent of over-production and the inherently unsustainable model of the cosmetics industry. She saw a real need for an ‘awakening’ within the industry in order for a shift to happen within our own purchasing and wellness habits.

Natalie says; ‘I’m a big believer in slow, mindful beauty and ageing well, both from an environmental and wellness perspective. I feel traditionally the beauty industry model has not only permitted but actively encouraged impulse buying which actually undermines our wellbeing and is damaging to nature. I want to empower customers to buy better, so they can enjoy taking care of themselves in ways that are kind to their skin and the planet.’

Here she shares her guide on how we can purchase more responsibly.

What do ‘circular’ and ‘slow’ beauty mean?

The circular movement is about how we make things. It is based on eliminating waste, counter-acting overproduction and keeping resources and materials in use for as long as possible.

We have been a circular brand from the outset. W reuse and repurpose ingredients and produce minimaluxe/multi-purpose products that are handcrafted in small batches, so that supply is in line with demand and one product can deliver multiple benefits. We use ingredients and packaging that are grown using renewable energy and we only use refillable, reusable or compostable packaging that can even help to restore soil health.

Slow beauty is about being more mindful in the way you buy and use products and figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. It means investing in fewer and better products designed with nature, health and wellness in mind; focusing on simple self-care rituals that create a sense of connection and joy. Instead of looking for quick fixes and instant results, you buy fewer, carefully designed products that support skin health over time.

What are the main benefits to the Planet?

Very little is discussed about product waste in the beauty industry. One piece of research carried out in 2014 estimated that in the UK on average a woman will waste £180,000 in her lifetime on more than 5,800 beauty products she opens but never finishes. In fact she likely only uses about 10 per cent of what she buys*. Given the sheer size of the beauty industry, brands need to do much more to avoid overproduction and reduce the waste it creates.

Being a circular, slow beauty brand is all about finding new and innovative ways to make and do things that inspire positive changes in behaviour. By empowering people to be better informed about what they are buying and how it is made, we believe it will inspire people to make more sustainable choices.

*Vaseline research, 2014

How can we play our part?

By choosing independent circular brands, you are actively helping to break the cycle of overconsumption and regenerating nature in the process. There is an immense amount of meaning and joy in discovering the benefits of slow, natural beauty and small steps make a difference. One Sacred product has multiple benefits and therefore you may be able to replace one, two or even three products. This is a more sustainable approach to self-care and better for the planet.

It helps to take a little time to learn more about the brands you are buying from – it really is time to expect more than just recyclable packaging from beauty brands. And, finally you can trust yourself more than the market. If you pay close attention to how you feel and the natural changes in your skin over the course of a day, a month a season,, you can quickly get to know your skin and your needs better than anyone. You can simplify your routine and scale back – and feel even more beautiful and confident.

Follow Sacred on Instagram here.

By Nancy Alsop
December 2022

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.