Germany-based Schwan Cosmetics launches TheBetterBarrel color cosmetic pencils made with Sulapac packaging materials, which offer an alternative to plastic; the airtight packaging is made with 72% biobased material, side-stream wood chips, natural binders

Sample article from our Bioeconomy

August 30, 2022 (press release) –

Schwan Cosmetics has launched the first color cosmetic pencils made with sustainable Sulapac materials. ‘TheBetterBarrel’ meets market demands for environmentally friendly makeup products that don’t sacrifice quality, performance, or style.

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Schwan Cosmetics, German makeup supplier for many of the world’s biggest cosmetic companies, and Finnish material innovation startup Sulapac have collaborated to create lip liner and eye liner pencils with sustainable barrel material, capable of sustaining the volatile makeup product held within the material.

To date, the main challenge of using bio-based materials in cosmetic pencils is that most natural materials are not capable of maintaining the freshness of the makeup inside the pencil. For this reason, most makeup pencils today are encased in virgin plastic.

The pencils were made in response to market research about the shifting demands of Gen Z and Millennial cosmetic consumers. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, the importance of reconnecting with nature became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers wanted to care for and feel in touch with nature. These consumers are also committed to driving positive change in their communities and the world.

Consumers will now be able to experience long-lasting, high-performing lip and eye liners wrapped in innovative pencil barrels. The eco-friendly and airtight packaging that holds the sensitive ingredients is made with 72% bio-based material, side-stream wood chips, and natural binders.

While sustainable materials have been implemented in beauty packaging in recent years, this is the first time that Sulapac’s plastic alternative material is being used in color cosmetic pencils.

“This is a breakthrough for us because we were able to invent a better material to encase our pencils. This replaces virgin plastic with a material that leaves no permanent microplastics on the planet! And, we don’t have to make any compromises on the quality or performance of our long-lasting, high-pigment shades. This line is suited to come in an endless variety of textures and colors, and the barrel material has to be top-notch to preserve their integrity. Through our collaboration with Sulapac, we aren’t just creating an innovative product for our clients, we’re also investing in a more sustainable future for the cosmetics industry. We will continue to strive to make the world a bit better every day,” says Dr. Alexander Doll, Head of Research and Development, Schwan Cosmetics.

The ecological barrel was created as a result of Sulapac and Schwan Cosmetics’ joint expertise in their prospective industries. The pencil barrel is made from Sulapac Flow v1.8 material, derived from sawdust from industrial side streams and plant-based binders.

Both Schwan and Sulapac have sustainability at the forefront of their values. Schwan has set out ambitious goals such as net zero carbon emissions by 2040, as well as a product range that contains 50% less virgin fossil plastic in primary packaging and 75% products of natural origin by 2025.

“We have 700 clients in 70 different countries. As a large global supplier to so many brands, creating more sustainable products has a meaningful real-world environmental impact. Our clients have been increasingly demanding sustainable products in response, especially to their Gen Z and Millennial consumers. At the same time, our clients don’t want to lose out on selection, performance, or the ability to design their products aligned with their own branding. Our collaboration with Sulapac is a perfect match because they embody the values of preserving nature without sacrificing performance and flexibility in design,” says Sandra Lossau, Vice President Global Category Management at Schwan Cosmetics.

The design principle of Sulapac is to mimic nature. Similar to a piece of wood on the forest floor, Sulapac materials can be digested by naturally occurring microorganisms and they break down into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, leaving no traces behind. The company is also known for its aesthetics and performance and has created sustainable materials for the beauty industry since 2016, collaborating with brands like CHANEL, Lumene, and Shiseido.

“This is a joint cooperation that wouldn’t have been possible without each other’s expertise, we are better together. Schwan is a big international supplier to so many brands around the globe. As an important player in the industry, they have a real impact on the beauty ecosystem and on the environment. Sulapac’s mission is to save the world from plastic waste together. Collaboration with industry leaders like Schwan is so significant because of the huge volume that they produce,” says Dr. Suvi Haimi, CEO, and Co-founder of Sulapac. 

TheBetterBarrel product line will be launched officially at the tradeshow MakeUp in New York on September 14 and 15.

Additional information

  • The lipliner is soft gliding, lightweight & transfer-proof, lasting up to 13h.
  • The eyeliner is a precisely gliding formula with intense color pay-off, lasting up to 17h.

About Sulapac

Sulapac® is an award-winning, patented, bio-based alternative for conventional plastics. It accelerates a plastic waste-free future with sustainable materials that are beautiful and functional. Like nature. The Helsinki-based company was founded in 2016 by Dr. Suvi Haimi, Dr. Laura Tirkkonen-Rajasalo and Dr. Antti Pärssinen. Its investors include CHANEL and Sky Ocean Ventures. Sulapac was ranked one of Europe’s 100 hottest startups by WIRED UK in 2018, 2019 and 2021, and one of the Nordic startups to watch in 2021 by Sifted, backed by the Financial Times. Join the forerunners. Together we can save the world from plastic waste.

About Schwan Cosmetics

Schwan Cosmetics is a global market leader in the development and production of cosmetic pencils. More than 2,600 employees at nine production facilities worldwide contribute to the company’s economic success. The global employer has its headquarters in Heroldsberg near Nuremberg in Germany and is represented in eight countries. Schwan Cosmetics is a fully-owned subsidiary of the internationally active, family-run company Schwan-STABILO. Further information on Schwan Cosmetics is available at schwancosmetics.com

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