In our latest edition of ‘8Shades Of’, we’re chatting to Diane van Zwanenberg, founder of sustainable vegan beauty and bodycare brand Coconut Matter. We’re huge fans of this homegrown company’s range of all-natural, plastic-free products, especially their divinely-scented MOOD deodorants… and with the festive season fast approaching, they make great eco-friendly Christmas presents too (hint, hint!).
We speak to Diane about what inspired her to start Coconut Matter, the challenges of making plastic-free products and how to make your beauty routine more sustainable.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
I’m the founder of Coconut Matter – we handcraft natural, zero-waste personal care products here in Hong Kong. We hope to make it easy for everyone to say no to plastic, starting from home!
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
Everything changed for me when my daughter Jade was born. Our future generations will bear the greatest burden of climate change and we need to act now so they can have a chance when it’s their turn. Nothing matters if she can’t even breathe the air or drink the water from our planet.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
It’s a work in progress but I try to be more aware and live more consciously – whether it’s making the most out of what I already have or refusing single-use plastic in my everyday life. My guilty not-so green habit would probably be sanitary pads, as I’ve yet to find a reusable alternative that works for me.
4. Fave eco product?
Call me biased but I truly love the MOOD deodorant our team created and all the scents it comes in!
5. Fave veggie dish in Hong Kong?
I love the selection of tofu dishes at Kin’s Kitchen – nothing beats crispy tofu drenched in soy sauce and spices!
6. What are the most challenging aspects of developing a sustainable beauty line?
I’d say finding the right suppliers for packaging and ingredients, so that we can bring our ideas to life. Back in 2015 when we first started, I remember how hard it was to find a manufacturer that was willing to work with us and explore plastic-free packaging options. Now, we have manufacturers coming to us and asking if we’d like to give their plastic-free packaging a go!
Getting people to embrace paper packaging can also be challenging. While we do see more conscious consumers who are looking for plastic-free options nowadays, many consumers still tend to find paper packaging fiddly. Nevertheless, we hope that we’ve inspired more people to ditch the plastic and become more conscious of their environmental footprint along the way.
7. What is one thing about sustainable beauty that you think more people should be aware of? And what are your top tips for making a beauty routine more sustainable?
If you want to be kinder to your skin, the planet and your wallet, then go water-free. You’ll dodge the preservatives and there’s a better chance you’ll get a compact, highly concentrated product that isn’t wrapped in plastic.
If you’re looking to make your beauty routine more sustainable:
- Make the most of what you already have and think twice before you buy new items
- Buy less but better by prioritising multi-tasking or water-free products
- Ditch single-use plastics and say hello to reusables
8. What shade of green are you and why?
Eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass… the list goes on. Nothing beats the colours of nature!
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See also: 8Shades Of… Xavier Tsang of BeCandle